After writing a post last night about some of my thoughts on 9/11 I read some other blog posts that covered the same topic. 10 years later and we are all keenly aware of the significance of the event. However, I think that there are some crucial lessons that still need to be emphasised.
The terrorists acted because of their religious beliefs. Their belief in god and paradise drove them to murder. Throughout history there are many examples of religious fanaticism resulting in the torture and murder of innocent people. To be an atheist has been something that people have necessarily had to keep quiet in order to survive. Today, we can speak out but many still choose to privately disbelieve because there is still plenty of hatred out there. Hatred for opposing religions and hatred for the non-religious.
Would I have been burned as a witch in days gone by? stretched on the rack? been skinned alive? these things and more have been done to brave people who have dared to question religious authority. It may now be relatively safer to be an infidel, at least here in Australia it is, but now we are told to "stay out of it", to "respect faith", to "leave religion alone". All because the questions that we ask are tough. They require people to think for themselves, to step outside of where they feel safe and to take responsibility for their words and actions.
Today I watched some excerpts from September Dawn , a movie based on the events of September 11th 1857 otherwise known as the 'Mountain Meadows Massacre'. A group of Mormon militiamen and members of the Paiute tribe attacked a wagon train of emigrants murdering around 120 men, women, and children. Some of the scenes in the movie, although dramatised of course, portray elements of Mormonism with which I am familiar from my 31 years lived as an active Mormon. I felt sick as I watched men and women participate in temple ceremonies with the awful monotone that I heard many times myself. It always bothered me how dead we all sounded. Now I cannot believe that I was a part of something so ridiculous and so dangerous. What would I have done for the church, for god? how far would I have gone.
Would I have married the prophet if he told me god willed it? would my husband have let me go? would I have cried out for blood atonement? would I have acquiesced to having my throat slit and my guts spilled for having revealed the things that I have revealed here on my blog?
Would I have been willing to kill for god?
I can only say that somehow I broke out of the trance. I am out now. I am not controlled by superstition or the greed and power of corrupt men. I am free from these lies and horrors but I am still faced with the belief of others every day. If your faith in any way requires you to relinquish your own mind, if it asks you to blindly obey... then ask yourself - "what would I be willing to do for god?" the answer might scare you. It scares the hell out of me.
I worry about putting all of this into words. Will it just incite more anger? I hope that everyone who reads this post will hear me when I say that all I want is for everyone on this planet to have the freedom to live their own life in the manner that they wish to live it (so long as you harm no-one), with no-one claiming any right or special powers/knowledge from any god/s. We all know deep down that no-one has any such authority. People continue to assert that they have the truth and that everyone else is wrong. How can every religion be the only true one?? Isn't it far more likely that NONE of them are.
The only way that I can see for humankind to survive is if we act from love. When we see 'the other' we see ourselves, we see our own son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, father... and we love them and we work for a world that can sustain everyone in peace and happiness. It is possible. We have everything we need to do it BUT we must shed old superstitions and face reality. We must grow up.