Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Religion Is Divisive

Detractors of religion often point out that it is divisive.  While this accusation is true and (when one takes a good, long look at this aspect of religion) truly damning, it lacks the simplicity and emotional punch needed to register in the minds of believers.  The problem is that the point is too cerebral.  Frankly, most believers don't really understand what the word divisive means.  The non-believer needs to be specific in order for this point to register:

"Religion artificially divides people into mutually antagonistic groups and artificially creates conflict between those groups.  In fact, it is very often deliberately used for that purpose."

A very good example of this use of religion was recently provided to us all when some conservative pundits criticized President Obama's video address on Thanksgiving for not thanking god.  His written Thanksgiving message did thank god, and he was certainly not the first President to leave out a mention of god.  George Bush did it in 2008.  Though you will note, if I may wax cynical for a moment, that this was the last address he delivered and it occurred after Obama had won the 2008 election.  Could it be that he left out a mention of god because he no long felt a need to pander to the religious right?

What's even more revealing is that Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum did the same thing this year.  Yet the right wing pundits did not criticize them.  Why not?  Because the pundits support them.  This is not about paying homage to god; it's about riling up the mob and turning it on Obama by painting him as alien and threatening.

The right wing pundits are obviously and deliberately trying to use religion to turn the mob against Obama.  As I have mentioned before, this is one of the primary evils of religion:  that it can be so easily used in this way to incite a mob.  In fact, I would argue that this is one of its primary purposes--especially from the viewpoint of the powerful.

Here is a link to the brilliant send-up that Jon Stewart did about this little contretemps on the Daily Show.

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