August 5, 2010

War in the Name of Religion


"Fighting a war over religion is like arguing about who has the best invisible friend." - Attributed to Yasser Arafat, Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

If you ever get to watch the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Chosen Realm" there is a line in it where the one fanatically religious alien admits the civil war on his world is about "the Makers" making the spheres in 9 days. Their enemies believe the Makers made the spheres in 10 days.

Its such a minute difference, but the two sides eventually obliterate each other (sorry, spoiler alert).

And that is hardly the only metaphor to be garnered from the TV show, which is largely one giant metaphor for America's War on Terror. Enterprise premiered on September 26, 2001, a mere 13 days after September 11th and it was not long afterwards that the writers began to work metaphors concerning war, terrorism, religion and interfering with other cultures into the plot. The show was later cancelled in 2005 despite strong fan support.

The point of this post however is not to debate the merits of a TV show, its to talk about the ridiculousness of fighting a war over religion when there are other things that are more logical to fight a war over:

#1. Survival: Food, water and safety. Life requires these three things and when they are threatened people will fight tooth and nail to protect them.

#2. Freedom against Tyranny & Genocide: Dictators need to be overthrown because they threaten the well-being of the population. Even if its just a small segment of society which is being threatened, the rights of every individual needs to be protected.

Fighting over things like economics, oil, diamonds, gold, valuable resources is really about greed. There's no logic to it beyond large-scale thievery.

But worse of the worse is fighting a war over a belief system, something which is intangible. It would be like going to war because I believe that the universe always existed and you believe the universe was created as per the Big Bang Theory. We can't prove which one of us is correct, so why fight over it?

War in the Name of Religion is a perversion... Religions often praise the path of peace: Jesus said "turn the other cheek", the word Islam itself means "peace", Hinduism is largely about tolerance and acceptance, Buddhists believe in karma, etc... thus perverting religion (turning it upside down) and using it as an argument in favour of war is ultimately heresy and blasphemy, even if you don't believe in a religion.

Its all well and good to die for a cause, but only if its one worth fighting for. Religion is not worth it and the concept that "god" favours one group of people over another is sheer arrogance.

"Religious intolerance breeds fear of other religions."

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