Don’t Blame Religion for the Acts of Individual People

It is often these days that I hear entire religions denounced based on the views or actions of its followers. I’ve heard this said about Islam, Christianity, and Judaism mostly, but others are dismissed out of hand in this way too. These arguments tend to focus on sensationalist events and ignore one thing: the words written in the actual texts of the religions they are denouncing.

There seems to be a double standard in play.

Most people who say these things about religion would agree that it is unfair to judge a whole group of people based on the actions of one, or a few members of that group. Why does this go out the window when talking about religion? I hear people saying Christianity is false because of the horrors of the Crusades, or Islam is violent because groups like the Taliban exist, or they cite the controversy over Israel as a reason that Judaism is wrong. The most common interpretations of these religions do not encourage violence or hatred. In fact, the tolerance of other people is a key tenant of these faiths, as well as human beings restraining from judging other human beings. Only God can do that.

Even if the argument is that an individual can interpret the religion to support immoral ends, that’s just it: it is that person’s interpretation that is wrong, not what the actual text says. If a person twists the words of a religious text to support hatred, that person is at fault, not the religion itself. The Bible never told Crusaders to kill Muslims and the Q’uran did not tell ISIS to commit the horrors they are committing. Human beings may take it upon themselves to do wrong, but make no mistake, it is these people that motivate themselves, their religions never told them to do it, no matter what they may claim.

Do not demonize an entire religion for the acts of a terrorist group.

Just because someone claims an action was in the name of their faith does not mean that their faith condones that action. Please, next time you consider denouncing a religion based on the actions of some of its followers, please consider what the religion actually stands for. When you look closely, you will find that the majority of the people you are writing off actually want peace and harmony between all people and they love you, no matter what you might say.