More than 2,500 Americans lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. Religious ideals led 19 hijackers to sacrifice their lives in order to destroy the lives of others.

The Thirty Years’ War is estimated to have resulted in 3 million to 11.5 million deaths in Europe. These deaths were a direct consequence of a power struggle between two different denominations of ultimately the same religion. The minor separation of ideals created religious hate leading to political struggle and the death of innocent people.

The war in Afghanistan has killed over 2,000 American soldiers. On average, every three days a soldier dies defending the religious principles that our country follows and protecting his country from the radicalism feared in other religions. The Iraq War caused almost 5,000 deaths of U.S. soldiers, averaging two soldiers killed per day.

The total deaths in the world resulting from religious conflict is unbearably high. Religion is a separative device that calls for individualistic radicalism causing tension and harm to humanity.

The hypocrisy of religious sects are written in their sacred texts. The Bible, for example, calls for peace to mankind and kindness between humans. Yet, in 2 Kings 10:19-27, God Himself calls for the worshipers of Baal to be killed in their entirety.

2 Chronicles 28:6 states 120,000 men were killed in the name of Christianity. They were not meeting the standards of worship, so their lives were sacrificed. These are only two examples in sacred text, though it contains a plethora of more.

Religion, of course, does good for the world. However, the controversy and killing it creates outweighs the good. The lives lost in the name of religion are no longer experiencing the “good” religion does. Religion is causing an epidemic, killing more lives than it could ever save.

Religion creates differences between people, allowing them to identify strongly with a title rather than with peace and goodness. Without religion, these same people would have little to no differences. Journalist Robert Nielsen stated, “Even wars which were caused by reasons other than religion, religion was used to justify it and motivate soldiers.”

Religions inflict ideals upon its followers, justifying the killing of non-believers. The Torah, the Bible and the Quran all contain examples of this allowance. These religions also teach that one who is not a member of their identity will spend their eternal life in hell. How can a religion supposedly based on love and peace condone the killing of non-believer s threatening their eternal life?

Religion separates humanity. It allows for groups to identify themselves based on subjectivity and brainwashes followers to believe their ideals are objective. Religions condone killing and even support it. Throughout history and currently, people have lost and are losing their lives to religious causes and wars. Fighting over religious belief is an epidemic that must be stopped.

Britany Diefenderfer is a 20-year old English literature junior from Thibodaux, Louisiana.

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