So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.