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War and Peace: Alternating Messages of Religion

January 15th, 2016

casco1Whenever there is a tragedy where innocent civilians are harmed, the first question that is usually asked is, “Why?” When that answer is tied to religion, it is fodder for many who wish nothing more than to promote their religion over another. It is at these times that it is important to consider the dueling roles of the messages of war and peace that the world’s largest religions have espoused throughout the years and the powerful effect these messages have on followers.


In every major religion, there are followers who would stop at nothing to protect what they see is the one true belief system that should guide all people, even non-believers. While the majority of believers are not going to focus on the more violent passages of their scripture, it only takes a vocal and active minority to cause serious damage. One review of the passages held holy by three major religions in the United States (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) found that if the focus of the believer is improperly directed, it could lead to a violent view on how to handle those who violate those holy tenets. It is this improper focus that has led to violence in the past and arguably contributes to the violence we have seen all too often in today’s modern society.  


Religions of today primarily focus on more peaceful topics for sermons and messages to their congregants as the traditional goal of religion is to spread the Word and gather new believers.  The message that has been proven to draw congregants away from the more dominant religions of the day has typically been one of peace. Christianity flourished during a time of Roman dominance, with a religion that was as different in its beliefs from Christianity as the slaves were from the emperor. One theory is that the message of peace and community espoused by early Christians was highly attractive to the masses of people who felt disenfranchised by the ruling classes and chose a new religion that offered them hope of better days.


While it is easy to blame religion for much of the hatred and anger that leads to war, many believe the truth lies somewhere closer to secular ideas of class based biases. Still others argue that humans are violent by nature and that violence is inevitable. Regardless of the reasons for the actions that we see every day, there is one commonality and that is that we as a society will always question the motivation behind a wrongdoer. Unfortunately for religion as a whole, ancient passages heralding rewards for violence toward enemies allow for easy labels to be placed on actions with motivations that stem from very secular sources.

Watch and Protect

Religious believers seem to be on a constant path toward violence or love toward neighbors, depending on which message is the loudest at the time. Regardless of the majority views toward religion in general, which tend to follow a cycle that waxes and wanes, Universal Life Church Case Law will continue its steady fight to protect all believers from legal persecution. We will monitor any challenges to the protections of the Constitution and report potential cases that can change the way religion is practiced in the United States.  

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