The beauty of the natural world surpasses anything man has yet created. It always will. Humans keep trying and in many cases man has constructed fantastic architectural and artistic masterpieces. Many of mans creations are built to house and celebrate religious beliefs. Like the natural world these man made structures represent things both wonderful and horrible. In nature the beauty of life is countered and balanced with inevitability of death. Death ,that arrives for some creatures in a brutal ,horrible fashion.
Man,however, remains one of the few creatures that takes a life for reasons outside of natures balance. The human races number one reason to take a human life ? Hint : It begins and often occurs in the same architectural masterpieces I mentioned earlier. Yes, those same incredible religious structures have witnessed deaths, the sentencing of death and housed the dispatchers of Gods armies to wreak death and destruction on those who would believe contrary to themselves or sometimes the same as themselves.
I remember standing in the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Its a magnificent Church that dominates the Firenze skyline. A priest who stood near me asked me what I thought of the Church?
‘Bellisimo” , I said “and to think, that Jesus probably never owned more than two pairs of simple sandals in his entire life. What does he think of all this?” It was a minor question really. What I really wanted to know is what does Jesus think of all this killing in his fathers name? But the priest had left .
The New Testament gives many references to God ,the big guy himself, actually terminating a lot of folks. If the numbers are right in the Bible it gives God credit for about 2,392,000 deaths. A few million more in his name for just cause shouldn’t really get God upset should it? I don’t know?
I visited several Mayan temples this winter in Mexico and Belize. Fantastic temples that among other things were home to human sacrifice. In some cases the beneficiaries of death for the noble cause were not just losers from the opposing force or virginal beauties but the winning captains of ball teams. That, is a tough win.
In Mexico City, at the main Aztec temple of Tenochitlan the priests practiced a religious ritual that had them cutting the hearts out of their live victims at the incredible rate of perhaps 1000 people a day.
Makes Catholicism, the current religion of choice in Mexico seem pretty mild. I could name a hundred examples of death by religion.There are so many. Here are the major players and their numbers:
- Christianity: 2.1 billion
- Islam: 1.5 billion
- Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
- Hinduism: 900 million
- Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
- Buddhism: 376 million
- primal-indigenous: 300 million
- African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
- Sikhism: 23 million
- Juche: 19 million
- Spiritism: 15 million
- Judaism: 14 million
- Baha’i: 7 million
- Jainism: 4.2 million
- Shinto: 4 million
- Cao Dai: 4 million
- Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
- Tenrikyo: 2 million
- Neo-Paganism: 1 million
- Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
- Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
- Scientology: 500 thousand ( includes1000 movie stars)
The simple ratio of numbers would suggest that Christians have probably killed more people in support of Christianity than any other religion. Exceptions would appear in the form of Quakers but even the Scientologists could kick their asses.
I have no idea which religion if any has the right to kill another human being because they differ in religious beliefs. The sixth commandment seems pretty clear on this one, Thou shalt not kill.
So ,maybe God is the only exception to this rule ? It was pointed out to me a few years back that even God was merciful when dealing with major sinners. Take the Sodomites. Please. God sent two Angels down to Sodom to warn the only four righteous people in town to get out of there before it was too late.
My question remains as it has in all these merciful examples. What of the innocents? Children too young to know anything of the evils of the world or simply born into a bad choice in religion. What happens to them?
Reconstituted back into the “correct” religion or just kicking back listening to the all time best childrens story teller of all time, Jesus Christ. Either way,sounds good to me.
As far as killing in the name of God ? I have a hard time getting my head around that one. I do know this.You try and kill me and I am going to do my best to see that you get to explain your actions to God long before I have to.
When I do face my inevitable end will I do everything I can to hang on? You bet. Thats the way it is with most humans. The natural world is worth hanging around for,if even just for one more day. An example of this was the diagnoses last year of Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens. A 68 year old man of God who had two types of cancer,diabetes and his recent hepatitis was going to necessitate a liver transplant.
The man was to say the least in poor health and by all religious ratings a shoe in for Greek Orthodox Heaven.Nevertheless the Archbishop was going for the surgery, heaven could wait.
Would God meet the Archbishop when his time came dressed as a female Whirling Dervish ? That would be funny and I believe God despite having smote more than 2.4 million people does have a sense of humor.
He created us and that, I have little doubt, has been the best practical joke ever played.