Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Shoot first-Tase later?

Is it really necessary to shoot people who commit minor crimes? No one condones the behavior of people who commit non-violent crimes but is it really necessary for the police to kill them? When did the police stop using tasers to gain physical control over someone who is resisting arrest? The killing of the teen age boy in Missouri comes to mind. The young man appears to have broken several crimes by the time he was apprehended and he appears to have physically attacked the cop, but he was not armed. Surely he could have been tased if the policeman was out manned, or the policeman could have stayed in his car and radioed  for back up.  Was it really necessary to fire six shots and kill him? Deadly force should only be used against deadly force, or the cleat threat of deadly force. Too many cops are starting to act as if using their gun is the first option. There are two sides to every story and no one disputes that being a policeman can be a very dangerous and stressful job. That stress can be reduced by training law enforcement individuals to remember that taking a life is seldom the best solution. Far better to avoid the confrontation in the first place- even if it means losing face or letting someone act out- or even temporarily escape. Cooler heads should prevail. The loss of the young man's life and all the rioting that followed could have been prevented had the policeman restrained himself from over re-acting.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

 Ebola and Religious Terrorism

Religious terrorism is the Ebola virus of civilization. It spreads under conditions of poverty and intolerance  when  ideologies become infected by zealots. It's unquenchable rage from those who see no meaningful future for themselves. It's madness masked as Barbarism. Like a parasitic vampire it sucks the blood of the host religion. Islam risks losing it's relevance in modern society unless members of that faith speak with one voice  and condemn the Islamic terrorists who claim they are acting in the name of God.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Don't Blame God

Christians, Jews, Muslims have been at war with each other ever since our species abandoned Pagan Gods in favor of a monotheistic male God  more than 20  centuries ago.  The ancient Jews created their version of God in dark caves and wrote what later became known as the "Old Testament".  They paid a steep price for their heresy. Later, a spell binding healer named Jesus came along and was quickly and efficiently crucified by the pagan Romans. There is debate about this- but some claim that Jesus was resurrected from his grave.Whether that was the case, or not,  his disciples and their descendents traveled far and wide in the old world to resurrect his reputation in order to create a new religion called "Christianity". Not to be out done, a self proclaimed prophet named Mohammad decided that Arabs deserved their own version of a male God and very quickly the doctrine of Islam spread throughout the shores and trade lanes of the Mediterranean Sea. Problems quickly arose when Jews, Christians and Muslim all  began to claim the holy sites as their own and promoted their own version of God's words and directives to humanity. All three religions have been at war within their own ranks and with one another ever since. There are dozens of divisions and versions of Christianity, numerous versions of Islam, and the same goes for those who follow the Jewish faith.  Neutral observers have fruitlessly pointed out over the centuries that each of these religions appear to worship the same God, and pay their respect the many of same prophets. They also have in common that all three religions were created by men, not women, and that the men firmly place the blame on women for arousing their sexual urges. Therefore each religion encourages women to maintain their virginity and to wear modest clothing that will not unduly arouse men. The  ensuing centuries have given us the crusades, the "Inquisition", the attempt by Nazis to exterminate Jews, the creation of a "Jewish State", and now deadly warfare between several branches of Islam.

The warriors of our species have always carried their Gods into battle and the very first action of the victor is  to displace the Gods of those who are conquered. There is nothing new about the religious wars we're witnessing in the Middle East other than the fact that the weapons have become more deadly and efficient over the centuries. All three religions and their various sects still basically worship the same monotheistic "God" concept. Many observers note that religion evolved out of superstition. Our ancestors, failing yet to understand the laws of physics, the existance of planets, and the behavior of stars - didn't fully trust the Sun to return periodically, nor an eclipse to end, or understand the cause of diseases. Our tendency has always been  to defy what we don't understand and pray that it will continue, or go away- as the case may be.

Whether or not we share the views of others when it comes to religion, it might be useful to remember that the word itself implies something "supernatural". While there is much that we do not understand about the Universe and the concept of "life" there can't, by definition, be anything "supernatural" about something that clearly exists. We exist therefore life, and all that we witness or fail to understand, is perfectly "natural".
The fact that we don't understand something doesn't necessarily mean that it's" super natural", it just means that we're still in a state of ignorance.  No one can, or should, deny our never ending search for spirituality in our daily lives -even though we appear to be the only species who strives to find such meaning. If religion serves that purpose so be it. But maybe we can agree that killing each other over our differing views on spirituality is as contrary to any concept of spirituality as can possibly be imagined. It's been said many times that there is no God worth worshiping who would condone all of this hatred and killing. If we must worship let's worship a God that brings us together in peace - not a God that urges us to kill one another.