Blog Archive

2017-01-31

The Shortsightedness Of Blaming Religion by Rev. J.T. Smith

Obviously, not everyone shares the same religious beliefs.  Right and wrong, good and evil, those are subjective rather than objective terms and ideas.  What's right and good for some can be considered wrong and evil by others.  Everyone is the hero in their own life story.  An often overlooked example of perspective is that America invaded Iraq and Afghanistan purportedly to fight the terrorists, yet to the noncombatant Iraqis and Afghans it's Americans (who invaded their countries, drop bombs, and launch missiles from planes and drones that destroy their homes, culminating in the combination of the missiles, bombs, and soldiers that kill their children and families) who're the real terrorists.  There's the adage that “there's two sides to every coin,” the obverse and the reverse (heads and tails).  Coins have a third side that people either forget or completely ignore: the edge between the sides that you can spin the coin on.  And just like situations involving contention, there are three sides: You're side, their side, and reality.

Regardless of your faith leanings, even if you're an atheist, the reality is that the three largest religions practiced in the West (i.e. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) all worship the same God.  The only difference between Yahweh, Jehovah, and Allah is the same difference between Michael, Miguel, Mikail, et al.: Language.  Yahweh is the Hebrew name for God, Jehovah is one of the Christian names for God, and Allah is the Arabic name.  This matters because it's the perceived differences that are used as excuses by all sides for the current strife in the Middle East.

And there are those who will say that religion, regardless of its name, is nothing but superstition in the first place and science “provides all the answers,” and it's those superstitions that are the real cause for the various wars.  Yet they'll still proceed to use science as a tool and weapon and religion as an excuse to commit heinous acts of violence.

And because that excuse is usually stated both loudly and repeatedly regardless of the theatre of combat, both the targets and those who witness the senseless violence, killing, destruction, and overarching tragedy will typically have an overriding fear/anger response and blame the religion (especially if they're not practitioners of the blamed religion) of their enemy.  It's the easy answer.  The over-simplified and fails to look at the entire picture answer, but still the perceived easy answer.  And who doesn't like simple, easy answers that require little to no thought?

The thing is, while not only is there no religion safe from blame or being targeted, religion in and of itself is never the culprit.  The Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition were perpetrated by Christians and were just as violent (relative to available technology) as what ISIL is doing now in the name of Islam.

We, this means all of us regardless of ethnicity or religious beliefs (including atheism), need to stop blaming religion for the actions of its purported followers and to stop accepting extremists' claims of following their religious beliefs when their actions demonstrate their real motivations are of feeling the need for perceived superiority and their evident desire to bully and dominate others.  Just because someone uses something as an excuse does not automatically make that excuse the cause for their actions.

Islam is not the enemy.

Judaism is not the enemy.

Christianity is not the enemy.

Religion, regardless of the flavour, is not the enemy.

Greed, intolerance, hatred, those are the enemy!

Even science and religion really can co-exist without being at odds with each other if people would just get over themselves.  Now if only the same could be said of humanity in general.

by Rev. J.T. Smith