If one is to believe all that one researches on the internet regarding religion, terrifying stories of death and destruction are portrayed. We have reached the 21st Century where in many sections of the world humankind still embraces intolerance. Tolerance is over-practiced in most democratic countries to such an extent that an ensuing weakness is exposed. In countries where religion is paramount, tolerance is seen as a weakness. The democratic populations of this world accept that all free thinking individuals have a right to worship as they so desire without discrimination and bias. Some religious rulers see democracy as a threat to their way of life, and such threats are met with violent rhetoric and others with violent actions where debate is not allowed. This is not just confined to the present day but to the many factions in our religious heritage. History is filled with theological disasters that have plagued humanity through three thousand years. These nightmares of reality have been forgotten in the stealthy progress of time. This article sets out some of those anomalies of the religions of man.
What is religion? The dictionary definition is:
Belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny. 2. Any formal or institutionalized expression of such belief. 3. The attitude and feeling of one who believes in a transcendent controlling power or powers.
Taking this to a basic level, you and you alone choose or create your religion. You believe, you worship and you are obedient to a supernatural source. You can personally follow any religion in the world or create your own. Naturally, many world religions are now established institutions created centuries ago in an unenlightened age. A time when man struggled to find the meaning of life and religions created war to control minds and vast quantities of land. The people were starved of knowledge and kept in their place by doctrine. In the far distant past man worshipped the sun, the moon and other Gods. In Greece and later Rome, people believed their Gods were like adult humans. They would argue, have children play music and party. It was important for them to please their Gods. An unhappy God would bring punishment and death.They even believed that stones or rock contained spirits especially boundary stones. Another belief was that werewolves roamed and attacked herds at night, returning to human form at daybreak. The religions affected politics because they were riddled with superstitions. Epileptic fits were deemed grave and serious at meetings of the senate. In 114BC a vestal virgin was killed by a lightning strike. To allay the anger of the Gods such a bad omen was appeased by burying alive, two couples, one Greek and one Gallic. Roman religion was undermined by Greek philosophy and then came the suggested idea of a single God.
In relation to historical fact, the gray area of Christianity came into being. The birth date of Jesus, a Jewish leader, historically speaking, was uncertain. His birth pinpointed to AD 1 is a judgment made 500 years after the event. The stories told of him circulated from person to person through the ages. Paul of Tarsus famed for his missionary voyages into the empire spread the new religion for non-Jews mainly by word of mouth. The turnabout came in Ad 380 when Christians ruled the empire. The result of the definition of heresy (people who disagreed with official Christianity) was religious suppression and slaughter. In the inquisition brutal torture became the normal procedure and Christian slaughtered Christian and anyone else who did not follow the hazy official doctrine.
The Pontiffs carried on in line like monarchs, with their armies, administration andterritory. OnePontiff had six sons and three daughters by several women. Another had three daughters whilst a Cardinal, and was a fierce warrior who wore silver armour and crushed anyone who defied his authority. One Pope was poisoned and clubbed to death whilst another was imprisoned and strangled. Corruption and the selling of spiritual blessings for money led Martin Luther to start the reformation in 1517.
The prophet Mohammed lived around 570-632 and came from a family of traders. Mohammed mediated the religion’s book of revelation the Koran, the beliefs of Islam. He completes a succession of prophets, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus. All refined and restated the message of God. Doing research on the internet from the public domain the dark side of Islam reveals certain areas that cause logic and science to shiver with apprehension. It is a religion that has 123 verses in the Qur’an about killing and fighting for Allah. Mohammed the founder of Islam said, “Invitation first,” (an offer to embrace Islam) “If refused, then war”. The sword is the key of heaven and hell. Whosoever falls in battle his sins will be forgiven.” This gives the notion that dying for Jihad for Allah results in direct entry into paradise. The Popes of the Crusade era made the same promise, a promise of spiritual forgiveness of murder and slaughter.
In Japan in the year 1281 a great Typhoon destroyed an invading Mongol army and became known as the kamikaze or divine wind. In the Second World War the dominant Shinto religion of Japan decreed that the Emperor was a descendant of the Gods and a God in his own right. Thus, the kamikaze pilot came into being with a brainwashing technique that they would earn through death in combat, a free trip to heaven.They had small books in their pockets with self belief text to spur them on. Young men between 16 and 20 were recruited to give their lives. One of the items in the book was:Transcend life and death. When you eliminate all thoughts about life and death, you will be able to totally disregard your earthly life. This will also enable you to concentrate your attention on eradicating the enemy with unwavering determination, meanwhile reinforcing your excellence in flight skills.
