IS IT IN THE GENES?
This week, my wife, Marcia, asked me a question to which I didnâ€™t have an answer. She asked what Unity felt about the Muslims, ISIS, etc. She felt that saying I love them as Children of God, but not what they do is only paying lip service to the idea of pacifisms and feeling that we canâ€™t separate them from their acts. She had brought up the question if whether or not their behavior is genetic.
Now, from what I know about genetics, I donâ€™t think so. To me, it is more than likely a societal thing. That is to say, itâ€™s a learned behavior. In addition, people are drawn to groups like ISIS for a couple of reasons.
The first is religious fanaticism. Its has been theorized and tested that we have a God gene. The idea is that this gene drives us to seek some kind of religious belief, But that doesnâ€™t explain ISIS, or religious fanaticism.
So, we are stuck for now, on the explanation about ISIS and fanatic or extreme â€œevilâ€ behavior as a learned response to the radical beliefs they have been taught, or adopted.
Religion serves a purpose to humanity. It gives us a sense of belongingness, and a sense of morality, or right and wrong. Now, we seem to have an innate need to belong. We desire family, friends, and so on. Abraham Maslow suggested that we cannot progress to higher human values unless our basic needs are met, and belongingness is one of those basic needs along with food, shelter, and safety. Unless those needs are satisfied, we canâ€™t progress toward actualization. Actualization being a drive to help and serve others.
When the unfulfilled need for belongingness is coupled with extreme religions that offer a sense of belonging, we end us with the possibility of blindly following their religious teachings. This goes for the extreme right wing Christians as well.
Marcia mentioned that someone like Mother Theresa would love the ISIS people, and be willing to die for her principles. That, to me is a an extreme religious principle, but in the opposite direction of groups like ISIS.
They are perceived as fundamentalists. They take their scriptural interpretation literallu â€“ as the divine word of God. So too do our Christian fundamentalists and literalists. God dictated the scriptures to the writer, who then wrote them down exactly as God said.
However, more and more Christian denominations, and other religious teachings are being examined in the light of who they were written for, what was going on in that period of history, what conditions were the audience living under, and what was the message to that specific group?
For instance, The Prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures spoke of Social Justice. The leaders, priests, prophets, judges, and merchants were corrupt. They took bribes, and so on. Their message was that the everyone had fallen away from obeying the covenants that were given to Abraham and Moses. So, their sins were pointed out, and the people warned of dire consequences if they didnâ€™t straighten up, God was going to punish them. They didnâ€™t so God punished them. Then they repented and came back to God and keeping the covenants.
The New Testament Gospels were written by followers of â€œThe Way,â€ which became Christianity as we know it, but each Gospel was written to a specific set of people and with a specific purpose and trait of Jesus in mind. The audiences lived in different areas and under different conditions. They had different backgrounds. So, when we read those, itâ€™s helpful to understand this data.
Many Muslims reject any liberal interpretation of the Koran. It is their belief that we all worship the same God, but that the Jews and Christians have misinterpreted what they say. Thus, when all these factors converge and young or older Muslims lack a sense of belongingness, or are strongly influenced by an exacting literal interpretation of the Koran. They will join groups like the Taliban or ISIS.
We see this everywhere, from evangelical Christians to the Arian Brotherhood, and to the militia groups around the USA. The rest of us see them as the embodiment of Evil.
Now Unity sees evil as being in a state of disharmony with the God-Principle. It comes from our Ego as Charles Fillmore said in the Revealing Word. (Unity Village, MO. Unity Books).
We have freedom of choice in how we think, feel, act, and what to believe. When we are not in tune with our Inner Christ or the Oneness, we are capable of doing what people think of as evil. It is our failing to express love, life, intelligence, wisdom, and the other qualities of God. Remember, God is all goodness. There can be no evil in Goodness. Itâ€™s illogical. If one is all of something, then the opposite canâ€™t be in them. So it is with God.
Marcia also said that we donâ€™t live up to those qualities when we speak our against the wrong things we perceives President Trump as doing. We are condemning the whole man, not just the behavior.
I admit that Iâ€™ve being judgmental when I criticize what is going on in Washington and how I see Trump and company as behaving. But I still, to me, see them as a Divine Child of God. All I can do is send love to them in my prayers. I donâ€™t know how to speak out for what I see as social justice and human compassion without identifying the behaviors that I see as failing to do, what I consider as the right thing, more for those who canâ€™t care for themselves because of whatever their circumstances are.
Iâ€™m still a work in progress, but I see social justice as part of the teachings of Jesus.
Have a good Memorial day, and remember those who gave their all so that we can express our opinions without fear of jail or punishment.