RELIGION AND CULTISM

Some, perhaps a great deal, of the moral confusion that plagues our culture relates to the failure to recognize the distinction between religion and cultism.

With the expansion of our knowledge base and the rapid progression of technology, a growing segment of the world views belief in an omnipotent and omniscient God as tantamount to superstition. Those most militant cite the abuses in the name of religion committed by the Christians through the Crusades during the Middle Ages and the atrocities in the name of Allah in modern times as evidence of the malignant nature of spiritual belief. John Lennon famously penned the words “imagine no religion” in this vein. In the utopia he imagined, there was no need for religion, because everyone had achieved the state of enlightenment embodied in the basic moral law, “Do unto others,” the underpinning of all mainstream religions.

But the real world is not a utopia. It is a battle of good versus evil. There are those that still cringe at this concept as primitive; no one is evil, only corrupted by society, or bad parenting, or circumstances beyond human control. While well-intentioned, those who subscribe to this ideology will forever be hobbled in the fight. They are also the ones most likely to be confused by the smokescreen the Islamists rely on to achieve their ends.

Religion is only a tool, a path. And there are many. Abuses in its name by those who stray from the path, even so-called leaders of the faith, can only invalidate it if the rank-and-file practitioners refuse to publicly and loudly disown the behavior. Religion is a set of ideas and ideals. Humans are, well, human.

Cultism is also a path—to a belief in God’s diametric opposite. What better way to confuse the righteous and gentle of heart than to use the same terms such as “God” or “Allah” in the practice of satanic beliefs? Moral relativists have an especially hard time standing against this, as devotion is viewed as monolithic. Who is to define good or evil?

Therein lies the core of the issue: Islamism is a cult that cloaks itself in the righteousness of religion. Devoted Muslims in the “Do unto other” sect far outnumber the terrorists, but we can argue all day and get nowhere as to whether the insurgents comprise 3 percent, 15 percent or more of the faithful, because there is no way to do a census. Nor can we see into a person’s heart to learn how many of those who define themselves as Muslims support the cultists without ever acting on their twisted beliefs. Some people use the contradicting passages of the Koran to paint all practitioners with the same brush, but any thinking individual sees through this. What casts a pall over the religion is a perception by many of us on the outside that condemnation of the extremism in many international quarters has been muted. Fear of retribution is understandable, but only a commitment from those inside the faith can prevent this evil from turning into a global bloodbath that will make World War II look like a scrap between a couple of two-year-olds.

Edmund Burke proclaimed, “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” Who could say it any better?

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