If you stop to ponder one horror, you risk being overtaken and overwhelmed by the next. The Four Horsemen riding in advance of the Apocalypse have been at full gallop for some time now and their steeds show no signs of slowing.
The calamitous cowardice that left four Marines dead in Chatanooga, Tennessee, is still on front pages across the country where newspaper are printed and on and in all manner of news feeds. I (attempt to) make my living with words, and I have none in reaction to this atrocity or to any of the seemingly unending stream of butchery and barbarism that has befallen us.
Charlie Manson is right, “no sense makes sense” and there is no sense, or rhyme or reason to any of what is happening across the globe. A contagion of one part religion, one part ethnic inferiority complex, one part nationalism and oxygen (?) has become a combustible mixture in danger of consuming the world.
And those morally bankrupt bacteria who are spreading it cannot do so fast enough to suit themselves. The light of a world aflame only encourages them to spread the fire. I once heard it said that when two people argue about religion, they are both wrong. Every day I see more and more proof of that position.
I’m struggling right now, in an effort to not become one of the animals against whom I so often rail, to read again a book first published in the ashen aftermath of 9/11, When Religion Becomes Evil, by Dr. Charles Kimball. The discipline of reading it coupled with the ongoing struggle to understand it is helping me regain my equilibrium, I hope.
I keep returning to an observation early in the book that serves as my North Star for everything which follows: "Whatever religious people may say about their love of God or the mandates of their religion, when their behavior toward others is violent and destructive, when it causes suffering among their neighbors, you can be sure the religion has been corrupted and reform is desperately needed."
Or as Lenny Bruce offered decades ago, but unheeded, "I think it's about time we gave up religion and got back to God." Amen?