Sunday, March 4, 2007

We Want Peace, But...

There are two competing philosophies that stand out in my mind that seem to affect the course of civilization, one that allows for unrestricted use of force to gain its objectives and one that constrains us in the use of that force. In relation to these concepts we develop fixed ideas that color all that we do whether for good or ill. Within the span of these core belief systems are the innumerable actions we take as individuals or groups that range from extreme pacifism to uncontrolled aggression. If those who are cautious and wise gain more influence in the marketplace of ideas than those who are reckless and authoritarian, I believe we as a race are in a much better position to nurture peace and implement just political and social policies.

Religion, I think is a force for great good or great evil. It is a two-edged sword that great prophetic voices through the ages have made very clear. While religion can be used to do great harm against those who are deemed to be servants of evil, it can also be an incredibly positive force to do good since all scriptures have passages within them that are universal in the ability to redirect our energies toward making the planet a better place to live. Of course, it is tempting to think that God doesn't care about humankind because people everywhere have always suffered as a result of natural catastrophic events. Destruction is part of physical existence. We can't escape it while in our bodies or while dwelling in homeworld Earth. The galaxies live and die in cycles of unending creation and destruction as do those who live here on this small blue dot in space. If we in our struggle to survive, can't transcend to a higher thought plane other than the "grab what you can and to hell with the others" mindset because of the constant precariousness of life, I think we're in big, big trouble.

Using God to justify violence is absurd because no one can prove that their ideas of God are one hundred percent true as claimed and giving lip-service to peace while hiding under its cloak does not bring it about but does just the opposite. Using it as cover is manipulative in that it deceives people, skewing their ideas and poisoning their spirits. As members of the human family we have much in common yet our leaders repeatedly vilify other nations and cultures and teach us to do the same. When are we going to rise as a human family and finally force our leaders to abolish war and ignore those who preach hate? Do we have that much of a global death wish? We have the tools to make peace. They are in our minds and hearts because we have all learned them from childhood and though we sometimes forget the ways of peace, if we are doggedly committed to their pursuit, we have a good chance of propagating it and limiting unneeded suffering in our individual and collective lives.

No comments: