The Economist ran a series of articles on the destructive nature of faith. Here is an excerpt-
“… when historians look back at this century they will probably see religion as the prime animating and destructive force in human affairs, guiding attitudes to political liberty and obligation, concepts of nationhood and. of course, conflicts and wars” – Phillip Jenkins as quoted in The Economist (emphasis mine)
If this is the case then I hope I am not religious! But just to make sure, I looked up the word ‘religion’ and here is the definition I found:
religiun – “conduct indicating belief in divine power”1
So now I have a confession to make. I am a religious person and, according to the Economist, “an animating and destructive force in human affairs.” But what is more, I might not only be a religious person but a religious fund… funda… fundamentalist. This according to Jon Krakauer, in his well researched expose of Mormon fundamentalism,
Like fundamentalists in other faiths…the authority that flows from their divinely inspired sentences is absolute and immutable. And it is the duty of righteous men and women to conduct their lives according to a stringently literal reading of those sentences… – ‘Jon Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven’
I hold to the divine inspiration of the Scriptures as have Christians through the centuries. Now I am labeled a ‘religious fundamentalist’ together with Mormon polygamist’s and Muslim terrorist’s.
“The cause of all our problems in the world right now is religious fundamentalism. Whether it’s Hindus or Muslims or Christians, it doesn’t matter. Look at all the violence in India right now, from Hindus. I mean, they’re as fundamentalist as anybody else, they just happen to be vegetarians. But they’ll kill other human beings in the name of God. It’s crazy.” Deepak Chopra in an interview with Dorit Ofek-Onen – JPost
But can we really pin conflict and war on religion? The 20th century marks the rise of secular humanism and goes on record as the bloodiest century of human existence. Both World Wars were inspired by nationalism and fascism – not religion. Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot cannot be called religious men by any stretch of the imagination!
The ‘animating force’ behind conflict and war is found at a deeper level and a little closer to home. It is in us.
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Genesis 4:6-8