What I, a Sunni Muslim, think of the seemingly endless Catholic Church atrocities

Obviously, to say they are an affront to mankind is an understatement. Unless you are a special kind of human being, you don’t need me to realise that. But, there is something which many people don’t seem to notice: it is also a case of giant missed opportunity with horrendous consequences.

Let me go on a tangent first.

The Catholic Church is not just a religious establishment, it is also a highly centralised organisation of clergymen, complete with ranks and uniform admittance processes. Meanwhile, Sunni Islam – the disproportionately dominant denomination – is a highly decentralised religion; we don’t have our own equivalent of the pope and bishops and – in some countries, at least – becoming clerics do not require formal certifications and we are allowed to choose imams and/or Islamic institutions that suit us.

To sum it up, Roman Catholic church is packed with global and official interconnectivity. It is comparable to a unitary country with strong central government. The Sunni one……. well….. I don’t know how to describe it eloquently.

If I have to describe the Sunni world, it is like a country with barely functioning central government, allowing millions of regional authorities to reign over. Each of those regional authority has a varying level of authoritativeness and varying size of jurisdictions…… and many, if not all, of those jurisdictions overlap with each other. Not to mention the citizens are of diverse cultural, racial and political backgrounds – which may or may not greatly influence their religious identities – and they have varying level of experiences with diversity.

As a Sunni myself, I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, it feels nice there is no stranger in a faraway land formally dictating my Muslimness. But, on the other hand, it makes tackling religious extremism extremely difficult.

Obviously, that’s not an excuse to do nothing. If you see something, the least you can do is to say something. But, people should realise that the unrelenting convolutedness means tackling Sunni extremism is not as easy as flipping a table.

Now, about this blogpost’s title…

It has always been crystal clear the church is powerful. It has the ability to micromanage the characters and behaviours of every single person within its ranks. While nothing can be 100% effective, it could have easily reduced the abuses to a handful of rare and isolated cases.

Instead, it chooses the complete opposite path.

It consciously protects the many sexual predators within its ranks by not reporting them to the local authorities, consequentially turning Roman Catholic clergyman into a dream profession for sexual predators.

It consciously let the Magdalene laundries to freely abused the “fallen women” for many years and, to this day, the Catholic orders involved still refuse to take responsibility, unrepentantly painting themselves as heroes.

It consciously let some members of its ranks to support Canada’s cultural genocide against the indigenous people by participating in some of the residential schools.

Don’t even forget about the goddamn inquisition.

I am not going to pretend overseeing one of the world’s biggest organisations is easy peasy. I am also not going to pretend the church never does anything noble; I mean, Catholic schools – in some countries, at least – are known for their high quality, a fact which even many Muslims wholeheartedly acknowledge.

But, it is infuriating how an institution chose to not inoculate itself against evil despite having the enormous power to do so, consequentially letting itself becoming a global and historical super spreader of human depravities.

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I also have to exclude the Shia Islam – the second biggest denomination – from this conversation because not only Shia extremism is far less globally consequential, I also know almost nothing about Shia islam. I have heard that Shia leadership is more centralised. But, I don’t know to what extent and I don’t know if it differs from one sub-denomination to another.

Don’t even get started on the even smaller denominations. I don’t know if extremism is even prevalent in any of them.

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Russian invasion of Ukraine: why do you support or oppose it?

There will be lots of rhetorical questions here.

Support

Do you support it because you believe a country has the right to self-defense? If you do, why would you side with one that has revived its past imperialistic tendency by not only spewing imperialistic rhetoric and planting spies all over Europe, but also being the aggressor in many conflicts it is involved in?

If attacking another country is a legitimate form of self-defense, does that mean you also support America’s invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan? Why not? I mean, both are thematically comparable.

Both involves a huge, powerful country attacking a smaller, less powerful country(ies) that never attack them in the first place. How is one thematically different from the other? Is it because one is not the US?

Do you support the invasion because it is a middle finger to the US hegemony? If you do, why would you oppose it by supporting another country’s hegemony? Do you hate the USA because it is an imperial power? Or do you hate the USA simply because it is the USA?

