The Abrahamic religions and religio-fascism

"Fascism": an authoritarian, ultra-nationalist, regimented, populist, political system characterised by dictatorial central power and the forcible suppression of all opposition.

No, we are not saying that all religious people are fascists!

We are saying that some religious people and some religious institutions behave in ways which can only be described as fascist. We know lots of liberal-minded religious people who are certainly not fascists - many of them are confirmed socialists promoting fairness and justice for all!

Differences

What are the differences between the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam?

Very few - they share almost everything - with minor theological differences.

  • They are all based on the stories (*) in the Judaist holy book, the Torah.
  • Christianity started as a sect within Judaism with additional stories reflecting its belief that the alleged (**) Jesus was the Messiah described in the Torah.
  • Islam was derived directly from the teachings of Judaism picked up by Mohamed during his talks with the large merchant Jewish population in Arabia.
  • Judaism does not accept the divinity of the alleged Jesus nor does it believe he was the Messiah.
  • Judaism claims that the existence of god was made known to Jews as "a nation".
  • Islam claims that the revelation of a god was made known to a man: Mohamed.
  • Islam began as a very violent proselytising religion - belief was imposed by the sword.
  • Christianity's success derives mainly from its adoption by Constantine as a unifying force in a desperate attempt to prop up a collapsing Roman Empire.
  • Chistianity has been used to justify conquest, violence and oppression: "spreading the good news". "Mission" continues to be the aim of the evangelical wing of Christianity.
  • Christians systematically persecuted Jews - blaming them for killing the alleged Jesus. Could the hollocaust have happened without 2,000 years of Christian persecution?

* we use the word "stories" because holy books are not history. They were written to reinforce the beliefs of those who follow a specific religion and sometimes they may contain names of people and incidents that match those in proven history while at other times they contain complete fiction or myth. In most cases no one knows when the chapters in holy books were written - or who wrote them - for example, no one knows who wrote the gospels in the Christian New Testament. Holy books should be treated like historical fiction.

The interpretation of holy books leads to endless schisms (usually accompanied by violence) and sects: Haredi, Dati, Masorti and Hiloni in Judaism; Sunni and Shia in Islam; Catholic and Protestant (and dozens more) in Christianity.

** we use "alleged" when describing the Christian character, "Jesus", because there is no non-Christian historical evidence that such a character ever existed.

Religio-fascism

One does not have to look far back in history to see endless examples of religio-fascism where those not following the "correct" religious line were persecuted, tortured and killed. Wars, pogroms and massacres based on religious differences have killed millions in the last 2,000 years and even now, in the 21st century, there are still countries with the death penalty for blasphemy.

The violent and disproportionate attacks by the Israeli state against the Palestinians can only be explained by its determination that "never again" will Jews bow down under persecution. The presecuted have become the persecuters - despite the fact that most persecution of Jews was done by Christians.

The Israeli state would not survive without the financial and military support of American evangelical Christians whose beliefs are more dictated by the Torah (their Old Testament) than by the teachings of their Christ - the Sermon on the Mount does not feature in most evangelical services! Right-wing, intolerant politics in the USA is dominated by Christian evangelicals - no politician in the USA would dare come out as an atheist!

Recent bans on abortion in Poland show that the intolerant Catholic church dictates politics there - as it does in most countries that have signed concordats with the Vatican. In the UK people like Jacob Rees-Mogg base their politics primarily on their religious beliefs - as a Catholic he too opposes abortion. (Why aren't MPs required to state their religious affiliation when speaking and voting on such matters?)

ISIS and the Taliban demonstrate all too clearly what happens when religio-fascism gets its way.

Religio-fascism begins when religious people and religious institutions try to dictate how the rest of us should lead our lives based on their religious beliefs. For example, the primary reason why we are not allowed to determine the time and manner of our own deaths is down to the opposition of religion.

We are happy for religious people to follow their beliefs (as long as they cause not harm) but we expect it to be a two-way process so they leave us free to lead our lives according to our beliefs, not theirs.