Archive for April 18th, 2008

18
Apr
08

What really separates us

*Sigh* Well, the Spirit moved me to find some images that might potentially be useful for running with my next post on speaking in tongues…but sadly, once again, I have been moved in a direction other than writing that post today.

Today, I want to get us clear of what I think is one of the most ignorant comments about any religion, Christianity included: Religion is responsible for most of the atrocities that have ever been committed.

You get a lot of variations on this theme. People say that religion has precipitated more wars than anything else. That abuses in society have often been justified with religion. Or they say that religion does more to divide us than to bring us together.

While this sounds really cathartic to say, especially if you’re an atheist or an agnostic who really, really dislikes organized religion (and hey, I have my own beefs with a lot of churches and denominations)…it really isn’t true.

Religion isn’t the problem.

People are the problem.

If we were to remove religion from the picture, do you seriously think we’d all just get along? That’s a very Pollyanna-ish and naive view of the world and of human nature. Sure, a lot of wars were waged around religious issues. But do you think the believers en masse wanted to go fight other religious believers? No, it was the people in charge, the leaders of society, who made that choice. And most of the time, the motivations are not to glorify God (or a god or goddess) but rather to achieve their own ends.

Power. Influence. Hoping to impress God for selfish reasons. Money. Land. Love. Lust.

Those are the motivators. Not religion.

Religion divides us no more than do race or culture. Eliminating religion won’t eliminate racism. People can use religious text (often out of context) to justify their racism, but they don’t feel racism because of their religious beliefs. Feelings of cultural or political superiority can be justified or bolstered with religion, but they don’t come from a religious source. They come from pride. From arrogance. From pettiness.

I would argue that democracy and capitalism have both been using as rallying cries for a lot of abuses against individuals, nations and the planet. For that matter, communist beliefs (being both political and economic) have been used the same way.

Six million Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust not because of religion (not even over them practicing a religion that wasn’t in favor) but because they were scapegoats for an economic downturn and because Hitler thought his people were genetically superior.

The Crusades were not about lifting up God or even fighting for him, but about forming or expanding or maintaining power and/or empires. The Inquisition was not about religion but about control.

People can and will twist any philosophy, economic system or political movement when they think it is necessary to achieve their own agenda—whether it’s a personal agenda, societal agenda or both. Blaming religion for any ills of the world is wrong.

It’s a form of discrimination and a diseased form of elitism that is every bit as bad as that spouted by any pompous ass who waves around a cross or crescent or six-pointed star. Because you can just as easily replace that religious symbol with a flag.

(Miz Pink, where are you? I think I need you to post something soon so that I will get out of here for a day or so and finally finish talking about speaking in tongues…)




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

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