“[If] people’s beliefs – secular or religious – make them belligerent, intolerant and unkind about other people’s [beliefs], they are not ‘skilful’. If, however, their convictions impel them to act compassionately and to honour the stranger, then they are good, helpful and sound.” - Karen Armstrong
I'm not a great fan of Karen Armstong, but I have to agree with this statement. It puzzles me why so many non-religious people take such pleasure in pouring scorn on those who are religious. One wonders about their motivations. Usually abuse just hardens existing beliefs and makes the recipient even more determined to defend their position. So this abuse surely cannot be a constructive attempt to persuade religious people to modify their view. It's just a form of mindless bullying.
I guess there is always a need for extremism to achieve moderate change, but people too often confuse assertiveness and conviction with rudeness and outrageous personal attacks.
So, I've decided that wherever possible when I see evidence of this type of abuse I will try to inject moderation. If we have to be abusive to make our points, then it does not say much for the strength of our argument.