Does religion promote violence? In our post 9/11 world this is a question that people are increasingly asking. Does religion make you a better person, or does it in fact do the opposite, and instead foster hate, fear, and violence? One does not have to look far to find examples of violence done at the hands of religious power, but is religion itself really to blame?
This is a touchy theme that tends to evoke both debate and strong emotions, regardless of which side of the debate one falls onto. For people of faith like myself, the tendency is to see this as an attack, and become defensive. So for a long time my response would have been to deny this claim, and in response to defend my faith’s validity and value. As a progressive I would have stressed that faith can be characterized by good things like grace and compassion. I would have insisted that this is really what faith is about.