On this anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed many who were simply going about the business of enjoying their lives, it is apt to recall the danger that extremist religions pose to those who are not their adherents. In the past year we have seen journalists beheaded, individuals executed for practicing “sorcery,” children captured for sexual slavery, and people of all ages and genders slaughtered for believing otherwise than their captors.
Yet even those who would not be deemed “religious extremists” still follow the age-old practice of intolerance towards non-believers and others who do not share their particular scripture-based views. Here in the U.S. we’ve witnessed Christians seeking to legally discriminate against LGBT individuals by asking President Obama to be allowed not to employ them and Christian owners of businesses wishing to limit contraception options for their employees based on their sect’s take on their sacred writings. The first failed but the latter succeeded. This is a battle of secularism vs. theocracy, and it is being fought around the globe.
Sadly, most people share the misconception expressed by President Obama in his speech yesterday regarding how he intends to address the issue of the aggressively murderous Islamic State: “No religion condones the killing of innocents…” The history of the past as well as the news feeds of today demonstrate the untruth of that idea.
Many religions have taken it as a God-mandated prerogative to exterminate any who are named as apostates and heretics. Christianity and Islam have committed particularly bloody offenses over the past two thousand years in search of world dominion and the priests of those religions have blessed soldiers, weaponry and torture devices meant to mutilate or murder the people they sought to conquer. And so it still goes today.
I suggest that my own piece dealing with the danger offered by those who believe in deities, The Murderous Madness of Theism, may be worth another read today as it addresses this anniversary and the subject at hand—the faithful gleefully slay innocents for in their God-ridden minds they’ve judged that dissent merits death.
—Magus Peter H. Gilmore