Many people have wondered over the years, how has the world become such an inhospitable and violent place. Well, it’s nothing new – it’s been like this since we have had recorded history. It’s just that now-a-days we get news instantly through social media. What went so wrong?, people wonder. Well, let me speculate. There are entire groups of people in many nations or countries who have been held down for decades, centuries, and even millenia. Most of these people are oppressed because of religion, ethnicity, or social/economical status. Over the last couple thousand years we’ve seen countless examples of genocide and ethnic cleansing, we’ve seen race wars and protests, and we’ve seen religious Barbary. Over 160 million people were killed in 20 century genocide related battles. Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. People killing each other in the name of God, perceived holy land, or beliefs is nothing to sneeze at. The crusades produced a death toll of about 3 million and the Arab-Israeli conflicts over the past 100 or so years has produced over 160,000 deaths. And then you have the sects within religion that cannot seem to get along and we get things like The Thirty Years War between Protestants and Catholics that killed an estimated 10 million faithful followers, or the ongoing battles between the Shiites and the Sunnis – both factions of Islam.
And after so many decades, centuries, and even millenia – these groups start banding together. They start protesting. But mostly they are not taken seriously. And of course we all know when our voices are not heard, it only escalates from there. Things get violent and shit starts gettin real. People are really just sick and tired I suppose of being cast aside. Yes, many have a warped interpretation of the religion they practice (and that includes ALL religions), but I am talking about the ROOT of what we’re seeing today. I am talking about how we GOT to this point. Whether it is a race banding together, or a religion or a class – they do so because they are tired of being spat upon by someone else. Tired of being disrespected and unseen for many, many years. When someone offers them money, leadership, or anything they and generations of their families have failed to obtain – guess what? They’re gonna join them! Even if it is through gangs, terrorism, or rebellion. They begin to find something interesting within the voice of fanatics and people who are hateful and violent. That’s just how it is. No one likes to be under the economic or religious thumb of another. They eventually follow the last resort even if it is not the best way to go.
Peace and equality are fundamental rights for everyone.
Our governments cannot create peace and equality for us, because governments have stipulations and agendas. Organized religions, one would think, would be able to foster peace. However they can not because they have stipulations as well. So many of the things we put our energy into come with strings attached. And then there’s God. People start to question God in times of turmoil, “Why would God let this happen?” “Why doesn’t God stop the violence in the world?” Well, why would He? He didn’t start the violence – humans did. If there’s one universal message from God that each religion should know by now, it’s the Golden Rule. And basically, we’ve largely ignored that message for a few thousand years. Now, there have been so many teachers and gurus of the divine word that have been available to humanity for thousands of years. “Do Unto Others as You Would Have Done Unto to You.” Fairly simple, but unfortunately as a whole, the human race has epically failed to learn this one simple thing. We’ve attached things to the Golden Rule: if, but, as long as…
Since records were kept on earth we can see the wars and the fighting over lands. Sometimes it is because the land is considered Holy. Sometimes it’s because oil lies beneath it. Sometimes it’s political. Most of the time it’s over some difference we have. We slaughter each other in the name of God; we murder each other for black ooze that runs our cars. Seriously, how incredibly stupid and selfish is that? All the while, we attend our churches and say how much we value peace – and then we come home and we fail to love thy neighbor. We fail to stand up for things we know are right. We post things on social media that mock entire races and religions. We laugh at the off-color joke and we use slurs – and in the very next breath deny our prejudice.
We’ve been killing each other for thousands of years over beliefs and oppression.
This one doesn’t want that one living there. This one doesn’t want to acknowledge the other’s right to exist because their beliefs are different. So we bomb the crap out of each other to make them see. We let our bullets speak for us. We become immune to the carnage of civilians dying because if those savages would just conform we would stop killing them. People are killed for their color, race, religion, beliefs, gender, sexual preference, and a whole host of other really stupid things. Entire races, religions, and classes of people are slaughtered in some areas. It’s been like this for thousands of years. It’s nothing new. Yet we never seem to learn anything from it. Sometimes they even go on to recover and then do it to another race, religion, or class. That’s our problem – not God’s – many people just never learn. I imagine God wondering how it is that people, after all these years, are so stupid that they just haven’t learned to use their own innate gifts of love, respect and compassion regardless of any factor their ego attached to it.
And the civilians of countries are mainly powerless. In any country, whether flourishing or not, it always comes down to what is best for the elite. I don’t care what country or nation you live in on this planet – the top-tier is consistently looking out for itself. When we see turmoil in countries it is almost always because one class is holding down another class. If its not class it’s religion or race.
