human existence looks more and more to me to be dividing onto two camps between which there can be no dialogue. everyone who comments here, atheist, theist, deist, buddhist, christian, platonist, freethinker, freemason---well, i haven't really seen anyone identify themself as a free mason---seems to put their beliefs or non-beliefs at the service of compassion and inclusion. we are united in our acceptance of each other as humans, quibble as we may about divine presence. we're in the camp that is willing to have a conversation with the other camp, the other camp made up of people whose worldview is magical. i think it is easier for fundie christians to have a conversation with fundie muslims than with us. they recognize in each other an absolutist position and agree to hate each other. they agree that domination is the game. i think it is easier for us to have a conversation with the communist chinese, unburdened as they are by religion.
what sort of conversation can i have with someone in whose view i am "evil" and the only resolution for whom is to convert me? i only want to find a way for us to agree civilly to disagree about theology and find a way to coexist peacefully. i seek not to convert anyone. threats of a dreadful afterlife or being "left behind" don't faze me, but the threat of sharia, islamic or christian, is scary. call me sinful and smile when you say that, stranger, but don't force me to recant by torturing me.
when i read "the chalice and the blade" by riane eisler, an interesting view of the differences and the inevitable clashes between pastoral/agricultural/passive and nomadic/hunting/aggressive cultures, i did not foresee that some christians would become blade people. my admittedly inadequate education about jesus, the putative savior of christians, led me to believe that he advocated peace and forgiveness. some christians, not the ones who come here, seem to have forsaken the teachings of jesus in favor of the heaviest and most vindictive parts of the old testament, parts long since let go of by reform and conservative jews. i know even less about islam, but it was born in a blade culture, and has historically been a conquering political force at least as much as christianity.
the orthodox, fundamental jews are only trying to conquer all of palestine, though they do have a very strange alliance with "zionist protestants." google "red heifer" for a weird story. go here if you're lazy. the rabid elements of both christianity and islam aim to conquer and convert the planet. good luck to them with india and china.