Sunday, October 25, 2015

Simply human

Religion is not just about beautiful words and rituals, community
and marvelous buildings. Religions have throughout history
also caused much anguish and sorrow: war, oppression of women and children,
witch-hunts and persecution.

Many political ideologies are similar to religions. 
It is possible to condemn atrocities that have been carried out by Nazis 
or communists, but it is not OK to say that Protestants, Catholics and Hindus
have caused immeasurable suffering in the world.

For the time being, it is Islam that causes the most problems. 
In Syria, Iraq and Yemen there is a war between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
In Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and many other countries, 
deeply devoted muslims are fighting terrible wars,
obsessed with the dream of establishing Islamist regimes
similar to that in Saudi Arabia.

In the seventeenth century, Catholics and Protestants fought
for thirty years here in Europe. But the conflict did not end with
the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The bitter conflict lived on.

The crusades, the genocides of indigenous peoples in the colonies
and slavery in the American south are other examples of atrocities
committed by pious Christians. 
The conflict between Jews and Palestinians is also a religious conflict. 
It is obvious that religious beliefs and labels can cause unspeakable suffering.

I think that we who are not religious, and who are not possessed
by any political ideology must be clearer that there is an alternative.
Perhaps this could be helpful for those who want to defect.
It is possible to live a good life without being a follower of any particular doctrine. 
It is possible to simply be human.

You don't have to be a Christian, a Muslim or a Hindu.
You don't have to be an atheist.
You don't have to be a neoconservative, a libertarian or a liberal,
a communist, a socialist, an environmentalist…
You can simply be a human being.

If you insist to cling to your particular religion or political doctrine,
if you can't give it up, then you must, at least, accept the idea of a
pluralistic, secular society and stop complaining about other peoples crazy ideas,
If you can't even do this, then you are a part of the madness.
Then you are fooled, bewitched, mesmerized.

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