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Comparative Religion

When Religion Becomes Evil: Five Warning Signs (Plus) by Charles Kimball

By Charles Kimball

During this completely revised and up-to-date variation, prime faith and center East specialist Charles Kimball exhibits how all non secular traditions are liable to those easy corruptions and why purely real religion can hinder such evil. The 5 symptoms of Corruption in faith 1. Absolute fact Claims 2. Blind Obedience three. constructing the "Ideal" Time four. the tip Justifies Any capacity five. stating Holy conflict

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Military victory toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, many evangelical Christians in the United States were advocating that a large wave of Christian missionaries to go into that wartorn land in order to preach the good news of salvation to its inhabitants and help bring much-needed supplies for people and infrastructures. I stressed that anyone with a rudimentary knowledge 34 w h e n re l i g i o n b e c o m e s ev i l of the long-term and recent history of Iraq would know that flooding the area with Christian missionaries—however well intentioned—would be like lighting a match in a room full of explosives.

Wholesale rejection of all religion as pernicious and delusional is itself a type of fundamentalism that these very writers rail against. Pronouncing anyone who believes in God (in any of a myriad of ways of conceptualizing ultimate reality) to be a moron, lunatic, or liar may sell books, but it fails to engage reality. Are Quakers, whose work for social justice and peacemaking around the world is legendary, all lunatics? Were the thousands of Christians and Muslims working to provide food, medicine, and shelter to victims of Lebanon’s recent civil war simply morons?

When my students read the Izanagi and Izanami creation story from Japan or sacred stories from Native American or African tribal people, they immediately discern the use of symbolism to convey powerful messages about the overall sacredness and the place of humans in creation. 9 It is also obvious that this is not a scientific textbook. Is the universe a kind of three-layer cake? Do serpents talk? Is there really a tree in the Garden of Eden the fruit of which will confer eternal life? A religious orientation that lands you in William Jennings Bryan’s corner at the Scopes trial is dangerously anachronistic in the twenty-first-century world awash in Is Religion the Problem?

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