One thing that monotheism does well is it starts religious wars
Theological disputes erupt on a regular basis on The Irish News letters page. Various actors take to the stage to strut their denominational stuff. There is so much disagreement that one can easily understand why schism is a by-word for Christianity.
Judaism and Islam fare little better in religious battles fought over interpretation.
If there’s one thing that monotheism does well, it’s start religious wars. In fact, it will be found that throughout human history, almost if not all wars based upon religious disagreement contained at least one monotheistic religion.
Pagans, by and large, did not fight about which deities were best. They had the same gods with different names. No need to go to war. Even an empire as vast as that of the Romans was incredibly liberal concerning religious worship, with evidence of Zoroastrianism found among the soldiers manning Hadrian’s Wall. It was Christian monotheism that brought trouble to Rome. Rome subsequently brought that trouble to the world.
It’s somewhat ironic, therefore, when those religions which in their arrogance claim that their one [always male] deity is superior to, and often must supplant,
any other(s), are the very faiths that would assume a specious moral high ground, dictating such to others.
Perhaps, if pseudo-Christians of today were able to refrain from such childish bickering, and instead adopted an ecumenical approach to solving problems such as child poverty and abuse, they would be better entitled to claim a faith-based kinship with the humble carpenter from Nazareth.
The Roman poet Lucretius, writing in pre-Christian times about an excessive adherence to, and reliance on, religious beliefs, could have been prophesying all that monotheism has done and continues to do when he stated thus, ‘Tantum Religio potuit suadere malorum’ (so much evil could religion induce).
Wise words that have echoed across blood-soaked lands throughout the ages.
ANTAN O DALA AN RI
Newry, Co Down
Sinn Féin has found its soul mate in Fine Gael
Have some people in west Belfast lost the plot or do they just blindly copy what ever Sinn Féin does?
Along with a number of my colleagues I attended the launch to the 30th West Belfast Festival (Féile) in St Mary’s College, Falls Road last week. I was shocked, but not totally surprised, when Leo Varadkar was given a standing, and enthusiastic, ovation by the audience as he entered the room. The applause and adulation was led by Sinn Féin MLAs, TDs, councillors and party members.
Why is it that a party, some of whose members claim to be on the left, publicly fawn over a conservative, right-wing, austerity advocate and supporter of ‘fiscal rectitude’ – that’s cuts to public services to you and me?
Is it because Sinn Féin is really no more than a populist party that jumps on passing bandwagons irrespective of who’s driving them? Is it just another photo opportunity – I lost count of the number of selfies Sinn Féin members tried to take with the taoiseach or is it a clue to a future coalition in the Republic?
My money is on the latter. Despite their rhetoric about being the people’s party, their flaunting of fake socialist credentials and their radical persona, Sinn Féin has probably found its soul mate in Fine Gael.
Leo Varadkar was a minister in the Fine Gael government throughout the period they agreed and implemented the European Troika’s austerity package. That resulted in youth unemployment of more than 30 per cent, house repossessions, cuts to public services, wage freezes, tax increases, lower benefits and the forced emigration of 300,000, mostly, young people.
Now, what is there to applaud about that? Or perhaps Sinn Féin is more comfortable with that type of politics than it pretends.
Workers Party, West Belfast
Political window dressing
There is something that doesn’t quite add up in relation to Tim Attwood’s latest venture to turn the Falls Road into a shared space.
Mr Attwood’s quest to make the Falls Road a’ better’ place began allegedly, when patients attending the Royal Victoria Hospital complained about signage on a lamp post bearing the letters IRA.
So eager was Mr Attwood to impress with ladders and broom that he missed something that turns his shared space theory on his its head and that of course is Royal Victoria herself (no pun intended) but very much, the elephant in the room.
The people of the Falls Road and surrounding streets have had to share a space with a woman whose history in this country is as credible as the flag that for years flew over her. More than that, the staggering acceptance of Mr Attwood’s SDLP and the larger nationalists party of everything delved out to them by the heirs of Victoria in relation to cuts and policy means, people in dire need attending the Royal Victoria Hospital might find they’ve actually more to fear from these political window dressers than a signage whose proud history was one of rebellion.
Tony Carroll (June 18) laments about the vocal opposition to the recent abortion referendum results. He claims that the people who voted in favour of abortion used their democratic right to do so. He said to the ‘naysayers’ that this was free will.
All well and dandy Tony but could you please apply the same rationale to those who have consistently bemoaned the result of Brexit.
It seems people like to pick and choose how they ascribe to democracy, much like they now seem to pick and choose who lives and who dies! Aren’t democracy and choice wonderful concepts?
Clogher, Co Tyrone
The Irish News has been reporting that the DUP has said Leinster house politicians are trying to achieve a united Ireland through Brexit.
Unionist politicians should stop frightening those who voted for them with these ridiculous claims.
Fianna Fáil has long given up on the idea of a united Ireland and are too busy conducting a smear campaign against Sinn Féin. Mary Lou is competing for the same market state as Micheál Martin.
The idea that Fine Gael has any interest in ending partition is laughable. Not for nothing was Garret FitzGerald called ‘Thatcher’s favourite taoiseach’.
Friars Walk, Co Cork
Fionnuala’s ‘hit list’
It is unusual and somewhat appalling but oh so telling that Fionnuala O’Connor should list in her article (June 12) the names of those who have obviously offended her due to their stance on the recent referendum. Included are Alban Maginness, the Brollys (she wouldn’t even name them), Fr Patrick McCafferty and Bernie Smith, all people who I regard as earnestly Christian and completely inoffensive. However, that is possibly their perceived offence. I would like to offer my support to those on the list. Obviously something they are saying is striking home.