Thursday, 3 May 2012

All Its Takes a Spark..

In many forms, oil and fire are both parts of our everyday lives. Fire keeps us warm and provides light to brighten our homes; oil serves as fuel for many of our appliances. Can you imagine a world without these? I can't, and I'm sure not many people can either. Since these things have always been a part of our lives, it is extremely difficult to imagine modern-day society without these essential tools provided by Mother Nature. They form the basis of most technology, and have pushed us towards advancement in all areas of our lives. 

Now, think of "fire" as a metaphor for religion. With the correct implementation, it is able to bless us with concepts of morality and faith to help us develop our personal and communal identity. It can serve as the basis for our belief and values, thus enabling us to find our personal moral standing. In fact, it is safe to postulate that religion is the earliest "skeleton" of what we call "law". However, the fire metaphor also applies to its harmful nature. Just like fire can burn, religion that's imposed, and used in a controlling manner, can promote intolerance, bigotry, zealotry, violence and fanaticism. These extremely negative qualities can then instigate conflicts, or escalate existing conflicts to a new front. Religion possesses all the qualities of fire, it can illuminate, warm, spread, and burn, and makes either an extremely good impact on society or hindering its development. 


On the same note, politics serves as the "oil" to the same fire. It enables the regulation and management of a country, and keeps the gears of society running. It serves as the focal point of a government - any decisions made, can and will affect the daily life of the public. Like oil, politics can, theoretically, make lives easier by managing and making complex societal decisions. However, if the power of politics is abused, a functional society can be ripped off its hinges. In such a case, the "oil" burns society down to a crisp, and the public is taken advantage of. 

Connecting the dots, the mixture of fire and oil, instinctively, blazes up. The flames intensify as more oil is added, gradually getting out of control and morphing into an emergency. "Religious politics" is the bane of a functional society. As individuals, we all have our own unique morals and values; these values are bound to be different than others. In many cases, the beliefs of the governmental heads seep into the policies and everyday politics. The policies will then impact society in a positive or negative manner. For a better illustration, Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, can serve as an example. Mahmoud is a strict practitioner of Islam, to the point where he will utilize all the power he has, as the leader of Iran, to bring forth the battle that will make the prophesized return of Mahdi (the Shiite Muslim Messiah, who is prophesized to return and lead Iran to victory during the End Times). As a leader, his policies and decisions reflect his religious background. An example of this was the attempt to create a nuclear program in Iran to establish it as a Nuclear Power. Just like our mixture of oil and fire, the "religious politics" will gradually get out of control and affect everyone around the world.  

Analogies always make complex concepts easier to understand. My analogy is not perfect, but it is able to get message through. Did I offend a lot of people by using these analogies? Definitely, especially on religion, as religion is one of the more controversial and sensitive topic out there and there is only a thin line to cross to incite many debates and conflicts. But we still have to acknowledge the fact that involving religion and politics is a very dangerous concept. 


  1. Hi Edison,

    Your comparison of fire and oil to religion and politics is helpful in understanding how the latter are necessities in society and how they work together. This analogy also assists in the comprehension that, often, these elements can cause conflict when standing alone, but also cause tension when partnered. As thoughtful your analogy is, I am still a little confused as to what your exact topic is. Is it how politics and religion can cause violations of human rights? Or how a specific leader, such as the one you mentioned in your fourth paragraph, is unjust in executing his or her powers (due to religion)? Or is it how religion influences political decisions, which, in turn, can result in a negative impact on the public? Perhaps you can clarify this in your next post with a little more precision. However, your introductory post makes me wonder what impact religion in Canada has impacted our political and justice systems, and how do we ensure that its influence does not negatively impact the people.

  2. I liked your metaphor with fire being religion and oil being politics, i've never really thought about it in that way which helped me understand your topic. I also agree with Michelle, it was hard to understand what view you were trying to explore.

  3. I enjoyed reading this creative angle to a complex topic. I am glad you provided a specific example with the Iran situation which I thought was an effective instance of what you are trying to explain in terms of your issue of blending religion with politics. I agree with Michelle that there are many instances of religion mixing with politics, even in Canada. Thus this is a huge topic which I am sure you will be able to "chunk off" and thus make it more manageable for yourself and your readers : )

  4. I believe that this is an issue that everyone should at least know about, as there are many things that happens in our government that we are not aware of, which can definitely affect how we live our lives. I hope I am able to answer all your related questions in future posts.

  5. Edison,
    I really enjoyed reading your first entry. The way you incorporated the metaphor of fire and oil into your post really enticed me into reading more. I'm excited to learn more as you build your blog because I personally know nothing about politics or religion. I Can't wait to see what there is to come!