Young master Daniel , over at GetReligion, posted a piece about a piece of on interfaith dialogue, with an interesting blooper as the headline (caught immediately by the firs commenter, I might add). He called the piece about Interfaith Communion. While that certainly comes close to happening, depending on your definition of interfaith, its not what the piece is really about.
The piece isn't particularly deep, but it does make an interesting assertion: that all of the world's conflicts are religious in nature. The question came up, at least peripherally, as to whether or not the writer really would like to achieve some Unitarian Utopia or not. However, this assertion is of the type more often heard out of the mouths of atheists. Religion is seen as the cause of all world hatred and death. While it can certainly be argued that the majority of current conflicts are religious in nature - most notably, of course, the war on terror, that really isn't the case historically. List, if you will, the major conflicts of the last 100 years that come to mind. Was World War I really religious, or merely a war born out of the collapse of various world empires? World War II? In what sense was the Korean War religious? Vietnam? No, these were a number of things, but calling them religious is a bit of a stretch. The religion related casualties of most of these conflicts are there, but they are usually the victims. 6 million Jews in Nazi Germany, as many as 20 million people under Stalin - many for being Orthodox or Jewish. Both Hitler and Stalin were only about the religion of themselves. They were only after power and controlling others. What about all of the people killed during the WWII conflict with Japan? Or between Japan and China? Religious or ethnic?
How many people have been killed by violence incited exclusively because of the religion of the attacker vs. the religion of the victim? A large number, to be sure, but does it really compare to deaths entirely over power? I don't think so. So, is this piece really barking up the right tree? To be sure, it would be nice if people would stop killing one another over religious issues. Frankly it would be nice if people would stop killing each other period. If the goal of this piece, and many of the efforts it refers to, seems to be the creation of a religious environment where none of the religions really believe anything. As beliefs fall, what is the basis for the morality of ours society? The risk here is two fold. One, is that you compromise the salvation of all concerned (sorry, I know that is a horribly traditional belief), and the second is that with no foundation to your morality other than perhaps a perfectly utilitarian approach which is more reminiscent of the "freedom" under communism than under a liberal religious structure.
Posted: Sunday - February 11, 2007 at 01:17 PM