Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Terrorism of Religion: By Their Fruit Ye Shall Know Them

It has been said that the war on terrorism can never be won, because "terrorism" is simply an idea, and an "idea" can never be defeated. One reason for this, for example, is that "war" is "terrorism." Hence the "war on terrorism" is simply a redundancy. But religion is also just an "idea," that uses weapons like "hell" and god's wrath, and judgement day, to intimidate people into "believing" in a particular religion or god, even if there is little or no evidence to support the claim that such "beliefs" make people behave more morally toward each other -  and plenty of evidence to show the very opposite is true.

Christians and Muslims, of course, simply deny that the "evidence" of the great many sins of their religions should ever be considered to be the fault of their religions. For them, those sins are always the fault of the 'evil' their religions are designed to combat. These believers are convinced, in other words, that the "fruits" of their religions are only ever the virtues practiced by faithful, humble, seekers of truth and justice, and never the result of an absolute devotion to an idea. That some religious "extremists" seek to save people spiritually by executing them physically, they argue, should not be considered to be the fault of religion, but proof of the claims of religion that people are flawed and need to repent.

What the distinction just described boils down to is this: Religious devotees have a very different way of thinking about, and thus applying the phrase "by their fruits ye shall know them."

Non believers see this phrase as proof that religion is a lie, for they see crusades, terrorism, witch burnings, genocides, inquisitions, child rape,  and other such horrible acts, as being the "fruit" that let's us know what kind of bloody "tree" religion really is. Religion was not only the "tree" from which Adam and Eve ate forbidden fruit, according to some Christian interpretations of the story of Genesis, but also the "tree" (i.e. cross) upon which that 'enlightened' fellow Jesus was crucified for daring to challenge the dogmas (i.e. evils) of his own religion.

Hence, for non-believers, the sins committed in the name of religion is what determines what kind of "tree" religion really is, regardless of how it may help people cope with suffering or the depressing thought of their own unavoidable death.

For "true believers," on the other hand, this phrase is understood in a very different way. For them, the "strange fruit" of religion (to use the title of Billie Holiday's song about the lynchings of black men in America) lets us know who is actually practicing religion, and who is only claiming to practice that religion in order to commit evil. For the believer, in other words, this "fruit" informs us of the difference between true disciples of God (and therefore love and justice), and "false prophets," who are simply claiming to be disciples of God and their religion, in order to practice death and destruction for their own gain.

While the former thinks they have the correct understanding of their beliefs, the latter is believed to have it all wrong, and probably because we are all such flawed, imperfect beings, or because the devil has twisted their understanding. Believers, however, have been lucky enough to rise above such imperfections in their own interpretation of their religious beliefs,  "thanks be to god." And that's because God has shown them the "true" meaning of their religion, and thus this phrase. Why their "god" did not show this true meaning to others who are committing atrocities in the name of that same religion, is simply a a mystery, and proof that "god works in mysterious ways."

All of this - the good, the bad, and the evil -  is just "part of gods plan."It apparently never occurs to such "true believers," however, that humanity is in desperate need of a better plan. 

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Christianity teaches people to believe that the best in life comes only after you die.