Condemn Extremism Not Religion - (Edited for this forum)
A recent contributor to the Soapbox column made some interesting statements about the need to relegate all religion to the area of mythology. Citing the Norway killings, his premise was that religion, even moderate religion, was responsible for much bloodshed and mayhem in the world. I partly agree with him. Not about all religion being myth, but about the dangerous nature of certain beliefs.
Certain religious beliefs have indeed been the motivation behind all kinds of violence. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am appalled that some who claimed to be his followers have done some terrible things all in the name of "faith." I stand with this contributor in condemnation of those who adopt an ideology that allows them to mistreat others and commit atrocities upon their neighbors because they may not share their beliefs.
But we are missing something here. While religious extremism may have been responsible for thousands of deaths, there is another extremist ideology that is responsible for more deaths, namely secularism. In particular, militant atheism, a particular ideology, a faith that religion is bad, has been the force behind more deaths than all of religious based mayhem combined.
To what can one compare the Leninist purges of Russia where literally millions of Russians were murdered or displaced because they did not share the tenets of godless Communism? What about Nazism, led by men who were secularists, and believed wholeheartedly in Darwinian evolution, and the concept of survival of the fittest? They murdered millions!
What about the millions of Chinese people who were killed during their revolution as the Maoists especially targeted people of faith in their purges? Or consider the killing fields of Pol Pot, another atheist, who shared this contributor's belief that all religion should be relegated to mythology? As we look back at the last few decades, it is statistically verifiable that while religious extremism may have killed its thousands, secular extremism has slain its MILLIONS.
If we are to lay blame upon all religionists because of the actions of a minority, are we to blame all secularists for the atrocities committed by those who also "believe" that there is no God? Maybe we need to relegate all atheism to impracticality because of the demonstrable ties this ideology has to oppression, mass murder, and genocide.
After all, according to this contributor's reasoning, "It is the moderates that allow for the extremists through shared ideology." So are we to place guilt on all moderate secularists for the actions of some more radical secularists?
We should all condemn the kind of insanity behind the Norway mass murders. We should stand united in condemnation against Islamic extremism and so-called Christian fundamentalist extremism.
Jesus Christ taught that we are to advance our faith with words, not swords. The very worst one should fear from a follower of Christ is to be witnessed to in love, or to be courteously rebutted in the city newspaper.
Marc F. Leverett lives in Fort Collins.