Father Abraham: your sons keep killing each other

X 8.11.14

It’s happening again. Adherents of one Abrahamic religion are massacring full communities of adherents of another Abrahamic religion.

Abrahamic religion is my cultural heritage. And it is the cultural heritage of my kids. I ask my cultural relatives: Haven’t we grown sick and tired of cultural genocide?

Apparently ISIS hasn’t. Apparently complacent Christians in Nazi Germany and manifest-destiny Euro-Americans in North America hadn’t, and modern-day European segregationists and redneck nuke-em-all types still haven’t. The actions of some hard-liners and settlers in Israel, and murderers from the occupied territories don’t leave a lot of room for peaceful Israelis and Palestinians to live a comfortable life.

What is so wrong with this lineage that it had left such a trail of cultural genocide and correlating environmental destruction? I know this question has been asked time and time again. The only satisfactory answer I’ve heard is that whenever a people decided its religion and its form of agriculture is superior, its adherents use these beliefs as justification to destroy whatever does not conform. Agriculture may seem like an oddity in this discussion, but it’s really not. Since the early days of the Fertile Crescent, our modern style of agriculture has been carried via adherents of Abrahamic religion, and has displaced millions of years of other types of agriculture and food-gathering as it has spread. It hasn’t been that long since we “civilized” our North American tribal peoples via the plow and the Bible.

But there is also quite unsettling biblical support for genocide. Our common ancestors, the ancient Hebrews, were instructed by God to destroy several civilizations. Are we still OK with this?

This post is not an attack on religion. It is an attack on the idea that religion should give one people comfort as they destroy other peoples and other species. God, or the gods, did not gift us a monoculture Eden. And we can’t get back to the garden by slashing, burning, and bulldozing natural and cultural diversity.

On that note: blessings upon the very few tribal peoples left in this world. Sure, they’ve been involved in tribal border skirmishes since time immemorial. But they haven’t engaged in wholesale massacres of people or species who don’t adhere to their view of agriculture or religion.

Ok, that’s a pretty mighty tangent. I’ll have to revisit it and flesh it out.

So what do we do about the current situation in the Middle East? For the time being, I support free and independent states of Israel, Palestine, and Kurdistan. Maybe this seems to be a step away from national plurality and diversity, but I think it would be a major step toward stability. And more stable nations tend to attract diverse peoples. And diversity under secular constitutional law (eg, pockets of integrated modern Canada, Europe, and the United States) tends to keep things relatively safe for all.

I don’t have any links to share right now highlighting people working on the front lines of these topics, but I will post some in the near future. Feel free to post your own.

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