Posts Tagged ‘peace’

DOES BELIEF IN GOD CAUSE WAR AND OTHER HUMAN OPPRESSION?

April 20, 2010

Is it really accurate, as some intellectuals claim today, to blame belief in God as the cause of war and other human oppression?  Is this any more correct than blaming science and education?  Isn’t it more honest to instead, blame people who mis-use technology and belief in God for their own nefarious purposes?

Obviously, someone can aim the fickle finger of fate at war waged in the name of religion.  But, even before the invention of the wheel leading to ever-improved knife, spear, bow and chariot design, human science and education has been intricately entwined with waging war. Military applications have long been interlaced with government-funded science, education and modern space exploration.

Consider the Manhattan Project, nuclear missiles and space-ray weapons.  And, the rise of oppressive imperialism alongside industrial age invention; the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions; WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.  Incalculable human oppression has been aided by science and technology and, waged in the name of nationalism, democracy, capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, anarchism and other intellectual idealism and often, just plain old fashioned human greed and lust for gold.

Arguably because of their belief in God, billions of people have helped the sick, poor and oppressed masses throughout the ages.  Consider names like Isaiah, Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and, celebrities like Danny Thomas, Jerry Lewis and Martin Sheen.  Consider the Union Rescue Mission and LA Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles.  Throughout the European “dark” and Middle Ages, many individuals, including some popes, established public hospitals, housing and bread lines.

Consider modern electricity, medicine, surgery, global travel, computer technology and other marvels of a 21st Century age of science and wonder.  And to be fair, weigh this in the historical balances against WMDs, global mass pollution, depletion of fisheries, rain and other forests, fresh water pollution, mountains of garbage and cesspools of toxic waste left in the wake of the “Age of Enlightenment”.

Why is oppression waged in the name of Christianity, Islam and other religions any worse than that waged in the name of manifest destiny, communism and fascism?  Is human oppression a result of sincere belief in God?  Or, is it rather, a result of human beings wrongly using the sincere beliefs of others for their own devious purposes?

Isn’t it more likely that we all contribute to the negative downside of human history, whenever we fail to treat other people as we ourselves, wish to be treated?  Isn’t it more accurate, as Jesus pointed out and as Freud, Jung and modern behavioral science agree, to blame the “seething mass” of irrationality and frustration buried deep within individual human beings, as being the real cause of our problems?

If we are going to rationally and fairly blame something as being the “cause” of our problems, maybe it’s wise to first take a good look in the mirror.  Does belief in God cause human oppression?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

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IS THE BIBLE REALLY ACCURATE?

February 8, 2010

This question of necessity raises several other fundamental questions, forcing one to think outside the modern English language box in regards to long-cherished and deeply-held beliefs of religious orthodoxy, historical, intellectual and other misconceptions.  And if that doesn’t adequately describe 21st Century American religious, scientific, educational, political and other confusion, most likely nothing ever will.
For example, note the rather threatening tone implied in the King James English:

1) Thou shalt not kill,
2) Thou shalt not steal and
3) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

The conservative religious sounding tone and threatening archaic style of this language here in a digital age land of once shining seas, likely comes across as threatening, mean-spirited and religiously offensive to most Americans, as it does to me personally.

Instead of insisting on using the flowery archaic King James version commonly found and far less commonly followed, in many conservative fundamentalist hard on one’s backside pews of today, consider how the original Hebrew could and arguably should be translated into our modern common usage English reality:

You shouldn’t kill.
You shouldn’t steal.
You shouldn’t say untrue things about your neighbor.

By revising the same English language into modern usage form while remaining fair to the original source, a much more reasonable sounding, kinder and less threatening God suddenly emerges, in language making perfect sense if God actually cares about people.  As opposed for example, to a vague and distant “deist” type of God, who doesn’t give a damn about how we treat each other or otherwise, rape, pillage and pollute his creation to the  high heavens, kingdom come and beyond to our collective capitalist enterprising hearts’ content. 

Virtually all modern progressives are in complete agreement with these three basic moral laws, even if they don’t ever read the Bible or even believe in God.  Thus, among other things, this short illustration demonstrates how language and other cultural barriers, in particular from centuries past using the same “English” language, often leads to all manner of erroneous misconceptions, conclusions, deliberate falsifications and outright lies.

