The Jakarta Post
Be aware. The media is the best actor in our society to feel whether or not radicalism is creeping in. Even before the bomb attack in Makassar on March 28, radicalism had been spreading in communities.
Radicalism comes from the Latin word “radix”, which means “root”. It is very important for an ideology or religion that their adherents are guided toward the “root of their opinion or faith”, otherwise they will stay only on the surface of true conviction.
But in pursuing extreme changes to society, radicals tend to see everything as black or white.
There have been some religious teachers or supposed religious teachers who indoctrinate their followers and expose them to teachings that they claim to be the only truth. Those religious teachers insist that that is the most effective way to actualize their faith. In fact, the practice has existed for centuries.
Very often, they conceal the economic or political motives behind their supposedly religious teachings. They can be very popular and seek only popularity; they avoid true religious teachings which are generally much deeper and demand more spiritual exercise.
On the other hand, the true religious teachings will guide people, including youths, to deeper and more truthful integration in life between individuals and their social communities. We can learn this from the late former president Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, a respectful Nahdlatul Ulama cleric, and from many prominent teachers among us.
Shallow teachings of any ideology could provoke more popular actions in much more simple ways, like hard actions and words. But this would not help people live a deeper faith.
We have to take the long way and need a lot of conversations to get closer to one another and move nearer to the Lord. Very often, we have to help one another, even in contact with people from other religions, to understand truly the will of God.
Conversing with one another, living with one another, believing in one another, having faith in relation with one another, and even praying for one another are ways to approach our loving God and at the same time to build a better religious life.
Killing one another, hating one another, hurting one another are not the way to praise God or actualize "believing in one God", the first principle of Pancasila, our state ideology. Loving each other and making friends are the better ways for truly religious people.
The writer, a Catholic priest, is a lecturer at the Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Jakarta, and author of Belajar Mendidik (Learn to Educate).