When you stop and look around at the world today, or at any time in history for that matter, the problems that we face as a species can be attributed to two primary groups: Politics and Religion. Oftentimes concurrently. From the Crusades to the Holocaust, and from Apartheid in South Africa to slavery in America. Russia, Syria, ISIS, the Taliban, and the IRA. World War I, II, and eventually III. September 11, 2001. December 7, 1941. August 6, 1945. All of these problems are the result of either politicians/governments or religions. Famine. Disease. Lack of drinking water. Climate change. These issues could be solved, but, because of politics and/or religion, they’re not. In theory, these institutions are designed to help people. But in practice, they do more harm than good. At their essence, religion and politics are more exclusive than inclusive – despite the boast that “all are welcome.” That’s called recruitment. You’re either with us, or against us. So join us.
The problem is that men are fallible. History has shown that most people can’t handle positions of power without it poisoning their hearts. We lust for power and grapple for control. And when a conflicting concept presents itself, we cut it down. Sometimes with extreme prejudice.
There’s a reason we aren’t supposed to talk about politics or religion around those who aren’t like-minded – because we can’t handle it.
The irony, of course, is that we build castles of gold from which men do their business in the name of politics and religion. Because we have hope that the inherent good that lives deep within each of us will somehow find its way to higher ground. It’s hope that keeps us afloat – tolerating the institutions that define us.