Today the archaic King James English version is invariably branded by liberals as belonging in a category labeled “religion”, being entirely undesirable to even mentioned in a supposed “free and democratic society”.  While the less religious sounding updated English example is universally viewed as being basic to human rights, common decency, morality and ethics.

And, it remains a significant cornerstone of not only American, but global ethics, morality and legal law.  Not to mention, it is both prudent and correct to adhere to such common moral decency if we are to have any hope of living in a peaceful and just 21st Century reality.

How accurate is the Bible? Perhaps a better question is, just how badly deceived and otherwise completely and entirely misinformed, are modern-day Americans in general and, often hard working, tax paying and, most unfortunately for everybody including their own children, “church going” sincere religious fundamentalists in particular? 

You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

WAS HURRICANE KATRINA GOD’S JUDGMENT?

December 28, 2009

One would assume that if Pat Robertson and John Hagee are correct about Hurricane Katrina being God’s judgment on the liberal folks of New Orleans, then it logically follows that recent extensive tornado damage in the conservative rural South and, extending into Hagee’s own home turf of Texas, represents the Creator’s wrath against pro-war, right-wing religious conservatives.

A recent infestation of zillions of ants in the greater Houston area sounds a whole lot like biblical plagues to me, but who am I, an untrained common layman, to argue?  However, what about the recent invasion of tiny frogs in Bakersfield?  What does the Creator have against Merle Haggard?

And logically following, since citizens of Pat Robertson’s red state of Virginia recently voted in record numbers for “godless” liberals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the home of Robertson’s onward Christian soldiers of fortune must be high on the Creator’s retribution list.

It becomes a rather selective and dangerous path to tread down when those claiming to represent Jesus, while promoting the opposite of what he actually said and did, determine within their own self-righteous minds, to point the fickle finger of judgment at others.  Perhaps there is a good reason why Jesus taught to “judge not, that you be not judged”.

If weather is a fair and reliable barometer of God’s judgment, then one must consider recent earthquakes in China and Iran, not to mention the great 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and resultant Tsunami.  And, one could go on and on, about recent horrific fires worsened by severe winds in California, drought in several farm belt states and unusually severe winters in the Northeast.

If one truly believes the New Testament record, as Robertson and Hagee claim to do, then according to what Jesus actually said, God will judge the United States and every other nation by whether or not we help the sick and poor.  And according to the prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament, God destroyed Sodom because she did not help her sick and poor.

Logically one would assume then, that the most patriotic thing for Pat Robertson, John Hagee and the rest of us to do, would be to stop pointing a finger of judgment at everyone else and instead, start using our energy and excess financial resources to help the less fortunate among us.

Come to think of it, perhaps Robertson and Hagee have a point.  Just why wouldn’t our Creator be angry with a nation that is responsible for the deaths of over a million Iraqi civilians and the maiming of millions more, while it’s citizens back home continue to ignore homeless seniors, veterans and children, vote for leaders who oppose universal healthcare, allow imprisonment without trial and torture and, purchase SUV’s in the face of looming oil shortages and a global warming crises?

Maybe we have been weighed in the great divided red-blue state historical balances and found more than a little severely wanting.  Was Hurricane Katrina God’s judgment on New Orleans?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

IS OBAMA SMARTER THAN BUSH?

November 5, 2009

According to George W. Bush, we are fighting in Iraq to “secure the peace” and, to “secure freedom and democracy”.  Is there any historical or other rational reason to believe this?  If war can secure peace then why, after 10,000 years of war, isn’t there peace on earth by now?

War didn’t begin with the American Revolution, nor did it end there; many soldiers who fought against the British rose up in “Shay’s Rebellion” against wealthy colonists who were taking their land and throwing them into debtors prison.  Soon after, another war against the British erupted.

