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Archive for February, 2015

Quo Vadis Domine: Lord, Where Goest Thou?  ~John 13:36 

It has been said that life only moves in two directions and that only love is real. Thus, either we are going in truth and love or going in fear and hate-born illusions. The choice is ours.

Today, I still remember seeing the 1952 multi-Oscar winning film “Quo Vadis” for the first time. Set around 65 AD at the dawn of Christianity depicting the horrendous sufferings of its founders and the depraved madness of its political adversaries, this epic film made a lasting impression on me. Most memorable were visions of Simon Peter walking along a tree-lined road as echoes of soft voices, seemingly from out of nowhere, chanted “quo vadis Lord”.

That Monday, I rushed to my High School History teacher and asked him the meaning of quo vadis, who simply said it means: “Which way am I going in life.” Why him instead of asking others around me, is unclear. In retrospect, this was quite a philosophical response, yet not typical of my Southern Baptist world, tending more devotional instead.

Of course, thought and devotion (mind and heart) ultimately intersects for all truthseekers, whether long-term or temporary.

Given their great philosophic approach to religion, hmm…I wonder if Mr. Newman was Jewish. Nonetheless, he obviously was a gifted and caring teacher. One day he brought his record collection to class and played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata for us. This brought me to tears, and still remains one of my favorite piano compositions.

Years later, I would realize the full meaning of “quo vadis Lord” thanks to Mr. Newman’s prudent answer that day. Meanwhile, I intuitively learned not to take one’s religion too seriously; for this I am also grateful.

The Absurdity of Taking Our Religions Too Seriously

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” ~Anne Lamott, American writer and political activist

For some, the thought of a religious debate is way too heavy to ponder; while for others, it can be quite scary if raised in a strict, fundamentalist environment. Yet, somewhere between religious indifference and the inbred fear of religion, are those individuals who have sought refuge in the ancient teachings of well-established religions and have found it!

In general, there we find the real student-teachers of God. Though varied, depending upon their acquired insights and style, they usually don’t take religion so seriously as to be stuffy and hypercritical of others, and generally have a good sense of humor about it. Hence, the above witty quote from Anne Lamott that gently reflects back to us, the absurdity of taking ourselves and our religions way too seriously.

Yet, ‘There Is Something More’

Once, while talking to a friend about “A Course in Miracles,”[1] one of my favorite spiritual studies, she mentions her beloved grandmother who never insisted that she believe in God, or any particular religion. During their philosophic discussions, she would ultimately say:

“Peggy, there is something more.”

Wow! I thought, this is the most profound statement I’ve ever heard relative to religious differences and the existence of God or not, and told Peggy that I would always remember her grandmothers’ wise response and pass it on.

‘A Religious War’ or Not?

Today the religious debate has reached a curious level, mostly pertaining to the outrageous terrorists that appear to be raging war globally in the name of religion! So naturally those in our government are very concerned, as they should be.

In January, shortly after the tragic Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, Sen. Lindsey Graham, our esteemed U.S. senator from South Carolina, observed, in essence, that: “We’re in a religious war” with “radical Islamists” whose religious teachings, or the misuse of it, seemly requires them to kill, enslave, or convert so-called dissidents.

In a Feb 1st CNN article titled, “Why Obama Won’t Call Terror Fight a War on Radical Islam,” Sen. Graham is said to have mentioned on Fox News earlier this month that: “When I hear the President of the United States and his chief spokesperson failing to admit that we’re in a religious war, it really bothers me.”

Of course, Lindsey Graham is also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a former Staff Judge Advocate (military lawyer) and a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, currently assigned as a Senior Instructor at the Air Force JAG School. Naturally we hear from Sen. Graham quite often, particularly when outrageous acts of terrorism hit the news, and thus appreciate his active concern and patriotism.

Yet, Barrack Obama, being the first African-American U.S. President, a former U.S. Senator from Illinois, a graduate of Harvard Law School, a former community organizer and civil rights attorney who taught Constitutional Law for many years at the University of Chicago, is also appreciated for his great works and, his apparent love of our country and humanity.

In the same above CNN article, it basically states President Obama emphasized the importance of the U.S. keeping its response to groups of terrorism “surgical” so as to avoid alienating the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful, and naturally reject those who “have embraced a nihilistic, violent, [and] almost medieval interpretation of Islam.”

Thus, refraining from viewing the war against international terrorism as ‘a religious war’ is a wise step in the right direction…here is why.

