Wednesday, April 19, 2006

When religion is a bad thing

Religion can be a bad thing.  I have just been reading an article about how a centuries old culture is disappearing in the wake of the new fundamentalism being embraced by Muslims.  It seems that for at least 800 years Hindu, Buddhist, and Confucian traditions co-existed peacefully with Islam in Malaya.  Malaya, a Southeast Asian nation, is home to a majority Muslim population.  Now a situation has arisen where the democratically elected Muslim party has decreed that certain Hindu rituals are illegal and offensive to Islam.  When questioned about rationale for this decree the reply is that previously Muslims did not know it was offensive.  Does this sound familiar?

This problem goes deeper than just one religion dominating all others, a dream of all sects, but signals the erosion of a culture that will most likely disappear completely.  This is a trend that is more serious than the mirage of global warming.  This is only the first shot in the newest version of culture wars for which most societies are completely unprepared.  The result will be similar to the Islamic conquest of nations by the sword during medieval times.  More than likely there will bloodshed this time too.

In the United States the only thing preventing this behavior by fundamentalist or evangelical Christians is the constitution and the dislike of Christianity by the majority of the “thinking” population.  This will change as more Muslims find their way here.  In Europe the danger is the greatest because the numbers are already large and because the sophisticated Europeans cannot imagine such a disaster befalling them.  After all they are not any like the Asians who are superstitious and susceptible to such ideas.

Religions are proving to be capable of reverting to the political systems in which they originated.  Mankind’s fear of the unknown and the comfort of an afterlife will always prove irresistible to most; of course the beneficiaries of theocratic life are, as in any system, the leaders.  Mullahs, priest, popes, preachers, deacons, shamans, you name it their vocation is based on their desire to dominate and lead others.

Behavior is the surest guide to motives.  Be observant and careful.

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