Do you support the invasion because you are smitten by Putin? What’s so attractive about him? Do you fall for his conservative politics? Do you fall for his supposed toughness? Do you love how liberals and (non-Tankie) leftists hate him? If the answer is yes for either one, do you believe ideological label similarity, tough image and pissing on your opponents are worth the human rights violations?

If you think the invasion is justified because Ukraine has Russian-speaking minority, does that mean you are okay with America invading countries with English-speaking minorities instead?

Oppose

Do you oppose it because you believe in human rights and respect of every country’s sovereignty? If you do, do you support the US invasion of Iraq in the early 2000’s?

If you do, why do you condemn Russia for violating another country’s sovereignty while you have no problem about USA doing the same thing? What’s so special about the USA that makes it morally exempted?

Have you ever considered that you are actually okay with human rights violations, as long as the perpetrators do not threaten US hegemony? Have you considered that you never care about morality in the first place?

Have you ever had any negative feelings towards all Russians and the invasion worsens them? If that’s the case, do you realise that such generalisation makes you a hateful bigoted asshole?

Do you realise Russia is ruled by an authoritarian government and therefore, its decisions rarely represent the people, if ever? Do you realise there are actual anti-war protests happening in Russia right now?

While I acknowledge that anti-war voices of dissent did exist in America, did you forget that the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions were popular among Americans? Did you forget that George W. Bush was reelected? Do you realise that even to this day, some Americans still make excuses for those invasions?

If all Russians are bloodthirsty warmongers despite the unpopularity of wars, wouldn’t that Americans even bigger bloodthirsty warmongers consider they were and still are more approving of wars?

Do you oppose the war because Ukraine is western and therefore, more “civilised” than Iraq and Afghanistan which you perceive as “barbarically” middle eastern (even though the latter is not even in the middle east)? Did you even realise that you made the “they-don’t-deserve-it-because-they are-civilised” argument?

In conclusion

If you feel personally attacked, then good. They are meant to personally attack people like you.

If you are offended, then why don’t you comfort yourself by resting your face on your mom’s cunt?

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So, you think you are anti-bigotry and extremism?

If I ask you what bigotry is, I am sure your answer would be something like, “the demonisation of (an) entire group(s)”. If I ask you what extremism is, I am sure yours would be something like, “the embrace of extreme views and/or actions”. Everyone can get the gist what both words mean.

Well, not really.

If you condemn someone for demonising an entire group of distinct human beings, then you are anti-bigotry. If you condemn someone for justifying the brutalisation of innocent people just for achieving certain goals, then you are anti-extremism.

Well, not quite. You are anti both IF you apply those attitudes to literally every person, including yourself.

If you condemn certain Muslims for being extremists and yet you justify the killing of innocent Muslims by American government OR you condemn American foreign policy and yet you justify the deaths of Americans in 9/11, you are not anti-bigotry and extremism.

Not only you see those groups as nothing but giant monoliths, you believe it is acceptable for anyone to kill the people simply for sharing “membership” with the bad apples. Not only you are anti to neither, you embrace them.

So many people have accused me of complicity to bigotry and extremism. Why? Because I defend not just myself, my fellow Muslims, my fellow Indonesians, but also non-Muslim and non-Indonesian fellow human beings from proudly malicious generalisations.

My accusers believe the only way to fight bigotry and extremism is to stereotype and even incite violence against entire groups. When I call them out, they always deny it. But, they always throw the accusation at me only after I denounce their stereotyping and incitement, not because I explicitly and implicitly justify the evil they supposedly condemn.

Yes, supposedly. It is very apparent they hate the immorality only when it is perpetrated by the wrong crowds; if the perpetrators are the “right” people AKA their allies and themselves, they would paint their immorality as praise-worthy, truth-telling politically incorrectness.

Call me radical. But, you cannot be anti-something when you love embracing that something.

Oh, and I also acknowledge both words are loaded. I do agree they shouldn’t be thrown around easily. But, I am confident I am utilising them appropriately.

