I’ve been accused of being hostile toward religion. Am I? Yes and no.
A hostile person is one who is antagonistic in action, thought, or principle. Am I antagonistic in action, thought, or principle toward all religions? No. Am I antagonistic in action, thought, or principle toward some religions? Yes.
I have a number of friends and acquaintances who have all sorts of spiritual and religious beliefs. Do I think some of their beliefs and practices are strange? Sure. But, their beliefs are theirs and they have every right to believe them. I am indifferent towards their beliefs. For these friends and acquaintances, spirituality and religion is personal. They have no desire or need to convert other people or argue about whose religion is the “true” one. For the most part, they live according to the Live and Let Live maxim. I would be an arrogant fool to be hostile toward this kind of religion. I know that, for many people, religion and spirituality serve a purpose. They benefit from their beliefs and practices and many of them find meaning, purpose, and direction through their religions. Each to their own.
However, there IS a kind of religion I am hostile towards:
- Religions that try to convert.
- Religions that purport to KNOW the truth.
- Religions that say they are the ONE TRUE RELIGION.
- Religions that invade the lives of others and attempt to force others to believe like they do. Religions that divide people into groups: saved/lost, believer/unbeliever, elect/non-elect.
- Religions that tout their holy book as a divine, authoritative message to humanity from their God.
- Religions that kill, rape, steal, and pillage to advance their cause.
- Religions that try to engender social strife to advance their cause.
- Religions that engage in culture wars.
- Religions that try to brainwash children, be it at home or in school.
- Religions that stir up hatred towards others because of who and what they are.
- Religions that ignore or are hostile towards the separation of church and state.
- Religions with theocratic ambitions.
It is these kinds of religions towards which I am hostile. I make no apology for this. I see the hurt and damage done by these religions and I want to strangle the life out of them, liberating those who are ensnared, oppressed, and controlled. How can I, as a sentient, caring being, ignore beliefs that cause such psychological and, at times, physical harm? Perhaps the real question is how can I NOT be hostile towards such religions?
Bruce, which religions are you talking about? You know which ones. They are not hard to spot. You don’t need a lot of schooling to know which religions fit the above description. If you need a little more insight into my hostility, please read Why I Hate Jesus.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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