The Politics of Hate and the Free Thinker

The recent events in the Muslim world have disturbed me more than almost any other news story of late. I confess, I have less familiarity with the Koran than I do with the Bible but from what I have managed to glean, Islam is a religion that teaches love and tolerance and also has a strong mystical vein rich in meaning. These events got me thinking. I guess my first reaction was to simply decide and confirm my view that religions – any religion – are a bad idea. I mean, its easy to condemn these hate-filled, venomous Islamists based on their actions. But look at the history of christianity! In the persecution of the Cathars, as one city was sacked in south-west France, the noble Catholic leader of the forces there when asked about the fate of the cities inhabitants – which included Catholics – is supposed to have said “Kill them all – God knows His own”!

It seems to me that in fact, religions are all too often hijacked by Politicians and used for Political purposes. But how can this happen? How can an obvious message of peace and love be hijacked and used to kill and maim? How can something intended to be for good and God be turned into something so full of hatred? The honest answer is that I truly don’t know but that it happens routinely and continually.

I know in my heart that Islam is a religion of love and peace. I know in my heart that the vast majority of Muslims are true to the central tenets of Islam. It is the same in all religions.

What is missing here is unconditional love. When we look at others and see fault we really see the fault in ourselves and yet blame the other party. We react to specks in others eyes yet don’t see the plank in our own. I wonder if the protesting, angry mobs understand that their behaviour is far worse than any stupid film maker with an agenda? The right reaction is surely to turn the other cheek and show by example….

But all this thinking also made me wonder. What kind of place would I have in a world run by those bent on usurping a religion for their political agenda? I’m an occultist after all. I know from living in Texas exactly what would happen to me… The very fact that I believe that God is inside of me and that I have a direct line to whatever God is via meditation, ritual and prayer would be such a threat to them that I imagine the worst. It was certainly a threat to fundamental Christians in Texas. Though I do admit, I did enjoy answering the door to Jehovah’s Witnesses with the statement – “Oh Hello – do come in, I am a Wiccan…”

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