Monday, February 13, 2006

Religion or Poverty and Hopelessness

“It called upon the faithful to create a just and humane society, one that ministered to the weak and took care of the poor, and in which all people lived with love and respect for their fellow human beings. . . . The mission of every upholder of the faith was to redeem history by creating a society that mirrored one’s faith. . . . To live a spiritual life is to lead a just life in a compassionate society.”

These sentences caught my attention. I didn’t expect to find them in a book on hydrogen as a fuel. The author was describing a certain religion and it was a pleasant surprise to find this section in the book. The book I’m reading is The Hydrogen Economy by Jeremy Rifkin. I’m halfway through the book and he has discussed energy, history, society, economics, environment, global warming and religion but not hydrogen -- yet. I find the book fascinating and recommend it.

The religion referenced in the opening sentences is Islam. I’m beginning to think I’m irresponsible for not knowing more about Islam. What I do know is third and fourth hand knowledge. Personally, I’ve never had a Muslim as a friend, I’ve never talked to a Muslim about his faith nor have I read the Qur’an. I think that’s grossly irresponsible of me.

I need to know more about the history of the Middle East and current conditions. Like most Americans, I tend to focus on the perceived problems and fears that we confront but the Middle East has equally serious problems.

“Saudi Arabians like to say ‘My father rode a camel, I drive a car, my son rides a jet airplane – his son will ride a camel.’ While one-quarter of all the remaining oil reserves in the world lie in Saudi Arabia, there is an almost fatalistic sense among many Saudis that they are a country living on ‘borrowed time’.” What happens when the oil is gone? How will Saudis sustain their economy? Saudi Arabia “has had to spend more than it takes in, running a budget deficit every year for the past fifteen years”.

“According to the World Bank, the average income in what is known as the Islamic Belt…is less than $3,700 a year, half the world average of $7,350. Even worse, the countries of the Islamic Belt are not just poor but are continuing to lose ground to other developing nations. For example, in 1950, Egypt and South Korea enjoyed approximately the same standard of living. Today, South Korea’s is five times that of Egypt’s.”

I wonder what we are threatened by – religion or poverty and hopelessness?


Blogger Alex Pendragon said...


2/14/2006 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Guru Kurt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/14/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Guru Kurt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/14/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Guru Kurt said...

There is a higher truth to consider than you have so far seen. You should be thinking in longer time periods, considering that there are at least five billion years left to us here. If you do that, then you see that according to the best estimates of the USGS of world iron ore reserves, ALL IRON ORE WILL BE MINED OUT WITHIN 600 YEARS. Thus there is a bigger question, than the type of fuel to use. The standard response is, "They will find more ore." But the correct reply is, "Five billion years is a LONG time, easily erasing any advantage of new finds, even if they are ten times, or a hundred times what has been discovered." If you have a mind and a heart, please look at my recent post at
enlightenedblog-forum-4.html. (remove the space before "enlightened.") I am looking for a "city Nineveh", at the behest of the real God, whom I witness as Shiva, the Destroyer.

2/14/2006 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...

From poverty and hopelessness, enabled by a lack of religion (in the sense that religion would embrace the actions in your opening quotation).

2/14/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Another great post. I just recently made an Islamic friend. We have never discussed her religious beliefs or why she wears a headdress in Canada. She is expecting her second child, her husband is in dentistry school, she is first generation Canadian. Her spirit is so kind it preceeds her. She makes me wonder how we could ever fear the Muslim faith.

2/19/2006 12:02:00 PM  

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