Is Religion the Root of All Evil? AS POPE BENEDICT IGNITES YET ANOTHER ROW BETWEEN FAITHS ACROSS THE WORLD, WE ASK

The Mirror (London, England), September 19, 2006 | Go to article overview

Is Religion the Root of All Evil? AS POPE BENEDICT IGNITES YET ANOTHER ROW BETWEEN FAITHS ACROSS THE WORLD, WE ASK


GEORGE CAREY

Former Archbishop of Canterbury

YOU only need to look at religious wars, the crusades, the military conquests of Islamic empires, to conclude we would be better off without religion.

Until you look at the recent past, where the completely secular regimes of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao helped the 20th century become the bloodiest in human history.

When politicians or religious leaders use faith as a way of dividing the world then we have unhealthy religion. Yet healthy religion also exists. Look at the remarkable figures of Gandhi, Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King.

Faith can make all the difference to human flourishing. Local churches, mosques and temples are increasingly recognised as the best way to ensure aid reaches the poorest people.

Fr TIMOTHY RADCLIFFE

Former head of the Dominicans

THE last century was the most violent in human history and mostly due to leaders who explicitly rejected religion, so it cannot be the root of all evil.

That does not mean that all religion is good. It is so if it worships the true God, who cares for the dignity of every human being, of all faiths or none, and calls us to share his joy and freedom.

HANNE STINSON

Chief Exec, British Humanist Association

THE world would be a far better place if we all recognised that no mythical god is going to solve the world's problems.

Humanity must solve its own problems by working with others to develop understanding and find solutions based on evidence of what works - not the word of some god, or some dogma or sacred text.

Religion can bring comfort but it doesn't bring solutions.

We cannot live together in peace when any criticism of religion is interpreted as an insult, and our children are taught myths as the absolute truth.

INAYAT BUNGLAWALA

The Muslim Council of Britain

HISTORY shows that religious faith can help inspire believers to lead lives devoted to honesty, hard work and tremendous selflessness.

We can see this with our own eyes in many outstanding people from all the major belief systems. Unfortunately, a misguided religious belief can also contribute to unbelievably cruel actions.

However, it would be unfair to place the blame solely on religion. The problem is not with religious belief. Acts of cruelty are a direct consequence of a trait in the human character.

It is up to each of us to decide whether to devote ourselves to promoting goodness or engaging in evil actions. We alone are ultimately responsible for our actions.

JON BENJAMIN

Board of Deputies of British Jews

RELIGION need not be a bad thing, if people adhered to the basic teachings and principles of their faiths.

All religions in their purest forms share common themes, such as respect for one's neighbours, that give people the moral compass we need to live together in harmony.

But the problem is that human beings often distort those teachings.

People say that if you don't believe what we do we'll put you to the sword.

It's something Jews have been on the receiving end of for many years.

Abbot CHRISTOPHER JAMISON

Abbot of Worth, star of BBC2's The Monastery

ASKING "Is religion a good thing? …

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Is Religion the Root of All Evil? AS POPE BENEDICT IGNITES YET ANOTHER ROW BETWEEN FAITHS ACROSS THE WORLD, WE ASK
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