Here's another deeply thought-out analysis of religion by that tower of intellect, Pedro Timoteo of "Way Of The Mind" dot org (uggg). It is excerpted by me. The whole "thought" is on Mr. Timoteo's website.
Moderates and Extremists
Published by Pedro Timóteo2 weeks ago in islam, christianity, fanaticism and religion. 5 Comments
...Consider the three Abrahamic religions. What do they have in common?
First, they tell you how the universe / world began, using a story that was clearly the best thing that some primitive desert nomads or shepherds could come up with.
Unfortunately, Mr. Timoteo once again displays his ignorance of the history of religion here. The histories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were more than just the musings of "primitive desert nomads". For example, historians like Will Durant believed that the ancient Palestinians weren't sophisticated enough to just conjure up such complicated persons as Moses or Jesus Christ. On top of that, most of Islam was written by philosophers who lived after Mohammed.
Most “sophisticated” believers, these days, don’t take those stories literally, and accept evolution, an old earth, heliocentrism, a huge universe, a round earth, and so on. Only American fundies and Muslims seem to take those stories literally, no matter the opposing evidence; they probably believe their god put that evidence there as “a test of their faith”.
The other misfortune here is that Mr. Timoteo continues to believe that fundamentalist Christians and Muslims think that the earth is both flat and at the center of the Universe, and that the Universe is only our solar system, even when the Bible or the Koran don't make these claims. I find it hard to believe that an atheist, who considers himself intellectually superior to religious folks, continues to support and believe this kind of utter nonsense about Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
Then, the religions give believers some rules:
1- the first kind are rules that, while not terribly original, are, in general, a good idea. Don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t kill someone just because you feel like it, and so on.
Perhaps Mr. Timoteo would like to enlighten us with some "original" rules, and tell us how they originated. ALL religions have guidelines for living your life properly. Big deal. Atheism has implied "rules" as well.
2- then come the laws that can be annoying to follow, but it’s not the end of the world. Don’t eat that type of food, don’t wear this, wear that, do this on that day of the year, and so on. As I said, these can be annoying (for instance, what if you’re forbidden to eat your favorite food?), but most believers can live with them and obey them.
Annoying to whom? People brought up in particular religions and cultures are usually not "annoyed" by that religious or cultural upbringing.
3- finally, there are the “harder” rules. Kill people who do this. Kill people who do that. Stone to death those who don’t do this. Or those who do that on a particular day of the week. Fight tooth and nail against the “enemies of God / the faith”. In fact, giving your life for that is the greatest thing you can do, and with the greatest reward.
Notice how people like Pedro Timoteo focus their anti-religious prejudice to such a degree that they wind up horribly distorting the religions they're bashing? He goes right in and accuses religion of making it a prerogative to kill people, as if those are hard, fast rules believers must follow to be true to their religion. The fact is, Timoteo and others like him know NOTHING about religion except for what they read on other atheist websites.
Now, it should be obvious that a “moderate”, as usually described, is someone who follows just 1 and 2, while an “extremist” follows 3 as well.
The only thing that's obvious here is Pedro Timoteo's incredible ignorance and intellectual dishonesty. In the liberal atheist worldview, a "moderate" believer is one whose religious practices aren't considered offensive, and the "extremist" is the one whose religious practices ARE considered offensive. That's it.
In the Judeo-Christian worldview, neither the moderate nor the extremist are true followers of the faith. The moderate only follows the "rules" that he or she finds acceptable to his or her lifestyle, and the extremist distorts the faith to fit his or her personal tastes.
But… how can the latter be called an “extremist”? Doesn’t the term imply that he is distorting his religion, or using it as an excuse for something unrelated, or adding something to it? To me, it does. But that’s not the case at all…
Actually, Timoteo had it right, and then he changed his answer.
… it’s the moderates who are distorting religion, by removing things from it! Either because they don’t want to end up in prison or dead, or because their morality has evolved beyond those of the holy books’ writers, and so they recognize the immorality of those parts of their religion, but are nonetheless incapable of applying that judgment to the rest.
BUNK. Moderates don't follow all the "rules" because they themselves are guilty of being hypocritical in their own lifestyle. It has nothing to do with a distaste for extremism.
Are Bin Laden, or the 9/11 hijackers, or American abortion clinic bombers, “extremists”? Not at all, in my opinion — unless you call call a man who pays his taxes in full “an extremist taxpayer”.
Another one of Timoteo's idotic apples-to-oranges comparisons. I'd like to find out where in the Bible people are commanded to blow up abortion clinics, or where in the Koran people are commanded to kill Westerners. In fact, the Koran has rules against killing Christians because Muslims consider Jesus a prophet.
They’re simply not ignoring the unpleasant parts of their faith. They’re the only devout believers out there.
Which really paints a nice picture of their religions…
Actually, Pedro Timoteo's opinions paints a nice picture of the insipid nature of the typical liberal atheist.