What does one believes apart from another is rather a common matter in a society that is existing alongside thousands of different religious affiliations worldwide. Relatively, it is said that religion is a binding element. However, with the existence of so many religions, it s also considered that the same element hoped to bring in peace around the globe also does create the most complicated conflicts through time. In relation to how history places it, religion has been used as a reason for different empires [specifically the Roman empire] to go on conquering several areas and territories around the globe. Due to the fabrication of belief and making known to the people of ‘pagan’ descent that they are being presented with a better option of worshipping god, these individuals in the past began accepting what the conquerors had to offer. For others, such an acceptance is not an option, hence they begin killing for the sake of protecting their own beliefs.
Religious Division at Present
At present, the same situation continues. True, no huge empires are trying to gain control over the majority of the nations anymore, nevertheless, the condition of thinking towards the desire of assuring one’s belief to be more accurate than that of the other continues to live on. This has created several conflicts between different small groups around the globe hence causing chaotic social conditions. Question is, it really religion or the capacity of humans to react to the pressure of their belief being challenged by others that causes wars and social chaos?
Every person has the desire to be ‘right’. Naturally, being right gives a person the chance to set himself apart from the others. The existence of philosophical definitions about the existence of a real god even made such condition of being ‘right’ specifically problematic in so many terms. Who is god? Is there a god? Who is the real god? These questions often hover the mind of individuals and when they begin to accept one religion to be true, embrace it as they own, they begin to stick to what it teaches to be ‘true’. Convinced that they are being guided by the right religion, it is impeccable that they would consider other beliefs to be a wrong. Of course, if there is one that is right, then all others ought to be wrong. The problematic condition of the matter is that out of the thousands of established religions worldwide, each individual believes that he belongs to the right religion while considering the others to be wrong. With such manner of thinking, it is often assumed that religion does create the division and worse, the distinct chaotic argumentations between individuals in the society.
Some other groups, who preach and teach what they believe in are then assumed to be doing what religion should actually be for. Among the thousands of religious groups, there are those that intend to reach out to others in the society. They intend to teach others and convince them that their ways could still be improved, their lives could still be developed if they do have a change of heart and accept a new form of religious belief to guide them in their lives. At this point, the battle begins to straddle on who has the most number of members. There are those who boast about their religion, hoping to win the attention of others with regards their being ‘true’ through presenting how many they are already and what types of members they have in the church. In a way, religion, in this context, is founded upon the principles of self-pride. Its importance is then measured through the statistical records that define its validity, its strength and its position in the society based on the number of people who follows its path. This however is only one among the many facets of religious conflicts that often lead to social chaos among individuals who are associated with different religious affiliations. Most often than not, such condition of thinking even lead to oppression, discrimination and sometimes even to an extent of violent outbursts against each other.
Implications of Learning
In a larger context, religious beliefs are also utilized to define the position of one group against the general position of the society with regards particular maters such as that of peace, balance and the right to live. The Islamic belief in particular, is based on the five pillars of their faith. Relatively, such pillars define the being of each individual and how closely he observes the involvement of Allah and his teachings in relation to his personal decisions and behavior. Notably, such decisions include how he is supposed to deal with others in the society, including with those who do not believe in the same state of teachings that he is strongly holding on to. Among modern age believers of the Islamic principles are those who strongly impose the need to purify humanity. Such purification process does give way to the justification of any particular violent attack that they might impose on anyone or any group of individuals they may judge to be likely against such process of cleansing the society.
It is assumed that the attack of the 9/11 bombing in the United States is one proof that such purification is a serious consideration for those belonging to the Islamic group of countries. Their strong resistance to the teachings of the west which many Muslims consider to be abhorrent of the real basis of purity often leads to consistent consideration on how they are to handle conflicts with those whom they consider as their ‘enemies’. Although it is not pinpointed that most terrorists attacks come from the members of the modern-day Islamic believers, it is undoubted that stereotyping their members to be terrorists in the face of war trials has become a common practice among nations and international agencies holding them as captives even though they may not have been proven guilty yet. It is undeniable that one of the reasons why they are considered to have the most dependable source of hatred strong enough to cause them to establish terroristic movements against others is that of their belief and their religious affiliation. Is it considered injustice? Relatively, it should be, however, because it involves the safety and security of the majority of the members of the population around the world, such condition of thinking is accepted as rather necessary although unethical in many grounds.
Wars on religion that are huge enough to define the fact that it is the division of the belief of people on a divine being and how he directs them to live their lives may not be that specifically obvious yet. Nevertheless, the small conditions of chaotic reactions due to such differences bring about a sense of distinction on specific groups being oppressed and stereotyped as members of the society who care less about the security of others so long as they are able to identify their position in the community as the ones belonging to that ‘one true religion’.
In consideration to all these particular discussions, it could specifically be identified that it is human nature that could be understood as something that brings about a sense of conflict and not religion per se. The mind set of individuals in relation to gaining that one specific recognition of being the right ones especially when it comes to that vital belief on the existence of a divine being who is able to direct and guide the human population in the way they are supposed to live their lives. Religion is only a driving force, a contributory factor that affects the thinking of human individuals. It is an innate desire for humans to be considered and recognized to be ‘right’; the relation to the context of this topic, it could be analyzed how such innate desire brings about the manner by which individuals become specifically heated up to defend what they believe in.
When such desires are further motivated, used and directed to becoming more evident in affecting the lives of others, it is possible that such thinking capacity is used to establish division between each other. In this particular understanding of the matter, it could be realized how it is the mindset of each person that produces the occurrences of war; it is not religion hat has been directly used. But it is identified to contribute to the conditions by which the individuals respond to the challenge of establishing what they believe in and convincing others that what they are doing is something that has been directed by a divine being. Relatively, it could then be asked, is it possible that religious wars could be ended if the manner of thinking of each individual is changed?
The reason why religion is considered to have a strong grip on every individual’s personal being is that it binds with his way of thinking. From such manner of thinking comes relative reactions. Hence, it is assumed that with the change of attitude and with the realignment of thinking, humans could still respond differently when it comes to understanding how religion could actually affect the being and the decisions of a person or a group of people especially when it comes to making distinctive relationship with others. Nevertheless, such condition of adjustment may not be that easy to give consideration to. Relatively, it is human nature that needs to be realigned and doing such particular form of adjustment cannot be easily handled and at some point, it could be considered even impossible. Nevertheless, even though such option is considered impossible, it still remains strongly dependable that such condition of distinction specifically imposes that it is indeed the context of human thinking that makes religious wars existent and not religion itself.
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Cavanaugh, William (2009). The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict. Oxford University Press.
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Guggenberger, Anthony, A General History of the Christian Era: The Papacy and the Empire, Vol.1, (B. Herder, 1913), 372.