Symptom of the Universe has been enjoying an extended summer vacation – here is a quick piece that I have been brooding about for a few weeks – feel free to comment and discuss.
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The world is a vampire, sent to drain
Secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames
Billy Corgan/Smashing Pumpkins
Any drive through a modern, well-bred community will see a confluence of Volvos and Priuses adorned with bumper stickers pleading with all of us to coexist. The main argument of this movement, or better still – sentiment – is that all religious groups should get along with each other and play nice. Just be tolerant of one and another and accept each other for who they are and everything will be alright – one gigantic bohemian love fest for the world community. Is this where we are heading? Not likely. Is this realistic? Not at all.
Religious groups and groups in general are not in the inclusion business. By definition, a group excludes just as it includes. Sure, some more liberated groups are “open to all,” but many groups are designed to discriminate and exclude. A great many groups, both religious and secular, have no interest in coexisting with one another. For example –
Do fundamentalist Christians want to coexist with Pro Choicers?
Do Zionists want to coexist with Palestinians?
Does Focus on the Family want to accept gays and lesbians? Do Mormons or fundamentalists?
Do Orthodox Jews accept the un-Orthodox?
Does the Taliban want to coexist with moderate Muslims (or anyone?)
Do the religious want to coexist with atheists (and vice versa?)
Did Nazis want to coexist with Jews?
Bosnians with Serbs?
Japanese with Chinese?
New worlders with indigenous groups?
North and South Korea?
Confederate and Union?
A resounding no is the answer to all of these.
We need to be educated about groups we are included in as well as groups we are excluded from. If I could answer to my readers and the world how to make all of these disparate groups love, tolerate and coexist I would be in Sweden accepting my Nobel Prize. We do need to be tolerant – it looks more and more like the only ones who are tolerant are the socially liberal folks. So many others are willing to start wars, discriminate, exclude and marginalize a great many people from the world’s communities.
Extremely large portions of our world are uneducated and will remain that way. Critical thinking is not part of the picture for a great many people and there is no denying mankind’s historical tribal roots and passions. People like to be part of a group – safety in numbers – he/she is one of us – some people just don’t belong. The fears are that these tendencies can prove to be discriminatory and hateful at best and fatal at worst.
So as a liberally minded person I do not want to squash anyone’s beliefs – but I also do not want other’s beliefs and discriminations thrust upon me. I do have strong feelings against religion and higher powers but I also do not engage on the topic by assaulting others’ beliefs unless I am engaged to do so – I suppose at times my writing can provoke.
Where do we go from here? Is there hope?
Coexist is not an answer but rather a utopian ideal that is unattainable. There may be no solution at all except for us to strive for knowledge of others who are not like us.
Tags: atheism, Christian, coexist, critical thinking, education, exclude, fiction, Focus on the Family, fundamentalist, groups, Islam, judaism, Muslim, orthodox, pro choice, religion, safety in numbers, social liberal, Taliban, tolerance, tribalism