Is all religion evil? Some people think so.
Recently, a large number of devout Muslims met in a wedding hall in Kabul Afghanistan to celebrate the birthday of their Prophet Muhammad. As they were celebrating their holy day, a suicide bomber detonated explosives among them, killing at least fifty and injuring many more.
I am not a Muslim, but I sympathize with the victims; they were innocently commemorating something that is sacred to them. The killer was a fellow Muslim, but many extreme Muslim terrorists have condemned the bombing. Some really dangerous people are appalled by what happened. They would never take it that far.
Stories like this just boost the argument that religion is an evil force in the world and it should be removed. One famous quote, apparently by Karl Marx is “Religion is the opiate of the peoples” but that might have been a common proverb in his time.
My impression of anyone who wants us to quit something, is that they want us to buy something else from them. Beware of angry Atheists; they want to recruit more Atheists, and so they condemn religion to weaken the competition. There is a fierce competition in this world for the souls of men.
It is very rare for someone to say ‘What you believe is wrong, so stop believing that and just do anything you want.’ They usually want us to join them and boost their numbers. Karl Marx and the Communists wanted people to join them.
But that does not answer the question ‘Is religion evil?’
People in religion can be very evil, including ‘ideologies’ that are atheistic. According to reliable sources, Communist Atheists hold the world records for mass murder, and Hitler and the Nazis were much less productive. The Soviet Union and Maoist China, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the North Koreans etc. were and are very good at killing people. I remember watching the movie “The Killing Fields” about the Cambodian massacres and then walking into the dark night. Most of us were terrified until we realized that we were not in the world of the movie. The drama was that compelling. Victims of Communism are estimated at “42,870,000 to 161,990,000 killed, with 100 million the most commonly cited figure.”
So, is religion evil? The common denominator is the human beings who join together to make a religion, or the people who reject religion and join an ideology. The result is always the same. Evil people do more in a group.
In the Bible; “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5) and also God said “If as one people speaking the same language, they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” (Genesis 11:6)
Any building made with bad materials is dangerous, it could collapse and hurt us. Religion made of unchanged people will just amplify those people. So, some devout Muslims met to celebrate the birthday or their prophet, and some other Muslims set off a bomb to kill them. The problem is not religion, or ideology, or the religion of Islam. The problem is us.
Human beings have a long history of failure, and organizing us into religions, or ideologies, never makes us better, even if the religion believes in good things. The good things need to live inside of us.
I am very sorry for the innocent people who suffered in the bombing in Kabul. They have my sympathy.
And I am sure that any group of humans that wants to do good in this world must be constructed from people who are changed. The record in human history shows that we will fail if God does not make new people, one at a time. I became a Christian because I did not like the person I was becoming, as a young man.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6: 9 to 11)