Drive for Secularism - Ideology

Drive for Secularism

Posted by Aneela Shahzad on

Secularism might not seem to be such a frightening phenomenon if one considers it to be a system whereby the government does not intervene with the choices people make in their religious matters. Therein they exercise full freedom in going by their aspirations and that this is secured by keeping religious dignitaries away from the government offices so they won’t be able to impose their particular religious agendas over the masses. Outwardly this may seem like a rational idea but immediately it has struck the democratic right of a people if they simply want a religious person to represent them.

If you consider a secular form of government; one that will be free of all religious dogma and that the law will be free of religious discrimination and will be based on the (Justinian) civil law, which is an ever-adjusting codification system, the tables are surely turned on you. You will have a system of government that has no religious belief and will act in accordance to its own estimates as to what is good and what is bad for its people. The very near logical end of such a system is its conversion into a materialistic totalitarian and at the best a utilitarian system, as the state does not possess the instrument that will measure or define what the subjective needs of its people are.

Furthermore if the whole society is to embrace secularism as its ideal then its people have to embraces human reason and ethics and have to specifically throw of the shackles of religious dogma. In Pakistan, a country in which civil law and some amount of Shariah law have gone side by side and where the masses are not ready to do away with their aspirations, there is another kind of danger we face from secularism.

This is the danger of the vow of certain organizations and groups to bring down the educated sector of the nation to their knees in compliance with secularism. This is a silent move, as in, the majority seems to be unaware of it but it is clamorous, as in, the reading, writing and speaking space of the country is filled with it. The agenda is, to present secularism as a force that brings freedom of speech, rethinking of beliefs, rationality; tolerance for the others and more space for individuality. All these are extremely attractive slogans for a youth already confused between the extensive media retreats, the surges of the information age and the contradiction between the double standard of social practices and the moral/religious code.

These organizations and groups have occupied a vast space in the internet; as social blogs, newspaper blogs, chat-houses so on…, many hosts of popular television talk-shows speak their language, in fact much of all the media is dictated by the trends they set for them. These groups are also active in making clubs and community centers wherein the youth is given a lot of opportunity to express itself in music, drama and discussions; the approach is to keep everything open, everybody is ready to hear everybody, you can express your emotions, your doubts and possibilities; in a positive air such as this it is possible for the ‘change agent’ to work comfortably.

A change agent may be a person, an idea or maybe even a word. Sociological experimentation have sorted out the fact that it is much easier and non-alarming to bring out change in a society by doing it in a slow, soft, friendly way, in just a ‘by-the-way’ manner rather than to be imposing and bossy about it. For example (in case of homosexuality) if I just put a billboard on a rather busy road in the city, saying ‘HOMOSEXUALITY IS WRONG’ this might not agitate many people as most of us will agree with the message, but every time everyone will see that board, he or she will be forced to think about the issue. Children will be exposed with the ideas and their curiosity may lead them to experience or experiment with homosexuality for themsleves. So, the change agent does not have to superimpose her idea on the other, it merely has to introduce some words, ask a question about it and let the idea evolve in her target community until they will be ready and eager to talk about it or be influenced by it themselves.

The agenda of these groups is very deep and wide; for a people to of give up their beliefs, a lot of damage has to be done, so here are some of their points of concentration; tolerance is portrayed as possibility for individuality to thrive, whereby any vice would be considered a virtue as long as the individual is ready to stand for it; the vices of the society are repeatedly hammered on the memory of the individuals and proven to him/her that religion and irrational belief is the root cause of all these evils; tolerance is preached to such extents that one is to allows one’s nationhood, one’s belief, one’s morals and in essence the very fabric of one’s sanity to be desecrated; the venerable personalities of both nationhood and the religion are targeted in such controversial ways as to create doubt upon their credibility and character in ways that the untrained individual is not prepared for; the rights of minorities are defended in such a way that the identity of the majority becomes vulnerable; and in between all this many times Islam is directly hit as a forsake-able, lethargic disease. Islam is portrayed as a burden that hinders progress, rational and scientific thinking and something that stands in the way of human happiness and satisfaction.

The upholders of ‘secularism’, who come to our country with the slogans of tolerance and free-thinking, under the guise of their ‘love for humanity’, in such ways as described above, are thus able to tear apart the fabric of our society; the once secure family structure of the educated class, that was embedded with love, sacrifice, respect, where the individual could subjectively connect to the whole, feel the strength of unity, do good for the sake of good and depend upon God as the ultimate returner of all deeds, is now slowly but effectively eroding away.

Belief has to give way to tolerance, respect has to be forsaken for the growth of the individual and the subjective self has to give itself to be measured in objective scales of measure.