I was bought up in a church-going household, but despite a concerted effort in my early teens, following the death of my father, I couldn’t get my head around the concept of religion. There were too many despicable and unimaginable acts being carried out in the name of God on a global scale.
Religious-motivated atrocities are chronicled in the Old Testament and throughout history. In more recent years, the heinous crimes carried out by Al Qaeda and ISIS. Crimes too horrendous to imagine, all carried out in the name of God. Why would I want to be a part of that?
Two such atrocities have happened very recently and within a few days of each other.
Lyra McKee, a 29-year-old journalist with her life stretched out in front of her, was standing by a police vehicle observing rioting in Londonderry’s Creggan estate when a gunman opened fire and shot her in the head.
The New IRA has admitted responsibility, offering ‘full and sincere apologies‘ to Lyra’s family and friends. An apology for the senseless killing of their unarmed daughter?
Does the person who pulled the trigger have a conscience? Random violence and killing, is not going to bring about a United Ireland, which is what the IRA purportedly want.
As Father Martin Magill said at Lyra’s funeral, ‘I dare to hope that Lyra’s murder on Holy Thursday night can be the doorway to a new beginning. I detect a deep desire for this.” I really hope that he is right.
Three days later, on Easter Sunday, seven ISIS suicide bombers took the lives of over 250 people in Sri Lanka, including, at least, 42 foreign nationals. Once again, they chose the softest of targets.
Three Christian churches packed with worshipers on the day of a major religious festival and three luxury hotels where guests were sitting down to enjoy breakfast.
Dozens of children lost their lives. How can any religious organisation justify carrying out such horrendous acts in the name of God?
Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror among masses of people; or fear to achieve a religious or political aim. WIKIPEDIA
You can’t get much more indiscriminate than blowing up defenceless men, women, and children.
I can’t imagine what it is like to live with such intense feelings of hate and being driven to brainwash suicide bombers to do their dirty work for them.
As 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai sat on a bus in the grounds of her school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, a gunman shot her in the head. After proudly claiming responsibility, the Taliban told the world that the teenage education activist’s work represented “a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter”. The “obscenity” was the education of girls. Jane Caro
Fortunately, Malala survived her murder attempt carried out by a lone masked gunman and has gone on to become an activist for female education, as well as the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. She is an inspiration to us all.
Hate is so often fueled by religion. How I wish it wasn’t so, then maybe I could reassess my belief.
I am a pacifist and I believe there is no place on our fragile earth for gratuitous violence, especially the slaughter of innocent people, in the name God.
If I pray for anything, I pray for global peace.
Re the Sri Lankan massacres: Humanity is starting to look to me like a bad equation. Every time superstition triumphs over actual spirituality, I fear for my species. Stephen King