There are a lot of crazies out there, guys. Crazies who are out to cause as much pain as they can to those deemed “Other” based on the things drilled into their heads by deranged, wounded elders from a young age.
The New Testament, the Hebrew Bible, the Qur’an: these texts are not inherently evil, but are largely metaphorical, quasi-historical products of their time. Interpretation of these books can of course yield positive, peaceful, community-building action, as can nearly any book if you look at it the right way. But the fact remains that, taken at face value, as literally as possible, these books suggest a whole lot of bigoted, violent, and objectively evil behaviour.
The problem, of course, is in dealing with extremes. A fundamentalist is someone who approaches one of these texts with no room for interpretation outside the literal, except perhaps for the still more corrupted word of a psychotic demagogue in a position of spiritual or political leadership. These people are in the minority if we’re polling the entire religious world. One big problem, however (most popularly argued by Sam Harris) is that the continued participation of moderates in these religious communities endorses—whether through literal vocal endorsement, indirect financial aid, or simply the added density of the “religious population”—this behaviour, and these groups’ continued existence.
I understand that it’s a far throw to blame moderates for the actions of fundamentalists, but don’t you think we could do a lot of good by depriving these raging ignorant wildfires of some fuel? If you don’t literally believe that Jesus the seed of God, was brought back from the dead, and that the Christian community literally drinks his blood and eats his body every week, why continue to participate in the rituals and count yourself among that community?
Especially in a world of growing skepticism and critical thought, wouldn’t it be better to seek for that sense of community among similarly minded folk?
Please weigh in with your thoughts on fundamentalism, religious moderates, and atrocities committed in the name of ancient books. What say you?