I am thankful for all the positive aspects that
religion brings, such as faith of heart, determination to do well and
live a good life, etc. etc. Many good deeds would not have happened
today without the faith of whatever religion is in existance.
However, what about all those who died in wars,
burned at the stake and tortured to death because they did not share
common faith? If one looks in history books (depending on who wrote
them, of course) one would find very few chapters about religion that
did not involve blood, war, and murder. Of course, we would be talking
of the extremists in each religion, and in no way do I condemn any
religion whatsoever. However, it is not arguable that the extremists'
fever can sometimes spread far and wide, talking lives for a religion
that preaches peace.
So in a way it is not the faith that kills and
murders, but the followers that cannot accept that others do not share
their belief. Besides, who can say what the "real" religion is, anyway?
Greek mythology used to be common religion, but now who worships Zeus
or Apollo? One day perhaps Muhammad or Jesus will be a myth, and new
deities arise to take their place. All these religions cannot possibly
co-exist simultaneously, can they? Is it Hades or Hell? Nirvana?
The important thing is to remember that all religion
is man made, and if the real universal power is observing our very
planet, perhaps the power would be amused by the transient religions
that take each other's place. Perhaps the power would find it ironic
that, for example, Christianity preaches the sacredness of life and yet
torched people to death with oil and fire because they thought
witchcraft was real?
Extremists in any religion usually ruin it for
others, in my opinion, and it is usually the quiet home followers that
catch the blame. I believe that we have the right to believe what we
want, but not to hurt or kill others for it. I will always welcome
peaceful Muslims, for examples, but the thought of a Jihad frightens
me. Purification, conversion...why must humanity unite all faiths into
a common view? I do not care in the least what my neighbor practices in
their house, unless it will come to harm of my own family and friends.
Our animal friends that live in the forests, seas,
the mountains and the air probably have watched humans line up their
armies and mount their cavalry, not really knowing that it was a belief
(usually a pro-life belief, ironically) that led them to stain the
fields with red. They are a part of nature, living the course of their
life and then refertilizing the ground with their remains. They kill
for food, for defense, but not for a creed that others do not share. A
creed that one day, whether we want to believe it or not, will become a
legend and mythology in its own right. No one will probably live to see
it, for it would probably take more than a millennia, but Greek and
Roman mythology is proof enough. Other examples are some of the more
cruel and grueling deities of certain South American cultures.
I do not want any readers thinking that I am an
anti-religious person; rather, I am more anti-violence and anti-war.
Religion sometimes makes me mad, or confused, but mostly it makes me
sad. Especially when people die for it.