In a practice that exacerbates self-doubt and creates a utopian reality, humans, when confronted with life’s vicissitudes, reflexively turn to religions. Not surprisingly, this predisposition is condemning humanity to a revolving cycle of false hope, fanaticism, and self-destructive mentality, as religious philosophies are generally considered the prescribed cure to helplessness. Therefore, separating existential uncertainties from shallow religious philosophies must be addressed in a constructive approach that takes into consideration this apparent human’s frailty. Far from advocating an obscure anti-clerical philosophy, atheism, or orthodoxy in theological matters, I am of the view that religion, the glue that holds many societies, is of humans, by humans and fundamentally detrimental to humanity, therefore devoid of divine legitimacy.
For the last four decades, interfaith dialogues among the world’s major religions have dominated the ecumenical world in a way that would have been unthinkable a century ago. Did God ordain this theologically unsound practice or have religious establishments, like many worldly institutions, adopted the road of political correctness? If the scriptures, which many hold sacred, still form the basis of Christianity, then political correctness has superseded the word of God. Certainly, orthodoxy in religion is responsible for many atrocities committed in the name of God. The persecutions of the Jewish people, the Christian Crusades against infidels and Islam’s strict edict against apostasy are the most palpable examples. Regardless of that fact, acknowledging other religious philosophies violated God’s commandment not to commiserate with infidels, and the prevailing practice must be repudiated or, at the very least, questioned.
Modern Christian theologians see this development in terms of inevitability because our interdependent and multicultural world makes it all but impossible for a particular religion to ignore the others. Be that as it may, the resulting interfaith dialogue negates the absolutism of the word of God, which constitutes the foundation of, not only, Christianity but also Islam and Judaism. Moreover, the practice makes the Creator an expedient compromiser who failed, in His omniscience, to foresee such worldly development. Surprisingly, the ecumenical dialogue does not include animism which is present in every country on earth and rightly regarded by British anthropologist Sir Edward Burnett Tylor as the most primitive and essential aspect of religions. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that established religious philosophies are superficial bonds holding nations and cultures rather than divine edicts that must be followed blindly. Not surprisingly religious-inspired philosophies are responsible for the most horrific deeds perpetuated on humans by humans, therefore a permanent threat to humanity.
Take for example, the Western nations’ avowed determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons under whose rationale the security of Israel is prominently displayed. The religious connotation is hard to miss. The Iranian Mullahs’ utter disdain for the Jewish state is equal to their stated intention not to submit to the dictates of the Christian-dominated western civilization, which they perceive as inherently hostile to Islam. Accordingly, the conflict is about religious animosities between Islam, on one side, and Christianity and Judaism, on the other.
To Westerners, a hypothetical Iranian nuclear bomb failing into the hands of Islamic terrorists constitutes an indisputable threat to the Christian-dominated civilization. Muslims’ aggressive foray into the bastions of Western civilization, Britain, France, Germany and the U.S, indeed represents a latent threat that must be stopped before the onslaught is backed by an expansionist, theocratic and nuclear-armed Iran determined on advancing the causes of Islam. Conclusively, the West’s stated intention to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is self-serving and has anything to do with the security of Israel. Likewise, the Israelis, whose forebears had consistently been persecuted for their religious beliefs by none other than their today’s Christian allies, bear no illusions to the extent of their expendability. In that regard, the extent of the Israelis’ trust in their western allies is equal to which they hold the Iranians not to obliterate Israel with a weapon of mass destruction.
Though it is hard to differentiate a Pakistani Muslim and an Indian Hindu, a Christian and Muslim Indonesian, a Protestant and a Catholic Irish, an Arab and a Jew and a Muslim and a Christian Nigerian, religious-inspired slaughters continue to wreak havoc in our interdependent world and have replaced ethnic hatred as the scourge that could bring the demise of humankind. That, arguably, makes the case for a thorough reassessment of religion as we know it before the next religious crusade takes humanity to a point of no return. With their emphasis on brotherhood among adherents, religions, no doubt, played a constructive role in human development. However, the major religions have outlived their usefulness as they now become the focus of intolerance and evil in our modern world, with each professing to be the only divinely inspired truth. Though a world without religions might not be much different than the present one, the intolerance and fanaticism associated with religious beliefs could be a thing of the past.
Racial, cultural and ethnic idiosyncrasies imply that many human behavior are inherent not superficial and any attempt at forging uniformity through religions would therefore fail. Apparently, many heads of religious denominations and like-minded theologians have taken upon themselves the responsibility, if not the right, to reinterpret an implicit commandment of the Creator. By compromising on the fundamental tenet of their faith, which decrees that adherents of other faiths are infidels that should be shunned, the world’s monotheistic religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, have lost credibility and legitimacy.