One of the greatest curses of being a writer is that I can never accept anything at face value. I can’t read a news article about a war in a foreign land and blindly accept that my Government’s reasons for doing battle are all morally righteous. I can’t palate bullshit television shows about strangers who are married at first sight, or appreciate subpar art created for the soul purpose of marketing and product distribution. And I especially cannot tolerate, nor accept the mindset of fucking cowards who hide behind their religion or creed to spread messages of hate or fulfill selfish agendas.
Oh yes…It’s been a little while since we’ve tackled religion here on The Renegade Press. I’ve had a brief reprieve from having my face plastered across religious websites where they label me as a monster or a heathen for promoting tolerance. It’s about time that I give the close-minded another reason to vilify my work.
A religion is a set of philosophies concerning the nature, cause, and purpose of the universe. These beliefs are governed by a moral code, and include upon other things, ritual and devotional observances. Yet while we typically equate the concept of faith with a God; religion need not include a divine entity in the skies above, or buried in the earth below.
For some, their religion is science, or literature, economics, family, or any number of other credence. One of the most disheartening statements that any man or woman can make is to say that they are not religious by nature; because in doing so they are stating that they believe in nothing. And to believe in nothing is to live an existence so hollow that one can only imagine the depths of their loneliness.
But that’s enough of the fancy introductions. Let’s cut to the chase and get to the crux of what this article is meant to be about. Despite my sincere belief that the concept of faith encompasses far more than gods and deities, for the purpose of this post I am focusing primarily on society’s conventional definition of religion and taking a swipe at men and women who use their god(s) as a means of justifying their own bloodlust.
Contrary to popular belief there is not a religion on the face of this earth that wishes for its disciples to bring harm upon another being. The easy target when trying to debunk this statement in our current geopolitical climate of fear and hostility would be to target the Islamic faith. Every single day the media bombards us with stories of attacks against non-Muslims by militant forces and lone wolves. By simply watching the evening news one could easily become convinced that these entities are waging a Jihad against the western world. We are told that we are being drawn into a holy war based on ideology and extremism. And yet the word jihad has absolutely nothing to do with warfare.
In a purely linguistic sense, jihad means to struggle, or to strive. It is the practice of religion in the face of persecution and oppression; the idea of military effort and the often misquoted concept of spreading the word of Islam by sword is referenced as a means of last resort in the Quran. When we consider the manner in which western media often treats the Muslim faith, this definition of devotion in the face of adversity says more about the fortitude of the observer than it does about extremism and bloodlust.
So how is it that society has come to equate an idea of serving one’s beliefs in the face of ignorance and bigotry as extreme? Well, it’s simply a result of a few bad eggs tarnishing the name of a faith that has led us to see evil where there is none. The Quran explicitly forbids Muslims from instigating hostilities, indulging in acts of aggression, violating the rights of another human being, or harming the innocent.
When you see an act of aggression carried out in the name of Islam on the evening news, it has nothing to do with faith or religion. It’s a malicious deed committed by a morally devoid piece of shit who chooses to use a misunderstood culture as a scapegoat for their own wicked urges.
Any man or woman who thinks that their religion or their God wishes for them to harm another human being, or to inspire terror in their fellow man is a bottom feeder. Any person who believes that the best way to spread their ideology is through aggression and force, be they a Muslim, Christian, Police Officer, Politician or whatever else is not only misguided, but fundamentally and morally damaged. To judge the value of someone’s life based on their color or creed is sickening. And to target the innocent because of an ethical or political grievance you have with their country or government is the deplorable actions of a fucking pussy.
Oh shit. Did Chris just call out a bunch of overzealous religious crusaders and lend an olive branch of tolerance to a religious ideology that he has no ties to?
You better believe that I did. After spending the better part of twenty-seven years trying to understand my own religious compulsions I am coming to the realization that I am a humanist. My religion celebrates men, women, and children, valuing them based on their individual characteristics and not dogma and petty superstition.
I refuse to pigeonhole people based on their spirituality and faith. Instead I judge an individual based on their willingness to be selfless and provide benefit to the lives of their fellow man without expecting something in return. If you are a bigot, a cheat, or a liar, what faith you subscribe to has no relevance in my distaste for you. Likewise if you are an honest, caring, and compassionate human being; your creed won’t influence my admiration of the positivity of your traits.
As a humanist I deplore closed minds and struggle to associate with people who are unwilling to accept another belief structure simply because they don’t take the time to educate themselves and understand it. There is no such thing as a violent religion. But there are violent people who misconstrue their own faith and take what is supposed to be an understanding of the universe and turn it into cause for warfare.
Jihad is not a holy war. Hatred is not a viable future for mankind. And violence is portrayed by the bitter angels of our nature. Whether you choose to agree with me or not, the truth is that only a coward would dare maim another in the name of their religion.
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