Have faith in faith


Christians would believe that Jesus died on the cross and got resurrected. Muslims would believe that Muhammad flew up to heaven to meet God. And Pakatan Rakyat supporters would believe that Anwar is God’s gift to Malaysia. 


Raja Petra Kamarudin

When the Opposition starts serving up déjà vu

Erna Mahyuni, The Malay Mail

I wouldn’t want to be a PKR supporter right now. The “Who gets to be Selangor MB” game is getting pretty old and rather symptomatic of the prevailing malady permeating our country — having the wrong priorities.

Umno’s culture of selfishness and infighting with poison pen letters and hidden knives in the dark is well-documented. But to see the same culture of factionalism and infighting in PKR makes you wonder if the party is just a rebadged Umno. Same crap, same people (stop recruiting ex-Umno people already, Anwar) but just a different party name.

I can’t comment on the merits of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim versus Azmin Ali versus Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim because I frankly do not give a rat’s behind.

What is certain is that it is entirely possible for Pakatan Rakyat to lose Selangor, without even waiting for the next general election.

Of all the things this country needs right now, one important thing is hope. But I am surrounded by friends and family who have become entirely disillusioned by our country’s politics. Many have resolved to abandon Malaysia saying things are only getting worse, instead of better.

But the problem is that bread and butter issues are far less interesting than scandals and backstabbing. And we are such an easily distracted populace. Add race and religion, stoke the fires of bigotry and ignorance and we are all happily distracted from the things that truly matter.

The dialogue needs to change. The focus needs to be shifted. We have to, for one, stop getting so offended. What someone thinks about your race or religion is merely an opinion, not fact. God is certainly too busy to be offended and far too powerful to need us to defend his ‘honour’.

If the politicians forget what really matters then it is up to us to remind them. We need to finally understand that we cannot leave the fate of our nation up solely to our elected representatives.

We do not “owe” politicians. They never deserve our kowtowing or “gratitude”. They should be doing their jobs and we have the right to call them out when they don’t.

If we consider the politicians the best reflections of ourselves, then we must be an impoverished population indeed. We deserve better. The country deserves better. And that should be what we care about and not some political post.


That was a most interesting commentary by Erna Mahyuni published in The Malay Mail today. Anyway, what I want to write about today has nothing to do with what Erna wrote. I just thought that if I did not slot Erna’s piece above my article then probably many of you would have missed it and I did not want you to miss it.

What I want to write about today is concerning faith. It is, in fact, a subject matter that I have written about more than once before when I said that religion is about faith. Hence religion is intangible since faith is intangible. Tangible is something you can see, smell, touch, hear, etc. Intangible is invisible.

For instance, when you sell a business you calculate the tangible and intangible assets. Tangible assets are real assets, fixed and current. Intangible assets are things such as name, goodwill, reputation, and so on. These are the invisibles that you put a value to but which cannot really be measured, as you would, say, tables and chairs.

This brings us to the brouhaha over the last few days regarding Kassim Ahmad’s comments, which have upset quite a number of people. A few Muslim NGOs are talking about debating him on his opinion regarding the Hadith. Invariably, Kassim Ahmad is being labelled as anti-Hadith. His defenders insist he is not anti-Hadith but pro-Qur’an. Some call this the Qur’an-alone movement. This means they only accept the Qur’an and no other ‘holy book’ alongside the Qur’an.

Now, who is right and who is wrong? Herein lies the problem. How do you determine wrong from right if both are having differences in opinions regarding faith? Faith is faith. There is no right and wrong when it comes to matters of faith. Hence are there going to be any winners and losers in such a debate?

I mean both sides would not be able to prove their case. They can argue and argue till the cows come home but no way can they support their arguments with tangible evidence. At best they can ‘support’ their arguments with hearsay. And by the rules of evidence hearsay is not evidence.

So do we even need such a non-starter debate to begin with? What can you hope to achieve? Who can shout the loudest? Just because you can shout the loudest does not mean you are right and the other side is wrong.

And this, too, is how Malaysian politics is played. Press statements are issued. Press conferences are held. Ceramah are organised where people stand up on stage and rant and rave like Hitler at a Nazi Youth rally. And because I shout more and louder than you that means I am telling the truth and you are not.

However, what about the facts? What about the historical records? Where is the documentary evidence? In a debate, rally, ceramah and whatnot, facts must never stand in the way of a good story. That is the Malaysian way. That is how politics is played in Malaysia. And that, too, is how religionists argue that they are right and you are wrong.

And the problem is many Malaysians will swallow this hook, line and sinker. The smooth talker wins the shouting match. And you will believe those you have faith in over those you do not, not because he or she talks more sense and talks backed with evidence, but because when it comes to matters of faith you have already decided you are going to believe that person even before that person opens his or her mouth.

In other words, you have a preconceived notion of what ‘truth’ is. And no amount of evidence is going to make you change your mind about what the ‘truth’ is. So that person can rant and rave on stage until he or she froths at the mouth. You will either believe or not believe that person because you have already decided this before that person started talking based on the faith, or lack of it, that you have on that person.

For example, a person goes to church not to learn about the truth and to be convinced that what the priest says is true. That person goes to church because he or she is already convinced and nothing that the priest says is going to change that.

In that same spirit, a person goes to hear Anwar talk in Kajang not to find out what is true and what is not. That person goes to hear Anwar talk because he or she is already convinced that Anwar is right and Anwar’s detractors are wrong.

At the end of the day, everything is about faith and not about facts or historical records, whether it is in matters of religion or matters of politics. And because of your faith, you would believe in what someone you believe in says over what someone who you not believe in says.

Christians would believe that Jesus died on the cross and got resurrected. Muslims would believe that Muhammad flew up to heaven to meet God. And Pakatan Rakyat supporters would believe that Anwar is God’s gift to Malaysia.

There is nothing you or I can say that is going to change this belief system. Such is the power of faith over facts. It turns intelligent people into idiots.

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