07/11/2013 by syrbal-labrys
My Minotaur husband travels occasionally on business for Boeing. He has made a couple trips to Turkey, for instance, and found it to be a beautiful country. He brought back many lovely pictures of old sections of Ankara, and he visited museums there. He was surprised how much more populated with families the museums were there. Entire families would be in front of massive paintings of historical battles, for instance; and then it occurred to him as he watched, that the parents were recounting the history behind the work of art. And in quite passionate voices.
Americans are such historical youngsters. So, we don’t necessarily see anyone pointing at a wall-sized canvas and shouting something about “Those damned Armenians!” But in Europe, the Greeks still hate Turks, and the Persians. Everyone in the Middle East apparently hates Israel; France hates Germany, the Netherlands is none too fond of Spain and the British are to blame for almost any/everything. And the Irish? Oh, it is a celebrated art-form to hate the Catholics in Northern Ireland, and to hate the English everywhere else on the island.
I admit, I have long been one of those folks who screams that to forget history is to repeat it.
But I’m having a low period in life just now, as the months accrue in my last-born child’s tour in Afghanistan. And I look at HOW history is being recalled and wonder if sometimes we would be better off bloody forgetting it. After all, even the infamous history of Afghanistan didn’t keep us out of there, did it? And it didn’t keep the Russians out either…both of us, armed with the hubris of gigantic military forces and lots of military technology and armaments went right into that valley of shitty sandy death and governmental bankruptcy.
We apparently are too stupid to learn from history; we merely use it as another excuse for more bloodshed and stupidity, forgetting our common humanity and suffering. So, Northern Ireland will convulse annually. Shia and Sunni will bait and murder each other annually. We’ve been told of the “softening” of humanities passions by religion, but anyone who isn’t brain dead or blind can see that religion more often than not just throws more fuel onto the fires of hatred and murderous intent.
I continue to maintain that monotheism is particularly given to sectarian strife…not that Hindus never make war with religious impulse behind it; but I must lay some of that guilt at Islam’s door. After all, Mohammed considered any worshiper of more than his one Allah worthy of killing on the spot — Jews and Christians could merely pay a tax for doing it “wrong” but having the same One God. What useless gods are these, that need humans to play out their dramas? Should not a religious life be between the deity and the believer….should not SELF-control be the main point instead of the dominating of others?
Me? I’d tax ALL religious property, I’d happily see all public religious symbols outlawed.
Your gods are invisible….so should be your worship, if you ask me. We all seem to agree that life-affirming things sexual should be private, I SO wish good manners and law dictated the same for religious practice. And fighting and killing over who and how one worships? Madness, madness…..so many broken bits of history tinged with religious hatred; and we don’t learn. The Bible lost me when Abraham took his son up the mountain. Any god that needs ME to do his killing for him isn’t worthy of my worship.
What would happen if every religion was suddenly decreed a private matter? What if every religious person practiced at home with family or a few friends only? What if they had to be still and try to actually hear the voice of either deity or conscience instead of being whipped to a frenzy by some preacher or priest? What if there was no public approval for acting like an intolerant asshat? What would happen if hatred based on religious differences was suddenly viewed as the extreme stupidity it really is? What if everyone was legally told, “Don’t TELL others how to believe!” What if religion was a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” sort of issue?
I don’t know what it would be like, I know as a solitary pagan I practice at home and I do not proselytize at ALL. My symbols of spirituality are largely too subtle to even be noticed. I do not hide, but nor do I screamingly advertise. Because my highly experimental approach to spiritual life does not involve a public face; I’m not Laurie Cabot or Sybil Leek. But I’m sick of history and slaughter being cheer-led by religion. I consider ALL fundamentalists to be terrorists….whether they’ve made the first bomb or not.