Rational Religion

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September 13, 2001..


Two days ago a cleverly-engineered scheme of international aggression altered the trajectory of the American society; how much remains to be seen, but I tremble for Civil Liberty.


To blame, in a final analysis, is probably the intractable inequities of modern civilization, in which the HAVES have so much more than the HAVENOTS that cynical manipulators (part of the HAVES, actually, successfully disguising themselves) can get intelligent young HAVENOTS to immolate themselves to flesh out the manipulators' agenda--dying in a cause which has very little to do with making their own world a better place to live in.


And making other people's worlds infinitely worse.


These things are made possible by an egregious flaw in the way most of us human creatures hold our beliefs; as though  they mattered more than life; our own lives and the lives of others.


The  Rational Religionist  knows that belief is not to be wielded like a sword, or wound like a shroud; nor even to be defended like a fortress.


Beliefs are a collection of ideas; most often borrowed from an ill-informed past but constructed by each of us, individually, to help us make sense of a dynamic and confusing universe which is much too large and complex to keep track of with even a superior human central nervous system.


They are, ideally, placeholders for our lives and personalities; in a world which may alter so radically in the span of one average human existence that precepts which we hold sacred in our first decade may make no objective sense even to us by our fifth or sixth.


Still, most believers  cleave to them; and often the more frantically as their logic and certainty begin to escape us.  We forget that they are only intellectual and emotional tools, to be modified as needed and exchanged for better as better become available.


The only excuse for martyrdom is a certain cantankerous stubbornness in the face of unreasonable,  ignorant and oppressive authority.  There is no excuse for dragging others unwillingly along with you.


So the destroyers of the World Trade Center (despite its tempting symbolism as a temple of THE HAVES) are in final analysis simply misled, duped agents of the worst evils of the species; Zealotry and Vengeance.  They died believing that there was value in their actions and probably convinced that some sort of metaphysical glory would be their reward.


It almost makes one wish that they did have immortal souls--to contemplate at least for a few moments the futile stupidity of their actions in the presence of an insulted and disapproving Allah.