Friday, March 27, 2009

religion as the cause of war?

Honestly, I'm not fully sure why I'm posting this link. It's an article (or an essay, whatever you want to call it) about how war only exists because religions do. Particularly Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. And while, on the one hand, there is a high correlation between religion and war, it doesn't mean there's causation. You know the study that shows drowning rates are highest when ice cream sales are highest? Ice cream does not drown people. Religion is not the cause of war--it's deeper than that, because it's people. Religious or otherwise.

Just some examples.

This is probably the most ignorant statement I've ever read in my life: "Many people who believe in Allah will, not only kill their enemies and civilians, but they will willingly sacrifice their own lives to preserve this symbol of their faith." Really? There are extremists. Not all Muslims are suicide bombers. If I recall, it's a particular sect. Many people who believe in Allah just want to love Allah. And not kill people, and not be associated with people who do. It isn't a new concept for something to be done in the name of God that is NOT good, that isn't representative of the good and true and just God. The Crusades? I know. As a Christian, I am ashamed by that, and I am sorry for it.

But what I want to talk about is people who commit violent acts for reasons that have nothing to do with religion. A man is hiding in an alley and robs another man and then kills him. This happens every single day, and it has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with greed. Or people who kill people, who rape people. These things have to do with problems we have as people, as humans. What about the mob? I'm pretty sure organized crime is more about I want what I want so I'm going to do what I have to do to get it, about power. Not "Jesus told me to kill your family because you didn't pay me for the cocaine."

Are all people who don't believe in God good? No. Are all people who do believe in God good? Absolutely not. That isn't to say that there aren't atheists who do amazing things for people, because of course there are. And the same is true for people of any religion. I'm saying that this is bigger than belief--that we do awful, horrible things is innate.

The article says this: "We have no born instinct to fight each other; we must teach each other to fight, and this requires a social structure based on beliefs that support it." I very strongly disagree with this, and I'm pretty certain most psychologists would as well. Do toddlers lie? They do, and it's easily argued that many parents do not teach their children to lie. Three are a hundred examples. Read Mere Christianity.

Now I don't mean to be depressing and talk about how horrible each of us is. I think there are so many people who do so many good things. There's some good in us, for sure--I really believe that. But the Bible says this: "As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one.'" (Rom. 3:10)

And there are as many people who do terrible things in the name of God as there are who do it in their own name, on their own might. This stretches across all religions, and all forms of unbelief. And this article reads more like an attack--using examples very selectively. Just a question--why wasn't Hinduism included in this? There have been some pretty violent acts done in the name of that religion. And what about the eastern religions that are known as peaceful? I just don't think the article holds.

Tell me your thoughts, people.

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