I'm in the middle of a religious "discussion" with the nice folks over at jarheadjohn2.blogspot.com. JarHead John posted a short piece <http://jarheadjohn2.blogspot.com/2006/09/religion-of-peace-continues-to-show.html> on the failing of Islam and how it promotes violence.
My point, which elicited a rather self-righteous (an error-filled) response is that until recently, christianity couldn't claim a much better record - in fact, its may be worse. Just a cursory review of the big hitters (the Crusades and the Inquisitions) would give any reader the heebie-jeebies about the christian religion backed by force of law.
However, it appears that self-righteousness and ignorance knows no bounds. I am simply amazed at how people convince themselves that their belief systems are different. More subtlety, some people don't even realize that it's only because they have adopted some enlightened (i.e. - non-faith based positions) that they themselves are not frothing fundamentalists. Even with their reliance on convenient aspects of modernality, they still claim that we need more "faith" to bring the country back on track.
For how else does the modern day Christian get around the edicts of his doctrines than by recognizing that modern ethics, morality and science are more "true" than the word of god?
Case in point, although most Christians haven't even read the text they consider the word of god, some know the Ten Commandments. How do Christians get around the punishments for breaking them? They are fairly clear: most involve stoning the transgressor to death.
Additionally, how does a Christian even explain the 10th commandment - the one that admonishes us to repsect the ownership of our neighbor's slaves?
Even an adolescent-level application of logic tells you that most of the old testament was written by a tribe that used the "god told me to do it" refrain to justify horrible acts of genocide, rape, incest and war... However, these moderates have selectively turned off the reason switch when it comes to matters of faith - they say something like "yeah, there's some bad stuff in the bible and I don't believe it, but the rest is the inspired word of god!"
These same people trust in modern science, engineering and "progress" in general to improve their lives. But when issues of morality and ethics are raised we apparently haven't learned anything since the bronze age.
And here's the problem: we give space to these people and their opinions in the name of "tolerance" when their position is about as rational as the man who stands on the corner telling anyone who'll listen how he was abducted by aliens and that they are coming back next week to give us all a ride around the solar system. Both are nuts... and neither realizes it.