For too long I silently stood by and watched as religion conscripted followers with threats of damnation, and blamed natural disasters on “sinners” to create a fictitious adversary for the purpose of congregational cohesion. The problem with that method is that the congregation begins to point at outsiders as the cause of natural disasters, and thus begins the intolerance.
In a documentary that aired on the Discovery Channel, a little boy from a village destroyed by a tsunami said that a priest told him it was because of sin that his whole village washed away. This is just one example of how religion works to redirects rage and anger away from natural or accidental causes, toward other people.
One particularly disturbing tactic of religious cohesion and dependence is creating the notion that faith is measured by the number of children you have. A Spanish teacher from El Salvador said his uncle’s family was doing well economically, until his sister who was a Nun told his uncle he should have more children. Consequently they fell deep into poverty.
You shouldn’t take credit for being a good steward of the poor when you’re responsible for telling them that birth control is a sin, and then persuading them to overpopulate and finally become dependent on you for support.
Pointing the finger at strangers and blaming them for your group’s own problems is the work of Emotional Entrepreneurs; people who feed off of your fear to keep you as a follower.
So I can neither concede to, nor placate emotional entrepreneurs and religious dogma that reinforces its own power by taking advantage of uninformed people. Is that intolerant enough for you?