There is nothing like a national tragedy to evoke people’s fundamental beliefs. This particular event struck at least three major cultural themes: Islam, guns and gays. Each topic will split most dinner conversations yet alone this mirepoix.
Just like you, I’ve heard just about everyone’s take on it and our best seems to be to blame another group. Who do you blame for this horrible thing?
In one sense, I get why this happens. We are all trying to wrap our heads around what happened and without a wide-angle lens we use others to distance ourselves from this tragic reality by pointing out that the system is broken and we think we have figured out where the problem lies- no surprise, it perfectly coincides with our prejudices.
Since I focus much of this blog on the path to spiritual maturity, I’m going to take issue with both Islam and Christianity briefly.
It is true that Islam can be a peace loving religion. Our political candidates love to tout this as a fact regularly. So, where are the muslim Imams who will get on the news and decry the acts of terror that we see? Where are the mosques that are inclusive of homosexuality? It’s frustrating, but the answer may surprise you. This religion is still in its early stage and is trying to find its way. Many Muslims in America are here because they are seeking to bring Islam (albeit dragging and kicking) into the new millennia. Islam has not had the freedom to think independently from the herd and it hasn’t undergone the self criticism that Christianity has and as a result, there is a tremendous fear culture that still exists. Physical violence is how it has dealt with dissidents. Not unlike every religion in its own history. Islam is a late bloomer and it takes a lot to change fundamental beliefs.
Every religion has its extreme wacko’s. ISIS sympathizers are the evil fringe of Islam, and wacko pastors like Roger Jimenez belong to Christianity. Jimenez, from Sacramento, made news by stating the Orlando shooting made the city a little bit safer be eliminating gays which are synonymous for predators.
Countless Christians decry such hateful comments along with every normal person in the world. But while its easy for Christianity to throw stones at those who would kill others, lets not forget that this is the faith system that has shot abortion doctors. And while most believers would not think of killing gay people, most are nowhere near accepting and inclusive to homosexuality. Most are content to believe that God will do all the gay killing later on. So on a heart level, most churches aren’t much better than the shooter.
This brings me back to my original statement. Large tragedies expose our fundamentalism. These events entrench us into our myopia and we polarize. This of course sells on the news and gives us all something to fear and hate which are two walls of our spiritual prison.
We don’t seem to learn our lessons because we aren’t learning anymore. Instead we insist that our perspective is the only correct one and rather than learn from others, we fix our course and dig in our heels. This is the very essence of fundamentalism. The only antidote is humility. We must be students or learners (disciples). Then and only then will we gain a wider perspective of the truth and become transformed by it. Until then our only option is to try and get other to conform to our slice of truth.
My heart goes out to the families and friends and our world as seen through Orlando. May we find peace during this difficult time, but more so may we realize that the problem is not them, its us. If we can liberate from our fundamental beliefs, the world will follow.
I have addressed these subjects in previous blogs if you would like to review them.