I wish this text from the excellent work by the former bishop of Edinburgh was better known.

“When religion enters a quarrel it adds a toxic ingredient to the mix that is not always present in other conflicts. Humans are prone to violence anyway, but if they can persuade themselves they are doing it in obedience to God it removes any chance of mercy and moderation from the conflict” page 229, A Little History of Religion by Richard Holloway. I would add that they think God is persuading them and that is the problem. The notion that God put the thought and feeling you must fight in you is one side of it. The notion that God spiritually inspires you by somehow communicating with you is the other.

I am impressed about the courage and honesty of this book in relation to religious violence. 

Violence does not just appear but emerges from something else.  The corruption that leads to violence is rooted in faith in God.  One lack is how this is not explored.  It answers the question of why Monotheistic religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism are so combustible and tensions between them are so strong. 

People say they love God and God humbles them.  They claim to be trying to do something about pride.   Part of you know that you are investing God with attributes you want him to have to suit yourself.  Even if there is a God, it is really the one you create in your head that is your God.  Obviously, you are superior to this God in your head.  God is idea and the idea is yours. You are better than any idea you have and you know it. 

God is not God to you no matter how fair or loving he is unless you judge him worthy to be called fair and loving.  This is about your values.  You are being superior to God by deciding he is worth your love and devotion.  You are living "your truth" though you know fine well that truth is no democracy and does not care in the slightest what you want to think.  This is not about humility but power and pride.  Humility often is shown off so it is just a form of pride.

Another fatal problem is that if God makes all then you should forgive those who hurt you for he is the one really in control.  If you trust God then you will forgive the enemy.  But the fact is that this thought is moral bullying.  One bullying teaching is that you are doing the enemy wrong by not forgiving.  The other is that you MUST forgive for God says so.  Nobody has the right to make it a duty for you to forgive.  If you owe God anything you do not owe him that.  He has no right to say the evil person is his beloved child so you must forgive for his sake.  This duty is brutalising those who have been abused as children.  No God, no duty.  Simple.  Religion wants you to forgive so IT can look good.  It simply cannot look good without lying that it is your duty.

If God wants to impose such a duty he has to prove his existence.  It is a matter so serious that only proof will do.  There is no proof.  Worse, there is no proof of the type of God of mercy Jesus preached.


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