In my previous blog ‘In defense of faith’ I discussed why some believe that religion is a bane on scientific discovery while others believe that it has paved the way to modern thinking.
Faith is what in many ways differentiates us from our co-inhabitants on Earth, but with modern science and thought it is easy to disregard religion as outdated or violent. Violence and religion have gone hand in hand ever since its conception and inception into the human mind. Some would suggest it is because people fear what they do not understand hence many live in fear of a god-like figure. This is expertly practiced by those belonging to the Westboro Baptist Church who believe that God punishes all those who do not share their belief system. All other religions are viewed as “akin to devil worship” through their perspective. They have drawn huge controversies through their views on 9/11 (believing it was God punishing America for accepting homosexuality) and the subsequent wars where they have picketed the funerals of the deceased. In Louis Theroux’s documentary “The Most Hated Family in America” he pinpoints that the church live in a deep fear of God. This kind of fear has led to deep hatred of all outside of the church and subsequently the church is widely viewed as a hate group.
Although Henig has a point in reference to his hypothesis that humankind are genetically predisposed to find religion both for survival purposes and in the quest for truth. Originally it brought people together and answered many of the most difficult questions with the idea of God. In the modern era we can now let go to those purely survival intentions and search for other means of truth. Being in a large group no longer means survival or safety as we are at the pinnacle of the food chain. Industry and wealth are the new means of survival. China is a largely secular country in the modern era and has seen many advances ever since the cultural revolution through these new means of survival. Misinterpretations of religion have led to Apartheid, ethnic cleansing, terrorism and many civil wars. If something so beautiful and bountiful can lead to such destruction in the modern age surely it must be outdated. Scripture that encourages peace and love have emerged as excuses to cause war and suffering. Jihad has been misinterpreted as a holy war with those not worshipping the ‘one true God’ instead of it’s original meaning which was a holy war within yourself to banish demons and temptations i.e. bettering one’s self.
A british musician (Scroobius Pip) quoted in his song “A letter from God to man”: “religion became a tool for the weak to control the strong, with all these new morals and ethics, survival of the fittest was gone.” This echoes many beliefs from the school of thought that religion has become the problem and no longer the solution. An atheistic view would tend to lean toward ditching the idea of God as well, contrarily this may end up being a backward step. Society is clearly not ready to sacrifice all that it holds dear in the name of peace or science. Religion seems to have become a platform to banish both of these ideals, instead of embracing the word of God it has become a tool to usurp others in the name of God. It is not God who has done any wrong, it is our own human naivety, our human fears, our human imperfections, our imperfect world.
These tensions can’t be solved by ditching religion altogether as it is not a feasible goal in a world of fear, but once that equilibrium tilts toward more leaving in fear of God rather than God’s comforts.