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The Opiate of the Masses MAG
“Religion is the opiate of the masses.” - Karl Marx
There are many instances of violent ignorance that result from those who blindly follow their religious leader’s teachings. In many cases this has led to unjust persecution. Just like opium, religion has dulled and skewed people’s views to the point of killing other humans.
Take, for instance, our nation’s current situation in Iraq. A few months ago I attended a convention put on by David Rovics, a singer who spreads his political views through music. He told of an instance where he wore an anti-Bush shirt. A man saw it and told him that Bush was a man of God, to which Rovics replied, “Who would Jesus bomb?”
It is a legitimate question, because Jesus wouldn’t bomb anyone. Instead he would forgive, yet his name is still used to support these actions. This is the warping effect of organized religion. It seems to say that if something goes against what the church is teaching, then it is evil and must be eliminated. There have been many instances of this, including the Crusades where thousands died to spread Christianity. Joan of Arc was persecuted for going against the word of the Church even though she was trying to serve and save this very organization.
Now in the Iraq War there are Christians who will yell for more confrontation in the name of God. I even have had a run-in with my own Baptist grandmother, who taught me to love everyone and always be forgiving. And yet, she believes that Iraqis deserve this persecution. I feel this attitude results from blind acceptance of what her religion says.
In his State of the Union address, President Bush said, “With the might of God on our side we will triumph over Iraq. God will watch over our troops and grant us a victory over the threat of Saddam’s army. God will bless us and keep us safe in the coming battle.” Bush uses God’s divine will in speeches, and the uninformed follow this sacrilege to the point of murdering Iraqi civilians.
So what should we do? Information and knowledge are key. Our religion must not conflict with our ability to think for ourselves, rather they should question if what they believe is right. This is hard, especially for those who use religion as an opiate, but it must happen, and there must be a way to inform these people.
The truth must be extracted so that religious propaganda and the truth of the situation can finally see eye-to-eye. This could be through educating religious leaders to maintain an open view, so they could pass this on to their congregations. Another solution might be to encourage free thought by not banning books, as has been done in some places. These are ways of eliciting opposing, intelligent views, and give people the chance to become educated. This would give another chance to people who need another chance, both the persecutors and the persecuted.
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Jesus criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children according to Old Testament law. Mark.7:9-13 "Whoever curses father or mother shall die" (Mark 7:10 NAB)
Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for not washing his hands before eating. He defends himself by attacking them for not killing disobedient children according to the commandment: “He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” (Matthew 15:4-7)
Death for Fornication
A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)
They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
Kill Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night
But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)
“For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19 RSV) Clearly the Old Testament is to be abided by until the end of human existence itself. None other then Jesus said so.
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There are many causes for which I would die for, but none for which I would kill.