Frequent and numerous are the claims from atheists alleging that religious beliefs breed intolerance which manifests itself in vitriolic speech and/or violent acts. It is claimed that life on earth would be more peaceful if religious people would just keep their beliefs to themselves.
Curiously, atheists do not bring up the terrible atrocities committed by those holding to atheistic concepts. If they did, they would have to make the claim that the world would be a better place without their philosophies also.
Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that people have done, and are still doing, terrible things in the name of religion. From the Crusades and Inquisition of Christian history to the terrorism of radical of Islam to the individual who perpetrates violence while claiming he is acting on behalf of god.
(The writer of this article can only speak from the Christian viewpoint and will not venture to guess concerning other religions.)
First of all, does anyone truly believe that God sends His people to bomb abortionists, shoot politicians, protest at the funerals of our troops, or any of the numerous other stunts done in the name of God? If you do, then you have no idea who God is.
God loves us. For whatever reason, He considered it worthwhile to send His Son to die on a cross in order that we might be redeemed from our lost condition and allowed the privilege of a life lived in a relationship with Him. This is the ONLY way that our lives can be lived as they should be lived. We were created for fellowship with Him. We are less than we are meant to be when we refuse to follow Him in the way He has designed.
The record of the Bible presents us with strong evidence that those people who carry out violent, illegal, immoral, or hateful acts are not displaying the heart of God. Even though, sometimes people attempt to justify their actions by blaming God.
My point is that, just because someone claims to be a Christian (or an adherent of any religion), it does not mean that it is so. A Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Jesus as best they can out of gratitude for what He has done, and is doing, for them.
Jesus consistently preached the message of loving your neighbor.
Real Christians loves others.
(C) 2011 Robert Driskell
Seeking to introduce people to Jesus Christ and to help them become "transformed by the renewing of their mind."