Religio-Politics 101: Enlightenment of Religion, Endarkenment of War

ISIL wages war in the Mideast

ISIL wages war in the Mideast

Surely this must be the end of days, when religious fanatics overrun entire sections of the globe—with martyrs, books and fear; opposed by corrupt governments—with lawyers, guns and money; overseen by Empires and umpires—with commentary, updates, and buzzfeed; with the fossils of forgotten ancestors funding it all, sowing seeds of hate where no flowers have grown for years, decades, or centuries; in deserts laid waste by millennia of neglect and eons of misuse. For any religion to use fear as a weapon is to do a grave disservice to all parties concerned. Fear is a weapon of war, not religion…

I’ve never bought into the concept of ‘God-fearing’, but if you’ve read the Old Testament, then you can understand why it’s so popular, judging from the amount of death and destruction that went down then and there—and presumably elsewhere—much of it in the name of Him, the war god baring his fangs and bearing the flag of Israel behind it all. That’s the same God that we and Muslims have both inherited, of course, and use to flog each other mercilessly in one of the better-known sibling rivalries of all time.

Christian God

Christian God

It’s got to be the best-kept secret in the world right now: the threat that ISIS poses to Israel, they who are accustomed to blithely ‘mowing the lawn’ with Palestinian bodies, they who likely are responsible for this entire mess that will one day likely be called World War III, they whose negative warlike view of the world is embedded in their currency their book their God our God all of us at each others’ throats unwilling to admit that as brothers we are all equal and equivalent…

If this is sibling rivalry, then I want no family. That is the beauty of religion, after all, isn’t it—the belonging to something larger than petty bloodlines and pretty hairlines? That’s why women wear scarves on their heads. That’s why warriors cross continents to die for a cause. That’s why people bow their heads to graven images. Any cause is preferable to life with no cause.

The challenge now is to unite in an even larger family, seeking our highest common denominators and playing down any and all differences. Only then will there be peace, when the war god is retired once and for all, and a new god of submission, love, and wisdom—Islam, Christianity and Buddhism–reigns. This too will pass.

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