Just stop what you’re doing and imagine for a moment what the world would look like without organised religion. What the newspaper headlines would read tomorrow. How far human progress would have surpassed the achievements of today.
Breathe. Close your eyes. Imagine.
It’s hard to comprehend, because religion and its impact is inextricably linked to the modern world in which we live.
The world and geopolitical landscape has been moulded by religion and conflict based upon religious disagreement and tension between ideologies.
Samuel Huntington posited in his provocative book The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order, that conflict driven by cultural and ideological differences, rather than borders and resources, would dominate global politics in the post Cold War era.
How right he was.
There are dreadful conflicts, the murder of innocents, and destabilisation across the globe. Between the never-ending tumult in Israel and Palestine and the resurgence of Islamic militants in Iraq, the self-proclaimed Islamic State or IS, who make the Taliban’s tactics of terror look amateurish, and Russia’s continued insurgence into Ukraine, global security is threatened on an unprecedented scale.
The Islamic State’s aggressive cultural and geographical insurgence into Iraq has seen another attempted genocide, this time of the Yazidi, who are for the most part Kurdish, and are suffering a terrible persecution.
Peace seems impossible – an ever dwindling hope and even the greatest of optimists cannot see an end to the bloodshed, exacerbated by the entrance, once more, of American military might into the region and with so many nation states jostling for supremacy of soft and hard power.
The fear and terror is spreading westward, and only yesterday the UK’s terror alert status was raised to the highest level it’s been the past few years.
It’s a frightening world, and most worryingly, it’s getting smaller than ever.