Monday, April 27, 2009

The One Religion That Doesn't Get It

In the grand scheme of things, many misperceptions abound regarding the understandings of various religions. Too many feel that their self-perceived - and therefore valid - declarations of expertise warrant a level of respect for their opinions that bears no such value in the real world. Our world is being shaped by the children we send off for "higher education", assuming that they will ultimately "learn the secrets" we have enjoyed for much of our lives. Fortunately, I can report with authority that not all of our kids succumb so easily to the temptations of ultimate ruination.

To be sure, there are many young people who will no doubt be one day castigated as heretics - just as their parents are today - and who will eventually resist the beckoning call of bondage in the guise of spiritual freedom, for reasons unimaginable to those sending out the Siren's Song, and will once again find the courage they thought they exhibited by questioning Christ.

I may be the most irreverent of advocates for God and Jesus that the world has ever known, but I do not absolutely make that claim. While the late Sam Kinison was a bona fide radio evangelist, I think I have him beat through sheer longevity and lifestyle choice, but I will not sully his comedic genius by doing a "I-lived-longer" dance. What I am trying to convey is the possibility to believe in a God without having to murder others during religious services.

That brings us to the comparisons so many avoid. No one wants to debate their own belief in God despite the fact that they are soaked in the wine of their faith. I am reticent to label such behavior as cowardice, but I must admit that I am better equipped than most much better Christians than I am to venture into the fray of theological debate, albeit from the perspective of heathen rather than scholar. And, lest I risk practicing the very hypocrisy I mentioned in the opening paragraph, it must be mentioned that I was raised as a Catholic and still remember many lessons. By that I mean that while I know God well - and love him immensely - I haven't spoken to him for a very long time, unless simple prayer could be construed as otherwise.

All of these things pale in comparison to the simple truth that all religions and their adherents are basically the same. All, that is, save for one. Most faiths have learned to accept and benefit from others in the spirit of the modern age of communications, and though there are often moments of cultural shock, most people learn to question, accept and finally move beyond.

I had one fellow employee, a Hindu, who was distressed when I smashed a hornet up against the window with a magazine. He was aghast at my trivialization of life, even in the form of a potentially harmful insect. After a bit of introspection, I understood his lugubrious complaint, but I got over it rather quickly and he did the same, not once considering that it might be the proper time to wage a holy jihad (or whatever it is that Hindus might wage) in retaliation for the death of the wasp.

Islam is the last remnant of religious intolerance, or more appropriately, "zero tolerance". A simple infraction such as the death of a bug could ignite carnage in the realm of Islam, and no amount of camaraderie or well wishes would be sufficient to quell the resulting mayhem. I simply cannot be dissuaded from my belief that Islam thrives on conflict and violence, and that the absence of either would render it meaningless...provided, of course, that Islam is not the last standing power.

Then all bets are off.

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