Religion or Strife? A Lesson from History
In 15th century al-Andalus was an Islamic state in which the three religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism had been coexisting peacefully for over 600 years. Even when the Jews in many other countries were facing the terrible problem of pogrom, al-Andalus allowed the Jews there to flourish.
It was then that the King and Queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, were inspired by their religion. They believed that their religion was the only true religion and their god the only true god. They established the notorious Spanish Inquisition which sought to unify the nation under the one true god and one true religion. Thousands of people were killed labelled as heretics.
The religious zeal of the King and the Queen extended to al-Andalus. They led a war (which they called a crusade, holy war – religion can make even a war holy!), defeated the Sultan and started persecuting the Muslims and the Jews. Many people sought to escape the torture by converting themselves into Christianity.
We would normally expect peace to return when everyone belongs to the same religion. But that seldom happens. In fact, religions are not known for promoting peace and harmony. On the contrary, they have created strife and wars most of the time.
The converts of al-Andalus were despised by the ‘old’ Christians. The converts were called “pigs.” Many of the converts lost their new faith soon. They went back to their old faiths secretly. What followed were more Inquisitions and more brutal killings.
I brought this here just to take a lesson, one of the many available, from history to show that forcing religion on people or trying to unite people with the help of religion won’t work. Leave people to their own creeds and gods. Use science and technology to improve the nation. There is no other way.