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out of this world...hubble photo

The world as we know it and would like for it to be is far more likely to end because of religious extremism and not accruing natural disasters.

Floating around on right wing airwaves and networks are the usual allusions to “the end of days” in re recent volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and now the oil spill.

An extremist Islamic cleric proclaimed several months ago that the Iceland volcano erupted because of the promiscuity of  Muslim women.

Good one.

When James Jones convinced a thousand or so gullible and vulnerable people that the world was ending, they drank cyanide and died, first poisoning their children.  He was not man enough to drink it and had himself shot.

There are many, many more instances of desperate people buying into desperate ideas.

I am personally more worried about global madness than ecological disaster.  We can’t skim insanity off the surface of the waters of human consciousness.  We can’t rescue vulnerable people who wander into extremist churches and permit themselves to be brainwashed the way good people are working night and day to get the oil off wildlife. We can’t stop the tides of Jihad, nor can we stop Jewish commandos from landing on ships carrying supplies to Gaza and killing people.

It seems that all we can do is use the weapon of reason and thought– approaching life with the intellect even as we live it with our bodies and our hearts.

Everything in the universe is in flux.  Stars are being born and dying.  Our own sun is a star that one day will burn out.  Everything that is evolves into something else.  We ourselves continue to evolve.  What and who we are today is not what and who we will be in 3000.

We make up stories to explain the universe to ourselves.  Every culture has a creation myth.  Christianity took hold in Europe, Islam in the Middle East, Buddhism in the Far East, Hinduism in India.  Jews pray to Yahweh.  Christians pray to Jesus Christ. Muslims kneel to Allah.

We have an amazing capacity: to invent what we need, and this holds true for the human imagination.  We need explanations and so we spin them.  Our myths take on lives of their own and our rituals reinforce those myths so that they feel true.

We are all entitled to practice our faith and hold true to our beliefs.   But we should examine the tenets of a faith with the intellect, and we should fight the extremist beliefs and practices that exclude, divide, and wage war.

Atrocities perpetrated in the name of religion are innumerable and legendary.  There is no true separation of church and state in the U.S. at this time. Christian extremism has hijacked the Republican party and the Tea Party movement is coffee grounds in the sink of the entire travesty that is our government.

For years I held a belief born of desperation that I would die if I didn’t “surrender” my life and will to a “Higher Power.”  It finally occured to me that while I needed and still need support to deal with certain things, it is the courage of the individual and that individual’s stamina that brings about change, and not some occult force at work. My desperation made me vulnerable to an idea that held to the light of reason, doesn’t hold water.

I will raise the hackles of a few of my already few readers when I state that it has occured to me that perhaps we have invented a God in our own image rather than the other way around.

One day we will unravel the helix at the heart of the mystery of our existence.  In the meantime we must act on behalf of humanity and the World; we must view ourselves globally in terms of our individual and cultural impact upon each other and our planet.  If our myths divide us, they are not useful.

Who are the most foul-mouthed attackers of our legitimately elected president,  Barack Obama: the Christian right.  The Christian right.  How Christian is it to denigrate and demonize the president of the United States?  The most dangerous people in our own society are those who listen to Beck and Limbaugh and fail to think for themselves.  They are asleep at the wheel and out of control. They are the human equivalent of the spew of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.