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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

A Little Inflammatory Rhetoric

22 September, 2010 Leave a comment

As far as I’m aware Jesus and Mohammed were great advocates of peace. As were most prophets through the ages.

Not the peace we forge in these days of Government funded conflicts in the name of global stability and world peace. Peace in the true sense of the word, ‘love thy neighbour’ and all those sayings which are paid lip service the world over in quaint old buildings in villages and suburbs as people search for meaning to their existence.

Peace of the kind promoted by the very Gods that armies wage war in the name of.

The World Peace monument in a pond next to a s...

Image via Wikipedia

This is not a new occurrence by any means. All through history nations and alliances have waged war in order to prove their Faith is the one true religion. And they have done so with the impunity only secured by the knowledge that their belief is justification in itself for their actions.

Okay, enough already!‘ I hear you cry!

Yes, I know it’s all a bit heavy but, as I’ve stated before, it’s the whole premise behind this blog’s title. (Look closely…)

Despite the premise that this is a ‘War on Terror‘ everywhere you look there are religious icons to be seen. Crosses made of wood or brass shell casings, Stars of David, Crescents, you name it and you’ll find it here. Each of the sides have their religious elders along for the ride and they hold religious services to glorify the sacrifices made, on both sides.

This, in my Devil’s Advocate of a psyche, raises the question: Are we on a crusade? It was this question that raised its ugly head late last night while I struggled to get to sleep. It was this question that rattled around the empty space that I had been trying to fill with some words to put to the latest track I’d received from Pete. And it was this question which grew to form the lyric I have been searching for, for weeks.

This is not the peaceful, introverted or reflective lyric I’ve produced of late. To be honest I’m a little surprised by its anger, but I’m also pleased with it, as I am with everything produced so far…

Down through the ages they’ve answered the call, they’ll answer again
In history’s pages the worthy stood tall, will they stand there again?

The soldiers of freedom with faith as their guide, they’ll answer the call
Taking lands from the heathen regardless of right, their armies will fall

Holy Wars, fought in whose name?
Holy Wars, always in vain
Holy  Wars, who counts the cost?
Holy Wars, humanity’s lost
In the name of the Cross
This is the Last Crusade
Is this the Last Crusade?

Facing down evil at every turn
This is the reason you answered the call
Seeking redemption through others demise
Can’t you see reason? It’s all just a lie!

As hordes stand against them they’ll fight to the end, no matter the cost
When the world stands against them it’s time for the end, we can’t pay the cost

Holy Wars, fought in whose name?
Holy Wars, always in vain
Holy  Wars, who counts the cost?
Holy Wars, humanity’s lost
In the name of the Cross
This is the Last Crusade
Is this the Last Crusade?
This is the Last Crusade
Is this the Last Crusade?

Answers on a postcard…

Faith Healer

25 August, 2010 Leave a comment

Politics and Religion. Two subjects never to be raised in polite conversation… Just as well we’re anything but polite isn’t it?!

There are subtle differences to life in Afghanistan in 2010 when compared to 2007. The workplace is now a portacabin rather than a tent, as is the accommodation, but the locations are the same as is the food… And that’s not all, there is much more going on ‘out there’ with everyday seeing some level of contact with insurgents and PEDROs or MIRTs having to carry out their unenviable role. Perhaps I’m more aware of it this time as our guys are further forward and so they’re directly involved in some of the incidents.

Whichever it is it is somehow less profound than last time, perhaps due to the regularity, and I find myself considering different aspects of the whole process.

On my last tour we attended ‘ramp’ ceremonies to salute those who had passed as they were carried onto the aircraft which would transport them home. It was a humbling experience and one which left its mark on my psyche for all time. Those ceremonies still take place but the number of people involved tends to be smaller and consist of those directly involved or from the same unit. What we do instead now is stand ‘vigil’ en masse prior to the ramp ceremony. There is a parade where eulogies are read by the chain of command of the departed and, in most cases, also by their friends.

These ‘vigils’ are best likened to miniature Remembrance Services. They are led by a member of the Clergy and include the Last Post, 2 minutes silence and cannon fire by way of salute. And here’s my problem… I don’t believe any of those who have given their lives have done so for their Sovereign or God. I know of no soldier who has come here due to a sense of duty to their Nation. We’re here because we’ve been ordered to come and, if we didn’t, someone else would have to take our place and that would be ‘jack’! We’re also here because our friends are here, and who’s going to watch their backs if we don’t?

I’m a strong believer in a ‘higher power’, not necessarily the Church as an institution, but I do have faith. And yet I find the overtly religious ceremony of these services somehow offensive.

Did anyone ask the fallen if they wanted a religious service? Or is it something which is done simply to appease the consciences of those who may feel responsible? I for one find it odd that we should be thanking anyone, let alone God, for the fact that despite their death in a far off distant land the individual died doing what he loved and his family and friends still love him. I bet he didn’t. I challenge you to find anyone who relishes the thought of dying thousands of miles from home from a gun shot wound inflicted by someone they’ll never understand for a reason no-one can explain.

They’ll never see that this fight sets you free
Won’t understand what it takes to be a man
As you struggle to reconcile just who you are
With what you believe, the cause you hold in your hand

I understand that some people find solace and strength in their faith, as do I, but I also find it hypocritical and sanctimonious to preach that those who have laid down their lives have down so in the name of God. I believe that Orson Scott Card had the right idea in his Ender Saga. When we remember the fallen we should do so truthfully, warts and all…

We should speak for the dead, not of them.