“Religion is the opium of the people” is a Karl Marx quote, and inspired part of Marc Latham’s Reflection 23 in 242 Mirror Poems and Reflections. After thinking Britain and Europe were progressing towards a more secular enlightenment for most of his life, Marc saw Middle-Eastern Middle-Ages monotheistic religion rising back to prominence from the 1990s, and thought it was mostly having a divisive and destructive impact.
Modern Monotonous Monotheistic Wars
Nothing godly good had happened to inspire the religious upsurge, so Marc put it down to humanity; more specifically the rise of New Labour in Britain and fundamentalist Islam in the world. That’s not saying that other political parties in the U.K. or religions in the world were holier than thou, just that they weren’t enjoying the same kind of power and influence at the time.
The Christian West, Moderate Muslims and Jewish Israel have reacted to fundamentalist Islamic attacks, and so there are more and more wars in the world, and especially in the Middle-East and Africa at the moment.
Liberal Britain didn’t want Marc Latham to write that, so he self-published Werewolf of Oz: Fantasy Travel by Google Maps, which was critical of monotonous Middle-Eastern monotheism.
Other Wars and Social Issues
Of course, humanity doesn’t just war over monotheistic religion, but it does seem to be the biggest causal factor in the world 2500 to 1500 years after they were formed.
Ukraine and Russia are at war over communist territory at the moment, while there are political v religion problems in the Far East between ‘communist’ China and religious minorities; and often problems between Buddhist and Hindu majorities and Muslim minorities in countries like Burma, Thailand and India, as well as political and social issues.
In Britain and Argentina, sovereignty issues over the Falklands often rise up into the media, and threaten peace in the South Atlantic. If the Falklands does make a lot of money from oil, maybe they should offer the struggling Argentine government a percentage, as a peace offering.
Are There Better Alternatives?
Of course, if you want people to reject extremism and war you need to offer them a fair and decent society, and one that looks worth supporting.
All the scandals in British high liberal society, incessant exploitative consumerism and the growing rich-poor gap only provide reasons for people to look for the meaning of life elsewhere; pushing some into political or religious extremism, while others just leave to look for a better life elsewhere.
When I see faith schools in Britain conditioning the next generation of Middle-Eastern monotheists with biased limited teaching I think it’s wrong. However, when I see an Amazon tribe make contact with the outside world for the first time, I think they should go back and hide away if they can!
Reflection 23 in 242 Mirror Poems and Reflections mirrored Not Love, Gnat Empathy, which was posted on fmpoetry.wordpress.com in December 2011. It preceded the emergence of Love the mixed-up vole as the love correspondent at the greenYgrey.
Whereas a gnat or insect obviously seems to want to find freedom if it’s on a window pane, it’s not always so transparent with humanity! And maybe that’s because most humans don’t want full freedom; maybe because as ol’ Janis Joplin seemed to realise, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose?
Is it worth contesting people’s religious, political and cultural beliefs and views? While you may save them, you could also destroy them.
Somebody who might be saved in one way from a life of slavery and ignorance may in other ways die from freedom and knowledge.
And if you show them the possibility that life has no meaning, without providing anything else, are you not like a doctor taking heroin away from an addict without providing any methadone.
And for yourself, maybe you’ll ruin your career or life trying to do what you think is good, and do very little to change anything: or even make things worse by giving those you consider wrong more ammunition and an enemy to deflect attention and legitimise their cause.