Sunday, 08 March 2009

Religous Violence.

Why does religion encourage some people to perform ethically and others to commit discriminatory and even violent acts?

A partial list of some of the factors involved includes:

  • Many people are motivated to adopt a religious faith out of a need for security in a dangerous world. Their faith can be brittle; they may fear that their entire belief system may collapse like a house of cards if a single belief is shown to be untrue. When their religion is challenged, they may react emotionally and sometimes violently.
  • Religious beliefs are largely based on faith rather than reason. This means that conflicts among religions cannot be easily settled through dialogue. Disagreements can often escalate.

  • Many people believe that there is only one "top-down" religion: i.e. there is only a single religion revealed by God to humanity. That sole religion is, of course, their own. Meanwhile they believe that all other religions are "bottom-up" faiths: i.e. religions created by humans to express their concept of God or perhaps their concept of no God. It is difficult for a person to respect other religions if they "know" that their religion, alone, is the true one.
  • Many feel that they are God's only representatives on Earth; in effect, they are God's arms and legs. They feel a need to be God's defenders and to act in the place of God against unbelievers.

There are no quick fixes to this situation. The conflict will go on! (

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