If religion is a nice, peaceful thing, why is it then that religion is the cause of most of the wars and hatred in the history of man and even today?
Who said “religion” is a nice, peaceful thing? Jesus never used the word “nice” as far as is recorded. In fact, the word “nice” is not found in the entire Bible. As for “peace” that is mentioned many times in the Bible, but remember that Jesus did say, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.” (Mt 10:34)
Alright, now that I’ve drawn you in, let me ask this question. Do you think we would have less war and hatred in the world if we had no “religion”? You would be kidding yourself if you thought so. People always have fought wars, hated, and resorted to violence from the beginning of time and will continue to do so until the end of time. The real reason, the true cause, is not religion but what lies in the hearts of us all: pride, envy, greed, anger, sloth, lust, and gluttony. Big egos clash. Somebody wants somebody else’s land or resources. My brother touches my stuff; I smack him. You know the story. We’ve all done that before.
I can’t speak for all religions, only my own, and at the very core of Christianity is violence. Yes, the sword! Not like you think, though. At the center of our faith is violence done to Jesus—His suffering and death on the cross. Jesus went into the very heart of what is wrong with the world: sin, violence, hatred, war, and death. Jesus overcame it, not with more powerful violence, but by peace, love, forgiveness, and innocent self-sacrifice.
The reason wars and hatred continue today is that we continue to fail to follow Christ; we fail to take up the cross ourselves. We shouldn’t blame “religion”, at least not Christianity, but our own failure to follow it. The last time I meditated on the core of my religion—Jesus on the cross—I was not led to violent, angry, warmongering thoughts, but instead sorrow for my sins and a desire to love like Jesus did.
There is no such thing as a religious or holy war. It is always a sad thing. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we have to defend ourselves and the innocent, but the root cause of war is always a sin on someone’s part. And unfortunately, it is usually the most innocent who pay the biggest price in war. If we truly want peace, we will find it only by following Christ’s way, overcoming hate with love. That is true religion.
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