The atheists have a powerful argument when they suggest that millions have died in the name of religion. They are right. From the beginning, humans fought over land each claimed was theirs by right, given to them by God.
It’s never ended. Down through all these millenia. We have continued to fight over land and control of populations, all the while upholding our efforts as the “will of God.”
It continues today in a war being waged between Jews, Muslims and Christians. All claim they are doing God’s bidding.
There is always a good argument that mankind would have been better off not listening to the small voice within that urges us to believe that we are destined for more than just a brief sojourn upon this planet only to return to dust.
The truth is, all these wars instituted to protect, promote, or to destroy a religion, are done in the name of religion. There is no objective proof that any of this is called for by God. The deeper you look, the more you see human motivation driving the crusade to install “our” God.
Any fair reading of the Old Testament raises a very obvious question. Isn’t it awfully convenient that God has been on the “side” of the Israelites, thus allowing them to then justify their genocide of whole towns and settlements? How convenient to declare that God has said, “why this land I give to you, so go and subjugate all those who oppose you taking their land.”
Muslims feel utterly justified in controlling the Holy Land, as do Jews, as do Christians. Over time, each has held sway for a time, and been more than willing to kill to retain power. All in the name of God. All in the name of an interpretation, that just might be a bit self-serving.
Religion versus religion, and religion versus secularism erupts in mostly non-violent war in this country today. It has been growing steadily, or resurging I should say. We can be sure that the US expansion into the West and our suppression of indigenous people, either red or brown, was done in some sense in the name of God. We are the City upon the Hill, and as such, God’s new chosen.
This convenient “American Exceptionalism” poisoned with religious righteousness, has justified in the eyes of its perpetrators all kinds of injustice, from genocide to land grabbing, and slavery.
For periods of time, we placed religion in mostly its rightful place–as a facet of each person’s life as they chose or not. Government stayed out of faith, and faith stayed out of government. Religion was a good place to develop ethical, moral, and just responses to issues of the day. It was not the only place however. Government did it’s best to cull the best of the just response and act upon it for the greater good of all, and so that minorities were not walked upon.
I was thinking of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, whatever his personal beliefs about God were, certainly believed that it was a personal issue, not one for the public square. Washington was so loathe to be seen as promoting a particular tradition that he didn’t go to church at all as president.
What must they think of the goings on today? One can only imagine. I suspect they would see it for what it is, shameless religiosity to justify what people want to do anyway. A serious segment of the religion right who intone “marching in lockstep with Israel” do so only because they believe they are promoting their version of the end times. This of course is not lost on the Israelis, but they accept their friends where they can get them.
Herman, Step-‘n-fetch-it, Cain argues that in his uninformed mind, most Muslims are Sharia law followers, and as president he wouldn’t have time to ferret out the few who aren’t, so don’t blame him for not putting any Muslims in his prospective administration.
A segment of the religious right rejects Mitt Romney only because he is “not the right kind of Christian”. Warren Cole Smith, associate editor of the World, a right-wing magazine, argues:
Placing a Mormon in that pulpit would be a source of pride and a shot of adrenaline for the LDS church. It would serve to normalize the false teachings of Mormonism the world over. It would also provide an opening to Mormon missionaries around the world, who could start every conversation: “Let me tell you about the American president.” To elect a Mormon President is to advance the cause of the Mormon Church.
Non-Christians likely don’t care much about this point one way or the other. But for the Christian, this is a vital issue. One of the strongest warnings Jesus issues is to those who “lead little ones astray.” He said it would be better for that person if a millstone were put around his neck and he were cast into the sea. The validation of the false religion of Mormonism would almost certainly have the effect of leading many astray. Evangelical Christians should have no part of that effort.
This is no different from back in 1960 when a goodly sum of Protestants were pretty darn sure that electing a Catholic to the presidency would be tantamount to installing the pope in the White House, and for some, that was Satan himself.
The UCCB, the official spokesman for the American Catholic Church, has written a letter to Speaker John Boehner, basically condemning the Ryan plan and other GOP plans to gut Medicare as unfairly burdening the least able, while gifting the rich with more riches. Arguments go back and forth within the Catholic world as to whether or not voting for this person or that can be justified under definitions of intrinsic evil.
Exactly what Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers feared, has come to fruition. The public forum is now embroiled in an increasingly vitriolic war of words over whose interpretation of sacred scripture is controlling.
And underlying it all is the ugly raw truth. It still comes down to using God to justify why somebody’s vision of the world should be the one everyone else should be forced to live under. And it’s wrong, period.
End of rant.