Freo's View

ABRAHAM DAY FULL OF QUESTIONS

Posted in city of fremantle, notre dame university, reigion, Uncategorized by freoview on September 14, 2017

 

 

I probably ended up with more questions than answers, but the yearly ABRAHAM DAY at Fremantle Notre Dame University also left me with a sense of envy and admiration that people can just believe there is a God, and the feeling of comfort and belonging it must give them.

There is something surreal about having a Sheik, a Rabbi and an Archbishop sitting peacefully together, when the world is in mayhem because of people who claim to kill in the name of their God.

Yes, I am confused, but delighted that Notre Dame gives us the opportunity to listen to the religious leaders and ask them questions.

On Thursday afternoon in the packed Drillhall of UNDA Catholic Archbishop Timothy Costello, Sheik Muhammad Agherdien and Rabbi Dovid Freilich debated the theme of the day; Welcoming and Standing up for the Other.

Notre Dame’s Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond did the introductions and said that engaging with someone who is the other helps to find commonality. How do we welcome and build a relationship with the other, she asked.

Archbishop Costello said that to welcome someone is altogether a different thing from welcoming them and standing up for them, and asked, who is the other?

Rabbi Freilich said that religious people need to show respect and love for those who are not related to God.

Abraham was the first person to argue with God, when he begged for the life of the people of Sodom and Gomorra. We should care for the life of every human being, the Rabbi said, and that Abraham was the quintessential example for hospitality.

Sheik Agherdien said that it is important we stand up for each other in the spirit of Abraham and that the three religions teach to care for another.

During the Q&A the Sheik said that religions are under attack and that these are common challenges faced, while the Rabbi said that young people are absorbed to make ends meet and that there is little time left for them to live. How can we make them see the beauty of God? He asked.

In the affluent society the question of God does not arise as easily as in poorer countries, but there is so much anguish and distress in the modern world that the deep questions are not asked, and people do not reflect and meditate.

Rabbi Freilich said that there is so much noise in our world that we cannot concentrate on the inner self, and Sheik Agherdien argued that some are unfortunate to have not been born within a faith. It was very important that people questioned more.

The highlight for me was the prayer at the end of the debate by the Sheik, and I have asked him to email it to me, so I can write in more detail about it.

When I left I pondered why I am so often cynical about what I consider the hypocrisy of religious institutions, but far less about moderate religious people, and I wondered if that is the reason more people turn away from religion. If this is where the problem is, that will also be where the answers and solutions can be found.

Roel Loopers

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ABRAHAM DAY AT NOTRE DAME UNI

Posted in city of fremantle, notre dame university, reigion, Uncategorized by freoview on September 4, 2017

 

The very interesting ABRAHAM DAY, which was held at Fremantle Notre Dame University for the first time last year, will be held on September 14 at 2.30 pm.

It will celebrate the religious traditions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, that share a common origin in Abraham.

Although I am a non-believer I really liked last year’s event and the fascinating discussions, so am looking forward to this one.

Welcoming and Standing Up for the Other is the theme of the afternoon that will be debated by Archbishop Timothy Costello, Sheik Muhammad Agherdien and Rabbi Dovid Freilich. There will also be a Q&A.

It is at the Drillhall in Mouat Street and a free event, but needs RSVP: http://www.nd.edu.au/events/abrahamday

I would like to know why religions are talking about equality, but are really very patriarchal. There are no female Imams,  and a female will never be the Pope as long as the circle of Cardinals is made up of males only.

The other question I have is why religious scripts are so ambiguous that they can be misinterpreted by fanatics, who claim God/Allah wants them to kill in his name.

 

Roel Loopers

 

FREEDOM OF SPEECH ALSO A RESPONSIBILITY

Posted in freedom of speech, fremantle, reigion by freoview on January 23, 2015

The recent public debate about freedom of speech in the context of religion and terrorism is very interesting and complex. With freedom comes responsibility and consideration, especially being aware of cultural differences.

A word can mean something different for individuals and groups and when some of us flippantly joke about the many gods in this world, the mere mention of a god in a certain context can hurt and infuriate others for whom their god is sacrosanct.

As someone who occasionally uses sarcasm and cynicism I know that my words can do damage and they have cost me the odd friendship and have hurt partners. Being acerbic in cartoons and poking fun at certain cultures is received in my world as being funny and making social and political comments, but in other cultures the same words are received as an insult to ones faith.

Language is such a powerful tool to do good and bad and the fine nuances are often not recognised by those who send out the message that could be received totally different from what it is meant to say.

The other day while in a down mood I was wondering why I kept telling myself I was traurig. It is the German word for sad, but sad was not precise enough for what I felt, so traurig was the word I went back to. It’s that fine and tiny nuance that makes a world of difference when we communicate with other cultures and language groups. We do not understand how our words are being received, so hence we believe those we criticise are overreacting.

