26 f) Review of major belief systems – The Good, the not so good & the ugly
The Good: Churches & Denominations of each have accomplished a great deal of good overall. Espousing moral & ethical behavior is indeed laudable. Living our lives using the behavior of Jesus, Gandhi or Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha) as examples would resolve all of our issues. Some denominations encourage their faithful to assist others that are less fortunate and organize to accomplish this. If we had an inventory list of the good that has been accomplished by churches it would be impressive.
The not so good: Unfortunately there have numerous denominations that have taken the organization of a faith based dogma to an extreme. Fringe interpretation of so called “scriptures” by over-zealous true believers does not further the cause of harmony among humanity. Everyone is entitled to buy-in to whichever system of beliefs that they find acceptable, regardless of how over the top it appears to the rest of us. However, when those same persons decide to impose their beliefs on others then I object. There are literally thousands of religious sects/denominations. Who among us is so wise to pick out the true belief system? If I was born in Pakistan there is little doubt that I would have been programed in Islam and no doubt I would have been a zealot. If a current Islam resident of Pakistan was raised here there is a high degree of probability that he would be raised in one of the Christian based faiths. Think about it, please.
The ugly: There is an excellent reason that our Constitution espouses the separation of church and state. How many wars and terrorist attacks are based on different faith based views where a country (or significant portion of a country)? In fact the primary reason for armed conflict is to further the cause of a country or group to gain power and territory. It should surprise no one that religious belief systems have been used in this regard. The Torah is full of examples of conflict that were essentially based on different beliefs. Constantine recognized the value of controlling a belief system to further his political and economic ambitions. The Crusade was a faith based conflict. The inquisition tortured and murdered thousands in the name of God. Over time literally hundreds of millions of people have been murdered in the name of whichever “god” this or that group was championing.