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Religion, Terrorism and Mass Murder in the Modern WorldCommentary by Tim King Salem-News.com
How does religion impact the Goodness and consequent Evil of man?
(SALEM, Ore.) - At Salem-News.com we often take religion into account when researching and composing articles, essays, video reports, poems and other entries. A basis for much of our content is the conflict between Palestine and Israel. These articles are intertwined with religion through and through, and also with what might be a distinct lack of religion at times.
As News Editor and a frequent story contributor, I find opportunities to share my own opinions and beliefs on religion and faith, and I also publish the thoughts of our team of writers which are often very different from my own.
My single dominating thought is that religion and God are supposed to be what universally binds and unites us, but instead the scriptures are more frequently used to divide people according to their faith, as similar as they may be, and in spite of their common origin.
The Holy Bible in my view, is being used as a guide for national leaders of this earth to act out the 'end of time' scenario, because they read the Bible and believe they are supposed to do this, rather than it being a natural or God made occurrence. But as our writer Bob Collinsworth loves to say, that is just my opinion.
It is as if the bitter religious wars that began over a thousand years ago, are still in full swing.
I suspect that is because such a small number of people actually respond to the overall point of religious teachings, which in every case is simply peace; most are subjected to an interpretation of that education that fits a specific purposed crafted by man.
It always ties to a human desire for power and control.
I part ways with many people in my general faith on a few points. I believe people are probably reincarnated, or something close to that. Nothing else explains certain qualities, like those possessed by a child who can play Beethoven's music on a piano at the age of three.
I have a big issue with people only living a good life on this earth because they are taught in their churches to fear 'burning in Hell' when they die. I see this strictly as a self centered concept. You need to live a good life and help others always because it is the right thing to do, not just to save your own soul from the flames.
I also abhor the western propaganda story that Muslim men strap on suicide bombs because they will die and receive '72 virgins'; that goes against every teaching Islam offers, and is just more media propaganda created by a US or Israeli advertising agency writer.
That's right, just like the story of Saddam Hussein's 'Human Meat Grinder' which turns out to be more of a truth grinder- a 'New Crusade' igniter, and was completely fabricated.
The meat grinder story has been compared to the pre-Desert Storm reports of Iraqi soldiers "throwing babies from incubators" during the invasion of Kuwait in October 1990. This influential report was presented as the 'eye-witness testimony' of a 15-year old Kuwaiti girl. Years later it emerged that she was the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the US, and that the story itself was entirely the creation of the Hill & Knowlton public relations firm employed by the Kuwaitis.
Indeed, there is no winning as long as people remain squared off this way.
Got Mit Uns
Who do we have to thank for the world's problems? If you have to select one group, pick Adolph Hitler and the Nazi's of the Third Reich.
They weren't by any means the only group targeted, but the pillaging of the population of Jewish people in Europe led to a pre-war and especially a post-WWII exodus of Jewish people to Palestine. The vision of an all-Jewish state was realized the way it was, because of Hitler's diabolical plan. The problem is that the Palestinians had nothing to do with Hitler or Germany or WWII, but they have been paying the price for those sins ever since.
Hitler by the way, was Catholic, and so was Joseph Goebbels.
According to Wikipedia, "Both men had ceased to attend Catholic mass or to go to Confession long before 1933, but neither had officially left the Church and neither of them refused to pay his church taxes."
The conclusion is that Hitler and Goebbels can be classified as nominally Catholic. So if you are going to take shots at people for their religious terrorism and mass murder, it may pay to remember that the worst in history emerged from a western, Christian upbringing.
The Undeniable Good
On a positive note, I sometimes relate to people the amazing stories about healing through faith that I believe are true. God only knows the real dynamics that take place, but miracles are as real as anything else in this world.
I also remind others that when push comes to shove, in times of disaster like Hurricane Katrina, that the relief crews; the volunteers rebuilding houses of people they have never met before, are almost all from Christian churches.
The words of Christ as recorded in the Second Testament and his message of peace and loving your enemy is entirely logical and the basis of my belief system and culture.
I never forget that the most devoted people I have ever been around are Muslim; their belief in God is very sincere and they are never hesitant to openly praise their creator.
I love the term "Inshallah" which simply means 'God Willing' or 'If God Wills...' It is inspiring, because without faith, things accomplished by this culture would never happen.
When people live in utter poverty and oppression, they can be incredibly resilient; this is the case, sadly, in much of the Arab world.
Jewish people may be the most interesting of all; so many challenges over the course of time that they have survived and conquered. Some of the best artists and most prolific authors hail from this culture.
As a journalist I am critical of Israeli politics and military policy, but some of my most talented and creative friends for all of my life, are Jewish.
Our best allies in resolving the Arab / Israeli conflict are our Jewish friends themselves who see things for what they truly are, through the eyes of humanity.
Who do I see at peace events and anti-war demonstrations? Those are generally my Buddhist friends.
One, who often takes the time to say hello, might be one of the calmest, kindest, gentlest, and most seemingly enlightened people I have ever met.
I am also especially inspired by the authors like Thich Nhat Hanh whose words remind us how to maintain peace in everything we do.
This week I wrote a brief article about Salem, Oregon's sister city in Tamilnadu, India.
Our contact there is extremely excited about rebuilding this relationship and in looking at the photos of the two cities named 'Salem' I see much in common.
Surely I could go on and on, and my point is that there are good qualities in all faiths, and not so good qualities.
Religion is fine with me if and when it is in a positive context, but we have to face up to the fact that the three primary monotheistic faiths; Christianity, Islam and Judaism, are full of zealots who misinterpret and in turn exploit their particular faith. The only faiths I don't see these qualities in would be from the far east, not the Middle east and not the Midwest.
Christian extremists shoot abortion doctors and beg for money on television making millions from poor Americans. Muslim men sometimes treat women horribly; denying their most basic sense of freedom. Jewish 'Zionists' believe it is perfectly legitimate to steal and rob the homes of Palestinians and shoot peace activists in Israel. Buddhists have a religious structure that blocks women from being able to ascend within that system until they die and come back to earth as a man.
I could go on... we need to step up the plate as human beings and find the answers to peace. There is a concept of religious freedom that is not being upheld in this nation and the 'Muslim-bashing' is only something we should be ashamed of.
Does your belief system match up to what is required and expected by God?
I'm not sure if mine does, but I can tell you it is a match for the needs of the living, breathing human race, and for the future generations that I hope have a chance to exist.
All people should be able to live free and without bondage or fences or walls. I believe that we are all the same, but others do not. It seems logical to me that we are simply products of our birthplace and given culture; we don't have any choice in where we begin. In many cases walls are metaphorical, but in the case of Palestine, the world's most historic Biblical place, the walls are more than twenty feet high.
The video posted below is an important view into the modern world that we live in, please watch it with an open mind and learn:
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
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