When people do bad things in the name of religion it is because they have abandoned their consciences. This is true regardless of the name of the particular religion. Some religions actually teach people to do bad things, but even religions that teach only good things can be perverted by individuals who are unwilling to be governed by their conscience.
Some of the worst evils perpetrated on earth have been done in the name of God. It’s still happening today, as you tell from the daily news. Because of this, some people reject all religion. They are, of course, throwing out the baby with the bath water. Such people are neglecting to notice that it is not the presence of religion that is causing the problems (no matter how zealous it might be), but rather the failure of conscience. Indeed, a failed conscience is always present where there is sin…even when no religion is involved. Rejection of conscience is therefore the root problem. If anything, observers should be noting the inability of religion to control sin.
Our consciences, essential as they are, however, are not entirely sufficient to protect us from doing evil. This is because our consciences can become weak and defective through misuse, abuse and non-use. For this reason we must constantly walk with God and listen to Him. His presence restores your conscience. He heals it as He abides in your heart and mind. I am not talking about religion. We’ve already seen that religion can’t protect against sin. God is not interested in what most people call religion. He’s interested in righteousness – loving Him and loving each other.
We must daily walk with God, returning to Him again and again, asking Him to cleanse our consciences. Otherwise, they can’t give us the complete protection He intended – whether against religious sin or against sin that has nothing to do with religion.