A few specific incidents recently, the general occurrence of which has been going on for a long time, has left me in no doubt that we humans value our ideological beliefs more than we value human life.
I take it for granted that everyone is capable of kindness, love, compassion and goodwill towards other human beings. But it plagues me that humans can and will without hesitation abandon all of this when certain of our beliefs are challenged.
And it seems to me the most culpable belief that humans will defend, with total disregard to cost and consequence, is religious in nature. And the greatest cost is life off course.
Boko Haram (figuratively meaning “Western education is sin”) is an Islamic terrorist organization which has been laying siege to Northeastern Nigeria since 2002, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 10 000 people (quite possibly much more). At the most basic level, they kill innocent people to further their insane religious ideology. Recently they kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls whom they still hold captive, although reports indicate some have been sold into slavery or as child brides.
The fate of these schoolgirls is still uncertain, while the politicians vacillate. Which off course is quite normal for politicians. Political chicanery easily has the same disastrous effect as religious ideology, and indeed, when the State and Organized Religion conspire together, it usually ends in tragedy.
Take Sudan for instance. It is one of a growing number of countries (especially in Africa and the Middle East) that have no qualms about persecuting and even killing its citizens, to satisfy (invariably misunderstood) religious edicts. In Uganda, you will face imprisonment or even death for being of the “wrong” sexual orientation. Wrong is decided through belief, inspired by archaic religious text. In both countries the politicians have no problem agitating its citizens who harbor demented religious beliefs, into tormenting, even killing those who even vaguely seem at odds with said beliefs.
Only recently Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a pregnant Sudanese women who has just given birth in prison, was sentenced to death (but not before receiving a 100 lashes as well) for apostasy. Her crime was to fall in love with a Christian man. It is an exercise in futility pointing out to these demented ideologues that a benevolent God would not take kindly to such an insane act of pettiness. They would probably stone you to death.
Which was exactly the fate of Farzana Iqbal of Pakistan. Farzana whilst also pregnant, was stoned to death by members of her own family, including her own father for marrying the man she loved rather than the one her family had chosen for her. Honour killings are the direct result of ideological beliefs, most likely rooted in culture and religion. And that opens up another can of worms…
Culture and tradition can be as bad as religious beliefs, and quite often is. It is quite sad that in the modern scientific world, archaic cultural beliefs can still hold sway over abundant evidence to the contrary. In some societies, any or all activity that is at odds with cultural norm, can get you hurt or killed.
What will these purveyors of insane belief systems do if they eventually manage to wipe the rest of us off the face of the earth (not likely, but worth considering)? Will they then turn on each other? Will the purveyors of the surviving (insane) belief system then sit back and twiddle their thumbs, waiting for the rapture (or similar curious belief)?
Will the God that you believe in, accept them into heaven ( or similar curious belief)? Do you still think such a God is good?