Thesis statement: The discusses various points to show instances when conservative religion can pose a threat to humanity
Conservative religion is unacceptable when it encourages violence against others.
Wahabbism is a strand of Islam that insists on the strict application of traditional religious practices such as the belief that any person who does not believe in similar practices should be hated persecuted or killed.
That motivates extremist groups to engage in terrorism which is a concern for the entire world.
Conservative religion can be dangerous when it encourages discrimination based on a persons gender.
For examples, members of the Islamic faith discourage interaction between individuals of opposite sex to prevent immorality.
The traditions also define the manner in which a woman should dress to promote sexual modesty.
These practices affect women adversely more than men and might make them become social misfits or outcasts.
It contradicts Gods command that men and women should be equal.
The ultimate consequence of such practices is that they encourage the subordination of women, as well as, discrimination against them.
Conservative religious beliefs that hinder economic prosperity are dangerous and should be avoided.
A good example is the Hindu culture which believes that poor people are born like that because of the sins they committed in their previous lives.
This encourages the separation of people into different social classes and less interaction between the poor and the rich.
Thus, people born in such backgrounds lack educational opportunities and employment as well.
This cycle continues and affects even children of the future generation.
The discussion highlighted circumstances under which conservative religion is unacceptable.
The points discussed include:
1. Those beliefs that promote violence and terrorism.
2. Conservative beliefs that enhance discrimination against women.
3. Religious practices that promote economic disparity.
Religion is one of the best things to have happened to the human race. According to Harper in an article in the Washington Times, at least 84% of the worlds population believes in a particular faith. Religion is a gift to humanity in the sense that it has in the past and currently continues to act as a tool for social control. Besides the presence of a deity as the underlying feature of all religions, most of them also preach about love. It is important to note that are numerous religions that exist across the globe each with a set of practices and teachings that distinguish it from others. A good number of the religions that exist today are splinters from older religions while others started more than 2000 years ago. Those that began earlier have in the course of time done away with some of the practices that were upheld during the olden times. These conservative practices have been done away with as they are considered either redundant or backward. A conservative religion denotes one that follows a specific set of practices that are considered backward or outdated and are not helpful since they are discriminatory of others. Some individuals have however insisted on supporting traditional religion claiming that it is the purest form and that it will help them go to heaven. This paper will discuss various points to show instances when conservative religion can become dangerous to humanity.
First, conservative religion becomes dangerous when it promotes religious practices or beliefs that encourage violence against others. Wahabbism is a strand of the Islamic faith that that upholds the strict observance of the ancient religious rituals and insists on the literal interpretation of the Quran. In an Article in the pbs.org, Haroun Fazul deconstructs Wahabbism by interviewing several persons of Islamic faith, who have lived in Saudi Arabia and been part of the religious system. One of the interviewees notes that the religious curriculum in the country teaches that the humanity is divided into two sides. On one hand there are the Salafis (Wahabbis) who are the chosen ones and will inherit heaven while the other side constitutes the Jews, Christians, and other Muslims, who are deemed to of lesser faith who are a heathen. This other side contains non-believers, idol worshippers, and those who are Muslims but value worldly things (Sunni Muslims). This religion teaches them that this other category of individuals should …be hated, persecuted or even killed.(Fazul). Terrorism is one of the manifestations of such teachings. As things stand, terrorism is a global problem that the world is currently grappling with. The vice has spread across all continents, and several nations including Nigeria and Syria are under the threat of destruction because of it. Although other factors contribute to terrorism, the spite against people who do not ascribe to the Wahhabism school of thought has fueled it. Osama Bin Laden, who until recently was the worlds most wanted man as a result of his terrorism-related activities, was a strict follower of the religious practices postulated by Wahhabism. A religious rule that prescribes violence against fellow members of the same religion but slightly disagrees with them is by all standards not a good one. If all Muslims ascribed to this ancient outlook of the religion, the world would today be in total chaos. Thus, when a religious practice suggests violence against other human beings it should be shunned for moderate views that promote love and harmony.
Conservative religion can also pose a danger to humanity when certain beliefs and practices lead to discrimination on the basis of gender. For instance, conservative religions such as Islam, Hindu, and Judeo-Christianity discourage the free interaction between individuals of the opposite sex. Ideally, this practice is meant to prevent unmarried men and women from engaging in any sexual engagements before marriage like dating. Because of that reason, men and women who are not married are always prohibited from mingling in social gatherings or even other settings such as the workplace or school. In extreme instances, conservative people such as Muslims argue that such people must not shake hands. Islam also emphasizes on the importance of sexual modesty especially among women who are required to conceal their whole body except their faces. Scholars who are reformists state that although the Quran provides for modesty among both males and females, the aspect of decency among men is accorded less attention. The practices mentioned above can affect the social lives of both men and women adversely. Nevertheless, women are the hardest hit by such beliefs because when they violate these requirements, they might face serious consequences including excommunication, marrying off to old men because of engaging in pre-marital sex, and stoning. Also, female students who get opportunities to study in different countries where people interact freely also find it difficult to cope with the changing society and the often become social misfits and perform poorly. Reformists argue that the practice of gender isolation is a practice that goes against the requirement that both men and women are equal before God as stated in the Quran and the Bible. Therefore, any conservative religious belief that encourages such discrimination should be prohibited.
Certain conservative religious practices might discourage economic empowerment of the economy of a country and a particular class or people. For example, in the Hindu religion, people believe in the Law of Karma. This principle poses that a person is born in a particular social setting depending on the manner in which they lived their lives in the previous world. Consequently, people who are born poor are paying for the sins that they committed during their previous life. Thus, Hinduism discourages interaction between people who belong to different social status. The practical result of this belief is that the poor are often left to live in slums where the standards of living are extremely low. The wealthy also live in specific areas where they cannot interact with people from a lower social class. The lack of unity and collaboration between the upper and lower social classes can promote further poverty among the poor people. Unlike the rich people, children born in such conditions lack the opportunity to go to school, leading to an increased level of illiteracy in the country. Thus, it also becomes difficult for such people to secure decent employment opportunities that can help them to improve their lives. The rate of development in such areas regarding health and education institutions is also very slow. At that point, the vicious cycle of poverty begins again and can affect the future generations that are unborn.
The essay above has discussed the instances when conservative religion can become dangerous. One of the dangers of traditional religious beliefs is that it can lead to violence against others such as terrorism. It can also encourage discrimination on the basis of gender which is against the idea of equality before God. Examples of practices that promoted inequality include the requirement of gender segregation and the emphasis on a particular dressing code for women among the Islamic community. Conservative religion also becomes dangerous when it leads to social class struggles. An analysis of the points mentioned above may make one wonder whether religion has become a weapon of dividing humanity. Even so, religion is like an agreement between an individual and God. As such one must learn to differentiate between what is good and bad.