Isn't it interesting that in Mumbai, India - where I am currently staying - these ideas would be considered paranoid and childish?
According to Wikipedia, "The religions represented in Mumbai include Hindus (67.39%), Muslims (18.56%), Buddhists (5.22%), Jains (3.99%), Christians (3.72%), Sikhs (0.58%), with Parsis and Jews making up the rest of the population."
In a city where there are 22,000 people per square kilometer, these religions simply must get along. The way they get along is not to deny anyone religious expression, but to make it ubiquitous. At work, every desk has some religious token or expression. A woman wears a full burqa next to a Westernized Hindu with a picture of Sai Baba on her desk. Across from them sits a Sikh with his turban and beard.the supervisor has a catholic calendar that actually says "God loves children - born and unborn", and a picture of Mother Theresa. You might imagine that HR would be all over that supervisor about his insensitivity to those who report to him. You'd be wrong.
In a place where atheists are virtually nonexistent, everyone is completely secure in expressing their religions. Isn't that the opposite of what we are told will happen?
I know that there are occasionally terrorist attacks here. In a place where almost 1 in 5 are Muslim, there are bound to be enough radicals to cause issues. Nevertheless, wherever you look there are idols, religious images, people worshiping in their own way and not in the least concerned that others are doing their own thing. Again, I think that is because there are so few atheists. After all, it's only the atheists who really complain about religious expression "offending" other religions. Atheists seem to believe that all religious people are affronted and threatened by different beliefs - as if religious beliefs made one insecure and childish. I believe the term for that is "projection".
In a place where everyone has and is free to express their beliefs, no one is offended.
John Lennon, in the throes of communistic ecstasy, wanted us to imagine a world without religion. I believe that with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Red China, we have seen the unimaginable bloodshed that arises from that idea. India seems to be a world without atheism. Very nice people who have only the vaguest notion of what Christianity is have asked me about my plans for Good Friday (!) and Easter. In 30+ years in America, no one has ever asked me about Good Friday, which is actually a bank holiday here. Imagine that!
~ Just Jim, Ghostblogger