Disclaimer: sadness, sarcasm, and science ahead.
This morning, before my boyfriend closed the door to leave for work, he turned to me and said, “by the way, it was a live stream that’s apparently all over Twitter. Don’t watch it.”
He’s talking, of course, about the Mosque massacre that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand. 50 people killed for being Muslim. In cold blood, killed for praying to a higher being. And there are so many people, even at home in America, who believe this is okay.
Islamaphobia, it’s called. As if it’s a fear that’s so deep that it’s a repulsion. Like arachnophobia or acrophobia (spiders and heights respectively), people claim that they… for lack of a better phrasing … “just can’t” with Islam.
America has been attacked before. Terrorists, people who also have a far-reaching fear or hatred of something – in that case, us –, terrorized our country with unspeakable acts of violence. And our recourse? Giving it right back.
Reverse terrorism, we call it, but that’s only because we’re on this side of it. We’re the “accepted side.” In truth, we can hardly be called the majority. There are an estimated 1.8 billion practicing Muslims in the world. A quarter of the human population. Only slightly more, about a third, are Catholic.
But why is Catholicism so widespread? Not because it’s right, but because it put up a fight. Catholics literally went to war. They spread their word through terror and violence of those who had different ideas. South America is Catholic and predominantly Spanish-speaking because of European invasion. Even in the far east, the Asiatic Islands that form the Phillippines practice Catholicism. Not because it’s what they have always practiced, but because it’s what they were forced into adopting over a course of years of pressure from invaders.
There is simply nothing more asinine than one religion going to war with another when we all have the same beliefs. Nothing I can say hasn’t been said already: it isn’t the Muslim faith that attacked us, it’s the radicals. It’s the bad people that had probably been raised with good intentions and just ended up succumbing to evil.
It is so fascinating that people who fancy themselves full-grown adults, human beings with developed brains, cannot see that our worlds’ religions are essentially intertwined. We came up with stories to help us understand phenomena and – WOW GET THIS – illustrated them to look like we do.
Jesus Christ is depicted as white. Mohammed is brown. And above these men who walked the earth is a divine being. The Father of them, the Father of us all. No matter what He’s called or what He looks like, it’s exactly the same thing.
Therein lies the miscommunication. There aren’t different creators of the universe (at least not by human religious imaginings); they are all the same. It’s our languages that are different. It’s our practices, cuisines, habits that are different. And so, our teachings end up being somewhat different. And, for humans, what is different is scary. What is different is a threat. The threat of change, or of conceptual expansion, is a venture that very few want to embark on. And so, we defend what’s in place, for we don’t want it to change.
“It works” some may say, “so don’t fix it.”
But it absolutely doesn’t work. Ever since the Tower of Babble burst (to draw from Western beliefs) and forced us all into linguistic separations, we stopped developing understanding. We stopped being able to see behind the mask. We can’t even connect the obvious: that peoples from places of the world with more sun are – WHAT DO YOU KNOW – tanned. Their pigment, explained as simply as centuries of exposure to higher UV than Europeans, transformed them into a different breed. Martians, almost, who, very ironically, our culture is on a quest to contact.
So the acts of terror continue because we can’t just let people join together and live their lives in a way that differs from ours. It’s threatening to what we know because, perhaps, we don’t want to share either. This big rock we’re on that’s pulled into the gravity of itself and just slightly out of reach of ultimate destruction by the biggest star in our sky, brings us together in a war on a molecular level.
We’re small. If our various religions teach us any common thing, it’s just that. And like a cancerous cell, we’re working on small levels to take down the beast of a transforming greater being.
Planet Earth is not meant to be uniform. It’s not always meant to be comfortable, either. It’s meant to be natural. And while we’re planted to the surface of this rock, duking it out over who has the right to it all, we’re missing the greater point: that it isn’t about us. It’s about giving back to our mutual creator and about being thankful and continuously amazed that we’re here at all, in our various shapes and sizes, with abilities to have such diverse thoughts about what it all means.