The Violence of Religion

Mormonism at its Worst

Some of you may have read the op-ed piece in the New York Times the other day, I’m a Mormon, Not a Christian by David Mason.  I found this piece to be troubling.  Personally I could not care less if Mormons are Christian or not.  It is all hocus pocus to me.  What troubled me was the last paragraph:

“Whatever happens in November, I hope Mormonism eventually realizes that it doesn’t need Christianity’s approval and will get big and beat up all the imperious Christians who tormented it when it was small, weird and painfully self-conscious. Mormons are certainly Christian enough to know how to spitefully abuse their power.”

This is why I blog.  When you get down to it, I am tired of people saying that most Christians (or Muslims, or whoever) are not like X.  X can be many things, misogynists, xenophobic, bigots, etc.  I am tired of it because it does not matter.  I would agree that most religious folks do not display all of the negative aspects of their chosen faith.  However, most of them do exhibit some of those traits.  Taken as a whole community, it is downright terrifying.

Mason’s words, while perhaps not representing all Mormons, certainly represent a decent slice of that population.  I would argue that he is correct in asserting that it represents a decent slice of the populations of the monotheistic religions.

The religions of the bible are violent by nature.  Look at the history of the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim faiths.  Each of them will seek to eradicate non-believers when they have the power to do so.  Mason is simply pointing out his belief that Mormonism is no different.  I see no reason to deny him his claim.

Religions are like viruses.  I do not necessarily mean that in the derogative way it sounds.  Rather I mean that they seek to spread and are difficult to eradicate.  At their core, the main purpose is self-preservation and growth.  They will stop at nothing to ensure their survival.  This has been demonstrated through countless wars.  When dominant in a society, they will often use any and all means necessary to spread their beliefs while removing any trace of other beliefs.  This has been demonstrated through many genocides and ethnic cleansings.  Has Mormonism had a particularly violent past?  No; at least not compared to other religions.  Is there any reason to think that Mormons would act differently if they were dominant?  Absolutely not.

Religious people may do much good in the world through charitable organizations.  I would argue that this work would get done just as efficiently through secular means.  Religion does not make the world a better place.  They make our planet more hateful, ignorant, spiteful, and dangerous.

This is why I blog.  I read statements like Mason’s and they make me cringe.  Religion needs to be eradicated from our species.  This is no easy feat.  I fully support the freedom of religion.  People have the right to believe in whatever superstition they choose.  It is my hope that we can sway the masses to make the same choice that I and many of you have—to walk away.

Thanks for Reading.  I look forward to your comments.


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6 thoughts on “The Violence of Religion

  1. Loren Miller from Bedford, OH, United States

    Should it be any surprise that religions are violent when the books they are based on are loaded to the gills with violence? The old testament is the prime example of this, with the Israelites going after tribe after tribe: the Amalekites, the Moabites, the Kenites, and too many others to mention. Their god said that they shall meet others in battle and utterly destroy them, and so it was. There was no talk of diplomacy or coexistence. These others were not approved of by this hotshot deity; therefore they had to go. They were slaughtered – man, woman, and child – though the virgins were kept as spoils of those wars.

    The new testament is no better, particularly in the carpenter-turned-rabbi stating that one must hate father, mother, sister, brother, et cetera if you were to follow him, and indeed, if someone were determined NOT going to follow him, bring that someone before this supposedly meek and mild savior … to be slain. Check Luke 19:27, if you don't believe me.

    Perhaps the single most grating and irritating of the christian hymns is "Onward, Christan Soldiers," for its militaristic and aggressive tone. Man, if you're the enemy of Jebus, you better watch out, 'cuz his troops are coming … and this is a religion of peace? SUUUUUUUUURE it is.

    "And I'm the Czar of all the Russias!"
    – Ensign Pavel A. Chekov

  2. fester60613 from Binghamton, NY, United States

    Reading this blog entry I had this thought: When a person identifies him/herself to me as “Christian”, should I ask, “What type of Christian are you?” And when asked “What do you mean” in reply, I might say something like:

    "You know, I'm very confused as to just what being Christian is these days. There seems to be quite a variety of them. So, just to avoid confusion I’d like to narrow down what type of Christian you see yourself as.

    “Christians can be like Mother Theresa or Saint Francis, or they can be selfish hypocrites. Christians can be multicultural or they can be xeonophobes. Christians can believe the Bible is the absolute word of God or they can view it as a non-binding guide. They can be feminists or misogynists, they can be progressive or conservative. They can be for contraception and against abortion, or they can be creationists or evolutionists. So, when you say “I’m a Christian” just what do you mean by that?”

    And if the response is something akin to “follower of Christ”, I might ask “Just which precepts of his do you follow? Do you take his words themselves or do you follow what some priest or pastor or minister tells you?”

    I’m going to start doing that – you know, just to see what might happen.

  3. Pingback: The Violence of Religion | Reason Being « Religious Leaders: Misogyny is NOT a virtue! And Civil Law trumps your faith! from San Antonio, TX, United States

  4. Pingback: The Violence of Religion | Reason Being « Religious Leaders: Misogyny is NOT a virtue! And Civil Law trumps your faith! from San Francisco, CA, United States

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