Promising 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 any of the genders of our species. Both dividing lines create divisions, but a-part from contributing indirectly to the survival of the species, at least as far as the former is concerned, they have little significance in the overall scheme of things.
Some other divisions do. Frontiers, country-borders, for instance : not to be taken lightly by unvetted would-be immigrants anywhere. But divisions of opinion about religious beliefs can be just as hermetic and sometimes result even in bloodshed.
“Religion”, etymologically, suggests the creation of bonds, links uniting people. But when such bonds are created among believers of the same doctrines, barriers are built between them and others who believe other doctrines or no doctrines at all. All of the world’s three monotheisms have experienced divisions resulting in interreligious conflict as well as internal schisms and sects, often opposed not only doctrinally but militarily. The Hundred Year war between Catholics and Protestants belongs to the past, but the conflict within Islam, since its very beginnings in the 7th century, of its Sunni and Shiite factions, belongs to the past, present and foreseeable future. This internal conflict has impacted the rest of the world in a new age of terror.
Religion, said Hitchens, poisons everything. When will we ever learn ?