Asking Religious Questions to the Wrong People
Typically there are two topics most people refuse to discuss with strangers, or even friends for that matter. Politics and Religion are two topics that when people have a view point on them, they defend them almost fanatically. Most wars have had religious undertones, or have been the main reason for the war to begin with.
Religion has, in some form or fashion, been around since pre-history. Mankind has worshiped the sun and moon, nature, gods, God, demons, angels, and even each other through the ages. It is believed that Zoroastrianism is the oldest known organized religion. Hinduism is a close second with Judaism, the third. This does not take into account the various tribal religions, but more or less religions on a large scale.
Ask most Americans what they think of Islam, and you are liable to receive pretty much the same answer, a violent religion that is responsible for terror attacks. Of course if you went back to 1000 AD and asked people in the holy land what they thought of Christianity, the answer would be the same, based on the results of the crusades. Or ask the Romans about Druidism. Look through history and look at points in time where religions conflict, and look at the result. Death, war, and one side forcing their beliefs on the other side.
Now the question is, if religion is about inner enlightenment, peace, love, and happiness, why does the discussion of various ones turn bloody? Why can't say a Christain and a Muslim sit down side by side and have a civil discussion about their religions without it turning into a brawl?
Personally I think more people should learn the meaning of the term "religious tolerance". Nobody on this planet is responsible for, or can answer for my soul, my eternity, or my religious beliefs except for me. I have no problem listening to somebody discuss their religion, in fact I find it fascinating, and even more so I like finding similarities between the various religions. However, once I begin to get personally attacked about my beliefs, or somebody forces their beliefs down my throat, then it goes from a discussion to an argument, at which point it is best to walk away.
Everybody is allowed to believe what they wish, regardless of anybody else viewpoint. If more people practiced what their religion preaches, there might be less problems in this world.