Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Because context is everything.

Via PZ, we have the following bit of religiously-inspired silliness (emphasis added):

The carpeted room is full of children in skullcaps crouched on prayer mats, reciting verses from a holy text. Some mumble the words under their breath; others sing them out. They rock back and forth as they chant, their disparate voices blending into an ethereal melody.

The children, ages 7 to 14, are full-time students, in class 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, even in the summer. But they are not studying math, science or English. Instead, they are memorizing all 6,200 verses in the Koran, a task that usually takes two to three years...

Making the work even more difficult, the students, for the most part, do not understand what they are reciting. Muslims believe the Koran was spoken to the prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel in Arabic. Because it is seen as the literal word of God, the use of translations is frowned upon. Students know how to pronounce the words but mostly do not know what they mean.

At which point, I'm sure we can all appreciate the howling amusement value in students mindlessly repeating sounds of which they have no comprehension whatsoever.

Now, speaking in tongues -- that's different.


Christian Conservative said...

Believe it or not, I actually agree with your post. ;-) (including the line about "speaking in tongues")

M@ said...

Yeah, when I was a kid, I used to say the rosary every night. I used to say it so fast the words were barely recognizable. I sort of challenged myself to say it as quickly as possible so I could go to sleep.

The point is that religion values the appearance of substance over the actual substance.

Christian Conservative said...

m@, you're right, organized "religion" does tend to do that, but true "faith" does not... if the substance isn't there, your faith is useless in the sight of God.

M@ said...

I'm glad we agree on organized religion. Don't get me wrong, I don't really care what anyone else believes. But my point was that a lot of the religious seem to share this emphasis on appearance, whether Christian, Muslim, or miscellaneous.

Also, to rephrase your little lecture slightly, if "god" isn't there, your faith is useless in the sight of everything else.