Although there is some sort of general loss of confidence in religion today, many people believe that religion instills love and brotherhood. Of course, on the individual level there have always been noble lives lived by all types of religious people. But what do facts reveal about this world’s religions in general? What, for example, is religion’s record in relation to war—the very opposite of love and brotherhood?
The record of suffering, cruelty and bloodshed caused or blessed by religion is frightful. Such wars involving various religious groups are often referred to as “holy wars”. In such wars, members of a particular religion rape, kill, and commit unbelievable atrocities on members of another religion (who are human beings like themselves).
Back in 1208 C.E., Pope Innocent III organized a special crusade against a religious sect called the Waldenses, followers of Peter Waldo, a French merchant. Waldo had denounced the luxury of the clergy.
According to historian Wells, the Pope’s crusade sanctified “the enlistment of every wandering scoundrel to carry fire and sword and rape and every conceivable outrage among the most peaceful subjects of the King of France. The accounts of the cruelties and abominations of this crusade are far more terrible to read than any account of Christian martyrdoms by the pagans.”
This is but a few brief accounts of the many wars caused or supported by religion in the past. What about today?
Make a jump to our sister country – Nigeria – where communal brutality is fixing Muslims against Christians, in spite of the fact that such people might as well be neighbors. From time past, there have been serious tensions between Christians and Muslims in the northern part of the country (Nigeria). Thousands, if not millions, of people have lost their lives in connection with this and many other religious riots.
Interestingly, all these religious bodies teach their members how to love one another, show kindness & compassion, and above them all, treat their fellow human beings like themselves.