The savagery of today's religions is brought out in a horrible video of events this last month. It is not for the feint of heart. Nor is it for those who wish to keep faith in humanity. Those of us who do, need to remind ourselves that there are other people in the world less virulently "religious", hence kinder and more compassionate and ultimately ... more human.
This video elicits a simple reaction: gather these people up and build a wall around them, isolate them so that they cannot co-habitate with humanity, for humanity does not deserve them and they do not deserve humanity. They will beat, enslave, murder and discriminate - all "in the name of God."
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the video is the hypocrisy of zealots: from violence in an Amish community to teens telling reporters that they "love" homosexuals but don't want them attending a prom,
The producers of the YouTube videos series, ConversationwithA, may have a problem in obtaining widespread viewership since it promotes atheism, but it can constructively be viewed as one absolutist view pointing out the hypocrisies of absolutist views. This position, however, is not without its merits: today's America is so dumbed-down that only shocking, black-and-white imagery can be effective. Nuance and metaphor are only for those whose I.Q. are above that of a dead flashlight battery.*
Savage Sunday Points
It may not seem ironic, the video airing on a Sunday: for what day of the week would better suit it than one in which America is steeped in religion. It is a savage counterpoint to the (sometimes) clandestine savagery of religion, the underbelly of piety of which few dare speak in highly religious countries like America.
Here are some of the news items featured:
- Pat Robertson says having a picture of Buddha in your house is idolatry and tells the owner to set it on fire because it may be demonic.
- Leader of an Amish Community is accused of violent acts and sexual abuse against members who don't agreed with him.
- Passersby in London are accosted by a Muslim sect for "looking gay" and not adhering to Sharia law.
- A fatwa is issued against Kashmir's all-girl rock band.
- Indonesian Muslims discourage people from celebrating Valentines Day.
- Saudi Arabian cleric issues edict that all baby girls should be forced to wear burkas
- Noted Saudi preacher who raped and tortured his five-year-old to death is given shockingly light sentence.
- Mother who thought 2-year old daughter was possessed by an evil spirit throws away body in trash.
- Thousands of children accused of witchcraft in Democratic Republic of the Congo are being violently abused by their own parents in response to the teaching of their pastors who tell them that the children are possessed and the cause of their poverty.
- Headline: House Bill 2647 Could Prevent Aizona Atheist From Graduating High School.
- A "kiss-in" outside Moscow's parliament became violent when the protesters were attacked by people who disagreed with (gay or straight) public displays of affection.
Love On Sunday
Another shocking aspect of the video is its demonstration of a total lack of love for humanity: from brutal clerics to doggedly fundamentalist teenagers, the lack of love for neighbors (and even kin) is appallingly evident, no matter the cries of "we don't really hate anyone." Negativity is rampant, steeped in righteousness and paranoia. And while one could argue that the religious attitudes are "fringe" and relatively small, that negativity has an far-reaching impact on the psyches of whole countries: even in church-going America, the love on Sundays has turned into a diatribe of hatred and despair, a polemic against almost any form of "Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself."
We are seeing the dark side of religiosity on a day when we are supposed to be aware of our humanity.
*After all, it is a country in which half voted for George Bush - twice.