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Religious Warmongering

 

Book - The Destructive Power of Religion

 

Online - The Destructive Power of Religion


War is never controllable and is at best a grave but necessary evil.  When secularists wage war they can tell the fighers to be just and fair and to avoid any unnecessary hurting and the religionist will say that too. But the danger is the religionist is counting on more than our common humanity to do the right thing – he is counting on the power of God but what if the religion is false or this God or his help is not real?  That is a very big thing to get wrong.  Religion puts people at risk and that alone makes it a crafty underhand warmonger.

 

Religion condemns the sin of pride as the root of all evil.  Yet valour/military heroism are forms of pride that prove very destructive and it tells the soldier to be like that even if he is not going to war and to have this "virtues" in his heart in case he is called upon to use them in battle.
 
Those who consider how much blood has been spilt in the name of God and Christ and the Bible may say that God loves and respects the right to life more than he does religion. That is a symptom of denial when it comes from people who think that God nonetheless lets wars and murders and deaths happen. It is not going to help in peaceful endeavours for it is silly. And Christianity likes to say that the Church is the ideal community despite its imperfections for God founded the Church to unite people and teach them. So it follows that if the Church is so great that it comes before the right to life for there would be no right to life recognised or recognisable without it. Indeed if you are only going to respect life because of God or primarily because of God you are a fanatic already! That is really respecting God not life! There is a thin line between that and then taking up arms to maim and murder for God.
 
Joshua in the Bible was commissioned by God to invade the nation of the Canaanites and destroy their religion and them. The Church says that today such genocide would be wrong and back then it just had to be done because of the times Joshua lived in. In other words, the Church is not against holy war in principle.
 
Christians believe in the just war theory. They say that God is a God of peace but is sometimes he is forced to require us to go to war against an unjust attacker and for the greater good. They only go to war if they think they have God’s blessing and live under the delusion that if they are right they will win the war. As the matters of the spirit are more important in Christianity than the needs of the body, it follows that war is justified for religious reasons in principle. Their wars are holy wars despite the secular veneer.
 
If a Communist nation threatened to attack your Christian nation unless you refused to indoctrinate children, the Church would say that we must not do it. It would prefer war. Reason says it is better to betray religion and make the children communists. Even if no wars happen like that, religion is intrinsically pro-holy-war. The door is opened to religiously inspired death and destruction even if the door is never used. Religion needs to close the door and lock it if it wants to influence its members to be sincere disciples of peace.
 
Not a single line of the Bible advises democracy in religion or the state. Though God liked to rattle off silly lists of names in it, he never said anything about democracy. The Bible God always presumes a top-down approach. He even endorses kings. Though democracy can condone violence and war, it is still the best of a bad lot. Rule by kings and despotic religionists and prophet-kings is far too dangerous for they have too much control over what data filters out. Thus they can easily wage war based on trumped-up stories. A book that does not at least advise democracy cannot be described as a contribution to world peace but as a contribution to despotism and bloodshed.
 
Nobody wants war - even the belligerent don't want it but think its needed. There is enough to wage war about without religion making its input. In terms of commonsense, war is so scary and mad that deep down you would only wage it if you thought God wants it and sanctions it and will bring good from it. You think the odds of winning with divine help are sufficient. War and faith are inseparable. You would not fight in war unless you thought - even if you claimed to be atheist - that somehow you will be safe even if you die and that a Heaven awaits then if not for you then for your people. Religion makes its adherents more accepting of war in the sense that they embrace something that claims that it is sufficient to start a war over. Religion claims to matter more than education or food or the health service or anything else. Christ said man does not live by bread alone but by the word of God. Suppose a religion say Catholicism in some not so obvious way programs people to make them likely to persecute people of other faiths. If Catholics wage war over religion, those Catholics who disapprove will not start opposing Catholicism as such and so they become part of the problem. Religion says that your faith is shown by your works. James in the Bible says that faith without works is dead and useless and that faith works and its presence is detected by good works. If an allegedly atheist regime wages war and acts like it has strong faith that it will triumph and the bloodshed will be worth it then it is showing its faith in something supernatural - God? - by its works. There is a difference between atheist in your deeds and in your theory. Many atheists are probably latent believers in God. If they feel something will protect them and lead them to triumph in war then they are an example of the dangers of belief in God. They are not an example of real atheists.
 
Religion breeds violent intolerance and extremism in some people. Some may already be prone to such bigotry - but if they are, religion is still a bad influence on them. As religion is often strange and most members don't understand it too well, it is easy to come away from reading Church history and the Bible and from thinking about how God seems to use and want evil to exist for a good purpose with the notion that violence on behalf of God and religion are not to be condemned if not to be endorsed. And it could be that the mainstream religion is covering up the violence endorsed by its scriptures and that the terrorists are interpreting the religion correctly. And if you see that violence is permitted and, worse, endorsed by God in your Bible you will reason that if you kill for religion are in the wrong it is not a huge deal because God endorses violence anyway. It trivialises your cruelty.
 
