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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Muslims Infected With Strabismus And Pareidolia - by Joe Samad

Here is a really witty piece of writing by a person called Joe Samad. This article appeared in FMT and has gone viral.  My comments in blue.






It marks a challenging time for some Muslim groups when symbols or pictures can affect their mental well-being.

Like waking up in the morning, staring at your French windows and seeing the sign of the cross in the window frame. 

Like playing tic-tac-toe with your children and seeing the crosses instead of the noughts, or like seeing the cross on your computer keyboard when it’s really just a plus sign.

Like seeing pictures of Wagyu beef in an airline’s in-flight magazine and thinking that it’s pork. 

Like reading Hannah Yeoh’s book on her faith and feeling the urge to be converted to Christianity. 

Like looking at Auntie Anne’s hotdogs and thinking that you are actually eating dog meat.

Only in Malaysia can a person’s faith be tested by symbols and pictures, or just by reading a book.

(OSTB :  My view is psychology can or should link this behaviour to weak self esteem caused by super paranoid faith in  superstition and the illogical which in turn is the result of an over powering imagination.  It is all imaginary.  Human beings have learned to worship what their imaginations take them to.)

My doctor friend thinks that these people suffer from strabismus, or being cross-eyed, a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object; 

or pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon in which the mind responds to a stimulus, usually an image or a sound, by perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists. 

Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations.


In the name of the Onion, the Potato, the Broccoli 
and the Holy Tomato. Amen.


It is still an untested theory that if you look at crosses frequently, you will be converted to Christianity, 

or when you look at pictures of Wagyu beef and think that it’s pork. 

Our local universities should conduct an empirical study on pareidolia with the department of health as it appears to have a direct impact on our multi-religious society and mental well-being.

Having strabismus and pareidolia is a deadly combination. 
The recent case in Penang is a good example. 

Pictures of a high-rise building with lights along the common areas forming a cross went viral on social media, triggering an outcry among some Muslim groups.

Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor joined in the fray, calling on the local authorities to instruct the developer to change the position of the lighting so that it does not resemble a cross when viewed from afar. 

As a former developer myself, I know how difficult it would be to shape condominium lights into a half crescent moon and stars. 

It is cheaper and easier to arrange them in straight lines.

Wan Salim said the issue should be handled carefully so as not to aggravate the situation and destroy harmony in society. 

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa, trying to make sense out of the nonsense, said the incident should not be sensationalised.

Sometimes I wonder whether fear of conversion is real or imagined, and whether it’s down to people making a mountain out of a molehill to gain political mileage and sow discord.

The fear of religious conversion is not confined to Muslims. It is explored in the play, “The Fear of Conversion to Islam” in Daborne’s “A Christian Turn’d Turk” (1609), which focuses on the conversion of Captain John Ward (1553-1622).

(OSTB :  That was 400 years ago. The Mat Sallehs possibly overcame their 'fears of conversion' 400 years ago.) 

If symbols and pictures are causing pareidolia and uneasiness among some people, the state mufti and Islamic bodies must address the question of faith. 

Why is it that people of other faiths do not fear conversion when they see the moon and the stars in the skies, or on mosque minarets, or when the mosques speakers blare five prayer times a day at high decibels?

(OSTB :  This one is easy to answer Joe.  People of other faiths have sorted out Looney Tunes  from Merry Melodies).   




Organisations like Jakim spend billions on religious education and programmes but the question of weak faith still remains if symbols, pictures and books can easily spook some Muslims. Does pareidolia only affect some Muslims groups?

(OSTB :  No it does not affect all Muslims in the same way.  Just like sumbang mahram or incest where fathers, brothers, grandfathers rape a daughter, grandchild or niece is  almost totally unheard of among Muslims from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. But it is a common occurence here. It is more a localised socio-cultural anomaly that is not universal to Islam.)

I would like to believe that this situation is confined to West Malaysia. But the recent fuss in Tawau over a Christmas celebration indicates that the disease is being imported into the state. 

On the whole, though, Sabah is lucky because we have fewer cases of strabismus and pareidolia.
In terms of interfaith relationships, Sabah leads the way. 
We don’t condemn the legal fraternity having fun dancing on stage. 
We don’t condemn the strong visibility of Jesus dying on the cross in many areas and districts.

OSTB : My view is Sabah is the paradise we have been looking for. But danger threatens Sabah as well. 

You can see huge crosses in every corner of Sabah, especially in Penampang and the Keningau Tambunan road. 
While driving up to Mount Kinabalu, I used to count the number of Catholic churches and memorise the names of the saints – St Pious, St Mary, St Joseph and so forth. 
I can remember these so well, but have yet to be converted to Christianity. 
It’s good to know that you don’t suffer from pareidolia.

During the last Kota Kinabalu Christmas celebration, at Padang Merdeka, Shafie Apdal, the chief minister of Sabah, said most of us today are of mixed race and ethnicity, and the mutual respect of our religions makes the people of our beloved state of Sabah truly unique.

He also said the government remained committed to ensuring that the Sabah way of life of tolerance and mutual respect continues and gains further strength as the pillar of the society and state. 

Sabah is blessed to have leaders who make sense.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.


OSTB :  When I was in college I studied some psychology as well.  Long before that when I was in secondary school I had read Desmond Morris' famous book 'The Naked Ape' (published in 1967) which laid down simple, biology based reasons for our human behaviours. And they are true observations.




Here is more psychology that is quite interesting.  There are an increasing  number of scientific and science based articles which say that religion is a mental illness.  One example is here.



Religion has to be  a mass hypnosis.  Otherwise you cannot get congregations.

It must also be a grand delusion.  Otherwise you cannot have so many religions all claiming at the same time to have their own superman flying around the sky.  

Someone  is being delusional.

Here is a simple test.

Say you have a three year old child who comes to you and says "Mommy Daddy I have a special invisible friend, his name is Nahut. I ask him for things and he has promised to give me things".

Mommy and Daddy will go like,  'Oh how cute. Our three year old child is so imaginative and creative. Thinking up his own imaginary friend Nahut'.

Fast forward 30 years.  Your child is now 33 years old. He comes to you and says :

"Father, Mother I have a special invisible friend, his name is Nahut. I ask him for things and he has promised to give me things".

You can search Google Maps for the nearest psychiatrist or psychologist.    

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