Now that we are entering what is deemed the last year according to (certain morbid interpretations of) the end of the Mayan calendar, I decided to post less on the fact that Doomsday is near (it is and has always been near since time immemorial or like the truck in your side-view mirror, it is nearer than you may think) but more on the fact that God has been used for many inexcusable and shameful acts since the existence or invention of religion.
It is most interesting that the sixth season of Dexter dealt with a Doomsday killer who, as the serial-killing protagonist Dexter Morgan himself proclaims, used God for killing people rather than what in the Doomsday killer's perturbed mind was mandated by God Himself. Although this particular season offered alas one of the sloppier writings in the history of the series, this conclusion is worth taking note of.
Now let us backtrack for a moment and take a look at Abraham. He was told by God to sacrifice his only begotten son. And let us do what is considered a serious case of anachronism and keep Dexter's comment in mind. Suddenly we are appalled. What if it was not God who commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son but rather the twisted mind of a religiously intoxicated father who then, thank God, sees reason in the last possible moment.
What if we look at the crusades less as rescuing religion and killing in the name of God but as a calculated act of bloody business as wars happen to fill up the bloated pockets of certain scrupulous people. Yes, bloodshed unfortunately makes profits and no sense.
And let us speculate more along religion's dark passageway of memory lane tour and revisit the Spanish Inquisition with Dexter's voice in the back of our minds. The medieval religious frame of mind was that torture was all right. They devised the most horrid and sadistic tools of prolonged and painful torture to make the wicked souls confess and repent of their deeds. They even built thicker walls in the monastery so that the ear-deafening wailing did not penetrate to the outside world.
I once had the opportunity to ask a young lad dressed up as a monk why the monks of old were so seemingly cruel. I had been given a tour of the premises that had brought about a lot of suffering to people during the darkest of ages where human rights had been a costly privilege of the chosen few. This monkish lad told me that the actual monks of the past believed that the more the sinners suffered, the more chances they had to get to the gates of heaven. That meant that torture was actually good for them, purifying their souls. Again what if there was dark sadistic pleasure involved and that the brutal destruction of people was just another case of misreading God's word.
In fact, the Bible itself comes with a caveat to the readers and interpreters. There is always the possibility of the devil's reach. The hand of the devil may be at play and both preachers and common folk alike need to be careful about the voice they are hearing. Martin Luther, himself a founder of the Protestant religion, was often riddled and befuddled with the same question. Are these ideas inspired by God the Almighty or the equally forceful and beguiling and convincing Evil One? Or what if the gnostics observed the truth while mainstream religion has taken the wrong turn down the road?
Although most of this here may sound anti-religious, I believe it is not. It is more about the God factor, the image and attributions to God that are often equated with fear and punishment. It is the thundering voice of Thou Shalt echoed with the pending threat of Or Else ... This type of thinking has more often benefited people in positions of authority, anywhere from religious leaders to politicians to business people, or sometimes even the combination of all three in one. So much has been done in the name of God that if God were dead, as Nietzsche claimed, then He would turn in His grave. And if not, as I claim, there should be some kind of equalizing force that would create a form of cosmic justice.
In any case, I have a hard time believing that any war or bloodshed can be justified in the name of God regardless of religion or creed. Some of those who claim that God has spoken to them may be listening to their own dark “passenger” or nature. However, those who truly subscribe to God's will are not Machiavellian and do not think that the good will justify any end, including torture, death or the end of the world.