A random thought has made its way through my mind in light of the deal our country recently made with Iran: At what point are old traditions no longer needed?
No matter where you stand in the political theme, there is no doubt that a great enemy to the United States is radical Islam. And I say radical Islam not only to pinpoint the problem, but to emphasize that the religion, as a whole, is not the enemy. Those who commit unspeakable acts in the name of that religion, however, most certainly are.
Judaism and Christianity are based on scriptural texts dating back millenia. Leviticus and Numbers point to several prohibited acts that were punishable by death while the Jews were still wandering in the desert, and were most likely enforced during the days of the Temple when the need arose. The New Testament is full of rhetoric that casts negative light on all those who lacked faith or acceptance of what was revealed. It cannot be denied that Both Halves Of The Book either direct, encourage, or enable force against unbelievers that today would be completely unnecessary and unacceptable.
However, from what I've seen in my short life span, most churches and synagogues are welcoming of anyone who walks through their doors. No clergy has the authority to save or damn any soul in the congregation. Nobody is turned away for not conforming. And last but not least, nobody has a death sentence imposed for their nonbelief.
This is because organized religion has had the wisdom to be aware of the time and place in which it exists, and to shape its rhetoric accordingly. This is because it has realized that creating divisions ad infinitum is simply unworkable, while creating places that are welcoming, acceptable, and friendly better meet the spiritual needs of modern times than those that crash and bash those outside their realms. Otherwise, their congregants would simply become alienated and leave.
So why is it different with radical Islam? Why do they cite to portions of the Koran and the Hadith for the justification of the horrible things they do? Why have they not presented their adherents with mercy and mildness, or joy and rapture? Why is violence so much more acceptable to them than it could ever be with us?
Apparently there are not very many Bold Betas where they are most needed. :)
I have often declared that as Betas, we are not subject to the chapters and verses of the alphaganda. We are not bound by the yoke of its commandments, we are not required to abandon our own idenities in the name of groupthink, and we are never to believe that we are unworthy merely because we do not conform to such ancient and unquestioned standards.
Forgive me for pointing, but it seems to me that Western organized religion had its own alphaganda at one point, and then realized that it was no longer valuable. Nobody has ever suggested repealing or deleting these ancient texts, but it was clearly a wiser choice to simply not enforce, propagate, or emphasize those portions that would cause more harm than good. Whether you belong to any one religion, or none at all, we can all agree that softening the approach was a good thing for organized religion in this country.
The question remains, who will challenge the radical alphaganda? Who will question why such barbaric practices are used to murder and torture others? Who will reject ISIS, and any government that supports it, and demand that such radical elements be eliminated? Whether or not our country sends boots on the ground against these enemies once more, it seems to me that this is something that must be handled most effectively within the ranks of the adherents of that faith who are not radicalized, and reject terrorism in all forms.
Let us hope and pray that the radical elements will be neutralized and dismantled from within, as it was once was within our own ranks.
DISCLAIMER: the above post is not meant to smear, besmirch, insult, or ridicule any organized religion. Any offense perceived is the responsibility of the reader.