For Christians the word Allah is just a word, something to describe a god we don’t believe in, but for other people Allah is sacred, a way of life, a culture, and religion. The greatness of our gods should never be challenged because it is a belief in something intangible. There is no real proof our gods exist, but it is not up to us who don’t believe, or who believe in a different god, to question the importance of a religion and its god.

Freedom of speech requires freedom of thinking and tolerance and accepting that our words can deeply hurt even if we only mean to be a bit sarcastic or naughty.

Roel Loopers

IT’S NOT THE MUSLIMS, STUPID!

Posted in fremantle, religion by freoview on September 22, 2014

We live in a pretty sad world when politicians jump on the racist bandwagon and stigmatise a religion like Islam simply because zealot and righteous fanatics engage in terrorism, supposedly in the name of Allah.

Palmer United Party senator Jacqui Lambie and other politicians are wrong to blame all Muslims, and to tell those who live in Australia to give up their faith or move out.

The burqa, sharia law and the Islamic religion are not to blame for terrorism, but idiotic and narrow-minded fanatics are. Bigot Australian politicians ought to be more careful about what they say. Did they ever demand that Protestants and Catholics leave Australia when these groups terrorised each other in Northern Island? Nah, of course not! The reason Lambie and her ilk demand this from Muslims is pure racism, because most Muslims are non-white foreigners and not ‘good Christian Anglo-Celtics’.

I deeply recent the generalisation of Muslim people, and other ethnic groups and I believe Labor MP Peter Tinley is right when he says that as a community we should all reach out and try to communicate better with those we know little about. Muslims know the very few misguided bad apples in their community, so let’s work with them, not against them.

I have met many delightful Muslims in Fremantle and have no doubt that they abhor violence and terrorism as much as anyone else in our community. To blame and marginalise them for the criminal deeds of terrorists is ignorant to the extreme.

It is important to stop potential terrorists who live in Australia in their tracks, but it is wrong to vilify the Australian Muslim community. They are not to blame! Australia prides itself on our tolerance and fair go and to give that up would be a big win for the narrow-minded terrorists who are nothing else but violent criminals and murderers.

Chill, Australia!, most Muslims are good and decent people.

Roel Loopers

Read the excellent speech in Federal Parliament by Fremantle MP Melissa Parke: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2Fcf028b00-427a-488c-8c92-2792de44c147%2F0376%22

CONSTITUTION-WHAT’S GOD GOT TO DO WITH IT

Posted in australia, fremantle by freoview on July 4, 2013

I am amazed, but not surprised, about the attacks on Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Ed Husic in letters to newspaper editors, because Husic swore an oath on the Koran instead of the customary Bible. All those bigots who believe their God is better than a God of a different religion are banging their drums in anger and intolerance. How pathetic.

Instead of attacking someone for using the Koran we should be asking why the oath is not sworn on the constitution, because in a multicultural society like Australia the Christian Bible is only relevant to one group of our community and that is discriminatory.

There are a wide variety of religions in Australia and more and more people reject churches and religious institutions, so why don’t we deal with the fact that Australia can no longer be seen as a Christian country.

Why is it Christians continue to get on their high horses when it comes to people of Islamic faith in this country. Just leave them alone for the law-abiding people they are, unless you have proof they are breaking our laws.

As someone who was raised as a Christian Protestant I questioned early in life why we judge people who believe in a different God. Can’t we simply accept that there is a God of choice one wants to believe in, a religion one wants to follow and that is does not matter what that God or religion is called as long as we behave with utmost humanity, that we show compassion and tolerance and that we care and share and not engage in greed, selfishness and violence. Does it matter at all that good people are of a different religion than our own? I don’t think so!

Instead of attacking Ed Husic for being Muslim we should thank him for putting his hand up for public office and for his commitment to Australia.

Roel Loopers

NORTHAM’S RACIAL HATRED DISGRACE

Posted in australia, fremantle, racism, west australian, western australia by freoview on November 5, 2010

I just started to enjoy the second day of the 2010 Fremantle Festival over a cup of coffee at the Moore&Moore Cafe, when an article on page 3 of the West Australian shocked me back into reality.

During a protest against the proposed asylum seeker detention centre in Northam, two women were wearing T-shirts with the slogans “Bomb Their Boats” and Sink Their Boats” That is absolutely disgraceful to me. How can anyone advocate bombing and sinking boats full of men, women and children? What an inhumane, fascist, and selfish attitude is that!

One of the women, Belinda McKinnon, claims that refugees committed an illegal act when trying to enter Australia, while the fact is that under international law asylum seekers can seek refuge in any country they like.

‘Ladies’, you are inciting racial hatred.  THAT is illegal in Australia. You are a disgrace to this nation.

Roel Loopers

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