There will always by us and “them”.
I am happy that I am not one of “them”…
I watched an interesting program on the history of Istanbul (which started life as a tiny Greek fishing village), formerly known as Constantinople and, before that, Byzantium. Few, if any, cities have a more tumultuous history.
One interesting fact glaringly obvious from this history—which I probably knew, but ignored—is that Christianity is riven just as Islam is, i.e.. the ancient strife between Roman and Greek arms of the religion. They might not kill each other as much as Sunnis and Shiites, but the disagreements run just as deep. Constantinople competed with Rome to be able to plunder people foolish enough to believe in tales spun from ancient pagan rites. Each claimed to be the true home of Christianity and killed each other to prove it…just like competing arms of Islam.
Perhaps, this is one more bit of proof that there is no god, because all religion is invented, refined, and manipulated by humans. If I were god (ha, that would be something and stuff would change! ), I would certainly want a say in how I was worshipped and would not brook disagreements amongst squabbling earthlings.
I found this illustrating an English “newspaper” article about the current wave of young citizens flocking to fight in Syria. I was not sure if this is real or ironic...or both.
If one owns a television, radio, or internet thingy, it is impossible to avoid news of bloodshed in the Middle East. Of course, this is not new news, killings have been happening for as long as people have lingered in this part of the world. The pace surely increased once folks started disagreeing on who and what to worship. No one likes to accept another’s idiocy, which a rebuke of his (guys usually do the killings, in another instance of gender imbalance in society) or her idiocy. One this is clear: this must be "god's' will, because they all worship the same illusion.
I have a solution: Everybody should kill everybody and get it over with. We know that this is what they want. Then, the rest of the world can get on with their own foolishness.
Because I frequently watch Al Jazeerah, I am aware that some of its journalist have been jailed and tried in Egypt. I never understood the real background, beyond the bit about them allegedly “aiding terrorists”, that useful catch-all invented by the United States government after September 11, 2001.
Now, I know Egypt’s beef and why these journalist are scapegoats. Once again, as with most events in the Middle East, it’s all about religion: Sunni vs. Shiite. It seems that the Qatar government, who owns Al Jazeerah, supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The new government in Egypt, which ousted the democratically elected government controlled by the MB, see the MB as a terrorist organisation. Supposedly, Al Jazeerah gave more positive coverage to the Brotherhood than to the current government (before the putsch), so someone had to pay. Because the Egyptians could not directly attack Qatar, some poor journalists must spend time in an Egyptian jail. The religion and politics of their owners treated them badly.
Scary fools can be rather entertaining, when dealt with by a clever writer...
As Richard Dawkins has pointed out, children are dragged to their parent's church of choice. I was forced to dress up each Sunday, sit in the back seat of our car, and attend church, first with the adult in the big tent and then below ground in sunday school.
I do not recall hating it at the time, because I did not know any better.
Few, if any, of the lesson remain, but I do recall strange things. For example, whenever I see of smell a hyacinth, I think of Easter. The church was always decorated with these, as well as daffodils and surely other flowers. Because of the strong door, hyacinths hold pride of place in my memory.
For many in the modern world, consumerism is the greatest religion. Some consider shopping malls in the United States to be shrines of capitalism. The problem is that most, if not all, suffer from unappealing architecture. None compares with the great cathedrals or mosques of more traditional faiths.
This is not a mosque, rather a souk (which is Arabic for market or, in this case, shopping mall) in Dubai. One of many such elegant shopping emporiums.
This is also not a place of formal religion, rather a tiny portion of one of the largest shopping malls in the world. There are more elaborate bits, which I did not photograph. No American finance director has his dirty fingers in this project. Whoever constructed this knew that profit derives from spending money, not cutting costs on the building.
And, finally, this is not from a house of prayer, rather one hallway of a hotel in Dubai. Again, no one thought of cutting corners on the architecture by lowering ceilings to boost bottom line.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.