Religion is not the Opium of the People it is the Crack- if it were opium we wouldn’t have to worry.

 “The figures looked more or less human. And they were engaged in religion. You could tell by the knives (it’s not murder if you do it for a god).”

— (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)

It has been said that two subjects should be off the agenda for conversation if you want it to be pleasant – Religion and Politics. The problem I have with that is that any subject you want to talk about includes potential aspects of one or the other or both, from climate change to entertainment to child rights.

These two ‘dangerous’ subjects Religion and Politics need de-constructing and not being put in the quiet corner. From the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition through the missionary zeal of Protestants in Hawaii, Zionists who use Judaism to justify atrocities and acts of war against Palestinians and paedophile priests who continue to act under the cloak of religious righteousness, we cannot ignore the narrative of religion and politics as weapons.

I was so happy when Science took on religion in the form of Richard Dawkins, until his fervour and obsession appeared equally pious. My delight in his quest came from the very human need to feel part of something, understood and even supported. My disinterest came when I felt his sense of superiority over those he challenged- I saw little difference in the attitudes held between him and his Noscience religious detractors.

I am not a scientist and like so many who espouse religion do not have the finer points under my belt. I do recognise the current wave of world fundamentalism in religion is not new, but the MSM thrust of ignorance towards the latest wave of people we are struggling to understand is unacceptable. I say understand NOT justify or cast as the ‘other’ and vilfy all those who fit some spurious descriptive narrative.

The fallacy that religion keeps us ‘in check’ disturbs me. I was once asked a question by a Muslim man who reclaimed his religion after he had ‘gone off the rails’ and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. He asked how I could keep from breaking the law and doing whatever I wanted if I didn’t have religion. His question begs many more. Suffice to say I don’t need a religion to tell me how to live with others.

My call goes to those of you who have no religion nor need nor want one, not to call for “freedom’ or for ‘freedom of speech’ as these crazy catch cries are used by those who laud their financial and political power over us all. My call is for those who identify as part of the human race, to continue to do so. To know there is biologically no such thing as different race but that separation, breading, and raising young children are critical factors in determining who we are. Learn about and understand how we determine the ‘other’ and why we separate and refuse to see them as ourselves given another set of parents, another time and place to be born and to break down walls not put them up.

We fear what we don’t understand. Our history brought us here, learn and challenge the apathy, comfortability and arrogance that comes with it. Read the history of the ‘other’ not just that of the victors.

We cry when bullets and heads fly, be careful not to be selective about what you mourn and to notice and speak up when the ‘other’ is being abused by us.


  1. Asidewrite- Your post has given me real pause to review my attitudes!
    Your caution about condemning/attacking those whom we do not understand is a laudable warning. A problem with that caution, though, is that it is the very pluralism that you rightfully espouse that is the target of a fundamentalism that seems to insist that civilization is to be equated with the tribal customs of a 6-7th century culture. That is not to say that fundamentalist Islam is the only problem; all fundamentalisms are anachronisms by definition and as anachronisms, at best, quaint, at worst, dangerous.
    You correcrtly identify the Spanish Inquisition, the ‘culturicide’ (if I may coin a word) of 16-19th century missionaries, Zionist atrocities and the pedophiliac priests for condemnation. Many of us non-theists are also bored with the unending monotony of the monologues of the New Atheists. However, finding religious barbarism and intellectual arrogance unacceptable does not necessarily mean that one suspends judgement with regard to terrorism and atrocities.
    The events in Paris call for condemnation, understanding the motivation of the terrorists is important insofar as it can help to prevent future atrocities. Such understanding will probably entail seeing that terrorism results from perceived injustice/oppression.
    You suggest that the terrorism being experienced across the world can be understood to have its causes in the indifference and imperialism of National States and corporations in power, I just wish you’d be more specific about who the national and corporate criminals are. The end of your blog trails off though, into a kind of bland political correctness.
    Perhaps my issue is with the word ‘understanding.’ The word has the connotation of ‘sympathy,’ ‘fellow feeling.’ Maybe the call is for ‘explanation,’ rather than ‘understanding.’ Explanation can lay bare root cause without suggesting sympathy.


  2. Ron, Thanks for your extremely thoughtful response.

    I am told by someone near to me I “always give the people excuse”. I am aware that I do have more than a passing interest in why people do the things they do and tend to try to explain behaviour rather than admonish it. There is so much admonishing going on right now perhaps an oppositional defiance kicked in. These interesting times are more complicated and more simple than I have previously been aware of. I say both because simplicity is often apparent in explanations to things that appear complex.

