The Israeli pull-out of the Gaza settlements is a time for me to reflect on how throngs of people are misled into believing that their religious beliefs gives them a higher status than others.
Strangely, Arabs and Jews have a lot more in common than what appears on the surface. They share the same genealogy, and both sides continue to believe in antiquated ideas instilled by their parents and perpetuated by their religious leaders for generations.
Stoking the flames of hatred and feelings of supremacy over other races and religions, these religious extremists are no doubt aware of the absurdities they feed their followers. And why not? There is immense amount of fame and fortune for these bigots in what they do. Even for those misguided few who might believe in what they preach, there is the promise of after-life rewards.
Under their sinister guidance, many people grow up believing that their race, their creed, and their god is superior to those of others. They feed on the society without giving anything back. Indeed, they give back superstition, vitriol, and empty promises of redemption.
If they devoted even a tiny margin of their influence and eloquence to preach about the real issues facing the world today such as hunger, poverty, disease, and environmental crises, perhaps they could make a positive difference. But alas, self-serving cults (and make no mistake about it, many religions are cults, only on a grand scale) were never intended to make a positive impact. As long as they persist, so will the bigotry.