Monday, December 27, 2010

Aayan Hirshi Ali and Her Free Thought

I listened to Aayan Hirshi Ali this morning as she accepted an award from the "Freedom From Religion Foundation". She wrote "Infidel", which I read several years ago. She has been a source of inspiration in her fortitude and resistance to religious zeal and her desire to seek rationality instead of religious belonging.

Her speech used "The Emperor With No Clothes" and she talked about how those that want to "belong" at all costs will suppress their questions and unify their opinions because they fear being an "outcast" or "outsider" to the "faith".

This is correct, as humans are prone to decieve themselves and others in their attempt to provide and protect their "community". It  becomes an all out "war" of sorts because one's very identity is caught by such thinking and being in the world. Aayan embraced the questions because she valued honestly above myth. Such questioning  is doubly threatened because it puts one's personal values in question, especially if financial and family investments have a stake in such interests.

Ms. Ali escaped Islam's grasp over her life by fleeing Somalia, becomeing educated in the Netherlands, and finding a "voice in America".

Is she duped by her "reason"? Is she sabatoging another's right to "believe"? What she suggests is that rationality is to be held as a guard against religious fundamentalism, and zeal. It protects from psychological abuse that hinders one from becoming and being in the world as a free moral agent.The individual is to be set free from such "communal understandings". Belonging should be about things that do not depend on irrationality, which leaders have power to enforce at the costs of another's rational conviction and/or commitment.

America is great because it allows for freedom of religion, but doesn't demand religion as a test for public service. Character, which is of uptmost importance in public office is not dependent on one's religious affliation. In fact, religious people, as well as the irreligious, justify what they do by "rational argument". There is no justification to defrauding or manipulating because of a 'higher law" or standard, whether that standard be a religious or secular standard.  America believes that all "belong", as citizens and it is the citizen's right to be treated as equal before the law. And it is called our Constitutional right.

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