To: IKIM (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Comment on IKIM's "Let religion be the business of the experts" as published in The Star newspaper on 30/3/2010
I wanted to write a proper response to your article (IKIM's "Let religion be the business of the experts"), but time does not permit. So my brief thoughts:-
1. This part I totally agree. Bad manners/discourtesy/kurang ajar does not help in any situation, what more when the topic is religion.
"One of the signs of wisdom is to know one’s limit of knowledge. This implies that one is not supposed to comment on things that one is not well informed of. If one lacks knowledge on anything, one must first gather sufficient information and data before making any remark."
2. But, citing doctors, lawyer and engineers, etc ... err ... not that right.
It is amazing to learn the paradox that people conveniently acknowledge the authority of certain professionals in certain fields but hardly do the same in some other areas.
For example, many will not risk their health or life visiting unqualified physicians for their medical problems and later question the prescription given.
They do not dare challenge any registered lawyer, accountant, engineer, or architect for any matter within their respective fields of expertise and professionalism. Ironically, when it comes to religion, many believe that it is “free” for everyone to interfere with. I fail to understand this logic.
I see a difference.
Firstly, religion tells people what to do, or what is good or bad, without being asked. Doctors / lawyers / engineers / accountants / architects only do so if or when they are asked (consulted). Religion tends to 'interfere' with (encroach into) people's lives (sometimes uninvited). Resentment towards this, justified or not, is natural, if not logical. So I don't see anything illogical by someone reacting to a perceived imposition into their lives, ie. step on my tail, and I will bite back. HOW that reaction takes shape ... now that's a test of adab.
Secondly, there can always be a 'challenge' in the form of getting a 2nd opinion from another doctor / lawyer / engineer / accountant / architect, and a 3rd, or 4th opinion (ad infinitum) if necessary. This should be the case with religion (going by the expert analogy). But it is usually not the case. Experts who have the first say, or who have the backing of people with big sticks (power) tend to not be contradicted (for a variety of reasons). So the expert analogy is inaccurate UNLESS getting a 2nd opinion for religious matters is encouraged. So if 2nd opinions on questions such as "Which is correct; Catholicism or Protestantism (or Orthodox); Sunni or Shia; Theravada or Mahayana?" are allowed and encouraged, only then would the expert analogy be accurate, IM(very)HO.