In my new book, “The Narrowing Road,” I write about how religion can play a part in the justification of violence. As an atheist, it is difficult to find any real positives that religion brings to society. There are obvious benefits, of course, of charity, community, and a moral code, but to me religion isn't necessary for any of this. I won't be discussing whether God exists or not in this blog, maybe I'll tackle that later, but I will discuss how religion can be used for so much negativity.
I will begin by saying that I respect anyone's belief in anything, as long as it follows these three rules:
1. You don't push it on others.
2. It doesn't harm others.
3. It doesn't harm yourself.
So with that said, most Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Satanists, Humanists, etc. I have no problem with. Oh, just for clarification, Atheism isn't a belief, again we can discuss this in another blog. Most of my life I have been around Christianity, so I understand the appeal and the fear. But I digress.
What bothers me the most is that Religion is used to justify violence, hate and control by many people. Every day, I see how Religion affects our day-to-day life in mostly negative ways. I could easily bring up 9/11 or Waco, Texas as examples of Religion gone bad, but it isn't always a terrorist attack or cult. For example, let's look at the current pandemic we are in right now. Millions of religious people are refusing a vaccine and to wear a mask due to religious beliefs. This reluctance or refusal to participate in life-saving behavior is precisely my problem with how religion is used.
A large issue that religion has taken ownership over is female reproductive rights. The debate around abortion is directly tied to religion. Abortion clinics have been bombed and patients harassed, threatened and killed, all in the name of God. Legislation has been crafted because of religious beliefs, even though religion shouldn't be the driving force behind government.
So, when I speak of the dark side of religion, I'm not talking about the charity, or the community, or in a lesser sense, the morality. I'm speaking about how people can use the words of the Bible to do despicable things. If a Christian believes the afterlife is the goal, then why would they invest in the world around them? If they believe that sinners should be punished, why would they care about rehabilitation? Remember, everything a believer does is for eternal life in their “Heaven.” It's selfish.
This is what my current novel, “The Narrowing Road,” discusses, the belief that a violent act is justified by the end product of salvation. When individuals believe that their actions will give them eternal life, it allows for an unsafe world.