Saturday, December 5, 2015

Civilization and Religion

Back when London and Paris were bucolic mud towns who's residents were ignorant peasants, there existed places where civilization's light shown bright. There were cities with night lights, clean paved streets, the rule of law, and good medical care. Philosophy, mathematics, poetry, literature, art, engineering, and science thrived.

I'm talking, of course, about the Islamic world of the Middle Ages. The rules of the time had no difficulty with Islam and progress. That came later. Actually, the current flavors of repressive religious interpretation are fairly recent. Just look at photo's of Kabul in the 70s. The women on the street would not look out of place in New York.

Religious radicals are not limited to any one religion. Christian nut jobs do a pretty good job of shooting up places like Planned Parenthood clinics. Don't ever say the shooter was radicalized by his church. We can't talk that way about Christians, now can we?

I guess I just did. Oh well, there go some more of my readers. I'm an equal opportunity sort of guy -I insult everyone's religious radicals. There are even some radical violent Buddhists out there. How the heck does that happen?

What do religious radicals have in common? There lives are not working for them. Sometimes it's a matter of their being absolutely zero opportunity. “Terrorist” might be the only paying gig in town. Being a suicide bomber with a promise of paradise doesn't look too bad.

Then there are those people who may not be desperate financially, but are desperate to have meaning in their lives. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. What young person doesn't want to be part of a larger struggle while fighting on the side of right against the forces of evil? Of course, it's all about who defines what's good and what's evil.

Western Civilization isn't doing all that great a job providing meaning in people's lives. Maybe we need a new economic model. Perhaps we need better philosophies and social sciences. Western civilization is barely working in the industrialized world. As most economic benefits now flow to the 1% there's a lot less incentive to go along with the program. People are looking for alternatives.

In many parts of the world Western Civilization was imposed on people. There are benefits, but since most of the colonizers were their to exploit resources and people, it was a harder sell. Now with even fewer of the benefits going to the common man, it's no wonder people are looking for alternatives.

Religion has always been quick to exploit discontent -the more radical, the better.

The solution? Darned if I know. However, until we recognize the common problems we can't begin to fix them.



  1. In general, I agree. However, when Christians behave badly, it's because they ARE NOT following the teachings of Christ. When muslims behave badly, it's because they ARE following the teachings of Mohammed.

  2. It has been my experience that all peoples can twist their holy books into meaning what they want them to mean -both for good and ill.

  3. Christians did a number on the Muslims during the crusades. Guess they think it's their turn now.

  4. Normally I avoid religion conversations. My take is any group that focuses on a few passages and picks and chooses parts to follow become obsessed and radical. Religion is a body of work to be followed not a few bits and pieces. All religions have a common core and all have bits that can be taken to extreme .

  5. I really get a kick out of people when they find out my hubs is Jewish and really a wonderful human being! I have been married nearly 42 years the anti-semites I have encountered is something else!!!! I don't discuss politics sex or religion with anymore at all, I have seen and hear so much crap I am totally convinced that the most religious I ever met are the most out there & I mean outthere intole and nasty people! I see lots when I don't talk about religion whatsoever...That woman who was married to the fellow who together shot all those innocent people in southern California was batcrapcrazy so radicalized she left her young baby and went out in a blaze of gunfire for her beliefs, crazy is what I say....Treat people well we are here on this earth a short while, happy Hanukkah tomorrow night!

  6. I meant to say INTOLERANT AND THE MOST HATEFUL THE MORE RIGHT WINGED AND RELIGIOUS THEY CLAIM TO BE...No faith would tell me to kill anyone, anywhere & at anytime..We are all on this terrestrial together and no Religion would command me to do such as a thing as those two killers did in San Bernardino, CA...I am a Californian by birthright why did these two people think it okay to kill and to be killed by the police? I cannot understand their crazy ways, what happened to a peaceful nation and a grateful nation and loving human being, guess they did not consider the carnage they would deliver at a Holiday Party no less..All the people who were shot, lived wonderful productive lives, Moms, Dads, Sisters, Parents, people who contributed lots to our country and that county for developmentally disabled human beings! WHY OH WHY I say and pray for the families who lost their loved ones and the others who WILL LIVE WITH THE WOUNDS OF THAT SHOOTING...I never talk to people about inflamiatory issues EVER, you just never know if someone is upset or whatever and it could not be you but something that happened to them.CIAO!