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Religious Tolerance logo


Religious inactivity in response to evil

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Author Yu Bin wrote a remarkable article "Clash Of The Uncivilized - Extremism Mars World Stage" for the Pacific News Service [PNS] on 2002-MAR-6. 1 We strongly recommend that you read it in full. Yu Bin is an associate professor of political science at Wittenberg University in Ohio, and is the author of several books. The latest is "Mao's Generals Remember Korea," which he co-edited. 2

The PNS editor introduced the article by writing:

"Extremists from all the world's major civilizations are stepping forth, while moderates hide in the background. The United States could help break the cycle of violence in the world through strong moral leadership, writes PNS contributor Yu Bin. Instead, America may be contributing to a clash of the uncivilized."

Yu Bin's article is copyright 2002 by The Black World Today. 3 Copyright law prevents us from quoting the entire article of 527 words. So we will prune his essay slightly.

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Yu Bin wrote:

"Sept. 11 seems to have unleashed the most uncivilized part of every major religion in the world."

"Extremists from every part of the world -- be they Islamic fundamentalists, Hindu revivalists, Palestinian "kamikazes," Jewish hard-liners or Christian right-wingers -- are plunging themselves into holy wars of their own definition and making."

"The West's reaction to these clashes has been disappointing at best. The Bush team, which effectively destroyed the Taliban with a "with-us-or-against-us" policy, has yet to demonstrate its willingness and ability to reconstruct a global village of tolerance and coexistence for all."

"President Bush is determined to settle unfinished business with Saddam Hussein, regardless of disagreement with allies, opposition from the Islamic world and a guaranteed backlash against the United States. This, coupled with the widely held perception of American indifference toward Palestinian suffering, has made America morally hypocritical in the eyes of many. This is strategically destabilizing for a highly interdependent, fragile world system."

"In Europe, this global surge of uncivilized clashes has given rise to both anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic momentum. The fear of and hatred for "aliens" has so far bolstered far-right parties running on anti-immigrant themes in a growing number of European countries."

        <paragraph removed>

"Extremist conservative forces are running the show in much of the world, and the silence, impotence and disappearance of moderate forces globally has contributed to the current malaise. Already, the Arab world is being rapidly polarized between an ultra-conservative, generally pro-Western elite and growing anti-Western and anti-American societal forces."

<paragraph removed>

"But when Palestinian teenagers turn themselves into suicide bombers, killing innocent Israeli boys and girls as their answer to F-16s and Apache helicopters, the rest of the world also becomes victim -- physically and morally, sooner or later -- to this rapidly escalating cycle of violence."

"In his effort to address the deficiency of capitalism 154 years ago, Karl Marx called upon the workers of the world to unite. The German theorist perhaps never imagined that the world's fundamentalists, hard-liners and extremists would now "unite," ironically by killing each other."

"It is still possible to tame this uncivilized beast before it consumes us all. The world needs to address this increasingly dangerous situation not just with smart bombs, but also with political wisdom, meaningful diplomacy, patience, fairness and generosity. If the Civil Rights Movement during the Cold War made America a more attractive place than the former Soviet Union, an international civil rights movement led by a global power with global interests could turn America into a genuine global leader."

"Such an effort, no matter how idealistic, will make the United States a power to be respected, not just feared."

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Sponsored link:

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"The clash of civilizations"

In his essay, Yu Bin refers to Samuel P. Huntington's extraordinary book "The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order."  Written three years before 9/11:

"...the thesis of this provocative and potentially important book is the increasing threat of violence arising from renewed conflicts between countries and cultures that base their traditions on religious faith and dogma. This argument moves past the notion of ethnicity to examine the growing influence of a handful of major cultures--Western, Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, Islamic, Japanese, Chinese, Hindu, and African--in current struggles across the globe." 5

This book was once Amazon.com's 365th most popular title. As of 2006-SEP-07, it was 1,344th. Both are impressive ratings, since Amazon stocks millions of books.

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Our take on the matter:

We are probably heavily biased, but our belief is that much of the world is polarizing into religiously based cultures. We have predominately Muslim countries, Christian countries, Hindu countries, etc. Even within countries, there are religious differences. For example, some observers believe that the United States is gradually dividing into three religious sub-cultures: a combination of secularism and liberal religious belief in the Northeast, conservative Christianity in the South and an eclectic spirituality in the West.

These divisions hold great dangers, because religions tend to be based on an oral or written belief system that is accepted on faith by its believers. Because of the origins of religion and the way in which they are structured, followers of different religions hold conflicting, irresolvable beliefs concerning deity, humanity and the rest of the universe. These beliefs cannot readily be harmonized. There is a possibility that hatred, animosity and intolerance will result, which can easily escalate into conflict and oppression, and finally to religiously motivated violence.

The solution is religious tolerance. We have to accept that religions have entirely different views on deity, morality, ethics, behavior, ritual, etc. We must allow everyone to freely follow their own spiritual path without oppression. Organized religious chould be the main players in promoting religious tolerance. Unfortunately, many do not seem to be seem to be part of the solution. Many are largely ignoring the problem. Some faith groups actively teach religious intolerance, and are thus an active part of the problem.

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  1. Yu Bin, "Clash Of The Uncivilized - Extremism Mars World Stage," Pacific News Service, 2002-MAY-6, at:  http://athena.tbwt.com/content/
  2. Xiaobing Li, Allan Millett & Yu Bin, Eds., "Mao's Generals Remember Korea" (University of Kansas Press, (2001).
  3. "The Black World Today," is a web site maintained by "a collective of journalists, writers, artists,  communicators and entrepreneurs who have banded together to use the information revolution as one means towards the overall empowerment of Black people in the United States and around the world." See: http://www.tbwt.com/
  4. Samuel P. Huntington, "The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order," Touchstone Books, (1998). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
  5. Excerpt from a reviewer at the Amazon.com book store.

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Copyright as indicated above
Originally written: 2002-MAY-7
Latest update: 2006-SEP-13

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