I just read something fascinating from a correspondent, delusion buster, on your pages. The argument goes along the lines of religion being bad because it kills the innocents, dictates where we are to live, how we are to dress, which hand to wipe our @rse with, and so on.
Many, many evil things have been done in the name of religion down the centuries, and will continue to be done, because man is intrinsically evil. The veneer of civilisation we wear prevents us all from doing unspeakable evil on a daily basis. South Africa is a case in point: Take away law enforcement and near-anarchy reigns. Man utimately seems to sink to the lowest level to which he’s allowed to sink.
I’m going to examine only the three biggest religions here: Christianity, Judasim and Islam. I’m a Christian, so I’m biased, but here goes.
Forget the histories and stories that are told in the Torah, the New Testament and the Koran. Focus on the teachings. Show me any of those texts where wanton killing is even permissable, let alone encouraged. Where random beatings of children is taught. Where fables are taught rather than scientific fact. When Europe entered the Dark Ages, Islam carried the banner of science and mathematics. The oppression of millions by the church was not taught in scripture: it was the dictates of ambitious and evil men within the hierarchy of the church that caused that particular sin. Christians were murdered in their thousands by the church in the early centuries.
In the same way were devout Jews murdered by religious authorities of their day, with devout Muslims being persecuted by Iranian Mullahs and their screaming hordes. But you don’t have to look to religion to find that intolerance.
My daughter-in-law was doing her doctoral studies in archeology and, because her findings, not theories, findings, disagreed fundamentally with the accepted norm, had to change her degree, because her professor, and in fact the university, would not accept her thesis for publication.
Scientists are not open. Bring a scientist something that flies in the face of accepted teachings and, in most instances, he will be ignored. If he’s lucky. He will be blackballed if he’s not. Which brings us rather neatly to religion.
Starting with the newest first: Islam teaches compassion for the downtrodden, the hungry, the homeless and, in fact, commands its adherents to care for these people. It aso commands its adherents to respect the ‘People of the Book’. Meaning Christians and Jews. The Jews never had it as good at almost any time as they did under Saladin.
Christianity teaches that we are to regard our neighbour as better than ourselves, that we are to love him, give him our cloak if he has none, feed the hungry, tend the sick, visit those in prison, house the homeless. Love your neighbour as yourself.
Judaism teaches, aside from the dietary laws and the strict laws governing their society, that they are to be kind to the alien in their land. As an example, if a Levite or priest touches a corpse, he may not go to temple for a week, while he goes through ritual cleansing. Unless the corpse is that of an alien or stranger. Then he has to tend it, with no ritual cleansing necessary after.
Now, knowing about people what we do, have these instructions been followed?
Have a look at the televangelists in the US and here. Do you think they follow the clear teachings of the Bible, where Jesus said. “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”
When Iranian Mullahs urge the people to murder unbelievers, are they following the clear teachings of Islam? They claim they are, but we know one thing for certain when it comes to religion: people twist scriptures to suit their needs.
Saying that George Bush claimed to be a Christian while his troops committed atrocities holds no water. That is not the teaching of the Bible. We know he lied.
And as convoluted as it is, Hinduism in its many forms, does not teach any of these things either. People will always look for a reason to commit excess in one form or another. Religion is just so handy!