Before anything else, this article is referring to those religious people who cannot tolerate other beliefs (religious bigots). This is not intended to generalize religious people, especially those who can tolerate other belief system to some extent.
I live in a country dominated by religious people. I’ve noticed, religious beliefs is one of the main factors source of conflict or adversary.
First of all, religious intolerance is intolerance against another’s religious beliefs or practices. What drives them to do so, I will discuss it later. So, I am not going to tackle insignificant and irrelevant factors and trying to connect the dot, or factors that we have to consider first that are not directly related to influence of religious beliefs why intolerance is happening: such as, political conflict, socio-economic conflict, ethnic wars. I will focus only to why and how religious beliefs could drive them to commit murders.
We all know all religions promote peace, love, and compassion. However, we cannot easily dismiss the fact that there are religious people out they’re willing to harm you, not because you are a dangerous person, but it is because they simply cannot accept the reality that you don’t have a similar belief or beliefs they’ve possessed. For them, any belief systems that contradict to theirs are threats therefore are dangerous and should be eliminated. We call it religious violence, the act of killing people or inflict harm fueled by religious beliefs. Religious wars are still going on especially in some part of Asia, ethnic-religious wars in Africa, and a few occurrences in Europe. This is not just an isolated cases, but it happens everywhere.
How many of us here have witnessed the 9/11 bombing? Muslim communities cheered that up and treated the suicide bombers as heroes. In the Philippines, there are Muslims celebrating every time they’ve heard Christians killed by Muslims and one of it is the 9/11 bombing victims mostly Christians. There are Christians are praying much to their god that their enemies should be perished, just like what happened the time when the United States retaliated against Islamic terrorist groups.
The irony is that, religious people want to promote peace by imposing their religious morality and shove it down to somebody’s throat, but at the same time they are in favor of killings if their religious beliefs are being attack. They have this notion that those non-believers are can do more harm than good since it requires belief in god to prevent themselves to kill. But, the data did not support the claim. The data strongly suggest that, atheists don’t commit as much crime as the religious do. These realities directly contradict to what they believe in that a religious man cannot do that such thing.
Because, this type of people has a tendency to polarize, the tendency to make you look bad, not because you have done bad things, but because of their beliefs dictate them that all who oppose to their beliefs are bad guys. Why this type of people’s polarization is prevalent on them? First, they perceive reality as black or white, good or bad. The greatest danger in polarization is its impact on how you judge yourself and other people. That’s the reason that they tend to behave as if they have all the right to eliminate all men who doesn’t live the way they live their lives because, for them, they believe, other belief systems and nonbelievers can do things the opposite way, which is immorality.
Even if they will deny these realities, the fact is, religious beliefs can molds them to do heinous crimes. Religions claim divine favor for themselves, over and against other groups, this sense of righteousness leads to violence. This is the reason why, when god sanctions killing they listen and when god sanctions violence, believers act more aggressively. Therefore, religious beliefs did influence them and drives them to behave as such. In fact, it’s an undeniable fact that throughout history, from ancient times to modern times, religion is, for many religious people, gave them reason to kill (such as, honor killings, human sacrifice and ritual practices, witch hunts, Holy wars, killing atheists).
There are too many religious atrocities wherein these groups of religious people are involved. Just read this one: 8 Atrocities Committed in the Name of Religion. But it is seldom to hear that there are atheists out there are willing to kill human beings or so happy because a religious person or somebody got stabbed, just for the sake of intolerance or in the name of atheism.
Let us take for example, in Christianity, there are biblical verse promotes killings which can be read here: Murder in the Bible.
In Islam, they have this concept called Holy War, though the Koran, however, never use the term Jihad for fighting and combat in the name of Allah; qital is used to mean fighting. Here’s a good site for Islamic atrocities: Sina’s Challenge.
In conclusion, I don’t want to judge this type of people the way they judge us atheists as evil doers or killers even in the absence of data or unsubstantiated claims. The way I look at it, they advocate peace, love and compassion at the same time they want to inflict damage against to those who oppose to them. Frankly speaking, ignorance plays a big rule on why and how religious intolerance is prevalence for this type of people. Imagine, you will be killed not because you have done atrocities or crime against humanity, but is because of their religious beliefs dictate them to believe that you are a bad person since you don’t live the way they live their lives. This only means that kind of moral concept they have possessed and how they applied them is a classic case of hypocrisy at its best.