Sam Harris said that there are good reasons to treat people right but that religion gives you inferior and bad reasons to do this. For example, Jesus said you must give total love to God and limit the love you have for your neighbour. Love of neighbour is a secondary commandment to the one to love God meaning that if you have no choice you must love God and forget the neighbour. Christian good works reflect an invented good not real good. The motive is defective. Anything that gives you faulty reasons to do good must take responsibility for those in its ranks who do terrible things. Bad people are devolved over time. Evil needs to be drip-fed to draw others in.
 
And to say as Christendom does that God matters and people only matter because he made them and wants them to matter IS extremism. You are supposed to want God more than food - you would kill for food and nobody would blame you if you had no choice - the message is clear: killing for God is not wrong in principle.
 
A thought: You never hear of atheists making bitter factions among themselves and persecuting one another. Religionists though are infamous for doing these things.

Another thought: Tolerance is a big virtue these days. It is insulting for it implies putting up with something undesirable. Religious tolerance means one religion merely stomaching the others that disagree with it. There should be no religion as there is enough around to test our tolerance without it adding to the problems. Religion, like a lot of things that are going around, is inherently sectarian. Intolerance always starts with repressed hatred as signified by tolerance. Ecumenism is just snow over the manure heap. Its good effects cannot last.

Christian doctrine says we are all connected in Jesus so if somebody murders we are all part of the problem, we are all to blame and we are all sinners. The terrorists and the political movements that support them adore this message for it makes them feel good about what they do.

Steven Weinberg, 1999, in Washington, D.C. said, "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. "

Freeman Dyson countered this with: "And for bad people to do good things—that takes religion."

Weinberg, one of the greatest minds of all time, was right. If we can behave well without religion and if religion gets good people to do evil then religion should be scrapped. To belong to it is to uphold a machine that opens the way for good people to start doing evil.
 
Dyson's reply is worthless. It is not true that religion gets bad people to do good things. It is not true that religion is ever essential for doing that. Bad people doing good because of a religion means they are still bad inside. If that is the greatest compliment Dyson can cough up then its really an argument against religion. Also, the impulse to do good for if we are evil we will invite destruction and be targets of hate needs to be seen as the prime or ultimate reason why bad people become "good".

Religionists say problems such as hypocrisy, hatred, violence and intolerance are human problems and should not be labelled as religious problems. That implies society can be bad but religion is never bad. That is nonsense for religion claims to be a kind of society and community.
 
The big fact about pacifism is that it is intending to die and let others die at the hands of human monsters to let them rule the earth. Not surprisingly, most people are not pacifists. So it is plain that war is necessary. But nothing that encourages the divisions and suspicions and quest for power that causes war should be tolerated. War then is a hateful necessity. It is to be avoided at all costs except when there is no other way. God religion admits that it seeks world domination and wants everybody converted to its tenets so this automatically makes it dangerous. It carries the seeds of war. Even if this were not the case, people have far too many excuses to wage war and look down on other nations as it is, never mind with religion making an input. You cannot be a member of religion without intending to contribute to division and provoking others to disparage you in some degree so to join a religion is to make fertiliser for war.
 
The clergy of religion are exempt from fighting in war. They cause war by serving religion and causing people’s faith in it and they are the ones who don’t have to go and fight. They embody the worst of pacifism and warmongering.
 
RELIGION CAUSES BLOODSHED

Any religion that claims to possess the truth and to be the only faith authorised by God and that the others are wrong or unauthorised has to persecute and trample down the members of other religions who pronounce it to be nonsense. If truth is no big deal, then there is no need for persecuting. The fundamental problem is that religion claims to have got its teaching from a being who knows things we don't so we naturally must trust that being if it asks us to do what is evil. Not only does that take away the reality check and leave us wide open to putting faith in lying opportunistic prophets but it leaves us with no way of seeing through our leaders. An atheist regime claiming to be infallible would only raise screams of laughter. A religious one can pull it off and only a religious one.
 
If my religious group claims to be sure that its doctrines are all objectively true, then what if yours disagrees? Clearly religion has to undermine tolerance. If it acts tolerant it is being hypocritical. It may act tolerant but that does not change the fact that it is in essence intolerant. A dog that is trained to sing like a bird is still essentially a barker even if he never barks. It is his nature. Anything that can be done without such as religion that embodies intrinsic intolerance is bad no matter how inconsistent it is with its intolerant nature.
 
