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Is religion a negative force in the world?

Let me propose an interesting idea, and let me say first that I am coming to it from the perspective of someone who considers Jesus Christ his personal savior.

Is religion evil?

I'm not trying to say that believing in God is wrong, or that following the Golden Rule -- a tenet of every religion except Satanism -- isn't an undeniably good thing.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that one person believing in God is good, two are a theological argument, 20 are a mob and a billion can be a force for undeniable evil in the world.

I have been a Christian all my life, Protestant for the first 40 years or so and Roman Catholic after that. But when I stayed with some friends of mine who are fundamentalists in 1989, their 3-year-old daughter came to me and said, "Mom says you're not a Christian."

Do you know how many different kinds of Christians there are?

Do you know that even sects within one particular denomination will call the others heretics, let alone those from other religions. And these are all people who believe in Jesus Christ as their personal savior.

What possible good does it do anyone to believe that someone else is evil because they don't believe the same things we do, or to believe it is our duty to kill them for that very reason?

We've had thousands of years of crusades, inquisitions, burnings and pogroms. Folks just can't seem to stand the fact that someone else might think they worship in the wrong way.

My favorite example, such as it is, is the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kans. They're the "God Hates Fags" people who demonstrate at military funerals and say that America is going to hell for tolerating homosexuality.

Why can't people just leave each other alone when it comes to how they worship God?

What is it about religion that makes it impossible for some people to just live and let live?

I love God, but I don't care how other people love him ... or even if they do.

It's none of my business.