The world’s religions are ablaze in confrontation.
Charlie Hebdo is the flame that set them off, and now they stare at each other in the mirror, with foreboding, with mistrust, with hatred and denial. Real feelings have been brought to the fore, seemingly intractable differences – and where do we go from here?
It is a deadend. It is two warring camps, set opposite one another, pledged to their own flag, their own God.
It is an identity crisis of monumental order.
Who are we? This is the great question.
Are we Christian, or Muslim, or Jew? Three prominent faiths, born of the same root, the same Book, set at each other’s throats. Which is the real one? Who has the correct relation with their same God? Who is the Chosen?
While we wait for Someone to lead us out of this quagmire of a world, to end our suffering, to lead us into Paradise, murder and mayhem are the order of the day. Kill the ‘other’, the infidel, the blasphemer, root out the Devil.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the very great German Poet, Novelist, Dramatist and Playwright, once wrote:
“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”
The time has come when people everywhere are being forced to look at themselves, whether they like it or not. There is no escape.
Who Are We? – this is the question.
Are we Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or are we something else?
All of these faiths look to the God beyond. But what about the God within? What about people? What about ordinary human beings? What about mothers and fathers all over the planet who care for their children, who work hard, who sacrifice everything for their children, for a future they hope will bring peace and prosperity and a realm of humane behavior for themselves and their offspring?
The madness is there. One culprit is insane religion, that looks beyond to allegiance to a certain shade and type of God, shrouded in dogma and ritual and arcane definitions and narrow, outdated, constricted identities too small to cover the two-year old girl in Iraq, the farmer in Russia, the schoolboy in South Africa, the plowman in India, the camel driver in Kyrgyzstan, the secretary in Chicago, the rice grower in Bangkok, the poor in Rio’s favelas.
We need to be recognized. We are people. We are brothers and sisters. We are human beings.
Who can call us who we really are?
What religion is big enough for that?
James Hilgendorf is the author of nine non-fiction books, including “Maybe We Need A New Religion”. His other titles include “Life & Death: A Buddhist Perspective”; “Forever Here”; “The Buddha and the Dream of America”; “The Great New Emerging Civilization”; “Handbook For Youth in a Muddied Age”; “A New Myth for America”; “Poems of Death: Time for Eternity”, and “The New Superpower”. His books are available in paperback or e-book format through bookstores, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, Scribd, Oyster, and other online booksellers.
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