Islamophobia vs. Christianophobia
Man created god in his own image, and this is important to remember when we ponder why god is cruel and unfair. God is a reflection of us. While many mysteries of the universe can’t yet be explained, god can be explained by simply looking into our hearts. Man created religion. Its holy texts catalog man’s foibles and virtues, his conceits, prejudices, and innermost desires. These texts are sexual, violent, and largely outdated. But when we fear religion, what we really fear is ourselves, and we perpetuate that fear by giving others reason to fear us. I’m tired of the hate. I want to see all hateful and deceitful religions gone, not just Islam. But that won’t happen in the near future because most human brains aren’t wired the same way as mine, and I have to accept that. I can’t hate others for it. But I can hate and oppose bigotry, violence, misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and cruelty because these things are undeniably damaging to society. And because with my whole heart I find them to be despicable and wrong. At the same time, I can also oppose intolerance for other religions. Because unless I do so, I become just like them.
This doesn’t mean that I have to be ashamed of my beliefs or cower in the corner. I do not and will not. This doesn’t mean that I should stop my attempts to improve science education and education in general, because I believe that education is the antidote to religious delusions. But when the antidote doesn’t work, I have to accept that as well, and realize that for the large part our legal principles are more sound than our religious ones, and that they must either be improved or they must suffice. We can be moral without god. We know this because we often have been, even though no god exists or cares.
I am not afraid of Islam any more than I am of other violent religions, and I am not afraid of Muslims because of their religion. Many of them project onto their god a loving and tolerant image, much as many Christians do onto theirs (and this is a view of god that the Bible simply does not support no matter how much you argue for a metaphoric interpretation). To quote Richard Dawkins, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
And I don’t want to be that bully.
Note for clarification (added after the first few comments): I think the real issue isn’t what religion people are practicing, but the conditions they’re living in. Terrible living conditions make any religion a more dangerous and effective tool for abuse by the powerful.