Alpine Summit

Monday, September 12, 2005

A House Divided

Aaron, filling in for Lee, wrote about about a recent eruption of violence in Belfast and all I felt was disappointment.

I think both Protestant and Catholic groups are sorely lacking in decent religious leadership in this part of the world. I wrote before about how people who want to perpetrate violence on their fellow man will find any excuse to do so. Well, here's an example of Christianity being used instead of Islam. However, unlike Islam, Christianity advocates peaceful resolution to conflict and love towards "disbelievers" and to help one another in the spirit of love. There are several passages in the Bible pertaining to conflict resolution and loving one another no matter what; so I feel fully justified in saying that neither of these groups are behaving biblically, and that Christianity really isn't the issue. It's about wanting to fight and finding an excuse to do so.

Protestant extremists threw homemade grenades, gasoline bombs and other makeshift weapons Saturday and at least a dozen police and two civilians were wounded in the latest fury over a restricted Belfast parade.

At least six officers were injured by flames and shrapnel from homemade grenades and gasoline-filled bottles on the nearby North Circular Road.

Officers on the North Circular Road took cover behind their armored vehicles after hearing bursts of automatic gunfire. In east Belfast, police said another six officers suffered mostly superficial injuries as they kept apart rival Catholic and Protestant mobs.

In rioting that ran from Saturday afternoon until early Sunday, police equipped with body armor, shields and flame-retardant boiler suits repelled the attackers with plastic bullets and mobile water cannons.

The mayhem spread at nightfall to Ballyclare and Newtownabbey, two predominantly Protestant suburbs of Belfast. Several buildings on Belfast’s northern outskirts were set on fire.

On the Shankill Road, more than 1,000 people confronted police units, who responded with plastic-bullet volleys and water jets. A helicopter’s spotlight overhead illuminated the mayhem. At least two civilians were injured.

British army engineers erected truck-mounted canvas screens in hopes of blocking Catholics’ view of the parade. But several hundred Catholics gathered on the road, and some stood on their rooftops to observe the drum-thumping procession. Both sides shouted vulgar abuse at each other.

Northern Ireland’s so-called “marching season” this year last turned violent on July 12, when several hundred Catholics attacked police with grenades, gasoline bombs and other weapons after an Orange parade passed the IRA power base of Ardoyne in north Belfast. About 100 officers and 10 civilians were wounded.

Aaron mentions that since peace deals have been brokered, many more have killed themselves. This only proves my point that they were doing this more for their own desire to kill, maim, and destory, than to actually fight for God.

Suicide rates in Northern Ireland have risen since the end of the Troubles, according to new research published today.

A University of Ulster report revealed that the violence which raged for more than 30 years may have kept people from taking their own lives.

You can't prove causality from this, but assuming this is the reason people are killing themselves, it proves my point that they're more concerned with hurting others. If it was about religion, these people certainly wouldn't be killing themselves: Catholics or Protestants.

I don't care that I'm not intimately involved with this situation and that there is a lot of history behind it, I care that Christian religion is playing a part to further the hurt of man. That's why I'm not religious- I'm faithful.

My faith is perfect: my faith is Christianity. I derive my spiritual beliefs from the teachings of Jesus Christ and his disciples as outlined in the Bible. I do not subscribe to a specific denomination (which makes me protestant in the eyes of the Catholics, I guess). I'm not going to do (or not do) something simply because my Pastor or my Pope says so (unless they can explain biblically why I should).

I'm not going to believe that because a fellow fallen human being is credentialed as a minister by other fallen human beings credentialed as ministers, bishops, or priests that they automatically have a direct line to God and by extention, authority to tell me how to live spiritually. My spiritual leaders are just that- leaders. I follow them at my own behest and learn from them when I can; but I'm not blind and do not follow blindly. I recognize that they are just as blind as I am looking for the same thing: God.

I do not believe that an organization run by imperfect beings, claiming to be more perfect than the rest of us, is somehow perfect (see here and here). To know the difference between a movement of the holy spirit and deception, I guage such feelings against the Bible's teachings.

Religion is a horrible thing. It's horrible because it makes it far too easy for people to fall into an attitude of groupthink. The recent situation in Belfast is a perfect example of where religion leads people. Faith is where God's glory is. It's pure, clean, and untouchable by human hands. The faith of Catholics and Protestants is exactly the same- but their religions are different; and to some, worth killing and dying for.

To every Christian: be more concerned about what God is being worshiped rather than how he's being worshiped; and know that violence in the name of the God in the Bible is not inspired by the holy spirit.