Religion IV | Radicalization
Radicalization has become a huge problem over the past couple decades with no real solutions in sight. My question for those who keep saying that they do not support the views of these extremists is this… what are you doing to repair the negative image and damage they are doing to your faith? If you are not fighting the perversion of your own faith, then you are indeed supporting it by your very actions (or lack thereof). You are quick to call out any prejudices against your faith but why not the violence committed in the name of it?
Sounds like a double standard to me. Typical.
Over the years, I’ve gotten into some pretty heated arguments with the religious faithful over my “assumptions” concerning religion in general. I’m always amazed at the narrow-minded views of those who are considered “devout”. I don’t bother to make them aware that I was raised in a family comprised of Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics. That I was forced to attend both churches as a compromise between my parents for the purpose of developing a well-rounded moral base.
Despite the fact that the differences between those two faiths were like oil and water to me. The same love of “God” but in radically different ways and approaches.
It was enough to completely confuse a child whose very valid questions were usually only met with generic responses, told I’m too young to understand or my favorite, given a quote from a book published out of Boston or New York. A book I’d already read cover to cover in Sunday school. Yet, no one would really answer my questions preferring to quote the same scriptures or verses… like zombies with literally no minds of their own. Just empty vessels seemingly brain-washed to believe whatever a book or appointed prophet teaches them. After getting fed up with not getting any real answers, I decided to do my own research and learn the truth about religion. Here is what I’ve discovered…
It is man-made.
It requires followers in order to make them relevant.
In this goal, prophets preach converting as many non-believers as possible in order to supposedly “save their souls and gain a place in Heaven”… which is just fancy wording for control and subjugation. Roman Catholics say this is to assuage you of the original sin committed by Eve while in the Garden of Eden. The sin everyone is born with being the descendants of humanity’s first family. Extremely clever if you think about it. Give the people a goal to work towards by simply worshiping God… the way he wants you to). You can see the evidence of this in your history books.
For example, Christianity’s violent rise to prominence, the ruling authorities outlawing freedom of worship in favor of one faith to better control what their subjects think and lived their lives. There is a name for that type of political positioning… slavery. You can even look at religion’s role in converting the natives of any given continent in the quest to domesticate them and make them “civilized”. Promoting images of God as a white man to drive the point of submission and reverence. I’m not making this up. Research it for yourself. It’s all there… if you care to listen.
Organized Religion is essentially a social club. It helps the lost find purpose and community. Somewhere to belong. It is true that our species is made up of leaders and followers. Most people do need direction and religion provides that in spades. It’s the most efficient way to avoid anarchy and exert unwavering control over a populace via rules (beliefs) intended to govern almost every aspect of an individuals life.
There is usually no room for growth or change (unless you break away and form your own faith/denomination). And this is what leads to Radicalization or Fundamentalism. The absolute inability to accept new and changing ideals and lifestyles other than what one knows to be true. What they want others to also learn and come to know as the absolute truth.
Even if they must use violence and intimidation to convert you to that way of thinking.
We see this in secular Islam today. Control what people believe in and they become an unofficial army of mindless drones willing to sacrifice their very lives to protect and/or enforce those ideals on others. It is the only thing that makes sense when you hear about yet another religious militant perverting an otherwise peaceful faith with terror and violence in the name of God. It would be against their faith to accept anything other than what their prophet tells them. What the great book preaches to be true.
I refuse to believe that there is a higher entity out there needs others to do their dirty work. All-powerful beings that can supposedly create entire planets and eco-systems shouldn’t need to delegate in order to govern their own creation. Again, most religious power is only shared with a few self-anointed individuals with no real way to prove that they gained that authority through God.
Unless… there is no supreme being. Ever think that all of this was made up by a genius (prophet) who conceived the idea of religion in order to answer all of life’s questions in one brilliant and neat package? Well, anything’s possible, right? You can choose to narrow your view to something tangible. What you have learned or have been taught. Safe. Or, leave yourself open to learn ALL of the facts and make up your own mind.
In religion, a prophet is an individual who has claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and to speak for them, serving as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people.
There has to be a line drawn between freedom of peaceful worship and the criminalization of more radicalized cults that pose as religions in order to force their violent agendas. If you have a strong faith in whatever religion you follow, you have a duty to stand up and speak out against anyone who perverts your faith with violence in the name of God. To do nothing is the same as condoning it. Period.
I respect everyone’s right to believe in what they choose to as long as those beliefs and principles do not impede on the rights of others who have their own. My perceptions of religion are the culmination of decades of observation, research and personal experience starting with 12 years of Theology while attending Catholic school. What I say on this site are my own thoughts and opinions. You can agree to disagree but you will remain respectful.
The absolute best thing about FREEDOM is the right to choose.
This entry is part of a Series.