Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Ideology is defined as “The set of ideas and beliefs of a group or political party.” -Merriam Webster.

Historic Examples of  terror arising from Christian/American Ideologies.
Following the massacres in Colorado and San Bernardino, even more intensely Americans are asking, “What can we do?” History shows that to ' just do something' regarding a social crisis without an understanding of the underlying dynamics can be worse than doing nothing. Right now it seems that government institutions, political parties, disciplines of learning and religions have different and unsure understandings of what drives so many murders in our land. Some central ideologies that are common in America include : Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal , Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

These are important relatively large ideological groups of our culture. One way caring people who condemn such killing could conceivably achieve a working consensus is to focus on the destructive dynamic of ' Ideology'. This has not been such a sinister word in our culture but I think it is time to consider it an underlying dynamic of our massacres, homicides and  the dangerous social/political polarities of our nation..

We might declare war on a dark potential all 'ideologies' have in common. An ideology can be a formal religion or religious perspective, or it can be a political orientation of a group within a culture. Or it can be a superior view of ones group  based on skin  color or ethnicity.

Why and how does any ideology hold a potential threat to the common good for a safer yet diverse culture? A good number of persons holding an ideology, which is a high majority of citizens, will have some level of desire for more persons to embrace their ideology, making the culture more comfortable for them. This last sentence is the underlying danger of every ideology. Among those having such a desire still fewer of them will become 'radical' enough to attempt pushing their view and beliefs publicly, to the point of harming others emotionally or physically for the 'success' of their ideology.

A necessary challenge requiring a mature mentality is for persons of every ideology to face that their own ideology has the potential of some persons becoming so 'possessed' by its ideas to become, if not murderers , destructive of unity and cooperation in culture. This very tangible situation requires that  each ideology group  self monitor itself from thinking that 'their' group's perspective is a 'one and only' or 'only right' point of view. The fact that it is hard to so self monitor shows how urgent the need is. For we are seeing , in our country's expressions of violence, evidence that a growing number of persons now see themselves as representatives of some 'only right way' to proceed politically, culturally or religiously.

Here is a hard but glaringly necessary need. It means that persons holding to any political party, no matter how personally sincere, stop themselves short of ever concluding that other perspectives do not have something important and needed to bring to the culture , to the public discussion.

It would religiously mean for example that Christians of all stripes realize that, regarding public life, we must give up contending that 'Jesus- Christian's  human/God symbol' is the literal  rightful ruler or Lord of all people and cultures. We would need instead to see this image as a matter of one's inner private center of security and meaning, not something to impose by force or law on the outside world. To externalize this as a literal/physical ideal for all persons needs to be seen as a 'radicalized' belief(But because many believers are unconscious of the violence this projects toward others they claim and experience complete innocence.) which is destructive, disrespectful and has historically been murderously violent. It would mean that followers of Islam be convinced that any statements of the Sacred Quran not be taken as literally meaning persons who are not Muslims should be considered automatically enemies. It would mean that persons of the Hebrew faith refuse to use Hebrew Scripture as literally meaning any certain piece of geography belongs them by eternal decree.

Individuals of the major Faith Groups can decide that if they are to contribute to a peaceful world, which all surely can, such statements taken literally and physically are very divisive for a sustained culture. And are more correctly applied as the private internal symbols they actually are coming from the stories of ancient Sacred texts. These 'beliefs' apply to the inner meditative practice of faith, not wished for impositions on the whole nation or world.

Ideological systems, political and religious (which often go hand in hand), are not inherently bad . They have been for millennia the cultural/psychological foundation for the most livable civilizations of humanity. But the world is now too small for any ideology to assert itself as superior to the others or to seek to impose its symbols literally on the rest of the culture.

If more people from all ideologies were to stand together against these underlying threats which each carries within itself, then a rational critique of ones own ideology could develop. We could also then help each other with understandable explanations when any ideology is being emotionally, if not physically, violent against the common well being of the whole culture. It seems to me if humans presently cannot strengthen individually the process of critiquing the destructive potential of all ideologies present , beginning with their own, violence in the nation and the world will only escalate toward mutual self destruction. I'm trusting that a good number of persons of every ideology mentioned above find the thrust of what I am describing sensible and critical in our present time. Perhaps a growing cross section of strong and fair minded persons is significantly greater in the nation than ones who are already, perhaps unknowingly, possessed by their particular ideology of superiority.

No comments: