Christianity’s culpability in many wars and atrocities is well documented. From the Crusades to witch hunts and from its utilization in the motivation of a peoples toward war, Christianity’s involvement is unquestionable. Yet, in the face of this evidence there are those today who wish to excuse Christianity, to disavow its involvement.
Religion has been said to be the opiate of the masses. Religion, used to create illusory hope and happiness, with the promise of better things in an afterlife. This promise, of course, is conditional upon the individual’s acceptance and obedience to the doctrines of the faith.
The outrageous tenets of Christianity require a great deal of abandonment from the natural tendency of the human mind for reason, common sense, and logical thinking. In the wake of such mental manipulation, a high degree of gullibility is created. This is the pathway used by many tyrants, dictators, and others to enable the influencing of the masses in a direction they would not otherwise be inclined to travel. By appealing to the faiths held by the people, those so inclined, can persuade them to support goals which lead to detrimental and disastrous consequences. Persecution of minorities, bloodshed, even wars have resulted from such twisted guidance.
Despite all this, there is a new attempt, or is it simply a repetition of an old attempt, to provide an out for the religion of Christianity.
It is true that wars have been fought for the enrichment of those who would wage them. There is no question about this. Yet, the masses require prompting for such causes, for many are of moral nature, simply seeking the means to survive and live their lives, rather than interfere with the lives of others. The common human communities concerns are improving their lives peacefully, providing an environment where they can prosper, grow their families. Stealing and cheating have become moral wrongs through the many ages of humans who have lived in social groups. Religion is a pathway through which the masses can be brought by which this moral underpinning can be overcome. The Bible is full of such examples throughout the Old Testament.
Adolf Hitler, despite objections, professed to be a Christian. Through propaganda he was able to persuade the German people that all other races were inferior, and that God was behind them. Other races were seen as less than human, inferior in mental and physical attributes. Though many of the German people resisted this, the vocal majority accepted it, at least enough to establish it.
The “out” proposed is this: It was all about wealth, the acquisition of land, and from the top clear to the bottom, everyone was aware of this. Religion, it has been proposed, was just an excuse.
Mere greed? This really is an insult to all humanity, to reduce human morality to such a base level. World war II aside, it would take more than greed to persuade the masses to abandon primary social mores. People have to be convinced that they have the moral high ground, that what they are being exhorted to do is just and right. Religion provides the avenue for just such a scenario. By utilizing a population’s already devout belief, convincing them their deity is behind the effort, many a peaceful people have been brought to war, conflict, and destruction.
In most cases, I think, the top rungs of leadership are fully aware that the conflicts being promoted are totally about wealth, resources, and land acquisition. Many in the ranks of the population, usually dissenters, may be aware also. Most have no clue and are persuaded through the appeal to their already strong faiths. Ignorance is no crime, and as intelligent as they may be, it is through the ignorance instilled by religious indoctrination they are rendered malleable to such influence. If you can be persuaded that a man walked on water, a man was able to part the Red Sea, or that a man was able to survive several days within the confines of a fish, then what is it to be made to believe that the man next door is devious, inferior, and should be exterminated.
The misdeeds of religion through the centuries is well documented despite efforts to discourage its recording. Enough remains to condemn religion, perhaps even enough to provide a guilty verdict for God, if he existed. At least where I am concerned, I have seen enough to make the decision, that religion, especially the Christian religion, deserves no pardon for its moral crimes against humanity.
“Without religion, what is a tyrant to do? (wringing hands feverishly)
Of course there have been tyrants who used other means, other propaganda, to manipulate the masses. Their numbers pale in comparison to those who use faith as a means. In every case, however, an appeal to their vanity, their superiority, the rightness of their cause, is used to influence the people. Religion simply makes it easier.
If any nation is to undertake such activities as war let it be for the right reasons, let it be debated endlessly as to the moral rightness or wrongness of the cause. Perhaps before the debate ends, the reasons for the conflict will evaporate, or a peaceful means will be found. There are more pressing issues for humanity, and always, always, better means to solve them than war.