Posted: September 3rd, 2013
Reflective writing assignment
Religion is a firm belief in a supernatural being that people attribute their existence. ‘When Religion Becomes Evil’ by Charles Kimball is an insight into the reasons why religious groups fail or become materialistic and neglect their reasons for forming the religious group, which is to get spiritual nourishment and to worship their God. The book elaborates the signs that a religion has failed in its quest for material things or ‘things of the world’ (Kimball, 17). In addition, he the book gives a vivid reason for the formation of religions in the world, which is to seek God regardless of the names used to call God. All religions were formed for positive purposes but were swayed by selfish interests of people who seek glory for themselves. ‘Terror in the Mind of God’ is a book by Mark Juergensmeyer; he elaborates to the reader the reasons behind the increasing bloodshed due to the existing differences in different religions (Juergensmeyer, 12). He explains further about how religions are not practicing what they preach because of the religious wars that are being witnessed around the world. Both books are a clear illustration off what religion has become leaving the reader or the worshiper to contemplate ceasing to engage in any religion or religious activity.
Both books are written in a world with religiously diverse people who co-exist in communities in peace. Charles Kimball emphasizes that religion is one of the greatest forces man has ever witnessed because of the impact that religion has on individuals as well as communities. People in society belief what their religions or denominations declare to be the truth or to be false. Thus, when a religion declares violence to justify a means then the religion has abandoned its sole purpose, which is to lead its faithful congregation. Queries arise as to why some religions have deviated from their purposes and have focused on the differences with other religions. He enlightens the reader to a new way of fostering agreements between different religions such that they can agree to be different and to respect each other despite of their beliefs. Disagreements are part of the human existence and thus people should not dwell religious differences but should instead thrive on such differences. He insists that the reader should not be blinded by ‘narrowness that may lead to violence’ (Kimball, 28). Such lead to false beliefs or violent behavior that has been instigated by religious leaders who justify their means by the ends or results, which might be parallel to the beliefs.
He enlightens the reader by giving indicators that religion is diverging from its purpose in society which are absolute claims whereby the religious leaders claim to be right in every way whereas humans are prone to errors. In addition, he states that blind obedience is also another indicator whereby the followers are not allowed to question certain acts by their leaders or the religion as a whole. Religions will do anything in their power to achieve their goals regardless of the means used; an indicator that religion has deviated from its purpose. Furthermore, declaration of holy war, which results in bloodshed of innocent people, is an indicator of a religion that has deviated from its purpose in society. A corrupted religion can also justify the ideal time or place to establish its religions, an indication that such a religion does not put into consideration of other institutions (Kimball, 48).
‘Terror in the Mind of God’ by Mark Juergensmeyer is a clear illustration of how religions are justifying their means by the ends. Violence and bloodshed has become a predominant feature in religion owing to the difference between various religions. Why have religions become obsessed with differences that have been in existence since pre historical era? This question draws from the current bloodshed and open hate between different religions. He attributes the violence and religious wars to the quest for recognition and power. Different religions view other religions as evil thus such an aspect is used to justify the violent means because of the claims that the violence is to eradicate the evil. Moreover, such means are used to attract more followers for the religion (Juergensmeyer, 32). However, religions can arrive at a consensus and cease the war against each other by encouraging people in the public domain to practices more religion such that people would cease the war and dwell on growing their religions. In addition, more religion would serve as a wake up call for those advocating violent means of spreading religion. Both books are written in a world with religiously diverse people who co-exist in communities in peace. Both books give clarity on the reasons why religions have been commercialized and materialistic which has resulted in violent religions that will justify their means by the ends.
Juergensmeyer, Mark. Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. Print.
Kimball, Charles. When Religion Becomes Evil. San Francisco, Calif.: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002. Print.
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