My boyfriend and I were having an impassioned debate the other night about which religion is the “worst.” With this vaguely defined requirement, we of course, ran into a misunderstanding. He was referring to the ideology of the religions, while I looked at the amount of violence that was spurred from the religions. To avoid the risk of offending anyone, I’m not going to mention what specific religions we brought up during our conversations, but the conclusions we drew from the debate are what was most important.
The difference in what we each interpreted as what makes a religion “bad” illustrates perfectly what can go wrong with a religion. Religions begin with an ideology, and this, for the most part, is well intentioned. Most religions have texts that describe the moral way to live and give stories with a theme and a lesson. Many of them preach of love, peace, and forgiveness. This is wonderful and there is something to be learned from these texts, but that is not all there is to religion.
What goes beyond the original intention of the religion is how people interpret it and choose to act on it. There is no religion that is excluded when speaking of whose to blame for the horrendous violence in the world. Some are more harmful than others, but over the history of time, determining that becomes very blurred.
Religion is something that gives people hope, a sense of purpose, and peace in their own lives. This can be very positive, if it remains in their personal lives, but people can become very defensive of it, so defensive that they will resort to killing. We did not determine which religion is the “worst,” and it does not really matter, because all religions boil down to the same thing. They can have positive influences, but overall have had an atrocious impact on the world as a whole.
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