James Rogers (Full letter)
The horrid images of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center were brought back to me in two images recently. On a drive in a rural area the day after Labor Day, there were many flags flying to commemorate the holiday. At one house I noticed two very large flags flying. One was the stars and stripes, and the other was the Confederate flag. Needless to say, I was disturbed to see the Confederate flag flying alongside the real one. Farther down the road was an outdoor church sign announcing the sermon coming up: “No God, No Peace. Know God, Know Peace.”
These two images are reminders of how ignorance and bigotry can cause people to do terrible things like lynching other human beings because of the color of their skin and flying airliners into buildings in order to worship their version of God. The Confederacy was a form of terrorism on a large scale by causing a civil war to defend slavery that was condoned in the Bible so many times. The terrorists on 9/11 also justified what they did by saying the secular West had infiltrated the Muslim countries and showed disrespect for their faith. The fact, that as the planes flew into the towers, the attackers could be heard saying “God is great” should make us all pause and think about such motivation in a modern world. This Bronze Age worldview is only keeping humankind from advancing the way we should. I’ve come to the conclusion that religion, mainly in monotheistic form, is dangerous when practiced in a literal fashion, and since all religious people have their own interpretation of what it means, you can never have full accountability.
It’s been said the terrorists were attacking our culture and our Christian faith, but ironically we are not or never were a Christian nation. This, like so many other myths, is perpetuated by propaganda spewed by the power structure to keep us always one step behind and ignorant of what is going on. Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. A familiar argument of the gun lobby is that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” This can be taken a step further to say that false ideology kills people too. This is why religion is dangerous. It’s dangerous because it oftentimes triggers the worst in humans, like fear, envy, pettiness and bigotry, not to mention ignorance of the world and how it really works.
I have a revision for that church sign: “No God, Know Peace. Know God, No Peace.”