Yesterday, all Britain woke to a horror story which, I’m sure just added another one to a long list of reasons to have nothing to do with religion at all.
In lots of ways we’re almost immune to it now, but this one was beyond the pale.
In the Central African Republic area of Bangui an enraged man had killed another man by stabbing him, dousing him in petro land then setting him alight. He then ate this victim’s leg to the bone for the crime of being Muslim. You, see it goes like this:- The Muslims there were persecuting and killing the Christians, hoping to drive them out. This man’s innocent wife and children had been butchered in the melee. The Christians eventually regained control and then began killing Muslims in a pay back.
That poor victim just like many Christians killed by the Muslims was just an innocent passerby. For that he was tortured, killed and his leg was eaten!
A tit for tat “religious” killing.
This sort of fighting isn’t just confined to ‘The people of the Book’ either. Look at the Buddhists killing the Rohingya in Myanmar.
A few years ago I was told of a true happening in Indonesia. There Christians and Muslims were hacking and killing each other.
Sick of all of this the village’s Christian Leader stood with the Muslims and said to his flock “If you want to kill Muslims you’ll have to kill me first” The Muslim leader did the same thing. Standing with the Christians he said to his people. “If you want to kill Christians you’ll have to kill me first.
The fighting stopped straight away.
Like the British people, I’m sick to death of religious fanatics OF ANY FAITH. “You are a stain on your own faith!” is what I say.
Whenever I’m in London I love to go and speak at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park. I consider that place as the cradle of democracy as you are free to get up on your soap box and say whatever you like. I have a mate, who’s a monk and he looks after my speaking ladder in his Monastery ceiling. Speakers Corner is where cultures, lifestyles and philosophies of life collide and, in the rubber hitting the road, there’s lots of smoke, sparks and noise.
At the moment, it’s full of fanatical Christians, Muslims and the occasional Jewish person finding great joy in insulting each other, each other’s religion and telling their own followers why their religion is the only true way.
I call them fanatics out of a saying of a Muslim friend of mine. “Excuse me” he will often say ; ”I’m a fundamentalist. They’re fanatics!”
On my last visit to Speakers Corner there was this fanatical Muslim and Jewish person shouting at each other from their podiums. They each had posters ,flags and books which they shook at each other in their rage.
Fed up with their antics I shouted. “I’m sick to death of the both of you”! Why don’t you both go over there and sort it out. Leave us out of your hatred. We want none of it.”
Utterly shocked by what I had said. They literally linked arms with each other and began collectively to attack me. To insult each other, each needed a sympathetic audience and when there was none there, they slunk away.
There is a Muslim saying:-
“Come, come whoever you are,
It doesn’t matter if you’re an unbeliever
And it doesn’t matter if you’ve fallen a thousand times.
Come, come whoever you are
For this is not the door of hopelessness,
Come just as you are.”
And also, there’s a Christian hymn that goes:-
“Come as you are, that’s how I want you.
Come as you are, feel quite at home…….
Don’t run away, shamed and disheartened,
Rest in my love, trust me again”.
Now, I’m sure if I look I’ll find something Jewish that says the same thing.
One of the earliest names for God in the Old Testament to which all Jews, Christian and Muslims ascribe is “Loving Kindness”. Guess what a name for Buddah is….You got it,” Loving Kindness”!
Now, I’m not saying all religions are one. Not anything like that at all. But what I can say is that the deeper you go into your own religion, the deeper respect you have for others. It just goes with the territory.
I don’t know if religion will ever recover from the morass it has got itself into today. Some of it’s own making such as paedophilic clergy and Jihad hungry Mullahs and some out of blind triumphalist stupidity such as picking on gays and other people who are different. Some of it out of it’s own paranoia “It’s not us who are picking on them, it’s them who are picking on us.” It’s a real shame because within it I have met some of the finest people of each faith humanity can begat. But I’ve also met some of the biggest bastards known to humanity, too.
I have always believed that a good, tolerant, decent secular society is the best way to keep the excesses of religion in check. But it just could be that good decent, tolerant secular society is as sick the religious fanatics as I am and plays out “A curse on all of you”
Meanwhile, those who know they hold the real power in the religious institutions, the bankers will have long ago worked out a plan B.