Friday, December 23, 2005

The Need for Something Bigger

This post at Mystery Achievement got me thinking. It's a fairly long post, but you should read the whole thing. Reading that post brought me back to a recent session when I was teaching a class about cults at my synagogue. We were trying to figure out why the followers of Jim Jones would follow him to their deaths. What were they looking for?

That brought me to another question. I asked my eighth graders, "Do human beings need something bigger than themselves to believe in?" We have G-d, but across an increasingly secularized western culture, belief in G-d is not only waning, but some say is being actively discouraged. I'm not going to touch the battle for Christmas, even though it is a symptom of the problem.

Instead, I'd like to point out that even atheists seem to be searching for that "something bigger", something that is beyond what is in front of us in our day to day life. I remember a few years back when a movement known as Communism was making waves in our world. It denied the existence of G-d, but it was a proselytizing movement, and it gave its followers something bigger than themselves to believe in. And while some of the anti-religious like to explain their disbelief in the fact that there have been so many wars fought over religion during Man's existence, Communists killed a fair number of people in their efforts to bring the "benefits" of Communism to the whole world.

Not all athiests are or were Communists. Some have other things they hold as their "something bigger". For some, it's an ill-defined spirituallity. For others it's Art, or Nature, or Reason, or Humanity. But for most people, there seems to be something that they need to have faith in.

Over the years though, the strongest faith has been directed towards G-d. Other things have come and gone, but G-d remains a constant. As the West becomes increasing secular, and G-d is removed from life, it seems to me, a vacuum is formed. As nature abhors a vacuum, something must fill it. As we scan the horizon, we see a movement willing to fill that vacuum: Islam. Like Communism, however, this is not a faith that is good for children and other living things. As so many others have pointed out, Islam, while billing itself as the "religion of peace", is intolerant, warlike, vicious, deceitful, and does not work and play well with others. We've seen that as Muslim populations grow in formerly non-Muslim countries, Muslims begin demanding special rights, and insisting that others follow their rules, while in Muslim countries, non-Muslims are at best, regulated to second class status, at worst, degraded and abused.

No matter how much our mainstream media denies the tyranny of Islam, we can still see that it's there.

This leads me to my question: With so many heads in the sand, how do we reverse this trend? How do we fill this vacuum before it's filled by Islam?

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