When one thinks of Organized Religion, we tend to think of places like church, synagogues, or a mosque. Organized religion plays an important role in today?s society, for most, if not all modern governments have been built by religion. In every society, religion has been at the forefront of decision making. Currently, there are three major religions that influence world politics: Christianity (the largest), Judaism (the oldest), and Islam (the fastest growing).
These religions, though separate in their views, share the same basic principals. They are all monotheistic, they all base their teaching from written documents, i.e. the bible, or the torah, and they were all founded in Africa. Yet, these religions are vastly different, One believes in the God, his son, and his Holy Spirit, one believes in Allah, while the other believes in God. Though these religions may be different, they all have the power to influence societies everyday rules, and each individuals thought.
Yet, within these religions, there are lesser known groups, or sects, that follow the same basic teachings. Within the world?s fastest growing religion, Islam, there is the Taliban. With the world?s largest religion, Christianity, there is the Ku Klux Klan. Within the world?s oldest religion, there is the Jewish Defense League. All of these groups are currently viewed as extreme, dangerous, and radical, which is rightly so.
Though these groups have their foundation in religion, they stray far beyond the path of righteousness and into the paths of hatred, destruction, and confusion. They no longer represent the religions from which they base their groups, for they take the teachings out of context.
Christianity is the largest religion in today?s world. It is defined as the religion of Christ.(Websters 110) There are many branches within its one name, such as Protestantism, Catholicism, Baptism, Mormon, Methodism, and many more. There are also radical groups that loosely base their foundations on Christianity, but veer down a totally different path. One of such groups is the white supremacy organization known as the Ku Klux Klan.
The Ku Klux Klan is a group that believes in segregation between the races. Though the Klan is not a religious sect, they are a group that heavily bases their beliefs on The Holy Bible. According to George Steiner, ?It is the book which, not only in Western humanity defines the concept of text, ?largely informs our historical and social identity.? (Steiner ix) The Klan believes that any group that ?white? person that is not with them is against them, and they are considered traitors to their cause. They believe that those who are not of the pure race are sinners, and according to the Ezekial 18:4, ?…the soul that sinneth shall die (494). The souls that they refer to are the ones who do not side with them, the whites who choose to live among the rest of society, and incorporate themselves with other races and cultures. Instead of claiming that they are racists, they state that everyone is, saying ?Somehow, we cannot hate the racist, for most of us do not know how or when we left his ranks, if we have left them at all.? (Sims xvii)
They are an organization founded and thrived by hate, which is not a teaching of the bible. . Their belief that they are the true kings of this earth can be traced to one verse in the bible to which the reference Genesis 28:14, where it states: “And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth. And thou shalt spread abroad to the West, to the East, to the North, and to the South: And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed (18) “.
The Klan continuously uses bible verses out of context and shifts them so that they agree with their ideals. There is no disguising that hate is their main agenda. Whereas the bible states ?thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself? (Bible 577), the Klan chooses to outline verses such as ?if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword.? (Bible 410).
Though Christianity continuously displays an attitude of peace, the Klan continuously preaches their messages of hatred and violence. In today?s Klan, they are trained ?not only to use firearms but also in judo and karate and how to make bombs and other explosive devices.? (Sims 17)
Another vein that separates the Klan from the rest of Christianity is that in Christianity, we are told to love everyone, including our enemies, the Klan chooses to hate and spite their ?enemies?. In The Klan by Patty Sims, a Klanmember makes states that John 8:48 says, ?ye are your father, the devil?for there is no truth within him. For he is a liar, and a father of it.? Now Christ is speaking? directly to all Jews, and if you don?t take my word for it, take the Bible?s.? (Sims 18)
Though the Klan has many followers, both male and female, it does not make their beliefs right. Though they say they are a Christian group, they do not practice the basics of Christianity, or the technical aspects. They pick and chose what they want to convey their ideals, and confuse people in the process. In short, they are spin-doctors, for they can take the very text that teaches love, peace, and kindness, and convince people that its lessons are those of hate, supremacy, and violence.
The widest spreading religion in the world is that of Islam. Islam is defined as the Muslim religion, a monotheistic religion founded by Mohammed. (Websters 294) It is a religion that is also founded on peace. It believes in one god, Allah, and that he is the way. Islam is also another religion that has many different sects an leagues around the world. The most radical that can be seen all over today?s televisions, newspapers, and magazines is the Taliban.
