Religion is not an unambiguous notion. Nor are the the individual religions with one meaning. Meeting religious fanatism we are often told that these fanatics do not represent the “true” religion. But what is “true” religion in reality ?
By pure definition no religions are of course true, by the very fact that they advocate incredible assertions and stories that cannot be supported with any degree of probability. “Truth” normally implies something “ that is in accordance with reality.” The very strong wish for something to be true does neither make it true nor real.
The large majority of followers of any religion are “moderate”, i.e. ordinary people who see themselves as religious without making great play with it. Common to these is as a rule that they are not especially well versed in the scripture of their own religion. Fanatics on the other side are often well versed in the scripture of their religion, and should therefore on that basis be better representatives for their religion than the moderates. Exstemists as a rule also know better what they talk about than the sofa-religious.
But then we have this interpretation of the teachings and stories. It is here that it really starts going downhill. Within all the monotheistic abrahamitic religions there are a lot of different schools, which all have different interpretations of their holy scriptures. The different schools are usually in relentless stife with one another and have been so for centuries. Which of them can be said to represent the “true” teaching ?
Every time religious fanatics put their religion in disrepute to the whole world by committing misdeeds in the name of the religion, as we have seen much of from Muslim quarters the latest years, moderate fellow-believers quite reluctantly turn out solemly declaring that fanatics are an outgroup who have misunderstood the religion. The fanatics on their side think that “moderates” have misunderstood. Reality is that both groups represent the religion. You`ll find the whole spectrum within every religion, from liberal oppurtunists who have a flowing and relatively loose conditions to their belief, to zealous literalists and uncompromising fanatics. It lies in the nature of these religions that it is up to each believer to choose his or her own understanding of what is the “true” teachings. And it seems as if it for the monotheistic religions is a relation between the more absurd ideas, the stronger the belief. These religions are manically keen on sacrifice and bloodshed and promise a glorious reward in all eternity for those who are willing to sacrifice themselves (and especially take a lot of infidels with them) in the name of god. With such dangerous delutions it is only a question of time before one or another mental bed-wetter becomes that much overpowered by religious feelings that he runs out in the street wwith a machine gun, or can even think of using himself as a bomb.
In the West we have today distanced us from centuries with burning heretics, crusades, torture, death penalty and persecution of Jews in the name of God. Today the Church and the Christians shamelessly like to represent themselves as keepers of humanism and love of thy neighbour. They are not at least affected that their own holy scripture is brimful of invitations to blood vengeance, mass murder and ethnic cleansing, an manically engaged of terrible suffering and death for all who don`t believe in just their god. That humanism and human rights were achieved in fight just against the will of the Church, we gladly ignore. That the great majority of todays Christians also chooses to disregard the Bible`s invitations to death penalty and bloodshed in the name of God, does`t mean that Christianity has become safe. It is still the exactly same thought content that sent hundreds of thousands into a blazing death for having been enemies of God earlier. Nor does it help the victims of radical Muslim terror that the great majority of Muslims doesn`t blow themselves or aircrafts up.
The main problem is that the monotheistic religions have the germ of fanatism built in, no matter how “moderate” the great majority interprete the scripture. There will always be some fools interpreting the scripture literally and feel called upon to carry out the god`s deeds on this earth. Within their own confused religious inner logic, even the worst misdeeds seems glorious and good. That is why the monotheistic religions are perious.
For the moderates
who take their religion serious there is obvious also a certain understanding
for the radical fanatics, to be sure they are extreme, but they take God`s
words literally. They dare to take the consequences og the requests of the
religious texts, without regard to the price. That there is a certain understanding
for fanatism is shown plainly by the way how seldom there are loud protests
from the socalled “moderate” muslims every time someone blows
up a bomb on a market or women are stoned to death. However when a non-believer
makes an innocent drawing of the prophet or a teacher lets the children call
a teddy bear Mohammed, even the socalled “moderates” go out in
the streets in demonstations and are bloody indignant.
