AN atheist author is calling for religious texts including the Bible and Qur’an to be censored in Britain, saying they “breach” laws and social standards by promoting intolerance and religious terrorism.
Laurence Kalnin believes religious passages 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 – all criminal offences under the UK Terrorism Act.
The writer and successful businessman, 64, says that until the government move to close this “religious loophole” the risk of homegrown acts of terrorism like 7/7 will remain high.
Speaking from his home in London yesterday, Mr Kalnin said: “The unignorable truth is that the sacred books of the world’s biggest religions – Christianity, Islam and Judaism – all preach intolerance.
“Religions always ask to be tolerated but are built on a bedrock of intolerance to others who do not worship their god or follow their religion.”
He says that though there are other books on the subject, including The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation, his is the first to rise above “verbal assault” and provide a “reasoned” way forward.
It is a “timely” publication in view of the “known increasing threat” of religious terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction, he adds.
He said: “Though I am atheist I respect the right for people to follow any religious ideology be it with one god or as many, as they wish.
“But ‘religion’ is defined as a practice that is faith and worship-based. Religious texts which incite murder of non- believers (infidels) are based on fear, not faith. These texts are arguably
outside of the definition of religion.
“They are in direct breach of our laws and social standards, and should come under the laws and covenants of our land.
‘These dysfunctional texts do not form part of religious ideologies, and thankfully most devotees ignore the ‘godly’ commands to murder infidels.
“Accordingly, the only purpose of these texts is for extremists to act out these atrocities. There is no acceptable reason for the injustice of lawless/dysfunctional religious texts or the associated security threat to all citizens.
“Citizens want our societies conducted in accordance with the laws of our lands, from which no entity is exempt, including religion.
“Even if followers in the main ignore or reject it, it only takes one impressionable mind to accept these texts and act upon it to result in the deaths of many innocent people.”
To illustrate his case, Kalnin cites multiple “inflammatory” passages in the Tanakh (Judaism), Bible (Christianity) and Qur’an (Islam) that should come under the remit of British law.
“Both the Tanakh and the Old Testament of the Bible, for instance, call for the the murder of non-believers through being put to the sword, 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.”
Kalnin identifies that it is unlikely that religions will ‘self-regulate’ in accordance with “our laws and social standards”, as it is not “in their interest to accept or tolerate other beliefs”.
Kalnin’s book has has been praised for offering a “well-referenced, common sense, practical guide” with recommendations that governments ensure all religions comply with the laws of the lands and are socially functional.
He added: “Today, only six per cent of people in the UK regularly attend religious services while the vast majority have little or no interest in religion.
“Atheists – reported to be over one billion worldwide – appear to greatly outnumber those regularly attending religious services in many Western countries, including the UK.
“By passively accepting lawless and socially dysfunctional religious texts and teachings, we are all part responsible for the ongoing problem of religious terrorism and 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 available now, priced £9.95. For more information, visit: the-gods-truth.com.