The latest of our national engagements has pitted us (the Judeo-Christian West) against the 'evils' of Islamic terrorism. Back in '92 it was about oil...but now apparently, "they hate us for our freedom", i.e. our culture which is based on a Judeo-Christian ethic.
Ever notice, no matter what the context, that many of our most terrifying and brutal conflicts seem the have a streak of religion running through it? Indeed, throughout recorded history, up to today, the vast majority (dare I say all) major conflicts between peoples and nations have had a religious undertone (if not a blatant overtone such as the Crusades). This makes sense considering that the laws and politics of a nation are generally derived from the dominant religion. And, because religions...specifically those of the Abrahamic faiths... all proclaim themselves to be 'the only true religion', the nations deriving their laws and politics therefrom will harbor the same conflicting views.
Is it possible to be rationally religious...to hold on to ones faith, yet be humane toward our fellow earthlings? I believe that it is! And if we adhere to an agreed upon set of 'Suggestions', we will not only remain on firm, rational ground, but we may even find a way to co-exist. So let's give it a try:
Suggestion 1: Outside of the confines of your home, church, synagogue or mosque, your beliefs are irrational. That is why they are classed as 'faith' and not 'fact' or 'truth'. They may serve you well, but the mileage may vary with others. Be honest with yourself and come to peace with this so we can move on to Suggestion 2.
Suggestion 2: Most religions of an Abrahamic lineage have the command to "Love your neighbor as yourself..." This sounds very nice, but has been severely misinterpreted. The problem is, most people, based on how they treat themselves and their environment, don't seem to know how to love themselves...let alone their neighbor. So how about this, "What you don't like done to you, don't do to anyone else."
Suggestion 3: Protect children, help those in need and stand up for the downtrodden. Is there really anymore that needs to be said about these?
Suggestion 4: Honor your Creator by honoring the creation. You wouldn't piss on a painting by Picaso to demonstrate how much you admired the artist and his work. Likewise, it doesn't seem rational to profess a love for the Creator yet systematically harm and destroy the creation. We can clearly demonstrate our love and respect for the Creator by adhering to Suggestions 2 & 3.
Even an atheist must concede that their parents are their progenitors (i.e. their Creator(s)). Most parents would be proud to have children who staunchly adhered to Suggestions 2, 3 & 4. But that's not the most pressing issue with our atheist friends. The issue today seems to be the divide concerning the term 'GOD' being printed on our (the U.S.) national currency and used in our Pledge of Allegiance. So how about one more Suggestion...
Suggestion 5: If atheists consider the term 'GOD' on our money and in our Pledge as an acronym, then that acronym could mean 'Gold, Oil and Dollars'. It should be perfectly fitting in the mind of an atheist, for a capitalistic society to have such an acronym on its currency...and as for the Pledge, it fits right in. "...one nation, under Gold, Oil and Dollars, indivisible..."
Perhaps one day we'll get it together :-)!