SONGSOPTOK: The personal make up of each person in all societies seems to be fashioned by religion. What is your opinion about that?

SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI:    Individual make up no doubt, has a great impact on how everyone  responds to external stimuli  from immediate society; however, our personality make up is not “fashioned  by religion,” rather people have allowed religion to over-run or out pass their individual personality and genetic code, which  defines individual as a distinct entity. Unfortunately, however, religion either in the past or present has altered, modified, and re-arranged individual in such a way that  makes mind and the entire body become a zombie, ease to control by someone or group of individual they  listen to daily, weekly, or periodically seen or unseen; always behind a lectern on a platform at agora.

SONGSOPTOK:  In your opinion, are religious beliefs related to communal sentiments or to spiritual consciousness?

SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI:   From my study and research on various religions, what I found about religious beliefs, creeds, doctrines, and theologies are mostly cultural values that these self-styled leaders synthesized and gravitated toward spiritual concepts to hoodwink their adherents. No wonder, religions only control humans through or by impulse, but lacking the moral power, fiber, and spiritual fortitude to lead or to demand obedience from heart from their members.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you think that respecting religious ideas or ideals can be considered as religious fundamentalism?

SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI:   It is both ways-a religion that preaches against evil, encourages members to uphold a path of moral rectitude in face of tyranny can’t be said to be tilting toward fundamentalism. On the other hand, a religion that subtly uses its beliefs or creeds to preach, encourage, and to promote hate among fellow humans; more so, requesting adherents to toe the line of hate can’t be anything, but fundamentalism.

SONGSOPTOK: What, in your opinion, is the relationship between religious beliefs and fundamentalism? Does practicing a religion lead to fundamentalism?

SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI: If we go by Dictionary definitions of Beliefs and Fundamentalism, to a reasonable extent, they differ; on the other hand, should we consider the fruits the modern-day religions bear and judging by the conducts of their leaders and members-one would say, their beliefs are nothing, but tilting toward fundamentalism. If one says, beliefs, according to Webster Dictionary are: “a tenet or body of tenets held by a group” and fundamentalism as: “a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles”; but within this context or parameters, if religious members or groups are not ready to budge or yield to rational thinking, but even going as far as using extra-judicial means to accomplish their beliefs- it could be said, such beliefs or creeds are, but fundamentalism.

SONGSOPTOK:  A certain section of all human society has exploited religion to personal end-religion seems to be a sound business proposal. What is your opinion about this? Do you think that these people are intentionally fanning the flame of fundamentalism all over the world? What, in your opinion, should be done to prevent this?

SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI: Religions throughout the centuries, even to this day have become tools of subjugation and means of controlling majority by a few. To maintain their strong hold on the people, ancient religious leaders created and instilled morbid fear into people hearts; the psychology of fear is, in fact, an excellent tool to subjugate mankind. The tool is still maintained and sustained by modern or present day religious leaders. To enrich themselves, past religious leaders devised several means and methods to fleece their flocks; more so, the present day leaders are not different, they have perfected old methods, maintained them, and have expanded their scope.
But if we want this trend to stop, government world-wide should look at those religious groups or (bazaars) that place commercialism ahead spiritualism duties and tax them just like business organizations; treat clergy, religious orders, cleric, ecclesiastic, mullah, sheikh, imam, Brahman, bonze, lama, talapoin, yogi, priest, just like normal citizens under the law; accord them no special privileges and no immunities. Same also applies when answering to their conducts before the law, must allow rule of law runs its full course.

SONGSOPTOK: It seems that the huge wave of fundamentalism sweeping the whole world dates from the time of the fall of the Soviet empire and socialism. Do you think that there is a link between the two? If so, what are your thoughts about it?

SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI:   Socialism-the economic and political ideology of the 20th century defunct USSR, no doubt had some impacts on the rise of both human rights movement and fundamentalism in Christendom-and-Muslim-populated-Soviet territories and those in South Asia territories. Just as Socialism saw Capitalism-the economic ideology that thrives on oppressed workers in concert with organized religion as being  evil; so are people on other divide (religions) saw Socialism as evil; perhaps more than evil.

As socialism attacked religions within and outside its territories with ferocity, so religions responded by creating a bitter hatred to Socialism. In several quarters, the general belief was organized religion like Roman Catholic Church helped in liquidating or destroyed Socialism and communism in former communist countries of Eastern Europe. Remember Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and East Germany. To date, people still hold late Pope John Paul 11 (Karol Josef Wojtyla) in high esteem for his strong fight against communism in his native land-Poland. Also, as the Afghan Muslims fought the Soviets in the seventies to a stand-still.  In fact, religion and politics have always been at each other’s neck, the dynamics or inter-play at times has resulted in strong opposition to each other with name calling such: fundamentalist, undemocratic, and dictatorship.

