Jordan’s Psychiatrists between science, religion and social expectations!

I realize that many people in Jordan seek alternative medicine when modern medicine fails them either out of desperation or maybe believing a word of mouth or religious belief. They usually do so knowing that going to a “Sheikh” for a religious healing has nothing to do with science. The problem is, when it is the other way around. When you go to a psychiatrists and diagnose you out of religious and social beliefs, ignoring all of the scientific findings and recommendations that he/she built his/her credibility on.

This is clearly the case when it comes to homosexuals in Jordan where many of them seek a *professional* help in order to fight their same sex attraction for they reject it themselves usually out of religious and social reasons. The general stand of psychology today is that there is no proven therapy that can alter one’s sexual orientation safely and effectively. What psychiatrists can do in this case is try to lead their patients into accepting themselves and deal with their inner social and religious conflicts.

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The shift towards being more religious, why?

I don’t know how strong is the relationship between the numbers of veiled women and the indication of a shift in society towards being more religious. Looking at pictures of Jordanian women in the 60’s and 70’s of last century one would certainly acknowledge the shift in dressing towards more conservatism. Our mothers used to go to Jordan universities wearing mini skirts without any fear of sexual harassments that today even some veiled women fear in our streets.
So what triggered such change? It is not specific to Jordan but also one can see it in the whole area of Arabian countries in the middle east. Egypt can be a better example of the dramatic change that took place. It is very clear and reflected in their film industry.

I have been hearing two explanation so far:

1. Some people claim that the othmanians left us in complete ignorance especially in matters related to religion and that people didn’t really know Islam. Now we are better educated about our religion and thus know better how to follow its rules.

How true is this? Were Jordanians less religious in the 70s because they knew less about their religion? or were they no less religious than today but with a less cultural focus on women and what they dress?

2. Other people claim that due to the cold war and the competition between capitalism and communism, the USA lead a policy of supporting religion in the region so that to guarantee that ME countries won’t turn into the communist atheist party. They clearly supported Islamists in different Arab and Islamic countries. They put a lot of their weight and power in supporting the mijaheddeen (fighters) in Afghanistan against the USSR. In jordan, the government even put our school curriculum in the hands of the Islamic party.

There is a third reasoning that I heard in Egypt where people rationalize the shift towards being more religious to the amount of Egyptians going to Saudi Arabia for work and coming back to their country with the wahhabi mentality. Some also claim that Saudi Arabia Wahhabi’s, being very rich, are using their money to preach their own way of thinking. This is also clear in Jordan, I am not sure whether it is wahhabi’s or not, but religious in-house classes have been popluar for some years now. I have seen some young men taking the leap of faith and turning into more strict reglious people in little time.

I am not a religious person myself, and while there are aspects that came with the current religious wave that scare me, I can say nothing about people’s choice of faith. It is just sad when you realize that such major trend that affected an entire nation has been built by foreign hands for their own interest in the region! Real education may be our way out, not out of being religious, but out of following up blindly what others preach as being a true religion. There must be a way to guarantee our individual freedoms with the blessing of our belief system. Islam has been so progressive when it came to us, it can do it again.

The maid, the magic and my friend

It is funny how you spend a lot of time with a person and suddenly get surprised about a way of thinking or a certain belief in his head. Yesterday, my mother’s friend travelled to the US and she left her Filipino maid at our house. The girl is nice, but I don’t feel comfortable of the way she looks at me. She keeps on giving me some eye contact with a blushed smile!

I think she is hitting on me! I told my friend at work, who in return decided to tell me the story of their Indonisian maid. According to him, she tried to pull magic on him, a magic that would make him fall in love with her! The details is a bit disgusting – don’t read it you are oversensitive -. What she intended to do, which is accoding to another indonisian girl, is to have a drop of blood from her premenstrual into his coffe. That is how she would cast a spell on him to fall in love with her! He said that this magic is common among Indonisians! Be careful guys! 😛

Are you kidding me? Do you believe in magic? That was my reaction! The more that I find myself detached from imaginary stuff, the more I project it on people around me, and the more I got surprised. Is there many people in the 21th century with all of the scientific advancements who still believe in magic?! I really want to know!

What was really laughable is that as much as I was surprised of knowing that this educated smart 26 years old man believe in magic, as much as he was surprised of me not believing in it! He was like “You are the only person on earth who doesn’t believe in magic”! Oh really? Am I?

To prove his point, he mentioned Moses and the Pharos. It is mentioned in the Quran he said. So that is where it came from? Now seriously, regardless of how religious a person is or not, how much one can really take from religion and still be on the same side at this point of time where nearly everything can be explained scientifically? Some people are smart enough to reason different teachings in their religion in a way or another and dismiss what doesn’t make sense.

Is magic still part of people’s today religious belief? That really makes me wonder!