When Good Religions Go Bad. Good Religions. As we discussed earlier this week religions all encourage love, compassion, hope, tolerance and healing. Many religions also even teach “nonviolence”. And yet…. Religions Can Go Bad!.
As we discussed earlier this week religions all encourage love, compassion, hope, tolerance and healing. Many religions also even teach “nonviolence”.
We often see religious difference as the root of hatred, war, and violence in the war.
Religious leader, politicians, or average citizens use religious beliefs to justify harm instead of healing, hate instead of love.
It is of the upmost importance to realize that when people hurt, subjugate, or kill others in the name of their God- they are perverting (twisting), rather than representing, the true teaching of their faith.
One historical reason that the authentic religious message of unity gets twisted is the combining of religion and political power.
When religious institutions make deals with monarchs and rulers to support their reign in return for the ruler’s support of the religion, they forge an alliance that can pervert the true meaning of religion.
-Can you think of an example?
Sometimes, the real difference between religions are not so much religious differences as they are political or economic, but religion is used to justify or explain the conflicts that result.
For example- two countries may be fighting over a small amount of land or money, but they use religion in their battle to secure economic security or equality.
Another way religion can divide people is when religion takes and holds secular power for itself and becomes distorted in the process.
For example, people may use religious power to claim control over land, people, or money!
There is a famous example of this occurring- can you think of what that may be?
In many areas religion can be deeply woven into the culture of a country to the point that unwinding them is impossible!
In certain areas of the world this can mean that people who are not of the majority faith have a hard time feeling comfortable or accepted. It can draw a line between two faiths living in the same area. How is the US different?
Our future depends on people of different cultures being able to walk the line between religious discrimination and loving observance of old and honored tradition.
Another way religion can cause conflict is the idea that any one religion is superior to others. This is called triumphalist beliefs- in which the followers of a religion may believe that their religion is the only true faith and that ALL must be converted to that faith if they want to be saved and allowed into heaven….
What religion was particularly guilty of this throughout history?
Sometimes religions simply have “bad” beliefs- these religions may have stemmed from outside influences or they may have been part of the beliefs of the founder of the faith. These “bad” beliefs are like a virus who makes the religion morally and spiritually sick.
An example of this is the caste system in India which stems from Hinduism, or the blame of Jews for Christ’s death within Christianity.
Sometimes fanatics invent ideas the religion never taught and teach these ideas as if they were ancient and authentic. This type of religion is a perversion of a good faith.
Examples of this include support for racism, as well as the rise of extremism (radicalism) which claims that it is acceptable to kill non-believers in the name of their deity.
They may look like religions, they may act like religions BUT Cults are not religions.
Cults are dangerous because they take away a person’s ability to critically evaluate what is happening.
Here are some warning signs of cults to look out for!