Monday, 17 September 2012

Science and Religion: Development of European Studies of Humanity

Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

I'm breaking these huge topic into sub-topics and fitting them again in few parts and posts. It is just to make it less complicated and we can review it one by one. Many of European thoughts were understood around the world but not Eastern thoughts as we have more complicated system of writing. We have many kinds of writing system which could not easily being conveyed through modern technology. And those who translated our literature were of European origin who happened to view others' way of life in their own shoes and not in others' shoes. This is what had been proposed by our International Relation lecturer when we talked for the topic such as Chinese economy and political thoughts. Not many Europeans are fluent in Chinese languages and dialects or well-versed in Chinese cultural sphere. The same thing happens to Muslim nations of diverse regions, cultural background and languages. For European way of thinking, there are also many pimps in Africa and Asia who are inferior about their own identity and they are more European than the real Europeans, hehe. I'm also still cracking my head to restructure my thesis about how Europeans view Muslim communities in their region.

Development of Studies of Humanity in Europe

After the scientific physical researches in the beginning of Renaissance age, there comes historians and archeologists in Europe. They unearthed archeology evidences of ancient civilizations, developed philology system to check retaliation of languages, deciphering writings on inscriptions, exploring caves, exploring pyramids in Egypt, researching civilizations such as Mesopotamia or Sumeria and others. Through these researches, they developed inquiries and bringing them up to "scientific" researches. Due to these, there are also criticisms toward ancient documents.

For example, they inquired whether the inheritance from Homerus. Are they really from Homerus? Possibly, not all of them were from Homerus. They have the opinion that perhaps there are of different stages of poetry developed throughout periods and generations after some of their researches. Perhaps there are also others' poems which has been claimed as coming from Homerus. And Homerus himself is a doubtful figure. Whether he exist or just a myth. They also researched the origins of the Greeks and Romans besides their myths. Later they find out that some of the myth were true and some were not true. 

Sometimes, they find out phrases in ancient script written in old inscriptions in deserts of Middle East. So, they compared them to the contents with the scriptures such as Old Testament. After that, they arranged theories about the linguistic style and they come to opinions out of their theories that Old Testament is not purely a scripture. They believe that Muhammad s.a.w was inspired to organize a religion by the law of nations before such as the Israelite and others. They believe that king David wrote the Psalter under the influence of other nations' poetry which were older.

Christian clerics in Europe again were at temper as their authority were challenged although those who researched and inquired were also clerics of the Church organizations in Europe. Many people lose their faith and those who claim themselves as scholars and intelligent feel ashamed or insecure to be associated with religion. This is what happen nowadays.

Those who researched found that everything that risen from their opinion and criticisms were in conflict with religion. All of these things shows that religion and "science" as what they understood are two different things. However, if we discreetly observe; there is no such thing as clear conflicts between religion and science. What had been in conflict is actually the scientists and the religious clerics.  It was the conflicts between scholars and their "former" Church clerics. More over, when the Church clerics were firm with literal meanings of scripture and holding fast with exegesis or lectures that they inherited since early times. These clerics refused to research as they were not educated like those scholars. While in the same time, the clerics were those who controlled the countries while scholars had no influence at all. Because of this, there were oppression and enforcement. Example for this, Galileo Galilei was forced by the Roman Catholic Church Holy authority to leave his blasphemous opinion that the Earth is round and it circulates the Sun.

My situation... I was not good in academics in formal schools because I could not understand why there are separations in subjects of sciences and religious studies. I was more inclined toward Sharia studies but I was not totally a narrow-minded religious studies student. My ancestors were all of Islamic religious background but since we were looked down upon and badly humiliated in our intellectual grasp so I turned to Buddhism and initiated as a public follower of lord Buddha with white string. I almost entering Buddhist monastic community since I secretly studied Buddhism, Brahmanism and Yogic views intensely and it was Allah who brings me back when I tried to make up my mind (suicide attempt), hehe. I was told that those who are specialized in Islamic studies would end up as poor religious teachers in villages and living a dull-life before going to die. While those who studied "sciences" as per in science streams would be successful, could easily find jobs and survive in the future industrial world. So I kind of feel detest with the life and disappointed. When I finished my master classes now though my thesis is still in progress, I could see all which had been told with me with bird eyes view. How could people who tell us those things were so sure what will happen in the future and they were also "believing" in something just like religious people.

Finally, the boundless authority of the Church was demolished by the Church itself. Europe enters its period of Reformation and followed by the Renaissance. The Church would not easily changing its freezing attitude if it is asked to change from inside. So, the schism happened among European Christians. The Roman Catholic Church members who disagree with the narrow-mindedness of Church high authority splitting themselves from the Church and forming Protestant groups of Christians. Because of the "science", the Church became a battle field where the "science" won. The Church is neglected due to the loathe toward it. Churches in Europe and its maintainers who were the monks and priests were made antique decorations where they are prohibited to meddle with "science and knowledge". And their specific place is only in the churches. 

People becoming more and more ashamed with them selves if they are religious. Religion is viewed as a symbol of narrow mindedness, not cool, primitive, awkward and fanaticism. Some people are just rejecting religion for them selves because they think that they are so intelligent and could not be defeated with whatever arguments. Some others are proud to claim them selves as Freethinkers. And if there are people who go to church, it is only customary for them. There are no "soul" in it nor spirit of faith anymore.       

In Europe, the Europeans were with the attitude as mentioned above. However in the Orient, they are different in their colonies. The French who are famous with their Revolution, their pride with Voltaire who had cast out religion of their daily life but were also active in Christian mission activities. Just take a look at Vietnam. I read few Catholic mission books in my late maternal grandparents' house and there are also French missions mentioned in them. My late maternal grandpa was a village mosque imam.

They developed a neutral education system to weaken the religious spirit in their colonial land citizens selves. In the same time, they had approved Christian missions to spread Christianity in the lands. In neutral and mission schools, they had produces Asian and African children who also begin to feel that they are pure intellectuals like the Europeans. It is because they also do not care about their religion say if they are of Muslim family, then they do not care about it anymore. Just like the Europeans who do not care about Christianity which had took its root for hundreds of years in European continent. From Western Europe, the influence of this "science" extending its wave to Eastern lands. From the Netherlands to the Dutch East India (modern Indonesian Islands). They believe that religion is an obstacle toward "modernism" and it is not suitable for intellectualism. Eastern people would be modern nations if they leave behind their native religion.

The first people, those in Western Europe talked about the history track that they had gone through. While the Easterners namely Asians and Africans talk like parrots who only follows their masters. In this case, the Western Europeans who are also human. This also happens in our country. I experienced being treated badly by these secondary type of people. Last time I was so sad and feel so low. But now not anymore, dear brothers and sisters. I just look at them as pitiful and marginalized. If beloved brothers and sisters could grab what I mean as pitiful (pathetic) here, hahaha. Hope brothers and sisters enjoy reading and spend holidays wisely. I don't know how to make writings look interesting but I just write anything that I feel.

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin!       

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