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Friday, April 27, 2012

Xenophobia



Xenophobia is the strong and unreasonable dislike or fear of people from other countries.  Wow!  There is an epidemic of this in our world today.  Countries and their inhabitants are so paranoid these days about whom they can trust.  Terrorism has created distrust for anyone with skin color and facial features of inhabitants of the Middle East.  Anyone with Latino features is branded an illegal alien, and often the fears are not based on fact.

I imagine a similar situation happened a long time ago in the Biblical times.  When the Tower of Babel was built, everyone left speaking in different tongues.  I can only imagine the distrust and bigotry that started.  And it has continued in this world every since.

I like to think that I’m not a bigot.  I like to think that I give everyone a chance to be a good person, but I know that sometimes that basic mistrust comes out in me when I meet a stranger with a foreign accent, different skin color, and different cultures.  I don’t like that about myself.  It has gotten worse since 9-11, but I really am working on it.

I have made friends with people from other countries online.  That has helped me to realize that there are good people across the ocean.  I realize that life’s experiences have turned many people bitter and mistrusting in the Middle East.  How could we expect them to trust us, when we have dropped bombs on them in the middle of the night?  I’d be wary too. 

But somewhere, somehow, I think we need to work toward a world peace.  It’s not going to be easy.  There are evil people in the world who love to stir up hate and rage and distrust in this world for their own personal gain.  But there are also the peace loving, gentle people, who are weary of all the fighting.  How can we connect with these people?  How can we put the fighting behind us?

Religion has often been the basis for hatred.  As a Catholic, I am taught to love my enemies, to offer the other cheek.  But, I also realize that there are religions that offer “heavenly rewards” for killing those that do not share their beliefs. That scares me.  These same religions claim to be peace-loving, but radicals in their faith follow the violent traditions that have created so much distrust in the world.  How do we know who we can trust?

For now, I try to follow the tenets of my faith.  I try to trust and obey the commandments I learned as a child.  I pray for those who are in harms’ way.  And I pray for a brighter future for mankind.  I pray to not become a Xenophobe.


1 comment:

  1. Good word, fellow Catholic. :-) I had no idea what it meant. I don't imagine we'll see world peace in this life. Lasting peace will only be attained in heaven. Thank God for that. :-)

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