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Religion is getting a bad reputation these days with massacres, terrorism and conflict around the world, it would seem that religion breeds intolerance. How can philosophies that are supposed to be about mercy, redemption and understanding breed such intolerance. Is religion as it detractors would assert merely breed a mindset that encourages the adherent to believe in their own world view, to the contemptuous dismissal of any alternatives, and from this viewing others as unworthy of life is the inevitable ultimate outcome? I would view for the purpose of this definition communism, as it was arguably a non metaphysically based religion, in that it gave adherents a philosophy for every day living, that could then be taken to extremes. sceptical scot ( this is contributors own opinions and not that of petrarch institute)
ell you raise a fair question I’m sure many have asked – why do so many violent conflicts in the world seem to involve different religious groups?
The thing is unless the core doctrines of a given religion actually could be said to encourage violence I would look to something in human nature rather than the doctrines of a faith. Before the Enlightenment and the French Revolution – and modern secularism – it was easy to blame religion for conflict. Every known human society before the 18th century was based on religion(e.g. Europe on Christianity, the Middle East on Islam, India on Hinduism, etc…). Thus religion was involved in war and conflict – as it was involved in everything else(law, art, government, education, etc…).
Since that time however the West has gotten to experiment with the effects of secularization. What did the experiment show? Did becoming less religious make people any less violent? The first experiment in secularism – the French Revolution – murdered thousands of people in the name of the rights of man and human liberty. Does this discredit belief in the rights of man? or tell us something about human beings and their capacity to mobilize noble doctrines in ignoble ways?
Also consider that the 20th century – one of the least religious in human history – was also one of the bloodiest. In short in religious cultures people killed each other under the pretext of religion while in secular eras human beings simply found new reasons to kill each other(Nationalism, Fascism, Communism, etc…)
One also needs a balanced perspective on the influence of religion in history. If we condemn it for the violence done in its name, in fairness we can’t forget to praise it for the good it has wrought. How many people have been inspired to serve the poor and needy, to found orphanages, schools, hospitals, to create great art, or to change their lives on account of religious faith?
Alexander Rosenthal Pubul(Director)