Friday, January 02, 2009

God v. Allah


Up to 1948 the British controlled the Palestine territories when economic problems caused them to relinquish control of the area. In order to preserve peace the U.N. partitioned the region creating the Jewish state and leaving the rest of the land to the Palestinians, though the region including Bethlehem was put under international control. The Jews accepted the U.N. resolution, the Palestinians did not. Kind of understandable in that it was their territory, along with the parts they’d lost to Syria and Jordan earlier. This overview is probably pretty simplistic, but had the effect of exacerbating an already combative situation.

So now we go into a New Year with yet another bloody squabble in the region and another prime example of the dark side of organized religion. Christianity has had its dark side as well, the most recent the fighting between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the less violent Reformation. While I have always maintained faith is a great thing, and an important formative tool, creating a conscience as well as providing a moral compass, some branches of organized religion have twisted it to provide their followers a license for violence against anyone not maintaining the that sect’s doctrine - the Middle Eastern brouhaha being a prime example. The Iranian leadership has vowed to wipe Israel from the map, other Arab countries are attempting to deal with Israel in a peaceful fashion, if under the table, but the zealots aren’t; about to let that happen. Unfortunately there are zealots on both sides creating friction, whether it is Hamas or Israeli settlers grabbing land in contested areas. I’m not going to point fingers, primarily because it is tough to pick out the aggressors and victims at any given time. I am sure some people have already accepted one side or the other as being the antagonist, but I believe the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of extremist religious leaders. Instead of preaching love of all they spout hatred from their pulpits and educate the children of their followers in that hatred in order to propagate the violence to their own ends.

Until a way is found to change that culture of hatred the world will be in turmoil, innocent humans will die for no reason other than the other side doesn’t agree with their religious practices or beliefs. There seems to be no peaceful solution and violence just begets more violence and therefore presents no solution. It is going to take the rational leadership of each religion to rein in their more exuberant brethren before any kind of peace can happen and I don’t see any of that happening in the Israel/Palestine conflict. In fact it appears as there are outsiders doing their best to inflame the situation. All in all making it look as though it will be more of the same for 09.

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16 Comments:

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Indigo said...

Indigo Incarnates

From my point of view, there's not a heck of a lot of difference between Fundamentalist christianity and Fundamentalist Islam. Both religions say "my way or the highway". Both religions devalue women and demonize gays. Both religions count on the poor and uneducated to do the dirty work. Both religions have no respect for the environment. Both religions have a long and firmly established history of mass murder for those who have done nothing wrong but being different.

Personally, I think the world would be a much more peaceful and loving place if somehow Wicca and Buddhism replaced Christianity and Islam.

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger /t. said...

i agree
with you, phos,
about faith & religion

faith is wonderful, and personal, but it gets all fucked up when we label it A, B, or C... and put some imperfect dickhead in charge

rock on, buddy

/t.

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger Aunty Belle said...

Uh-oh....I oughta leave this alone. Let's see if I can jes' look the other way on this post and not mention historical realities rather than rewritten history.

 
At 3:35 PM, Blogger Keshi said...

Happy New Year Phoso! :)


I guess the few ppl who confuse faith with control and selfishness, r the few idiots in this world. unfortunately we cant do much abt ppl who r born dumb!

Keshi.

 
At 5:06 PM, Blogger Little Lamb said...

I think I will leave this alone.

 
At 7:21 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Cooler heads must prevail

 
At 9:04 PM, Blogger foam said...

yes, i agree ..
there will be more of the same for 09..
and '10, '11, '12 ... sigh ..

 
At 10:20 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

wouldn't be so bad if we didn't keep getting sucked in to the mess. I hope Egypt can step up again and calm things, but it would be nice if Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria would intervene in a peaceful way - maybe put some of their forces on the borders to monitor things. Maybe if everyone stopped selling and distributing weapons to the region things would become a little less bloody.

 
At 11:44 PM, Blogger foam said...

but then the money making war machine would start crumbling at the edges .. and then where would certain poor rich suckers be?

 
At 3:59 AM, Blogger SJ said...

I lost my faith in faith some years back. Add greed, power and sociopathy to get a potent mixture then set the whole thing off with a bit off faith and presto we have another violent attack on some people some where !

 
At 7:38 AM, Blogger TROLL said...

It makes me want to puke when people like Indigo chant that "Christian Fundamentalists and Muslibs are the same" slogan like deranged parrots.

Pointing out the million or so concrete differences just causes them to chant their slogan even louder.

The only cure for the willful ignorance of those such as Indigo is to deport them to a society ruled by mullahs. Then they can screech "You people are just like Rick Warren!" right before they're beheaded.

As for Phos's central point, it overstates the religious aspect of the conflicts cited. Indeed, he doesn't even MENTION the real-politik and economic issues that were a part of ALL the conflicts cited.

I would argue that those factors were LARGER motivators in the conflicts cited at the upper-levels of society.

Newsflash 1: Henry the 8th was about committed to living an austere Reformation Protestant lifestyle as Hugh Hefner.

Newsflash 2: Yassir (hookers and booze)Arafat was about as commited to following the personal morality endorsed in the "Koran" as Lindsey Lohan.

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger Indigo said...

Indigo Incarnates

Troll: I know that the truth hurts, but it remains the truth nonetheless. The United States is (mostly) operated under a secular rule of law. If we had a Christian theocracy, you fundamentalists would murder every single pagan and homosexual you could find.

 
At 12:14 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Yikes! Note to self no more posts on religion or the middle east. You'll have to forgive me, my only experience with the Middle East has been from a military point of view - didn't care what their motivations were I was just involved in getting Saddam to stop being assholic and leave Kuwait. As one General pointed out the insurgents are anxious to meet Allah, our job is to arrange the meeting.

 
At 9:54 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Tolerance would go a long way in making things better as well. I've slowly been learning to tolerate others, their beliefs, and lives - if I can do it anyone can.

 
At 12:38 PM, Blogger boneman said...

Phos, I always thought that it would have been easier, and better, had the Brits set aside a couple huge tracts of land in GERMANY! where they OWED a certain religious sect....and given that to the Isralis.

It is hard to figure from a military perspective. I tend to believe Indigo about how the two are similar, but, I think he underestimates the essence of the two he mentioned....Wiccan and Buddhism. For example, the Buddha disliked and distrusted religions as much as Jesus did. Any political power that uses any form of religion, or even any antithesis of religion (atheism, say) is where it will bend against the very people they say they align with.

OK OK it could be I'm going political, here, and that ain't my point.

My only point was, Germany screwed the Jews....pay them back with land along the Ruhr Valley, eh?

 
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