Spend several days lying in a miserable state due to sinus congestion and pounding headaches and you will certainly have time to reflect on many things! Despite the intense misery that keeps itself at the forefront of your attention, there seems to be ample time for thoughts to travel around almost every avenue of life. You can’t drown it out with television because that was turned off, in part to sad daytime programming and partly because the drone of re-runs seem to cause the pain and suffering to increase. Sleep only amplifies the potential for deeper thinking. At that point, you have only to give up and give in. Reflection time!
So what are the random topics that whirl around the brain, much like the spinning wheel from a game show? Round and round and round it goes. Where it stops? Nobody knows! And, since most of my thinking seems to border on the edge of “weird random”, I often roll my eyes at some of the strange things that crop up! How does an electron microscope work? Maybe I should learn how to play a mandolin. I wonder if I can draw cartoon characters? Here’s another great idea for a novel! What would be a great business to operate from home? How do they create computer models for weather? Why are there so many different religions?
All topics, all the time! So, in keeping with the swelling of the brain due to a fever, I decide to tackle the simplest topic first. The one that millions of learned researchers, scholars, educators, scientists, and arm-chair solutionists (myself included) have spent centuries trying to solve, resolve, and determine what is and what isn’t! The topic that has divided more people than anything else. Why is there so many different religions? Simple!
Dare, you say, to address such a topic as this? To potentially offend or blaspheme someone’s sacred holdings? No, don’t worry…..I’m not planning on upsetting the apple cart! That would be too easy to do! All you have to do for that is to simply turn on the television, open a paper or magazine, or just talk with someone at work or home. It’s obvious to even the under-educated (or those who really could care less) that this is a very personal topic. Just for the record, I have no issues with people’s belief system. You want to pray or worship an ant hill, go for it. You want to take a day off each week to burn candles and chant things to burnt toast, more power to you! That’s the beauty of America….you can! (And, many do!)
What I don’t get is the aspect that folks profess their “religion” as a peaceful one. I, for one, am a huge fan of peace! Love one another, and all that stuff, is great! So….where’s the peace?
I’m not going to sit here and list out specific religions or faiths or whatever you want to call it. That is not what this topic is about. So, please stop clinching your teeth, lower your raised fist, and take a slow, deep breath! There….better? Let’s continue….
Throughout the history of humanity, written or unwritten, we bipeds have had a hankering for looking to a higher power. Whether evidence shows it or not, there has always been a draw to something greater than self. Any culture, any region, any people…all have figured that there has to be something bigger, better, stronger, running the whole show. And if you look at any of the religions in the world today, you will note similar groundwork. Something or someone is higher than we are and is either the goal or the direction for which we need to travel. Simple enough. Each “grouping”, as I shall call it, has created its own doctrine and methodology for which to unify the masses under. The groups build upon this until they reach the pinnacle of formality.
Enter into the dawning of the new ages. Formal, semi-formal, loosely based, fundamental, off-shoot, even radical, all seem to be labels added to the various names given to each grouping. But deeper still is the inherent belief that one’s personal doctrines are of peace. Let’s take a look at what peace really means. For simplicity sake, I will utilize the definitions that are fitting with what we are talking about. Essentially, peace is harmony in personal relations; freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions; a state of tranquility or quiet. Should be a calm and serene state to be in. If you are a part of peace, you would think that those around you would not feel threatened or worried. You would think…..
Let’s be real. We are human and humans tend to believe that their personal way is the best. It’s seems to be the natural inclination within. So, what do the humans do with that? They decide that the neighbors need to do what they do. But, when the neighbors don’t want to be in that grouping….well, here it goes: The party of the first part insists that the party of the second part take part in the party. The party of the second part declines and the party of the first part becomes upset and forces the party of the second part to comply. The party of the second part pushes back and thus begins the party where everyone ends up crying!
But, wait! There’s more! Now some of the members of the party of the first part decide that the party of the second part had some good ideas too, but the conflicts with the party of the first part’s thinking, so, they leave the party of the first part, take with them some from the party of the second part and now create a party of the third part! Confused? You should be. By now, this process had multiplied so many times that all that remains is a million parties! Add this to the fact that the groupings continue to divide (like those biology thingys that creep people out), and next thing you know it is spread out like a virus! Of course, the bigger your party is, the more “soldiers” you have to help “assimilate” other parties into your own (or, just squash the smaller parties).
Either way you look at it, most of the party pushers are really nothing more than militants pushing their agendas and ideas onto others. Gangs, anyone? Last I checked, this wasn’t “peace”.
Now before anyone gets too high and mighty in the britches, understand that this covers the vast multitude of every religious order. Take a hard look at history. Historians have all understood and agree that the rise of any religious group has been fraught with violence and conquest. And let’s make one thing perfectly clear here so that no one walks away thinking that they are exempt: This Still Happens Today! Yes, everywhere, everyone, in every way. No exceptions. So, again I ask…..where’s the peace?
As I mentioned in the beginning, I’m all for people looking to higher powers, dedicating themselves to a life of devotion, and even walking a path that may not be clearly understood to the majority, but don’t….please don’t tell me that “all is filled with peace and harmony”! Every religion is scarred with the history of violence and it continues today. Take a look outside your realm, understand your origins, and see what is happening in the world. It amazes me that folks watch the nightly news, point and say “those people”, or “that group is…”! Stop and smell the coffee! Those people and that group is no different from your people and your group!