Beyond the Cusp

October 27, 2014

Israel Defense Force Commander Criticized Over Religious Reference

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Commander Ofer Winter from the Givati Brigade of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has raised the ire of the secular media, NGOs and other general busybodies over his using a reference to G0d when addressing his troops right before they entered Gaza and potential life-threatening situations in combating Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist entities during Operation Protective Edge. Commander Winter received generous compliments from the founder of the brigade, Brigadier General (res.) Yehuda Duvdevani at an event honoring the Givati soldiers held Tuesday at Nahshonit Park east of Tel Aviv where he, remarked “I hope that in the future we will have more commanders that will walk in his (Winter’s) path.” The Southern Commander of the IDF Major General Sami Turgeman when making an address at the same ceremony lauded Commander Winter saying, “the brigade, under the command of Ofer and the battalion commanders, came wherever it was needed and through creativity, planning and determination defeated the enemy every time.”

 

As part of the calls denouncing Commander Winter for his religious reference and invoking G0d, when he cited the Shema prayer in his last address to troops before entering combat, came from the Israel Democracy Institute which took a novel if not incorrect approach claiming that religious soldiers might decide that G0d’s Will runs contra to specific orders. They were obviously unaware that Halacha mandates obeying commanders’ orders when defending the Jewish People. Further, there is likely no more appropriate prayer than the Shema prayer when the task at hand is potentially life threatening and where death can come over one with a suddenness that would preclude the individual soldier from reciting the Shema before expiring. What this entire tempest in a teapot is all about is the secularists in Israel knowing their numbers barely mount to ten percent of the population, if that high, feel they must scream, shout and attempt to intimidate the religious Jews from the public square or else face religious references resulting in what they would view as an Israel that would be too Jewish.

 

The truth be known, the answer to many, if not all, of the Western world’s problems could be resolved by a returning to G0d and religion, be it Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Shinto, Hindu, Taoism, Islam or any religion where man is placed under a more moral structure and especially those which provide either a more perfect role model or G0d above the normal human such that each individual must work towards a more moral and perfect life and live with the realization that they are not the highest form of being defining what is correct individually and measuring their lives by their own defined and usually lacking standards. Such a return to a life spent thriving for a perfection defined traditionally which places the societal goodness and the dedication to the continuation and aiming to provide a better future than the present day instead of living entirely in the moment and almost exclusively for oneself placing the self at the pinnacle of creation and foremost in the plans and seeking of desires controlling each and every action would even solve the problems of the death of the civilization through birth rates below replacement levels. It has been the loss of faith which has also brought on the loss of community; loss of the sense of belonging; the collapse of the family, including as an enduring relationship, as the path to the future, the creation of that future through children and as the nurturing development of children; and the cause of an emptiness inside and in our lives which we forever seek to fill often at the cost of fulfilling others around us.

 

The loss of faith and decline of religion can be measured simply by taking measure of the extent which government has enlarged itself and how it has succeeded in replacing religion in the societal roles such as assisting the needy, sheltering the homeless, clothing those in need of clothes and every other societal function previously seen as the calling of the religious entities most often through the community’s house of worship be it a Synagogue, Church, Temple, Mosque, or other such group. This societal problem of the death of religion is only the initial stage, a stage that Europe and the United States, if not all of Western society, has already passed and would take an enormous effort and years of taking apart the government behemoth returning to religious entities those roles for supporting the needy and providing a guidance which has been replaced with cold regulations and laws. The next measure is to what extent the government has replaced the family and also broken the family function making it more of an empty, cold, hollowed out existence of two people who are often too drawn-up in their work relations to actively support and nurture each other, let alone children. Government provided meals at school even to the point of forbidding parent prepared lunches from home insisting on the student consuming the government provided and carefully planned and measured correct caloric count and meeting nutritional guidelines, before and after school activities making government the nanny caring for the children, and final stage is government provided and licensed day care for even the newborn. Many in the West have surrendered their responsibilities to the government allowing the government to actually nurture their children, assuming they even bothered to have children and did not resort to birth control or even resorting to abortive actions waiting for that perfect right time to have children, a time which never comes. We in much of the Western world have replaced religion with regulations and government programs and now spend our lives in supplication to the State even to the point of tithing of fifty percent of our gross salaries or more to support that State. Even our healthcare and the critical decisions over life and death are surrendered to a government panel as part of our healthcare. Is there much left we can surrender to government, will we actually move into government provided cubbyholes called our environmental residences and allow constant monitoring of our every move with warnings not to act in ways which may cause harm and cost the government revenue which could be better used?