I have encountered so many people who insist someone cannot be bigoted if they are not violent. Thankfully, unlike them, my standard isn’t that low.

If you have dehumanising beliefs about the “others”, you are bigoted. If you believe the end justifies even the most violent means, you are extremist.

If you are neither, why are you okay with such thoughts nesting in your thinking organ? Heck, why are they there in the first place?

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An eye for an eye makes the world blind… and that’s not always bad

Yes, really.

Do you expect me to believe that the other eye will heal? If it is horribly infected and the infection will spread, then it must be taken out.

I am not going to wait and see because it clearly won’t heal. Cut that shit out before the infection spreads and damages the entire body.

And no, I don’t give a fuck about your hatred of blindness. If you really care about the body’s well-being, you would have fucked your own feeling and let us cut the eye out!

If you think respecting your feeling is worth the spread of the infection, you should go fuck yourself. It is apparent you don’t care about the body’s well-being, you only care about protecting your pigheaded and ungodly egocentric sensibility.

If you are wondering, this is not meant to be a bioethics rant and therefore, not meant to be taken literally.

If you have heard of “an eye for an eye makes the world blind”, you would understand what I am talking about.

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Dealing with conspiracy “theorists” is hard

Of course, it is! Everyone knows how exhausting it is to drag them back to earth. When I say “hard”, I am referring to something else.

Studies show we can change their minds by being empathetic. While I don’t have the means to question their validity, my own anecdotes have said something similar: even if you fail to change minds, your diplomacy can encourage people to consider your viewpoints and reconsider their own.

If the “theorists” simply believe in wacky beliefs, then I am willing to be kind towards them. I would not pander to their irrationality. But, I would try to not be a dick.

If the “theorists” believe in debunked medical misinformation and extremely bigoted conspiracies about the “others”, then I have a problem.

Those people are dangerous not because of their beliefs, but because they feel obliged to do something about them. They don’t see themselves as dangerous, they see themselves as truth-exposing heroes. Worse, they believe it is our moral obligations to incite violent against our fellow human beings and let them infected with preventable diseases because suffering from permanent bodily damages is better than being vaccinated.

And you expect us to believe we owe them compassion?

Until they have proven themselves to be decent human beings, the only thing they are worthy of is to be put in their places. Considering how horrible of human beings they are, I believe it is acceptable if the scolding turns verbally abusive. If ugliness is the only thing you can offer, then ugliness is the only thing you deserve.

Yes, I am willing to accept that niceness is the most effective way to go. But, its proponents should realise it is fucking easier said than done.

Oh, and I used to be one of those conspiracy “theorists”. While I certainly was not on a Qanon level, I was also on my way to religious zealotry, a destination which I never arrived at. If I did, I would definitely be on that level.

If I have the chance to go back in time, I would beat the shit out of my past self for many reasons and believing conspiracies is one. I would not empathise with him. It is humiliating to even reminisce that aspect of my past.

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Being civil

No, it is not as good as some people think they are.

People -me included- often have positive receptions of old footage of debates, especially when they involve bigots and their opponents.

I love watching the footage because the anti-bigots -who tended to be from marginalised groups- were able to intellectually eviscerate their opponents calmly; not once they raised their voices and resorted to personal attacks. I wish I am someone who is capable of calmly roasting my opponents.

But, it seems many other people are inspired by the old footage for the wrong reasons.

Very frequently, they would praise people in the olden days for their ability to stay civil, regardless of their opponents’ views. If the debates involve trivial topics like our tastes in foods and entertainment, then I am all for the civility.

But, if they involve topics like “should we treat our fellow human beings like actual human beings?”, then why should we celebrate the civility? What’s so wholesome about being nice towards those who dehumanise their fellow human beings?

Call me radical. But, we have no obligations to be nice to bigots. In fact, I have no moral qualms about being uncivil against them. It will be a set back for causes, that’s for sure. But, there is nothing immoral about giving them less than stellar treatments.

The root of the bothsideism is very telling. It is either an extreme case of moral relativism OR they realise how horrible their opinions are and they want to persuade the world that no one should face social consequences for their horrible opinions.

