Why have there been so many religious shootings?

Jason Adams, Courier Staff

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In the last month there have been a number of shootings and bombings at a variety of religious institutions. The worst of which being a church bombing in Sri Lanka that killed a minimum of 250 people. Synagogues and mosques have also been hit as well, all of the major religions have been affected. Attacking a place of worship is an attack on that faith usually coming from some internal level of prejudice or hate. Why do these keep happening though? A place of worship is where people are most vulnerable which these shooters and bombers know, and which makes these acts all the more sickening. Everyone has faith or beliefs and they are entitled to those beliefs. Some people are going to have a different faith or belief than you and there’s nothing wrong with that. Religion is a sensitive topic but it doesn’t always happen. Talking to someone of a different faith and learning about their beliefs and customs can be really interesting, yet some people just label them as different from them and choose to judge or alienate them. It’s so common to put labels on other people and not remember that they are just human beings, they just have different views than you. Someone having different views than you doesn’t make them a bad person. Yet there are numerous events in the last month and even the last week that show that not only do some people see individuals of a different faith as bad people, but they are so bad that they have to be stripped from their lives in a place they feel the safest. They weren’t threatening the attacker’s life, they were just praying. They just had slightly different beliefs from the attacker and that threatened them so much.

What I really don’t understand is that pretty much every religion in the world advocates for peace and harmony. That is one of the universal truths about most religions. Yet so many deaths, so much bloodshed, even wars have been fought with religion as the reason or as the cause. How do people go from being taught peace to all to justifying their violent acts for religious purposes? That doesn’t make any sense. How can you say you are acting on what your religion wants or to kill people who don’t share your view when your religion teaches peace and love to all? Violence and murder are against the teachings but you say it’s okay because it is for your faith. There is no sane level of rationalization that gets people from that first and most important teaching to committing violence in your god’s or savior’s name. I know people say that religious texts are open for interpretation but you have to be kidding me. The purpose of religion for most is to find meaning and purpose in their life, there’s no meaning in harming or killing someone who isn’t threatening your safety. You’re just using religion as an excuse to act violently and not feel guilty about it.

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