Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Is religion and religious extremism a threat to world peace, or is it totalitarianism?

In this day and age, it is vogue to demonize religion. This is fueled by the fact that religion is being increasingly used to justify violent and extreme actions on a global scale. There are two common but false answers that have been given: Religion is the root of all war and religious extremism is the root of all war.

 New Atheists like Richard Dawkins like to paint religion as the root of all evil and the cause of all wars. This, however, is demonstrably false. Many religions are, in fact, pacifist in their teaching and practice. Groups like the Amish, Quakers, and Mennonites reject all violence - even self-defense.

The subject of the relationship between religion and violence has made its way into conversations among the globalist elites. The emerging consensus there is a little bit different. The United Nations, as I point out in Mystery Babylon Rising, has a religious agenda, so they do not condemn all religion. Their demon is "religious extremism." The means through which they address this issue is through an initiative called the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. The emerging answer to to create an entity - a one-world church - to marginalize extremists. This entity would exercise authority over all religion and persecute those who refuse to submit to their agenda.

However, This post is not about the coming one-world church. I simply bring this up show that it is being proposed by some as a response to a false answer concerning the relationship of religion to war. And it is a false answer that doesn't work too well either. Amish Quakers, Shakers and Mennonites would be considered extreme by the standards of most people. These groups have extreme views against violence; they won't even defend themselves or their families with violence if some one came out to kill them.

Totalitarianism Cause of Violence
If religiosity and extremism are not sufficient to explain religiously oriented violence, what is the explanation? The root of violence is the tethering of an ideology to the use of force. Only those ideologies that advocate the use of force to compel others to submit can be a threat. This is why Fundamentalist Baptists, while extremely religious and extreme in their religion, are not a threat. They are isolationists who simply want to be left to practice their religion without interference. This tethering of ideology to the use of force is not limited to ideologies that are traditionally considered religious. Marxism is officially atheist, but has murdered over 100 million people in a scheme to force Communism down their throats.

Any ideology that is totalitarian and requires or encourages its adherents to use physical force can be a threat. The threat is the same whether the force is carried out through terrorism or by state-sanctioned force. The state-sanctioned variety is a lot more dangerous than rogue terrorists. There are, in fact,  two elements that make totalitarian ideologies dangerous: they all have an eschatology and they all conscript their adherents to use or support the use of force to compel obedience by others to the eschatological vision.

All totalitarian ideologies have an eschatology - this includes secular ideologies. While secular ideologies lack elements in their eschatologies that are present in traditionally religious eschatologies; both have the commonality of having a vision of what constitutes the best possible world, and both have faith that history is headed - or should be headed - towards this best possible world. There are four basic totalitarian and holistic eschatologies in the world today. Three of these pose a danger because they conscript their adherents to use or support the use of force by human means. This is also connected to the central idea of humanism - it is up to man makes his own paradise.  Comparing various eschatologies:

 Humanistic Eschatologies that threaten world peace
Secular Fundamentalism ( man defines and make his own paradise)
  1. Man creates heaven on earth by using science and technology to create a New World Order
  2. With science and technology, man can fake being god - transhumanism
"Pantheistic Fundamentalism" (god in nature defines paradise; man must enable god to actualize himself and make the paradise happen.
  1. God works as a naturalistic cosmic principle in evolution and history, leading to a naturally emergent New World Order.
  2. The divine principle works through "world-historical" individuals(Hegel) to bring forth a New World Order.
Islamic Fundamentalism (god commands paradise to be brought forth, but it is up to man to produce it)
  1. Allah commands Muslims to "slay the infidel."
  2. Muslims have the burden to bring forth Islamic paradise, as their theology is almost entirely "works-based."
Contrast this with Christian eschatology, which is God-centered:
Christian eschatology does not depend on human works. God produces the paradise, often using the powerless and operating counter-culturally. The people of God are not a threat to world-peace. Some might consider God to be a threat. Keep in mind that this is His world to run. He has been gracious to mankind and given us abundant freedom - freedom to enter into a love relationship with Him. This is why He has tolerated sin for so long; however, justice demands an end to all evil at some point - the process of annihilating all evil is going to be messy. Here are the features of God's action to bring about his New World Order
  1. God's New World Order is produced by God's action via supernatural intervention in the form of judgments against the evil systems of man.
  2. The people of God are largely stripped of any political, economic, and social power, being pushed to the brink of becoming victims of a genocide perpetrated by a global consensus.
  3. The involvement of the people of God in the final conflict involves spiritual weapons rather than physical. As God's people pray to Him, praise Him, and proclaim His Word; judgments fall upon the earth.
  4. The conflict is ended by Christ personally returning to the earth, wiping out the armies of His enemies, and setting up His Throne in Jerusalem- from which everlasting peace will flow.