The Moors Occupy Parts of Europe

Actually, many here in the West, though not all, are missing the point entirely when they choose to see today’s radical wars in the name of Islam as a religious war, which is a big distraction. As it keeps us from recognizing the deeper truth behind this horrendous warfare, as are all wars. And so we must return to a certain point in Western history to truly understand.

In 711 AD, the Moors invade Spain. Their historic name is likely a Spanish language derivative that simply means the Blacks, as radical racism was then nonexistent. Mainly of the Black race of African origin, for centuries the Moors ruled most of Spain, Portugal and parts of Southern France and Italy that greatly influenced European societies for over seven centuries.

The Moors, who were of the Islamic faith, were more advanced than most European cultures at the time. They intermarried, established great centers of learning, hospitals, housing with street lights, running water and were mathematical adepts.

Declared a national monument in 1870 after years of tedious restoration by Spanish architects, the exquisite Alhambra Castle, built by the Moors in Granada Spain, is one of the few wonders of Moorish design and artistic sensibility that miraculously survived the Spanish Reconquista and Napoleon’s army centuries later. Yet, things are subject to Karmic change!

The Spanish Reconquista

In reality, there is no beginning or an end. But there is an ebb and flow to creation. Such is the Law of Karma (cause and effect). Hence, the Crusades and Spanish Reconquista, Christianity’s protracted attempts to oust Moorish rule, finally succeeds with the fall of Granada in 1492 led by Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon.

Soon after the fall of Granada, Christopher Columbus is called to the Spanish court of the victorious monarchs. Queen Isabella finally approves his lingering request for funds. Destined to explore the world, the successful transatlantic voyages of Christopher Columbus would initiate European explorations and colonization of the Americas.

Eventually, the Islamic Moors and the Jews are expelled from Spain. With the burning of their books and such, evidence of Moorish presence is virtually expunged from national memory, or degraded, and systemically replaced with Christian thought and symbolism.

The Beginning of Radical Racism

Today, there is a major voice crying to be recognized as we, of the civilized world, grapple with the towering issue of global terrorism in the name of religion. Symbolically called the elephant in the room, global racism or, more to the point, radical racism is its name.

Historically, slavery or some form of servitude was permitted in most medieval societies, though race was not a definitive factor. Yet, slavery was, and still is, a radical departure from human evolution with Karmic consequences. Sadly, slavery would reach a new low and become even more radicalized in Early America.

In 1619, the first Africans arrive on American shores generally considered equal to European indentured servants, as racism and endless servitude was nonexistent. Yet, all of that would radically change. Later in the 1600s, the Maryland and Virginia colonies are among the first to legally declare all African slaves to be slaves-for-life.  Tragically, this marks the beginning of radical racism.

Since empathy is an intrinsic human quality, we must be taught to hate as hate is a by-product of intense fear.

With the early Africans being legally consigned to slavery for life and their owners still left in perpetual fear of losing their livelihood, seems most whites were socialized to hate black folks! Lest they inadvertently collaborate with a slave’s natural attempt to escape the inhumanity of slavery at the earliest opportunity.

Even keeping low-income white folks in check was not a problem; as any friendly contact with a black person was deemed a social taboo with dire consequences. Hence, hateful terms such as “niggerlover” soon became a major psychological weapon used to destroy White empathy for Blacks back then, which worked.

Radical Racism or A World Without Hate, Which Way

 “I have need to be all on fire, for I have mountains of ice about me to melt.” ~William Lloyd Garrison, American Abolitionist[2]

In 1865, slavery in America is finally abolished! Declining praise for his wonderful part in ending slavery, President Abraham Lincoln ostensibly states he had been only an instrument, as the logic and moral power of William Lloyd Garrison, the country’s anti-slavery people, and the Union Army did it all! Sadly, radical racism would continue.

While radical racism, slavery’s offspring, continues to haunt American society and the world, still much can be done today to eradicate the historic effects of radical racism worldwide.

Having found the United Nations, the means for supporting a world without hate are already here. Yet, together, humanity must first resolve that owing to global evolution, the primal need to triumph and subjugate nations is no longer practical in today’s high-tech world.

With much more to gain than lose, one day the world will unite in heart and mind despite the looming specter of racial disparity, political discord and religious differences, and thus make the United Nations a greater power broker for us all. Why not today? The choice is ours!

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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[1] A Course In Miracles. California: Foundation For Inner Peace, First Edition—June 1976

[2] Mayer, Henry. All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998, p.568.

 

 

 

 

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