The Germans also developed a suicide weapon, Selbstopfer. Flying bombs with a small cockpit on top were being tested. Fortunately the weapon was not used in combat possibly because there was no spiritual or religious following to condone it, but the Nazis were brilliant at propaganda and brainwashing and if the war had continued who knows what would have happened.
Hinduism from the ancient Indians is more spiritually complex. A Hindu may worship more than one God, or just one God, he can be an agnostic or atheist. Ancient Indian texts contain exact scientific calculations. The speed of light, the age of the universe are all in ancient texts. How can this be so to modern scientific calculations? A text on astronomy thought to be compiled in 1000 BC and believed to be handed down from 3000 BC by recital gives the earth’s diameter and distance from the moon. As far as we know it is the only religion on earth which gives a fairly accurate time-scale of the earth and universe, 8.4 billion years.
Buddhism has its origins about 2500 years ago. A man, Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha was enlightened at the age of 35. Buddhism is very spiritual and more of a philosophy or way of life. Wisdom should be sought with compassion. It has the answers to problems of a materialistic nature and nurtures a code of practice. Tolerant of other religions and beliefs and in agreement with the moral teachings of other religions, wars and slaughter of fellow men has never occurred in the name of Buddhism.
Eastern religions express the idea of reincarnation. Formulated in India it spread to, and was later adapted into Chinese Taoism about the 3rd century BC. Platonism states the existence of the soul in a celestial world returning to the human body through sin. In order to return to a state of pure being the soul is purified through reincarnation. The Tibetan book of the dead alleges experiences between two incarnations and mentions a mental body.
From 1517 came various Christian Churches. Historians trace the early Baptist Church to 1609 in Amsterdam and believe John Smyth as the founder. They apposed infant baptism and that baptism should only be performed on believers. He stated that true worship was from the heart and that any reading from a book in worship was an invention of sinful men. He would not allow the reading of the bible during worship saying the translations were the work of man. The Baptist Church formed in 1639 by Roger Williams spread to the North American colonies.
Unitarianism came from Transylvania in 1600 introduced into Britain in 1668 and 1673. It was not fully legal in Britain until 1813.
Jehovah’s Witnesses was founded in the late 19th century as a Bible study group they retranslated the Bible from the teachings of Charles Taze Russell. Their predictions have been sadly wrong. After Russell’s death, Joseph Franklin Rutherford a trial lawyer and prosecutor took over resulting in a leadership battle where he was accused of autocratic behaviour losing one seventh of its membership. The end of times has been predicted from 1914.
The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954 by an American science fiction author named L.Ron Hubbard. He was a blood brother of the Blackfoot Indians at the age of six. After studying nearly all religions, he produced complex and profound beliefs in this modern age. After his death, the church has been quoted as a cult society. Scientologists cannot live or associate with non members even if they are close family. They recruit young seals – dominating young minds. Fixed donations are required; some have called it a pay as you go religion. The church leaders play mind games with people who appose them. The church is believed to be based on a secretive issue called Lord Xenu.
Can a terrorist group exist within the framework of religion? Once again religion is: belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny. Therefore, a terrorist group would be worshipping a God that instructed bloodlust, murder and slaughter. This would be their interpretation of their beliefs and their God.
Suicide warriors are a dark part of history, brainwashed by other religious people into believing that life is cheap and that they will reap a spiritual reward. It is also strange to realize that always the young are ensnared into this bizarre thinking. Do the leaders or the older members of their organizations strap on bombs and kill as many people as they can? No, otherwise there would be no leaders to brainwash and create the atrocities.
In regard to lord Xenu, I am sure that Ron Hubbard would have done research on Atlantis at some time in his career. I have an open mind as to Atlantis, nothing can be proved or disproved that a race of advanced humans commanded by a warlord existed. In fact it does answer some of the problems we are having today and where the technological advancement of society has come from. In the story from Plato the warlord’s actions cause dissension and many break away from his rule.
In religious teachings there are no physical warriors for God and if there are such leanings, they are from man.