Mankind's Curse

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What exactly is Religion? A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life and the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency, or human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine. At least, that’s what the dictionary defines it as. Or is it really the reason to do harm, even if in your own way, you think your doing someone a favor? As Albert Ellis once said, "Religious creeds encourage some of the craziest kinds of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and favor severe manifestations of neurosis, borderline personality states, and sometimes even psychosis” and I hardly find any reason to disagree with him.

While the first amendment has definitely given us the right to choose and express our religion freely, in some cases, this could be considered dangerous. Throughout history, and still to this day, religion has been used as an excuse, or driving force, for some of the worst atrocities imaginable. From pre-history to modern history, religion is, for many people, just an excuse to kill other people. Religion may not seem the first choice for the most amount of deaths compared to disease, driving accidents, or even just suicides, but countless people have been killed regarding religion, whether they realize it, or not.

From the very beginning, a major example could be the Aztec Sacrifices. During the Aztecs, about 20,000 people were killed yearly to appease the gods they worshipped. Often, hearts of sacrifice victim’s were cut out, and some bodies were eaten ceremoniously. Others were drowned, beheaded, burned or dropped from far heights, all to please them. Their culture had seen it as a way of living, what they were ‘supposed’ to do, in order to carry on with their daily lives. However, what they did was wrong, but in many different cultures human sacrifices were common, resulting in tragedies across the world, even still to this day.

Holy Wars and Salem Witch Hunts are other major past examples of groups enforcing their beliefs onto others, no matter the cost. Holy Wars, also known as Islamic Jihads, mandated by the Korans, caused the death of millions over twelve centuries. The Muslim armies diffused rapidly, urging others to convert, and decreed “death” to all sinners and their families. While in Massachusetts, during the 1600s, Salem Witch Hunts began. Puritans and preaching Quakers accused average people, some just believing differently from them and others randomly, of practicing “witchcraft”. They were in such fear of others behaving or acting differently from what they had established as their religion, that in the end, twenty ‘alleged’ witches were killed and 150 others were imprisoned.

As for Today’s more Modern Culture, it hasn’t improved by much, only seventy years ago, the most tragic event in history occurred because of another group’s religion. The Holocaust An event no one should forget, and something that everyone should be educated about. It occurred because of the Religious difference of one mans’ view, Adolf Hitler, attempting to rid of other religions, especially Judaism, because it was not what he worshipped, not what he saw as part of his “perfect race”. The total number of Holocaust victims would be far to big of a number out of any other event of religious persecution; seven million being Jews residing in Europe, 1.5 of them Jewish children, five to six million Non-Jews, and nine to eleven million soviets.

A more current event that happened recently would be the attacks on September 11th, 2001. Religion may not have been the reasoning behind the Muslims terrorist plan to intentionally crash two airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, but because of that day, many Americans have come to hate and fear the Islamic groups. They regard them as “evil”, or “terrorist”, when the truth is, not all Muslims intend to attack America. I’m even more ashamed of an idea that had occurred in one man’s head only several months ago, regarding the 9/11 attacks. Pastor Terry Jones, of the small, non-denominational Christian Dove World Outreach Center in Gainsville, Florida, announced plans to have a “International Burn a Koran (Qur’an) Day”, in regards to the ninth anniversary of the attacks. Which is not only extremely immoral because it is the burning of another religion’s “Holy Book”, but also antagonizing another unecessary war. The fact that he called it off is excellent, I am very relieved, but whatever made this man even think of such a horrendous idea is a transgression of its own.

Anne Lamott once said “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do,” and while I do believe everyone should be able to believe in what they want, some take it to far in pursuing what they believe as faithful to their religion. Faith is the belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, concept, or a thing. So why can’t a fountain be beautiful, without having to believe there are sprites at the bottom of it? Of all religions; Christianity, Judaism, Islamic, Buddhism, Hinduism, and so on, I see every single one of them as the biggest problem our world has. It has cause so much pain, both physical and emotional, to our world that it does not need. A curse which we have all put upon ourselves.





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