Monday, June 13, 2016

Are Most Hate Crimes Rooted in Religious Dogma?

In the aftermath of the Orlando shootings at the Pulse nightclub, questions have been raised on all levels - political, cultural, emotional, spiritual. Was it an act of terrorism? Was it a hate crime? Was it the work of a religious fanatic? 

When the event first happened, I read all I could, and posted the following to my Facebook page:

Since I'm not known for being politically correct, I'm going to say what I believe rather than what I'm supposta say when some asshat walks into a nightclub and slaughters 50+ people. The bottom line here is that most mass shootings nowadays are carried out by religious nutbags of one ilk or another. I don't care what your particular sect of crazy might be, but you need to understand that you are NOT doing the will of God. For starters, "God" doesn't exist, and even if s/he DID exist, keep in mind that s/he created ALL humans equally (according to myth) - gay, straight, black, white, brown, rainbow sprinkles That being the case, it's not up to YOU to decide who lives and who dies. It's not up to YOU to destroy "God's" creations - for isn't that flying in the face of whatever God you believe in? It's not up to YOU to come into a country that is a "melting pot" and decide that only YOUR beliefs are valid. 
Personally, I think ALL religious nutbags (no matter race, color or creed) should be shipped off to an island in the middle of the North Atlantic and forced to live with one another or die trying. (I'm talking about the real nut cases here - not someone with a "social" belief who goes to church for the cupcakes and camaraderie.) 
Why is it up to us (anyone!) to watch out for your sad little belief systems, lest you pick up an automatic weapon and start shooting because you are offended? Really? What a pathetic "god" you must worship who created you to be so frightened and absurdly arrogant at the same time. I'm glad the police shot you before you could do anymore damage. I hope you suffered. And I hope you rot in whatever hell you have made for yourself. 
Next time you are planning violence, be sure to shoot yourself first - fatally. Only afterward should you take out your petty fanaticism on others.

Most of the comments I received were positive, though a few of them called into question the idea that we all make our choices and must take responsibility for them at one level or another. Hmmm. While I don't disagree with that in the least, I do think it's important to make a distinction between what Carlos Castaneda referred to as "ordinary men" and a warrior or "man of Knowledge."

In his book, A SEPARATE REALITY, Carlos details a conversation with don Juan as follows:

 "All I can say to you," don Juan said, "is that a warrior is never available; never is he standing on the road waiting to be clobbered. Thus he cuts to a minimum his chances of the unforeseen. What you call accidents are, most of the time, very easy to avoid, except for fools who are living helter-skelter." 
"It is not possible to live strategically all the time," I said. "Imagine that someone is waiting for you with a powerful rifle with a telescopic sight; he could spot you accurately five hundred yards away. What would you do?" 
Don Juan looked at me with an air of disbelief and then broke into laughter. 
"What would you do?" I urged him. 
"If someone is waiting for me with a rifle with a telescopic sight?" he said, obviously
mocking me. 
"If someone is hiding out of sight, waiting for you. You won't have a chance. You can't stop a bullet." 
"No. I can't. But I still don't understand your point." 
"My point is that all your strategy cannot be of any help in a situation like that." 
"Oh, but it can. If someone is waiting for me with a powerful rifle with a telescopic sight I simply will not come around."
What needs to be understood here is that don Juan as he is portrayed in the books is a man of Knowledge - a Nagual, an enlightened being, a warrior and, yes, a "sorcerer".  As such, his awareness is far more keenly honed than that of an ordinary man, so while don Juan may be altogether capable of Knowing the sniper is present, the same cannot be said of humans in general. So when someone tries to argue that those present at the nightclub chose to be present there, and so knowingly chose their death, I would argue that those people were largely if not entirely "ordinary men and women" there to have a good time with friends, dance and drink, and maybe go home with a stranger or long-time companion. Not ours to judge, but also not wise from a spiritual perspective to attempt to draw an alignment between their choices as compared to the choices a man or woman of Knowledge might make.  Apples and oranges, people. Humans should be allowed to simply be humans - laughing and dancing and being alive - without having to worry that a crazed fanatic is going to storm the joint and start shooting.

Yes, we all have the potential to be like don Juan - to know when the sniper is present and therefore to choose not to come around - but we also have the potential to realize that don Juan may be a fictional character with super-powers above and beyond those of any ordinary man or woman. I'm not here to debate the veracity of Castaneda. Anyone who follows me knows I have ultimate respect for his works and his teachings, but that doesn't mean I accept them (or any other writings) as Absolute Truth.  And it also means, as my own mentor has pointed out countless times, every practitioner has the responsibility to take the Knowledge one step further than where you found it.

Point being - we all have a sixth sense that warns us of possible danger, but most simply don't listen to it (usually because they don't know how), and those who do may often choose to ignore it out of a sense of self-doubt and the social programming that whispers in our ear, "You're just being paranoid. That snake isn't poisonous and that apple looks yummy, so stop being a wuss and just do it!"  Unfortunately, whatever decision we make, there are consequences - some of them whimsical, others deadly.  But either way, unless someone is already a man or woman of Knowledge - a brujo, sorcerer, seer - those choices occur on a purely subliminal level and seldom at the level of conscious awareness.  So to those who would argue that "these people chose their time to die," I would say this is not only highly unlikely, but also a thinly veiled attempt to blame the victims for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sorry, but I don't buy into the "Your time has come" logic. These people were vital and alive 24 hours ago and now they are dead because some lunatic religious fanatic decided their time was over. It is not the doings of spirit. It is the doings of (crazy) men. The acts of a madman cannot be minimized in favor of some attempt at comforting oneself with the notion that "it was their choice". That's just an attempt to put one's emotional ducks in a row when what we really need to be doing is looking the snake in the eye and *seeing* it for what it is.

What we need to understand is that most "hate crimes" are actually rooted in religious dogma at some level. By nature, we don't hate gay people or green people or smart people just because of what they are. We learn to hate them by the subtle and not-so-subtle programming that is put onto us by the world at large - religion, politics, culture, etc. In that way, religion is still at the root of most hate crimes. While the Bible may be full of messages of love, it is just as full of messages of hate and fear - so it stands to reason that humans will tend to respond at the lowest common denominator (fear and hatred). Examine your programming. Ask yourself not just what you believe, but why you believe it. Only then will you start to *see* that most of your beliefs come from what you've been told to think rather than what you really know about the world and all those gay, green and other assorted "different" people.

Haters aren't born. They are created from fear and false beliefs. They are often created by well-meaning family members, friends and peers - and more often than not through the accumulation of centuries of religious dogma that hangs like an albatross around the world today.

Understanding that is the first step toward a truer and deeper understanding of why things are the way things are.  It is also the first step toward undoing the programs that only limit our unlimited potential.

I can only offer my heart-felt condolences to those who lost loved ones in the Orlando shootings, and my sincere hope that if anything good can come of this, it will be an increased Knowledge that fear, hatred and violence will never solve anything, but only deepen the rift between the self and the infinite. May all who died rest in peace. May the rest of us live with greater awareness and increased empathy for all living things.


What do you believe and why do you believe it?
To learn more about how programming is created
and how to rid yourself of it, consider this Quantum Shaman workshop
for the solitary practitioner.

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