August 6th, Again – Hiroshima

HiroshimaAnother year passes.  We come around again, remembering the horror of Hiroshima.

Meanwhile, on the horizon, pointed shapes sprout from the Earth, deadly black missiles mushrooming into sight here and there – North Korea, Russia, France, Great Britain, Pakistan, India, the United States, and other countries planning and secretly hoping to bring into bloom these grotesque projectiles of death.

This is our world.  We face megadeath.

So we once again pay homage to the memory of Hiroshima, yet these horrific weapons of death still remain on alert in our country’s arsenals – thousands of them, each with a capacity now many times the destructive power of the Hiroshima bomb.  We have already spent over a trillion dollars on the manufacture and upkeep of these weapons – weapons that are capable of totally obliterating entire cities and populations – indeed, of destroying the Earth itself.

Here in America, we hold these weapons at the ready.  Given the circumstances, there is no doubt we would use them.  Why else would we have them?

Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom's CabinJust prior to the American Civil War, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, the great book documenting in passionate and heart-rending detail the tragic breakup of black Kentucky families sold down the river to slavery.

She wrote:

“Up to this year, I have always felt that I had no particular call to meddle with this subject.  But I feel now that the time has come when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak.”

The central theme of her book was that slavery and Christianity cannot co-exist.

What would Mrs. Stowe have to say about nuclear weapons?

I think she would say that they, too, are incompatible with Christianity, or with any other religion that advocates the sanctity of life.

To incinerate millions, or even hundreds of millions of men, women and children in the blink of an eye – to push those buttons – this is something totally incompatible with the words and intent of the founders of all the major religions.

And yet we hold them.

What it tells us, simply, is that we are not a Christian nation.  If we were a truly Christian nation, we would never hold these weapons, or even consider the possibility of using them against other human beings.

What it tells us also is that our current religions – Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism – stand helpless in the face of this demonic nuclear force within the human mind and psyche.

Our religions are separating us, not bringing us together.  Our religions are killing us even now, and threatening to annihilate everyone on the planet because of differences of dogma.

Where is the human being in all of this?

What is needed is a new religion – one that recognizes the sanctity of all life.

One that sees within the heart of every man, woman, and child on the face of the planet the common root of human being, with untold, untapped potential as great as the universe itself.

One that allows us to transcend and appreciate our differences, and expands our capacity for compassion to the edge of  known and unknown galaxies.

Does such a religion exist?  Yes.  It exists here and there, in the hearts of many people, of all backgrounds and faiths and non-faiths, a new paradigm of living and seeing and breathing.

A new spiritual civilization, beyond even age-old dreams, beyond anything we have yet imagined, is struggling to be born.  It is here and now.  It grows from the wreckage of despair, of lost hope, of pollution, greed, injustice, hatred and war.  It is the compassionate heart of the universe itself coming to fruition and bloom.

It is the Buddha emerging in America.

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Maybe We Need A New ReligionJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year and next, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people and giving talks, under the banner of “Traveling to a New America.

Follow his journey on Facebook.

To arrange talks, contact the author.

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