SONGSOPTOK:   Do you think that there is a link between fundamentalism and subsequent development of capitalism as can be observed in places like Afghanistan?

SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI:   Just like Socialism with its so-called good intents gave room to the rise of fundamentalism, so with Capitalism, which is even worse; even though, capitalism presents self as the ultimate- both the political and economic ideology with human heart and mind, ideology that accommodates religion, promotes human rights; this self-praise is a mere outward show. In fact, Capitalism has tactically encouraged fundamentalism more than any political ideology ever known in history. Since capitalism thrives on wealth, sweat, and labor created by others, capitalism always close eyes to evil created by non-conformists as long as its wealth remains un-hurt and proceeds keep flowing in. But as soon as capitalist’s wealth or source of wealth comes under a threat, then “non-conformists” become a terror group-this giant with its lieutenants (those that share its beliefs) will rise and move against the so-called enemy.

The situation in Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq is knowingly and, or perhaps without bad intents, but innocently enthroned fundamentalism subtly from the background; but as soon as it becomes a deadly octopus, the threat from it stares capitalism in the face.

SONGSOPTOK:  This in turn raises the question of relationship between religious faith and fundamentalism. What is your opinion?  Can fundamentalism be considered as a means for developing capitalism?
SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI:   To a reasonable extent, yes, because capitalism thrives and survives on sweat of others; more so, Capitalism depends on others to do its dirty job in its quest for wealth. But as soon as fundamentalists realize they are being used for a selfish end, more important, when their “values and interests” are not served, or relationship is not mutual and un-equal they (fundamentalists) react violently.

SONGSOPTOK:  What, according to you should be done to prevent the rise of fundamentalism all over the world?

SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI:  A Fundamentalism is already here and it has come to stay; however, there are certain things that can be done to checkmate it at global level: Nations with fundamentalists or tilting toward fundamentalism should be isolated from all fronts. Powerful/prosperous western nations should stop playing double standard games or cards with nations tilting toward fundamentalism and punish nations with same bad behaviors. Certain nations are labelled “axis of evil,” “iron curtain,” “nations without democratic ideas or culture”; these should also apply to nations financing, harboring, and supporting fundamentalism. If done, the wings of fundamentalists will be clipped.

SONGSOPTOK: There seems to be a correlation between the level of economic development and the rise of fundamentalism- some of the poorest regions of the world bear testimony to the fact. How important is education and economic development for fighting fundamentalism?

SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI:   No doubt the two basic elements will be needed now, more important, in the future to fight fundamentalism. With sound and quality education and economic empowerment for the women; the trigger that always pulls fundamentalist cord will be severed. People will be more rational, the combined effects and impacts of education and economic empowerment will prevent the future spread of fundamentalism.

SONGSOPTOK: Can atheism be an effective weapon for fighting fundamentalism? Or do you consider atheism to be another form of fundamentalism?

SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI:  Atheism or atheists will never be equal in power with organized religions-where fundamentalism is raised, cultivated, and nurtured. Even, if atheism wins the battle in the western world, it will fail in Africa, South America, and Middle East/Arabian Peninsula, most parts of Asia, Indian sub-continent, Southeast Asia, and significant portions of China, Korea, and Japan.

Atheism may never rise to the boiling point of becoming a concept or ideology on a global scale. However, I see atheism as a future social movement just like Gay/Lesbian Movements, or female ordination (in organized religions) contending with traditional values, which may take a long time before the general public will breathe life into it.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that internet can become a powerful means for preventing the rise of fundamentalism? Or do you think that Internet & social media are, on the contrary, helping fundamentalism to spread far & wide at a much faster rate?

SILAS OLAOYIN ABAYOMI:   I see internet and social media as double edged sword, as it tries to prevent the spread of fundamentalism through network; so the fundamentalists will use the same tools to propagate their ideologies, beliefs, and values, wherever and wherever possible. We are eye witnesses to all terror organizations around the globe as they are using social media effectively to create, manage, and to sustain their activities; this trend, will continue at least, for now. As new tools and inventions keep coming out now and in the future, both for and against will always adopt and deploy these new techniques because of their benefits; and more so, for their survival.



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