There is no doubt that groups within certain religious groups see the events and circumstances of this day and age as signs or indicators of the “latter days” or “end of time” or “messianic era” and so forth. And in some instances, these groups within certain religious groups believe that everything has to end with religious wars whereby one religion ends up prevailing over another religion. And what is most concerning is that such extreme groups within certain religious groups actually wield real political power now, as in the case of Israel, Iran, Afghanistan, and now even the United States. Hence, the violence between Israel and the Arabs has to be viewed within a broader context, namely, a context which is defined by the apocalyptic, extreme, and messianic ideology and worldview that is held by certain religious groups which have now come to power in certain places and which in turn can lead to violence on a large scale and scope. And in the West, no one in their right minds should be a part of any of it, even though we have people in power here in the West who are stupidly silent and are ignoring voices who have been sounding the alarm all this time.
There were Muslim preachers on YouTube as early as a decade ago who were arguing that the war in Syria which broke out in 2011 was a sure indicator that the end of time has now come. Arguably, these extreme, apocalyptic, and messianic groups arise out of political and social decay and dysfunction. If the system was working properly, such groups would not rise or become so influential and powerful. Neither is organized religion a good thing, nor is religion supposed to serve as an instrument or tool to divide people. Yet, organized religion is still fervently pursued by many people, and religion is still being used as an instrument or tool to divide people, when in reality, the purpose of religion is to preach and advance the virtues or values of beauty, love, and social harmony which are shared between different cultures, peoples, and religions. As one Ancient Roman philosopher said: “What is God? For a man, God means helping one’s fellow creatures.”
In essence, there is no point of religion if there is no notion of beauty or love and social harmony between people. People can do away with their organized religion and their religiosity and their dumb prayers and chants and their rites and rituals if they are driving wedges between people and dividing people instead of bringing them together and advancing the most important of all social values and virtues which are shared between different cultures, peoples, and religions, namely, beauty, love, and social harmony. To be a “friend of God” is to contemplate and to pursue absolute and divine beauty and love, as Plato wrote. In turn, nothing is more disgusting and vile than the apocalyptic religious wars which people are now seeking in various places. The Bible states: “Love is of God…Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us…If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and His love is perfected in us…God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
Hence, our own path and way is not the only path and way, given that the different paths and ways ultimately converge upon a universal destination or principle. All the more important that people “tolerate, respect, and revere” the various cultures and traditions which appear different on the surface but in reality are bound together by one single principle and virtue.