Religion is the root of all evil

Something about presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just comes off a little queer to me. The way he lives his life, I just don’t know if I can approve of it. That he does it so openly and freely, without a care in the world — I mean, how do I explain this to the children who see him on television? How do I tell them that Mayor Pete is… religious?

That most major religions have the same basic general story, and we all pretend like one fairy tale is superior to another one is a lesson in absurdity. But, if religion was just something people did quietly amongst themselves and then they left everybody alone, I wouldn’t mind.

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Growing up, religion is something that was never in my life. I didn’t give it a second of thought until I was around 11 or 12 and I thought to myself “Do I believe in God?” I came to a very quick conclusion. I’m the opposite of the Monkees hit: I’m not a believer.

I’ve been to church twice. The first was in seventh grade. I spent the night at a friend’s house, and had to go to church with them before I could leave. On the drive there, his mom gave me a quick synopsis of the main characters and key plot points. The second was in 2016, when I was a reporter in Luray, Virginia, and I was required for an article to attend a service at a predominately African American church. Two very different experiences, both rooted in ridiculousness.

Scores of people went to movie theaters and viewed the latest Avengers film, and many stayed at home and watched the latest exploits from Westeros. They enjoyed time with their favorite fictional characters, and then they didn’t try to judge others or take away their rights. I think superhero movies are lame, but the people who watch them are harmless, so I have no qualms with them. Religious people are not harmless, and for the most part they are what’s wrong with this world.

Is there a single non-religious argument against abortion? Without citing a passage in The Bible, can anybody give a good reason why same-sex marriage is wrong?

I can give you this: The Ten Commandments, most of those are pretty reasonable, and a good way to live your life. Don’t kill. Don’t steal. Listen to your parents. Don’t… say goddamn? That one’s a little random, but okay. If you want to base your life around a book, go for it. The self help industry is built on that. Just don’t be a pompous blowhard and try to judge everybody who thinks and feels differently than you do.

The true irony in a lot of this is that the Christian Right — typically the worst of the worst — love to drone on about radicals from other religions. They really need to start examining their own more closely.

The most recent case of radicalized Christianity in the news was John Earnest, the man who brought a gun into a California synagogue, April 27, and killed one, while injuring others. Earnest wrote a seven-page manifesto. The Washington Post reviewed his words and had them analyzed by clergymen. To them, it was a shocking conclusion: Earnest’s views and writings on Christianity really weren’t that out-of-touch or extreme.

“You actually hear a frighteningly clear articulation of Christian theory in certain sentences and paragraphs. He has, in some ways, been well taught in the church,” said the Rev. Kuke Kwon, a Washington pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America, in the Post article.

Obviously, he was mentally disturbed, and took things to an extreme level by blaming Jews for the death of Jesus and the downfall of civilization. But, it does need to be said that without religion in Earnest’s life, this attack would not have happened.

And, that’s not even the worst Jew-killing spree in a synagogue in the last year. Robert Bowers, in October 2018 killed 11 worshipers and injured six more, including two police and two SWAT officers.

It really seems like most of the atrocities in the world are in some way rooted in religion. The Holocaust, anybody? I don’t know where you were on Sept. 11, 2001, but like they tell us — #NeverForget.

It’s not just Christianity that I’m against. It’s all religion. It seems to be the root cause of evil, pain, and suffering in this world. Why are Muslim women treated the way they are? Why are genocides happening because of ISIS? And, I would hope we’re all on the same page with our feelings on the Catholic Church’s many scandals.

Like John Lennon said, “Imagine there’s no Heaven, it’s easy if you try.” Close your eyes and picture a world with much less unnecessary hatred, bigotry, judgement, abuse, or murder. Without religion there would be no more mega churches and mega-rich con men masquerading as preachers. Kids wouldn’t be scared to come out to their parents. Women wouldn’t have to walk past screaming protesters on their way to a clinic. We could all be happy. To quote Lennon once more, “Imagine all the people living life in peace.”

Journalist. Published locally and globally.