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The Abuse of Religion to Foster Extremism Is a Universal Phenomenon

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/29/abuse-religion-foster-extremism-universal-phenomenon

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Hm…I respect Zogby’s work. And as a practical matter in US politics, I think his criticism of violent religious extremism is useful. But I don’t agree with the essentialist view of religion as intrinsically nonviolent. The ‘splitting off’ of religion as a cultural sphere separate or somehow insulated from ‘temporal affairs’ is historical and has its own socially motivated causes; and in relation to world religion, it doesn’t hold up at all - the religions of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica being one obvious case.

Rather, religion is simply one highly fungible element of culture that carries out a range of social functions - including state violence and abetting violent nationalism - depending on the setting…but that, by itself, is neither peaceable nor violent…imo…

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With Christianity and Judaism, both of those regions break the 10 Commandments daily, especially in board rooms and in war rooms. Besides, I read that Muhammad loved what the Jews practiced, but apparently some of the Jews took offense and that is why Mohammad turned people to pray facing Mecca. ( I know someone will correct me if I have this wrong ) : )
I have also read interesting things about who the god of the writings of the “bible” and other writings really is—but according to Sophia ( knowledge) he is not the real deal----he just thinks he is.
Then we have Christianity doing so many UN Christian things, like railing against a different skin color or nation, or stealing land----A person kind of wonders what kind of god comes up with some of these cruelties! I suppose that the stories are meant to be teaching moments—but honestly, I could never figure out what the story of Job was really supposed to teach people.
Here were god and satan arguing about what Job would do if he lost everything—so I am reading that 2 gods spend their free time F***ing over humans. And besides if they were all knowing , wouldn’t they KNOW how this would end? Those 2 just sound like 2 political parties ruling and ruining the lives of the many citizens today.
I agree with the writer that somehow, all religions seem to end up often with more wrongs than what they are currently complaining of! Weirdly, religions become like
political parties------and what a disappointment that is. : (

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What else is there for the King James literal police? Or the worshipers of the Koran?

I know it is unkind to say, but George, I can’t stand to look at you.

Anyone with any number of acquaintances of both the Moslem and the Evangelical persuasion realize that Moslems are just raised to be nicer people than the Evangelicals are. It’s part of the culture. But when you get the fanatics of either group, then it really goes to hell in a handbasket.

Religious Fanatic - A person whose religious dogma is more important than the well-being of actual people.

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‘Faith’ by definition is irrational belief. Why make choices between ‘good’ religion and ‘bad’ religion, why choose religion at all?

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Yes, the abuse of religion to foster extremism is a universal phenomenon. That is why notions of freedom of religion need much more careful examination. When religion becomes extremism, as is the case in a number of religions including American Christianity, people would be better off IF we had a democracy that ensured state/public actions were for the well being of all. But we don’t, and extremism rules. Politics aligns with religion and becomes extremist.
“The Abuse of Religion to Foster Extremism Is a Universal Phenomenon”, just as the abuse of economics to foster extremism is a universal phenomenon. As previous, since we don’t have a democracy, extremist economics causes massive suffering to so many millions unnecessarily. But due to the zeal of economics adherents, who’s mania’s become radicalized and disconnected by their ‘faith’, economics, just like religion, explains away its horrific contradictions, aggression, and violence under the guise of freedom and ‘righteousness’.
Reshaping cultures which promote these two extremisms is the work of life times. Cultural conformity is a major problem.

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Considering that holy books are supposed to be the inerrant word of gawd(s) why are they so open to interpretation? Funny how only those in power know the true meaning and can ignore the parts that don’t suit their agenda.

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We are damaging enablers of the promotion of other religions with unfortunate consequences when we accord respect to our favored religion and its promoters. It’s all crock: Religions are based on the gullible acceptance of, at best, extremely improbable claims: When you look past the big hats, authoritative outfits, impressive structures, and the extreme ignorance of earlier generations, there’s not much there beyond the manipulative indoctrination of the young, the ignorant and the needy.

reminds me of the line that bad people will be bad but to make good people do bad you need religion.
Can’t argue with anything he said, but there was an omission of the role of Islam inspiring violence in so many places in the world - Chechnya, Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, all over the Middle East, not to speak of Islamic inspired terrorism such as 9-11, Charlie Hebdo, Mumbai, and the like. Ignoring this major source of religious violence weakens his article.