The Regression of Enlightenment?
April 11, 2006
What is wrong with people today? The world appears to be going to “hell in a hand-basket.” And, as humanity continues on this downward spiral, the stifling stench of apathy only grows stronger and more unyielding. Will no one rise up and say enough is enough? As the world grows more and more desensitized to the suicide bombers and mounting death tolls, the landscape of our collective social conscious continues to incur irreparable damage.
Who is the crafty culprit in this global crisis? Religion, of course. Apparently, some things will never change. In the name of god and religion, the world is tearing itself apart, yet again. It’s a nation against nation, man against man affair. If you don’t look like us, talk like us, live like us and believe like us you’ve become a marked man. “Open Season” has been announced, globally, and the church is proving to be the catalyst driving the controversy and unrest. Will no one speak out? What has become of the conviction and resolve of the sixties? The church has somehow managed to alter our direction from Revolution to Revelation, as the apocalyptic propaganda worsens.
Today, if you’re part of a minority, you’re a target. Blacks, Latinos, Gays, Lesbians, Jews, Atheists, Illegal immigrants, and even Women are all walking around with a “bulls eye” on their back. A Christian in a Muslim country? You’re toast. Muslim in a Christian country? You’re under surveillance by the Dept. of Homeland Security. Basic human rights and freedoms continue to erode on a daily basis, before our very eyes, and we’ve been brain washed to believe it is acceptable and necessary.
The mentality of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, marked by a lack of understanding and tolerance, has seemingly reemerged. In the name of god and religion things like War, Hatred, and Murder are being justified once again. As FEAR is propagated by the church and world governments, there has been an alarming shift back to ignorance and blind faith. Reason, Tolerance, Acceptance, and Peace are being abandoned in this new millennium as real justice becomes a fleeting notion. The collective soul of humankind cries out from within, yet we continue to self-medicate with our iPods, internet, and cable TV to drown out our philanthropic tendencies.
How much higher will gasoline go? How many more human rights will be taken away? How many more deaths will result? How much richer will the televangelists grow before someone finally speaks up and takes a stand against the injustices and inequities of this modern era? Will our children have to grow up in a world where it is socially acceptable to de-humanize others simply because they are different? Will they have to go to sleep at night in fear because they’re not the right gender, race, religion or sexual orientation? Will they continue to go to war, fighting for things they don’t necessarily believe in?
Don’t get me wrong. Religion, faith, and spirituality are not inherently evil. They are an integral part of the human experience. However, in the hands of the powerful, the uninformed, and the unspiritual they become lethal weapons of mass destruction.
Why is it acceptable for religion to justify suicide bombing and genocide? Why is it acceptable for religion to dictate how government should legislate FOR or AGAINST people, based on their sexual orientation? Why is it acceptable for religion to marginalize and force women and minorities out of leadership positions in the church? The religions of the world seem to have a strangle-hold on societies and governments as of late and their grip only intensifies. Is this what religion is really supposed to be about? Has it honestly just become a tool of prejudice used to divide man against man, faith against faith and nation against nation? One could argue that this is the case.
Recently in the United States, large masses of illegal immigrants, predominantly Latino, and their supporters have been taking to the city streets in protest of the current discussion and movement to expel them from the county. I applaud my Latino brothers and sisters for their courage and conviction to stand and fight for what it right. But I have to ask myself, is this what it takes to wake people up? Must we be faced with the prospect of losing everything before taking action? Maybe so, but why wait? Why not choose to be proactive rather than reactionary? Instead of retreating behind the walls outdated religious institutions, why not charge into battle against the injustices we now face? As the Latin community has demonstrated, together we CAN make a difference. Joined together, our individual voices can become a thundering war cry that will intimidate the most innocuous of enemies.
Isn’t it time for us to reclaim control of our lives, our society, and our world? We all really do posses the ability to effect change, and I believe that there is just enough goodness left in the world to get the job done. But it will require us all to make a conscious decision to stand, to speak, to be counted and to refuse to accept anything less than victory. This I believe.
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