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Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Religion – one size fits all

22 December 2014

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Most of my blogs are in my native language Dutch but this one deserves a wider audience.

I have tried to find out whether there is any country, population or tribe in the world without any form of religion but my search has been unsuccessful to date. I suppose that religion is as old as mankind. The words irreligion, atheism, and humanism are of a much later date.

A remarkable phenomenon of religion is its great and relentless power to unify as well as to divide, to teach love as well as to teach hate. Even politics has a greater shift towards cooperation between the different views. Why is it that most people believe in (a) Supreme Being(s) while the views on that Supreme Being(s) appear irreconcilable ?

Some religions consider themselves as the Absolute Truth and view other religions as inferior or even non believers. Other religions preach love, compassion and tolerance. Nevertheless, nearly all people believe yet the differences rule.

I feel that you can well argue that there have been several mergers within religions: from polytheism (multiple gods) to monotheism (one God). However, that same consolidation process – from many to a few – has also given rise to a competition struggle between those few remaining Gods. Most fights are about land, money but ultimately about power.

No doubt the most violent religions have been Christianity and Islam. Between each other and between themselves (e.g., Catholics versus Protestants, and Shiites versus Sunnites). Considering that Islam is a religion that is some 600 years later than Christianity, whereas the Koran uses many of the same persons as mentioned in the Bible, the Christian Church must have seen this derivative religion as a major threat to its own existence. Moreover as Islam cared for the poor rather than protected the wealthy. One could even argue that the subsequent fights between split-ups (e.g., Catholics versus Protestants, and Shiites versus Sunnites) are a mirror of the fight between the original split-up.

In principle, Christianity and Islam could well merge into a joint global religion considering that the origin of both religions is basically the same. I wonder how many people of both religions could tell striking differences that could not be bridged.

It will be easy to outline the current differences as reasons why this merger could and should not take place. It will be hard to advocate such a merger given the expected massive opposition.

Nevertheless, local or national peace requires a reconciliation between religious fractions (e.g., Catholics and Protestants, as well as Shiites and Sunnites).

Similarly, global peace requires a reconciliation between 2 religions (Christianity and Islam) that ultimately have the same original identity.

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