I’ve been reading the news about the increasing violence in Jerusalem this week, and it seems to be surpassing much of what’s been happening for years. The wave of horrific daily stabbings is far more brutal than ever seen before, and the number of people being killed at bus stops by crazed car drivers far outstrips the former randomness of such crimes. Why the sudden escalation?
It’s almost as if the activities of the IS in Syria and Iraq, made well known by their warped publicity department, has made other Islamists in the region much more brutal. And Mahmoud Abbas raising the Palestinian flag in a garden near the UN, and his constant inflammatory rhetoric, no doubt fanned the flames.
It’s not my business to comment on politics, especially of those countries I’ve never visited. But it is my business – at least I make it my business – to comment on religion-related issues. The Middle East is a political phenomenon disguised as a religious issue. As in most cases of this kind, it is not that the most pious and religious people are involved in making the political decisions. More often, it is the angriest politicians that cloak themselves in religious rhetoric that rise to the top of the social heap.
The so-called religious flashpoint is the Temple Mount / Al Aqsa Mosque, supposedly the ‘third holiest place for Muslims.’ Even though the location of Mohammed’s ‘night journey’ is nowhere mentioned in the Koran, and even though it was probably an invention of Saladdin to bolster his reasons for invading Jerusalem; and even though it is most surely a legacy of the historical Islamic preference to build mosques over the most sacred places of other people’s religions (please see Bethlehem, Ayodhya, Mathura, and numerous other sites in India).
The Bhagavad-gita is a conversation about religion that was recorded before the beginning of Islam. It therefore has absolutely nothing to say about Islam. But it does have an interesting take on how a mental state can spread among people, inducing the masses to share an emotion that by themselves they may never have experienced. Socialised emotion, you might call it. The Gita explains that the enemy of all of us is lust, the intense desire to reach out with one of the senses and control a material object (or a person who has been objectified) and enjoy it. The concomitant emotions are greed and anger. Indeed, says the speaker of the Gita, Sri Krishna, those three emotions, lust greed and anger, are ‘the gates leading to hell.’
Anything that inflames lust, greed and anger is the antithesis of religion and the enemy of spiritual progress. Anger-inducing religion is thus the very opposite of factual religion – a wolf in lamb’s clothing – and is the enemy of spiritual progress.
I also read this and thought I’d share it you: http://www.wsj.com/articles/palestine-the-psychotic-stage-1444692875