There are many religions practiced in the world today. There are also neo-religious philosophies such as Neo-Atheism and Scientism. I have found a surprisingly high level of commonality between the core assumptions and beliefs of all of their adherents. By saying this, I have to add that present-day religious followers may not even be aware of how similar their beliefs and assumptions about the world are. I hear some of you vehemently disagreeing with me. Keep in mind though that it is possible for people to be at war with each other and still adhere to the same core values. My point is that religious differences have actually reached a level of superficiality in the world today.
I hear you asking me what about religious fundamentalism from ISIS and their equivalents. My own position is that ISIS is a movement aimed at transferring power through using religious sentiments and a religious programme. Zionism, similarly was a movement aimed at securing power for Jewish power brokers, more than it was a religious movement. The religious element was contributory and supportive, and not core to the goal of achieving a power base.
So I repeat there are core assumptions commonly shared by the Muslim, the Jew and the rest. Here are some of these common assumptions:
Fatalism: Most people, from all major religions have resigned themselves completely to some or other fatalistic view of the world. Speak to a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian and you will sense a high level of acceptance of, even a resigning to our world and a fundamental acceptance that he or she is really powerless to change it. This “inevitability” of the way the world is, is subscribed to by almost all. People are happy to go along with the way the world is evolving or devolving. If you mention poverty, hardship, debt, inequality, crime, war, personal depression and disease, which are all at crisis levels, you find a sense of detachment from the problem by most. People display a clear attitude of powerlessness, whether Muslim, Christian, Atheist or Jew. This powerlessness, manifested in indifference, cannot be described other than being a form of fatalistic acceptance of the world.
Absence of reflectiveness and spirituality: Religions have become social formations rather than centers of wisdom, reflection and spirituality. I agree that there are plenty of religious practices that involve personal ecstasy and devotion to charismatic figures and events. The question is, to what extent does the singing in the church, the gospel industry, the Hajj industry, the Halaal industry or the attachment to charismatic priests reflect reflectiveness and spirituality? I am of course referring to the majority of adherents today, not all. To most, spirituality, deeper reflection and meditation over the world and our own role in it, is sadly non-existent.
Respect for and yielding to the powers that be: Whether that power is just or unjust. All religious adherents refrain from declaring as illegitimate rulers that uphold systems that are unjust. Some may be involved in futile and impotent processes of rotating rulers, but the basic ruling class almost always goes unchallenged. The attitude of people reflects an attitude of complacency with their rulers, and a childlike trust of the ruler or at least the ruling class.
Submission to popular norms, behavior and practices: Consumerism, personal propulsion, and individualism are every bit as part of Saudi society, as it is of Israeli, British or Chinese society. It may just be more pronounced in classical Western societies, but believe me; the Muslim is as keen to form part of these modern social phenomena as the Jew or the Hindu for that matter. We all willingly submit to the latest politically correct speech or practices. Our behavior is virtually shaped by those who speak to us every second of the day through popular art and the media. Arabic music, Hindu Muslic and Western music are a case in point. Music from all of these cultures generally reflects frivolousness at its best or debauchery at its worse.
All of this makes me realize that the world has in fact in recent times morphed into a one-religion world. Deep within, almost all of us share the same core assumptions and values. We accept our sick global reality as the unalterable way of nature, our corrupt ruling classes as unchallengable, and our only real goal to be that of establishing ourselves firmly in positions of wealth and comfort. We revere the same things and we aspire to the same things. That makes us common adherents of the global establishment. Anyone who stands up and questions the king, the corporate controllers or the state is regarded as a heretic to the accepted order.
But that leads me to a further deduction, namely that we have embraced the unequal, corrupt and cruel world order we all experience. We accept the benevolence of the billionaire classes and the corporations, in their hold over our leaders (elected or not.) We (perhaps subconsciously) blame the poor for his poverty, the victim of war for the war, the debt slave for his debt or the refugee for the civil strife that turned him into a refugee. We have embraced indifference to the injustice that has befallen our world. Very few of us see our role as that of activists needing to overthrow the system. We may raise a polite objection but very rarely a radical programme to challenge the system.
What I witness has much in common with the Hindu caste system which makes it a religious principle to embrace social inequality and neglect. The Brahman at the top of the hierarchy decides what constitutes virtuous behavior for all people, and the poor despised Untouchable at the bottom has no other choice than to wallow in his misery as a life-long curse. The Brahman is innately virtuous and pure, receiving their guidance from God alone. The Untouchable is impure, superfluous and a burden on society.
According to Hinduism, in the middle, one finds the rulers, the merchants, the farmers and the labourers. All in service of the Brahman. The question is: Who are the Brahman in the new world order?