Thursday, July 07, 2005

Terror in London

The terrorist bombing of the London subways and buses is another attack against humanity by religion. If Islamic fundamentalists are indeed behind the bombings we have further proof that religion in the 21st century is not just mentally destructive to its practitioners, but is a danger to society in general.

No one wants to take on such a provocative topic. It's not just Al Qaida or Islamic fundamentalists that pose a threat to society, but rather the doctrines that supersede law and order in society. Many cults claim they serve a more powerful master or force. Religions and the gods they serve fall largely in the same category, even when they preach sweetness and light in the name of some higher power.

To say that mankind likes to delude itself is rather obvious. If it gives folks comfort to have various faiths, that's all swell and fine. Unfortunately, most faiths at one time another demand their followers cross a line and come at odds with the government or common sense. It is at this point when the faithful become the fanatics and the world must be on its guard.

Religion is a disease. A disease of the mind - a byproduct of ignorance. The less you know about science and life, the more likely you are to believe in mystical beings without any basis in reality. It is no coincidence that the most violent faiths have the most number of illiterates in their ranks. These folks must take the words of their leaders on face value. They can't read the Koran or the Bible and have developed a system of beliefs which is uniquely their own. They may claim their violent acts are done in the name of Allah or the Lord, but they are still just their acts - done by them.

A materialist society which fosters the pursuit of wealth and the material objects wealth provides is a breeding ground for religious fanatics. The ones who can't compete, have no resources or money feel completely excluded from the game. They want to lash out at those who do have more. They cling to religion as a grand escape mechanism - the same way in which a mental patient may cling to the belief that he is Napoleon or Jesus.

The fear of death plagues materialists. They have something to lose. The poor and blighted have less fear of death and if they are surrounded by folks who tell them tales about being rewarded in death then they can actually look forward to it.

Again the disparity of wealth creates these conflicts. Hot and cold water create steam when they mix. The extremely poor and the extremely wealthy, where they come together, create an equal display of force. The solution is not to force equality on all or redistribute wealth, but rather to realize the source of these conflicts and minimize them so they cease to be such a danger to society.

I know what many of you are thinking. "Yes, but MY religion isn't violent. We are exactly the opposite we do good for others and help society."

This is all swell and good. However if your priest/pastor/religious leader were to suddenly change his/her tune and demand that you spill blood of the enemies of your god to earn a spot in heaven, what would you do? Abandon your faith? Agree to disagree and hold your own counsel?

Its easier to disagree and change faith in a civilized culture and nation. In a nation where your community is more polarized and your disobedience marks you as a heretic or infidel such disagreement is less likely and far more dangerous a course to pursue.

This is the danger of ALL religions. When the Puritans set up shop their communities were polarized. The Quakers and all the various sects of Christianity when they dominated a region exerted undue influence on the residents of the region and could coerce these same residents to do their bidding. The Catholic church is a poster-religion for intolerance and a trail of human suffering and coercion and yet amazingly are not only still in business with adherents only to eager to buy the rhetoric and ritual lock, stock and barrel, but are larger than ever thanks to an increasing global population.

The intelligent/educated represent a diminishing percentage of the population. Even in western nations education has diminished and as time marches on the ignorant and the religious will increase in number and polarize the regions in which they set up shop.

The wars of the past were largely religious wars. This trend shows no sign of diminishing. The present wars and conflicts between west and east are religious as well.

I have no delusions. Religions will probable NEVER disappear from the earth. As long as science fails to answer fundamental questions comprehensively - faith and make-believe act as ready substitutes for knowledge. All I can hope for is that governments and people realize the danger religions present to humanity and the welfare of mankind, keeping religions in check and separate from governments in all nations. Only by realizing the proper place of religion can we avoid massacres and lives lost needlessly to the insecurities and escape mechanisms of scared, angry people.

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