When I first started on this political odyssey nearly 50 years ago I assumed religious belief would soon be shattered on the rocks of rationality. How wrong I was! Fifty years later religious belief has become the most important element in an increasing number of people’s lives. The search for meaning in a 21st century consumer driven society has become the single most important element in the current religious revival.
Everywhere you turn more and more people are discovering the word of God and those who refuse to listen, pay the price.
Religious institutions with thousands of years history battle with the world’s latest religious offering for your ear, heart and wallet. Chosen people become infidels. People are once again willing to sacrifice themselves on God’s altar for God’s eternal glory and eternal salvation.
The Christian Church, despite revelations that would destroy any other organisation, continue to thrive courtesy of the taxpayer, while the Muslim world divided on sectarian lines slaughter each other for the glory of God. The rise and rise of religion is accompanied by a rise of intolerance. When religious organisations take over the state apparatus the theocracy that’s created fuses the law of the land with what is perceived to be God’s word.
Belief, not facts and figures, is the cornerstone of religious faith. Those religious traditions that have been handed down God’s word in a written format have the greatest difficulty in reaching consensus. The land is littered with the religious beliefs of people that have come and gone. Each group believes they and they alone have God’s ear, the rest of us will never be one with the Godhead.
What can we do? Nothing. Do we have to wait for this tsunami of belief to be smothered with bucket loads of reality? Nothing destroys religious conviction more than a God who behaves like a deadbeat father. Millions have died and tens of thousands continue to die in their quest for certainty. Belief only overrides reality for a brief historical moment. Religious belief changes to maintain relevance in an ever changing world. Those Daesh fighters who have imposed their austere form of Islam on millions in Iraq and Syria, those who have blown themselves up in a futile exercise to promote their particular brand of Islam currently find themselves at a religious crossroads in Mosul and Syria.
Is belief enough to sustain them as their God deserts them to their fate? Time will tell. Although religious belief can override thoughts of self-preservation, human history is littered with examples of people who, faced with physical extinction overnight, accept major changes to their religious world view.
God’s word, God’s will, God’s plan musings of disturbed individuals who fish for the souls of people yearning for meaning in a soulless 21st century world.
Dr. Joseph Toscano
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