God does not advocate violence

After the events which took place at the American consulate in Libya yesterday I feel it necessary to comment on the actions of the political extremists who instigated violent conflict against Americans with the ridiculous excuse that they act in the name of religious outrage at the release of a poorly made film portraying a prophet of God in a less than desirable light.

Let me be clear that I do not normally choose to involve myself in such political circumstances. I firmly believe in the total separation of church and state as, to my mind, it is impossible to justify the legislation of morality or even faith itself for the act of doing so negates the Divine mandate of free will. I do not approve of those who use religious dogma to justify the increase of political power or perhaps most heinous of all, as the impetus for war. Any individual who chooses to support acts of aggression, hatred and outright murder in the name of God most assuredly does not understand God; many, although certainly not all, of these individuals utilize religion as a convenient, ready-made platform to serve their own greed, their all-consuming desire for absolute power. I find it unlikely that such a person actually believes in God at all… if they do have faith it is wholly corrupted by the dark, negative emotions they seek so desperately to hide from the rest of the world.

To be in the Presence of God is to be surrounded by and overcome with absolute peace. In that moment, when God speaks directly to one’s soul, fear, anger, hatred and all other such negative emotions become irrelevant, relegated to mere symbols of humanity’s ongoing confusion as to the true nature of God as a conscious being. God does not advocate violence, does not promote hatred and abhors conflict which by definition is the antithesis of unity, of harmonious balance.

I urge you not to blame the practice of religion itself or the Personage of God for the contemptible choices of delusional individuals leading to acts of hatred and war. Every person that truly understands the Will of God acts out of a desire for peace, compassion and human unity – violence and outright war is the province of those who act without faith and live without hope.

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About William Knox

Rev. William Knox is the founder and current Chancellor of the Contemporary Pagan Alliance. Ordained in 1995 as an interfaith minister, he serves as senior priest at the Sanctuary of Light in Ravenswood,WV. and is an invested brother in the Shanddite Order of Pagan Secular Monks.
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7 Responses to God does not advocate violence

  1. (e)m says:

    Hi, I noticed that you followed my blog, so I was curious and came to check out yours. I did not expect to see a post that basically says that I am scum.

    “I find it unlikely that such a person actually believes in God at all.”

    I don’t believe in any gods. Does that make me evil? No. People who believe in God do evil things all the time. Saying that they are atheists does not make them so. There are some atheists that I think are morally abhorrent, but I would never deny that they are atheists. Belief or disbelief in God has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a person acts morally.

    “violence and outright war is the province of those who act without faith and live without hope”

    Good to know that I’m a warmongering, violent, scumbag. You do know that many atheists are pacifists, right? I’m not one of them, because I think that war is sometimes necessary, but I do think that it is the tactic of last resort. I didn’t know that I had no hope, just because I don’t believe in your god. I have hope for a brighter future. I have hope for the next generation. I sure don’t have faith. And I’m very sure that many people who commit atrocities do.

    • William says:

      Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. Your comments were clearly well thought out and I greatly appreciate your views, wishing to learn more about them, which is why I follow your blog. Does it then surprise you that a panentheistic pagan such as myself (see my about section if curious) would be interested in the atheist point of view? I find it perfectly natural for an individual who has decided to use reason and logic to deny the possibility of God to also be a pacifist, for they are alone accountable for their actions and it is clearly their natural inclination to favor peace.

      What I found most interesting is your assumption that my blog entry was somehow targeting you because you hold atheist views. I can assure you that is not the case and if my writing has somehow offended you I am sorry indeed. Please permit me to clarify a few things that may put your mind at ease. You commented that “I sure don’t have faith. And I’m very sure that many people who commit atrocities do.” You are 100% correct, which is the exact point I was attempting to convey in this blog post. I’m glad to see the message was transmitted although not in the way I had intended.

      Please don’t believe that this piece was a blanket statement toward atheists. It is my way of letting off steam toward the Libyan terrorists who are advocating violence against American embassies and killing our citizens. You see, those individuals use the name of God to justify their violence and that is truly evil. It is the darker emotions that make up the evil men do. God has nothing to do with it and I’m glad we can agree there. When I reference my belief that violence and outright war is the province of those who act without faith and live without hope I am referring to the useless and misguided crusade that has been ongoing on for more or less a thousand years between the three Abrahamic religious groups, who incidentally, all believe in the same God.

      It is these terrorists that I freely admit to essentially naming warmongering, violent scumbags. I do not however condemn those who choose to defend themselves using whatever means are necessary to ensure the safety of their family, their property or to defend their government out of admirable patriotism. I also agree with your stance here and am quite happy we seem to share much common ground.

      I do disagree with part of what said when you mentioned that “Belief or disbelief in God has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a person acts morally” although not for the reason you might expect. Your statement rings true as applied to both the atheist or agnostic worldview but I submit that for a supposed theists belonging to the larger religious groups I referenced before – namely Christianity, Judaism and Islam, their belief in God and the moral codes that they believe were relayed from God via divine revelation or inspiration to make up their holy scriptures should be guiding them toward moral acts based on the belief that their dogma is Truth. If they then choose to act violently even though their own scripture tells them that they should not kill and they should be acting from a peaceful position then yes, I would say that such a person only pays lip service to God and truly has no faith, or at least not faith in God as I choose to define it.

