Narrow-minded religions can prove to be poisonous


Published: Monday, August 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 10:17 p.m.

Danette Zaghari-Mask's Speaking Out (July 15) tells us that "Muslims condemn the killing of innocent souls." So do Christians. Unfortunately, it's not what Mohammed or Jesus taught that matters, but what the narrowly educated masses believe their religion teaches that does the damage.

In Islam, as in other cultures, many deeply resent what they regard as Western spiritual decadence. It is not surprising that a few should feel enobled enough to respond to popular mandates in their society to kill a few ignorant and arrogant infidels.

Islam calls for uncritical acceptance of God; America calls for uncritical acceptance of Judeo-Christian, Protestant "democracy," whatever that is. For many, Christianity and the "American way" are much the same and many see no problem with our self-righteous destruction of "evil doers" until they scream for "democracy."

It seems likely that money from the abundant oil resources of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and similar lands has also been used to sustain families of insurgents who allow their warrior sons to sacrifice life itself for the greatness that is Islam. So it is in the U.S., where our government's abundant taxing power, our own version of abundant oil resources, enables us to recruit willing and patriotic youths to risk their lives to bring "democracy" to a benighted enemy.

Sadly, sincere and idealistic individuals in both camps are destroying one another in the name of traditions that few really understand. They can recite from the holy books of either major religions and yet retain only a rudimentary notion as to what their inherited ideals are all about.

It may be that religion, uncritically taught, is no longer the opium of the masses but has now become the poison of the people.

Richard R. Renner,

Gainesville

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