Religion Is Not The Root Of Evil

I don’t consider myself a religious person by any means.  I was raised Christian, but my beliefs over the years have changed, and I don’t currently accept everything the Bible has to teach.  Like most religions, there are a lot of teachings that normally wouldn’t wouldn’t be accepted by society such as sexism, racism, homophobia, religious discrimination, and so on.  But, that’s not to say that religion is the cause of all these things today.

Yes, it’s true, religion has played a part in many of the hateful things we’ve seen take place – both in ancient history and in our current events.  We see antigay and hateful protests from the Westboro Baptist church in the name of Christ, and we see bombings and terror attacks in the name of Allah.  However, we’ve also seen the same from people who have no religious belief; the only difference between them and the religious extremists are that their anger and hatred is given reason by something else.

On the other hand, we see churches and religious people from all paths doing wonderful things in the name of their god or religion, such as feeding the homeless, or standing for equal rights among all people.  Likewise, we see the same among non-religious people and atheists.

If you really think about it objectively, without discrimination or any preconceived notion of what your idea of the truth is in a religious context, you’d find that there are good people, and there are bad people.  Bad people do bad things, and if religion didn’t exist, they would commit their hateful acts for other reasons.  Likewise, if religion didn’t exist, the leaders of our countries would ultimately find some other reason to wage war upon each other.

Religion is not the source of the evil in our world – people are.  People who make bad decisions and do bad things will find some reason in their messed up brain to justify their hateful acts.  Religion is but one among many things these people use to justify their actions.

It’s similar to the debate about video game violence influencing aggression in kids.  While some may believe violence in video games is the root of this aggression, the fact remains that kids – or adults for that matter – who play video games and are aggressive or violent were already that way prior to playing video games.

Likewise, religion did not cause evil, because evil already existed.  There are far more good, religious people than there are evil.  Before we start pointing our fingers at churches and temples for the cause of war, death, and destruction, it’s important for us to look at people in general objectively, and you will soon find that overall, there are good people, and there are bad people.  Religion is not the cause, it’s only the excuse.

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3 thoughts on “Religion Is Not The Root Of Evil

  1. Please notice that Westboro Baptist Church is ignoring religious teachings – Christianity does not teach what they practice. They are obviously mentally ill people and they should no more be viewed as representative of Christianity than Stalin should be viewed as representative of humanism.

    The majority of Christians reject “gay rights” because they reject the concept of a life lived for the sake of the physical; they believe that the spiritual matters more. There is no way to embrace the notion that homosexuality is equal to heterosexual unions without also ditching a core religious belief, which is the sanctity of the ties that bind a family together. Christians believe that the ties connecting child to parent, and the child’s mother to the child’s father, are sacred, and that this is the ultimate purpose of sex in the same way that nutrition is the ultimate purpose for eating. That some people enjoy eating does not make Cheetos equal to nutritious food. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the taste of food, but that doesn’t mean gluttony is harmless.

    I get that you don’t embrace Christian beliefs, but it is dishonest to represent their beliefs as being motivated by hatred. It is entirely possible that people will hold beliefs different from your own without those people being motivated by “false consciousness”, malicious intent, or “hate”.

    • Please, remember the context of my post. My example of the Westboro Baptist is an example of a small minority of hateful people who use a religion only as an excuse for their actions.
      I do embrace some some christian beliefs, but I don’t embrace every scripture the Bible has written in it. While I appreciate your opinions, before making comments, please read my entire post in context.

  2. Like most religions, there are a lot of teachings that normally wouldn’t wouldn’t be accepted by society such as sexism, racism, homophobia, religious discrimination, and so on.

    I wonder if you would feel the same way if it were me writing that humanism “teaches” people to experiment unethically on people, to eugenically target minorities for extinction, etc.

    I had intended to read your whole article, but that first sentence really was the setup for a backhanded compliment. Religion is not “sexist”; I was a card-carrying Democrat feminist liberal for decades and followed all their teachings, and I abandoned those teachings because they’re not grounded in reality and they do not lead to happiness. And Christianity isn’t what’s responsible for racism; the human tendency to recognize one’s own tribe as separate from and more trustworthy than rival tribes is an essential survival trait – even today – and we are still in the transformation from a world where tribes were divided by geography and ethnicity to a new world, where tribes are divided by ideology.

    You say “there are a lot of teachings that normally wouldn’t be accepted by society”, but there is nowhere in the Bible where it teaches that we must or should be sexist, racist, or even homophobic. It does teach religious discrimination, but consider: to believe something is “good” is to believe that alternative, rival beliefs are by definition wrong, bad, or evil – for example, even people who claim to believe in tolerance will argue that accepting that sexism is “bad” means that people who believe sexist things should be discriminated against.

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