From my experiences, it is often the latter.

Personally, I believe the problem is many think civility is the only bare minimum out there. Somehow, morality is optional.

If morality is also the bare minimum of most people, what we debate about would be a lot different. Instead of the justifiability of bigotry, we would have debates on how to fight it.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see anything wrong about debating bigots. But, there should be no pretence that the debates are about accepting the possibility of them being right.

If we embrace the pretence, the debates will give an illusion of equal validity of all opinions. Whether you like it or not, there are such thing as wrong opinions and it dishonest to believe otherwise.

You cannot expect me to believe that dehumanising hatred of inconsequential human differences is on equal ground with understanding and coexistence. The former actually breeds prejudice and violence. The latter? They create peace and harmony.

I do realise my argument also applies to science vs pseudoscience debates. But, I focus on bigotry instead because it riles me up even more.

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Imposing ‘modern’ morality into history

I don’t see anything wrong with it.

Yes, in order to grasp history, we MUST consider the values people had in the olden days. I mean, how can you unravel a society if you know nothing about their values?

But, I don’t see how understanding their values means we should refrain from judging them.

Who cares if they were products of their time? Who cares if they were progressive for their time? If they had problematic thoughts and behaviours, then I have the right to condemn them. Wait, no. I have the obligation to condemn them. Understanding why people think and behave atrociously does not mean we should make excuses for them.

You don’t see criminal profilers make excuses for criminals. So, why should you make some for historical figures with long-lastingly devastating legacies?

I don’t know about you. But, growing up, I was taught to have my own moral standard.

You may claim that having one is too PC as it supposedly will compel you to sugarcoat everything. But, I argue it is the exact opposite.

Believe it or not, life is not black and white. With that in mind, I don’t know how anyone can understand history if they romanticise the past and simplistically think it is all about good versus evil?

I don’t know exactly why some are reluctant to condemn certain historical figures. But, if I have to guess, they are those annoying relativists whose moral flexibility knows no bound.

Either that or they fear the nuances in the discourse would compel them to reflect, potentially exposing an ugly side of themselves.

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Veganism 2

What I said on my previous essay about Veganism has also been expressed in other platforms, like Facebook and Youtube comment sections.

When I asserted that veganism can only be moral when it is also concerned about the labour exploitation in farms, someone rebuked me by saying this: seeing your family members beheaded and turned into food is not the same as seeing people having their labours exploited.

That person is right. Objectively, they are not comparable with each other. But, here’s the thing: morally, both are still condemnable.

If you are someone who deliberately put yourself on a moral pedestal -someone like people who embrace veganism for moral reasons and making sure everyone knows about your veganism-, you should condemn any kinds of immorality, regardless of the severity.

Your dismissiveness does not make you reasonable. It makes you a hypocrite.

Youtuber penguinz0 (I will refer to him by his real name, Charlie) is accused of being a hypocrite by fellow Youtuber Vegan Gains. Why? Because Charlie condemns a Mukbang star for eating animals alive and yet, he still eats meat.

Right away, you see how stupid it sounds. Eating animals alive is NOT the same as eating animals that are already dead beforehand. The former actually requires us to be either desensitised or sadistic. The fact that I need to explain this is a problem in itself.

Of course, you may use my logic against me and argue that eating animals is always immoral, regardless of how they died. It sounds valid… if only I have put myself on a moral pedestal in this matter.

If you actually pay attention to what I am saying here (and my previous essay), you would know that I am not opposing veganism because I find it immoral. I am actually sceptical towards its supposed inherent virtue as claim by its proponents. I never claim my consumption of animal products makes me more moral than vegans.

Therefore, my defence of eating animals that are already dead does not make me a hypocrite.

How can you push me off the moral pedestal when I am not standing on one in the first place?

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Not being vegan

Even if I agree that every animal-based product stands on animal sufferings (still not convinced about sheep wool), I still don’t buy the belief that veganism makes one moral.

Treating fellow human beings like shits makes you a scumbag, regardless whether you are vegan or not; no need to be a genius to grasp that. If anything, focusing solely on the products you are consuming means you are missing the bigger picture.