When they on the other hand in Muslim countries execute young people just because they are homosexuals, execute people for having a diverging view of life, or behead innocent hostages, the “moderate” muslims keep quiet and think obviously that it is in perfect order. It is in accordance with Mohammed`s teachings.
The religions are a completely unnecessary and perilous weapon,- you can of course choose to merely have it hanging on the wall as a decoration, celebrate its aestetic form, study its strenght and symbolism, be lost in thoughts about all the good old stories about the weapon, - but there will always be a possibility that one or another confused nobody one day can take it down from the wall and use it with deadly and tragic consequences. Why are you then surprised ?
The basis of the Abrahamitic religions are their scriptures. The Bible for Christianity, the Koran for Islam and the Old Testament writings (Tanakh) for Judaism. In addition there is a number of other writings and interpreting writings, but these are only supplements to the main scripture and not canonical.
All the three religions have the same mythical background, the same god and all of them consider Abraham as their ancestor. The very fact that they are quite like and varieties of each other and fight on the same “market” and same souls is central in the cause that they are so relentless fronts between them.
These religions contain so much primitive tribe thought content based upon intolerance, revenge and relentless propaganda of hatred that there will always be a risk that someone intellectual nobody will be inspired to exercise violence and death on others in the name of God. This we have seen over and over again for nearly 2000 years, but it seems that mankind has a difficulty in learning. We are as a foolish child who is fascinated by a flickering candle an put its finger into the fire and burns itself thoroughly, but nevertheless puts its finger in the fire several times in the firm conviction that the flame is not the cause of the pain. The childs misery do not stop until some responsible adult blows out the candle. When will humanity become grown-up.
Monotheism is indoctrinated in the believers from childhood, that if they are not to end up in a burning hell they are to follow the commandments of the god. Those who are not with us are against us. The relentless intolerance we find in the monotheism becomes perilous when it is mixed up with blind religious conviction that one is carrying out God`s will on earth. That is just what the scriptures of the religions urge.
Every religious fanatic has originally been moderate, perhaps even a doubter or freethinker. Religious indoctrination from “moderate” believing parents or acquaintances, religion in school, in a society with a publically approved priesthood, all this lies an excellent basis for a later development for religious fanatism and nonsense for some. What is to expect when you from childhood on is indoctrinated by “tribal-thinking”, that one`s own “tribe” administers the only “true” teachings, that an angry God in heaven cruelly punishes everybody who does`t believe in him, and that those who don`t believe in exactly your god are wicked and have to be converted by force or die ?
is the very problem
The moderate adherents of the religions do not seem to understand that it is religion itself that is the core of the problem, not the fanatics. Religious fanatism and extremism are only fruits on the same tree which is watered and cared for by the “moderates”. It is declared that radical religious people abuse religion for political reasons. Of course, it is in the nature of religion to be used politically. It is the way they function and work.
Christianity has been political since emperor Constantin in the 4th century and the priests and imams have never let an opportunity to exercise political power pass by. As a rule God`s will and interests have always been a mix up with the interests of the priests and imams. Had exactly the same crazy retarded ideas been held by any secular political group, the western governments had not hesitated to deal with them rather swiftly, and had probably persecuted them for “hate-crimes”. But for religions, the western governments obviously have endless tolerance, and religions can freely propagate their gospel of intolerance, hate, damnation and death and get away with it. They can even do it to children with the governments’ blessings.
At what time has religion
not really been abused politically? During the crusades, during the persecutions
of the heretics and Jews, during the religious wars, during WW II, northern
Ireland, the Balkans, and not at least now during the war in Iraq?
If religions could not be abused politically, the world had not continued to stand in religious dirt up to its armpits.
Religion is an
insult to human dignity. With or without religion good people do good things,
and evil people do bad things. But for good people to do evil things –
that takes religion.