In a recent interview for the Observer Music Monthly Magazine, Sir Elton John decrees that organized religion should be banned outright. Sir Elton, a flamboyant homosexual, says that religion promotes hatred and spite towards gays. Elton continued to say that he was very fond of the teachings of Jesus that he learned as a child in Sunday school. But he believes that reality doesn’t reflect those teachings anymore when he said,
But the reality is that organized religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate.
After 9/11, Sir Elton had called for religious leaders from all faiths to hold a conclave and discuss the fate of the world. He noted,
We are all God’s people; we have to get along and the [religious leaders] have to lead the way. If they don’t do it, who else is going to do it? They’re not going to do it and it’s left to musicians or to someone else to deal with it.
While many find Sir Elton to be over-the-top, I find it difficult to disagree. Religious leaders have failed on several fronts. They have done little to control the amount of fanaticism. They have failed to keep open dialogues with leaders of different faiths. But most importantly, I believe that the leaders have strayed off the path terribly. They do not focus on the original teachings of their religion. Instead, most have focused on the hate and less on the forgiveness.
Christianity today does not resemble what the original teachings of Jesus were. The focus is now on anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-stem-cell, and anti-anything else they can think of. Gone are the days of preaching love, compassion, understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness. This holds true for Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
Instead of rallying millions of followers to eradicate hunger, poverty, and disease, we see these religions fighting each other to win as if it were some sort of contest. But there are no winners; just losers and we quickly create divides between one another and create more animosity.
While I don’t agree with Sir Elton on banning religion (just look at Russia), I do agree with him calling for more communication. It is the responsibility of all major religious leaders to work together and find the common ground that binds us. After all, aren’t we all God’s children supposedly?