With all the mounting horrors of Al Qaeda and most recent murderous beheadings committed by ISIS, more and more the question is being asked “What is the answer?”…”What can we do to counter such a religious ideology?”
There is an answer. I have been writing about it diligently for a long time now (see my blog at http://www.conniebryan.com). The question is, can we finally be honest with ourselves as a human race and find enough ethical and moral resolve to join together, just like in the Civil Rights era, in exposing the unpopular truth? Do you have the resolve to join me in that effort? Read on for the unpopular answer please.
First off, as I make this next point, let me admit that I am actually a fan of President OBama. He is one of the most populist presidents our country has had since JFK, and his sincere desire to help the working poor and middle class is most admirable and desperately needed in America.
That said, and as I wrote in my last oped on this topic, recently the OBama administration has oddly taken to propagating the false truth that Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban are NOT part of Islam. Also, during a recent White House press briefing, OBama’s press secretary actually tried to draw a big distinction between ISIS and the Taliban by saying that the Taliban was just an “armed insurgency” while ISIS is a “terrorist organization”…(a distinction without a difference).
Of course this was a most absurd thing to say. The Taliban is just as much a terrorist organization as ISIS, arguably much more so, as they have existed much longer and committed many more mass atrocities in the name of Allah and the Koran than ISIS could ever dream of at this point. This is a political strategy by the OBama administration, and I can tell you right now that it will not produce the answer we need to solve this growing problem.
The reason they have taken to such a crazy assertion is because they obviously know that these terrorist groups ARE part of Islam’s ideology and religious core beliefs, and they are afraid to publicize that (as though the public doesn’t know this) for fear it will lead to a much wider sort of religious World War 3 situation.
But the answer of how to deal with such a sick mass religious ideology must be grounded in TRUTH, not false “spin” for fear of “offending” Muslims. To begin with, Muslims won’t be the only ones offended by the truth found in the answer that is needed to address these horrors.
That is because the time is way overdue for humanity as a whole to finally face up to the historical horrors and terror committed in the name of God, as falsely taught not just by Islam, but by ALL of the “Big Three” organized religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
I know President OBama does realize this, because he briefly addressed this very fact during a recent Republican prayer breakfast in which he offended a lot of Christians and conservatives with some unpopular facts. He was making a similar point that the problem is not just isolated to Islam, but that religious bigotry overall is the problem, found widespread in the scriptures of both the Bible and the Koran.
He pointed out a few specific examples like the mass genocide committed by the Christian church during the Crusades, the mass murders and similar horrors committed by the Christian church during the Inquisition, and much more recently the widespread support of black slavery, largely by Christians using their Bibles to justify it, and their often violent murderous acts against the abolitionists seeking to abolish slavery.
In case you weren’t aware, there were many terrorist acts during that period committed by Christians who among other horrendous acts, not only burned down abolitionists homes, but murdered and hanged abolitionists in their effort to preserve the institution of slavery. They used the Bible to justify their actions, because there are many scriptures in the Bible that portray God as ordaining slavery, and telling slaves to obey their masters, etc.
This is of course because the Bible is not a book of spiritual truth – it is a fraudulent lie masquerading as truth, but written by bigoted men who were seeking political control of the masses. Of course, the same is the case with the Koran.
And therein lies the unpopular answer to the question, “What can we do to counter such a religious ideology?” The sick religious ideology that teaches its followers that “we are the only ones who are Children of Allah/God, and all others are condemned” is NOT isolated to the scriptures of the Koran.
I know whereof I speak, because I cut my teeth as a child on the Bible. I know it backward and forward. If you call yourself a Christian, and you think the Bible does not teach the very same thing with respect to condemning all who do not convert, either you have sadly been lied to by someone else you are influenced by, or it is you who are the liar – not only to yourself but to everyone you say that to.
If you believe that the Bible doesn’t teach the very same condemnation of all other beliefs, just as the Koran does, you have not been reading the Bible you claim to believe in. If you had, you’d see those verses all over the place, in both the Old and the New Testament. You cannot “cherry pick” the verses in the Bible you prefer, and ignore all the many condemning verses you don’t like.
This causes a disturbing sort of unintended serious damage in our society, because when you do that, you then go around promoting the Bible based on your cherry picked, watered down selective beliefs…then others who follow from your influence actually read the whole Bible without cherry picking as you did, and commit themselves to the entire fundamental teachings…They of course adopt the Bible’s main cornerstone condemning beliefs which are fundamental to the Old and New Testament teachings, that all others are damned in the eyes of God if they don’t convert to Christianity.
