Bum-cracks and breast-cleavages somehow attract more attention than a part in one’s hair. There is, after all, nothing part-icularly sexy about a hirsutic divide, in either of the sexes of our species. All three create divisions, but apart from contributing indirectly to the survival of the species, at least as far as the first two are concerned, they have little significance in the overall scheme of things.
Some divisions matter. Frontiers, country-borders, for instance : not to be taken lightly by would-be immigrants, except for citizens within the European Union – at least for the nonce. . . But divisions about religious beliefs can be just as hermetic, and even result sometimes in bloodshed.
“Religion”, etymologically, suggests the creation of bonds, links uniting people. But when such bonds are created among believers of the same doctrine, barriers are often built between them and others who believe in other doctrines or no doctrines at all. All of the three world monotheisms have experienced divisions in both inter-religion conflict and internal schisms and sects, often opposed not only doctrinally but militarily. The 100-Year War between Catholics and Protestants belongs to the past, but the conflict within Islam between Sunnis and Shiites, since its very beginning in the 7th century, belongs to the past, present and the foreseeable future. This internal conflict between Muslims has impacted the rest of the world in a new age of terror.
Reconciliation, atonement, “at – one – ment” have been in the past largely pipe-dreams for a world divided politically, ideologically and religiously. Today rare instances of the destruction of walls and the building of bridges deserve recognition and emulation. Blessed are the peace-makers. Our very survival depends on them.