Yet again, or should I say, still, we the people are engaged in a religious war. One could argue that religious wars never really stop. Sometimes they go underground to simmer while parents exhort their children in the evils of their neighbors’ ways. But other times, like now, religionists strong arm their beliefs and opinions into public policy.
And that, my friends, is when the bloodshed inevitably begins. It was bad enough that the religious beliefs of your neighbors caused them to say insulting things about you, to sneer or, predictably, pray for your lost soul. Let their prayers rise to the heavens, calling upon their god to save them from the sins of their irreverent brethren.
How many gods are there? Over 5,000? 330 million? But of course only your god is real.
All of them exist in the sky, came to earth to kick-start humanity, taught us important skills, and told us how to honor Him. Well, Her in some cases. Those pesky extraterrestrials with their genetic manipulations, coming here to help us and leaving us to fail.
One source provides this following summary:
Christians believe in one God, saints, and millions of angels. Muslims believe in one god called Allah. Judaism is also monotheistic.
Hinduism: I don’t know much about Hinduism but some Hindus I’ve met say there are millions of gods. Buddhists don’t really believe in a “god” in the classical sense
Jains and Shinto: animistic, believe in souls of non- living and animate things. Jains believe even insects, plants, fungi, and bacteria possess spirits. Shinto believe in 8 million “kami” inhabiting rocks, trees, rivers, etc.
Not sure about Zoroastrianism. Baha’i’ appears to believe in one god. Native religions are often polytheistic.
But of course that’s a drop in the proverbial bucket.
Even more fascinating is the idea, growing in acceptance, that the gods are nothing more or less than highly advanced being from other worlds. Archaeological evidence coupled with the mythologies of most religions provide excellent evidence for this theory. After all, they come from the sky and probably despair of our continuous reversion to animal behavior, from which they crafted us. Haven’t they gone to a lot of effort to instruct us?
But back to the more fantastical concept of magical beings.
Thanks to our mortal fear of things we don’t understand, we humans find ourselves subservient to one god or another, or fifty, in order to cope with our lives. We pray, fervently, when that wall of muddy water rises to our front porch, when our child burns up with fever, when the person we love dies, that our god will hear our prayer and save us. Never mind that the crisis at hand could have been prevented if a god was truly paying attention.
We join with others to pool our resources to build a church or temple so we can pray with others, hoping our joined voices somehow better penetrate the vast distance between our physical existence and the domain of our god(s). We pool even more resources in order to send our emissaries to other places to spread the good word about our god (who is of course superior to any gods those places might already know) in order to gain god’s favor.
My god is better than your god.
Only believers in my god will enter the kingdom of heaven.
The kingdom of heaven—somewhere in the sky, the kingdom exists with its pearly gates and troops of glittering asexual angels. For Christians, Heaven is where Jesus Christ sits on the right hand of God while the Holy Spirit hovers effervescently around them. There is where you can exist in bliss for eternity if only you follow the rules set down by God. I won’t even try to go into the discrepancies and horrors enshrined within the pages of that many-times-edited document called the Bible, manipulated now for over 1700 years to fit the political whims of one ruler or another, ad infinitum.
Yes, as astute power brokers have long understood, religion is the key to controlling the masses. Through fear. Fear of your neighbor. Fear of disease. Fear of the great unknown, Nature in all her many ways of killing you or your children—flood, fire, earthquake, volcano, lightning, insects that consume your crops, wild animals that want you for dinner, accidents that leave you crippled. There is no end to the great unknowns. No end of things to fear.
Fear of GOD HIMSELF, a judgmental angry god who doles out death and destruction, an eternity in pain and suffering if you don’t follow his rules.
But your god is there, promising that if you only do x, y, and z, you will at least find surcease once you die. By then, of course, it’s too late to figure out it was all meant to keep you in thrall to the power structure with your tithes and contributions, your allegiance, your taking up arms to protect the power structure, your obeisance to the belief system.
Currently, the belief system for at least 74 million U. S. voters is an amalgamation of Christianity and pseudo-patriotic blather, worshippers of the earthly manifestation of their beliefs, Donald Trump. Incoherent as he may seem, he has managed to embody this confused belief system with his worldly embrace of excessive materialism, his adulterous affairs and marriages to women who can’t talk back, and his dishonorable thievery and abuse of countless workmen, friends, and professional associates.
The fear that drives Trump’s true believers is a new kind of fear. This fear is an addition to the traditional fear of Nature, disease, death, etc. The new fear is about incomprehensible technology and science that, on one hand, presents us with marvels like cell phones and the internet, and on the other hand, boggles our minds and bodies with demands we are mostly not yet evolved to endure.
It’s only been one hundred years since the majority of us lived our lives in the same patterns as we had for thousands of years. We tilled the land and cared for animals which in turn provided our food. We interacted with neighbors who were like us, who might have the skills to craft a plow or horseshoe, or who might teach our children to read. We scheduled our days by the season and the chores before us, washing our few clothes, grinding our grain, weaving our cloth. Those of us who lived in the cities might practice special trades, but the cities weren’t yet vast streams of headlights and towering structures of steel and glittering glass. Now suddenly we measure our time by the minute, steer our automobiles down the highways at 70 miles per hour, see on the television scenes of havoc and violence from places around the world.
We are not ready for this.
Mostly. The few among us who are ready, who embrace new ideas and new ways of living, are seen as the enemy. In fact, they are the future. They are evolving into the new humanity while the rest of us are doomed to die out.
The new people are different. They see the world as one community, the population as brothers. They accept the personal autonomy of women. They accept transgender and all forms of intimate interaction. They accept people of all colors. They accept that gods are not the answer. Rather, they embody the ultimate concept of any god’s primary teaching, that we must love each other and treat each other as we wish to be treated.
It is the Age of Aquarius.
In retreat from change, fearful people embrace what they know best, the violence enshrined in our past and its reactionary religions. Enemies, those who are Other, must be eradicated in order to protect self, family, and tradition. Random mass shootings are simply the enactment of this understanding.
This is a war that can only get worse as ‘leaders’ of the old beliefs increasingly harden their rhetoric in a craven attempt to bring glory and power to their misbegotten selves. Trump is only the figurehead for these rigid disciples. His inchoate mutterings satisfy the unspoken desire for an understandable past, when saddling a horse or following a plow were the only skills required. While these ‘conservatives’ take full advantage of the products of progress, everything from modern medicine to the use of secret internet groups where they can foment more hatred, they cannot grasp the tandem mindset, the mental/psychological trajectory of our evolution.
If only the ignorant could learn not to fear change. If only the dogmatic could understand the lessons of history. If only the evangelical Christians could see how their desire for a Christian nation mimics exactly the desires and objectives of the Taliban, the jihadists, and echoes the countless previous destructions of human life and civilizations in the name of their god.
“You cannot raise your children the way your parents raised you because your parents raised you for a world that no longer exists.” Mufti Menk