The Gathering Storm : A New Year’s introspection

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5V3A1039 (1)I rarely use my blog to air my political views. But today I’m going to make an exception. It is, after all, the end of a year and the beginning of a new one – even if the endings and beginnings are artificial, human constructs. We try to force our will upon nature all the time and it’s a battle which we will ultimately lose. So, here are the things that stir me. It’s my blog. If you don’t agree with what I have to say, that is your right. Peace, be still.

The climate is changing. It always has and it always will. Nature is like that. I don’t think taxing carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere will make any difference.  The driving forces that dictate our weather are the sun, and the oceans. I think we need to accept climate change, and adapt. Because we sure as hell aren’t going to stop it.

Having said that, we should be doing more about the things we can change. Embrace alternative energy sources, introduce new technology so we don’t have to dig big holes in the ground. Clean up our oceans. Stop burning the rain forest. But I’m not sure what we can do about population growth.

We cannot continue the current notion of economic growth, and return on share holder investment, at all costs. People are being forced to work longer hours for less pay. Jobs are disappearing, especially for unskilled workers, while those at the top – the financiers and bankers who ultimately contribute nothing to the community, grow richer and richer. We should return to a more sustainable way of using our resources. If we don’t, we’ll end up with a scenario like that portrayed in the movie Elysium. (Overpopulated, polluted Earth degenerates even further, while the mega-rich live on an orbiting space station with all the comforts they could imagine.)

And from there, to religion, the great divider of our world.

I despise organised religion. Don’t misunderstand. I believe everyone has the right to believe in, and worship whatever they wish. But no-one has the right to push their beliefs onto other people. Yes, I’m an atheist. And I have never, ever, knocked on a Mormon’s door to explain that their God is a figment of their imagination. And I never will.

My objection to the main religions is simple; they’re based on beliefs and practices set down thousands of years ago, which are supposed to be the only truth. For instance, religious taboos on food probably had validity back when they were defined. But why on earth would an omnipotent being care if we choose to eat bacon, or beef, or fish? And why would an omnipotent being agree that half of humanity – the female half – is worth less than the male half? Hindu temples have signs explaining that women cannot enter if they are menstruating. Which seems odd to me. God created the plumbing, right? So how could it be wrong when it’s working as it should? Ultra-orthodox Jewish men refuse to sit next to women on aeroplanes. In mosques and synagogues men and women are usually separated, although it seems more enlightened societies allow a mix. It’s good to see the Anglican church and the Jews both now ordain women but the Catholics hold out.

Of them all, fundamental Islam stands out for its treatment of women. In Saudi Arabia (supposedly our ‘friend’) women can’t drive cars. They have to wear a black tent in case they inflame the appetites of men. They can’t own property. Etc etc. Radical Islam is even worse. Slavery is acceptable. Rape is fine – in fact, it doesn’t exist. Marriage to young children and genital mutilation are commonplace practises. Women are forbidden from receiving education. Then there’s their barbaric sharia law, which dates back to the 7th century. The woman is sentenced to punishment if she’s raped. The man gets off scot free. If you steal your hand is cut off. Flogging is carried out for apparently trivial offences. These punishments were phased out in Western cultures hundreds of years ago. We’ve all seen the reports, especially about Da’esh which is gleeful in its murderous excesses. You’re a non-believer? Or even if you belong to the wrong offshoot of Islam – off with your head. Or perhaps a crucifixion instead. In the infidel West terrorism perpetrated by young Muslim men has become all too routine.

Here in Australia we have already seen the thin edge of the wedge with companies paying for Halal certification, and it seems when Muslim marriages end in divorce the woman’s rights are not recognised by the mosque unless sharia law is invoked. No, we shouldn’t be welcoming every newcomer with open arms. Look at what is happening in Northern Europe, where thousands of fit young men have poured into previously peaceful communities. No, we shouldn’t accept women walking around in burkhas. It sends the wrong signal, that women should not be seen. Apart from anything else, it impedes communication through body language. I don’t think women should even wear the hijab. What’s wrong with female hair?

So there it is. I fear for this planet. And I fear for this country. The world we’re living in reminds me very much of pre-WWII Europe. A dictator in Russia is trying to expand his power, instead of Nazi Germany we have a ruthless bunch of fanatics flexing their power in the middle east, and all the while the West makes concessions and hopes for peace.

What’s that saying? Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Sometimes I’m glad I’m old.

7 Responses

  1. Soooz

    You have spoken your truth with both courage and conviction, my friend. I too hold no belief in organised religion, I have no affinity with its destructive power.

    I do believe we are each responsible for our planet, as I believe that ultimately we as humans will be responsible for its demise.

    Thank you for sharing your reasoned thoughts, and insights, Greta.

  2. MonaKarel

    one of the many things that has always puzzled (fascinated?) me about those who profess total belief in religion is how hard they fight not to die. If their afterlife is so wonderful, why do they struggle far past good sense (as in the body is trying desperately to shut down) to stay alive?
    I was Catholic, or at least attended Catholic schools. On Wednesdays we attended church, and were required to wear our cute beanie sort of head coverings…which I generally forgot to bring so the nuns pinned a tissue on my head. Really? With all that their omnipotent being had to worry about, a Kleenex on my head mattered?

  3. Marj

    Islam is the danger at the moment, but I cannot understand other religions, either. How can anyone stay sane if they believe that perfectly normal people can be condemned to everlasting torture?
    Other things you said? I’m not sure that the climate is changing any quicker than normal, but I am quite sure that human activity has nothing to do with it.
    The economy? How can we possibly have never-ending Growth? It makes no sense. We have to limit our population, but that appears to be as unsayable as that Islam is most certainly not a religion of peace.

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