This is why hundreds of thousands of Native American Indians were killed by Catholic Christian “explorers” who “found” the Americas…they committed mass genocide of Native Americans solely because most of the Native Americans refused to convert to Christianity. When they would not convert, they were either enslaved or executed. If you didn’t know this fact, you have been living under a rock so to speak, and it is time to take at least an online University of Phoenix course in Native American Studies.
By now, you should be realizing what the unpopular answer is to the question, “What can we do to counter such a religious ideology?” The answer is we have to start a sustained, committed movement that raises awareness, just like we did in the Civil Rights Movement, about the ugly, false, man-made teachings found in all of organized religion in general.
Am I saying we have to end freedom of religion? Of course not! But freedom without responsibility and truth is nothing but anarchy as we all should know! In other words, people are free in America to be white supremists, or members of the Ku Klux Klan (founded by Southern Baptists by the way)…But we don’t play a game of RESPECTING those individuals’ beliefs do we? We don’t ignore what their beliefs are so that we don’t offend them do we? Of course we don’t.
And the unpopular answer to the similar problem during both the eras of Abolition and Civil Rights when we were asking “How do we counter such a bigoted ideology?” was that we EXPOSED the SOURCE of the bigoted, man-made beliefs! It was hugely unpopular to do so, and many people died including the beloved Dr. Martin Luther King.
This is the next step in our human experience and evolution here on this planet. We HAVE GOT TO STOP celebrating and respecting the man-made bigotry that is fundamental to the teachings of the Big Three organized religions. We can’t just point a finger only at Islam, while ignoring the very same kind of bigoted, damning doctrine in the Bible.
What this world wide crisis is showing us is that now is the time for such a movement. It is actually way overdue as I said previously. It is time for mankind to finally have a follow up to the Civil Rights Movement…a sort of “Spiritual Truth Movement” that exposes the rampant man-made bigotry of both the Bible and the Koran, which has been the primary cause for most of the wars and genocide throughout our history.
The answer is found in mankind finally working to come together in the understanding that we are “all in this together”…that we are first and foremost a UNIVERSAL CULTURE on this shared planet, and other cultures beyond that are only minor sub cultures that should reflect the uniting brother and sisterhood of the Universal Culture of humanity.
What I mean by this is that real spiritual truth does not condemn. By nature it cannot condemn. It only forgives as it recognizes that NO ONE is separate from what God is. Real spiritual truth recognizes that every living thing is a part of what is holy and Divine, and as such could never be condemned.
Spiritual truth recognizes that there is no “sinful nature” of mankind, but that your spiritual brothers and sisters can make mistakes just like you in their journey on this planet, and those mistakes are not evidence of a “condemned sinful nature”, but simply a normal part of the learning process in this physical existence we are presently experiencing.
We grow from our mistakes, but don’t miss this point please: We grow MUCH MORE and find the “salvation” and healing we need completely from our FORGIVENESS of both our own selves, and the mistakes others have made that may have hurt or negatively affected us. Real spiritual truth never condemns, it only loves and forgives. This is the answer, and the path we must now take in creating world peace.
As soon as your religious beliefs even remotely begin to give you a thought in your head that your beliefs are the only way to “salvation” and the only way to the love of Allah or God, and that you are selectively superior to other human beings with those beliefs, and that because of your beliefs being different than theirs that others are beneath you because they are “lost” or “unsaved” or somehow less favorable in the eyes of Allah or God than you…That is the proof that you are engaging in man-made bigotry and not spiritual truth.
This is the unpopular answer…and it is the only answer capable of countering the historical bigotry of organized religious ideology that is fundamental in the man-made scriptures of both the Bible and the Koran. This answer, unpopular as it may be for many, needs to be mainstreamed now, in the very same way the unpopular truth of the Civil Rights Movement was mainstreamed in the 50’s and 60’s.
We can no longer hide from the truth, and claim organized religion isn’t the dividing cultural bigotry that it is. The timing is critical, in order to deal with the spreading “clash of religious cultures” we are seeing now, which has the absolute potential to lead to a self fulfilling prophecy of “end times” and nuclear war if we don’t.
(Connie Bryan is an editorial writer living in Sacramento, CA. Check out all of her opeds on her blog at http://www.conniebryan.com)