What defines a true believer?
Chuck Doswell - date unknown
When I bring up examples of religious believers who say and do horrible
things, including violence (like the mass murderer in Norway, Anders
Behring Breivik), I’m told by my mainstream believer friends that this
person can’t be a “true” christian believer. The same can be said
for muslim extremists: islamic terrorists can’t possibly be true
muslims, I hear. What validity does this have? Who gets to
write the definition of a true believer?
Be they christian, jewish, or muslim, believers all base their beliefs
on their “sacred” scriptures of choice: the bible, the torah, and the
quran. What mainstream (or moderate) believers do, as opposed to
fundamentalists who accept every word in their scriptures literally, is
to pick and choose their beliefs within their sacred texts. They
choose to ignore, for example, the calls for violence to be perpetrated
on unbelievers, all the misogyny, the damning of homosexuals, and so
on. In effect, each person can design their own unique set of
religious beliefs, which may or may not coincide with one of the
numerous different versions (sects, denominations) of their chosen
religion. If religious beliefs are purely personal, then you can
believe whatever you want out of the package contained in your sacred
scriptures. You can choose one of pre-packaged versions (i.e., a
particular denomination/sect), or you can create your own. The
scriptures are kind of like a set of Legos!
Many moderate christian and muslim believers see their religions as
favoring peace and love, despite the indisputable fact that their
scriptures are awash with hatred and blood-soaked violence. How
can a believer see him/herself as a “true” believer, when they’ve
cherry-picked the scriptures that form the foundation for their
professed beliefs? The hatred and violence within those documents
remain, like little poison pellets of evil.
All believers in those religious texts have consumed their
contents; the only difference to be found among believers is the amount
of such poison they’ve chosen to swallow. Fundamentalists swallow
the entire document, so it seems to me that they must be the only
“true” believers! Curiously, even self-proclaimed fundamentalists
disagree about what poison they’ve accepted. Believers show a
remarkable willingness to embrace contradictions, however, so I suppose
this is at least consistently illogical!
Moderates may not believe in the same things that extremist believers
do, but if the extremists ever get their way (as in, for example,
Iran), the moderates will be forced to choose: us or the
unbelievers? And don’t tell me it can’t happen here! In
such a black-and-white world, unbelievers are fit only to be cast aside
and even killed. Many moderate believers refuse to take a strong
stand against the extremists, some even to the point of saying and
doing precisely nothing against the evils of the extremists.
The “true” face of religious belief was revealed recently when Saudi
Arabia executed (by beheading) a woman convicted of witchcraft.
That a nation in this modern world would sanction such a murder on the
basis of a medieval, mythical belief in the existence of witches and
sorcerers is symptomatic of the evil of religion. When you
believe you have all the answers in the words of an infallible text,
then anything you do in the name of your deity is justified.
Religion-based absolute certainty is a danger to the whole world.
Lest any moderate christians feel smug about their having rejected
witchcraft, they need to remember that many people were murdered in the
not-too-distant path by christian zealots (even in America!) based on
accusations of witchcraft. Believers live in a demon-haunted
world, to use a phrase coined by Carl Sagan. In such a world,
torture and murder are needed to scourge the world of demons and
sorcerers. If you’re not with us, we’re against you - that’s the
“true” face of all religions.
In my view of things, all major religions are myths. In all
forms, they’re nothing more than popular cults that glorify belief
without evidence. Their sacred texts are nothing more than
plagiarized mythology (from earlier cults). In other words,
religions are nothing more than a dangerous collection of lies and
myths, almost all of them demonstrably false. How can one be true
to something that contains so very little truth? All
religions contain poison. The good done in their deity’s name is
offset by the evils committed and hatred perpetuated every day in
the name of that same deity. Their evil is defined within the
vile documents they believe contain the very essence of their
religion. Read them for yourself! Discover all the myriad
poison pellets embedded within!