Tuesday, October 18, 2005

From Civility to Massive Death

I’ve heard most of my life that religion has killed more people in history than anything else has. I believed it for a while, along with all the other propaganda against traditional religion. That statement may be true, but it’s incomplete, and used primarily to condition people to hate religion and embrace atheism. Other words can be used in the place of religion and it’ll have the same meaning. Culture, beliefs, politics, doctrines, manifestos, philosophy, opinions, and views have been responsible for more human on human deaths than anything, but it can be summed up in one word: ideology.

Ideology means all those things, including religion. It’s peoples’ way of life and the clashing with others’ way of life that causes massive death. Now, it’s easy for atheists to say, “If only there wasn’t religion, then there wouldn’t be all this killing in the name of religion.” If religion did not exist there might not be killing in the name of religion, but there would still be killing in the name of ideologies (i.e. the National Socialist movement under Hitler). It’s impossible to say, “If only there wasn’t ideology or culture, then there wouldn’t be all this killing.” Yes, ideology and culture kill, but without them societies wouldn’t function either. It’s a paradox and a great irony. There can be an atheistic society, but they would have their own ideology nonetheless. Where “religion” ends, ideology takes its place. People have the need to believe in something no matter what. They need to have a purpose. Christianity is an ideology, as is Conservatism, as is Liberalism, as is Environmentalism, as is Islam, as is Communism, as is Buddhism, as are all ways of life.

Ideology can kill; all that matters is what side you’re on when it starts. Some sides are more just and work better than others do; some are pure evil. There are millions of cultures and ideologies, and the only way for humanity to get along would be to have one defining culture and ideology. But getting there will mean the elimination of all other cultures and ideologies. That takes a huge amount of persuasion or war and massive death, and in the aftermath there will still be differences of opinion. Life will go on, but not after millions die along the way. Humanity will never have a common culture because not even the smallest form of government, the family, can 100% get along.

My point is - world peace is an unattainable goal. The only thing you can have a positive influence on is your family. Raise them in your culture and ideology, surround yourself with others of like mind, try to be civil with those who aren’t, and prepare for clashes with the rest to begin. That’s what local governments are for. That’s why states were created. That’s why there are different countries. They prevent, to the greatest extent possible, the occurrence of conflict. The alternative isn’t world peace and unity… it’s massive death.

By Ken Bergman