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EditorialsUp Front 11/14

Up Front 11/14

The argument that religious differences have been the cause of some of the most horrific massacres and wars waged in the history of man is popular with many atheists. It’s an argument that is hard to disagree with. But whether our race could have survived this long and grown as sophisticated as we have become without something bigger to believe in, is debateable. Some sort of control structure beyond the confines of what we could see, hear or touch, was about the only way that societies around the world could have developed the team spirit to organise and grow. Human beings are fallible and the mystery of the ‘next world’ has always been the popular way to control the masses—along with recreational drugs, alcohol and of course parenthood. Unfortunately, as our children see their future travel options shrink and many places of outstanding beauty and profound culture become no-go areas, those same religious differences that were the price we paid to keep the world from a perpetual state of anarchy, have continued to help rack up the body count. There are those who say that we are only just managing to contain a far reaching religious war and with every new outbreak of factional violence it feels as though we are being driven ever closer to an abyss. Some time ago, sitting at a dinner table more than 4,000 miles away, I found myself listening to both sides of the divide on the need for religion. I was with men infinitely better read and cleverer than I and it was an opportunity to listen and learn and perhaps refine my own thoughts. However, as we bid each other good night, and swaying slightly went our separate ways, the final point kept ringing in my ears: that so much of life is determined by those who crave the power to control the lives of others, regardless of ideology. In the final analysis we couldn’t blame religion—we had to blame ourselves.   FB

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