When Religion Becomes Evil

Topics: Islam, Christianity, Osama bin Laden Pages: 3 (981 words) Published: July 16, 2013
The first years of the new millennia have not been kind to us. We’ve endured tragedies, disappointments and dwindling fortunes. Now we are faced with war in a part of the world where the children of Abraham have always had difficulty getting along. Charles Kimball is an ordained Baptist minister from Oklahoma whose grandfather, a Jew, immigrated to Boston from the Polish-Russian border in the 1880s. His doctorate is in the history of religion with specialization in Islam, the Middle East and Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations. With over thirty years of experience and scholarship in the subject, Kimball has crafted an intriguing study into the ways that religion can be corrupted. As I read this marvelous book, one of my favorite Archie Bunker lines came to mind. To paraphrase, “Faith is what no one in their right mind would believe.” Dr. Kimball’s definition is less earthy than Archie’s but not that different. Faith is what can’t be explained logically. Since it reflects the believer’s culture, geography and history, there are innumerable variations and interpretations about the nature of man’s relationship with God. Although this diversity is natural, it can also be problematic in certain situations, given differing definitions of what is sacred and what is profane. Like humanity itself, interpretations of what is “God’s will” can be flawed and lead to tragedies like the Crusades, the Nazis, Jim Jones, David Koresh, the on-going Arab-Israeli conflicts, and the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. How can something that brings peace and comfort to so many people around the world turn into something so evil? Dr. Kimball discusses five warning signs of corruption in a religion: Absolute truth claims, blind obedience, establishing the "ideal" time, the end justifies any means, and declaring holy war. In reviewing these signs, Dr. Kimball gives examples from history and current affairs. Absolute truth claims are comforting to some who feel that what’s right for them...
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