I’m known to lump Christanity and Islam into the same general category, a sort of “pox on both their houses” approach to religion that usually overlooks Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism — mostly because the first two religions are foremost in my mind. Christanity is, after all, the dominant cult in the US, and Islam was shoved blinking and naked onto the US stage in 2001.
Periodically one comes across objections from Christians to the effect that it’s unfair to group their religion with that of Muhammad, usually because:
1. Christianity isn’t violent;
2. At least, not any more;
3. And besides, those guys who bomb abortion clinics and kill doctors are lone nuts;
4. And anyway, it’s not like praying in school or displaying the Decalogue is actually harmful to anyone;
5. Except possibly the minority in the US who aren’t Christian in the first place; but still, why worry, since marginalizing a group based on a given behavior never actually leads to discrimination or harm;
6. Like what happened to Matthew Shepard.
Which is why I think it’s worth pointing out this from the Beeb.
A Nigerian high court has sentenced a Lagos preacher to death by hanging for setting fire to members of his congregation, killing one woman.
Emeka Ezeuko, better known as Reverend King, was found guilty on one count of murder and five of attempted murder.
In July last year, he accused six members of his Christian Praying Assembly church of sinning by having extra-marital sex.
He poured petrol over them before setting them alight.
This “reverend” told his followers he was Jesus Christ, and when he was sentenced began shouting that others were plotting against him. Interesting how his delusional claims were seen as a sign of divinity — until his delusion transformed in a particularly vicious way and was seen as the manifestation of insane sociopathy that it obviously is.
But here’s the real question: Did the delusion change, or did public opinion of the delusion change? And what does this say about the delusions of others caught in religious throes?
Still think that the messages of Christian fundamentalism* are harmless? How many charred parishioners — or bombed subways, crashed aircraft or, for that matter, raped choirboys — do we need before we seriously consider disposing forever of this idea?
* Or any other kind of religious fundamentalism; they’re all the same.
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