While watching the news unfold with coverage over the mass shootings in Colorado
outside the premier of The Dark Knight Rises, I scanned my Facebook posts.
RSN -Reader Supported News had a statistic which captured my attention:
’58 Murders a Year by Firearms in Britain, 8,775 in US.’ (Because Britain’s population is 1/5 of the US it’s equivalent to 290 US murders. The author, Juan Cole, refers readers of his informed comment post to BBC for more information.) The movie theatre shooting story has captured international attention. Of course, it is only a matter of time before those
touting the right to bear arms (supported by NRA lobbyists) will clash with peace activists and those who support gun control.
Still, I was reflecting on the impact of violence on children for a blog post I’ve been
working on for the hospital, and thinking about all the children around the world who have dealt with unimaginable horror of war, genocide and tribal violence, (beyond domestic violence) and
how it impacts them, and their children, and children’s children. It is an inescapable fact
that violence is a bad thing. It doesn’t matter which faith community you’re a part of
-or not, this is something to be taken seriously by us all. Religion, belief systems-sociological, political, tribal and cultural prejudice are all called to task in this regard. We know the brain is altered from violent movies, violent video games, exposure to killing, and is changed, as our futures are changed.
A recent USA Today article by Liz Szabo cited a study authored by Idan Shalev from Molecular Psychiatry. Research shows that cellular aging takes place as a result of violence by altering a child’s DNA. The ends of a chromosome are called a telomere and have DNA sequences that prevent unraveling. When a cell divides it becomes shorter until division isn’t possible and the cell dies. Not only physical stressors like radiation, smoking, environmental toxins, but psychological stress like abuse or exposure to violence –domestic, physical mistreatment or bullying shorten the telomeres, but also predispose a child to coronary disease or memory loss several years earlier than the norm, the study tells us.
Dr. Bernie Siegel says in Peace, Love and Healing, (p155) ‘The greatest disease of mankind is a lack of love for children, leading to their psychological and sometimes even physical abuse, which predisposes those children to a hopeless-helpless attitude and to disease later in life. We cannot keep blaming physical poisons or genetic defects for every disease. We have to realize that there are social and psychosocial poisons in our own homes that predispose us to disease by creating certain attitudes and feelings within us.”
Promoting healing arises through dialogue, expression, and recognition that we share the
pain and the responsibility. That we are all one humanity, on one journey, inter-dependently. Attending Interfaith Prayers for Peace through Interfaith Association, I had the opportunity to hear perspectives from Quakers, Brethren, Mennonites working for peace, doing peace education in the schools. Peace, love and healing affect us all at a cellular level, at an energetic level and in our brains and bodies. Doesn’t it make sense to move past self interest, violence and greed to create a better culture, (one we all share in)? Enough already with the violent end times scenarios in movies and TV. Enough already with the violent killing 'games'. It has been proven that peace can be taught to even great apes; it is a learned behavior which rewires the brain. What if we all took responsibility for the outcome?
Meditation for this post:
. . . “faith in peace is not possible, not justifiable, except in a world dominated by faith in the future, faith in Man (Humankind) and the progress of Man (Humanity) . . . so long as we are not all of one mind, and with a sufficient degree of ardor, it will be useless for us to seek to draw together and unite. We shall only fail. . . .
Turn instinctively toward the ever more numerous institutions and associations of men (and women) where in the search for knowledge a new spirit is silently taking shape around us- the soul of Mankind (Humankind) resolved at all costs to achieve, in its total integrity, the uttermost fulfillment of its powers and its destiny.” P 148 The Future of Man by Teilhard de Chardin, 1959
Spirituality Network has a silent six day directed retreat August 5th-11th in Fremont Ohio. See the website for more information.
October 14th will mark the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio Main Event Luncheon at The River Club at Confluence Park. Speaker will be Dr. Michael Flamm of Ohio Wesleyan University talking on Interfaith Unity in a Politically Changed World.