Monday, June 13, 2016

#210 - Pardon Me, Lest I Offend

In the wake of the horrific shooting in Orlando, I have read a plethora of posts on social media ranging from those calling for love in the face of hate to those saying this was God's judgment on a godless America to one from a Facebook friend calling for the use of nuclear weapons on the Middle East in order to wipe ISIS off the face of the earth once and for all.

At some level, I understand the rage and the outrage, the anger and the desire for revenge and retribution. Getting even has been part of the human psyche for as long as there have been humans on the planet. (Cain and Abel, anyone?)

However, I think all of this misses the mark in that the true problem, in my mind, is being overlooked. So, at the risk of offending anyone who happens to stumble across this humble entry, let me tell you what I believe the real problem is. Hint: it isn't radical Muslims, Tea Party Republicans, leftist Democrats and gun control advocates, or President Obama. It is religion.

Many of my friends and family are professed Christians. As such, they might be prone to see other faiths as un-Godly. Some of them believe Muslims should not be allowed in this country. They see the actions of a relative handful of radical Muslims as an indictment of the entire religion and cite Islam's holy book, the Qur'an, in support.

One thing they forget is that at roughly the same stage of Christianity's development, some radical Christians engaged in a little "terrorism" of their own against Muslims (and Jews). You may remember it; it was a little thing we call the Holy Crusades.

Another thing many Christians forget in cherry-picking verses to support their views against this or in favor of that is that the Bible has other verses in support of things like slavery and polygamy and against things such as eating shellfish. Yet, Christianity has evolved to the point where slavery and polygamy are seen as wrong, and it is okay to enjoy a dish featuring your favorite crustacean (as long as you aren't concerned about mercury poisoning). Yet, Christians don't seem willing to allow for that same evolution in another faith.

This is all a roundabout way of getting to the main point I want to try to make. I do believe there is a God or Higher Power. I don't believe any religion has a true handle on that higher power. I think most, if not all faiths have selected aspects of that Higher Power to support whatever agenda was being supported at the time the faith's holy texts were being composed.

In the simplest terms, God is God. Love is love. God is love. There is more than one way to reach the mountaintop, but we need to help one another, Christian or Jew, Muslim or Hindu, to make the climb. Together.

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