VIOLENCE AND RELIGION — A HISTORY OF HARM

World history records religious conflicts have caused more human harm from violence than all other man-made causes combined.

Our nation is suffering from an alarming acceleration of mass shootings from an unlimited arsenal of military style rapid-fire assault rifles with multiple cartridge magazines available to anyone. This epidemic of gun violence slaughtering innocent children, women and men is an existential threat to our open democratic society.

40,000 people were killed in this country by gun violence alone in 2018. There were more mass killings in 2019 than any previous year, including a record high in Texas.

“Pro” and “anti” gun advocates debate this 2nd Amendment controversy without compromise. Pandering politicians provide performative piety (e.g.“thoughts and prayers”) with no plan for public protection.

Religionists predictably proselytize their parochial product by preaching more religious faith as the solution which fails to address the proliferation of assault rifles or acrimonious attacks on synagogues, mosques, temples, black churches, women’s medical clinics and ethnic minorities by religious radicals. Religious faith does not stop bullets or bring back murder victims.

Some contentiously claim separation of church and state as a cause failing to recognize even Jesus separated religion and government (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17) or the documented increase in hate crimes inspired by religious racists and pernicious politicians since 2016.

Sensible secularists support war weaponry for the military only, universal background checks, red-flag laws, more humanity and less religious rhetoric.

The “more religion” approach can be accurately analyzed worldwide with social science statistics available from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

For example, the Philippines is composed of 94% professing religious faith whereas the Czech Republic is one of the least religious countries with only 20% having religious faith. Philippine murder rate is 10 times that of Czech murder rate.

This is true worldwide. Those with highest religious faiths (e.g. Columbia, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica and Yemen) experience the most human violence and those with lowest religious faiths (e.g. Australia, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden) experience the least human violence.

The safest countries are the least religious (i.e. Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Slovenia and South Korea) while the most dangerous are the most religious (i.e. Belize, Central African Republic, Sudan, Syria and Venezuela).

Pew Religious Landscape survey of all 50 American states confirms the same conclusion. States with the most religious faith (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee) have the highest homicide and violent crime rates. States with the least religious faith (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont) have the lowest homicide and violent crime rates.

In America, the most religious states are the most violent and the least religious states are the least violent.

Those familiar with ancient foreign religious scripture know it contains and condones violence, torture, dismemberment, stoning, rape, murder, genocide, sacrificial atonement, etc. It endorses and encourages the execution of unbelievers.

No rational adult should be surprised there is a convincing causal connection between religion and violence. More religion does not reduce violence and is clearly not the answer. Existing evidence definitively discredits the religious solution.

We are one nation under our Constitution – the Constitution in which we must trust. It provides individual belief freedom (religious or non-religious) which should be appreciated and accepted by all Americans. We were the first nation in history to constitutionally guarantee liberty of belief for everyone and genesis for the historic 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations declaring “…everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.

Respect for this American founding principle would result in more benevolence and less bigotry reducing conflicts causing violence. It would discourage the uninvited and unwanted imposition of religious beliefs on others creating conflicts leading to violence.

This moral mandate is recognized as the secular Reciprocity Ethic and sectarian Golden Rule. Self-righteous religionists, with their pious, pompous and presumptuous proselytizing, do not seem to comprehend or care they insult the independence, intelligence and integrity of fellow Americans and dishonor our constitutional right to determine, enjoy and practice our own beliefs.

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” – Blase Pascal (Christian philosopher)

—John Compere
MRFF Board Member,
Judge and Brigadier General,
US Army, Retired

 


 

Share this page:

Commenter Account Access

  • Register for a commenter account
    (Not required to post comments, but will save you time if you're a regular commenter)
  • Log in using your existing account
  • Click here to edit your profile and change your password
  • All comments are subject to our Terms of Use

3 Comments

  1. C4Z

    Gen. Compere is one whacked out country bumpkin.

  2. Mark Sebree

    C4Z,

    No, that would be you. Virtually everything that General Compere said matches my own independent research over the years.

    If you think that he is “whacked out”, then present your own research that contradicts his, preferably with sources, rather than engaging in ad hominem attacks that only show your shallowness without actually refuting anything that he says.

  3. Grey One talks sass

    The Founding Fathers knew the dangers of mixing the power of the church with the power of state. If they’d intended the USA to be a Christian nation rather than a secular nation where a lot of Christians live they would not have been shy in saying so.

    Fast forward to today where frustrated Christian Nationalists are doing their best to thwart our defining documents, the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    General Compere speaks of facts; his detractors offer only invective and lies.

    Hmmm, which side is more believable?

    My last statement is pure snark. Of course I believe the Founding Fathers and all who stand by them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*