Religion is part of our conflicts

I WRITE in reply to a letter directed at me by Ashley Tuttle, “Thirst for power is the real issue” (The Border Mail, July 5).

I take offence at being told that I have tremendous historical ignorance and a limited understanding of human nature.

Religion simply cannot be totally separated from any other human activity.

Hitler was baptised a Catholic and attended Catholic schools and churches in Austria.

In 1941, Hitler told his army adjutant General Gerhard Engel: “I shall remain a Catholic forever”.

Without the long history of Christian anti-Judaism and Christian violence against Jews, Nazi ideology could not have taken hold nor could have been carried out.

Too many Christians participated in, or were sympathetic to the on-going Nazi atrocities against the Jews.

The term holocaust — which means a burnt-sacrifice or offering, the whole of which was consumed by fire” — reflects the religious character of the dominant historiography of Judeocide.

Using the designation “holocaust” for the extermination of the Jews, implies, accordingly, the absurdity that the Nazis sacrificed Jews in a kind of religious ritual.

Hitler believed the Aryan race was the “master” race, created as “God’s highest handiwork” — the other races (Jews, blacks, Slavs among others) were literally “sub-human species.”

The races had been created direct by God — humans had not evolved from other animals.

The links between Zen Buddhism and samurai warrior culture were partly responsible for the shocking collusion of Zen and Japanese militarism in the 1930s and 1940s.

For several years, a virulent jingoism seized Japanese Zen and teachings were twisted and corrupted to excuse killing.

Zen institutions not only supported Japanese military aggression but raised money to manufacture war planes and weapons.

Finally, the “cultural revolution” in China (1966 to 1976) had a disastrous effect on all aspects of the society of China, including religion.

So religion is tied up in all of mankind’s activities in one way or the other. I think that the world would be a much more civilised and peaceful if religions never existed.

As Ashley Tuttle indicated, human greed and thirst for power will be humanity’s ultimate downfall.

SUMNER BERG

Beechworth

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