These people aren’t evil. Yes, some of them are bigots and narrow minded who wish to impose theocratic systems, but a lot of them are good and caring members of their communities who actively work for a better world. They just don’t seem to be fully aware of the consequences of their beliefs (or at least the official ones of their religions); if they are aware of it, then I’m sorry to say that they’re being hypocrites. One minute they’re talking about religious tolerance, peaceful coexistence and holding hands with those of different faiths, and in the next they’re either preaching or hearing a sermon about converting all others or peace and justice when their god rules supreme. How can one honestly call for tolerance and understanding while believing that ultimate prosperity and well-being will come when a given religion destroys all others? Is it just a practical matter of getting along with the “enemy” until someone cries ‘havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war? How honest is that?
I’m aware that exclusivist apocalyptic scenarios are part of the sacred scriptures of some, but I don’t think that’s much of an argument. Call me crazy, but I have a hard time accepting that narratives written at a time when genocide was an acceptable practice should be taken as dogma today. Which goes to show the problems entailed by set-in-stone beliefs which reflect the reality of a given time and are immune to questioning, revision and change.
By the way, what I wrote in the beginning of this post also holds true for the atheists who envisage a world of peace and prosperity by the elimination of religion. I don’t care if you plan on doing it through open debate and the free shifting of minds. In the end, the result is the same: destruction of something based on a label! It’s not pointing out and changing the harmful elements while leaving the remaining ones alone, it’s pure and simple elimination based on a category; in this case religion. It would a bit like saying that the solution against extremist political parties is the end of all parties.