Saturday, 25 April 2009

Religion, Conversion, Altruism








The week started well for me. Everton won and we are in the FA Cup. 

But Monday was the beginning an awful week at work. 2 contracts to deal with, and we are dealing with 2 other lawyers which had made things awkward. For the sake of the professional privilege, it would be best that I do not divulge the extent of the awkwardness, except to say that we had to ask for things which was basic items expected from other lawyers. 

I read now that Najib has opened the equities to non-malaysian. Some malay dailies were reporting as if the Bumiputra equity quota was abolished, but that is inaccurate. He seems trying hard to perk up the economy. The Cabinet also announced some positive proposals for laws related to conversion of religion. It seems sad that we need cabinet to dictate what is so bloody logically obvious. 

Religion to me is personal and important. I am a Buddhist and I like Lord Buddha's teaching.

But at the end of the day, its only religion. Religion cannot legislate love, cannot dictate our choices. It is a guide. It is a principle. No use having a religion if one is corrupt, plunder's the country and call himself a patriot, lies and cheats. Then what for have a religion when you are fraud. You are suppose to do good anyway. Do right. Religion teaches you that. But in Malaysia, how many times we see people claiming to be religious, and then getting involved in corruption etc etc. 

Another point is  I cannot fathom why a religion can insist a person who is in love with another from that religion to convert, merely because some book in that religion claims it is compulsory. So a person who is not of that religion, seems to be bound by the religion of that other person. I am a Buddhist. Buddhism does not at all impose one to convert if you want to marry me (and if you are not a Buddhist). Why such rule? 

I had dated a muslim girl before, and I knew the love was doomed when it started. She did not impose her religion on me, but I was not worried about her, I was worried about her dad. How would I tell a girl's dad 'Pakcik, Aku nak kahwin anak pompuan pakcik, tapi.. aku nak fail Originating Summon kat Mahkamah untuk perintah yang aku ni tak payah masuk Islam'.

I think any of you reading this can imagine the re-action that pakcik will give me. 

When asked, a Muslim friend tells me 'that is the way it is'. What an answer, man?! Are we really absolutely sure that this is the decree made by the Prophet that when a person marry a muslim that person MUST convert? Could it be because of the 'Zaman Jahiliah' that the people were going through at that time of Prophet Muhammad's arrival, that it made sense for non-believers to embrace Islam when marrying a muslim. 

How can that rule apply to a person who is a believer of God, albeit via another mode, another religion?

Anyway, that relationship is over. It's been over for almost a year. But I sometime ponder, and wonder; had it not been for this religious bar, how would it end? 

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