Religion has had positive and negative effects on society. The needy and poor get help in areas that are plagued by famine and poverty, where no else one would help. On the other hand, war and conflicts are waged in the name of religion. Many religions promote evangelism though activism and donation of time, money, food and other tangible items, in the form of missions. Project Africa, which is ran by a Christian church in South Brook, assists people in local communities located in Swaziland and Mozambique suffering with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. They send skilled laborers over-seas to provide medical support and building help to the area. The church hopes to bring religion to the area. One side effect that has noticed by the National Institute of Health (PA-04-115), and is currently being studied further, is a reduction in cases of HIV and AIDS in areas that have received help by faith-based religions. The school of thought is that the focus on family and values around sexuality of these religions are causing people to be more cautious and use protection. Unfortunately, throughout history organized religion has also been used as a justification for wars and has resulted in the death of millions of people by fundamentalists and extremists. The “Jihad” or holy war waged by a violent sect of Islam on non-Muslim or Muslim people who support ideals that conflict with their version of Islam, is one example of a conflict driven by religious beliefs. Another example of a war waged in the name of religion was the “Crusades”, where Christian extremist tried to force Christianity on other cultures. Either the people of those cultures embraced the Christian beliefs or they were killed.
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