Imagine being targeted by a group formed from religious beliefs and values, and being attacked despite having doing nothing wrong but being part of a group, culture, or religion that you were born into. Why does this happen?
The first step towards any conflict, is to separate yourself from others. To have the perspective that it is not we, but me and you. We and them. Them and us. This happens all the time, all over the world whether it is a soccer game, your annoying neighbor, or in war. To paint the “enemy” with bad characteristics and distancing them from us makes it emotionally easier to harm – and even kill – persons within that group.
Different religions forms different groups all over the world, thus distancing themselves from other religions. But in my opinion, the question “is religion good or bad?” does not have a single answer.
The world is not black and white, in fact the world is all of its colors and religion can be both good and bad depending on your perspective
I believe that religion have increased the quality of life for millions of individuals all over the world, but I also believe that religion separates us into “us and them” which has caused violent attacks from one group to another.
One group in particular claims that they were formed from a religious background, and have been using their religion to support their attacks over and over again. They have been attacking specific targets over a long period of time now, and we are now well aware of their existence.
I’m talking about the members of Ku Klux Klan, or KKK for short. In over 200 years, this group has continued to use skin color as an argument to kill others. Claiming that they are basing their behavior and actions from Christian values. So are all Christians sharing the same values and beliefs as KKK? Of course not. That would be an absurd statement. The real question here is why so many people think that Muslims equal ISIS?
According to Joe White, ISIS is to Islam what the Ku Klux Klan is to Christianity. And I agree. Christianity and Islam are the two largest religions in the world with a combined fellowship of 3.8 billion people. That is more than half of the world’s population, and although it’s hard to find the exact numbers of members of ISIS and KKK, 30,000 ISIS members and 5,000 KKK members would be a good estimate, totaling around 35,000 extremist members. 35,000 corresponds to 0.0009211% of all Christian and Muslims.
Over your lifetime you are expected to meet around 80,000 persons. If you were to meet only Christians and Muslims in your life, you had to meet 110,000 of them to meet one of the extremists.
To think that all Christians supports KKK, or that all Muslims supports ISIS is not just incorrect, it is stupid.
Although many today seems to think that all Muslims are bad, there are some persons that can look beyond the incorrect, black and white statements of Islam and Muslims. Reza Aslan does not only explain the culture, but is also very clear that it is stupid to think that Muslims equals violent behavior.
The problem is not what the Bible, Quran, or any other book says, it is what we decide to read and interpret within those books that is the problem. Spending enough time, one can interpret information as they want to see it. An experiment was executed in Holland to see if a Bible that was covered as a Quran would be interpreted as a mean of violence. When people found out that the statements came from the Bible and not the Quran they were shocked, but also became more self-aware about their judgemental stance in the matter.
I don’t think that any religion breeds violence. I think that some people regardless of religious beliefs are finding reasons and excuses to do harm towards other humans, using religion as one of the tools possible to provide a reason.