Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
More than 40 years ago, John Lennon asked us to imagine a world without barriers, or divisions of religion or nationality. A world at peace and harmony.
Today, four decades later, after yet another terror attack takes place, we desperately want to imagine ‘all the people sharing all the world and living life in peace’.
In a group discussion about the tragedy, one friend declared that religion divides us and was the cause of hate and wars.
I don’t agree.
In my opinion, we humans have proved that we are capable of dividing ourselves for plenty of reasons. Yes, religion may be one of them, but take class, race, gender, environment, politics, love, sport, science... Should I go on?
We have convictions and ideologies and we either paint these positively or negatively, depending on how best things work for us.
It is all very well blaming religion as the root of all evil, but that is just an excuse. Let’s be clear, human beings fight and kill in the name of many things.
It can be because of a political philosophy, patriotism to a country or for the love of someone.
Religion is not the cause of hatred or death. Religion does not ask much of human actually, it certainly does not ask us to be killers, haters or evil.
Humans choose to hate, to believe that one religion is better than another, or one race superior to another.
Retired British Army officer and military logistics expert Major General Tim Cross experienced the reality and brutality of warfare in places like Northern Ireland, the Balkans and the Middle East.
“I experienced at first hand the bitterness of religious, ethnic and cultural bigotry that divides our world and the brutality that flows from it, and watched enough mass graves being dug up to know that there are rarely such things as ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ in the business of violence,” he says.
In all these places, there was much debate about the connection between religion and violence, with some arguing that religion is the major source of violence.
“People are made violent by things like fear, glory and the restless desire for power after power,” added Maj Gen Cross.
“Manipulative leaders may motivate people to wage wars or inspire them to heroic acts of self-sacrifice, but religion itself teaches us to love and forgive, not to fight.”
He doubts that becoming more religious will solve the problem, but says becoming people of faith can indeed be a means of peace rather than a cause of war.
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
Reem Antoon is a former GDN news editor. She can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org