[b:db1f967488]The following article is an extract from what I published on my blog here in South Africa.[/b:db1f967488]
[b:db1f967488]Those of you who have been consistently visiting this blog know that my main theme is discovering and exposing immoral behavior, especially amongst the religious bigots. You will find many religious people often presenting an act that goes against Human Rights but hide behind their religious beliefs as if religion takes precedents over our Constitution or what is morally right in our ¤modern eraË.
My articles is not meant to indicate that there is no good people or good work or good morals expressed by religious people. It is just that I have personally found that any good morals or good work specifically attributable to a religious belief is virtually non existent.
By this I mean I do not deny that there are many Christians, Muslims, Jews, African Traditionalist etc doing wonderful and caring work amongst our communities in South Africa and the world in general but this good work is not specific to any person or religious organization. That is charity and good work is performed by all human beings of different religions, culture, politics etc and there is not one organization, group or individual who can claim that their religious beliefs specifically makes them ¤greaterË in doing good work over the religious beliefs of other humans. What I mean is that everything else being equal human beings act the same throughout the world.
Yet a small article in Muslim News this week has defied my expectations. In an article by Sindre Bangstad he studied the condition of prisoners in South Africa and America he writes this extract:
Lock them up, and throw away the keys or bring back the death penalty, one often hears from Cape Muslims tired of being held to ransom by crime.
Yet, the way in which society treats some of its most detested citizens, such as criminal prisoners, is also a measure of its humanity. And mercy and compassion are core Islamic values.
It has been suggested that among a number of African-American Muslim inmates in the USA, Islam has provided a measure of dignity in a dehumanizing environment and that Muslim have constructed spaces free of drugs, gangs and sexual abuse within many US prisons.Ë[/color:db1f967488]
I went through this article with my skeptical mind and I must honestly admit that in this instance Islam or Muslim culture played a positive part in contributing to the welfare of human beings.
I know from my previous experience with Islam that it is much more conservative than Christianity in our predominantly ¤westernizedË society. I know that the stigma of consuming alcohol and drugs is far greater in Islam than in most other societies. It therefore makes sense than in our notorious prisons known for all those horror abuses of rape, drugs and violent gangs that being a Muslim and forming a ¤gang of MuslimsË with values of not drinking alcohol, against drugs, against ¤gay sexË (sorry! not meant to be derogatory towards gays ) might lead to less abuse in prison with the result that the prisoner might get rehabilitated quicker and inflict less torment on society after he or she is freed because this person was not abused in prison.
In fact I will declare that although I am an atheist if I ever landed in prison I would gladly join a Muslim group because those values are the values I espouse in my daily life and I know sticking to those values in prison (if I ever landed in one) would be better for my survival, physically and morally.
However, as much as I endear those values as espoused by a group of Muslims in prison I am against having those values being legislated in an open and free society. In an open society drinking alcohol does not lead to rape nor does a person not drinking alcohol guarantee that a person will not rape another person. Every person has the right to choose his or her lifestyle even if another person does not like that lifestyle.
The final question I would like to pose is that given the fact that there is less abuse amongst Muslim groups in prison is it not better to have a two tier prison system. That is a prison that caters strictly for no alcohol, drugs and sex and allow prisoners the option of choosing which system they would like to be incarcerated to. Interesting concept don╠t╠ you think?
So hats off to Islam! In certain environments I must admit certain aspects of Islamic tradition does play a positive role.[/b:db1f967488]
[b:db1f967488]The reason I am republishing the article on this blog is to pose the following questions to my fellow secular humanist.[/b:db1f967488]
1. Most of the time secular humanist approach to monotheism is to condemn outright religious belief and religious moralism. Is it not time to be selective instead of generalising and acknowledge that there could be "pockets" of religious moralism where it plays a positive role :?:
2. Is it not important to engage the religious person (especially the monotheist) about specific acts of religious moralism instead of putting general statements against religious moralism as we have been doing in the past. What I am trying to achieve is that if there is to be a standard to judge moralism than the secular - humanist should be in the forefront to set those standards. This means engaging the relious person about his or her acts of moralism and criticising as well as acknowledging that some "religious tradition" may be morally right. :?:
3. In order for us to engage the theist about morality it is important not to throw our secular humanist manifesto on his or her face and engage the theist on an ‘ad hoc’ basis being selective about those parts of our manifesto we wish to apply to achieve our purpose of setting the standard of moralism. :?: