Posts Tagged With: religious fundamentalism

RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM

At the heart of religious fundamentalism is the unquenchable thirst to dominate other people’s lives. To dictate to the populace what it can and cannot do. The self-gratifying, lustful power to reward or punish others based on how they respond to religious edicts. That power to include torturing, imprisoning or out-right killing other human beings should they disobey those edicts. This has been on-going for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years, or ever since mankind began forming into various types of societies such as tribes or clans. Most early tribal leaders had the power to destroy the lives of their fellow clansmen should they disobey the craven idols they had carved and called gods. Such power has always been too intoxicating for most leaders to ever relinquish.

Which brings us to the events going on in most Arab countries in the Middle-East. It was only a few years back that the world was enchanted by what was called the Arab Spring. Ruthless dictators that had been in power for decades, such as Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, were being overthrown and the prospects of freedom and democracy throughout the Mid-East seemed to burn brightly. Today those dreams have turned to ashes, as most Arab countries have become hollowed-out shells of their former beings. You can thank religious fundamentalism for most of this, including the fact that people all too often make incredibly bad choices and turn out to be their own worst enemy.

In Egypt, after the fall of Mubarak, Egyptians were allowed to hold free elections that would determine their next government. In an act that can only be described as incredible stupidity, the people chose leaders of the Moslem Brotherhood to run their country. The Moslem Brotherhood had, over many decades, openly espoused and advocated for the imposition of strict Islamic fundamentalism for Egyptian society. Once in power, that’s exactly what they began doing. Who could have guessed? When those very same Egyptians that had voted the Moslem Brotherhood into power, began seeing the ugly face of Islamic fanaticism being put into practice, they cried and begged for relief. They held massive demonstrations and prayed that the military would intervene and save them. Fortunately for them, the Army did come to their rescue and overthrew the Moslem Brotherhood. Today, there’s a new Army General in charge of a government that allows and tolerates secularization in Egyptian society.

Most other Arab countries, however, are not as fortunate. It was not long after the Prophet Muhammed established the Moslem religion that two factions of Islam suddenly sprung up. Both factions pray to Allah, both recognize Muhammed as the prophet, so that the religious differences among the two sects are relatively minor; yet the two have created a chasm between themselves that’s deeper than the Grand Canyon. One faction is called Sunni and the other Shia, and their hatred of one another has led to deaths among Arabs in the hundreds of thousands or more. It’s all about the power and the ability to impose one’s religious beliefs on often unwilling populations. All this division and dysfunction has led to terrorist organizations being created, such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS who view killing people and instigating atrocities to be such jolly good sport. Ostensibly their intentions are to kill western heathens such as Americans and Europeans. And, of course, Israelis and Jews. That goes without saying. But in the end, they wind up slaughtering  their own fellow Arabs and Muslims by the thousands. Much easier to kill Arabs since they’re right there in the Middle-East and so readily available. Today, Iraq, Syria and Libya have been almost totally destroyed by terrorism, while Jordan and Tunisia are tottering on the brink. The terrorists have carved out a huge hunk of territory in Iraq and Syria, with stated intentions of taking over the whole Mid-East. And somehow, all this derangement, slaughter and destruction, in the name of Islamic-Jihad has proved to be an attractive recruiting tool for hundreds of young Europeans, and even some Americans. They have gone over to the Mid-East to join the terrorists on their murderous quests. After all, why should only Arabs have all the fun.

In a way, it’s a bit unfair to cite Islam as the only example of religious fanaticism, since Christianity has its own bloody history. From the time that Roman emperors allowed Christianity to become the official faith of the Roman Empire, (a few centuries after Christ’s death), the Papacy was established and became a dominant power in the affairs of almost all European nations. Europeans that deviated from various papal proclamations were often imprisoned or burned at the stake. One of my favorite episodes on the top ten list of religious fundamentalist hits was known as the Spanish Inquisition. Started in Spain in the late 15th century, the Inquisition sought to convert mostly Jews, but some Muslims also, to Christianity in order to save their souls from hell and damnation. Those “heretics” that refused to convert were often tortured and then murdered. The religious theory behind the killings were that since these Jews and Muslems would be dying at the hands of God’s children, (Christians), their spirits would be pervaded by the wisdom and knowledge of God’s followers, and they would therefore be spared from the fires of hell, and be transported into heaven. The old kill the person to save their soul gambit. This practice went on for centuries before some semblance of reason and sanity finally did away with the Inquisition.

Today, Christian fundamentalism, at least in the U.S. and elsewhere, takes the form of trying to forbid a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, or seeking to deny homosexuals their basic rights such as marriage. Certainly a lot tamer than beheading those that are considered unholy heathens. But sort of the same mentality of trying to force their fundamentalist view of life and religion down the throats of people that don’t share their beliefs. As I’ve said before, religious fundamentalism is all about the power to foist one’s beliefs on everyone else. After all, wouldn’t God want it that way?

