My Thoughts on the Violence in Gaza, Organized Religion and What the Media Should Really Be Saying

Image via Reuters

Image via Reuters

The unfortunate part of this job is sometimes it’s nearly impossible to escape work.  It seems no matter where I go, friends and family want to know what I think about a certain political topic.  And today that topic was Gaza.  I had two family members and one friend ask me what I thought about the situation going on there.  Then when I checked the various methods in which people can message me, I had two different messages from people asking me what I thought about the escalating violence.

Honestly, I just don’t care anymore.  It’s not that I don’t care about the tragic loss of life, or the idiocy about why it keeps happening, but I know it’s just never going to stop.  As long as both sides remain as they are, this is going to keep happening until one ultimately destroys the other.

Because this is how it always goes: The conflict flares up, we come in to try to smooth things over.  Usually things calm down for a little while – only to flare right back up again in the future.

Again and again this keeps happening.  One side is always blaming the other side.  

They started it!  No, they started it!  I’m not touching you!  Get on your side of the room!

It’s like watching petulant children misbehave – except there’s rocket launchers and bloodshed involved.

So many people have needlessly died – for what?

Because some people feel the need to make everyone believe in what they do?  Because where someone else goes after they die matters to a bunch of strangers?  Because it’s worth killing innocent children to prove how “righteous and wonderful” your religion is?

Yeah, that makes perfect sense.  Let’s slaughter one another to prove how great our God is.  Why would anyone want to follow a God who condones the slaughter of innocent people “in their name”?

I’m just so absolutely sick of it.  I’m sick of seeing innocent people – children – murdered for nothing.  I’m sick of having debates on how to “bring peace” to people who have no desire to embrace it.

And it’s unfortunate that nobody I’ve heard in the media has the courage to say any of this, because it needs to be said.  But, of course, nothing I’m saying is “PC” enough to be said by anyone on any major news channel.

They’re too busy trying to debate the solutions to an insolvable problem and interviewing politicians trying to score political points off the deaths of innocent people.

Because that’s all really important.

All this death, hate, pain, suffering and lives ruined almost entirely the result of organized religion.  Because a long time ago humans figured out that they could take our natural fear of death and turn it into a tool to manipulate people to commit horrific acts all in the name of whatever version of “God” they felt suited their own personal agenda.

So…what do I think?

I think organized religion is one of the worst things that’s ever happened to the human race, and this kind of deplorable nonsense proves it. Human beings continually slaughtering one another in the name of “God.”

Only they’re not doing this in the name of any God. They’re doing this in the name of greed, ego, power, control and the need by some to force their views on others.

Because I know even if this latest escalation in hostilities subsides (and it probably will), all that really means is that we need to restart the countdown to whenever the next flare up begins.


Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Phil the observer

    Could not agree with you more……

  • Cutter John

    You, my good man, should run for not only president, but head of congress too. Maybe the government would actually work and do something to help the country for the first time in 15 fucking years.
    Mad props to you.

  • PDK

    Right on Allen…every point on point. Man made organized religion is the bane of human existence !!

  • Laura26

    I totally agree!

  • Rebecca Mashaw

    And one of the biggest motivators (in addition to greed and power) is vengeance. Which is why this keeps going and may never end. Each outbreak of violence creates new atrocities and tragedies for people on both sides to turn into festering wounds that require revenge.

  • Jennie Vinson Hlavacek

    I understand your frustration with organized religion. Much hate, pain, and destruction has been created in the name of religion. However, if you take a broader view, adherents of organized religions have also done many fabulous things in the world too. The Middle East is far beyond just religion. It is mostly about power, who rules whom. Who gets the resources? The Gaza violence is not about Christian belief versus Muslim belief. That is way too simplistic. This is also about a people who were forced out of their homeland; plus a people who had experienced a genocide against their own. Territory, power, freedom….people have fought each other these things for thousands of years.

    • Jo Clark

      “…adherents of organized religions have also done many fabulous things in the world too.”

      Name ONE that couldn’t have been done without organized religion.

  • Jennie Vinson Hlavacek

    I made a really major mistake in my post. It is a Jewish belief NOT a Christian belief. Also, I thought this was written by someone else. But if the author is a political scientist, I think he would know that this is more about politics than organized religion. I taught the sociology of global religions at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I would recommend the book Gods in the Global Village by Lester Kurtz and Terror in the Mind of God by Mark Juergensmeyer.

