Finding Peace in Tumultuous Times

With everything that is happening and has been happening in our world, it's become quite a scary time. In the western world, we are living in, technically, a time of peace. But this gets shaken up each time we have an episode of violence. I'm referring not only to the recent violent actions in Stockholm, Berlin, Paris, Nice but also in Syria, Egypt and Myanmar. (There are many more countries were continued conflict exists but I chose these countries as they are in the news regularly and these conflicts involve religion.)

I don't think that I am overly religious in any way but was raised with the Buddhist doctrines. As an adult, I intentionally go to temple probably twice a year and the rest of the time, I visit religious sites as a tourist. I do consider myself a Buddhist but it's not something that defines me as a person. The first major shock to my religious beliefs was learning of Buddhist monks harming and even killing people in Myanmar. It was such a devastating blow to my system that it took a while for me to proces and accept; that it was possible for Buddhists to be violent, that we are all eventually only human. But what turns non-violent people violent? Despair, jealousy, greed, anger, fear?

Peace in the early morning. 

Peace in the early morning. 

Carrying out an act of violence in the name of one's religion seems to be an accepted practice these days. And the danger is magnified when it's a lonely outcast who wants to feel accepted and valued for his contributions to the world. The other danger is when people become a mob of violence. Religion accepts everyone though, doesn't it?

All this violence and anger leads me to more questions: Do we need religion? Is it a positive aspect or a negative one? What would replace religious teachings to children when they are growing up? How do we find peace on our own? When will this all stop?