Friday, 20 November 2015

What to do about terror

The last few days, since the terrorist attacks in Paris, have seen a massive amount of divisive opinions over how to solve the problem.

There seem to be two camps on the issue, generally speaking. One involves more aggression, better defence, stricter controls, and a ruthless approach with the goal to obliterate ISIS and all Muslim terrorists. There is even a push to vilify Islam in it's entirety.

The other camp sees a bigger picture, where love wins.

The first response is very justifiable and I agree that it's the most logical approach, and could achieve very good short term results. It's a direct solution that confronts the immediate problem.

The second response is seen by most as a leftist, hippy dream that will make us all weak and easy takings for the Muslim's wanting to establish the Caliphate. In fact they see it as the ultimate weakness and the failure of all that western democracy has fought hard to establish based on christian morals.

History has shown us without a shadow of doubt that humanity learns nothing from history. We just go round in circles, doing the same things, expecting different results.

We rise up in righteous indignation when we are confronted by "evil", in whatever form that may take, and do battle for truth and justice, often in God's name (whoever that God may be).

But suppose there actually was a better way? What if we took the effort to step back and recognise that our responses are emotional reactions based on the circumstantial evidence in front of us? What if we were prepared to accept the possibility that we are reacting rather than clearly thinking? What if we stopped to look at history, and accept that repeating the same thing over and over is not just really dumb, but incredibly tragic beyond belief?!

The "still small voice" that christianity speaks of, is exactly that. It's in all of us. But it's "still" and "small", meaning that we have to step back from our emotional reactions, our anger, frustration, hatred and biases, to be able to hear it. We have to recognise that to find something deeper and lasting and life giving, requires us to let go enough to hear that part of us that is "still and small".

Even Jesus said, in no uncertain terms, "love your enemies, do good to those who hurt you". He was pretty big on it actually. He didn't add a "but", he just laid it on the line.

So its possible that we can achieve the peace we desperately crave without violence. In fact peace with violence is impossible, always has been and always will be. Sure, we can look at short term "victories" where violence solved an immediate problem, but the core issues never resolve. We refuse to accept that  love could be an ever better cure to our ills.

We refuse to accept that something as simple as love has any real power. But we have forgotten that we ALL are vulnerable, emotional beings. We are ALL complex creatures, full of fears and loves, passions and desires. We ALL love, we ALL long for acceptance, understanding, compassion and empathy. We ALL long to be understood at the deepest level.

Every single person ever created longs to be understood, to be heard and respected, to be treated with justice and compassion. And that includes terrorists and Muslims.

What would happen if we were prepared to recognise that simple fact and begin to act on it? What would happen if we actually extended love in all it's raw beauty, in all it's humility and unconditional acceptance of our humanity?

Are we prepared to try? Or are we too proud and arrogant? Are we simply going to repeat the never ending cycle of violence or finally realise that it's time we actually learned something from history?

We've never tried love! Now could be a great opportunity!