We have recently witnessed one of the biggest terror attacks the West has seen for some time and on the same day Lebanon and Baghdad were subjected to the same brand of terror with the only difference being that it is more commonplace to see these sorts of attacks in the Middle East than in the West. Opinions have already begun to be voiced from all walks of life: from the voices of forgiveness to the voices of vitriol. It has been said that Islam has a problem. However, it must be said that humanity faces a problem. Now we are witnessing the symptoms and signs of the global spiritual deficit.
We must come to realise that religion is empty. In this I mean two things: firstly, that religion is morally neutral until given moral substance in the hand of the practitioner and, secondly, that the moral potential contained within religion has been lost because the beauty of the poetic nature of the Holy Scriptures has almost been forgotten and instead replaced with literal dogma. However, thus far as a result of this we have only seen an increase in fundamentalism and literalism from all points of the spiritual spectrum – this includes atheism.
Humanity is at the crossroads of civilisation: it holds in its hands great responsibility with a choice to make. We can choose to transcend and ascend or we can choose to fall. The terrorists who, in Paris, perpetrated one of the most heinous crimes, murder in the name of God, are part of the ever-growing reaction to the world’s march into materialism, environmental destruction and separation of the human from nature. People find it too easy to give into their lower nature which finds murder and hate, base human actions, the easiest option to take.
The French were quick to strike back at ISIS when they retaliated in the form of a bombing run. As much as there is a part of me that understands that this can be justified and that the nature of ISIS demands more direct action, I do also believe that this will only strengthen the resolve of the terrorists and results in the deaths of innocents. We are taking action that will only result in galvanising the terrorists. Another thing which I saw in the wake of the attacks was a nationalistic upsurge from the body of the people who believed in Hollande’s message of “France is at war”. Never have we seen such an Orwellian display of fighting the ‘invisible enemy’ to strengthen the nationalistic resolve of the French people and in the mix the terms ‘refugee’, ‘Muslim’ and ‘terrorist’ suddenly all begin to become synonymous and France, or any Western power in France’s position, can do as it wishes to eliminate the ‘threat’ with La Marseillaise as its war cry.
The truth is this: we do not live in a society that values honesty, peace, compassion and cooperation. We also live in a society which struggles to separate individuals and groups. It is a blessing for the established order that we look at problems with an eye for ‘homogenous’ groups. What was done in Paris and Lebanon and Baghdad is in no way representative of Islam it is representative of a group of people who use Islam as a means to justify their violent actions. I paraphrase that which the anchorite, Father Lazarus el Anthony, said:
“There are good people and the majority are bad people…I saw Christians who went to church who did not act like Christians and I saw those who did not go to church yet acted like Christians…religion and moral behaviour do not go hand in hand.”
We cannot in anyway project onto the world an expectation of groups deemed homogeneous because as the comedian Adam Hills said: “There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and if Islam promoted violence then we’d all be dead.”
There is no good or bad ideology: only good or bad people.
Yet, as I said, humanity stands on the brink. We now have the choice if we want to continue as we have – using the same solutions as we always have. Or we can change. We can live in the world which we desire.
This change will not come about as the result of a new religion, or politic or social change, or great revolution. These will be the results of this change.
We must wake up to the nature within us all. By changing ourselves we will manifest the changed society beyond us also. This is what all the great sages have spoken about: cosmic consciousness. It is not too late: we have not reached the end. The physical world has been evolving and still is to greater and more complex lifeforms and now the human soul and mind must be the next to evolve. We must transcend and ascend. Christ is the example. Buddha is the example. Muhammad is the example. Krishna is the example. Pythagoras is the example. The One is the example.
There are no borders or separations. There is only the human. All is One.
Image credit: flickr.com/arcticpuppy