World Fanaticism

by C. M. Albrecht

I’m appalled that someone should be so thoughtless and callous as to produce a film that denigrates another religion.

Throughout history, I’m sure, more people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other cause.

Of course there are also many — not only fanatics but politicians, etc. — who cynically use religion to further their own personal agendas.

But aside from that deplorable segment of our population, every religion has its collection of zealous fanatics who simply refuse to think. And political parties as well. Fortunately most of these fringe people don’t go so far as to run around killing each other. But far too many do.

Most people accept everything in the Bible as Gospel.

They have to: It’s true.

Is it?

How do we know that?

In the old days, God popped up on a regular basis and told selected people what to do and how to do it. They obeyed. Their particular story was then handed down by word of mouth from one generation to another. By the time some scribe set these stories to papyrus, they were, for the most part, a hundred or more years old. None of the gospels was written by a person who knew Jesus personally. When Gabriel spoke to Mohammed, they were all alone. No witnesses because wisely, Gabriel didn’t hang around. All we have in any of these cases is hearsay evidence. No court worth a judge’s gavel would admit that sort of testimony.

But all that was a few thousand years ago.

Where is God now? Why doesn’t He speak to prophets today?

Ah, you say, He does. He speaks to prophets like the late Rev. Moon. He speaks to chosen people all the time, and their loyal followers not only believe, but fork over most if not all their time and money to prove it. Many are willing to die for their prophet: Waco, Guyana, the California group that died so the space ship could come and whisk it off to a better universe. Of course, the vast majority of us laugh these prophets off. Nut cases. Weirdoes.

But in a thousand years, many of their writings may well become Gospel. Sometimes it doesn’t take long at all. A science fiction writer turned his home-spun philosophy into a big-time and very profitable religion. Practically a new bible for believers to study.

Time has a way of sanctifying events, especially if they’re preserved in writing as being factual.

Whatever we may choose to believe, the takeaway here is that every thinking person should realize that religion is not a subject to be taken lightly.

As we see, people are ready and willing, even eager, to kill in the name of their religion.

Never mind that Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, every single prophet I know of, preached modesty and peace; kindness to our fellow man. Too many forget that. Their motto is: You blaspheme my religion, you’re toying with your life!

Recently a priest in Pakistan took a small girl to court because he alleged she blasphemed Mohammed. What does a small girl know about Mohammed? Does that make any sense? Is that ‘do unto others’? What are people like this thinking?

Fanaticism in America hasn’t (so far) got out of control, and let us pray that it does not. It’s sad to see the constant state of religious conflict that goes on in the Middle East. Their conflicts are mostly over different aspects of the same religion. It’s as if here at home, the Baptists, the Methodists, the Episcopalians and all the other Christian churches went to war against each other, determined to kill off everyone who adheres to any but their very own religious belief.

Maybe God has whispered to me a few times. Maybe. I’d like to be able to say, like that evangelist: “If God wanted me to drive a Chevy, He’d tell me to drive a Chevy, but God do’t want me to drive no Chevy. He wants me to drive a Cadillac!”

But He has never spoken to me about things like that. He’s never ordered me to go out into the world and spread His Word, so I can’t tell you exactly what He thinks about all this, but if He’s the kind of God I want to listen to, He must be shaking his head in despair.

At this very moment He may be thinking about ordering some modern-day Noah to start construction on a new Ark.