I’m starting this topic to express my deep fear for the world over the recent trends within the western world to apologise for the evil that is being perpetrated in Iran and through the name of a so-called ‘religion’ of Islam.
The core of the issue is what intellectuals constitute a religion to be; should religion be restricted to spirituality, or is valid it for it to dictate an entire way of life?
I think the core of the problem isn't religion at all. The core of the problem is the west is ruled by a bunch of pansy-assed multi-cult secularists who think every culture is morally equal and so they have no basis in their worldview to criticize Islam (Berlusconi being the exception: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1565664.stm
If they had a Christian or Jewish worldview, they would have basis on which to criticize Islam.
Personaly, I believe a religion should be only personal and spiritual. When religion extends further than this, it is no longer a religion, but governance, thus not valid for protection under the claim of religious freedoms.
Religion that extends only to the 'spiritual' parts of life (whatever that means) isn't religion at all, but a hobby. For example, St. James says part of 'true religion' to to care for widows and orphans in their distress.
If we start saying 'religious freedom' only extends as far as the walls of the church/synagogue/whatever, that's no freedom at all.
There is this idea floating around that religion has been the cause of most of the wars in history. While religion has certainly been the pretense for a lot of war, in the 20th century not even that has been true. By far the bulk of death in human history has been the result of atheistic communism. Pagan fascism would be up there too. The clear connection between these two philosophies is their overweening statism
Even wars that could be reasonably linked to religion generally aren't fought by priests and nuns, they are fought by governments. Reduce the role of government, reduce the likelihood of war.