I bear Turkish blood, appear Indian and was born and raised in the Netherlands and Germany. In a religious aspect I should therefore be Muslim, Christian or Hindu. References are made on a weekly basis, whether on the bus, at restaurants or on campus. With respect to all religions: I don’t have one, hence I deserve an equal amount of respect. Right now, you believe that I’m either Atheist or Agnostic. In reality, neither of those is applicable. Society likes to attach labels to my non-existent religion in an attempt to understand and recognize an unheard of phenomenon. My friends are situated around the globe and my Facebook newsfeed is filled with posts from various time zones, so I’d consider myself open-minded.
I’ve seen a/my fair share of beautiful, historic sanctuaries decorated with the most luxurious of hues and designs. While from an artistic view I can appreciate the work, I feel uncomfortable in holy places; irony at it’s finest. The significant churches, mosques and synagogues I’ve encountered take me back to the medieval ages, back when Church and State weren’t separated yet. The problem with that is that technically churches have been governmental buildings draped in the poor wealth of the majority of citizens. In those days, a large divide in economic inequality existed.
Don’t be mistaken as history is bound to repeat itself. About three years ago, a Turkish Department of Education backed live TV show asked viewers to donate money towards building new schools or renovating older ones in rural villages. Standing schools were so dirty the kids became ill from impracticable toilets and freezing cold classrooms. Out of benevolence, close relatives of mine have decided to build a new school without having physically seen the area. The elementary school was built for 100 children including an area for disabled kids. When I visited the village in Çorum, Turkey, I was outraged: Just a couple of blocks from the school, the second mosque had newly been built. The newly built school is the only one in the village. It’s the second in a village stretching 17 miles and populated by 233 as of 2012. Nearly half of the residents had a second home in Switzerland. This school is the only one present.
The mistake in my view, in both historic and contemporary sanctuaries, is a wrong order of priorities. The vast amounts of money could have been well spent on educational institutions, infrastructure, health, housing and transportation. For a community it is important to recognize the needs of society and environment combined. When a community fails to do so, I find them to act greedy.
That reason attributes largely to my non-religion, but there are other variables that add to it. I’m not partaking in the endless debates since my opinion will be overthrown no matter what and every generation has experienced wars due to religious disputes. What I believe in is free and equal choices: accept and respect.
John Lennon - Imagine
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...