28 Oct


RELIGION photo: Religion religion_world.jpg
  Words like jihad are common these days. Common and, we perceive them as threatening. Jihad actually means a struggle on behalf of god and Islam, though why any god worth his salt should want mere mortals to engage in a struggle on his mighty behalf is beyond me. It would seem that despite omnipotence and omniscience and a great deal of power when it comes to creating universes and the like, gods need a bit of help in the day-to-day running of their empires, and it seems they prefer disillusioned thugs to do the menial graft.
But this tendency for mostly young men to take up arms and fight the good fight against people not remotely interested in fighting is getting a bit scary. Witness recent events as far from the Middle Eastern battlegrounds as you could imagine, in Canada.
We are told that perfectly ordinary young folks are “radicalised”, or turned into murdering scumbags who, being imbued with irrational thought, think everyone should share it.
There is a solution of course, but it is, to risk being confusing, radical in its own way.
All religions that have as a figurehead some immortal deity are guilty or have been guilty of intense cruelty. Christianity has, for sure. Islam has, and evidence lies in bloody scattered fragments all around. Judaism (read the Old Testament if you want to see how rotten that was) lacks tolerance. And they all want to convert everyone else to their own peculiar versions of monotheism.
Let me try to explain my own attitude to religion – it’s really quite simple. I was taught, as a small boy and then a bigger boy and finally an almost-a-man boy that God is in his Heaven and he loves me. It was simple and because it was all-pervasive it was hard to be original and not believe it. It concerned events that occurred before I was born, long before in actual fact, and I was used to absorbing those. I knew about the second world war even though I was actually born during it, though couldn’t, of course remember one blind thing about it, being a babe in arms as it came to an end. But I learned about it, and there was evidence in the form of bomb sites still a-plenty during the forties. I was taught about other wars, and shown evidence that they happened. Medals, cigarette cases with bullet holes in them, all sorts of stuff. Evidence.
And I was taught about God, and the only evidence as such that I was shown was the Jewish history book, the Bible. There were churches with towers and steeples just about everywhere I looked, of course, great buildings with fine histories, and they were also supposed to be evidence for the existence of God. They had to be. I was told that.
Then I became a man with the sort of mind that asks questions and slowly, ridiculously slowly I’m ashamed to say, I de-constructed the faith that I had been taught was as real as candy-floss and ice-creams, and I found it had no substance at its heart.
It was a cruel book, the Old Testament. I was brought up by a widowed mother and she meant everything to me, yet that filthy book placed women low in the order of things. They were so insignificant that a sneering, misogynist deity made them out of a man’s rib! That’s all they were. The man was all that mattered, but he needed someone to shag. His rib, therefore, was all the deity required. To the man the glory, to the woman the toil. And to make matters worse, women (in the shape of Eve and original sin) were the cause of everything nasty that happened since then. Right, the stories are obviously nonsense but the balance of humanity they represent still continues. Women, especially in Islamic cultures, are of little consequence outside the breeding cycle. They can be flogged, thrashed, lashed, and all for very little transgression in societies that are almost totally male orientated. If a woman is raped it is her fault, so lash her! What exists in elements of Islam today is very much the same as what existed in the so-called holy lands of Genesis and Deuteronomy.
And I had put my mother on a pedestal in my own mind. True, she suffered from a kind of nasty all-pervading senility whilst still in her fifties, and died as a consequence, but I treasured her. I still do. And that sodding bible treated her and her gender as worthless. As punishable for nearly nothing. Violently. Cruelly. And I had been taught that all this was right.
Bit by bit I de-constructed the faith I had had hammered into my head since birth and began to see it for what it was.
And it was rubbish.
In the history of my own society (and I was taught that there was little that wasn’t perfect about British history – another set of lies, I’m afraid) it was, from time to time, considered quite the right thing to do to women who dared to be wise to burn them whilst alive at the stake. They might, after all, be in league with Satan (who has never existed) and therefore helping him in his eternal battle against God (who has also never existed.)
Just like the treatment of some women in more devout Islamic countries today.
But I suggested, hundreds of words back, that there is a solution to all the chaos that still spreads misery and contempt for human rights across the globe and that may, one day, cause its destruction if anger over non-existent gods spills over and ignites youthful insanity.
All religion that has, at its centre, an alien, a god, a deity, anything like that, should be dismantled and cast into the pages of history books for future generations to read about, and despair of humanity’s foolishness “once upon a time”. I’m not a believer, but don’t worry about that because, like most people, I can see what belief does. It creates a game of right and wrong, and nobody wants to be wrong.
So dismantling the lot, from mullahs to popes to the whole damned lot, and slowly building a world without silly gods to divide it. Look: I called them silly and not one of them dared to strike me down for typing it!
If that happens then the future of life on this planet is more assured. If it doesn’t there are possibilities, some of which are most unpleasant. You see, it is the nature of youth to find a cause and if that cause involves gods and weird promises about gifts of virgins in an impossible afterlife (or even an impossible afterlife in what is quaintly called heaven) then the battle will be all the bloodier.
© Peter Rogerson 28.10.14


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