Article 43


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Religious Diversions Part 5


It was also allowed to wage war against the holy ones and conquer them, and it was granted authority over every tribe, people, tongue, and nation. All the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, all whose names were not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life, which belongs to the Lamb who was slain.
- Revelations 13:8-9

With God Off Our Side

By Deepak Chopra
Odctober 2, 2007

One of the bitterest complaints against both sides in the Iraq war is that religion has been a prime cause. When Pres. Bush proclaimed that the war on terror represented a clash of civilizations, he implicitly meant Christianity versus Islam, a view reinforced by his further claim that he was GUIDED BY GOD in his decision-making. No one supposes that a universal God spoke to him. It was specifically a Christian God. Even Judeo-Christian would be a stretch. The Bush administration came into office hard on the heels of a massive push by Pres. Clinton to bring about a Mideast peace accord, an effort that was dropped immediately as the incoming president more or less cut ISRAEL loose. In the past six years there have been no serious attempts at peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, even as both sides declared that the U.S. must participate as a good-faith broker.

One cant help but sniff out an ulterior religious motive. Bush’s brand of fundamentalism is rife with myths about a final conflict between Christ and the Anti-Christ, an apocalyptic scenario that many right-wing Christians want to hasten rather than prevent. Before anyone points the finger at the regressive beliefs of Muslims, consider that millions of Americans have bought into the myth that a final conflict in the Mideast has been biblically prophesied to usher in JUDGEMENT DAY.

It would be a simple equation if one could say that militarists want God on their side while the peace movement doesnt. Nothing is that simple, because all societies, East and West, are entangled in history, and history has been TIED TO GOD from the beginning. When official atheism has been tried, as in the Soviet revolution and the seventy years that followed, the crimes committed against humanity have rivaled, if not surpassed, those committed in the name of religion. A wrenching divorce between God and society can’t be judged as either desirable or undesirable. And yet unless God is off our side and off the side of the jihadists - peace is impossible in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

Among Muslims there is a tiny sliver of society that has become Westernized enough to adopt laissez-faire attitudes toward religion, but the sector of true believers is vast vast enough to cause the Saudi royal family, for instance, to subsidize fundamentalism in order to retain power. In the U.S., the number of people who donגt take their identity from religion is much, much larger, but even here politicians have been backed into a corner and must pay lip service to religiosity or risk the wrath of the Republican smear machine. The irony, of course, is that the mind of God cannot be known, and to say that God is on anyones side is self-contradictory. Being omnipresent, God is on all sides. Invoking God in the name of war is theologically indefensible, no matter that it’s done every day.

Getting God off our side seems the most desirable among bad choices. In the name of globalism, the best friend of progress at this point is enlightened secularism. Spirituality will have to evolve beyond sects and beyond the primitive us-versus-the thinking engendered by organized religion. As long as one religion believes its going to win out over all others because God wants it to, the Iraq war will be a template for enduring conflict, casting its baleful shadow long into the future.


Religious Diversions
PART 1 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6

Posted by Elvis on 10/03/07 •
Section Revelations • Section Spiritual Diversions
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