The Taliban is a sect of Islam that believes that a woman should not work, that she should be covered head to toe, and that any one who is not with them is against them, and out to destroy them. The term ?Taliban?, or Talebs means ?student of religion?. The source from which they gather their beliefs is the sacred book called The Holy Quran. According to Hassan al-Banna, ? Islam is doctrine, divine worship, the fatherland, the nation, religion, spirituality, the Koran, and the sword.? (Labeviere 126)In the Quran, there are many teachings and principles, many of which the Taliban distorts to fit their own views. In Hajj 22, it states ??And if in one has retaliated to no greater extent than the injury he received, and is again set upon inordinately, Allah will help them (Ali 404).? Another example of can be found in Nisaaa? 4 where it states: ?To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah-whether he is slain or gets victory-soon shall we give him a reward of great (Ali 100).?
The Taliban is a violent organization whose treatment of human being in general goes against all the principals of Islam. In Dollars for Terror, there is the story of a woman who witnessed a massacre in behalf of the Taliban states ?They forced us down on our knees, and began to fire again?Anyone who was stilll alive, they gave a death blow to the head.? (Labeviere 288). She later describes how the Taliban soldiers ?danced, raising their arms to the sky, and sang: Allah, Allah, Allah.? (Labeviere 289)
The teachings found in the Quran are specific in their statements that Allah does not condone violence, or the teachings of the Taliban. In Nisaaa Section 16, it states ? But if anyone earns a fault or a sin and throws it on to one that is innocent he carries (on himself) a falsehood and a flagrant sin.? (Ali 109) This verse shows that anyone who commits an act against an innocent will have to carry the burdens of their sins. Yet according to the Taliban, those who punish others in the name of Allah will go to heaven.
Another issue of hate that comes from the Taliban, is the hatred towards the United States, and its allies. The Taliban feels that America is responsible for the impoverish conditions throughout the middle east, and that its military occupancy of several Muslim countries is a sign that the US sides with the Israelis.(Labeviere 256) The Taliban has shown their distaste for the US by protesting in the streets of Pakistan, and Afghanistan, bombing Embassies, and killing thousands of innocents through the attacks on September 11th. Allah would not be pleased by any of their behavior that is done on his behalf.
The Taliban is such an extreme religious group, that they have put fear in to millions of people in the middle east, as well as millions across the globe. Their acts of violence, and terrorism do not in any form represent those of Islam, and for that they are an extremist religious group. They are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people across the globe, and they are tarnishing the religion the claim to love.
The Oldest monotheistic religion on earth is that of Judaism. Judaism is defined as the religion of the Hebrews.(Websters 298) It is a proud religion that also is founded on the basis of peace. They have many religious text, such as the Kabbulah, and the Talmud. The book holding the strongest influence is the Torah. The Torah is what can also be called The Old Testament, which is found in the Holy Bible.
Within Judaism, there are many different branches. There are orthodox, unorthodox jews, as well as black zion. There are also many groups that use Judaism as a strong hold. One of these groups is the Jewish Defense League.
The Jewish Defense League is a group that believes that Jewish people cannot ever be destroyed and that they and their God become triumphant over the evils and foolishness of all other nations. They also believe that all non-Jews should acknowledge their superiority as the chosen people of the earth. The religious text from with they derive their beliefs is the Torah. According to B. Lynfield, “Democracy is for people who don’t have the truth. No earthly, temporal government has any relevance to the actions of the Jew when its orders and regulations are contrary to [Jewish] Torah law…Judaism has never been a democratic form of society (Midstream 18).?
The behavior of the JDL can be seen as conflicting with the teachings of the Torah. It can also be seen as an abandonment of the principals of Judaism. They use certain commandments to convey their meaning, like the sixth commandment under laws on war, ?It is forbidden to be afraid of the enemy? (Gersh 236). Yet, they choose to ignore the first commandment under social and ethical commandments, ?love ye therefore the stranger.? (Gerxh 232). Although they might not be violent, like the KKK or the Taliban, they still divert from the teachings of the religion they attach themselves to.
Though Organized Religions have uplifted many people, and changed many lives, the bi-products of these religions have done exactly the opposite. These alternate groups have distorted the teachings of their religions in order to suit their own agendas. Each of these groups claim that their way is the only way, and that everyone else is wrong. Whether society agrees with these groups or not, they are still wrong in preaching hate. For hate is not tolerated in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.
These Zealots, Extremists, and Racist groups have gone so far, that we no longer see the religion in them. We see fundamentalists gone wild. We see traces of religion that are used to support there feelings, but that is just on the surface area. A sugar-coating, so to speak, that is an attempt to play down their hatred.
If Organized Religion is to prevail, it has to outshine its extremist groups. In order to outshine the extremist groups, the truth has to be shown to its follower, as well as the media that revolves around these groups. In order for the truth to be exposed, society must not be afraid to open the Bible, the Torah, and the Quran. For the words in each religious document contains speaks for itself. And if all of these words were to be shown, instead of fragments, then the masses would not be mislead, misinformed, or misunderstood.