Tuesday, August 21, 2012
To Live and Die for Religion...
The world is quickly changing from being one that is divided by race and cultures...to one that is divided by religious beliefs. Everywhere we turn we see international wars and civil conflicts over religious fervor and fundamentalism. The Arabs...primarily Muslim...want to take out the Jews. The Christians want to protect the Jews and the homeland of their religious heritage...and yet many of them also want to convert the Jews to the Christian Messiah. Meanwhile, it is all very confusing to the secularists, humanists and liberals who live among all these religious factions. What will the end of this be?
Western and Eastern Civilizations have been largely formed based on religious divides. Western Civilization is primarily marked by the religious heritage of Christianity while eastern has most of its roots in Islam. Asia is overall a whole other ballgame...and somewhat caught in the crossfire between these perspectives. As modernization, education and globalization has arisen so quickly in the last century, it should be no surprise that these ancient traditions and fundamental belief systems have been called into question by so many. It should also be no surprise that the fundamentalists of all persuasions are hunkering down in their foxholes of dogmatic delight...fighting to their last breath to defend that which in many ways is indefensible in light of reason and enlightenment.
What many people don't realize is that the three main religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are all based on ¨Abrahamic roots¨ and share more in common than all the other religions throughout the world...since all three are monotheistic. All other religions tend to be differentiated by being pantheistic. ¨Pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing immanent God...not a personal one.¨ Apart from these religious persuasions, the balance of the world are basically secularists or humanists who don't have much time or interest in contemplating the existence of God.
While I have found friendly, agreeable and reasonably bright people among all these religions...I have to admit that the longer I live and learn, the more I lean towards embracing secularism. It just makes more sense and contains more reality from my life experiences. I know, it is difficult for the average believer to give up their fundamental leap of faith to explain the mysteries of life...but if you take out that which you cannot prove from most of these religions...they end up basically being interesting stories of mythological proportions. Not something worth fighting...or worse yet dying...for.
Yet, the reality is...much of the world IS fighting and dying for their belief systems. I could quite understand wars and conflicts over usurping of borders or against tyrannous leaders and governments who try to overrun the general masses, but to fight someone just because they believe in a different god or have a different ¨world view´ than you seems quite the vacuous reason for going to battle.
Everywhere we turn, we read and hear the calls to battle. In most cases it is a battle for the mind...a battle to define what life is all about and what it means. More and more shallow heads are hearing voices and killing ¨infideles¨ or performing ¨honor killings¨ of friends or family members in their fundamentalist communities who don´t tow the line of fundamentalism. If they don´t literally kill them, they cut them off socially and create more divisions and disillusionment with life in general. As we have discussed before, hypocrisies abound with continued aggression and lack of rights towards women and children in the name of Allah or Christ. Women are still forced into marriages they don´t want while men of their faith can have multiple wives or partners. Minor children are forced into early marriages to much older men...all in the name of their ¨god¨. Religious politicos try and rationalize why women who are raped should not seek abortion or have that choice. Only men and courts do in most jurisdictions. It is truly a perverse religious world to live in.
Even Statism is turning into a religion worldwide where flags and constitutions are brandied about in another form of blind faith and adherence. If someone attacks ¨our¨ land or ¨our¨ country, we blindly react to it as a personal transgression without asking if somehow the attack was in response to our own government´s aggression or faults. Somehow we need to maintain balance of perspective if there would be any chance for global peace. A balanced global view and being slow to war would be the first step towards achieving this as individuals.
Religion and Statism are strange bedfellows...but together they seem to have billions of people subjected to the will of a few manipulative leaders. The worlds masses are growing faster than the dissemination of education and rationality. The programming in churches and schools are more often than not tainted with fabrications and half truths...designed to manipulate young minds into carrying on century old feuds and fables. Few people question their institutions...their President or their priest. The few that do usually do it very quietly or not at all...unwilling to stand up for the truth or knowledge they have gained that the masses have not. Fear of truth (by those that hear it) is what kills the messenger(s).
I grew up in a fundamental family religion that taught me I should be prepared to sacrifice and even die for my religion. It is ironic that I now find it more painful and isolating to stand for NO religion. I am in no mood to live or die for a religion based on what I have experienced and observed. I am not into fear and guilt manipulation. Yet, I believe in coming years many people will die standing AGAINST religion. States and religions are growing hand in hand to keep individualism and freedom from overrunning their influence. Most people will not have the backbone to speak up for reason and sanity in this religion infested world. Those that do will often be spat upon, rediculed, ostracized, and yes...even killed...for not going along and ¨drinking the Koolaid¨.