Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "Man is the religious animal . . . He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn't straight."

We are not sure of the exact cause of religiously fear, prejudice, discrimination and violence. There are many reasons. Social scientists speculate about the causes. A few things that may contribute to religious hatred and violence appear below:

Xenophobia, the fear of of people who are different. An element of xenophobia is present in religious hate. Deep fear can express itself in violence.

A need to feel OK, to feel worthwhile. This can result in people wanting to feel superior to others.

Conforming, without question, to what religious leaders tell people the sacred writings mean.

Spiritual insecurity. Some people are not confident in their own belief system and their own religion. The presence of other religions is a threat.

Not knowing what other faith traditions and religions actually teach. Relying on second-hand and biased information can increase the problem of fear and distrust.

Picturing God as an angry, vengeful God.

A belief that people are desperately evil and deserve punishment. This belief can help justify hatred against those who might not believe the right things.

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