Saturday, January 17, 2015

How Religion Can Let Loose Humanity's Most Violent Impulses

By Valerie Tarico
Blogger who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blasphemy. Courtesy The Guardian
From a psychological standpoint, religions often put a god’s name on impulses that have subconscious, pre-verbal roots. In Paris, two Islamist brothers executed Charlie Hebdo cartoonists “in defense of the Prophet,” while an associate killed shoppers in a kosher grocery. On a more civilized note, Saudi Arabia began inflicting 1000 lashes on a jailed blasphemous blogger—to be doled out over 20 weeks so that he may survive to the end. In media outlets around the world, fierce debate has erupted over who or what is responsible. With the possible exception of Buddhism, the world’s most powerful religions give wildly contradictory messages about violence. It is also full of exhortations to stoning, burning, slavery, torture, and slaughter. [link]