Reflective writing: When Religion becomes Evil and Terror in the mind of God
Terror in the Mind of God by Mark Juregensmeyer and When Religion becomes Evil by Charles Kimball are both exemplary in elaborating the reasons for the recent violence and bloodshed attributed to the differences in religions and beliefs. Both books help the reader understand the way religion has become corrupted by the ways of the world. Religional differences have become a predominant issue in society coupled with greed and corruption resulting in corrupt religions. Acts of terror are waged against other religions in the name of God. This has become common in the modern society. However, energy used to dwell on such differences can be diverged to better and positive things such as the spiritual growth of the religion.
Kimball dissects the role of religion in the society. He concludes that religion was developed for positive purposes but was swayed by the greedy and corrupt few posing as righteous (Kimball, 8). The writer enlightens the user on the signs to watch out for when a religion becomes corrupted by being vigilant on the conduct of the church. Religion is a very strong force in society such that the decisions by the religious leaders sway all the followers into the directions that they think are fit for the religion. The reader should be able to identify the corruption in a religion by observing five traits in the church. The first sign is absolute truth in a religion, which is a fallacy such that their claims are not understood by the followers (Kimball, 24). Another sign of a religion gone awry is blind obedience whereby the followers are not permitted to question the absolute truths claimed by the religion or their followers. Such an aspect in any religion draws questions in the followers mind as to whether the religion is genuine or not. Establishment of ideal time is another sign of a corrupted religion whereby the religion emphasizes that a certain event in prophecy will be attained at a specific time. This is based on absolute truths such that the claims are made to attract more followers. This brings forth the question how do the leaders establish that an event will happen at a specific time. In addition, the declaration of holy war by a faith is a sign that it has been corrupted to its core. The declaration of war by a religion is an oxymoron by claims that the war seeks to strengthen the faith. How can bloodshed and violence bring about peace? Moreover, how can a religion that should set a precedent to the society by practicing peace and being compassionate to its neighbors claim to be righteous, are questions that a reader raises upon examining the book. The last sign that a religion is awry is a religion that justifies its corrupted ways to achieve relatively good results regardless of the means it uses to arrive at such results. How can war be used to achieve peace is a question that one draws upon examining such a sign (Kimball, 45).
Juergensmeyer in Terror in the Mind of God the writer examines the activities of terrorist activities in the name of religion form different quarters of religions in the society (Juergensmeyer, 15). The terrorist activities are as result of political and social changes. The terrorist activities are because of the quest for recognition by other religions and their efforts to attract new followers. Such religions involved in terrorist acts dwell on the differences and brainwash their followers that acts of violence will eliminate the unrighteous in the world. Such draws a question in the reader’s mind as to why do religions shed blood by killing innocent people and claim that its is the will of God ? Does God intend blood to be shed on grounds of establishing a righteous world? (Juergensmeyer, 28) The writer concludes that the ultimate solution to the differences in religion should be to exercise e more religion in the public domain such that people become at liberty to exercise their different religions. This would also enable people to focus on the religion itself and not the differences with other religions (Juergensmeyer, 56).
In conclusion, both books are excellent in divulging to the reader the reasons for the recent acts of violence in the public domain. Religions have become obsessed by the need to gains recognition, which has corrupted their values and swayed them from their purposes in society, which is to provide good guidance and spiritual nourishment. Absolute truths have become the foundation of violent religions who claim to act violently in quest for peace, which is unfounded.
Juergensmeyer, Mark. Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. Print.
Kimball, Charles. When Religion Becomes Evil. San Francisco, Calif.: Harper San Francisco, 2002. Print.