Religion says that God has the right to destroy anybody who does not fit in with his plan for we are the property of God. So anybody who refuses to submit to God is stealing from God and since it is worse to steal from God than people it follows the person should be persecuted as thieves are persecuted if not more. A religion has to argue that it is right and that as the law of the land should be right to it must take orders from the religion. Getting the law of the lad to conform to truth and real justice is the most important part of legal and social morality and if religion is about morality at all it has to rule the state or try to.
 
Every religion claims that it has the right to preserve its flock from religious error. Each one says it thinks it is the best religion.
 
God is supposed to be the same thing as goodness itself. This creates a sharp difference between good and evil. It makes them look opposite. Such a strong and stark view of the division never fails to encourage hatred and religious warmongering. Why? Because if you see what is called good as the best evil or evil as the worst good it is harder to get really angry and hate people who are categorised as bad because you see the truth that good and evil are actually quite close and are not really opposites in most ways. Good depends on some evil and evil depends on some good. They co-depend. Good embodies some evil and some evil embodies good. Belief in the terms good and evil do enough to cause hatred but fusing God and good makes it ten times worse.

Religion insists on altruism and makes it a duty. Altruism is an assault on the individual. It tells the individual that only God or others matter. Violence leads to violence even if the violence is kept inside and the desire to see the misery and degradation of godliness afflicted on other people as well as oneself will manifest. Altruism is evil and can lead to neurosis and instil a liking for persecuting others especially those who know how to enjoy themselves for the altruist feels guilty about anything that is good for him or her and can’t stand anybody being free from that prison. Altruism is “morality” persecuting the individual so it is the logical justification for persecution.
 
Even if religionists believe that an amalgamation of Church and state is not ideal they have to encourage it for other reasons. For example, a state that discourages people from going to Hell is better than one that does not. A state that encourages baptism is better than one that does not for babies cannot be saved without baptism.
  
When we only do wrong because we think it is right or believe that it is right then it follows that God is against freedom of thought for he made things this way. He wants dissenters persecuted for he says all sin is to be punished and that is a disgrace. Religion says that real love does not entail forcing a person not to sin. They have to say that for they claim that God loves us. If love is respect for free will then the more we understand that we are doing right in serving God and following his commandments the better for then the more free we are. Then why is the evidence for religion so flimsy and non-existent to the totally rational mind? God is anti-freedom. He stands for the idea that furthering freedom is not love. Religion has to claim it has evidence so each religion is saying that dissenters take away from people the illusionary sense of certainty they have about its claims and so dissent should be crushed. It is between the dissenter’s freedom and the religionist’s freedom and since religion claims to be of first importance it follows that the formers’ rights can be consigned to Hell.
 
If I live according to my belief that I may harm others that is against my freedom for evil is not freedom. So the law may stop me and people have the right to control me.
 
Some say this is “only a load of tripe though the Bible likes to see sin as the loss of freedom and speaks in terms of sinning being enslavement to sin for the important thing to me is not that my mind be free from error but that I be happy in what I do be it right or wrong within limits set not by reason but by my preferences. Error removes the freedom to be right but it is not right I am worried about at all. So the law opposes my real freedom. If there is a God and a Hell the law has to be stricter and motivated by religion and so it must be restrictive and persecuting.” But we are better off living by our rational nature. There has to be something defective in a person who is happy and irrational so it is not what it should be.
 
The state does not consider the abuse of freedom as something to be censored and restricted all the time but only when it does serious harm. But with God everything is serious harm and Christians are to care about how he feels about sin and not about what harm sin does to others. God has to go. The myth is conducive to fanaticism.
 
Religion teaches that selfishness is evil and we are all selfish and our entire lives are a battle that is often lost against this evil. If we are so bad, and the Bible says we are, then we should not have religion for we have enough to fight over without another system, namely religion, being set up to give us more reasons to wreak havoc. The only way religion can avoid this logic is by declaring that it has the right to absolute world dictatorship and domination. From this it follows that religion cannot allow other religions to thrive. It has to be survival of the fittest religion. The less religions to cause trouble the better. This problem could be solved by religion being honest and admitting that its doctrines are only guesses so we should live and let live. It should be made to do that when it results in strife and heartbreak. The only justification a religion can have if the cynicism is justified is to enforce its principles on the people.
 
Each religion is against anyone teaching what it considers to be error. Many people are forced to keep silent instead of protesting against the tyranny of religion. Their conscience is not cared about so why care about anybody else’s?
 
