There is no scientific answer for why bullying occurs. In fact, there are a number of factors that go into a person’s decision to pick on a smaller, weaker individual. Unfortunately, this arcane practice has been going on for millennia and one of the first forms of it is religion bullying.
Even within The Holy Bible, there are numerous examples of religious persecution. In the story of Moses and the Pharaoh, his people in Egypt, they weren’t free to practice their own religion. Religion bullying was one of the reasons the pilgrims chose to risk life and limb to get away from the king of England. The website gives vivid accounts of people being killed and mutilated in England because they were protestant and not catholic. The punishment seems very harsh and extreme, especially when you consider how similar the two religions are.
In the dark ages, the popes and priests established a system of sacerdotalism, telling the people that only members of the clergy could communicate with God. A system of paying for God’s forgiveness was also established by the clergy and anyone who opposed them was tortured, killed or excommunicated. This led to one of the most famous opponent of religious bullying, the founder of the protestant church, Martin Luther.
It seems kind of odd that something like a relationship with a higher power could be used to bully someone but it happens everyday in every corner of the globe. In fact religious differences are the basis for one of the oldest, ethnic conflicts in the known universe. Today, the Palestinians and the Jews have an epic dispute over who the land in the Gaza belongs to. This is a struggle that has been going on for thousands of years and it’s the basis for one of the most thrilling tales in the world’s history. The term “David and Goliath” is often used to depict an underdog challenging a far superior opponent. However, David was a Jew and Goliath was a Palestinian. This epic struggle continues to rage on despite the efforts of basically the rest of the world to bring it to a cease. In this struggle, it seems the Jews are the bullies because they have more money and power but they’re also surrounded by countries with opposing religious views so they’re really the victim in this scenario.
The odd thing about bullying someone in the name of a higher power is the fact that the people can be from the same faith and still have conflict. The Muslim Sunnis and Shiites still feud with each other in the Persian gulf, killing one another with little regard or value for human life. This is all because of the beheading of a Shiite leader nearly 1,500 years ago according to the website . The western media would have people in predominantly Christian countries believe that the Muslims are just inherently violent but even this is a form of religious bullying. Some of the most ghastly acts in the history of the world have been committed by people of every faith and no one is superior or inferior because of how they choose to worship. However, choosing to worship differently from someone could lead to some fairly dire consequences even within the Christian/Catholic faith.
Religion Bullying: The IRA
Though the IRA officially declared a cease fire in 1997, but they killed hundreds of people during their 28 year reign of terror according to this website . Many people saw the members of the IRA as religious bullies and terrorists but they were actually protesting religious and social oppression by the British government after the country of Ireland was basically divided in two. Religious bullying may be far more heated because of the passionate, spiritual views people hold, but it shares a common thread with typical bullying. It’s done because someone wants a reason to pick on someone else. Often times, bullies are looking for someone to push around so they feel empowered. Religious bullying, or bullying of any kind is about the perpetrator attempting to establish power over someone who seems weaker. Religious bullies would find another reason to agitate a smaller person if they were ever confined to people of the same faith. Saying someone’s theology is wrong is just an excuse to display the despicable behavior. If it wasn’t religion, they’d bully someone for being overweight, or underweight or too tall or too short. In the end, religion bullying is just like bullying of any other kind, it’s a pathetic excuse for someone to cause a conflict simply because the victim isn’t as strong.