I believe the holy books of the great religions are first and foremost books of love. I believe that should be the primary focus of anyone reading from such texts. Yes certain passages have deviated from that ideal but in totality the books must be of love or any religion based on such texts, I believe, as stated earlier, would have failed to achieve greatness.
However there are some individuals that would use those same holy books as weapons to be wielded against whomever they deem as their enemy. They highlight the calls to violence and intolerance from their sacred texts instead of relegating such passages to the past which is where they belong. By doing so they pervert those books into instruments of hate and intolerance. And thus, I believe, they sew their own demise for peddlers in hate have an impossible hill to climb. They will never attract followers as numerous and as powerful as the humanity of love that will gather against them including from those loving members of the great religions. They know not what they do for they attack love and provoke its power.
But this must never be construed as a war pitting religions against one another. For as much as the extremists would like that to be the narrative, in truth those same individuals have lost their religion. They are misapplying the guidance of holy books meant for an ancient time and place to our modern world where parts of it can no longer be applied. They are misinterpreting such books and are becoming godless persons whose cause is blinded by their own hatred and ignorance. They will be defeated, not just by the great religions, but by all of humanity. By love.
But I don’t believe religious extremism can be eliminated in the short term. Holy books can be weaponized too easily, and such ideologies can be too enduring. Moreover some of the seeds of extremism: regional instability, poverty, inequality, hopelessness, and despair are still too prevalent in our World. It will take time. But I believe love will eventually eliminate those seeds of extremism and then win the day over it.
That day will see all the great religions peacefully coexisting and interpreting their texts with only love in their hearts. Followers of the great religions will see the members of other religions or non-believers, not as infidels requiring conversion or worse, but as fellow travelers on life’s journey together. All of us requiring each other’s love and understanding.
My faith in humanity and The Greatest Love informs my belief that this day will come.