When I was reading through what I posted yesterday about groups of people and nations being taken to war purely to satisfy the aims of a few, it was inevitable, especially as l live in Northern Ireland, that the use of religion to substantiate, or foster a political philosophy, had, and has, more than one aim. It is nothing new, the Romans used it in Judea, the Crusaders used it more as an excuse for pillage, than to spread Christianity. The list is endless, and it would seem that in the 21st century it is even more widespread than ever it was. In some scenarios the blame could be placed squarely at the door of the religious leaders in a number of religions, who for reasons of their own have set aside the commandments of the religion in order to justify some political end. The Conquistadors in South America, and the hideous Inquisition are blots on the religious landscape. The Pope, blessing the pilots of the Italian planes that bombed indiscriminately during the Spanish uprising, when in fact it was a forerunner for Mussolini to test his mettle for the next war, was something I never forgave. Our own dustup here in Ulster, ultimately became more to do with criminality than righting wrongs, and the religious divide, which was nothing new, has gone on to the extent that a young boy of 15 was recently clubbed to death just because he was a Catholic.
As far as I know, the religious doctrines of every religion follow roughly the same edicts as our 10 Commandments in Christianity, but this fact can be ignored in most religions when the political demands are such that the religious doctrines must be sacrificed for expediency. In a world, as materialistic as this one has become, religion becomes watered down to a point where it has little influence for good, when the religious leaders can talk themselves hoarse and nobody reacts. It would seem that the proletariat in every country has become the silent majority, probably through frustration when they find that the power of the state makes it immune from censure. Political events over the last 10 to 15 years have proved this point repeatedly, and do so on a daily basis. Karl Marx said that religion is the opiate of the masses, but this is no longer true, religious values are now on the back seat, money and political expediency are what count, be it right or wrong.