 

The current growing and seemingly unresolvable conflict is between Western society and its government as religion system against Islamists who want a religiously controlled government where religion has replaced government. Some of the accusations made by the Jihadists against Western nations have lost their souls and engage in a lifestyle that represents what they define as debaucherous desires and actions and a society consisting of people whose only concern is their own pleasure and who have no piety or belief in Allah, or even G0d or other guiding enlightened archetypical standard. Their accusation is that, especially in Europe and the United States, lives are wasted and only strive for sexual pleasures while abstaining from religion completely. What would be amusing, if was not so much a threat, is that the best weapon the West could have to successfully resist the Islamist extremist would be their Judeo-Christian roots and a return to a living religiously guided lives, returned to our houses of worship and reestablished our sense of community intertwined with our religious observance. This would provide the glue which could unite us and give that unity a bonding agent which would be unbreakable and further provide the citizens in the Western world a sense of belonging which was worth defending. Without a return to the basics which gave Western society a strong and moral base, the conflict with Islam will only grow and eventually result in the end of Western culture and with that the Judeo-Christian ethic which resulted in the advancement and pursuit of truths which our science provided and the benefits from those discoveries. Should the extremist Islamists win in what they perceive as their primary source for Jihad, then further advancement of science will be stymied for the foreseeable future and this would be catastrophic.

 

The future of mankind is currently resting on a single decision which history will make over the next decade or two and we reach the conclusion of this culture war which we have entered into whether we chose to accept that or not. The medical and biologic discoveries alone that the next half a century could produce are beyond belief and would have astounding application in extending life expectancy, prolonged or even restored youthfulness, replacement of organs using one’s own cells and so much more. The advancements in physics, chemistry, computer sciences and engineering will be almost as impressive and produce items and opportunities some of which are beyond our comprehension or ability to even imagine. But lose the Western based culture and enter into a religious straightjacket which insists that study of the Quran is the end-all of necessary knowledge and study beyond the Quran and the Hadiths is forbidden unless it is for advancement of the conquest and conversion of the entire world as Allah commands will result in a new Dark Age. Should the Jihadists succeed the losses for society and mankind will be immeasurable. We should have no problem with Muslims who accept a plurality of religions and a separation between religious influences and government and the basic freedoms spelled out in the United States Bill of Rights and the acceptance of common law in its historic and modern interpretations. Militant Islam which believes in Jihad as the spread of Islam over the entirety of the world and the forced conversion or death to all inhabitants within must be terminated and if that means a reinterpretation or even rewriting of the Quran and the Hadiths, so be it. Judaism and Christianity have experienced reformations which adapted them for a harmonious world where all enjoy equal rights under the law and within the society. These beliefs do exist in the Quran and were the entirety of the Quranic writings when Muhammad joined with a scribe to inscribe the revelations for the Quran in Mecca. Those writings were all about harmony, peace, coexistence and the recognition of the rights and continued existence of other religions. This earliest rendition of the Quran provided for the conversion of the willing and those accepting its teachings but did not provide for the violent conversion or the sword approach currently being put on vivid and horrific display by ISIS. Either path for Islam and its adherents matters less than the return to religion and restoring the place for the houses of worship returning to them those powers and responsibilities taken from them by force of law by the government, more often than not, the Federal Government of the State. That restoration is of the utmost importance despite the seeming lack of ability for Western society to perceive this imbalance and their respective losses.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 24, 2014

Why Religion Has Started to Die in Society

Almost three-fourths of those Americans polled by Pew Research agreed that religion is losing influence in American life. This is reported to be the highest this subject has ever reached and thus begs a number of questions. The most evident question is what have these nearly three out of four Americans done to bring religion back into their lives and the lives of those around them. Religion cannot retreat from its place in society all by itself; it has to have accomplices who no longer incorporate religion into their daily lives. It is probably a fair statement to say that if only half of those who polled lamenting the loss of religion in the public square would make a personal effort to bring religion into the square that this would be sufficient to bring about the start of reversing that trend. The other truth is that there has been a concerted effort by a small but vocal and bothersome minority which have aided the retreat of religion from the realm of the American society, and they will need to be fought tooth and nail if their nefarious deeds are to be slowed and eventually thwarted and reversed, but it will take most of that almost three quarters of America. If in the words “Under G0d” could be added to the Pledge of Allegiance by President Eisenhower on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, by a Joint Resolution of Congress, then religion can be restored to its rightful place in our society if the majority of Americans wish and act in a manner that assists rather than neglects the place of religion in their daily lives.

