Violence And Religion

This was my reaction to ISIS captors saying they could rape women because ‘it pleases God.’

(There have been some additions here and there to make my points more clear, understandable, compassionate, and just.)

This religion and all religions that justify, accept, or regulate prejudice, heinous and ridiculous punishments, genital mutilation, prejudicial discrimination, emotional, physical, or psychological violence, war, animal or human sacrifice–must go–or they must be reformed and revised. In the very least, they cannot be allowed to be taught in egalitarian democracies.

The basic problem here–of course–is that any religion based on a god–be it passive, benevolent or altruistic–or aggressive, belligerent, and harmful is that it is totalitarian in nature… because clerics, priests and monks of a theistic religion can tell adherents what to think and that they are interpreting the word of the religion, and saying that the adherents of the religion must do A, B and C–to be in the graces of an omnipotent god who rules over their lives.

What The  Theistic Interpretations Lead To
What it is doesn’t matter, because it tells them to obey. Take the best case scenario: a priest tells the followers of some religion that they must love one another, however, there are some simple-minded people in his flock and when presented with a situation that involves ‘killing for peace,’ a simple-minded adherent interprets this as a form of love or duty–so, he kills. He does so thinking he must do so. Of course the worst case scenario is one in which adherents are told outright that violence is in order (be it in the physical form or that of prejudice, agitation, harassment, subjugation, bondage, lies), but it isn’t called “violence,’ because the theisms originated in the bronze age.

Where We Draw the Line
Any doctrine with the totalitarian power of fiat–administered by human beings over its adherents is harmful and deleterious, because it supersedes human conscience and is vulnerable to the continued interpretation of its administrators. This is not spiritual; this is political.

What We Need to Do
As we will not outlaw theism, I am calling for a reformation–or the dis-allowance of violence to be disseminated in a scriptural form of any kind, in egalitarian democratic states–for the sake of the freedom of the human mind and corpus–and for the benefit of all human beings–and of course for the establishment of cognitive reinforcement that leads to true safety, justice, peace, love, compassion and good sense in society. This would certainly go a very long and effective way in degrading the possibly of cultivating minds amenable to terrorism.

Religions based on the written word that is elevated to the lofty designation of scripture, and which either justify, give beneficial examples of or can be interpreted as promoting violence are not safe, and so have no place in civilized society.

The Literature Question
Religions based on this kind of writing are different from fiction and fantasy, because they are not those things in the minds of the faithful; they are factual commandments and prescriptions for life coming from a dictator deity who sees all, rewards and punishes, and is the final arbiter of what is right and wrong in their minds. This makes followers of such doctrines–especially in politically and economically compromised regions of the world unequivocally and inherently unsafe–and most especially where the administrators of these religions can call their followers to resort to the violence in their faith.

But It’s A Small Number People
People who say a small number of the faithful commit acts of terror or that ‘only crazy people’ resort to the old ways are inaccurate and missing the point. For example, of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, between 23 and 25% of them proclaim to believe in the extreme aspects of their faith. Moreover, it doesn’t take all the people in a room to set a house on fire. Those who do not bear in mind these facts are extremely short-sighted, unimaginative and in-abstract in the least–while being unintelligent, ignorant, dangerous, and as evil as those who say “guns don’t kill people” in the worst case scenario. They apparently exhibit cognitive deficiency or betray a certain gross cognitive dissonance, for they do not face the fact that whether a religion is meant to be peaceful in essence or concept or not is irrelevant as long as it holds sacred words that can be and are used to promote violence in reality. Many of these apologists are probably being disingenuous, too.

Who Would Do This?
What we allow to be taught to children and to the vulnerable people of a society finds its way into that society in some way, to some degree, at some time–among the literal and fundamentalist and “extreme” … among the mentally ill, among the cognitively challenged, and among the intellectually deficient or mediocre of mind and spirit; it finds its way into the people who are justifiably over-stressed, disenfranchised, angry; it finds its way into minds of the otherwise mentally healthy people who are simply made ignorant and controlled (which is what most of the fundamentalists are–people born innocent and cognitively healthy, but made insane by doctrine and its precipitant behavior); this is unacceptable.

“Extreme Interpretations–Not Everyone Does This”
“Extreme interpretations” of religion are not so extreme, just literal; the killing they advocate is there… in the texts of Christians, Muslims, and Jews. This is no longer appropriate. If it were not there, it could not be interpreted literally, dangerously. And saying that many societies show examples of millions of people who do not interpret the scriptures violently is irrelevant; as long as the violence is there–like a gun–it will be used, and it is used; and these days that violence is used to devastating proportions–tearing apart whole nations.

Divine or Egalitarian?
We can no longer give a tolerant nod to the teaching or allowance of the teaching of religions that contain scriptures that are or can be dangerous, superstitious and plain refutations of observable reality, of science, or of scriptures that teach the opposite of egalitarian principles and compassion. And above all, we can no longer allow such to be called divine. It matters not what a “sacred” book is purported to say; it only matters what it does say and what its affect is on people. It also matters how it can be interpreted. Some religions cannot be twisted to become violent. that is the only good kind of religion.

