Unitarian/Universalist minister Hugh Betcha of Dixwell Notch, NH has put forth a plan to reduce the bloodshed and suffering that occurs when cultures collide.
"The common people of the world mostly want to get along with their neighbors and raise their families in peace," the cheery and optimistic minister says.
"The problems arise when religious leaders, mostly cranky old men desperate to hold onto power and influence, stir up trouble between disparate peoples, using religious differences as an excuse to send out young men and women to die while they themselves remain safely behind the battle lines.
"Take the three main Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. At their core, they all believe in one supreme god; they just give god different names. The essential and central rules for behavior in these religions are the same: Tell the truth, don't murder or steal from your neighbor, don't love money too much, and leave your neighbor's wife alone. In other words, just behave yourself.
"One peculiar idea these three religions share is the belief in the future appearance of a person who will be sent here from god to rule the world and establish good order for eternity.
"Christians believe this person already showed up here once and will come again. Jews are still waiting for a coming messiah, and Muslims expect the coming of the Mahdi. The thing is, no one knows when this guy is going to appear.
"So, herein lies the solution: We can all simply wait and see which one eventually shows up. At that point it will be clear to everyone just who was right and who was wrong. In the meantime, we all do the best we can to obey the basic rules of behavior that are common to each culture.
"It's a win/win situation. The winners get bragging rights for their faith; the losers may get credit for their good behavior and not get cast into the fiery pit of hell for all eternity for doing evil in the name of religion. I mean, duh!
"It's so simple. I can't believe no one has thought of it before. Now all we have to do is get the word out. 'Credo quia absurdum. Barba non facit philosophum.'"