When religion goes wrong

For many members of society, religion is their rock. When success occurs, people often attribute it to their faith. When misfortune occurs, people often rely on their faith for strength.

My Catholic faith is very important to me. I understand my goals as a Catholic, and everyday I try to achieve those goals. I realize the underlying message in Catholicism is that we are called as Catholics to serve all on this Earth and care for others.

Religion is harmless, it’s the people who wrongly interpret these religions that are harmful.

Recently, America has been exposed to what happens when religion goes radical–ISIS is currently the most prevalent example of this in our society today. Although ISIS is the most prevalent, that doesn’t mean they’re the only group of people who wrongly interpret traditional religions.

An example of Catholicism being wrongly interpreted would be Eric Rudolph. From 1996 to 1998, Rudolph conducted a series of religiously motivated bombings, directed towards supporters of abortion and same-sex marriage.

As a member of a religious cult known as the Army of God, Rudolph became a biblical fundamentalist. He took the Lord’s teachings very literally, thus leading to his belief that he should get rid of the people who are against God’s beliefs.

The Catholic religion doesn’t support abortion or same sex marriage. Most people understand that and peacefully oppose those views. However, Rudolph wrongly interpreted the bible and felt as if he needed to act violently against these causes in order to carry out God’s will. Mr. Rudolph clearly forgot that God accepts all people, and would never call for the death of any person.

Throughout history, many Catholic leaders have practiced peaceful protest. For example, St. John the Baptist spoke out against corrupt leaders during his time. St. John the Baptist could’ve rallied his supporters and fought those corrupt leaders, but instead he peacefully rejected their beliefs. In fact, St. John the Baptist even ended up dying for his beliefs, becoming a martyr in the Catholic faith.

Much of the vitality in a friendship lies in the honoring of differences, not simply in the enjoyment of similarities.

— James Fredericks

Americans need to realize that Islam is not a violent religion. Islam has extremists, just like Catholics have extremists. These extremists have committed terrible acts of terrorism throughout history, and these acts end up poorly representing their faiths.

I’ll leave with a quote, and that quote comes from a religious scholar named James Fredericks. Mr. Fredericks once said, “Much of the vitality in a friendship lies in the honoring of differences, not simply in the enjoyment of similarities.”

The meaning of this quote is simple, yet it means so much. All world religions have their differences. However, we should accept those differences and learn what each faith really believes in before making haste judgments.