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HOLIER-THAN-THOU

Some years back there was a highly amusing Broadway musical called “Nunsense.” It was about a group of nuns affiliated with a certain church group performing all kinds of silly actions. The closing number in the show was called Holier-Than-Thou and had each nun singing about some supposedly godly act she had undertaken and was therefore holier than the other nuns. As I’ve said, quite amusing when done on-stage; not so amusing when exhibited in real life. Nevertheless, some people feel compelled to display in public the vast amount of homage they give obsessively to the invisible man. Public displays of their religious beliefs becomes a daily necessity. Some call it wearing their religion on their sleeves. Others, like myself, might simply term it religious lunacy.

A good example of this occurred about 2 summers ago. Dan Cathy, the CEO of a chain of fried chicken joints called Chick-fil-A, located mainly in the South and Midwest, revealed his family’s bias toward anything homosexual, and especially toward gay marriage, during a radio interview. He stated that: “As it relates to society in general, I think we’re inviting God’s judgement on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.” So there you have it. If we, in this country, allow marriage between 2 consenting adults of the same sex, God is going to crush us like a bug. He will stomp all over us as if we were ants trying to build an earthen colony. How sad that people even think along those lines. It had to take a lot of bible-thumping when they were young to get them so thoroughly brainwashed.

Sadder still is the tens of thousands of mostly Baptists that turned out to support Chick-fil-A’s religious fundamentalism. They picked a sweltering Saturday in July to line up at various Chick-fil-A outlets in order to stuff their bellies with greasy fried chicken sandwiches. Some of the lines at the restaurants were supposedly over an hour long as people sweated in the broiling sun. A small price to pay, however, if one is out to prove that they’re holier-than-thou, as well as to stave off God’s wrath and vengeance. I don’t know about you, but I sure hate the idea of having to put up with another 40 days and nights of hard rain.

Tim Tebow is another example of wearing one’s religion on his sleeve. An all-star quarterback in college, he was drafted into the pros with high expectations. But Tim liked show his religious devotion by going down on one knee when he was on the sidelines. I assume he was praying for Jesus to allow him to score more touchdowns, but it didn’t quite work that way. Despite all of Tim’s knee-bending, his quarterbacking skills in the pros just didn’t to pan out. Jesus would somehow not intervene to allow Tim to achieve more pass completions. After 2 years he was cut from the pros, and now, I believe, he does sports broadcasting.

In any event, this was kind of a long way around to discuss today”s Supreme Court verdict regarding birth control pills. It’s considered a big win for the bible thumpers, but it really amounts to much ado about nothing. An outfit called Hobby Lobby, which is almost identical in its religious fundamentalist views of life as the crowd running Chick-fil-A, sued all the way to the Supreme Court, so they wouldn’t have to pay for birth control pills in healthcare plans they provide to their female employees. It seems that providing such contraception is one of the requirements of ObamaCare. By a 5-4 vote the Court ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor. No big surprise since there are 5 conservative and 4 liberal judges on the Court. But it’s considered a twofer for those on the religious right. Not only don’t they have to be a party to “killing” babies (even before they are conceived), but they get to stick it to President Obama. Anytime that occurs, it cause for celebration on the religious right. Break out the crates of apple cider.

As I’ve said, this is not a big deal. Birth control pills are usually pretty cheap, going for about $10 for a month’s supply. Almost any woman can afford to buy them on their own. Or they can insist that the men in their lives use condoms which are also sold at cheap prices over the counter. Either way there’s ample access to inexpensive birth control. But the bible thumpers in looney-tunes-ville desperately needed a win after a series of setbacks in the courts regarding same-sex marriage. Like a series of falling dominoes, court after court in state after state, has been overturning local laws regarding existing prohibitions against same-sex marriage. As Dan Cathy might have put it, the courts have been shaking their fists at God’s natural laws. And boy, are we going to have to pay for such secular shenanigans.

Religious fundamentalism predates Christianity, and goes back to the days of paganism when men worshipped idols and craven images. It seems that that there has always been a portion of the population steeped in deep paranoia. People who believe that if they don’t strictly obey all their god’s whims, he will strike them dead. Usually by crashing a bolt of lightening down on them. So with all this ancient history I’m not taking any chances. From now on, to show my devotion and humility to God, I’m going to walk around with a shawl covering my head and body, even in the Las Vegas heat. (It’s supposed to be over 110 degrees today.) I’ll show all those other nambie-pambies around here who’s holier-than-thou.

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.