If we consider all the death and destruction done throughout history in the name of God or gods, a number of things are possible if a deity really does exist. One, they are a bloodthirsty SOB. Two, they are unable to stop violence done in their name. Three, they don’t care what we do to each other. Four, the world is exactly the way they want it. Five, and this is important, having free will is far more important than any harm we can do to each other. Yeah, I’m sure that’s very comforting to the victims of the 9/11 attacks. “Hey, don’t get upset that terrorists killed your family. They’re just collateral damage in the name of free will.”
The fifth point, as everyone who knows anything about philosophy or theology knows, is referred to as the Free Will Defense and is most often turned to by the theist to allow for so much evil in the world. Yet, if any god did create the universe and everything in it, they are ultimately responsible for the existence of evil, not humans. Sorry, there’s just no way around that. With this being true, the remaining possibilities may be just as likely. If a god can’t or doesn’t want to stop violence, then evil must have a practical use. Say, anyone up for a crucifixion?
Let’s take a very, very brief look back upon the history of religiously inspired violence. Do we have to? No, but gee whiz, it sure is interesting.
· The ancient Mayans were known to practice human sacrifice to please their gods. These sick bastards would rip your beating heart out and show it to you before you died, thousands of years before Mortal Kombat was only a game.
· Ptolemy Philedelphus had the Catholic Church attack and burn down the Great Library at Alexandria in 391 CE to suppress learning and knowledge. Millions of scrolls and scriptures are lost over a friendly and divine marsh mellow roast.
· Between 500-1000 CE, Christianity gleefully ignites the Dark Ages. Science, medicine, education, art, and history are demonized while the Church amasses land and wealth through force.
· 891-903 CE, murder and corruption leads to 10 popes over 12 years and eventually 40 popes over 100 years. This leads to speculation that it is not so good to be the Pope.
· Through 1000-1500 CE the Church resists the Enlightenment, launching the Crusades to teach those pesky Jews and Muslims one final lesson.
· The Reformations through 1500-1700 CE attempt to purge Europe of pagan elements, but instead sparks a schism when Martin Luther opposes the Church with a (Protestant) Reformation of his own. The animosity between warring denominations stains Europe with blood. On St. Bartholomew’s Day (1572) 10,000 Protestants are slaughtered in France. Animosity continues to this day in Ireland. (It is also during this time period when the idea of the devil and demons are clearly defined by the Church. The elaborate concept spawns a 300 year long period of witch-hunts. Women are scapegoated as the Church fails to maintain control of the masses. Millions are speculated to die thanks to the hunts. Religious leaders even demand that animals associated with paganism be put to death, such as cats and owls, animals that control rodent populations. Plagues soon explode across the continent.)
· Since the creation of Israel by the UN in 1948, Muslims and Jews have been blowing each other to bits over disputed Holy Lands. (Sure, it’s all more complicated than that, but the two sides being uber-religious doesn’t exactly help negotiate peace.)
· In the 1980’s and 1990’s, abortion clinic bombers and shooters claim moral authority to justify murdering abortion clinic doctors and workers. They are soon discovered to believe that one plus one equals whatever their version of God says it is.
· In 1995, Master Asahara (a Christian Buddhist, whatever that is) attacks a Tokyo subway with nerve gas in an attempt to set off Armageddon. He fails.
These are just a few examples among hundreds…of thousands.
The reasons for religious violence are not just anybody’s guess. For most anyone, being violent creates the illusion of power. With a god in tow any horror can then easily be justified or excused. Remember, the gods are generally supposed to be all-powerful and humans, being of lower stock so-to-speak, are the messengers of those gods. Too bad in their urge to make anything but peace, these messengers instead identify themselves as soldiers. In due time, when a movement to spread a message inevitably begins to collapse or fail, there becomes an inclination to commit greater and greater evil. Religious insanity escalates most painfully in the final, hopeless moments of the struggle to enforce belief, when the power of a god becomes the primary resource at hand. The current race for the 2015 Republican party candidacy for U.S. president is evidence of this.
Are there ever times when these instances of violence are justified? Self-preservation can fuel such emotion, but that’s a human response, not a divine one. Yet, why people should use God to justify self-preservation makes little sense if they believe they’ll go to heaven anyway. In that case, wouldn’t you want to die? If you want to blow yourself up with 20 sticks of dynamite, fine, but now you’ve got two dead people, me and you. Wouldn’t it be more tolerable for the believer to try and persuade me into accepting their religion? Of course it would, except that religions are by nature exclusionary, just another means by which groups of people divorce themselves from others.
Do any of us want to die for the beliefs of others? I don’t want to die for what other people believe in. I’m not a puppet in any god’s sick puppet show to be controlled or maimed through the use of force. I wasn’t designed to be a contender in an unholy, cosmic game of Battle Bots. Some theists however thoroughly disagree and those people need to be eliminated with extreme prejudice. My holy scriptures would surely tell me so.
So what do you say; have we all had enough of having been given life by some supposed Creator who ironically calls for us to kill each other? Surely any god who endows a universe with evil is not reconcilable with a peaceful world. For all of you taking a moment out of your busy schedules to pray for world peace, stop. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
I mean it when I say I am tired of the excuses and I’m sure not going to let any god off the hook for the existence of evil. Lots of people say they want world peace but I don’t see them doing anything about it. I want world peace too; or at least one where only socially acceptable outlets for our primitive, violent tendencies are allowed. So I’m going to do something about it.
I’m calling God out; any god, you name ‘em. Anytime they want to duke it out with me in the ring for the fate of the world, I’ll be happy to punch their stupid face in, bite their ear off, and eat their babies. Now if only Don King wouldn’t screw me out of my hard-won purse, the world would be a better place.