The Horrors of religion in history
Religion has been a way for people to achieve their salvation throughout history. I saw it at an early age living in Pocatello, Idaho, a strongly Mormon community. People there were always trying to “convert” my mind to their belief, and at a young age I must admit it was enticing to hear their promises of Heaven and Salvation. But at the age of 10, I moved to Ketchum. For me it was a total change in belief systems, as I had gone from the extreme right to the extreme left. I had not really put any thought on the matter of religion in my early life other than when my friends would boast about church; for my parents were not strongly religious (My dad grew up in a Jewish environment, my mom Lutheran), and rarely discussed faith around me and my brother. The change was a real eye opener. I saw things in public that in Pocatello never would have been displayed. The majority of people here did not focus on their religion. In my mind I made comparisons from one to the other. Some would think that the religious community would be safer for a young child, because they “shielded” you from the evils of the world. Instead, the community here seemed more open minded and kind than that of the strict religious, and more willing to work with one another. They did not try to “shield” me from the problems of the world; they taught how to prevent it from happening again. Kids around here were much nicer toward me, and did not judge me by who I worshiped or prayed to at night. I am only fifteen years old, yet I have come to a conclusion that although religion teaches of peace; religious extremism and intolerance, along with ignorance involved with faith and close-minded people, threaten our world.
It would be quite a shock to look at a list of wars and conflicts that have been caused by extremism. The Taliban as we all know is an Islamic extremist group carrying out a Jihad. Their showing of course being the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Not only has this caused the death of countless innocent peoples, but it has also rekindled the conflict between Christianity and Islam. Sure recent events have shone the light on the dark side of Islam, but what about the dark side of Christianity? Truth is, America is a predominantly Christian nation. We are shielded from its mistakes and wrongdoings in the past. Events such as the Crusades should come to mind. I once asked one of my Christian friends what he thought about the Crusades, and all he replied was, “They deserved it.” Remember, the Crusades were an unjustified attack on the Muslim people by the followers of Christ. And exactly why did they deserve it? For worshipping Allah, and not God? Almost all churches of the world have enacted Holy Wars on other groups. I have comprised a list of commonly known wars with religious causes in our world: The Crusades (1095-1271: Christianity vs. Islam), The Kashmir Conflict (1947-Present Day: Islam vs. Hindu), The Thirty Years War (1618-1648: Protestant vs. Catholic), The American Revolution (1775-1783: Puritans-Separatists-Presbyterians vs. Church of England), The English Civil War (1642-1651: Church of England vs. All other groups), and the Moroccan Conquest of Spain (711: Islam vs. Christianity). Seeing this, one can easily infer that religion has been an easy justification for war. And when asking or inquiring about this to those who are strict in faith, they have a tendency to deny or even challenge that the killings and battles were somehow right. They may not know it, but their ignorance and denial, is a form of persecution.
“Religious persecution: systematic mistreatment of an individual or group due to their religious affiliation.” (Dictionary.com) When someone kills another human being because they believe in worshipping the higher power in a different way. The Holocaust and the current situation in Darfur should come to your mind. The Holocaust alone caused eleven MILLION deaths, which alone is equal to what the United States has had in casualties in all its wars combined if you multiplied it eight and a half times. It is a common topic discussed, but in our country you do not always get the complete story. Instead, you receive the Christian censored version, which always downplays the tragedy and tries to show the Christians in a positive light.
As it seems through history the most often persecutor is the Christians and most often they are persecuting the Jews. Christian persecuting has caused too many deaths to comprehend in our history. It is astounding how governments throughout history have turned the other check to ongoing persecution or even supported it like the Nazis. There is no good reason to persecute Jews or any other religious group. They are not “less” of a man then the Christians. What authority do they have to say that their faith is right, or that any is right for that matter? Truth is, Christianity is based on a MIRACLE, which has never been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Yet they assert that their “God” is the true God and that Christ is our King. Well, this is the cause of all problems. People in the world that believe that they are right and that no others can be. It is their ignorance and their pride that get in the way of the common good, and it comes from their religion. In a world without faith, it would be harder to find a reason to kill another human being. But in the current world, all you need to say is, “I did it in the name of Christ.” Or, “I did it for Allah!” People then accept that what you did is right? Are they really that ignorant? Religion is absolutely not a reason to kill another person. Yet people are killed just for these reasons and people believe these sad cover ups. Why? BLIND FAITH making people believe that death is right, if in the name of God.
Religion has caused more death than it has saved lives in history. So, how can you support religion when all it seems to bring is more pain and death? Rivalry and violence could very well lead to the end of civilization as we know it. We can never rid the world of faith, instead, we must do all we can to promote tolerance and peace between groups. As Michael Franti stated, “God is too big for just one religion.” And it is time that people of the world stop the Jihads and Holy Wars, and start working together before the complete and utter destruction of humanity, before more blood ends up on the already blood-stained hands of a so-called peaceful and loving God.
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