The problem with religion is that it can be interpreted into whatever the speaker wants it to be. Don't believe me? Is it wrong to kill another human being? Everyone I ask this question of answers with the firmest yes. "Everyone can agree on that!" Okay, is it okay for an executioner to kill in the name of society? What about if a solider kills in war? See how easy I muddied the waters? I took something as simple as "thou shall not kill" and turned it into a debate. This blog post is not about the morals of that issue, but the point still stands on how easy it was for me to turn the easiest point into a debate. The simple fact is that the lines are not as clear as we want to think they are. Now let us take it in a really tricky direction. What do you think about the theology of the trinity? What do you think about the Martin Luther's book "Bondage of the Will"? If I can cause a debate out of a simple thing like "thou shall not kill", then imagine what I can do with a theology degree. Picture a room full of people looking to me for their spiritual leadership and they know nothing of theology. Granted, they could just buy the same books I read on amazon. (Confessions of St. Augustine is an awesome place to start). However, many of them do not and look to me to make sense of it all. Did I mention that eternal damnation and the power of God is the authority I'm operating under? I didn't mention that, now I have - let's move on! Picture how easy it would be to twist everything I learned to whatever purpose I want it to become. Can you picture how much power that would wield of the masses?
Some of the wisest people I've met have theology degrees and are leaders in the Christian community.....but it is the kind of power described above that makes religion so dangerous. It is not the message of most of these religions that make them dangerous, but how easy it is to twist their original message to the will of the speaker that makes them dangerous. Sadly, a lot of people have thought of this as well, and have acted on it for their own greed. Get a book on the Borgia family. They will make your skin crawl with their corruption in the 1500s. Jesus warned us about con-artists coming in his name. He was well aware of how easy it was to trick the masses. Only a few have listened to this warning. What was the result? Television pastors demanding money and telling people whatever they want to hear. Also, it is not just Christianity that is in on the act. The ruling house of Saudi Arabia uses the Koran to back up their rule. Yes, this is the same ruling household that preaches love and community from the Koran, then exploits their neighbors for money and power. See how easy it is when dealing with complex messages? The sad part is that most of these religions stared out to do good. Jesus died for humanity, and wanted everyone to love each other. That is an awesome message of good news. Yet, humans all around the world take these simple messages of love, compassion, and community and twist them to their own will. "For all have sinned, and have come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Yes, all fall short...but some see how easy it is to trick their fellow man, then jump off the cliff on purpose taking a lot of their fellow man with them.