In the Name of God: The Dark Side of Religion

By Akber Kassam 

(Minnesota, USA)

Religion is often found at the heart of hate, and is at the core of many conflicts and wars. People seem willing to kill, maim and die for a religious or spiritual belief:

“In the name of God, Shiites and Sunnis are at each others throats in Iraq, as are Arabs and Jews in the Middle-East.”

“In the name of God, the bombing of the World Trade Center in New-York City, on September 11, 2001, this was the worst terrorist attack in the history of the United  States.”

How quickly and easily religion and faith become handy tools to use in constructing a moral high ground – a justification, if you will-to kill in the name of all that is Holy and good.  That is not to say that religious belief itself causes death; guns do not kill people, people use guns to kill people.  Faith in God by itself kills no one. It can save lives. Religious belief when rightly applied can and should always be a force for good.

If we honor the God who made us and sustains us, then we must also respect what He has made. We must treat His creation, as he would have it treated it. That includes every other person as well as the environment.  There can be no more dangerous misuse of religious faith than its use in justifying hate and violence towards others.  How can religious belief and murderous actions come to be tied together? A message of peace is at the heart of Islam and Christianity.

The misuse of religion in the name of God is to be found everywhere, in all nations, in all towns, and hamlets and cities. We need to be careful about how we act on what we believe.  We need to be sure we are not among those who harm others in the name of God and to justify our actions.  Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear; only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.

We are all creatures of the same God, Let us try to someday embrace each other as brothers and sisters.

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