Claiming on Divine Truth

After ten days of lazying and spending both in Jakarta and Bandung, finally I come back to the real world. First day of work was full of surprise. First, I got the information that our Company got unexpected result concerning environmental audit conducted by ministry of Environment Republic of Indonesia. The second one, I got a disturbing article from my colleague. The article which sent to all members in my departement was pretentious and full of hatred.

I should be concerned with the first one, but the second issue really made me worried.

I will not tell the details about the article. The point is, the article really discredited particular religion. I’m worried and concerned, why after Idul fitri, in fully consciousness someone shared out this article through webmail. Fortunately, he didn’t send it to every departement in Pupuk Kaltim. He would embarrass himself if he did so.


I highly doubt the validity of this article. I doubt, in this era, there are people who are trying so hard to discredit other religion and  persuade others to embrace certain religion even with ways contrary to the spirit of religion itself. This contra-productive action is becoming irrational because (according to the article), involving big institutions, spending huge amount of resources, even doing things that opposite with the spirit of religion. In my opinion, religion should be the leader of social development, guarding values and maintain social stability, not annihilate it.

I was wondering why did my colleague share out the article? What was his motivation? Didn’t he know the article contain serious accusation? Didn’t he realize its impact to inter-religion relationship? Didn’t he have friends who are follower of certain religion?

I assumed my colleague wanted to reveal the weaknesses of other religion and yet showed that his religion was the undoubtedly divine truth. Well my friend, every religion has its own weaknesses. All religions were born in pre-modern age. No wonder, in modern sensitivity, religion has weaknesses. Atrocity, massacre, and bloodshed tinted the history of religion in pre-modern age. It is meaningless to point out the weaknesses of certain religion meanwhile trying to show that certain religion is better. Rather than seeking for weaknesses, religion should be working hand in hand for humanity. I believe in its particularity, every religion contain universal values like equality, compassion, humanity and justice which accepted throughout the world.

Speaking of divine truth, A divine truth could not be claimed by certain religion. I like the metaphor in tasawwuf that describes divine truth as a broken mirror which scattered all over, and each religion pick one piece of the broken mirror. To think that one piece is the whole mirror is equivalent to arrogance or takabbur. A firm and strong believe that the divine truth has already been grabbed would lead to authoritarianism.  In this problem, the sender believed that he has spoken the truth, and because it is the divine truth, everyone has to accept it, no room for critics, no space left for arguments.

Fortunately, the believers which relgion been discredited took it wisely. One of them responded on webmail “I urged that everyone in this departement would keep good work atmosphere, and maintain the relationship between employees remain strong without anyone being cornered, marginalized and condemned based on his/her religious belief”. I agree that no one have the right to judge anyone based on their religious belief.


One thing left in my mind. Why do religions especially the family of semitic religions (Jew, Christian, Islam) can’t stand of diversity? Although technically Jew, Christian and Islam worship the same God and hold universal humanity values, still violence was unavoidable in the history of these three religions. That is why in this modern world, there are many rational atheists who are disappointed with religion. They believe that all religions are evil and bad. They are disappointed with religion as Richard Dawkins said in The God DelusionI am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world..

Well Mr. Dawkins, I’m not agree with you, but you are not entirely wrong. True, some religious sects are satisfied with the understanding of religion and world. They often said that the religion has to be purified from secular contamination and back to fundamental. Fundamentalism is against any interpretation of Scripture as if fundamentalism itself is not a form of interpretation. Religion has always been an interpretation of Scripture. We know God through Script and learn religion also through Script. The Interpreting Scripture is unavoidable yet imperfect.

When some religious sect claimed that its interpretation is perfect, there is no room left for arguments and critics. When there are no rooms for critics, actually they are playing God. In Indonesia, we often hear on ther news that some fierce religious group attacks another group because they have different interpretation. Rather than sit down and discuss it like civilized people, they choose to attack in large group in the name of God. When certain groups claimed their interpretation is perfect, they open a door to violence.

Fundamentalist forgets that the mortal human is imperfect. Interpretation of Script is  a human’s work. That is why the search for (red: interpretation) divine truth should never be stopped. Because once it stops, we open the door to new form of fascism in religion.


The lack of sensitivity and the enormous feeling of being right had blinded my colleague. He failed to sense the hatred contained in the article. He was too naïve who think that every article in the internet is valid without counter-checked it first. and the most important thing, he failed to put himself in other people’s shoes.

For me, at least I learned that divine truth is a never ending discourse. Talking about divine truth also means to wrestle with the limitation of language and limitation of human. With acceptance of limitiation at least we are being “humble” human with sense of imperfection.


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