Do you sense despair around you? The economy down, politicians and preachers offering no hope? Relax (if you can). You’re not alone. Ever since the tumultuous events like the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet empire and the “Mother of all Wars”, 9/11, news of the hole in the ozone layer, it’s like nothing in the world will be the same again.
It has never been. Nothing has ever been the same and there’s nothing new under the sun. So you can bet people like you are going to survive again and again. If you believe in God, there’s no need to fear man – that your co-traveler will destroy the world and you in it – because the very idea of God is that he is stronger than man.
If you don’t believe in God then there’s no need to fear anything because you didn’t believe you were going anywhere anyway.
But still, you feel the need for solutions, right? Many more people feel exactly like you and are clutching and grasping.
One of the things that many people seem to be clutching at is religion. And it seems that every time there is an economic depression, people turn to it. Every time there is a romantic depression, people turn to it. An emotional depression. A political or moral disenchantment. ..and on and on.
In our last edition, Kadene Porter looked at the “New Atheism” and its growing resentment against organized religion. This time around, questioning the critics who postulate that religion as poison, she examines religious intolerance and fundamentalist extremism and the overall value of religion to humanity. Where is the poison? In behaviours of adherents or religion?
In a continuing focus on religion, we look at Islam in the Caribbean. With about a fifth of the world’s population either born Islamic or embraced what social scientists say is the fastest growing religion in the world, we also look at reflective view of it’s presence in the Caribbean. Our Caribbean has never been trailing the world and the Islamic disciples are in the region – certainly not a fifth of our population – but in significant enough numbers to merit more than a cursory glance.
In this New World Order being espoused, many times it is the disorder and straying from the old ways which is impacting on us. Islam therefore, with its seeming stability and continuity is very much a harbour for those seeking the shelter, the anchorage from the turbulence.
Barack Obama has been labeled elitist because of his remarks that working class Americans cling to their religion in the face of hardships. Maybe it’s the part about guns and intolerance that irked his critics but it’s difficult to see what the hullabaloo is about as the religious are more fervent in times of hardship. That’s what their religion is there for. So check out the Abeng views.
And if you wanna have faith, read Raquel Ingram’s story on Mark Nelson, that shows there’s hope for everyone.