Then came the Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish-American War and War in the Philippines.  And then, the so-called “war to end all wars”, WWI, soon followed by WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War and now, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Spaced among this long sad bloody list of war after war after war, were several slave uprisings, a long drawn-out war against Native populations and many smaller wars and battles.  There have also been many “uprisings” within the U.S. population, including mob murder of African-Americans, Irish, Jews, Mormons, Chinese, Latinos, adult and even, child workers on strike.

Yet today, after all this bloodshed, we find ourselves at war, yet again.  In spite of the overwhelming historical evidence, a morally bankrupt American population remains quick on the trigger and very slow to understand, that war will never “secure the peace”.  Is President Obama acting any wiser than Bush by continuing to stay the course in Iraq and increase troop levels in Afghanistan?

Some people claim Gandhi was wrong because he ended up a martyr.  Yet, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and a great many others claim to have been inspired by him.  Did Gandhi lose in the great historical war between pro and anti-human rights forces, the only war that really matters?

According to Jesus, the solution to war is to put down our swords.  A small child can easily grasp this crystal clear logic of Jesus, yet we find people today pretending to follow him, who still promote war as the solution to somehow secure the peace.  The life of Jesus has inspired millions of people to promote peace and goodwill.  Thus, he won a far, far, far greater victory than all of the military generals in history combined.

It is entirely logical, that if I promote peace and goodwill, I will help humanity and leave a positive legacy for others to emulate.  It is likewise, entirely logical that if I promote war as a solution, I will hurt humanity and extend the trail of tears for others to emulate.

We as individuals have little choice what our leaders or other people do.  However, we each have a personal choice to make, to either stand up for peace and goodwill or, to bow to peer pressure and promote war and other violence.

It takes courage to stand up against one’s own society, which is why Isaiah and Jesus continue to be revered by millions.  It takes only a victim of societal pressure to promote war.  It is mature to promote peace and goodwill; it is childish, historically and patently absurd to promote anything else.

Is Obama any smarter than Bush?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

WHY ARE VETERANS HOMELESS IN AMERICA?

October 17, 2009

United States homeless veterans include a significant growing number from the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Many suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and severe sleep deprivation.  Often those who have never suffered from the inability to sleep are unaware of how great of a toll such a problem has, in preventing those who do from being able to function well enough to hold down a steady job.

Many veterans have lost their civilian jobs due to extended tours in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere and upon returning home, find it very difficult to support themselves and their families.  Many who are not currently homeless are in danger of becoming so, especially in growing economic hard times.

In 2006, approximately 196,000 veterans were homeless on any given night, up from an estimated 194,000 in 2005.  Estimates of the total number of homeless veterans in the United States currently exceed 500,000; this figure doesn’t include spouses and children, who may also be homeless or severely impoverished.

An additional half million more pay over 50% of their income to cover their rent or mortgage.  In the United States, 26% of the homeless population are veterans, while they represent only 11% of the adult population.  In Tennessee alone, there were approximately 2800 veterans homeless on any given night in 2006 and, numbers have steadily increased due to the worsening economy since then.

According to many social service providers, while lack of income, disabilities, physical sickness, mental health issues and substance abuse all contribute to homelessness, the primary reason veterans are homeless is the lack of affordable housing.  And, this problem keeps getting worse, rather than better.

Regardless of religious, political or other persuasion, there is no excuse for the citizens of the United States to allow even one veteran or one veteran’s spouse or child to be homeless.  Politicians who refuse to help them should be voted out of office and candidates who don’t place helping them at the top of their agenda should not be voted for in the first place, regardless of party or position on any other issue.

Americans who sit idly by and make no attempt to address and alleviate problems of poverty in general and the plight of homeless veterans and children in particular, demonstrate a severe lack of patriotism.  And, they display a severe lack of historical and moral understanding and absence of personal ethics, responsibility, respect and dignity.

Do Americans who ignore the plight of homeless veterans really support the troops?  Can we march in parades waving flags pretending to be patriotic while continuing to ignore our growing homeless population, regardless of the reasons why they are homeless?

What manner of nation claims to be the greatest nation on earth and to be a beacon for freedom and democracy to the rest of the world and yet, her citizens continue to look the other way while growing numbers of homeless veterans and children struggle in plain sight to somehow survive?

Why are there homeless veterans in America?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for the above article