I watched ‘The British’ on PickTV (Virgin TV14/12/2014) and although not surprised, I could not feel but a certain sadness on how hostile different religious groups feel against each other. The above program reminded the viewer of the acts of Henry VIII, who created his own religion, the Anglicans, to allow him to pursue his own private affairs. He even used the new paper-printing technology to portray himself as the one who directly received Verbum Dei (the Word of God) (Bl.uk, 2014). Therefore, Henry VIII could express himself in any way he wished, and people would probably believe him as he spoke on behalf of god. But who and what is god?
There are many portrayals of this higher authority. There is the Christian God, Allah, Hindi Gods and Goddesses, Celtic Gods and Goddesses, Ancient Greek ones, the Roman Gods and other ones. There are films and statues made in their name. ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ (Adventure et al., 2014), the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus (Eros, 2014). Eros is the one God that has united and is acceptable by most people. Like Henry VIII Bible, he may also be found on the front of many cards or other stationary and items that express amorous intentions.
Henry VIII though, was not the only ruler to have persecuted other religious beliefs. Many Greek people, who believed in the Ancient Gods such as Zeus, were vehemently attacked by the modern Orthodox. ‘For years, Orthodox clerics believed that they had defeated Greeks wishing to embrace the customs and beliefs of the ancient past’ writes Smith (2007) in the Guardian when Peppa, a former advertising executive, entered the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus to perform her ceremony. Riot police were on stand-by to protect a different perspective on religious beliefs. The question is, why are people persecuted for having their own views?
These events are a world-wide phenomena with tragic events. Christians against Muslims, Catholics against Protestants, Greeks against Greeks hating and killing each other when there is only on certain thing in life. We all share the same planet for a few years.
As a baptised and confirmed Anglican of the Church of England, I found my inner Peace and Namaste in Buddhism, where loving and respecting all life is more important than believing that my beliefs are superior to others.
I will leave you with this thought. I was holding this conversation with an acquaintance during his Ramadan. He raised a very poignant point on beliefs:
‘There is no such thing as a bad religion. There is only bad people.’
Bl.uk, (2014). The Great Bible, probably Henry VIII’s own copy. [online] Available at: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/henryviii/musspowor/greatbible/index.html [Accessed 15 Dec. 2014].
Smith, H. (2007). Helena Smith on why some Greeks are worshipping the ancient gods. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/feb/01/religion.uk [Accessed 15 Dec. 2014].
The Poseidon Adventure (1972), T., Neame, R., Allen, I., Gallico, P., Silliphant, S., Hackman, G., Borgnine, E. and Winters, S. (2014). The Poseidon Adventure (1972). [online] IMDb. Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069113/ [Accessed 15 Dec. 2014].
The Statue of Eros (2014). The Statue of Eros. [online] visitlondon.com. Available at: http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/place/752997-statue-of-eros [Accessed 15 Dec. 2014].