Four paragraphs by a speech given by the author Karen Armstrong in 2007 pinpoints the problem that is the focus of this blog and proposes a logical solution (my underlines):
"The modernity that gave us the freedoms we celebrate today has also been spectacularly violent, because our technology has enabled us to kill each other with greater efficiency than ever before. This aggression is not only revealed in warfare but has even invaded a harmless activity like football. The discourse of our democratic societies -- in parliamentary debates, the media, academia and the law courts -- is essentially confrontational and agonistic. Instead of simply seeking the truth, we also want to defeat our opponents. It is not surprising that, when people feel threatened, religious rhetoric has also become belligerent, offensive and dismissive of rival viewpoints.
"Religions are not inherently disposed to violence and intolerance. Every single one of the major world traditions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam, has developed its own version of the Golden Rule -- “Do not do to others what you would not like them to do to you” -- and made compassion the litmus test of true spirituality. They have also insisted that you cannot confine your benevolence to your own group but must have what the Chinese call jian ai, 'concern for everybody.' The religious have not always lived up to these high ideals, of course, but at its most authentic, faith should be a force for reconciliation and respect.
"But this will not happen in an antagonistic environment. The religious are not the only people who have become dogmatic and chauvinist in these difficult times. Every single one of the 'fundamentalist' movements that I have studied in Judaism, Christianity and Islam is rooted in a deep fear of annihilation, convinced that modern secular society wants to wipe them out. In almost every case, this militant piety originally developed in response to an aggressive secularist or liberal assault. Sometimes this was military or political; sometimes merely the result of a disdainful media campaign. And history shows that every subsequent attack -- military, political or cultural -- simply made these fundamentalisms more extreme, because it confirmed their suspicion that the secular world was indeed out to destroy them.
"Our major challenge today is to build a global community, where people of all persuasions can live together in peace. If we do not manage this, we are unlikely to have a viable world to hand on to the next generation. Any ideology, therefore, be it religious or secular, that breeds discord and contempt or which distorts and denigrates the sacred traditions of another in order to defend its own will fail the test of our time."