    I have often wondered if I would be the first or the last to be shot in a hijack or siege and how differently would I think if I was last or released. Would I, like Patty Hearst have joined the Symbionese Liberation Army? Possibly. Hijacks and sieges seem to operate differently now and like the changes to communication tend to be less drawn out affairs with the attackers intent left to analysis following an inexplicable event that stuns and confuses many. Too many judges and not enough ‘explanation’.

    My use of the word ‘understanding’ may well have elements of ‘sympathy’ or ‘fellow feeling’, not for the act of killing or for the warped rationale of using deaths of others to make some statement, but for anyone who feels under attack because of who they are and how they are portrayed. I make no excuses for people who kill and do not see the Paris Charlie Hedbo attack as self defence. But your word ‘condemn’ like my word ‘understand’ for you, has connotations possibly because I have linked it to the phrase ‘condemned to death’ and because of its association for me with judiciary.

    I have seen/read the conspiracy thoughts particularly on the shooting of the wounded police officer outside CH and find more questions than answers in everything these days. The knowledge that plans with single minded political and economic agendas are undertaken by sometimes faceless operatives are the least easy for me to get my head around. I cannot empathise at all with those who conspire. I sit on the ‘no’ side of the ‘ends/means justification argument’ no doubt due to a personal situation of relative ‘priviledge’ and ‘understand’ there are others who clearly don’t. Are conspiracy questioners telling us some people we thought dead didn’t die? Are they saying that some did but were considered collateral damage for a higher right wing political/economic agenda? Or are they saying be careful what you see and hear. I don’t have a position on this other than to continue to ask questions myself.

    There has been suggestions that Man Monis the person who took seige in the Sydney cafe was set up or convinced by others in governments dark ‘security’ roles to do what he did. I don’t know, was he just mad? That seems too simple. Was he an Islamic violent Jihadist? Even his association with Islamb was utterly confusing -a shia who recently became a sunni, a self styled ‘expert’. I do know Iran when he applied for refugee status here sought his extradition for fraud (he apparently defrauding customers of their travel money) and our government refused their request, no reason given. He also had an unresolved High Court matter over ‘threatening’ letters written to soldiers in Australia. So was he induced to do what he did by others with other agendas? I don’t know. Did he kill anyone? We are yet to know how events transpired in the cafe when he was shot.

    The Munich seige, planes on the tarmac negotiating prisoner release/exchange, hope of negotiated settlements, and more recently, immigration’s indefinite detainees self immolating or sewing their lips, these things are all explicable to me, able to be understood in the context of the experiences of the people undertaking the actions. I am less confident now in any analysis. Are the issues more complex or am I less inclined to certainty?

    It would appear there is less hanging around now. Determination of ‘infidel who deserves death’ is made by anyone, determination of ‘terrorist’ is so broad as to include too many options to remain helpful. Collateral damage is OK if you meet your agenda for ‘greater good’. Witches are still dunked.

    Last week I witnessed a video taken in Al Yarmouk Palestinian ‘Camp’ in Damascus. Most have left the area and indeed most are now scattered across the world from Lebanon to Turkey to Europe to Thailand and Malaysia…….Those who stayed did so for many reasons. The Al Nusra Front has been in the camp for more than 2 years. Chechens, Saudi and Qatar supported outsiders from Libya, Morocco, and Arab countries, alongside some who have sniped and killed inside the camp to support an agenda to fight Assad or opportunistically get rid of annoying neighbours). The video showed two men, taken to the centre of the area by a larger group of men in black on the back of a ute. Loudspeakers with young men declaring all manner of things in Arabic in the name of Allah.

    The men were eventually shot, sitting on their knees in the street praying to Allah. They apparently said “Fuck”, or perhaps even “Fuck god”, were deemed guilty of blasphemy and were being made example of in front of the people. What do I have to say about it? I feel a heavy weight on my chest. It is wrong. I know I would have more in common with the shot men than those doing the shooting. Would I kill to save myself or someone else being killed? I don’t honestly know, thankfully the circumstances have not arisen.

    Your comment has made me want to formulate a joke about ‘a pluralist and a fundamentalist were sitting in a bar’…… or to join you in a discussion over dinner. My post was less thought out than usual and I currently have less interest in adding to my blog…bland political correctness was never my intent but I take your point, and thank you for commenting. I feel less articulate these days and really do prefer talking directly to people rather than sprouting one sided thoughts.
    Take care Ron, Lesley.


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