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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Poitics & Religion; Likely Bedfellows

Fear is likely one of the 'best' motivators you'll ever meet! It is the motivation behind the wars that this nation has borne witness to for the past two hundred years or more & it is also the motivation for what passes as religion, these days. Religion, in that sense as well, bears the blame for most if not all of the wars that this country, in the past two centuries, has seen. All over the world, in fact, religion has fueled wars & divisions!

What passes for religion today is largely what drives the political engine of this nation! What people believe about a certain thing motivates them to, say vote for the lesser of two evils, follow a certain party line, or throw their support behind a certain candidate that promises change. In order to preserve their way of life ( as they see it ), people will attack with all their fervor anything that they view as a threat to that way of life!

The politics of these nation, dysfunctional as they are, are largely if not wholly driven by fear; fear that if we elect this man as president, he will just make matters worse & unleash the Muslim Horde, fear that if we elect that man ( or woman ), he ( or she ) will kill our already weak economy & turn this into a 'third-world' nation ( ? ). These fears are probably well-founded; in fat, to some extent, they seem to be coming true before our very eyes!

The recent attacks in Paris, not to mention strategic attacks elsewhere around the world at most opportune times have only served to bolster this fear, particularly of what is seen as 'The Muslim Horde'! To be a true American, it seems like it's almost obligatory to hate everything the Obama Administration has done ( not that there's much to like there ) & consequently, to bear a strong dislike ( that's putting it lightly ) for anything having to do with Islam. Some say that Islam is a religion of peace while others say that their 'Bible' ( Q'ran ) instructs them to 'kill the infidel' ( anyone who isn't a good ( radical? ) Muslim. This should sound familiar to most Christians, for their Bible ( the Old Testament, anyway ) instructed the Israelites to commit genocide against a certain people who were occupying their Promised Land!

We have witnessed how the politics, especially Foreign Policy, of this nation have been driven from its inception by religion; a religion based on fear, no less! On the one hand that if we don't subscribe to the right belief system & act accordingly, we will got to 'Hell' instead of  'Heaven', while on the other hand, there is the fear that if we don't strike first that we may not get the chance to strike at all. Fear drives both our religion & politics, it seems! What most people call religion today is really just an institution, one that has been formed by man in his finite wisdom in order, as one man put it, 'to control the masses' ( sounds familiar, right? ). Our political stance, although some would probably deny it ( most vociferously ), is defined by what we believe ( our religion ); if one doesn't believe in a certain person or cause, then that one will not support that person or cause & if one does believe, they will support what they believe!

Although greed ( 'all the oil under the sand' ) no doubt plays a major role, the foreign Policy of this nation seems to have been driven by the false conception that the land in the Middle East now occupied primarily by the Israelis is theirs ( Israelis ) by right ( divine ) & not by conquest ( war )! On the other side of the equation, the Palestinians avow that since they were there first, it is by ( natural ) right their land. This fight has been going on for millenia & but for our involvement, may never have reached our shores!

As matters currently stand, it would seem that our fears have a firm basis! The big one nowadays concerns the Syrian Refugees; it seems everyone is afraid that if we let those refugees in they will destroy us. That fear probably has some foundation, because there are probably some terrorists mixed in among the almost countless ones who are fleeing oppression & seeking peaceful asylum. A fear that many might not have thought about is that if we refuse them asylum, we may end up turning them into 'terrorists' because, well, you know, 'a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, right?

Both politics & religion bear the blame for the wars & devastations we have witnessed in the past millenia; both are based in fear, both are used to control the masses! Though the damage has been done, the trend is not irreversible, there IS an antidote! 'Make love, not war' may have been a 'hippy mantra born during the 'free love' era of the 60s & 70s, but if more people knew what true love was & practiced that instead of basing their religion in fear & practicing politics, the world would be the better for it! The only 'preemptive strike' that Love knows is to take affirmative action & do what is right, just & good! Fear breeds hatred & contempt; hatred for what it doesn't understands & contempt for what it thinks it does; sound familiar?!

Charles Haddon Shank

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