One way of controlling people is by force, but this is always subject to resistance. The best way to control people is to find a way of uniting them. Religion unites people, and world leaders who have instigated violence have frequently manipulated religion in order to get the people of their country to support them. If people believe that they are doing something for a just cause they can be persuaded to commit acts of extreme violence.
In Northern Ireland, Catholics and Protestants have killed and maimed each other in the name of their Christian religion. The Crusades are also mentioned as an example of Christian violence.
Can we blame Christianity for such violence? Regardless of whether or not something is done in the name of Christianity, a thing cannot be referred to as Christian unless it is in accordance with the laws of Christianity. If somebody chopped down a rainforest and said they were doing it in the name of Prince Charles everybody would know it wasn’t true, because it is the opposite to what Prince Charles believes. In the same way, anything going against what the Bible teaches is against Christianity. The Bible, in the New Testament, teaches against violence: it instructs us to turn the other cheek.
Just because somebody claims to be a Christian it doesn’t mean that they are. The Bible says that a person should be judged by their actions, not by what they say. If we judged people by what they said then all of the murderers in our prisons would have to be released, as they would all tell us they’re innocent.
If the violence of the crusades, and that of the Catholics and Protestants, can be blamed on Christianity, one can also blame football for the acts of violent hooliganism that occur.
Should we ban religion? If so, we should also ban football. Having said that, if football is just an excuse, wouldn’t football hooligans use something else as a reason for committing acts of violence? And if religion was banned wouldn’t the violent people find another cause other than religion for their violence?
There are many excuses made to justify violence: whether it’s difference of religion, nationality, colour, or accent. The colour of a man’s skin does not cause violence. Removing different nationalities, colours, or accents cannot stop violence. It is not difference that causes violence, but the intolerance of difference, regardless of how small it is.
As religion is one of the most effective means in uniting people, those who seek ultimate power and control often use religion to unite people into achieving their goals. It is the quest for power and control that causes violence. The fact that people are intolerant of difference is the cause of much of the world’s violence. If religion was removed completely there would be something else for people to fight about, regardless of how petty a matter it was.