Beliefs and relics are the milestones in our life journey. Without them, we would be lost like hapless travelers in a flat desert, with no clear routes or signs. Children are most in need of strict guidelines, directions and prohibitions. Young and educated adults may need less and less boundaries, but still require key anchor points of reference. Those key convictions are what we consider sacred. My own journey started with having ‘god, king and country’ in childhood, and then having to question them one after the other.
Born a Muslim, I have grown to learn that religion is not sacred. Although it has historically been the ‘best tool’ for personal solace and discipline, as well as social order and harmony; religion is definitely not sacred. Religion is often intolerant, cruel and unforgiving. It is habitually full of historical lies and deceptions, mostly foolish and even childishly selfish and callous.
Brought up as an Iranian to be proud of my Persian heritage, I now know that Persia is not sacred. Our country has been just one among so many historical creations, whose past and present is mostly filled with unnecessary blood shedding, blind arrogance and cruel leaders. We are a tumulus nation with a limited contribution to humanity and with unlimited expectation of glorification. Although Iran is our motherland and Persia makes up a great deal of our heritage, neither is sacred.
Grown up and prospered in a social democracy, I realize that it is the ‘best system’ so far in history, but still mired in self-interest, greed and insensitivity. When the great democracy of USA callously attacks the weak dictatorship of Iraq and in the process causes the death, injury and torture of a million Iraqi’s; it shows that democracy can also be selfish and brutal. No, democracy is not sacred either.
Is freedom sacred? Freedom certainly beats servitude to an arbitrary ruler, every day of the week. But when the Western freedom unleashes the meanest and filthiest instincts in a greedy population, which is chiefly guided by ‘the pursuit of happiness’, can it be sacred? When in the name of freedom, the children’s bodies are ruined with gluttony and their minds with pornography, is it sacred?
Is mankind sacred? Human being is certainly the pinnacle of a billion years of biological evolution on Earth. But when mankind, blindly immersed in its greed and cruelty, consumes and destroys everything else; kills when it does not have to, burns just to be ‘more comfortable’, and brings the living Earth to the brink of abyss; is it sacred?
Such a search for the Holy Grail of convictions can go on and on, but at the end, cannot deny the central and essential sanctity of life, which is the one vital force that ties all beings, individuals, ideologies, nations and religions together. It is why we and every other living thing are here to grow, to love and to give life to others.
Life is sacred, when we deny the monopoly of any religion on truth. Life is sacred, when we deny the monopoly of any nation on dominance. Life is sacred, when we realize the limitations in our democratic and ‘free’ societies. Life is sacred, when we refrain from senseless destruction of nature. Life is sacred, as it binds us to all the other peoples and beings!