I once believed that religion and violence could be separated. I once believed that people simply used religion to justify their craving for violence. They used it to justify it to themselves and to everyone else, to rouse a riot or to begin a war. I thought religion preached non violence and it was counter intuitive to follow a path of destruction.
I am struggling to see that peaceful coexistence anymore. The reason is not because religion is inherently violent which most often it obviously is apparently not. Instead, I believe it to be a result of the fundamental basis of believing in something that is unprovable, immeasurable, and unseen. Alongside that illogical thinking comes a senselessness that violence fuels off to become justified.
No one has ever been able to tell me what god is. No one ever can put it into words so that I can understand. Everyone just tells me it something you know, something personal that you may feel. I’ve felt these feelings before and they are not god. They are biological responses, evolved from primitive man when he began contemplating existence, when he was first conscious of consciousness. They are survival mechanisms, say god and we can get on with eating and breeding. It makes sense, it really does. But I think we have evolved to be capable of seeing beyond that and realizing a purely physical world. We can find purpose in the purposeless and live our lives. We do not need god anymore.
My frustration with this developed from the attacks on the US embassy in Libya. An anti-Islam movie was produced and the citizens of Libya thought it was the most popular movie in the United States. They organized riots and killed several American citizens. It developed from senseless ignorance just as the hatred of Islam did. It is just like the American ignorance and fear of Islam because of the fundamentalists who attacked our country eleven years ago.
I watched a movie several years ago called the Kingdom. I thought I was getting a little taste of ‘merican pride. Blow up the whole world. We could justify anything as self defense- he shot first kind of stuff. It is about the FBI coming in to investigate and arrest the terrorists who committed the crime. It is full blown with action scenes and explosions and guns. But there is something faintly wrong with it when compared to any typical American war movie. There is a fragile side to it and there are flaws in the characters that are different and ungraspable maybe simply because we don’t want to admit them.
But then at the very end of the movie, I imagine everyone who had a brain and not just balls felt a very striking guilt. I apologize for the quality of the video but the quality of the statement I hope is what is appreciated.
What I realized with my blood flowing with epinephrine was that I should feel ashamed for my excitement and pride in the actions portrayed in the movie. I won’t deny that I was excited when the “bad guy” got what was coming for him and my countrymen were safe. I thought that just like the next guy. But when I heard the last few lines, my jaw dropped with a guilt that overwhelmed me. It is a viscous cycle that we are almost all guilty of, one that needs to end but can only end with logic and rational discussion, not war and violence.
We are all human, trying as best we can to make sense of this life. We all occupy the same tiny spaceship floating around in deep, dark space, among a vast sea of other communities going through the same struggles. The reality that we are united as humans among a cosmic sea of other intelligent beings may open that door to uniting us. To end this illogical satisfaction of our craving for violence and short-sighted nationalism would allow us to see that. We could empathize we each other, one human race and coexist. But instead we adopt ridiculous beliefs which misguide us and tear us apart.