When Religions Colide

History is so often written when religions collide. Different faiths and the intolerance of others to conform to the practice of a certain faith has erupted into violent bloody conflicts all through-out history. It can be said that the Crusades started not because of a culture clash between Christianity and the Muslim faith but, because of the thirst for more power, influence, control and wealth of the Catholic Church and by the nations of the Islamic faith. We have to remember that when two religions each so important to the cultures and way of life of nations clash it is because one leader or another seeks more power, control, and wealth. It is this thirst for power that has instantly created a hotbed of hate which has ignited most of the major wars through-out history. Take for instance, more recently, what happened in Ireland when the Catholics and the Protestants religions ignited a total civil war. Violent assaults continued to escalate in Ireland for years before a peace agreement was reached with the Belfast "Good Friday" Agreement of 1998.

Religion, like politics even though today in the United States church and state are supposed to be separate but undoubtedly they are so much intertwined that there is no escaping the fact that one has influence on the other. When we take a close look at all the terrorists attacks that have set the world on fire because of a faith where a leader is seeking more control, power, and wealth from others we should trace back in history to find the root cause. And, from that hopefully find an applicable end to all the carnage that has only continued to escalate today between the Islamic religion and Christianity.

To step back in time and retrace the steps of the Catholic Church in 1090 which was what many historians signal as definitive moment in history that today has manifested into the global terror network we are seeing with the Islamic Extremists. This is when Pope Urban II was gradually losing influence over the rulers of Europe especially Henry VII. Let's not rule out the fact that the Islamic religion where the Muslims were just as thirsty to quench their own thirst for more power, control, and wealth were poised to invade Constantinople. Here we have two distinct entirely different cultures and their own religious beliefs and yet a common denominator of each seeking more power, control, and wealth from the other by any means necessary.

In 1095 Pope, Urban II saw an opportunity to regain more power and authority for himself when the Greek orthodox church in Constantinople implored the Pope to come to their aid. Constantinople at the time was on the verge of being overtaken by the advancing Muslim army. As a result Alexius, the head of the eastern church (the Byzantine Empire) asked for and got military aid from the Pope. It was the Pope in seizing the moment to act to gain more power and influence by soliciting all to come to join forces in a spiritual war against the Muslims. When the Pope offered all those who would join redemption of sins and guaranteed salvation was a major influence for thousands to fight the Islamic nations. When he decreed "as Christ's heralds come to aid those Christians and destroy that vile race those infidels from the lands of our friends, Christ commands it" was a focal point that triggered one of histories most horrific acts of mayhem and bloodshed upon another religious faith and culture. It is said that the term infidel can be traced back to this period in history. Both religions used the term infidel believing that each religion had it's own ideology that theirs was the one true religion and all others who did not practice it were considered an infidel, a non believer. The end result was death and destruction for both Muslims and Christians. The mass carnage when the First Crusade took control of Jerusalem was a testament to the will full disregard for life.

What we are seeing today is a extension and a continuation of what was started over nine hundred years ago. The ideologies of two distinctly different faiths and cultures in a world that has only gotten much closer has made that hotbed of hate and indignation flare up into a firestorm of flames of destruction and death. The intolerance by individuals for other cultures and beliefs have manifested into the horrific carnage we are witness to practically everyday.

It was just recently that the African nations where different religious beliefs are interwoven into societies one religious faction has used violent means to dictate and impose their doctrine upon all others. The recent mass murder of innocent school children in Nigeria is just a continuing assault by extreme religious groups imposing their radical ideology upon unsuspecting victims. A totally barbaric assault that just is another escalation and extension of more terror inflicted upon humanity. When groups especially the Islamic Extremists whose own ideology is so radical use such horrendous hideous acts of wonton terror in slaughtering innocent lives continues to show that the world is still reverting back to the cave of the Neanderthal.

It is these types of violent atrocities which should be a wake up call to all heads of state that rouge insurgents are hell bent on imposing their reshaped ideologies upon who ever doesn't conform to their own radical rule of thought. The cultures of nations have only confounded and complicated the rational of societies. Today, what we are seeing is the Islamic religion and culture is almost the complete opposite of the American society and way of life. The evolution, if you want to call it that, into a society that has relinquished many moral values that the Islamic faith still hold dear has only exasperated the continuing conflicts between nations and existing cultures.

The world is getting to small to handle all the violent will full carnage against one another. When intolerance of different religious beliefs continues to escalate into bloodshed, where nations cannot realize that humanity has the abilities capable of doing extraordinary things for the betterment of mankind, when we don't realize that each human being is a unique individual, and when religious beliefs of individuals don't conform to the rest of a society beliefs all contribute to the on going struggle to find answers to stop individuals from using violent means to impose their will on others.
By Dr. Tim G Williams

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