yet, even if we discard that previous point : forbidding religions would be exactly the same as creating one and pointing "believers" as enemies of "non believers" ... triggering more of what you try to stop
general education and broad tolerance between cultures (either religious or not) is quite probably the only way to move towards non violence and peace ...
Yes they do. From the old testament (Deuteronomy 13, 6-13) http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/13.htm
If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known,
some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other,
you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.
But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people.
Of course, no sane priest or rabbi would ever endorse such words today. Nevertheless, they are written there for all to see and misapply.
Granted, I have taken the quote out of context. But so do religious fanatics.
You can't hand-wave this sort of thing away, since anyone can make the Bible say anything they want by selectively quoting it. You are doing more harm than good here.
The Old Testament law was set up to create a theocracy. Many infractions of the law were punishable by death. Contrast that to Jesus' teaching:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-8)
But of course, you'll need to understand the context in which Jesus is teaching to understand all of what he's saying in Matthew 5 and during his whole ministry.
In the very same chapter he addresses the law and says that he did not come to abolish it but to fulfill it. That statement has been a great point of contention through the ages as well.
Did I just make things worse by pulling a couple verses out of context? At least the ones I quoted don't advocate homicide.
As far as radical clerics/rabbis/priests/etc, religious leaders worth anything should encourage the congregation to look to the original texts rather than relying only on their words as final truth.
The problem right here : context. If the teachings of the Bible (or the Quran) are bound to a specific context then they shouldn't be worshiped like some universal and perfect teachings. Following these teachings then means following moral values that were only valid 2000 or 1300 years ago, in a specific context. Obviously one cannot live in a modern society while following the Bible or the Koran to the letter. While (most) Christians acknowledge that fact, irregardless of their beliefs in a creator, that's not the case of every religious group.
That's basically my problem with religion. It's a travesty, it exploits the need for spirituality every man has by trying to impose some random moral values dictated by a "superior being" nobody but a prophet has access to, without even trying to satisfy that need for spirituality at first place (since we know nothing about that being except the fact that he is "our creator"). And since men are not omniscient of course these moral values are bound to the context in which they were chosen. Religion is not faith in (a) god, but more like faith in the teachings of a man that says he has seen god.
How many people should God reveal Himself to in order for others to believe in His existence? 2? 10? 10000? Would people still believe that revelation 100 years later? 1000 years later? How would the revelation take place? God just appears in the sky? Or personally to every human?
Keep in mind that exposure to a supernatural being is a difficult thing to handle for our tiny brains. Or perhaps it flies over our heads, like when you stand among a group of ants.
You might say why doesn't God just appear regularly? That would defeat the purpose of belief. It would be too easy then. Furthermore, I'd wager that we would not have developed as a species. Why try to understand the orbits of the planets when God will just appear in a few weeks? Is there a point anymore?
I guess my point is that the "why personal revelation" argument is a tough nut to crack. If you believe in God, then the answer is simply God knows more. If not, you might need to approach the issue in a more rational manner, instead of just scratch the surface and then dismiss religion entirely.
There are calls to violence for the sake of Islam in the Quran. These verses are among the last to be revealed and thereby are considered to overrule earlier verses (the concept of abrogation in Islam is known as "naskh"). This is in stark contrast to Christianity, where Jesus abrogated the Old Covenant (i.e. the Jewish laws that contain most of the barbarism that people love to quote) with the New Covenant (hence the names). This view has been held in Christianity pretty much from its inception and is what the vast majority of Christians believe.
Two oft-cited examples from the Quran:
>And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
>Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.