new bryce image

guardians of world peace

2001.  © demetrios vakras

This image was created after the 11 September 2001 attack on the US. What are considered to be the guardians of world peace are no more than a skeletal, decaying presence. There are no guardians, no transcendent power (God) who will judge us, or others, or those perpetrators of human evil. What we do is done by us, by our our own free will, not at the behest of, or temptation by, any gods or devils. Judgement for our acts can only be passed by us here. Guardians, in the guise of religious texts, can be corrupted, as was that of the Christian faith by the Patriarch of western (Roman) Christendom, the Catholic Pope Urban 2, who declared that killing infidel absolved one of sin and gave rise to Western Christianity's Crusades*. (*Note: in the Fourth Crusade more people were killed than in all previous Crusades combined. In this crusade however only Orthodox Christians, not Muslims, were killed. The Catholic/Western Christian actions were never supported by the Patriarchates of Byzantium, Antioch, the Copts of Egypt, or the Christian Church of Armenia.)

However, in the religion of  Islam, another of these purported "guardians", it is repeated in the various verses of its religious text, the Koran, that war is a demand of god:
"Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. But you may hate a thing although it is good for you..." The Cow 2: 216;

War, according to this religion is to be waged against unbelievers (e.g.: Repentance verse 9:123 "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you.") & that dying for the cause of God has already been pre-ordained and will be rewarded (e.g.:  The Imrans: 3:156  "Believers, do not follow the example of the infidels, who say of their brothers when they meet death abroad or in battle: 'Had they stayed with us they would not have died, nor would they have been killed.' Allah will cause them to regret their words. It is Allah who ordains life and death. If you should die or be slain in the cause of Allah, His forgiveness and His mercy would surely be better than all the riches they amass. If you should die or be slain, before Him  you shall all be gathered." ). These messages are repeated in other verses of the Koran (e.g.: The Imrans verse 3:156; The Imrans verse 3:149; The Spoils verse 8:60;  etc. ).

Those who follow Mohammed observe the edicts of  a God who demands perpetual war as being the only means by which fidelity to faith can be demonstrated and ascent to heaven be guaranteed:
Verse 9 "Repentance" 9:38:
"Believers, why is it that when it is said to you: 'March in the cause of Allah,' you linger slothfully in  the land? Are you content with this life in preference to the life to come? Few indeed are the blessings of this life  compared to those of the life to come. If you do not fight He will punish you sternly and replace you by other men.  Allah has power over all things (9.38)...Those that believe in Allah & the Last Day will not beg you to exempt them from fighting with their wealth & their persons. Allah knows best the righteous. Only those seek exemption who disbelieve in Allah...(9.44)... Are you waiting for anything to befall us except victory or martyrdom (9.51) ?"

The irrational belief in a God, and a concomitant belief that religion gives one a higher moral purpose is void. A God who is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, who has preordained humans to err only to punish them in judgement is surely a malicious demon, not a God....Any God who felt compelled to create humanity to prove that God exists (because this God's self-knowledge of His/Her own existence is insufficient to prove God exists?) is surely one hell of a lame-arsed God indeed! And, anyone who believes in the irrational which is God, is one who uses god to absolve themselves of responsibility for their actions whether good or bad is unworthy of respect. For what manner of human commits evil and absolves themselves by claiming either temptation by the devil, or commandment from God? And as for the God of Mohammed, how can this God's moral edicts which demand murder ever be reconciled with any understanding of what it means to conduct a virtuous life, when ideas of right and wrong are inversed? Indeed, in this context, the idea held by those extolling belief in god who claim that right and wrong are god-given and immutable directives which humanity could not have arrived at without divine guidance is demonstrated to be nothing less than a grotesque absurdity. It thus remains that what might be virtuous, what might be right or wrong, can only ever be arrived at by human reason, as Socrates insisted.

However, the employment of reason runs counter to the general religious argument; Christian religion denigrates reason and is antithetic to intellect. The Bible, states: 1 Corinthians 4:19 - 20 "the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight." [and] James 3: 15 "wisdom' does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil." [thus] James 4: 7 "Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil."

Leaving our destiny to any one of these "gods" will assure us only a prolonged misery.
 [essay re-edited 10 November 2005]