To better understand this power of religious passion, or "the Religious Bomb," as Thomas Cahill names it in Heretics and Heroes, we need to unpackage the many dynamics and components of religion and identity.
In this moment of post-attack fog as the world tries to get back to normal, I urge you all, whether leaders in title or in conviction, not to poke the bear. Find a way forward that comes from a quest for understanding, soul-searching and peaceful resolution.
Paris has a way of drawing one's gaze to the past. As we marched southeast yesterday from Place de la République, crowds singing and banners flying, we asserted proud and ancient sentiments against a tragedy that had blown us all back.
Unfortunately, however, those of us who spend our professional lives monitoring religious freedom developments -- and fighting to protect those freedoms -- see the other side of the coin.
Religion today can be characterized by tension and fear, uncertainty and anxiety. As I cringe before the terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, I wonder if the question sometimes is not atheism versus religion, but the 21st century versus the dark ages.
To save humanity from tearing itself apart, we must reject the erroneous premise that some human beings have been created as less than others. We must accept as inviolable and "self-evident" the truths that God is indeed compassionate and all-loving, and that all of us have been created equal.
Here are some indisputable facts: the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists and a majority also reject terrorism and violence as a legitimate means of achieving any objective, whether it's religious, political, or otherwise.
Once the dust settles on the military response, we need to collectively learn as citizens of this 21st century that people different from us are not a binary 0 to our 1 or an off to our on switch
Martha Root was to make many trips around the world spreading the Baha'i Faith, which is now the second most widespread religion worldwide after Christianity. To the east of Santiago, Chile, a new spectacular Baha'i Temple is taking shape -- a testament to how far the community has come in the country since its humble beginnings.
Anti-semitism is again showing its violent face. In France, Jewish community leaders and concerned politicians had to work hard to get the reality of anti-semitic violence recognized. But today, the warning signals are on everywhere in Europe. To simply admit the problem is not enough anymore.
Is there a greater catastrophe than the loss of a child? If you are Baha'i in Tabriz, the death of a loved one can be just the beginning of a new devastating experience.
There is a solid base of evidence that we can draw on to support educational practices that can teach students to get along, to accept and even embrace those who are different to them.
I am dismayed by those who are so convinced of the "truth," they adopt an anything goes policy towards the evidence. By that, I mean that they accept any sort of evidence, however flimsy and irrelevant, as supportive of their most cherished beliefs.
No doubt the Obama administration feels overwhelmed. Who has time for India? But make time President Obama must. India matters today. It will matter much more tomorrow, especially if Prime Minister Modi commits his political capital to eliminate barriers to entrepreneurship, investment and growth.
We live in a time where the very freedom to express our respective faith values stands threatened -- a road we have never been down before.