So let’s talk about war. And I am not talking about countries going to war – rather I am talking about religious beliefs being pitted against one another. I hear the great big “Huh?” that’s kicking up in various areas, but there’s certainly the distant beating of the war drums in the air. And there has been for some time.
Let’s take a few steps back first, though. Back in the early to mid 1980s, there was talk about how the Christian faith was waging a war against the non-mainstream beliefs. We had the Satanic panic, where anything not of the “big Five” (Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islamic, and Judaic) was considered to be the supreme agents of Satan. Pushes were made in the government sectors to make things uncomfortable for the practitioners of these non-mainstream faiths. People with children were suspected of ritual abuse of these kids, in part thanks to the sensationalized (and eventually proven to be fiction) accounts of people like Mike Warnke and Sean Sellers. These folks, in their fictionalized accounts spoke of a vast, well-organized, underground movement of Satanic groups, who had infiltrated such establishments as child care facilities, and tapped into the runaway underground community to provide untraceable sacrificial content for their great Master. All of which was proven to be fictionalized accounts by the Christian magazine Cornerstone in the mid 1990s. But while the accusations were fiction, it was certainly the first salvos in a war against non-Christian faiths.
In the past ten years, we have had many news stories that relate the religious fanaticism of those of the Islamic faiths, and how that fanaticism has been directed against the Christian faith and western societies, all because the desire is to spread the Muslim faith through force. In other words, either be baptized and receive a new shirt or die, to borrow from another time frame.
But the question is not whether these accounts are being done in the vein of religious fanaticism, but who will benefit from these types of actions. That’s right. Who will benefit from the actions?
Now before I continue down this Path, I need to point out a few things. I am not advocating violence against anyone of any faith. Anyone who knows me well is very well aware of my desire for peace over force for finding amiable solutions. But there is a point in time where I feel that I may have to physically defend myself against someone that might be using their own spiritual faith and values to deny me the rights granted under the Constitution of this country. As I wrote once before in this blog, I have a staff – and its useful for a lot more than supporting me when I walk.
But is all of this really a war of Christians against non-mainstream beliefs? Is there another war of folks of the Muslim faith against everyone else? To be perfectly honest, I am not completely sure. I would err to the side of believing that the “war” is perpetrated by extremists of either faith (pick a “war”) trying to establish a base of power over others by utilizing their “faith” as an excuse for their actions. How accurate is that statement? No idea.
If there is a “war” brewing…all I can say is at least be prepared for the concept. Fifteen-plus years of working in Disaster Recovery Planning taught me that preparing for even the most impossible scenarios is always a good plan. When I worked at a Dallas-based financial company, we planned for the potential scenario of an earthquake of severe magnitude impacting our daily operations. It was extremely unlikely to happen, but it was better to be prepared than it was to be caught unaware. The same would go for a Christian v. Pagan war. Or an Islam v. the world war. For me, its unlikely that it ever happens, but I am ready to take action to defend myself, my family (most of whom are not DNA-related to me), my faith, and my understanding of the basic freedoms every American enjoys here in the United States.
More than likely, from what I have seen, we have two different very loud, very active, very extreme minority groups within the Christian and Islamic faith systems that twist their respective spiritual teachings to justify a hatred and fear of anything that is not like them. To combat that, the targeting does not to be wide, scatter-shot techniques. We don’t need to paint all Christians as having a hatred of non-mainstream beliefs. We need to be clear and precise as to who these people are, and how they differ from the Christians and Muslims that do not believe as they do. To do otherwise will only lend credence to their own twisted arguments that its an “Us v. Them” scenario, where they are trying to convince other Christians and Muslims that this convoluted perspective is truly correct. When we paint widely, and characterize all Christians or All Muslims as believing this – we lend truth and credence to their argument. When we target specifically, and draw out the differences between these extremists and their hatred policies and the rest of the Christian and Muslim practitioners – we provide better discernment for those Christians and Muslims to stand arm and arm with us in the battle against this type of hatred.
For me, any Path is valid for the individual practicing it, provided their belief does not advocate the harming or hindrance of the physical, spiritual psychological, or psychic well-being of others nor bars the belief and faith of others. Plain and simple. And for anyone looking for a simpler way to call that: its R-E-S-P-E-C-T.