Just what is the point of a religion – any religion, I ask?
One rather cynical reply is that it is a means to keep control of the masses. Another, a bit more positive, is that it is a civilising force down the centuries, bringing Law and Order, Justice and Peace instead of anarchy and mayhem. But when you consider all the religious wars that have taken place, the murder, pillage and torment down the ages, all in the name of religion or God, the very least you can do is wonder what God thinks of it all!!
During the Medieval times the Christians brought barbaric bloodshed to the Holy Land through the Crusades. Those atrocities reverberate down the centuries and have been mentioned today to justify the 9/11 and the London bombings – although I agree that might be too simplistic a comment. But there has been over 400 years of bloodshed in Northern Ireland between Christian Protestant and Christian Catholic – and the existing peace is so fragile at the moment. There has been conflict for over 3,000 years between Jew and Arab in the Middle East which shows no ending in sight. The Inquisition brought utter terror throughout parts of Europe. There have been the witch hunts; burnings of people on both sides during the Reformation; the wholesale slaughter of Druids and Pagans in the UK and the expunction of the Cathars in France. The list can continue on and on.
On a much smaller scale religion provides the theatre of power play and jealous manipulation and back stabbing in every parish. I have been a parish priest so I have been there, done that and got the T-shirt! It goes on at such things as PCC meetings, in the Flower Guilds, choirs and Synod meetings. You cannot pretend it does not happen to some extent everywhere – it does – because we are all human with all the weaknesses and frailties that humanity brings.
So perhaps, like me, you sometimes wonder what the point of it all is. Perhaps the world would in fact be a better place without any religion in it! So let us pretend what might happen if tonight, on the point of midnight, every religion and every trace of religion vanished. No churches, no mosques, no temples, no bibles, no Koran, no theological works of any kind, no priests, no Imams, no Holy Men or Women, no evidence of any kind of continuing religious influence remaining. What might happen?
Continuing my thoughts see the full chapter in the Book!!!