  • Matthew Reece

    Hell must have frozen over, because Allen Clifton and I agree on something.

  • Jack Gossett

    one of these religions, while not blameless, would be willing to leave the other alone, let them open the borders etc if they would quit trying to kill them. the muslim religious people in the west bank aren’t being attacked, just the ones governed by Hamas, the radical fundamentalists

  • strangeranium

    The existence of Hamas, ‘is the reason the people of Gaza are being attacked’,is the conclusion that one poster has reached, because the people of the West bank are not.
    Interesting.

    I would then tend to surmise that imprisonment of Palestinians in Gaza, of which the only way out of the country into the rest of their land, being Israel, is with a hard to come by permit, through one border crossing, or, via the illegal tunnels, has created a well tended garden bed in which Hamas has grown, and flourished. That every single reprisal by Israel, every single injustice heaped upon the inmates of Palestine, is like a water can of fertiliser, and a hand full of seeds, directly sown into that garden, to grow more and more Hamas seedlings, with the resultant guerrilla soldier fruit, ready to pester Israel with more and more rocks thrown at cars, and even more firecracker rockets.
    It need be noted, that these firecracker rockets that Hamas shoots into Israel are are just a futile gesture of an oppressed people, for they do very little damage, take no lives, and rarely even make it anywhere near domestic suburbs.
    I have seen more damage done with a can of baked beans dropped into a bon fire, early Sunday morning at a local drink-up for the ute driving hoons of rural Australia, than I see presented by the media covering rocket strikes in Israel.
    I am not condoning the behaviour, in fact I find it appalling that Hamas, do this. I just think that when viewed from afar it becomes understandable. AND when viewed from afar, Israels response seems completely over the top.
    Maybe if the inmates were set free, and allowed to unify with the rest of the country, both sides could recognise the similarities in their religious beliefs[many] instead of the differences[very few] and then practice how to become better people and live together peacefully, if not always harmoniously..

    I tend to agree with the suggestion in the article that organised religion is used as a justification for conflict .
    I agree that it seems to be a notion quite anathema to common sense to have a God that accepts the slaughter of others in its name.
    Why would people even want a God that permits the killing, and then claims to be the one loving Go, is completely beyond me..

    In many ways this seems like Collective Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome of the Jewish people, regards the Holocaust, and then being projected upon the Palestinians in the form of the injustices , and genocide.
    It is similar to the way that abused children are more likely to become abusers in adulthood, than non abused children, if left untreated, or unrecognised. The bullied becomes the bully.
    When one considers that the word Nazi, was a retraction of sorts of the german words for Nationalist and Socialist, one can then see that the Israeli Jews, the Zionists, now share many of the same characteristics of the German Nazi’s. While I am not claiming they are socialist, they most certainly are one of the most militant Nationalist people on the planet.
    The occupation of the West bank, the imprisonment of the people of Gaza,
    the de-humanisation of Palestinian Arabs via media outlets and religious and education instituions, the Police state with the Secret Police and covert slaughter of suspected insurgents. Suburbs being turned into ghettos that are policed by soldiers, with further no-go zones and curfews, and home invasions. These are but a few similarities with the Zionists and the Nazis.

    One last thought I had:
    I think a case could be made, that this ongoing saga in Israel/Palestine could be viewed as an example of Collective Jungian Shadow projection.
    It not so much the differences that divide these people, but more the similarities. To be precise, the bad similarities.
    ie/ One party hates upon another party for characteristics they find displeasing, however, the hating party does not recognise that these are shared characteristics. Therefore they are merely projecting the shadow of their own subconscious/conscious self hatred upon another person that shares that same characteristic.

    I know this response has become an essay in itself, please forgive me if it is too long winded. I had no intention to write so much, but when I got started many of the things I had been contemplating came out in an almost cathartic like state.

  • OldCowboy

    I have been following this conflict since 1968. And here’s the thing. I
    don’t give a damn what they do to each other. This is nothing more
    than a continuation of a war that began when Joshua kicked the
    Canaanites out of Canaan. Sometimes the Israelis have the upper hand
    and sometimes the Canaanites/Palestinians. They all pray to the same
    god, so let him sort it out.

  • Christian Lefty

    I feel the same way. I’ve given up hope that the conflict will end. They’ve been fighting since Biblical days and will continue to do so.

  • david h

    the good of man taking part in public religion does not out wiegh the evil it produces
    ,religion should not be allowed in public only as a personal matter within ones home,