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Honest to God

Watch Out for GodThere’s no shortage of debate over Islam. Depending on your point of view, Muslims are either violence-cra zed zanies with a taste for camel milk and Molotov cocktails or misunderstoo d practitioner s of a religion of peace, love, and kindness - think Amish with headdresses. But for the most part, there isn’t much talk about the similarities that Muslim fundamentali sts share with Christians and Jews.

The problem isn’t the religion, the problem is all religions that mutate into asshatted, intolerant extremism.

For example, all three religions share a fuzzy line between religion and nationalism. Iraqi Muslims battle to create three Iraqs - Kurdistan, Sunnistan, and Shiastan. Other Muslim countries share a similar problem. Each group is so intolerant of the others they’d rather kill each other over centuries-ol d disagreement s and slights than live peaceably with benefit of drinking water and electricity.

Clearly this God thing is a touchy subject best not discussed over dinner - or anywhere else for that matter.

Jews don’t fare much better. They use their religious nationalism to justify hating the Muslims with a passion reserved for public divorce cases with millions of dollars at stake. Many Israelis would just as soon have the Palestinians go away, preferably in a nuclear cloud. That final solution would give them plenty of time to hate someone else, say Christians or Hindus who don’t see them ecumenically eye-to-eye.

And then there are the Christians, that lovely religion of peace and harmony broken into so many fractured, bumptious sects they could teach the Muslims a thing or two about hurling invective at each other. After all, it only took the Catholics and Eastern Orthodox potentates 800 years to agree to even be in the same room, much less heal the divide between them. If you don’t believe that nationalism - and a fair amount of hypocracy - doesn’t live in their brotherly hearts, remember that American religious fundamentali sts, mostly uber-conserv ative protestant adherents, are intolerant to any belief that rubs against their own. If there isn’t a copy of the Ten Commandments nailed to every flat surface, they cry foul and don a self-knitted cloak of persecution - yet another similarity religions share.

The word fundamentali st describes someone who strictly adheres to core principles. Apparently, one of those principles is a belief that anyone who disagrees with you is automaticall y trying to grind you under the jackboot of oppression - and God gave you free reign to whine about it until everyone comes to blows.

So here’s an idea: how about some religious leaders get on the hot line to the big guy and ask for divine intervention . Surely, that satellite dish-sized miter the Pope wears can pull in a strong signal or Pat Robertson could stop by for a nice chat, up close and personal-lik e. You clearly need a thunderbolt up the ass to stop doing what you’re are doing to yourselves and the world. . .at least I assume an all knowing, omnipresent dude can handle that order. Religions have become nations unto themselves, squatting on the territories of legitimate nations. If they want to be nations, they better grow up and act like them. That means talking and compromising rather than screaming and poking eyes and teeth out in exchange for other eyes and teeth like Mike Tyson in the ring after a particularly savage bender.

Every religious person isn’t like this any more than every African American eats fried chicken and watermelon or every white person is named Muffy or Brad and wears pressed chinos to the club for a nice afternoon of croquet. It’s time for the religious of all stripes to get off the sidelines and do something about your less well-behaved brethren and sisteren. If you’re going to be a nation, how about you stop allowing your least-qualif ied members to squat on land like the Pilgrims loosed on the Native Americans. Please, find something - anything - you can agree on, because religion sure ain’t working and the whole affair is one stupendous pain in the arse. For the record, I’m an atheist. I don’t have an ax to grind. If you want a mediator, I’m sure I could do as least as good a job as one of Reverend George’s trade negotiators. I promise a reasonable compromise and I’ll make sure you don’t get taken a little too heavily at the collection plate.

No really. I would. Honest to God.


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One Response to “Honest to God”

  1. Nice one! But I think I have been mistaken over the years in attacking religion itself, when the true problem is really the fundamentali sts of any religion. As far as answering questions of life’s meaining, where one came from and where one is going and how one ought (we know, most can’t even come close the the self-contrad ictory dogma’s in most religious traditions) to live their life, religion is useful for the people who need to have an answer (even if its wrong mind you). I for one will praise the more liberal sects of religion out there because as long as these folks are around and their numbers grow, that means the fundamentali st is losing. Sure there will damage done to mankind even from the liberal stripes (see the Catholic Church’s stance on birth control for one gleaming example of the stupidity inherent in “revealed religions”) but these folks are the most likely to reach out and actually do something good as well (again the Catholic Church feeds hordes of people).

    But one thing I will have to say about it all (religion that is); is that if they took every dime and every moment of time they waste reading their holy books and going to church (mosque, temple) and quit heating and cooling, even building, these multimillion dollar temples to their own ego’s we could actually feed, clothe and educate all of mankind. How many billions of dollars is the Catholic Church worth anyway, plenty apparently since they can keep paying out huge settlements for their boy loving ways. How much further could mankind have progressed if our religion was more about helping our fellow man than following some kind of rigid dogma, reading some ancient tome and hating those who don’t believe as they do?

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