There is a growing number of people who use religion as a scapegoat for the violent world in which we live. This is ironic when one studies the world religions and finds that there is a common thread that is woven within the tapestry of all faiths. Whether here at home or abroad, in todays age or the age of our ancestors, this common denominator is present.
The common thread is the attempt to root out and abolish thoughts and their subsequent actions that are contrary to the well being of an individual or his or her society. Religion attempts this through the power of narrative and tradition. These traditions are many. They seek to identify what is bad (immoral or sinful), and what is good (moral and ethical). These systems of belief that help an individual develop a deeper sense of moral altruism do not lead to the violence and strife we see in the world today. This is a simple fact. What does occur is a perversion and manipulation of religious systems for political gain.
According to David Barrett et al, editors of the “World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions – AD 30 to 2200,” there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. 34,000 separate Christian groups have been identified in the world. “Over half of them are independent churches that are not interested in linking with the big denominations.” To read more click on the link below.
With religious extremism at the forefront of the major media conglomerates focus, we are being given a daily lesson on how ideological manipulation can be used as a means of justification for the most atrocious acts. This lesson, while worthwhile, pales in comparison to the larger world issues that dominate the majority of the world populations day to day affairs. We live in a world where many terrible things occur, people are suffering by the billions worldwide, and most of it has little or nothing to do with religion. We are being indoctrinated by mass media to viscerally respond to, and focus on, religion as a major root cause of the suffering and strife in this world. This is simply not the case. We live in a world where tactical diversions keep us looking in one direction while the real issues go largely unnoticed. We also experience apathy toward many of the worlds issues because we are led to believe that it has always been this way- that it is how the world works. This is nonsense.
Earlier I stated that the common thread found in many of the worlds religions is an attempt to root out and abolish thoughts and their subsequent actions that are contrary to the well being of an individual or his or her society, and it is done through the power of narrative and tradition, and I stand by that statement. Religion is more often a transformative tool that increases the awareness of self, and the role of an individual in a societal context, than anything else- it does not(in and of itself) incite masses of people to do violence. The media bombardment that has religious extremism as the leading cause of suffering and death is complete bunk. We must look at the politically motivated machines behind these so called ‘religious observers’.
As you can see in the chart above the leading causes of death (and the suffering beforehand) are in no way connected to religion. These statistics are the end result of a flawed system which allows suffering on a massive scale. Religious extremism is definitely a problem, but it is impotent without political power.
The real war on religion is about political positioning. It is about garnering solidarity amongst citizens so that the will of the government and the will of the people become aligned. This is the real problem. Men and women who seek power will utilize whatever tool is available to do so, and with the media machine and western philosophy primed and at ready it is no stretch of the imagination that we are manipulated on a grand scale and on a daily basis.
Here is a link where you can discover a list of causes of death by rate worldwide:
In this list, it is interesting to note that the first ’cause’ that has a direct connection to any sort of violence is 15 spots down, and is listed as ‘Intentional injuries (Suicide, Violence, War, etc.)’ and has a rate of 37 male deaths per 100,000. Now if we look at the 14 spots preceding it, we see a list that highlights the true root causes of suffering and strife in our world- abject poverty and the deplorable conditions in which many billions live. When I added up the number of male deaths per 100,000 for these 14 top killers I got an astronomical number of 2,229.8 per 100,000.
Is it all starting to add up yet??
If we are going to have any chance of changing this world for the better we have got to make changes where changes are necessary. We can go on allowing mass media to manipulate our assessment of the situation for political reasons- or we can dig a little deeper and focus on the reality of the situation. The suffering in this world is the byproduct of a system that enriches and empowers a few while oppressing and impoverishing the masses. All you need to do is crunch the numbers to see the proof. I am done with the media hype. Give me the data and I will make up my own mind.
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