Religion needs to stress 'common good'
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013 06:00 am
Dr. Mike Sosteric's reference to religion as one influence for violence is very timely because again the world is faced with the prospect of another violent return of the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and others, which, in a strange distortion of language and semantics is framed as "protecting innocents" (by killing more of them). A small U.S. senate panel may decide the life and fate of millions and the only world powers, China and Russia, opposing the might of Leviathan are castigated as selfishly uninterested in humanitarianism.
On this issue the world's religious leaders remain largely silent. Yes, a weak "thou shalt not" may have been uttered but it is not nearly enough. Religious institutions have enormous power over people and they could very easily bring a halt to egregiously unjust wars if they really thought it important. The Christian churches are especially to blame because it is the Christian west that has perpetrated all the wars of recent history and the equally violent imperialist manipulations of third world countries for economic advantage. But instead, they fixate on the impropriety of female priests or same-sex unions.
Religion has never been a force for peace but with a different orientation, it could be. It needs a narrative which posits human beings as born good although corruptible. It needs to stress common good more than the individual soul, although they are not disconnected. It needs to condemn war in the strongest terms, especially when not sanctioned by the UN security council, but also generally.
As for violence in society, it is important to distinguish non-violence from passivity. During the Afghanistan and Iraq wars many well-known pundits characterized those who protested vociferously against the war-mongering lies of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al., as "haters."
So if you hated the gross injustice that constituted wholesale state murder, you were a hater. If strong opinions on the side of humanity and justice are hate, shouldn't you then conclude that some hate is good?
Doris Wrench Eisler, St. Albert