Not to mention that many animal-free products are also produced by the means of suffering. Unless you spent your living under a diamond-crusted, golden boulder (and many of you clearly did), you would have heard about human exploitations committed by agribusinesses. Once every vegetable and fruit farm treats its labourers like human beings, I will concede and acknowledge the moral legitimacy of veganism.

But, that’s very utopian. There is an extremely low possibility of me becoming vegan for that reason.

There are two factors that will compel me to consumer fewer animal products: health and emotional attachment. Mind the word fewer; I will not exclude them from my consumptions entirely.

I am open to the possibility that science will declare vegan diet as the healthiest one of all; it makes sense because we get our nutrients from food. But, I don’t see how using leather and wool is detrimental to our health.

I can also see myself stop consuming certain animal products because I get emotionally-attached to the animals they are derived from; I am sure I can get attached to animals like cows and goats. But, I cannot see myself attached to any seafood; I never feel guilty for eating them. I wonder if humans have ever bonded with tunas and shrimps before.

But, despite everything I just said, I am not siding with some fellow non-vegans either.

Some non-vegans like me question veganism for its scientific and moral validity, both of which have been claimed by vegans. But, some are just pure loonies.

They love meat so much, they see meat-eating as a some sort of moral duty. They feel that vegans spit on their faces with their meatless diet. They feel their right to eat meat is trampled by the mere existence of vegans. As a result, some people genuinely wanted to boycott a British bakery chain for selling vegan sausage rolls!

Basically, just like some zealous vegans, those meat eaters are extremists.

A tangent:

If I am in charge of a school or a group of schools, I would provide vegan school lunches. Unless you forget about what I just said paragraphs ago, you know I don’t care about evangelising veganism.

One thing for sure: providing vegan meals means I have to deal with waaaaay less dietary restrictions. While people can be allergic to certain plants and a handful of religious laws prohibit the consumption of certain plants, cutting animal-based ingredients altogether will reduce the hassles by a wide margin.

But, even if it is not true, wouldn’t it be beneficial for the students to familiarise themselves with the tastes of fruits and vegetables? While I doubt many end up as vegans, I am certain they would not end up as adults who can only get culinary pleasures from meat and dairy.

And I am also certain it would boost the creativity of the cooks. Their thinking organs must work harder in order to create healthy but tasty dishes with strict limitations imposed upon them.

When I said ‘cooks’, I meant people who actually cook dishes from scratch. Heating up frozen pizza and tater tots does not count as cooking.

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How to condemn the Hong Kong protesters?

*puts on a mask*

Instead of condemning them for violence and vandalism, condemn them for the followings:

Condemn them for hating prosperity

Hong Kongers would never know how it feels to be wealthy if it wasn’t for their generous and clearly-more civilised cousins from the mainland. I mean, literally every person in the world knows Hong Kong transformed into a rich city literally after the handover. Literally!

Literally the morning after the handover, money started literally raining on Hong Kong, high-rises literally started appearing out of nowhere and foreign investors started flocking in, seemingly for no reasons.

LOL! Seemingly! We all know China told them to!

The footage that supposedly shows olden days Hong Kong is literally fake. The cars and high-rises were not real, they were CGI created by the CIA!

How do I know? Uncle Xi and the internet said so!

Condemn them for disrespecting China’s sovereignty

Contrary to popular belief, sovereignty is not arbitrary. It is something that has been decided by the universe since long before earth’s creation!

It has been decided that the People’s Republic of China will always be the highest ruler of the people of Macau, Taiwan and yes, even Hong Kong! Hong Kongers don’t have the right to make decisions for themselves!

Condemn them for pissing on humanity

Seriously, do I even fucking need to explain this?

Do I really need to explain that only monsters love liberty? Do I really need to explain that real humans love it when any or all of their freedoms? Do I really need to explain that literally every human is destined to be slaves of the emotionally-fragile establishments?

If you really are a human being, you would love being abused 24/7.

Trust me. My methods are waaaay more effective!

*takes off the mask*