This post was inspired by a video of someone’s testament of why they are leaving islam, but yet it has nothing to do with islam.
There is a perfectly understandable misunderstanding within that video – the extremism commonly found in islam today has nothing to do with islam itself. The same extremism can be found in other religions too – christianity, hinduism, budhism, judaisn, etc. Yes the perception is that islam today is far more extreme than those other religions, but there are still extremism in other religions :-
It seems that irrespective of what religion someone believes in, they will take the message from their religious texts that they want to. A good person is going to take the good stuff from the good book; a bad person is going to take the bad stuff from the very same book. I would not go as far as Steven Weinburg :-
Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
But it is certainly along the right sort of lines. Extremists use religion as an excuse to do evil things – killing homosexuals, abortionists, atheists, “immoral” women, etc. If we could somehow cause all the extremists of the world to drink the magical cool-aid that would turn off their extremism and turn them into the kind of religious believers who “love thy neighbour”, then there wouldn’t be a problem with religion.
But the sad fact is that extremists do so much harm with their religion that it outweighs any possible benefit we get from religion. We would be better off getting rid of religion just to stop the extremists from pretending to be good.