Religion used to be the opium of the people. To those suffering humiliation, pain, illness, and serfdom, religion promised the reward of an after life. But now, we are witnessing a transformation, a true opium of the people is the belief in nothingness after death, the huge solace, the huge comfort of thinking that for our betrayals, our greed, our cowardice, our murders, we are not going to be judged.
Every fundamentalism focuses on end times, and Armageddon is, in a sense, a rhetorical trope, an emphatic and overwhelming conclusion, meant to wrap up and make tidy the mistaken wanderings of history. For a fundamentalist the end is one of the forms desire takes, a passion no different from lust or avarice, intense with longing and the need for fulfillment and relief. It’s like they’re horny for apocalypse. They get off on denouements, which partly explains why Hell House never amounted to much more than a series of murderous conclusions. It focused only on that part of a story where life finds itself fated. Inside every act a judgement was coiled. Real people with their ragged and uncertain lives, their stumbling desires, their bleak or blessed futures, would only break into the narrative, complicating the story, dragging it on endlessly.
In fact, properly speaking, no parish priest has any convictions on politics. At the back of his mind, he regards the state as an enemy that has usurped the temporal power of the Pope. Being an enemy, the state must be exploited as much as possible and without any qualms of conscience. Because of this innate and perhaps unconscious hostility to the state as an institution, the parish priest cannot see that it is the duty of a citizen to endeavour to make political life as morally clean as possible. He cannot see that the community as a whole must always come into the forefront of every citizen's political consciousness and that personal interests must be sacrificed to the interests of the nation. No. The parish priest regards himself as the commander of his parish, which he is holding for His Majesty the Pope. Between himself and the Pope there is the Bishop, acting, so to speak, as the Divisional Commander. As far as the Civil Power is concerned, it is a semi-hostile force which must be kept in check, kept in tow, intrigued against and exploited, until that glorious day when the Vicar of Christ again is restored to his proper position as the ruler of the earth and the wearer of the Imperial crown.This point of view helps the parish priest to adopt a very cold-blooded attitude towards Irish politics. He is merely either for or against the government. If he has a relative in a government position, he is in favour of the government. If he has a relative who wants a position and cannot get it, then he is against the government. But his support of the government is very precarious and he makes many visits to Dublin and creeps up back stairs into ministerial offices, cajoling and threatening. He is most commonly seen making a cautious approach to the Education Office, where he has all sorts of complaints to lodge and all sorts of suggestions to make. Every book recommended by the education authorities for the schools is examined by him, and if he finds a single idea in any of them that might be likely to inspire thought of passion, then he is up in arms at once. Like an army of black beetles on the march, he and his countless brothers invade Dublin and lay siege to the official responsible. Woe to that man.
Jerry Falwell said that the reason that September 11th happened, the reason that God allowed it to happen, was because of certain people in our country. People like, and I'm quoting, 'the pagans,' which is a motorcycle group. Feminists; he brought up feminists. [...] And I couldn't believe it, he said that God had actually talked to him and said, these were the people. That was the reason. It was those people, and that was the reason God allowed this to happen. And I thought, 'That's odd.' Because God had called me twelve hours before, and He said the reason He was upset was because of people like Jerry Falwell.
The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor is a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth. If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world, it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity, and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character. In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion at the expense of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written, in spite of resistance: "Help and not Fight," "Assimilation and not Destruction," "Harmony and Peace and not Dissension".