All the beliefs of world religions are blind irrational ones. If faith had to be gained by considering the evidence then persecution of unbelievers would be wrong for they can’t help what they think. But when it is just an act of will like unwrapping a sweet it is a different thing. Not to make the act of will is a sin (Mark 16:16) so they who won’t believe deserve to be punished. They are insincere for they refuse to do what is right. They are making trouble for the true believers and are leading souls into sin. So when they preach things contrary to the faith they were asked to accept they should be persecuted and have their tongues and hands cut off or be thrown into a dungeon to prevent their fraudulent activity. The Roman Church teaches that faith is a decision and a virtue or an act.

Faiths like Roman Catholicism that teach that concurring with their teaching matters more than life itself would use force to prevent other faiths from getting their intended victims. They imply the principle of persecution is correct even if they do not persecute.
 
An officially approved Catholic book states that justice is not treating everyone equally but treating equals equally and unequals differently (page 89, Ecumenical Jihad). How could anybody the Church hopes to engage in religious instruction classes be an equal when they refuse though there is no harm in learning and only good in it no matter what kind of learning it is? Humanists solve this dilemma by denying free will. We will not look upon anybody who refuses to examine us as a second-rate person for we are all controlled by nature.
 
Christianity claims to believe in equality but like everybody else, it does not really mean it. The heroically humanitarian pagan who regards Hercules as God will never become pope for being pope is not about being a good person but being a Catholic believer. Goodness is devalued. Religion is dangerous as is anything else that does not really honour equality even if it pays lip-service to it.
 
Religion will not tolerate anybody who denies free will. It will not tolerate anybody who knows that their doctrine of hate the sin and love the sinner is just a cover to avoid legal charges for incitement to hatred. Religion claims that these ideas are necessary to the order of society so execution or jail would be in store for those who dare to challenge religion on this. There are several other doctrines that I could have added to this list.
  
Religion does, whether it means to or not, encourage people to persecute those who disagree with it. The persecution might be subtle but its there. The seed is there. To allow any persecution or to encourage it is endorsing persecution in principle and thus opening the way for it to get worse.
 
Some say, "There is a risk of violence and sectarianism with religion. But religion can do good and further cohesion in society." You cannot point to a few good results and argue that shows religion is fine or even great. The picture has to be bigger than that. You would need to be a god and know exactly how many people are made happy by religion and how many are wracked with guilt and fear because of it. Every evil organisation needs charm and to do some good. Also, religious cohesion only happens if people agree to avoid a theological and doctrinal free for all. They have to let somebody do the thinking for them like a Messiah or a prophet or a pope or a Bible basher. If a liberal religion seems united that unity is social not religious and the religion is setting itself up for splintering into sects some of which will become extremist. So religion needs to endorse and represent and justify intolerance to be a religion.
 
When a religion does evil and murders, people enable the problem by denying that it is a religion or by saying that the evil people are hijacking religion and pretending to be its servants when they are not. If religion or much religion is man-made, you must expect some religions to be violent.
 
What speaks loudest about the nature of religion?
 
Is it the alleged unity it creates? If it is this then religion is more good than bad.
 
Is it the trouble and violence it causes? If it is this then religion is more bad than good.
 
Commitment to the religion is strongest when people will kill or hurt for it. Religion is about commitment and what it calls "righteous anger" thus religion is more bad than good.

Religion does lead to war and suffering and intolerance. Atheism that seeks to help people in their self-development must take its place.
 
Latent faith and war
 
Some people hope their religion is true. They may not realise that they barely believe. Some don't believe but keep trying to. Hope always drives warmongers but it also drives people of peace. People of peace know that it is better to work for peace than war. It takes more hope to drive warmongers than people of peace. Such hope would need to arise from a latent or internalised and undetected feeling that the supernatural is on their side.
 
Nobody wants war - even the belligerent don't want it but think its needed. In terms of commonsense, war is so scary and mad that deep down you would only wage it if you thought some supernatural force maybe a god wants it and sanctions it and will bring good from it. You think the odds of winning with divine help are sufficient. War and faith are inseparable. You would not fight in war unless you thought - even if you claimed to be atheist - that somehow you will be safe even if you die and that a Heaven awaits then if not for you then for your people.
 
Religion says that your faith is shown by your works. James in the Bible says that faith without works is dead and useless and that faith works and its presence is detected by good works. If an allegedly atheist regime wages war and acts like it has strong faith that it will triumph and the bloodshed will be worth it then it is showing its faith in God by its works. There is a difference between atheist in your deeds and in your theory. Many atheists are probably latent believers in God. If they feel something will protect them and lead them to triumph in war then they are an example of the dangers of belief in God. They are not an example of real atheists.
 
Finally
 
Christianity and Islam and Judaism are the biggest offenders in the religious war-mongering stakes both in terms of their history and what they call divine revelation.  They war-monger in the retrospective sense by approving of how their God commanded violence and war in the holy books.  Find the exit door.