The excuse that saying, "Don't do it!" is enough to absolve a religion of being in any way to blame for violence

Accountability for something can be stronger if you indirectly cause it than if you directly do so.  There is an advantage for you in making it look like as if you might not be to blame much or at all.  Notably, religious sacred texts where God or deities or angels ask for violence have an uncanny and strange effect on some people and it is as if they are impelled to act.  Most religious trouble is caused by the scriptures.  Jesus went as far as to make texts such as, "Zeal for your house O Lord consumes me" as a rationale for attacking sellers in the Temple.

Jane Goodall in 1974 showed how our cousins the chimps were no strangers to creating tribal warfare. They would tear intruder chimps from another tribe to bits. This shows that this dangerous side is part of us too. It is in our DNA and we share that with theirs. We create religions in order to create tribes or if we don't succeed we will at least succeed in creating an "other". The argument that without religion we would be like the chimps is insane. We are. We would be worse if we got away with it. And religion is an excuse for tribalism. If it is in our DNA and the seeds of cruelty and ruthlessness are in our brains then religion is not going to stop it. If religion is pretending it does then religion is part of the problem and is being a help to violence.  Religion sees how animal we are and it sees it from lived human experience.  Then it lies that we are not animals but images of God.  The lying is a disgrace.  Let people have the truth and let them act on it.  Don't lie and create confusion that makes it harder to prevent and deal with violence.  Don't let it stop you getting at the root of the problem.

People who resort to violence in the name of faith, religion and God or any one of these are showing that they feel they get meaning and purpose or will get them. Anything can become a reason to be violent even religion. Not that human nature really needs a reason. If the person believes in evolutionary theory that the most adaptable will be the survivors and/or leave a legacy of survival that encourages the urge to offer a religious sacrifice and hurt others in the name of religion. The argument that religion has many superbly peaceful icons means nothing if religion is acting not as a preventative of violence but merely containing it. People fear the chaotic results of evil so truly evil people believe they know how to strike and when to contain the evil and set things up to stop it backfiring on them.

Pope John Paul II felt that if every religion denounced religious based warmongering and terrorism it would be a big help. Nobody really expects the problem to stop completely or for good. But what exactly is he saying?


+ He is saying that religion has some kind of uncanny power to get obedience. That is why he considers it giving orders for peace is enough. This is not merely something giving an order and getting things done. It's about how religion is able to have an effect on people that its commands have more compelling power than anything else’s.

+ He is trivialising the situation and must know fine well that a religion ordering peace is far from enough. It's an insulting pretence at an effort.

Now if religion has a semi-hypnotic influence then it is to blame for the violence for not using this power better. It is too potentially dangerous to co-exist happily with the state especially the secular state. And is hypnosis its secret – not credibility?  That is no religion to follow!

If terrorism is either right or wrong and happens to be just wrong then is any religion allowing it to happen or even commanding it a valid religion? Is it a religion then regardless of how convinced and sincere its members are?  If your answer is no then what?  You have to admit that at the very least religious type behaviours even if invalid are dangerous.  It makes it hard to sort out religion from the bad counterfeit.  We don't have the time to do it.  And a bad religion will cover its tracks.  It's better to approach religion with caution and be careful about giving it responsibility.

To say something is not a religion because it is doing bad now is ad hoc.  It is as dishonest as saying that a golf club that is now giving money to terrorists is not a true golf club.  It is messing about with words.

Why stop with religion?  Why not say that faith in God is not faith in God when you hurt somebody over it?  That would mean that if you cannot account for why God lets innocent babies suffer so horribly and makes viruses to torment them and if the reason is that God would be bad then it follows that your faith is not valid and neither is your religion. You cannot command religious respect.  Faith in God if it happens to be right about God can still be bad as far as we are concerned.  We can have a bad motive for following a good thing.

King Herod is killing babies.  He tells  you that his reasons and why he has no choice will be revealed one day. You are bad for believing him EVEN if it is true.  It is evil for you have to take things how they look for the risk of condoning even unwittingly the deaths of babies is too great.  It is about the babies.

Religion depends on too many lies and untruths and has too many blind spots to be truly a good safe thing.  Children and the uniformed are especially at risk.


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