      How you determined my statements referred to you or other Atheists in general I do not know but I apologize most sincerely that my writing wasn’t clear enough. I assure you I am not judging you in any way. It doesn’t matter to me whether you believe in God or not. I do not seek to convert people, I don’t personally believe in hell, I disavow both the necessity for salvation and the search for forgiveness as I believe that there is no need for Divine forgiveness of any sort. The God/dess I worship loves every sentient being for who we are and that Divine love is not dependent on belief. You have the free will to believe whatever you find to be correct, philisophically and spiritually.

      The bumper sticker on my car says “Freedom of religion means any religion” for a reason. I truly believe everyone has the right to walk their own path in life and to seek or not seek spiritual truths as they decide. You choose to be self-reliant and do not need divine support in your life – I greatly respect your courage to stand up for what you believe. Although my blog targets people looking to better define their understanding of a God they already believe in, I would like to encourage you to continue to comment on my blogs in the future if you wish to as I cherish your candid viewpoint and have enjoyed the conversation immensely.

      • (e)m says:

        “Does it then surprise you that a panentheistic pagan such as myself (see my about section if curious) would be interested in the atheist point of view?”

        Not at all. I looked into many forms of paganism before I became an atheist.

        “I find it perfectly natural for an individual who has decided to use reason and logic to deny the possibility of God”

        Most atheists don’t deny the possibility of any gods. To put the atheist position very simply: Someone says that a god exists. The atheist then says, I don’t believe you, give me evidence. If you were to provide them with credible evidence they would believe in your god. But possibility is not the same thing as something that has actually been shown to exist. It is possible that there is a teapot orbiting Saturn, but we have no evidence of one, so why would we believe one exists. So until you provide credible evidence, I will not believe in any god or gods.

        “What I found most interesting is your assumption that my blog entry was somehow targeting you because you hold atheist views.”

        Allow me to clarify, since I did not do a good job explaining to begin with. You said that, “I find it unlikely that such a person actually believes in God at all.” What you are saying there is that these violent warmongers are most likely atheists. They don’t really believe in god, only someone who is a non-believer (atheist) could do such a thing. This is infuriating on several levels. 1. It is disingenuous. These people believe in their gods just as much as you believe in your god. 2. I have not read the Koran, but I have read the bible cover to cover, since we are talking about Abrahamic religions. In the old testament, after Yahweh gives the commandment “Thou shall not murder,” he orders the Hebrew people to commit genocide. So at least according to two of the Abrahamic religions committing violence in the name of god is fully justified, and not murder. So not only are they faithful believers in their god, they aren’t even breaking their moral code. 3. It is a denigration of atheists. They did something you deem immoral, so they must not believe in god (be atheists). This is a form of microaggression. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microaggression You are saying that they did something evil because they are atheists. This may not have been your intention, but it is what you said. Do you understand why that is upsetting to me?

        “I do disagree with part of what said when you mentioned that “Belief or disbelief in God has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a person acts morally” although not for the reason you might expect. Your statement rings true as applied to both the atheist or agnostic worldview but I submit that for a supposed theists belonging to the larger religious groups I referenced before – namely Christianity, Judaism and Islam, their belief in God and the moral codes that they believe were relayed from God via divine revelation or inspiration to make up their holy scriptures should be guiding them toward moral acts based on the belief that their dogma is Truth.”

        1. In the bible, God commands genocide.
        2.The self contradictory scriptures can be interpreted in as many different ways as there are beleivers.
        3. People’s belief in god and the scriptures can actually cause them to act immorally. Look at the Christian groups who want to put in exemptions to anti-bullying laws based on faith.

        I have more, but I think that I’ll stop at 3.

        “How you determined my statements referred to you or other Atheists in general I do not know but I apologize most sincerely that my writing wasn’t clear enough.”

        See above.

        “I do not seek to convert people, I don’t personally believe in hell, I disavow both the necessity for salvation and the search for forgiveness as I believe that there is no need for Divine forgiveness of any sort.”

        This is why I like pagans more than Christians and Muslims.

        “You choose to be self-reliant and do not need divine support in your life”

        Actually, I just remain unconvinced that any gods exist.

        Thanks for responding.

      • William says:

        I think at last I finally comprehend the nature of our intellectual disagreement and the fault is entirely my own. I owe you a debt of gratitude as it appears I have fallen prey to my own hubris, having used verbage which did not fully convey the meaning of my thoughts 🙂

        I would like to respond to your latest comment with a reply which holds equal weight and I will be devoting a full post to this discussion later today. I would also like to sincerely thank you for continuing the conversation. Frank, civil communication with the goal of developing mutual understanding is the only way we humans can eliminate the blind spots created by our own ignorance.

        It has been said that the first step on the path to wisdom is the admission that we know nothing. Truly, there is wisdom to be found on every path, be it intellectual or spiritual. I choose to acknowledge the value of every perspective and continue to wish that more people would take positions of respect toward their philosophical opponents rather than aggressively denigrating the opposition out of frustration and fear.

  2. This part sums it up for me: “To be in the Presence of God is to be surrounded by and overcome with absolute peace. In that moment, when God speaks directly to one’s soul, fear, anger, hatred and all other such negative emotions become irrelevant, relegated to mere symbols of humanity’s ongoing confusion as to the true nature of God as a conscious being. ”
    Thank you for your wise words.

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