Going Around in Circles

I watched the movie Agora this weekend. It is the tale of the demise of Hypatia of Alexandria and the politicizing of the masses by Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria who uses scripture to turn the mob against pagans, the jews, Hypatia and even other Christians. How much of it is truly historical fact is open to discussion but it is a superb portrayal of how religion (politics, lifestyle etc. etc.) can be usurped in order to persuade the masses to take violent retribution on others. Frankly, it deeply disturbed me.

Don’t we just go around in circles? We never seem to learn historical lessons do we.

How can a religion whose scripture is for equality, non-violence, and peace be hijacked by people who turn it into an excuse to violate other’s freedom’s and rights often through violence, brutality and murder….? How could the Inquisition ever exist? How can the Pope not see that systematic sexual abuse of the young by his ‘Priests’ isn’t something that should be rooted out and condemned?

But how is that Islam, another beautiful religion full of esoteric meaning and intent be used to kill, maim, hate, abuse women and so on. Why do Muslims allow their faith to be hijacked?

We could even talk about Communism – originally also a new system of tolerance, equality and ideals – hijacked by all kinds of monsters as a way to suppress, destroy and persecute.

We learn nothing as a people.

Wherever you see books burned and knowledge destroyed because it is threatening to some one’s interests, you can see this same issue at work.

I don’t have the solution. Except to visualize a different world and to mediate on it. Do you?

One thought on “Going Around in Circles

  1. Thanks for your thoughtful post. Anyone who studies history can’t help but be discouraged about the human capacity to turn to peace and tolerance over war and violence. Hypatia is just one of many martyrs to the ambitions of ruthless rulers in the realms of religion, politics, or the marketplace. If you want to know more about the historical Hypatia, I recommend a brief biography by Maria Dzielska titled “Hypatia of Alexandria” (Harvard University Press, 1995.) I also have a series of “reel vs. real” posts on my blog (http://faithljustice.wordpress.com) exploring the history behind the film Agora.

Leave a Reply