That was the conventional wisdom of the kids in my neighborhood about our country’s enemies in World War II. My young friends felt there were no “good” Nazis or Japs. After school we often chose sides and played “war” with toy rifles and cowboy cap guns for which we had no money to buy “ammunition.”
American youth learned to hate the enemies of our nation without knowing one. We didn’t understand exactly why we were involved in overseas combat or why we were defending other nations we could hardly find on the small spinning globe in our classroom. Only a few of us could name the 48 states on a Mercator projection of the U.S. that hung on the wall. It had boundaries but no state names printed on it.
Now after nearly 70 years, Americans are hated by many people that share the globe with us who don’t know us or what each of us believes. Hatred, loathing, vindictiveness, and vengeance for perceived insults motivate men and women to kill others, innocent or guilty of insulting them, their beliefs, and their country of origin. They call us infidels because we don’t think the way they expect us to think. Sad, but true!
Their religious philosophy promotes the brutal behavior of older religions: the Jews who crucified, the Catholics who burned infidels at the stake, and the followers of Mohammad who executed thousands because they would not become “believers” in the teachings of the Koran. A renewed crusade by religious Muslim zealots is in vogue once again.
What makes modern humans so sure of themselves, their beliefs, and their leaders? Who can say which philosophy is the one to be followed? Are the meek, the merciful, and the peacemakers in any society truly blessed? If so, how, and by whom? Antagonism, polarization, and violence are the symptoms of a mentally sick human society. Who gets to decide which human has authority, divine or otherwise, to put other humans to death just because they don’t agree with current customs and local religious beliefs?
What kind of vicious hypocrisy prevails when humans can’t accept or tolerate diverse opinions about what can’t be proven? Have we made any progress in the past 2000 years? Jealousy, envy, and greed inspire human anti-social behavior. Poverty, hunger, addiction to drugs, and mental illness are blamed for “unlawful” and “inhumane” acts rejected by modern society. Why should what a human believes about an unknown afterlife cause such human anxiety? One that leads to hatred and impels humans to act “crazy” and take their own lives and the lives of innocent infidels?
The faithfulness of the followers of imperialistic dictators can be partially explained when death to the “disloyal” is automatically and autocratically prescribed. Do the adult members of the human race really want peace or only the cowards, the weak, and the handicapped? Can the only way to achieve a peace-loving global human society is by killing all those humans who won’t agree with us? The many disbelievers among us are not just religious zealots, but those who don’t share our beliefs about how to manage social interaction, exploit natural resources, reward our leaders, invest our money, redistribute our income, and make the laws that govern day-to-day human behavior in all facets of life?
Who knows how to please an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Deity? That might best be accomplished by acting humbly, by calming the nerves of those humans who are easily frightened, and by choosing a mission of avoiding the temptation to unify arrogant, selfish, greedy, and domineering human minds. Is there any reason under the sun to believe that a knowledgeable Deity would choose to regiment and limit primitive human minds whose boundaries may be boundless?
Is there any reason that the one creative force known to mankind outside of a presumed Deity, inspiration, should be strictly curtailed, and the physical bodies of the disobedient be condemned to perish at the hands of ignorant, power hungry men and women who lack vision, experience, and the awareness of how the many laws of nature actually function in this immense universe?
Is there some motive for intolerance that restricts developing the talents and possibilities of an evolving human intelligence that is merely a few eons of time in process of discovering the wonders that unfold themselves to the most creative minds of humans? Is there a wisdom that permeates this universe that truly transcends our human ability to grasp the design of its numerous miracles?
Is freedom to think for oneself such a danger to an eternal intelligence that no advanced form of animal mind should be granted the right to imagine what doing that entails? Are all doors closed to expanding the right to resist being compelled to think erroneously, adopt limited and false beliefs, and submit to mental dictators, religious or secular, who seek very short term power on this ageing planet? Closing minds is the most dangerous act by human leaders of restraining behavior and hiding solutions to our many on-going problems.
Nothing positive is accomplished by stifling investigation, preventing detailed analysis, and killing people. The only hope for improving life is by enhancing the possibilities that some creative vision will become popular that lets humans with wisdom and energy have their day in the sun and an opportunity to guess what enables mankind to stop abusing the inhabitants of the Earth. Is that too much latitude for the honorable prophets and the serious seekers of truth to accept?
If it is, then the human race is doomed to fighting over who ought to be exterminated with their dangerous beliefs until there are no more thinking, doubting, wondering humans to populate this planet!