Literature (Fiction) or Holy Commandment?
This is what separates religious works from literature: the former is holy dictum, said to be handed down from on high by the author of the universe–so if it has prescriptions or justifications of violence in it, you can’t get more pernicious than that; the latter (simple literature) is mere entertainment and the artful interpretation of the human condition. The former is a disaster waiting to happen under the right conditions. History is replete with such disasters–most of which were committed by people acting in the mindset of the theisms or in secular religious movements of the state… employing cult of personality adulation for supreme leaders. Theist apologists love to refer to Hitler and Stalin and Mao as atheists. Hitler was a Christian and he proclaimed his movement Christian. It was said to be–inscribed on every Nazi soldier’s belt; Stalin and Mao may have been atheists, but their movements were quasi-religious and not in the name of atheism.

The Superior And the Inferior, The Creation of Subjugation
The concept of a single god, separate form humanity creates the idea of superior and inferior in beings, sentience, people, and usually it’s men over women, and straight men over gays and bisexuals and over the other species. If we are going to respect the existence of these religions, they must be made safe, respectable and relevant for modern times; modern times no longer can tolerate this kind of prejudice; it is below us.

Theism And Violence Are Too Pernicious
People will defend religion on “holy” grounds, cultural grounds, and literary grounds, but this promotes their dangers and results in violence in many ways. Violence should not be part of any education system; theistic violence is the most dangerous, because it is believed to come from gods and so is about the most dangerous thing you can teach–as it reins supreme over the mind when justified. This can no longer be tolerated in modern civil culture.

In Particular

The violence of judgement, of fear and loathing of different innate sexual persuasions, of accepted slavery, of the subjugation of women, of the murder of people who leave the faith, or who make clothing of the wrong materials, of those who eat at the wrong times–or of the wrong foods… the violence of the persecution of non-believers, the violence of dismemberment and stoning for theft or infidelity, the violence of the out-casting of and killing of homosexuals… the violence of war against peoples not chosen by one’s chosen scripture and the violence of the perpetuation of ignorance and the dissemination of visceral fear… taught to children—in whose minds the seeds of neurosis are thus planted–all makes for pain and neurosis.

It’s Insane

All of this, by elevated standards of consciousness–is now deemed insane. Therefore, it is insane to allow it to be held up and defended as righteous lessons or of history worthy of continued edification in religious books; it must all come out of the books or the books must be disallowed in places of worship and learning in egalitarian democracies where the sanctity of the individual has been enshrined since the enlightenment and the French, British and American revolutions for democracy.

Review, Summation And Conclusion

To reiterate succinctly and make clear my point: in the very least—if we are not to outlaw or eradicate these religions for the sake of “respect,” tradition, cultural identity, and the good parts in their teachings, then we must either ask that they be thoroughly revised, or that their texts not be allowed in civilized, egalitarian states–but then we will hear that religious scripture is literature: ‘If we don’t ban violent literature, then why ban the words of violent religion?’

This defense of religion as mere literature is pale. You don’t defend something as mere literature when it is taught as coming from a deity and is used to set up societies, has the power to regulate human relations, marriage, law and civil punishments—when it dictates the origin of the universe, affects peoples’ health, and determines the direction of public policy. That’s politics and government and so is infinitely more powerful than literature—unjustly so.

Defending religion as literature is like saying the owner’s manual of a car is science fiction. Scripture is instructional authority from the highest agency. Allowing it to contain anti-egalitarianism, violence, slavery and rape is the definition of foolishness if not stupidity, cruelty and organized megalomania–to any thinking, honest, compassionate, and healthy human mind with a shred of self-esteem and intelligence.

Ban these words from egalitarian democratic societies and do not let people in to democratic and egalitarian societies who observe, protect, defend, or excuse them. Porn is porn; violence is violence. Stop allowing children to see it. Stop splitting hairs over culture and antiquity and that disease of the in-compassionate, the unthinking, and the militant: ‘PC-ism.’

This dark-age poison has to go. Get rid of it from the face of the planet or for anthropological significance, relegate it to two-foot-thick glass cases in maximum-security museums, and you will only see this inane, horrifying tragedy of wasted minds and torturous immorality where it is left–in countries using it as law… where it is left to rot the heart and mind–until the human souls in these lands get tired of being cut off from the civilized world and they change the ways of their people–of their own accord.

See to an eradication of violent religious passages from any books in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Africa–wherever thinking, compassionate, advanced egalitarian society exists or where the people would have it.

I guarantee that if we do this, America will also see a monumental decrease in its cold and cruel Republicanism, too–because all through this reading you might have been thinking I have been talking only of one theistic religion.  I have not been. If we were to apply this reformation to one theism that contains  prescriptions and allowances for violence, we would have to apply it to them all. And that would be a damned good thing.

Link: ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape

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