I know i'm just being picky here, cos i understand exactly what you mean.. and agree with it, but anyway..
Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
That's a great idea, and as far as where the line is drawn between religion being used as an excuse and it becomes a reason, look at the core scripture and ask the religious experts, the priests and spiritual leaders. Not one religion preaches hatred and violence, not one. There are stories of violence in the Bible and Quran, even intructed to by God or Allah, but by and by religion in it's purest form does not preach the message of violence.
The texts often DO preach hatred and violence. The priests and spiritual leaders are very varied in how they interpret them.
Spiritual leaders have always let their own views influence how they interpret the (often ambiguous) texts.. and those views are always shaped by the attitudes of their society and time.
African church leaders look at exactly the same texts as english and us church leaders, but interpret them in a much more traditional way, because their society and upbringing is much more traditional.
You could infact argue that they are being much more faithful to the texts, which were also written in traditional times.
For example, the anglican church has, over the last 20 years, become very mdern in its attitudes, feeling that it needed to update it's views and teachings to take account of a changed world. It is now much more tollerant of things likde sex outside marriage, homosexuality, other religions and so forth. However in the UK it's congregations have plumeted, and a lot of people see that as being due to the fact it has "wavered". In africa the anglican church has stayed true to it's traditional views and texts... and their congregations are growing. However their views are much closer to those of Iran than those of the UK in many ways.
People like their spiritual guidleines to be clear and unflinching.. not to adapt to a changing world.. which makes them feel uncertain and confused.
So in many ways it isn't that the extremists are extreme, its that the moderates have drifted away from their views. Which you prefer seems to depend on the kind of person you are.
there are definatley parts in the bible and the qur'an that are very intollerant and violent, and wouldn't be seen as acceptable to a lot of people today. But if they are your holy texts is it ok to revise them because they are no longer acceptable, or do you have to stick to them no matter what???