Today there was another act of religious terrorism, which at the moment I am not going to comment on the incident itself, but take the opportunity to speak about something related.
That is the idea that somehow Islam is “worse” than other religions. Or even worse that somehow Christianity is the religion of “love and peace” and Islam preaches hate and war.
I have to call bullshit on this one. Because it is.
I heard people going on about this crap on Irrelevant Radio today and I just could not take it any more. To hear them say it, Christianity has done nothing other than spread rose petals and perfume everywhere it goes, building schools and hospitals and just generally make life better for everyone. If only that were true.
Of course it ignores just a bit of world history, the Crusades, the Inquisition, pogroms against Jews. Oh but that is ancient history and besides the Crusades were only in self defense (yes, they actually said that!) Somehow they forget that we leveled Iraq for no particular reason (or perhaps God told W to wreck the place.) I can’t remember a lot of Catholics speaking out against the IRA when they were blowing shit up and killing people. In fact, probably a lot of US Catholic money was funneled directly to them.
And there is much more, of course.
Personally, I don’t single out Islam as being worse than other religions. I think all religions should be relegated to the scrap heap of history.
The only thing that has made any religion more peaceful or more useful to the world has not come from within those religions, but from without. Christianity looks more peaceful at the moment (if you ignore the incidents above) is that “Christian” countries have been, for the most part, secularized. It is the Rennaisance, the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution that has fewer Christians strapping suicide bombs to themselves and sending heathens to hell.
Reading the Bible is every bit as scary as reading the Qur’an. The genocidal ideas of fundamentalist Israelis are surely as repugnant as those of many Islamists. And finally, I hate to say it, but if ISIS was on our side and blowing up Iranians, I have a feeling there would be no jibber jabber about how inhuman their religion is.
Many religious people have bucked the trend of their holy books and spoken of the idea that we are all sons and daughters of God and therefore we should treat each other with kindness and respect. But unfortunately, the holy books don’t actually say that, they mostly say that people who don’t believe correctly or mock their god are doomed, either in this life or next, or both. Yes, the Bible too.
Religion is divisive and keeps people trapped in the worst of the middle ages. Yes, all of them. Yes, it is true that many religious people have come to the conclusion that taking care of their fellow humans rather than killing them is a good idea. And ditching the books that divide us, derived from the rantings of Bronze Age nomads and rationalizing their warped tribal ethics is an idea whose time has come.