John Kennedy once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” “Revolution” is a word with positive connotations in America, but not in other countries. In fact, most revolutions end with many deaths and a new government installed that is just as bad, if not worse, than the original one.
Ask the T Rex: adapt or die; oh wait you can’t, the T Rex is extinct. Let’s face it, the world keeps changing, little by little, every hour. When institutions and individuals refuse to adapt to the changes, they are signing their own death warrant, though it may be a long-drawn-out death. The USSR, with its clunky bureaucracy of aging ideologues, could not manage to reform itself, in spite of Gorbachev’s efforts. By the time Gorbachev came along, it was already too late. In the end, “capitalism” did not defeat “communism”-the rust-stuck USSR defeated itself.
Take notes, Uncle Sam.
The same adapt-or-die principle applies to religious institutions. People who blame “religion” for mankind’s woes display shallow thinking. Yet it is fairly easy to pull out “religious conflicts” from history and claim they are the cause of all human suffering. If you sneak a peek under the cleric’s robe, you will see they were political conflicts manipulating religious impulses to do what politics always does-it seeks to obtain and retain power. This is the case in European history and is the case in the current slaughters taking place in the Middle East: power conflicts manipulating religious impulses.
But how can a religion reform when it claims to be a perfect, complete, divine revelation?
Simple: Admit that the ‘perfect, complete divine revelation’ is being interpreted by imperfect, incomplete, limited human beings.
It is being cherry-picked and influenced by culture and politics. The Saudi Salafi jihadis want to go back to the perfect society of the seventh century and are killing their fellow Muslims who think this is a wacky idea. The Salafis refuse to adapt and will die, after taking a lot of their fellow Muslims with them. They, in turn, are being manipulated by the corrupt Saudi monarchy, which simply wants to retain power.
The Catholic Church was, to a great extent, mired down in corruption when the protestant reformation came along. If the Catholics had reformed themselves, (and many tried!) the reformation could have never gained traction. Instead, violent revolution (and violent counter-revolution) became inevitable.
Some admit, O.K. it’s not exactly religious people that are the problem; it’s the fundamentalists. Really? What is the fundamental message of Christianity? Hint>It’s supposed to be Good News. The message is: I have come to help you with your human problem and by the way, I want you to love one another. Hear any good news coming out of the mouths of “fundamentalists” lately? See any love? Or do you see raw power politics?
What can we, as individuals, do?
- Admit that change is inevitable.
- Admit that reforms are necessary from time to time.
- Admit that we don’t know everything and be highly suspicious of anyone who claims they do.
- Admit that humans in general have a tendency to seek power and once they have it, they seek to retain it at any cost.
- Admit that power-lust is the real cause of most human suffering, whatever robe it happens to be wearing.