War and Faith

Darrin - Sterling, Illinois
Entered on February 18, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
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War and Faith

Because of war, I do not believe in any kind of God or religion. I spent 20 years in the Military. During that time I served in two wars: Desert Shield and Storm, and the Iraq war. I have seen religion used in many negative ways during my time. When I was in Desert Storm I saw religion being used to keep a whole city of people in check. During the Iraqi war, I had religion used on my friends and me as a tool to try to control the way we thought about what we were doing over there.

After Desert Storm/Shield ended, I was moved to a small island off the coast of Saudi Arabia called Bahrain. We were all put up in hotels around the island. All of the businesses in Bahrain are run by Bahrainis and all of the labor done for those businesses is done by people from India. They are treated like outsiders and not permitted to go certain places and do certain things because they are not Muslims. I spent a lot of time in the hotel because we weren’t allowed to venture outside the hotel property. It was Ramadan, a Muslim holiday. The rules of Ramadan are simple: no eating between sunrise and sunset, and no showing of skin other than from the neck up. So the same controls they used on the Indian workers were used to control my friends and me. The last thing the locals wanted to see was a bunch of infidels running around in their city during this holy time even though we had just saved them from being taken over by Saddam.

Later on in my naval career I was sent to the Iraqi war. I saw many horrible things. The people in Iraq are predominantly Muslim. The people in the small towns around Iraq are very simple therefore easy to control. Usually there is one priest in the town that runs things. The people there will do whatever he says is right. One of those priests in one of the towns we went through turned out to be a militant Muslim. He told the people of that small town that Allah commands them to kill the infidels anyway they could. They sent people out to greet us with bombs strapped to them. I had problems dealing with what I saw in that town. I needed to talk to someone to ease my mind so I turned to the squadron chaplain. It was as if he was programmed with quick responses. He told me that we are doing God’s work, all would be forgiven, and that it was important to bring our way of life to the people of Iraq. If what I saw was God’s work, I wanted no part of it. That was the moment I lost my faith. Since that time I have been very wary of all religions because of the way I’ve seen it used to control mankind.