by David Dimas,
In the past, religion had always played a vital role in promoting peaceful and harmonious relationships within and between people and communities. In repetitive show of brinkmanship, religious leaders, and politicians alike, regularly invoked religious dictums encouraging communities to actively develop inter-religious relationships for peace and action for social justice. But things have changed. Religion is now being used as engines for spreading deceit and encouraging destruction of minds, lives, communities and assets.
Religion is now widely blamed for much of the violence in our world. We are destroying one another by our human hatred via religiously motivated wars, massacres, bombings, witch hunt, intentional suppression of truth, and implementation of tyrannical and inhumane state policies.
Interestingly, the number of people kneeling in submission to a dangerous twisting of truth in religion and politics is growing. Accordingly, however, there is a thriving bloc of edgy and anti-intelligent people who are swift to engage in desultory attacks when logic, facts, and illumination elude them. These people deeply care about what is racial and ethnic while fronting that they are fighting for what is scriptural.
Indeed, religion is being used to perpetuate a cycle of division in societies, and twisted to create a world where bigotry is placed above unity. What was once an absolute machinery for peace and love is now being passionately explained with misguided concepts, deceitful and destructive mechanisms. This has given birth to a cluster of people that are being driven by misinformation, cluelessness and double standard.
Besides, social media has empowered religious extremists to push their message beyond geographical boundaries. The axioms are, thereupon, being passed on to a future generation where further misguided deeds will be perpetuated by youths who have code-switched to a culture of subversive ethnology.
Now, I draw no joy in pointing out the ensuing points. But it is sad to witness how, these days, religious and political leaders employ punitive physiological intimidation and private religious belief to impose their narrow extremist beliefs or enforce harsh public policies over the totality of people who disagree with them.
Consequently, people of the same faith are divided in their views and support of certain political and religious leaders simply because of certain agendas that are more egotistical than scriptural. As a rule, these folks do not care if the policies being implemented oppress or hurt their own community or country and its people.
The faith of many pious people hinges on the idea that there is some reward for devotion to their deity. For the Christian faith, which I belong to, it is the hope of an eternal life in infinite peace with God in heaven.
Be that as it may, this is not to deny that, at some point, so much wrong teachings have been encouraged in the church.
Despite this act of heterodoxy by some ecclesiastics, the church has been, historically, known to be a supportive community that lives out God’s love by helping those who struggle with the world’s uncertainties to retain a sense of self-worth and hope amid their struggles.
However, it is sad to say that hundreds of millions of Christians around the world are, currently, experiencing growing religious persecution because of their Christian beliefs. I am aware that many will argue to the contrary. but there is a plethora of information available about this online. For instance, Per a Pew Research Center, Christians face harassment in 102 countries – more than any other religion.
The essence of religion should be about passing on godly compassion, knowledge and wisdom to others. Humanity might suffer massively if systemic racism, bigotry, bloodletting and killings are continuously encouraged, excused or defended as part of a religion.
For human unity and harmony to ever become a part of our human experience again, we must become aware how we have misused religion, and how our beliefs have divided us. Until humankind learns to more closely examine, sieve and correct erring religious views, I am afraid that wars and carnage might continue to plague our communities and prevent lasting peace.
To sum up, extremism, liberalism or conservatism is not the solution to national or communal problems. The solutions to issues societies are bickering and warring over lies in embracing religious truth, love and peace. However, this can only be achieved when harmony and tolerance is embraced.