There is one common flaw that us Humans all share, this being that we are all too willing to blame a system be it political, theistic, atheistic, cultural, social or whatever. We all assume that if ‘we’ got rid of ‘that’ (irrespective of the opinions of the followers / believers) things would be better because into the gap would flow rational thought, understanding and all those negatives would evaporate.
And we would all live happily ever after.
Cut to end music and credits.
This idea, nice though it would be and goodness knows I have subscribed to it so many times over the years (Far Left Socialist writing here). The hard and sad fact is take something away from Humanity which they have been misusing and they will find something else to misuse and pervert in a short space of time. Classic case being post Revolutionary Communist states and if die hard apologists persist I am wrong, then let’s talk about Pol Pot, shall we?
Another Human flaw being that if we do not like something then we will go looking for the worst case example of that ‘something’ to prove our point. Never mind that within the something there are numerous variations and differing opinions. As long as we can find that shocking example (and there usually are plenty) then we will be content or justifiably outraged depending on our mood.
So let’s look at religion. Firstly if I try and go blundering about discussing all religions I am bound to offend some of my fellow theists as I don’t know everything about every one of them, just enough to appreciate all have a common code of ethics which everyone is supposed to adhere to, but don’t. Therefore I will firstly narrow down to the three Abrahamic religions, as regards Islam and Judaism it is essential to be brief here too because not being a practitioner of either I have no right to go preaching about either, thus simple observations
- There are 1.9 billion Muslims. IF they were all fanatics intent on world domination and force-converting the rest of the world I think we might have noticed a few more invasions and ravening hordes. The notion that all Muslims are a threat is grotesque and just another excuse for other races to hide their racism. Tell an NRA member all gun owners are dangerous and potential mass killers and see what they feel about that parallel.
- NO the Jews are not all devious business and financial manipulators bent on world domination. If you had been persecuted for one thousand years by every other group and forced into certain occupations by corrupt or ignorant governing powers then you would develop a certain caution in your culture. So get your perspectives sorted there people. And I am also looking at other minority groups who have suffered persecution and thus should know better. And before we go any further Israel’s current administration is what happens when right-wing exclusivity takes hold, it is not the sole flaw of Jews, every nation around the world has that stain in some form…Ask their minorities.
Thus I move onto home ground. Christianity, which itself has a fine history of folk who think they know better than God and so go around slaughtering other Christians to ensure that they, the group doing the slaughtering have a place in Heaven. After a while they decided that slaughtering was not beneficial to the economy, so they calmed do a bit, settled on persecution and eventually into simple suspicion and not letting ‘those folk’ have the better jobs, housing, etc. And before anyone tries to tell me that The Communists learnt that from Religion I have to say ‘You’re reaching folks’. There were times when Trade Wars..were…well wars. It’s the Human thing again. Get angry. Hit. Don’t think. Grab the loot
When viewing the antics and the hypocrisies of those who wave a Bible about and tell you about a selected line out of the Testaments which suits their arguments, then it is only natural to despair. However this in itself is selective. Be honest you know you have gone there to disagree with them; the opposite side of the coin as the ‘true believers’. Barely regulated, unedited YouTube available to anyone….seriously, that’s not the way to judge the Big Picture.
So here I am.(pre-covid). At Mass in a Catholic place of worship. The Mass begins. We come to the Homily…..and I don’t recall one calling on us to gather up our wrath or sharp implements assail non-catholics, march on places of government, or not render unto Caesar things which are Caesar’s. I do recall a lot about getting our ethical acts together and start thinking about our personal short-comings and how we should stop paying lip service to the English version literal of the Bible and look at the meaning.
And cut to New Testament Gospel According to Matthew Chapter 7. The whole chapter, not neat little bits. The whole instruction from Christ:
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
The Narrow Way
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
I Never Knew You
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Build on the Rock
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Yes, that is the full instruction. That is how it should be. Anyone see anything there about killing anyone? Anything there about getting wealthy on religion? Anything there about starting wars? Persecuting minorities? Have a look at verses 15-20…..AND that is what is going on in the Kingdoms of Humanity. Jesus warned about that, as had the Old Testament Prophets, and here we are still doing it while hiding behind fogs of words and firecrackers of sound-bites. And before we move on….consider verses 1-5…………Yes….all of us. Humanity in all its flawed stumbling ways.
So across the politics. My neighbourhood: Socialism & Socialists. Many of them like to announce their credentials as against war, looking for justice, worrying about minorities, seeking equality. And yet I have witnessed packs turn on journalists who did not agree with their views (Free Speech?) with a MAGA like ferocity. They turned their back on the sufferings of millions in Syria because of some odd notions to do with American imperialism. They have indulged in the old European Sport of Anti-Semitism under the guise of being concerned about Palestinians and very cross with you when you ask why they are not equally concerned about other groups around the world. Pretended that Putin was not as bad as American Presidents…..until rumours started that Russians were funding the Conservative Party and Brexit……
And we could go onto. Into the polite and not so polite manoeuvres in The Arts, Entertainments, of course the pestilences that crowd Social Media (Shaming, Trolling, Misogyny, Malice and so forth). And on and on.
In short don’t go looking for some convenient or fashionable reason to collect up the World’s ills and blame it all on that.
It’s in you and me. It lurks in all of us. The problem and the cure are the same Humanity.