When we look at the world history, we find that religions have been involved in many conflicts. We can think of the Crusades, the Muslim caliphate, Jews and Arabs, Hindu militants who use terror and force, the conflict in Northern Ireland, the struggle between Protestant and Catholic princes in Germany and more. Does this mean that in the wake of religion we have war and conflicts? Is religion a bad trait that we must get rid off?
Are there crazy religious people? Yes! Can we find evil actions in God’s name? Yes! But is God evil, or the consept of religion crazy? Since God’s name is used in all kinds of evil it’s easy to think somethings wrong With theism itself. But when we look a little more closely at these conflicts, we most often see that conflicts are not rooted in religion. Religion is used as a justification to rally for internal support. Often the deeper agenda is a struggle for power, oil, land, water and more. Bigatry, insecurity, poverty and a feeling of helplessness is proparbly giving much more fuel to hatred and violence than religious thinking. Even when there is violence because of ideas, historians will point to the culture for explanations more often than (just) the religious factor. We can use witch burnings as an example of the complex reality. Many imagine this part of history as one of the church’s major sins. This have been popularized many times in films. But this is oversimplified. It was mainly a process led by the kings men and not the Churchs clergy. We actually see less procecutions in regions of Europe where the Power of the Church was strong and more intertvined with the state. We have writings where the church strongly opposed both a hunt for whichcraft in general and individual procecutions as well. Torture and burning of innocent women and men is awful and men of the church did many bad things (as they as individuals still can do today), and I have no intention to clear the moral stains in the history of the church. But to specially point at the church regarding burning of socalled whitches is almost a white lie.
But let’s also imagine wars and suffering that is done solely because of religious motives. And let’s be cynical and think purely about religions usefullness for a moment. It’s pherhaps like throwing away the child with the bathwater if we because of this should go to war against religion? Religion by itself have after all motivated people to work for peace and reconciliation and sacrifizing themself for the good of others. Pherhaps we instead should take a look at the use of Gods name and how human motives are mixed into the religious motives? Think about whats just theological flavor for a cause, and what is from fundamental principles in the religion? In Matthew 26, 52 Jesus said, “Put your sword back in place … for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” and in Matthew 5, 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”
In regard to superstition, it’s obviously much superstition in this world. We have a lot of religious superstition and non-religious superstition. Everything from talking about “good and bad luck” to astrology and a jumble of manmade religious systems. Some systems, like that of the Church of Scientology, we know much of the creation of and why, but With many others we don’t know this. It’s created many gods in man’s image. But the question remains nonetheless defiantly: Is there also a God who created us in his image?