Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

TEACHING RELIGION?

I found a post recently about religion in schools. I think it was for or against a particular religion. My belief is that everybody should be made aware of the significance of religion as a general concept – both at home and at school. Children quickly become aware that electricity is dangerous and that crossing the road is dangerous. They should also learn that religion, despite many beneficial effects, can be very dangerous indeed. Extreme religious beliefs can make evil actions seem good to those who hold them, and young people indoctrinated with such beliefs can take evil actions without a qualm. Religion has been an extremely powerful force both for good and evil throughout human history because it operates on the mind. Its influence can’t be ignored. Humans have a need to believe in some existence beyond death, and a need to explain in some manner the complexities of the world. The God Concept helps with both, and most human societies embrace it in some form. Then they seek to please God by doing what HE wants in the hope that HE will subsequently do what THEY want. Sadly, there have been some definitions of what HE wants that caused massacres, persecution, terrorism, etc. That’s the trouble with extreme belief. It enables you to do rather nasty things with a clear conscience because GOD WANTS IT. You can end up torturing people until they accept your religion, and then class yourself as a good guy because you have saved their souls. There are plenty of examples of religion being hi-jacked by folk clever enough to conceal their true motives. Then you get an event classified as a religious war when actually it was about something quite different – like greed.

We often talk about The Forces of Nature -Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, etc. Religion is also a Force of Nature because it springs from the nature of man. It should be treated with as much respect as other natural forces. Nature produced man: Man produced religion. Like the other forces, it is not going to go away, but understanding the way it operates can be a defence. Everybody should know about it. Everybody should be aware of the frightful things that have happened because of the bad aspects of religion. Amongst other manifestations we have had The Spanish Inquisition, Burning at the stake, The Crusades, Northern Ireland, The St. Bartholomews Day Massacre, and The Taliban. Religion is a powerful force for good but can also be twisted. Maybe it should carry a health warning. I adhere to Christianity because I think the recorded teaching of Jesus Christ is the best guide to life available today.

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