“Within each empire, the people would have traded with one another, and co-existed in a multicultural manner – unless an ambitious leader or a divisive priesthood or two prevailed in seeking to perpetuate or extend their power by keeping each people separate. I recall a priest in the 1960s inducing five young Roman Catholic mothers to withdraw from a coffee morning initiated by my Anglican wife. No reasons were given. We had all just moved into a new suburb. Such attitudes deny, at least delay, the eventual merging of culturally divergent peoples or tribes sharing a nation. The prejudice displayed by this priest against fellow-ethnics because of a religious difference delayed the evolution of a cosmopolitan Australia. I thought that he was simply un-Australian, as well as insufferably ignorant!
Is it then surprising that the atheists are so bitter about believers in God, typically the Christian god, the only one they know? Has any other god been as divisive, and for nearly 2,000 years? And He can be claimed by his followers to be a loving god! The success of divisive priesthoods is evident in Africa (Moslem vs. animist-tinged Christian); the Middle East (Shiite Moslem vs. Sunni Moslem); the Indian sub-continent (Moslem vs. Hindu); Europe (Eastern or Greek Orthodox or Protestant vs. Roman Catholic) and the British Isles (Protestant vs. Roman Catholic). Minor sectoral conflicts add to the level of intolerance. How could there be an integrated multi-ethnic society in these circumstances?
How foolish are the priesthoods in most of the major religions and sects in their posturing as the purveyors of a private path to Heaven? How transient is their exercise of power through keeping their flocks separate from other flocks? They cannot take with them their acquired riches or their power to retain a separate cultural identity when they die.
Against that, one can understand their ignorant supporters upholding a belief (or is it just a hope?) inculcated in them that they are privileged. But, do they eat any better when their fellow-believers are in government? What is the evidence from Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa, the Indian sub-continent, or even Europe? All the religions are failures in this respect.”
(There is nothing to add to the above extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door,’ I hope that the following light of enlightenment will shine on the bigoted: that, as co-created by God, we humans are indeed bonded to one another, and are thereby on the same road to the Divine together.)