Graham and I visited Nice, in February 2020. We had a lovely time, sitting by the sea in the early evening, and visiting the various churches and museum during the day. It saddens me to think that people were murdered at the alter of Notre Dame, in the name of religion. I recently watched a film about Islam, and I was surprised to learn that the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructed his followers not to harm Jews or Christians, because they are also people of the book. He also said that they could worship in the mosques alongside followers of Islam. So, why does all the violence and killing happen, and where does it come from?
Now, before the reader either nods their head in agreement, or shouts in indignation, let's look back at history. Pharaoh enslaved the Israelites, and killed their male children at birth. The Romans persecuted Christians, until Constantine converted. The Crusaders forced Jews to convert at knife point and different Christian denominations insist that their interpretation of the bible is the only correct one. And today, in Myanmar, Rohingya Muslims are experiencing persecution from Buddhists. In China, where Uyghur Muslims are interred in concentration camps and sterilised, to stop them having anymore children, communism is the government religion. In Scotland, where we have religious schools, some politicians campaign for their abolition, in the name of secularism. We now have Humanist celebrants that conduct funerals, naming ceremonies and weddings. Is this the new religion? Or is it merely another way to make money out of people, when getting married at the registry office costs much less? At the risk of being shouted down I wonder, is Nationalism the new religion?
Just thinking out loud.