Sunday, October 26, 2014

Religion Run Amok

As a child, when I went to church almost every time the doors opened, I remember hearing tales of Catholics in South America killing Protestants.  As an adult, I've been aware of the Christian/Protestant wars say, for instance, in Ireland.

Historically, the Crusades  --  wars perpetrated by European Christians against Middle Eastern Muslims  --  are the most predominant religious wars.  The Europeans were trying to take over Palestine.  This country is considered Christian Holy Land because this was where Jesus ministered.

Today, Jews and Palestinians war over land and statehood.  John Knox was a Protestant who was notorious for killing Catholics. 

We are all aware of the Muslim extremists who perpetrate acts of terrorism all over the world today. 

This fighting of wars over religion are examples of religion run amuck.

Really folks, what is wrong with all of us that we could think for an instant that our God or our gods want us to kill each other to make one religion or another the dominant one?  I don't know enough about the Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu religions to speak with any expertise.  However, I do know that Jews and Christians have been told by Jehovah, "Thou shalt not kill."  If it were so important to God that He made it one of his Ten Commandments, He must have found it crucial.  And, most Muslims say that their religion is one of peace.  They tell us that it is only the extremists that misinterpret their religion to espouse holy wars.

Truth be told, we cannot whitewash wars by labeling them Holy.  War is war  --  and it is usually motivated by selfish purposes, not for religious ones.  For example, it is possibly motivated by a wish to receive many virgins for killing others.  In the case of the most sadistic warmongers, the aim is to incite terror in others, thus making the warriors feel pseudo powerful.

The founders of the United States of America wanted to eliminate some of the more questionable goals of war by "separating church and state."  The constitutional laws of our country dictate that government cannot tell us how to worship and religious leaders cannot tell us how to run the country.  Fresh out of the hands of warring religious nuts such as John Knox, they had a great need to worship as they pleased and to have all the people (men anyway) choose how to govern.

When I was that young girl reading about denominational war, I recall asking God to make us a more ecumenical world.  Where denominations are concerned, I believe that has happened.  The Catholics, Jews and Protestants these days offer each other the dignity and respect and freedom to worship as we please.

But, we still have a long way to go to help each other develop mutual respect throughout the worldwide religions.  All of us need to entertain the concept that there can really be nothing holy about war.  War is about power over each other and land grabbing of acreage that doesn't belong to us anyway.  It is simply on loan to us from the creator of our universe.  And, we have to leave it behind for others when we go to meet our maker.

In the brief period of time we have on this earth to learn and teach and evolve, it would behoove us all to respect each others religions and our rights to govern as we please.

To let religion run amuck like we are prone to do, is to invade each others basic human rights.  We should never find ourselves guilty of trespassing on the rights of others.  This is probably our most basic sin, especially when we kill to do so.

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