The tree of religious faith has two main branches; one fosters love and peace, but the other promotes hatred and violence. Our core beliefs can be programmed to produce either. To which limb do you belong? Are you even in the tree?
Our beliefs about reality come from our paradigm. It’s a filter that contains the judgments and values about everything, including ourselves. This filter is critical, not only on a personal level because our decisions affect the world. If we base them on bias and prejudice, we are a negative influence.
Unfortunately, this filter can be influenced and programmed by several different sources. We get harmful programming from TV shows that masquerade as news, like “Fox News.” But, this is merely a reflection of religious programming that infiltrates our culture. On top of this, we have the commercialization of our culture. Together they create the fabric of a “national folklore” that distorts the thinking of many people. (1)
Our Core Beliefs Can Be Programmed
A weapon is an object used in an offensive or defensive manner. We judge this as lawful and necessary when we use a weapon to defend or protect. But, we can also use weapons to commit crimes, and we consider this action unlawful. The line between illegal and legal is often murky.
So, the problem is the right and the wrong way to use a weapon. It is permissible to cause harm to another who is committing what the culture judges as the greater evil. The traditions of many cultures allow one person to kill another in self-defense. But, what if you could have prevented the attempt against your life without using deadly force? How do we decide? Who gets to decide?
War brings up another ethical dilemma. A declaration of action is the way a country commits mass murder. Those who act on behalf of the government must set aside their moral standards. Some religions declare war. They do this to justify killing in the name of God. It’s how our core beliefs can become weapons of hate.
The decision of what is right and wrong is a cultural standard. Religion is a weapon that can distort these standards. The result is a biased and prejudiced society.
“Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.” — Salman Rushdie
“Religion is a powerful weapon that can be used because it persuades people to do things. And thus it can be used for good or ill. But it should not be a powerful weapon at all.” — Richard Dawkins
“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.”― Jiddu Krishnamurti
Many people are subject to self-hypnosis and group hypnosis, which are the principal tools of Western organized religion. These are the most popular mythologies on the planet. They are the rebranding of the ancient mystery religions of the Medditrainian region. Today they are the Semitic religions. The three branches of this tree are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
These religions program negative bias and prejudice. They program us to judge. People will also defend these values, even if they are harmful to themselves or others. They may not make rational sense, but people still protect them. It shows us how powerful our core beliefs can be; they can override our sense of empathy and fairness. (2)
Religion is a Weapon of The Traditions
We acquire our core programming as we mature. Our families are first to install values of what is right and wrong. We learn to mirror behaviors from family and friends. Other institutions also contribute layer upon layer. They all add to and reinforce our belief system.
When we are children, we often have no choice. Our core beliefs can be a part of the traditions of our family. It is hard to reject the dominant religion in many cultures—failure to accept it results in punishment, including death. So religion is a weapon of indoctrination. The question is then, what messages is it programming?
The traditions of ancient cultures used stories ripe with metaphors and analogies to create an oral tradition. It makes the lessons memorable. But it’s important to remember that the stories are metaphors and not real things or events. Once you cross that line, then you mistake metaphors for facts.
“When we see religion split into so many thousands of sects, and I may say Christianity itself divided into its thousands also, who are disputing, anathematizing and where the laws permit burning and torturing one another for abstractions which no one of them understands, and which are indeed beyond the comprehension of the human mind, into which of the chambers of this Bedlam would a man wish to thrust himself.” ― Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson, Letter to George Logan, 12 November 1816
Our core beliefs can be programmed by organized religion because they infiltrate the culture with superstition and values. These aberrations become laws of the land. These laws are based on illogical and prejudiced value-based parameters. They can be so deep-rooted in our psyche that we have no conscious awareness of their operation. It makes them powerful motivators.
The Focus of East and West Differ
Western organized religion is the Semitic or Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These religions are the rebranding of Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions. They control most of the cultural narrative with over 4 billion members combined.
Eastern religions come from two main lines in Asia and India. The Indian line includes such systems as Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Asian traditions include Confucianism, Eastern Asian Buddhism, Shinto, and Taoism.
The Pagan religions include Druidism, All pre-Christian Celtic religions, Greek Mythological systems, Asatru or pre-Christian Norse religions. These systems are the roots of both Western and Eastern traditions. But, most group them with Eastern thought.
The core beliefs of Eastern and Western thought differ a great deal. The traditions of the East focus on self-development. They are the pioneers and storekeepers of many tools for exploring consciousness.
Western organized religion focuses on creating a cash flow system. It does this by selling mythology. These religions and their tactics for gaining and retaining members are not new. These religions are a rebranding of earlier mystery religions of the Mediterranean region.
The Vatican used these tactics to create the wealthiest entity on the planet. Christianity absorbed these money-making tactics from the ancient mystery religions. To make things easier, they assimilated their core beliefs and self-hypnosis and group hypnosis tactics. The goal was to create a cost-effective cash flow machine. Chief among these is selling the Afterlife.
Is Religion a Weapon of Love or Hate?
Religion is a weapon of the dominant cultural narrative. But does the narrative foster love or hate? The easiest way to tell is to look at the facts and results, not the propaganda. Here are some characteristics of belief systems.
1) Inconsistency in Words and Deeds
The first thing to look for is consistency or inconsistencies in the messages and behavior. If the message is inconsistent, this provides cherry-picking arguments to support any action. If the behaviors are unpredictable, this often requires illogical justification.
A significant inconsistency exists if it espouses love in one place but promotes hate and violence in another.
“Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God’s, infinite love.” ― Bill Hicks
“Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man, in general, it leads to nothing here or hereafter.” ― Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason
2) Denial of Scientific Facts
It is good to be a healthy skeptic. It is not beneficial to deny scientific hypotheses’ validity because you don’t understand science. If you don’t understand something, then seek to improve your knowledge. Do not form an opinion based on political or celebrity opinion.
Our core beliefs can become weaponized against the truth when we mistake mythology and superstition for facts.
“Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?” ― Carl Sagan
3) Using Religion to Justify Inhuman Behavior
People use religion to justify destructive behavior. They use it to justify gender, race, and ethnic discrimination. They often point to their holy texts as authority for these actions. There are religious biases and prejudice which provide people with excuses.
People will admit to the past genocides but say that those are things of the past. But, they are not; they continue to this day. They say it’s an extremist sect or denomination, but not their religion. It is the clearest example of how religion is a weapon of hate.
“People nearly always believe and are willing to back it up with weapons and cruelty, that their religion and way of life is better than the other person’s.” — Caroline B. Cooney
“I do believe that nice religious people make the world safe for extremists by teaching us that faith is a virtue, that there’s something good about holding beliefs without any substantiating evidence, that you believe because you believe. Once you buy into that, then the door is opened to extremists who defend their extremism by saying, ‘Oh well, it’s my faith, you can’t touch it, you can’t criticise my faith, I don’t even need to defend it because faith is faith.” — Richard Dawkins
Not all religions are contradictory, deny facts, or justify inhuman behavior, but some do. How do your beliefs compare to a weapon of love or hate? Our core beliefs can be programmed to support either. Does your religion program you to hate others?
Perhaps you have a completely different point of view or disagree with this analysis, please share your thoughts.
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(1) Is Weaponized Religion a Threat to Humanity? www.futurity.org/democracy-religion-politics-2586642/
(2) Religion, Spirituality, and Health: The Research and Clinical Implications https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3671693/