Of course there have been other forces at work beyond the control of the average person as an individual. These are mostly societal pressures which often react to the concerted pressures made by smaller groups which are better organized and financed thus giving their views weight beyond that of any number of individual citizen even should they be part of the majority, even should that be a vast majority as long as that majority has not mobilized uniting together and financing concerted efforts to push their views before those who control the establishment of laws or their enforcement. One can place blame on those in high office who permit or even encourage such regulations and laws which work against religion but before doing so there are a few items within their own lives which they would be better served by addressing them if their efforts should prove less than helpful. Before claiming that the powers that be have acted irresponsibly they need to review whether their own actions have properly portrayed through their lives the importance of religion. The most important single item one can do to show their support for religion and their desire to have it reflected through the society in which they live would be to regularly attend weekly services and being active in the organized religious activities related to their particular religious beliefs. Nothing sends the message to those in high office that religion no longer matters to the citizenry louder than empty pews in the nation’s churches, synagogues, temples and other religious services. Holders of political office are not so well tuned and sensitive that they can divine the thoughts of the people by some extrasensory means allowing them to form opinions and impressions of the people’s beliefs in some way other than drawing conclusions from the activities of the people. Short of making decisions formed by the actions of the people they can only respond to what it appears that the people are demanding of them and that is where a small minority can sway these lawmakers simply by inundating them with calls, e-mails, letter and other forms of lobbying. The regular citizen rarely writes their representative and believes that simply by voting for a person to represent them is sufficient to have that representative actually represent them without any efforts on their behalf. So, if one’s actions such as attending regular religious services or writing and calling their representative’s offices, both in the capital and locally, then they are simply relying on exactly what to assure their representatives understand the importance of religion is in their lives and how important it is for religion to be permitted in the public square. But what are some of the other forces pressing religion into retreat from its former place of prominence in American society.

As already mentioned, there are forces at work here which have as their sole intent to beat religion out of the lives and society no matter what the cost or dangers. One such group is the Freedom From Religion Foundation. This and other related anti-religion and anti-faith based organizations spend millions and concerted efforts to chase religion from the public square by any and all means necessary. Such groups have lobbyists who press their influence personally making themselves friendly and close to your representative, make letter writing campaigns whenever legislation they support or wish to defeat inundating your representatives offices both in the capital and locally even going so far as to assure that these letters no matter where they originate are postmarked within your representative’s district for maximum influence, organize phone campaigns calling your representatives offices not only in the capital but in every community within his district, and know all the other ins and outs of pressing your ideas and opinions maximizing their influence, which is all part of the political game. The problem is that they also are minimizing your ability to influence your representatives and often doing so using people largely who do not reside anywhere near you and share none of your convictions, but they have the clout to silence your desires and press their desires squelching all others. This is the most serious problem with representative governance no matter its form, the ability of a small minority to use potentially nefarious methods and silencing a potentially vast majority in the halls of power. There is an easy and available means by which such groups can be vanquished and silenced their influence without doing anything immoral or underhanded, but it does require good people to take actions and do so under the auspices of a joint effort through an organization to which they all belong and are active in, their religious institutions where they gather and worship together. Unfortunately, the empty pews are evidence to the reason such efforts are so easily ignored; they have few who can be motivated to make the voice of the majority heard.

There is yet another problem which may be another facet of the lack of people attending services regularly, or even at all even on the most major of religious days. This next reason, next excuse, may also be a result of lack of regular attendance as by feeling that these leaders stand alone makes them more vulnerable to the malevolent forces. These leaders of our neighborhoods, or at least in better times they were our true leaders, the pastors, priests, rabbis and other clergy, other men of the cloth who have come under attack by forces within our societies. Some of these forces are the same as the ones garnering undue influence over our political representatives and others are the arms of our governance which are simply responding to what they perceive as the will of the society as well as to the dictates of the courts which are influenced by the cases brought before them. When courts see that across the lands there are cases brought demanding the ban of all religious symbols from the public square and the only protesters with numbers are supporting these legal maneuvers, they can only act to support what they perceive is the law as they witness the people interpret the law. The clergy would have a greater standing and voice if their houses of worship were filled weekly by people enthusiastic in celebrating their faith. But when they preach to a small few each week then their strength and power is reduced to a level equal to the numbers in regular attendance.

The United States is approaching the place where Europe has already reached where the clergy fear to speak out against injustices or to oppose those in the government allowing government to stifle and mute their voices. They have fallen in influence so far that they now speak for almost nobody and are thus easily pressed into a corner where they speak solely of those things which are supported by those who appear to have the hearts and souls of the majority of the people. A society is molded and formed by those who have the support and power granted by the ones willing to force their opinions onto the seats of power. That seat of power potentially is the secular governance or it can be the pulpits of the houses of worship, that choice lies with the people. Attend the houses of worship in numbers and the government will notice and adjust to that influence. This has been proven in Europe where the Mosques are vibrant and well attended while the churches in the home of modern Christianity sit empty echoing the silence, providing they have not been sold and converted to Mosques. If people desire to see the future of their communities and in turn nations all one need do is seek where and which religions hold the wills of the people and have the greatest support and there lies your future. It really is that simple.

Beyond the Cusp

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