It is common today that people believe in different aspects when it comes to how life must be treated and spent. Some believe in sub-sects of the world’s major religions while others believe in their faiths without question. However, recent cases point out that some people would do unimaginable things just to protect their faith and the name of their prophet. Experts have noted that some religions are indeed dangerous due to the traditions they follow. Some believe that this should not be the basis in identifying the dangers of a religion. Others think that religion only becomes dangerous if the believer interprets it differently from what is expected. But, how should one see religion then? In my opinion, religion becomes dangerous depending on one’s interpretation of each teaching and tradition.
A reason why religion becomes dangerous is due to the fact it slowly mixes itself with politics, which is twice as dangerous and complicated due to the different factors that can influence politicians and supporters. This problem has been cited since the sixteenth century and especially in some monarchies such as that of Napoleon Bonaparte. Many have criticized that the Church and State must be two separate entities given the different ideologies both entities have and the limitations both parties extend to a specific topic. With religion involving itself with politics, it causes confusion to many parties and even to the public as questions regarding its legitimacy in public life is returned and other questions which would affect other norms and policies already passed. There is also the problem that religious intentions are quite misunderstood given the contradictions pointed out. The separation between these two identities must be done because it will reduce any form of religious conflict if the government would favour a specific religion. This also shows openness of the government to accept any other opinion from other groups.
Should the government adhere to only one religion; the possibilities of creating strife from other groups will induce danger to some members of the community. Other members of the community may also feel unwanted in the government as they believe in another religion not supported by their government. Forcing them to follow that supported religion can also introduce conflict especially for those extremists. Each person is given their own religion to follow and forcing them would be against their belief. There is a possibility that the religion the government support has a teaching unacceptable to some religions. Separation can even protect the different religions in the country from any conflict with the government. Should the government continuously include the Church, the more vulnerable the Churches will be .
There is also the question that some religious beliefs are dangerous because believers are fanatical to uphold these beliefs. Due to their fanaticism, they are more likely to resort to violence to intimidate others into following the same beliefs or to keep those people quiet by killing them or torturing them. This reaction is usually a result of the belief that salvation is at stake if one does not believe in the teachings of the religion or live it properly. Some see this as a mission given to them by God since they believe God is trying to save their souls. The most common religious violence is now seen in terrorism given the reasons these terrorist groups have religious ideologies behind each attack they do. Most wars in the modern international world are fought for the name of religion or even for some religious causes. Since religion plays a key role in a human’s life, his actions are often connected with the belief he or she follows and taints the reasoning behind his actions. Supporting their actions with regards to how their violent attacks connect to their religion had to be justified by some extremists which is how Islamic jurists justified their action with their peaceful belief in Allah to be completely connected.
Many have noted that religions’ role in armed conflict cannot be avoided as it would always appear in one form. The explanations experts given regarding the topic begin from “religion is the cause of all violence” to “religion is the only way to peace”. Looking closely at these two given explanations, they hold some truths due to the fact that each religion has their own procedures to achieve peace and how it can introduce people into a new thinking. The influence of media can also be blamed for this concept of religion and violence to be connected with one another. Antagonisms and stereotypes are continuously being published and showed regarding the other side which entices religious conflicts to occur .
There are many recorded conflicts fought which represents the flag of religion such as the Thirty Years War in Europe as it tore itself to create a ground between the Roman Catholics and the Reformists.
Some Calvinists even fought to overthrow monarchists Episcopalians despite their nature of being both Protestant sectors. Quarrels of this nature can be considered conflicts caused by each groups’ religious beliefs and for their religions. However, this similar nature can no longer be seen in modern conflicts. In comparison with the Middle Eastern religious conflicts, the conflict itself seems to be never ending and no longer connected to any religious belief originally noted as the reason for the conflict . It may be possible that these extremists have forgotten the reason for their continuous revolution against those people from other religions. Since they no longer have the reason to fight and are now caught in the consequences of their actions, they would just fight to save their lives. Religion, once forgotten, can cause one to forget to make sound decisions and do the best one can do to uphold their positions .
The dangerous nature of some extremist to uphold their religions can also displace many people out of their homes and even be forced to endure scrutiny that can be torture. In one instance, at least 3,000 Christians have fled their homes in India due to the Christian-Hindu violence that has sprung in 2008. These people have been forced to live in jungles because of the tensions caused by the death of a known Hindu leader. Many have also reported arson of almost 1,000 Christian homes thus leading to more people becoming homeless. Police, however, have noted that in this conflict, it is not the Christians who are in fault for the death of the Hindu leader but Maoist rebels. However, Hindus continuously blamed innocent Christians as they believe they are forcing their brethren to convert to Catholicism. All nine towns in Orissa State have been closed because of the conflict and had curfews.
The conflict in this town in India has already killed several innocent bystanders such as innocent locals who have been caught in the crossfire and the arsons done by the Hindus . Another similar conflict can be seen in World War II wherein Jews have been forced out of their homes and businesses and tortured due to one man’s desire to create an ultimate race for his people. There is also the case of the Middle Eastern conflicts started today by the terrorist groups. Many civilians have been killed due to various bomb raids, crossfires and even due to being used as hostages. Unless these religious extremists are stopped, the number of casualties can continue to increase and this would influence many to see how dangerous their religions are.
Religion can become dangerous depending on the interpretation each person shows regarding the traditions and laws these beliefs uphold. On the one hand, some religions teach people violence in order to fulfil their responsibilities in the sect and to force people to respect their fate. There are also cases that religion entering politics is also dangerous as both State and Church is widely contested due to the old traditions of the Church, which causes confusion to some political members and to the public. Some even misunderstand the basis of most religious beliefs given their history and arguments. However, on the other hand, religion would continue to be peaceful and violent-free as long as people do not forget the real objective of their beliefs and understand which positions to doubt and which positions to believe in. Misunderstanding even a single word can be crucial in understanding doctrines which is why it is important to properly understand and digest religious preaching. Opening up one’s perspective and not easily believing on traditions or teachings without basis and reason can enable people to understand the dangers of fully believing in one tradition or teaching.
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Hitchens, Peter. The Rage Against God. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011. Print.
Kumar, Hari. "Thousands homeless after Hindu-Christian violence in India." The New York Times, 29 August. 2008. Web. 13 December. 2011
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