On Dog Eating and Religious Tolerance

Yesterday at work, we discussed about the circulation of dog meats around Jakarta, and how it is increasingly becoming an epidemic, where the media (of course) sort of picked it up and hyped it up to be some sort of “serious” issue. Thing is, here in Indonesia, it is a serious issue. With all the Halal fatwa and the strong religion background, we cannot just ignore these sorts of things. Yes, even in the year that we’re living on right now, freedoms, it seems, is a very farfetched idea.

Anyway, I was bracing myself from a really contentious debate about what Mohammad said and readying myself for a racial discussion and ostracism. But weirdly enough, it didn’t quite kick out that way. There was some mention of this and that religion and races, but that’s about it. We ended up just talking about controlling the meat quality to avoid rabies becoming an epidemic once again, in a city with 9,6 million people living in it. That’s almost half the total population of Australia. Crazy right?


So, it seems that when it comes to consumption and cultural ritual, which somehow these people are looking at it as if people are eating dog for spiritual thingy, people tend to back off and play safe. There are less irrational debates, based on what they believe rather than the facts, statistics, or just pure common sense of being tolerant.

I remember reading somewhere, (pretty sure it was on Nat Geo), about an Eskimo tribe who are actually permitted to hunt and eat polar bear, despite of them being endangered and all. They can legally hunt polar bears down and eat them because it is a part of their culture.

It just amazes me that the world as a society, has gotten better in handling this cultural differences. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some idiots out there (yes I am talking to you Mr. Trump), but people are getting more and more understanding of their fellow humans that believe in different values.

We now have gay marriages legal in most of major western countries, women are still grossly underpaid but getting increasingly positive acknowledgements, and we have a white boy who everybody hates (baby, baby, baby oh). Just 10 years ago, all of those things would seem a bit impossible.

Anyway, all I’m saying is that, the dog meat epidemic in Jakarta has demonstrated that religion is not the thing that is holding anybody back from being understanding and reasonable. During the discussion, one Muslim woman told us that she is not quite expecting the act of consumption to be banned. She just needs to know that what she is eating adheres to her religious standards, all she wants is fair information about what she is consuming.

And don’t get me started on the Pope. I have to say though, that I am a catholic, so I might be biased. Although the last time I went to church was on Easter, and even then I can’t remember what the Pastor said. Anyway, Pope Francis spoke about how we should believe scientific findings regarding climate change, and he actually speaks the language of peace without hating anyone.

Meanwhile, there are another extreme of people with the same religion who misappropriates everything and using it to kill, to discriminate, and to abuse. And I’m not only talking about ISIS here, because for me, ISIS is just the tip of the iceberg, made of religious oblivion and misunderstanding.

All I’m saying is that, maybe, just maybe, we should stop blaming religion or using religion as label of who we are. But maybe, just maybe, if we actually use religion as guidance (what it was supposed to be at the first place), and keep it to ourselves without oppressing it, we could finally live in a world that’s in peace.

“I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one” – John


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