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Religion As An Outlet For Violence


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I forget where I was reading this; I think it was either by Bishop Spong, or someone else. In any case, the point
being made was that religion offers believers an outlet for their anger, violence, hatred, and even greed. I suppose we would call it “righteous anger”. At least, that’s the label I’m familiar with.


Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have a “dark side” that we want to repress. But, if we are unable to repress our anger, what better way of expressing it toward our brothers and sisters than by attacking them in the name of God and religion? So we end up with all of this righteous indignation about abortion, gay marriage, welfare, wars, the economy and anything else we can think to get angry about. But it’s okay, because God is on our side in this and those who don’t agree are not only our enemies, but the enemies of God Almighty. In a sense, religion may perpetuate violence.


I think there is a lot of truth to this. We all have this dark side, by virtue of the fact that we are human. I think religion
should provide an antidote for anger and violence, not a reason to act it out.


I’m wondering if others see any truth in this.





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I agree that we need to face the emotions within ourselves. The emotions in the lower mind seem to be replaced with meaningful turning points from the higher layers, if we reach within the limits of our mind to where there is knowledge of pure being. Religion has been manipulating people with emotions for centuries so we need to approach our problems with a new attitude and a new strength. The confronting of negative emotions in ourselves assists the mind in overcoming the fear, desire, shame, hate and anger that are produced in the lower mind because these are just a few of the emotions that occupy the intellect and keep it from assisting us in enjoying the higher life. These passions impose a strait jacket upon our intuition so we listen mostly to negatives and jeopardize our future happiness. Our minds must remain free to explore, to contemplate and to evaluate higher subjects in order to gain maturity and understanding; or else we stagnate and decline. I blame the leaders of religions who do not guide people inside and instead manipulate their negative instincts to harm others.

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I think there is an element of truth, but I think this tendency can be extended beyond religion - I'm thinking politics, sports teams, certain clubs, etc.


In fact, perhaps it's just the grouping of persons together with like belief and rules itself, that then facilitates this "I'm right, you're wrong" defensiveness.

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First, I wonder if a lot of this "indignation" originates from fear of the unknown or abstract. It is so comforting to say...my faith practice is right...I am right with God...I will have happiness in the afterlife. All fine and well until one from another group challenges that assumption and rips your tree house down. I think people are more comfortable with the concrete and have difficulty embracing pluralistic approaches to God, open ended belief systems, and admitting that we simply just do not know for sure. We all want to know for sure and I personally do not see that in the cards, though I continue to look for that answer .

At the deepest levels, I think the indignation stems from fear of not being sure. Is it better to question your belief system and examine it regularly or stay in the corner and lash at any who would question it?

Finally, questioning the establishment makes it feel incredibly uncomfortable. What better way to revive the emotions in a faith and solidify its members positions and loyalty to the establishment than a good we are right, they are wrong campaign?

As an example, today as I drove to work, I listened to the Catholic Channel on Sirius. There are only three channels of the religious genre on Sirius so I swap out. The commentator attempted to tie Matthew 7:6 'Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces (NIV) to allowing the political institution to slowly eat away at abortion, marriage, and other concepts the church holds dear such as the HHS mandate. This is an attempt to stir the Catholic religious into fervor so that they will respond politically and otherwise (they are holding the Fortnight of Freedom on the capitol at this very moment).

Another fine example of a struggle to maintain relevance and bend scripture to suit whatever the cause needed. This passage, some scholars believe, is actually an admonition from Christ not to continue to waste your breath on people whose hearts have been hardened to the message you are trying to deliver. I am confident, Christ did not have abortion or gay rights to marriage in mind at the time.


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