I said many years ago to one of my distant bible thumping family members that I thought religion was probably responsible for as much hate as it was for any content we had on this planet. Okay, so they discounted my sacrilegious statement as nothing more than the thoughtless words of youth. They told me one day I would understand that religion was about love, caring, and forgiveness.
Forty years later I am still waiting. Forty years later I am still convinced I was correct when I first came up with the notion that religion is often the root of our troubles not the solution.
In that most of the big religions are monotheistic, it would follow that they feel their way is the only true way. And this is fine when the disagreements between ideological takes remain verbal and somewhat civilized. But often, or maybe it is on a semi-regular basis, they don't. Zealots from one religion will get their particular faith by the short hairs. They then take that religion and infuse it into their various culture through the means of government dictate. Thus is born a theocracy. If there is one form of government that fills me with dread more than any other, it is a theocracy.
Islam is going through just such a predictable phase now. In my mind I would have no problem with them doing whatever they want in their own countries. But unfortunately, because the West has historically acted like bad children when dealing with them, Islamic fundies have put us in their cross hairs as well. This has resulted in well, we all know what hate and discontent has resulted.
What strikes me though is the current resurgence of extremism among many Christians over this. Many feel the only way to do battle is with a Bible in hand. As indicated by the image above that I found on a Mormon's site, he is positive this war is sanctioned by his God. This is exactly what their enemies want. To do battle based on the notion that God somehow will pick a winner. Whomever is still standing means that their God was the "right God". In the meantime, those of us who could not care less about which God is the right God but may believe in one or the other, well, we get dragged down into the fight pit with the rest of the looney tunes. And it pisses me off.
All of this mutual animosity flies in the face of the words found in their holiest of scriptures. Yet both somehow have managed to find justification for the excesses they carry out in their God's name. And even though this time around it is Islam instigating, they have been successful in pushing the right buttons and are now being rewarded with similar responses from the fundies on our side of the fence. Frankly, I find myself more disgusted with religion than at any other time in my life.
Note - I won't apologize for the hateful image I posted. I did however agonize some before I did. I feel it is necessary to expose over the top hatred no matter the source. That image came from this site.