Many people have simply forgotten they are part of humanity.
WE ALL have a universal responsibility to humankind to respect one another – regardless of our differences.
We all have been charged to love and support each other as a whole rather than only for ourselves or our country. There is honestly no moving forward unless people start understanding that they have this responsibility to humanity itself. WE ARE HUMAN FIRST! When we begin to set aside our prejudices and fears, our jealousies and anxieties over our differences, and the outrageous notion that others should conduct themselves like we do because somehow it will make them better – when we stop all this and just love and respect people – this is when peace begins.
Don’t get me wrong, we DO have a big problem with terror in the world. This needs to be eradicated. But it’s going to take decades if not longer to do that. While we are doing that, we have to remember that as a human race, we truly are one. We need to start acting like it and not like we’re better than someone else. And even if we start NOW, if EVERYONE started now, we wouldn’t see effective change for generations. GENERATIONS! That is how bad humanity has screwed itself up. I mean, starting now would be to ensure our children’s children saw a peaceful world. And starting now is really a pipe dream because I can see just by my Facebook feed that ignorance far outweighs forward thinking.
So when you ask where God is, and why He’s letting this happen… I say He’s been waiting patiently. Waiting patiently for people to finally grasp the few core teachings of the great religious leaders from all religions! Treat people how you want to be treated. No ifs, no ands, no buts. In order to do this, everyone needs to check themselves. Like seriously check themselves. Much of the human race promotes the degradation of society. Every single time you share negative things on social media and every time you find yourself passing along information that is false, unjust, fabricated, mean, rude, or bigoted, you are ripping a teeny tiny hold in the fabric of humanity and society.
You cannot promote peace only the days you sit in church. You cannot promote peace and then turn around and share a stupid poster on Facebook degrading other people. You seriously cannot promote peace and then jump for joy because your nation just bombed the shit out of somewhere. It is not practicing peace by donating to a food bank and turning around and saying homeless people are lazy. It is not practicing peace by donating packages to the needy in war torn countries, then refusing refugees. It just doesn’t work like that! You are never promoting peace by saying we are all created equal and then adding, “not in my backyard”, “not in my neighborhood”, “not in my family”, or “not in my country.” What we are seeing today in the world is a direct result of a thousand or more years of people thinking and treating people that way. It started with neighborhoods pushing aside the weak and poor, and religious persecution among other factors. Then countries and nations joined in and it blossomed into worldwide terrorism.
Peace is respecting others and tolerating their differences even when you (especially when you) do not agree with it. Peace will not be peace until you actually live your life peacefully in words AND ACTION. Not part-time. Not when it’s convenient.
How many generations will it take to bring peace to our world?
And as for the current world situation with refugees, this breaks my heart. I fully understand that the world seems scary. I cannot fathom though, how people give no credence whatsoever to the basic teachings of the faith they cling so tightly too. My God, Christians have a very famous story of the Good Samaritan, yet some are terrified of helping those different from themselves. There goes those old ifs, ands, and buts again! I live in the United States and as of the date I’m writing this, half the people polled say no to admitting refugees. To me, that is amazing. Like I said, I understand the fear, but you cannot live your life and make your decisions coming from a place of fear. THAT is how the world got this way!
How do we attempt to fix it?
It’s a two fold process. One is through combating terror physically which obviously will be handled through governments. The second is through a change in mind-set of each and every human being on this planet. Start in your own heart, with your own family, in your own neighborhood. I am by no means stating we embrace terrorists I am saying we change the way we treat people going forward – in order that they will not seek out these groups… that they instead are supported by humanity rather than radicals. This will transform communities and eventually nations and countries and the world. But it’s going to take a long LONG time because we’ve spent, like I said, thousands of years creating this mess. The main component here is TRULY practicing love, compassion, and respect. LISTENING to each other without seeing past each other. Listening with the intent of understanding the point of view rather than listening with the intent of responding.
You don’t have to agree on everything, but you don’t have to argue about everything either. It’s a simple as respect. Whether it’s toward your family, your children, your siblings, your friends, your community, your country, or the world – thinking you are better than someone is not a value of any root of any religion anywhere. It’s your ego. Humanity, should it want to survive, must stop living through ego and start living through good character, love, respect, and compassion.
Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats weakest members – the last, the least, the littlest.
Cardinal Roger Mahony
A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.
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