Author Laurence Kalnin calls for censorship of religious texts
An atheist author is calling for religious texts including The Bible and Koran to be censored in Britain and America, saying they fuel terrorism and “breach” laws by promoting intolerance.
Laurence Kalnin argues that religious texts and practices that demand the “murder of non-believers” should be treated in the same way as material that incites, causes, encourages and glorifies acts of terrorism.
The writer and businessman, 64, says that religions that are “prejudiced of other beliefs” impact on citizens' rights to religious freedom and threaten their “lives and security” through the “very real” dangers of religious conflicts and terrorist atrocities.
He adds that “murderous, intolerant” religious texts are outside of the definition of religion and “should be removed” by governments to “correct and restructure ‘religious freedom’ in accordance with the country's laws and social standards”.
Kalnin has laid out his controversial ideas in new book The Gods Truth. The title examines Christianity, Islam, and Judaism – the Abrahamic religions – and offers a practical guide to the end of religious intolerance and terrorism.
Speaking from his home in London, England, he said: “To state the obvious, religious freedom cannot be effective if followers of any religion are threatened with murder by the literal texts of other religions.
“There are many examples of murderous, intolerant passages. They originate in the Jewish bible (Deuteronomy 13:15) and appear in the Christian Bible (John 15:6) and Islamic Qu'ran (4:91).
“Religious ideologies are based on faith in, and worship of, a god or gods. These beliefs are socially functional as they don't adversely impact upon other citizens or their rightful beliefs.
“Murderous and intolerant texts, however, are based on fear, not faith, and are outside of the definition of 'religion' or religious freedom.
“They are in direct breach of our laws and social standards, from which religion is not excused. It's simply not right or acceptable in the 21st century for people to be carrying books around that state you must believe this or that, or be murdered.”
Within his 170-page book, Kalnin cites many examples of “inflammatory” passages in the Tanakh (Judaism), Bible (Christianity) and Qur'an (Islam).
“Both the Tanakh and the Old Testament of the Bible, for instance, call for the the murder of non-believers through being buried or burned alive,” he said.
“The Qur'an, meanwhile, says 'Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you'. It makes for alarming reading.”
Though aware that his book is a “social hot-potato”, Kalnin says he is just acting as a “concerned citizen” by voicing opinions that “the majority” holds.
Kalnin added: “Fortunately, most religious devotees ignore ‘godly’ commands to murder infidels, rightfully identifying them as not part of religious ideologies.
“But extremists use them to act out atrocities. It only takes one impressionable mind to accept and act upon intolerant texts to result in the deaths of many innocent people.
“Unfortunately, religious extremism has created a climate of fear where upstanding members of society are afraid to speak out when all they seek is the same kind of tolerance that religions claim as their due.
“By passively accepting things as they are, we are all part responsible for the ongoing problem of terrorism and religious intolerance.”
But not everyone agrees.
Dr Sanjay Jain, the author of A Psychiatrist Discovers the Life - Changing Power of God and a leading expert in religious ideology says some people will always “twist” religion regardless of its message.
He said: “Religions are in general an overwhelming force for good and I have seen many examples of how religion has transformed a person's life for the better.
“But the sad fact is that some sick people will always twist religion for their own ends and this will happen whether or not holy books are censored.
“They simply see what they want to see and hide behind religion as a shield.”
The Gods Truth by Laurence Kalnin is out now, priced £9.95 in the UK and $15.95 in America. For more information, visit: www.the-gods-truth.com