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.