Tuesday, August 23


Deepak Chopra on "Peace and Fanaticism."

Much of Europe found anti-Semitism acceptable for centuries before Hitler made it the most vicious cornerstone of a hateful ideology. The entanglement of every society in this "acceptable" belief, including the United States, blinded the Allies to Hitler’s threat, despite his constant public avowal that he was going to solve "the Jewish Problem."

These unique historical conditions aren’t present today. But one thing is common to both eras. All countries on both sides of the terror divide are enmeshed in the same conflicted mind set.

Religious intolerance exists on both sides. The inability to accept and respect dissimilar views of the world is present. The creation of a fictitious "them" who is always wrong, bad, barbaric, and evil is a common thread in reports from both sides.

I am well aware that the "us versus them" mentality is firmly entrenched on both sides. I know that militant Islam stands for absolute evil spawned by Satan to many people. But equally am I aware that this is the same mentality that keeps war going, decade after decade. There is always something "they" have done which is so heinous only armed reprisal can deal with it. And the response from "us," however horrific and brutally out of proportion, is always right and justified.

The blogosphere is the last place where such matters can be settled, but at least everyone should be afforded a peek into a world outside the one dominated by divisiveness and unending splenetic nationalism. Those who believe that the current war in Iraq is a blow for peace have never experienced peace, or else they are willing to accept the anti-logic by which you have to kill others in order to bring them peace.

I was taught, and have always believed, that the greatest testimony to Christianity was a Christian life truly lived. Gandhi once remarked that he might have become a Christian himself if he'd ever met a practicing Christian. And I often heard in my youth that the same was true for the United States during the Cold War, that a living, breathing, practicing democracy would be a beacon to the world and ultimately defeat communism. When we emulate the behavior and rhetoric of those we characterize as our "enemies," no distinction is drawn between "us" and "them." I fear that's been too much the case in this nation for some time now and especially since 9/11. When will we wake up and deal with the "beam in our own eye" rather than concentrating on the "mote" in the eye of others?


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