Stories about religious

Ramazan and the ‘holier than thou’ syndrome

The month of Ramazan is upon us. People from all walks of life are preparing for a month of fasting, praying, giving and showing off. I mention “showing off” on purpose to bring to light all those people who become religious only during the month of Ramazan. Not that there is anything wrong with becoming all religious for just one month out of 12. Who am I to judge? However, what becomes irritating is the ‘preachy’ and ‘screechy’ attitude people suddenly adopt. A few days ago, I was having a casual conversation with a friend of mine and just as ...

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Can science be compared with religion?

If one doesn’t know how to evaluate evidence or determine if a conclusion lies beyond the scope of any given evidence and if one cannot judge the strength of a theory, he is like a young child who should not play with fire. If he does, he may burn his hands – in this metaphor, his beliefs. So religious scholars are right when they prevent us from playing with science which questions beliefs. Some people say that science and religion can never be compared. Religion would boast to “know everything” even if it is wrong and would undermine the understanding of ...

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Why do religious people distrust science?

There was once a thriving culture of reason and scientific thought in medieval Arabia. It was a region where religion was taken very seriously, however, science still flourished and took root. Many of the modern day scientific and technological advances can be traced back to that part of the world.  This article, however, is not about glorifying the past. It is an attempt to deconstruct the reason behind why modern day religious people, specifically Muslims, have a deep-rooted distrust for science, given that the Muslims from medieval Arabia were seemingly more open towards it. The answer may be a bit complicated, but not totally elusive. If ...

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Religion or science: That is not the question

The argument begins with this question: why should science and religion be kept separate? The answer depends on what you believe; however, let me present my case in favour of the separation of science and religion. Science is the study of nature and how it functions. The beauty of science is that when a theory is presented, scientists of that field do not immediately agree with the theoretical claims. Rather, they put the theory to intensive criticism and tests. In many cases, the theories are disproved on the basis of counter evidence or errors that are deduced. If the ...

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Mob rule wins again

We are peaceful people and we act with the administration’s approval, were the words of one of the clerics leading the charge to shut down an Ahmadi religious centre in Rawalpindi. Surprise, surprise, they succeeded last week. So is it safe to assume that the administration approves of violence against minorities? Stupid me, that question was already answered a month back, when a police officer decided to side with the mob instead of the law. In true testament to the competence and dedication to duty of the Punjab police, he lied to innocent victims of a mob threatening violence and ...

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Dawkins made it to my sociology class

Growing up in a society that discouraged asking too many questions, I often wondered what it is about modern western education that the conservative right is so scared of.  Reading the news and following politics on television and online has helped me understand how our policy makers think and what issues matter to our general public. If you have done the same, you will know that every effort to modernise our educational system and make it more culturally and religiously neutral has met with stern resistance from political, religious and other factions of the society. But one day, while sitting in ...

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How to pray (five times a day) with a busy schedule

Before I genuinely began to cultivate and nurture my relationship with God, I regarded the five daily prayers that Islam enjoins on believers as laborious. It seemed impractical to expect that I would be able to stop what I was doing during my busy work schedule to take time out and pray. Working as a news wire journalist, I was often spending over 10 hours a day in the office or at conferences, interviews and meetings, barely able to make time for a lunch break. If I wasn’t working, my time was divided between house chores, errands, family and friends, and ...

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Ecological consciousness and Islam

I am always inspired by trash. When I see it on the roads, in parks, in hospitals and outside homes it sends me in a state of a deep reverie. A couple of years back, I was shaken to the core to do ‘something for my country.’ Looking for the answer of what could be done, I came across a newspaper article about some ‘crazy’ youngsters who, tired of the oblivion of their fellows and authorities towards matters of environmental consciousness, took it upon themselves to do something. They girdled up their loins with the motto that the least you ...

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Because I’m a lesbian

For 24 years, the horror of lesbianism haunted me. No, I don’t belong to an anti-religion, mod squad, liberal family. My family is as normal as any middle-class and religious family could be. After my teens, I grew up questioning my sexual orientation and my doubts turned into guilty trepidation when I realized this was not “just the phase” I was going through. This was the my life which I had been constantly denying. Being a lesbian in Pakistan where one is eloquently declared a sinner or deemed to have a psychological disorder, is like committing a crime. You are considered as disgusting ...

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Who is Pakistan’s Luther?

There are only two possible outcomes in a theocracy: 1) Peaceful co-existence 2) Tyranny The current situation of the authorities in Pakistan are a testimony to what becomes of a theocracy unsure of itself. One needs to look at history to see just how much man does not learn from his own past. Whether one likes it or not, Christianity and Islam are one and the same when it comes to their historical successes – and mistakes. Allow me to elaborate. For a few years after the death of Jesus Christ, there were no written accounts by any of the apostles, just orally memorised accounts ...

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