Here’s my question for the week. Which is the stronger glue -- tribal, meaning culturally reactive, religious expectations or religion rooted in deeply and thought-out transpersonal conviction?
I ask because it seems to me that these days, and maybe this has alway been the case, tribal religious affiliation is at the root of many, if not most, of the religiously-colored conflicts in the world today.
For journalists, the question becomes, how do you tell the difference between the two, and does it really matter if you're only trying to report body counts and similar traditional journalistic metrics for measuring conflict severity?
My take? I think it does matter because it can mean the difference between labeling the institution of religion itself as the cause of human conflict. Or, as I believe, recognizing that humanity's myriad shortcomings as a specie is the better explanation so many of our institutions, including religious one, become fatally corrupted over time.
Walt Kelly nailed it when his cartoon character Pogo famously exclaimed, slightly abbreviated here, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” I can’t reword it any more succinctly.
I started considering these questions — again — while sloshing my way through yet another week of international, religion-linked, depressing news.
This is the initial story I hold responsible for my current state of mind.