When the violence that is done in the name of religion – shooting abortion doctors, suicide bombing, 9/11, crusades, witch trials, Spanish Inquisition, the Satanic Daycare scares, editorial cartoon riots and the like, Believers assert that that if everyone stopped believing in religion that humans would just find another reason to kill each other.
I disagree, at least with respect to war and hate crimes. Murder for profit and sexual kicks will continue on unhampered and tend not to be religiously motivated; but for the killing that has a religious component, for that to be gone, would take something pretty spectacular to replace as a justification.
Sure there’s bigotry and a lot of discriminatory isms – but the dislike and mistrust of a group is largely motivated, encouraged and justified by religious sentiment.
Believers of one faith are often quick to condemn the violence of other faiths, or worse, speak about said violence with a twinge of jealousy, we’re so put upon but we don’t riot like they do.
Religion’s primary fear is contamination as represented by in-breeding, out-breeding, social and attitude changes towards opening up the group to new and different people. The basis of religion is that the members are special, singled out for divine favour above all others who are not, because they have willful rejected the one truth god and faith for lesser or worse, none at all.
The religious are in a difficult situation, they want to be special, which means a smaller group – and the more people denied heaven, the sweeter and better it is to look down at all the immoral elitists who thought they were better and smarter than you and just lookie where that got’em, by golly.
But, being a minority themselves, they have to wonder, what if they picked the wrong god? So they set out to spread the truth by the word or the sword and get sheer numbers on their side, as if the true religion is determined by a first past the post vote by membership numbers.
So what does being a member of the one true god’s bestest flock? Well, heaven, duh. Okay, plus you’re special because you’re in the best group and all other groups are not only less than yours, but doomed besides. Stupid people rejecting the one true god and the group who worships correctly, they should be shown the error of their ways or pay the penalty now.
Makes it easy to force conversion by fear and violence, group by group or one by one, all the same to the true believer, who, luckily, has the one true god on their side who doesn’t like all the right people. Those would be the gay people, the non-believers, the wrong-believers, especially the wrong-believers who’s beliefs are kissing cousins but the believers themselves aren’t anyone you want to be seen with at the pub on Main St. USA town. You know, swarthy types who hate Godfearing Americans.
Aside: I never got how a loving god is a feared god, does god need a selfhelp book? Deities who love too much and worshippers who fear them? Scaring Worshippers for Dummies? Deities are from outside nature and believers are cosmic spittle unworthy of being stepped on?
It takes religion for a person to believe that they are actually better than any other person or groups of people. A person who is merely uncomfortable; up to a certain degree of xenophobia (fear of people who differ, not Xena warrior Princess, well, there’s plenty of reasons to fear Xena, but that’s a different blog) is natural and actually still serves the survival instinct. After xenophobia comes bigotry, where one’s discomfort with people who have different characteristics result in discrimination, perhaps an unwillingness to employ or promote a person or rent them property or do business with certain groups.
As illegal as all that is, it’s a far cry from outright slavery, genocide, internment camps and enshrining discrimination into law. For that degree of escalation, it takes religion to be the underlying motivation, the fuel source for the lesser hatred of mere bigotry – because religion provides a divine justification – it’s not just you who doesn’t like other people, you’re just following orders and going along with god’s dislike of Those People. Those lesser people. Those lesser than you people. Those undeserving, immoral, flaunting and ramming it down society’s faces people who need to be made an example of, and god’s gonna git them, right after you do.
After all, what does it matter that you do terrible things to people you believe are bound for hell anyway? You’re just helping them getting used to it, it’s not immoral to give immoral people their just deserves? God gives brownie points for those kinds of things, just showing them the error of their ways and the chance to call out to god and repent.
It take religion to convince a person that other people don’t matter in this life because they are doomed for eternity anyway, or maybe they are like animals, they just get this one life and there’s no animal afterlife. Mere bigotry isn’t enough – you might not rent out a house or give a job to a person from a group you don’t like; but it take religion to justify tying them to the bumper of your truck and dragging them miles down a dirt road to their death or to shoot a doctor who performs abortions while they are sitting down to dinner with their family or strapping a bomb to your body and walking into a crowded market full of infidels. Fun times, doing god’s work.
Maybe dogs get a heaven, if they were good dogs.