About 3000 years ago, a Hebrew named Joshua lead his people across the Jordan River, to its west bank, and defeated the native peoples there. It was a tenuous victory that lead to a shaky occupation which is still being uneasily enforced to this day.
1700 or so years later, another leader, Mohammed, was born in nearby Arabia; he initiated Islam, and propelled his followers to a wide swath of military victories in that same region of the world, what we now call the Middle East.
Roughly in the middle of history between these two military victors a man named Jesus was born in the west bank town of Nazareth. He walked around the countryside teaching parabolic truth, preaching life after death with repentance from sins, and telling the locals that they should love and pray for their enemies. He also founded a religion.
Each of these three peoples of the Book has, over time, generated some pretty decent devotees. But each group has also produced a fringe of zealous followers who thought they were doing God a favor by killing members of the other tribe(s).
In spite of it all, over a few millenia of time, the human race strove mightily to evolve and improve itself. Two or three hundred years ago, a select group of enlightened Europeans threw off the bloody religion thing altogether and decided to strive for some rationality and order in society instead of the incessant blahblahblah of religion and the constant yadayadayada of dogmatic bickering.
Intelligent people of these modern centuries steadily supplanted the ole time religions with enlightened social and political maneuvering, accompanied by military prowess that turned out to be quite impressive, not to mention pretty damned explosive in its impact upon all mankind.
Consequently, people in our postmodern world have finally come to the realization that religion is obsolete, and even unnecessary.
In recent centuries, folks have had the existential power of dynamic ideologies to infuse meaning and purpose into their lives. Some of these posto-religio movements became, in their heyday, seriously potent in their persuasive encounters with proponents of the opposite purpose. The big clash, of course, has been the whacking of Capitalism’s exploitative hammer against the sharpened sickle of Communism, which produced some freakin’ incendiary sparks on the anvil of tedious time.
But hey, as the tri-pronged dialectic and dwindling resources steadily deter all hot military/industrial wheels from their slow slogging toward destructive fates, even these two C-bound titans of ideology eventually cooled to a smoldering slag of pragmatic society-building, and were cast upon the long and winding road of proletarian planetary progress.
Thus does the dust of yesterday’s enlightened ideologies settle along the earth-frackin’ faultlines of a brave new, monetizing world. Its a reality check for concerned citizens everywhere, prozac time for zealots.
Marx is dead. Lenin has bit the dust. Stalin was snuffed out. Hitler fucked himself and his entire nation, along with the whole world. J.D. Rockefeller ran out of dimes; Rhodes toppled from life. Roosevelt went on to that great new deal in the sky.
Nixon and Breshnev fell to a ghastly glasnost in the cold ground. Mao’s in a maosoleum, and one morning in American Reagan didn’t wake up.
Freemarket and statist economic fixes merge under Mr Obama, as they had begun to do under Messers Deng and Gorbachev twenty years ago.
The dust settles. The canon fodder of cold war dims to a dingy roar of superpower-enabled warlords and puppetary politicoes in distant developing nations.We lift the curtain of rigidly organized contention, open our eyes to a brave new world of perestroika, detente, diplomacy and open doors and we see in the secularizing wake of the progressive post-20th century world…
It’s the religion, smartypants! Islam vs. Everybody else?