None of us have all the puzzle pieces.
Can we just admit this, and admit that we don’t have all the insight, all the expert knowledge, all the divine compassion, and all the wisdom to recognize the real problem without listening to others and working together with them, let alone solve it from our Laz-E-Boy armchairs?
Consider, for just a moment, the ways in which people who seem so different from us may, in fact, not be so very different after all. Is it really religion – any religion – that is at the root of all our problems? Or is it that we leave people out in the cold, sometimes, desperately searching for something that religion (or alcohol, drugs, gang life, etc.) promises – be that an escape from unhappiness, a sense of belonging and fitting in, a sense of purpose?
It would be easier to label the problem and point fingers – but what is it they say? He who seeks vengeance must first dig two graves – one for his enemy, and one for himself. Is it really harder to turn enemies into allies? I don’t know. It’s ironic that people don’t seem to recognize in themselves the same sorts of prejudices and hatred once directed at them: Jews, Catholics, Germans, the Japanese, the Irish, Chinese people… But I know throughout history it’s been done, more or less. Maybe “love thy neighbor” is asking too much, but how about “don’t hurt other humans”? Must we really have another unholy war? Another Crusade? Another uncivil war? Another world war? Don’t we ever grow weary of it? I’m weary of it and haven’t really lived through one. Yet. I’m not eager to, and I would really like to live another 40 years or so – at least. If I have to live longer to keep urging peace, then by golly, I’ll try.
Maybe we should work, first, to eradicate the words like “war” and “battle” and “fight” and “tackle” from our vocabulary at all, when it comes to “rising to the challenge” of identifying and solving the problems that threaten civilized society. Using these bellicose adjectives seems to add fun to sporting events, but then too many people start to see war as a sporting event – not just the other way around. Focus instead on “unite,” and “collaborate,” and “together,” and maybe we will indeed “rise to the challenge” instead of becoming “mired in another conflict.”
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