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The Only Two Religions in The World

George Pyle, Aug 2011

This is such a truly great thought and wonderful article that I cannot help some modest addition and extension. It was written by George Pyle, a Tribune editorial writer Aug 2011 for The Salt Lake Tribune during August 2011. I suspect his article was nonetheless limited and edited by space and local policies. It is so clear and so morally and ethically good, that this is the item that should be put on walls in courts and schools around the world, not just in the USA. I wish I had thought of it myself - comments and changes are marked with [square brackets] and Arial font. Readers will note that he wisely does not once mention the chief religion of Salt Lake City by name. Neither will I, for the same good reasons.

This article has been changed from the original, with the author's knowledge. Please note the changes are clearly marked and please do not mistakenly attribute the whole to George Pyle. The original can be found at -

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobilemobileopinion/52371397-82/faith-god-arrogant-humble.html.csp

+++ Start of article +++

Despite what some may think about Salt Lake City, there is more than one religion here. The Yellow Pages, under 'Churches', lists 68 categories, from Assemblies of God to Vineyard Christian Fellowship. Mostly Christian, with Buddhists and Hindus thrown in. Synagogues pop up about 1,000 pages later. Mosques are in between. [New York has about 4,000 registered religions while Israel has about 2,500 registered types of Judaism, aside from its non-Jewish religions.]

Really, though, there are only two religions in the world. One is Arrogance. The other is Humility.

ARROGANTS -

The Arrogants have it all figured out. They know the secrets of the universe. They know what God is, what God wants, [why] God will punish them - or, more likely, punish other people. The certainty of it all, the ability to avoid thinking for oneself, has been attractive to many peoples throughout history. [Thinking for oneself has been deliberately thwarted by every religion with the possible exception of Buddhism - otherwise the priesthood could no longer claim their monopoly. Mohammed specifically prohibited priests within Islam, knowing where this would lead. An 'Imam' can lead prayers but his pronouncements in religious matters matter not at all. An 'hafiz' is someone who knows the Koran by heart; and we have the heavy-duty Ayatollahs - yet even they cannot issue religious edicts; those who issue 'fatawah' edicts are secular 'muftis'; but we Westerners are easy to confuse. Arrogants believe that only their special sect has the right of entry to Heaven; but even among them there will be considerable selection.]

[...] Warren Jeffs [is a recent (2011) fine example of a strong-willed leader preventing coherent logical thought by his followers]. The proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints allowed himself, and was allowed by his followers, to basically rape a long line of helpless and docile children because no one present [felt they could or should] object.

[Arrogants are easy to spot - wherever there is strife, war clouds, burnings, bombings, torture, rioting crowds, property destruction, gunfire, looting and mayhem, there are sure to be Arrogants striding about the destruction blaming the whole on some other, possibly equally arrogant sect, and probably of the same religious group, shouting their litany of hate, that the unbelievers will change their beliefs or die horribly, and 'that will teach them'. No religion has a monopoly on this behavior. Outsiders will look on in awe, often noting that they cannot easily distinguish one warring sect from the other, as they usually have much the same physical appearance, dress, habits and language as well as very similar forms of worship. Think Shiites and Sunnis; Irish Catholics and Protestants; the more history you know the longer becomes the list. Oh, and the warring religious persons are also sure to have in their tenets primary rules stating they must not kill and should treat all others, including unbelievers, as they would like to be treated themselves. This irony never seems to be considered.]

HUMBLES -

The Humbles know they do not know. They sense that the universe is full of secrets, which they may never grasp. They take comfort, then, in the idea that even though they donít know it all, there is a deity, a creator, a force of nature, that does; and that, whether by faith, by good works or by grace, each of us might receive a glimpse of the bigger picture, if not in this life then in the next. [Usually acting according to their own religious texts which state that justice will be perfectly served, both for acts of good and kind service as well as for acts of deliberate selfish cruelty. Humbles know that the only real sin is selfishness, and that all, without exception are destined for Heaven somehow, as God truly is Love. Arrogants somehow overlook these same texts.]

The reason to believe that all religious beliefs break across that single axis, and not into dozens of truly separate categories, is that there are Arrogant Christians, Jews and Muslims, who have [far] more in common with one another than they have with the Humble adherents [of the same religion]. Their identifying mark is that they hate each other. Not only do they hate members of other faiths, they hate, perhaps more quietly, Humble members of their own faith. [This is a truly astonishing reality of the Arrogants, and as noted, is a clearly identifying attribute.]

And there are the Humbles of any faith -  Christians, Jews and Muslims. Their identifying mark is that they get along rather well. They are too busy organizing joint efforts to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and heal the sick [and work toward a just society in their area] to engage in any violent acts. [They have no belief that they must force their neighbors or random strangers to believe their own credo, much less use force to ensure lip service.]

This explains why neither Gandhi nor Malcolm X, though strongly motivated by faith, was murdered by members of another faith. Each of them was gunned down by people of their own faith, as punishment for the murderersí conclusion that their target was not [arrogant or strong enough in their own religious beliefs. Such actions are all the more remarkable when considering the basic tenet of every religion as noted above, 'treat others as you would be treated'.]

The political [aspirations] of the Arrogants and the Humbles are obvious throughout history. [... Yet it is clear that once the populace is accustomed to being denied the dictates of their own conscience, and the unscrupulous (to say the least) who shamelessly enforce hypocritical standards, adjusting and changing them to suit their maintenance of power and control, the Arrogants enforce unethical and immoral standards within the societies they control. One has only to consider how fundamentalist Arrogance encourages and permits depiction of violence, murder and mayhem in cinema and society while decrying, denying and attacking lovemaking and nudity; the complete opposite of the tenets of their religion(s).

I love the story, true or not, about a clash between arrogance and humility  hundreds of years BC, during the successful invasion of Jewish Jerusalem by Baghdad invaders. As the last defenders were being defeated and the customary looting, rape and pillaging was in progress, the violent and naturally illiterate leader demanded that the highest priest be brought before him, as he had heard they were religious people who followed the teachings of a book, the Torah. 

Once identified, found, dragged into his presence and thrown at his feet complete with a copy of The Book, the leader demanded to know its contents. After some seconds of what was undoubtedly going to be a long speech, the leader said, while drawing his long and sharp sword and raising one foot from the ground -

"I am going to stand on one foot. I cannot stand on one foot very long. If you have not told me what is in your book before my foot comes back to the ground, so too will my sword and your head".

Taking a deep breath, the priest, clearly not a stupid man, thought very fast and blurted -

"Love God and love your neighbor - all the rest is commentary".

The violent and savage leader plonked his foot back down and called an immediate halt to the looting, rape and pillaging (which may not have happened so smartly as it should) and demanded to be instructed in the teachings of the Book. 

Or so we would like to think.]

+++++++++ o0o +++++++++ 

By George Pyle Aug 2011; please note the article has been changed. The original can be found at 

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobilemobileopinion/52371397-82/faith-god-arrogant-humble.html.csp

 

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