I recall times when I've been irritated how people have fought for land. Palestinians and Israelis. That conflict readily comes to mind as both sides seek to keep what they say is theirs. The Israelis wanting their old homeland despite the fact they'd been driven from it centuries ago. And Palestinians who had been living there until Zionists drove them out.
Frustrated at the conflict, I remember "why are people fighting over dirt?!" coming out of my mouth.
I've honestly been conflicted, too, because it seems in the history of the world "to the victor goes the spoils" is how it works. So if you fight and win it, you keep it. I wasn't sure if Zionists fighting for Israel and their ability thus far to keep it, meant it "should" be theirs. Just as Mecca now belongs to Muslims and the United States belongs to former Europeans for the most part***.
But after reading this book, I think I understand better. Vine Deloria speaks of lands having sacredness and certain properties so that even our lack of religious unity can be blamed on the land in which we reside!
With the movement of Christianity to the North American continent, and the subsequent freedom to develop religious expressions offered by the land, the possibility of constituting a Christian culture or unity vanished. Christianity shattered on the shores of this continent, producing hundreds of sects in the same manner that the tribes continually subdivided in an effort to relate to the rhythms of the land. It is probably in the nature of this continent that divisiveness is one of its greatest characteristics, a virtually uncontrollable freedom of the spirit. (pg. 143)
See? We cannot help ourselves from splitting! I wonder if this helps explain our political divisiveness as well ...
Tribal religions place more importance on land and sacred mountains or rivers. Judaism is a tribal religion and you read often in the Bible about setting up stones to remember places. Also the importance of land is a strong theme throughout the Tanakh. So I understand why Jews desire their land (or what they consider their God-given land.) It also better explains why Muslims want Mecca and Medina only for themselves. It's not for those outside the "tribe" (i.e., faith). Deloria explained that there were Native religious ceremonies done privately and not open to outsiders. This may explain why certain mosques do not welcome nonMuslims as well as why certain Mormon religious experiences are not open for nonMormons.
Membership has its privileges.
What are your thoughts on land and sacred spaces? Do you think certain lands have certain properties that transfer to the quality of life? Do we have freedoms in the United States because the land oozes freedom?
*** This book shows how Natives view the land that we Europeans took. I now wonder how the Canaanites felt about the land before the children of Israel came through. And how the pre-Islamic Arabs thought of Mecca and other parts of Arabia. Are lands made for all or for whoever can keep them? Are lands something to be possessed and, er, hoarded?