The use of religion as a societal foundation is a landmine of issues. On a parallel of ideology democracy is a form of religion as well. As a peace worker I have to understand that a persons’ choice is their own. No one has control over that choice any more than someone can force another person to enjoy eating sand.
In that understanding, when a group of people tell another group of people that they must follow a certain religion for their own good, right from the start that demand is flawed. Now this demand to follow a certain religion goes for politics and economics as well. Going back a few years there was the issue of the newspaper that published the drawing of an Islamic figure. That event set off like a bomb in a toilet pit.
In reality the person that made the drawing was not Islamic. That person is not bound by Islamic laws any more than a person from Paraguay is bound by Moldovan law. As for respect, well when idiocy is factored in, respect is to stand back and say, “Many images of god and prophets have been made over the years, what is one more ”. Going further, what is more disrespectful than forcing others to follow a set of rules that they do not belong to or believe in? This is where life gets really tricky because in order for peace to be achieved there has to be mutual understanding.
A peaceful society where mutual understanding exists has elements of respect and trust. Now for all the complexity the world has the mutual understanding is very simple. For me the understanding is that I am not to be feared for any reason and I ask that of everyone else I encounter. That is the root of my religion and the foundation of any society in which I work to rebuild.
Expanding that foundation of no cause for fear thought, I do realize that operating in such a manner brings a perception of weakness. This perception is a very strong element of our global society today. Gang violence, warlords, bullying, arseholes and governments use fear to control people. Ruling by fear is very much a “live by the sword die by the sword” method.
Now before anyone gets too simplistic here, not all use of fear is bad. For example, most places have laws for not wearing seatbelts when operating a vehicle. The rationale is that if you are caught you pay a fine. No one wanted to pay the fine so they started to wear the seatbelts. The same with drunk driving or texting when driving. Obviously the fear of causing an accident was not great enough on its own so government (you and me that is) decided to punish those that are caught engaging in such activity, thus the fear of being caught and punished. So there is the upside to the use of fear.
It is a tangled world we live in. Religion is just one method of governance/control we invented to maintain order. There are some that get out of control and take life to the extreme. These people will preach peace and the word of god, then shoot you for thinking differently. To be flat out honest we are all part of it. Everyone of us contributes to the slavery of societal ideology and yet we all think we are free.
Example, take any group of people and ask them what they would do if they won the lottery. I bet you will get the same answer from 98% of the people- house, car, vacations. That is mental prison right there, yet most would believe they freely made those choices. If it were truly free why is it that almost everyone has the same dream of material ownership? Then of course the charities will come into mind just to ease the guilt of looking bad.
Perhaps I am discounting the impact of collective thought projection? Who knows, all I can say is that peace is a very difficult state of being to maintain. However it is a great deal more fun to be trusted as a peaceful person than feared. Once again, it is a choice how/who you wish to be.