Sunday, January 07, 2007

Thoughts on religion


Great Mosque, Xi'an
Originally uploaded by jensimon7.
I've been grappling with the notion that, as many pundits suggest, Islam is fundamentally violent... and Christianity is not... making Islam evil and Christianity good.

I didn't buy it. I don't buy it. I will not buy it. One only needs to look at the Christian Crusades to realize that adherents to the Christian faith aren't necessarily all about peace.

Today I came upon a posting by Alec Dubro. He writes,
Admirers and accommodationists—including President Bush—have agreed with many Muslims in calling Islam “a religion of peace.” Adherents and fans of Buddhism, though, haven’t found it necessary to similarly define that faith. At this point, Americans equate Islam with angry mobs, and Buddhism—to the extent they think if it at all—with meditation, serenity and the Dalai Lama....

The truth is, Islam is not a religion of peace, nor, for that matter is Buddhism or any faith. All religions are what their practitioners make of them. Pretty much all of them extol peace somewhere in their teachings, but also celebrate bloody victories elsewhere. And you can find examples of each in history, and in current events.
Interestings: All religions are what their practitioners make of them. Shall we say that again? All religions are what their practitioners make of them.

I think he's on to something. Perhaps rather than painting faithful adherents with a one-word brush, we ought to understand a little be more about their beliefs and history, and realize that Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, and all other faithful and believers, have both a peaceful and a violent history. May we learn about one another, and may we find peace amongst us.

Do I have more of an answer? No. My only insight here is that the world isn't as black and white as most of us would want it to be.

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