Maybe you have seen those bumper stickers proclaiming “coexist”. The people displaying these bumper stickers are expressing the desire that all religions live in cooperation and peace. The majority of religions teach that they are the only path to heaven. Some proclaim that non-believers are heretics, even those that believe in other religions are thought of as infidels or worse. Islam asserts that all must believe… or die.
Idealistic ideas held by naive people being introduced into the public arena can cause dangerous outcomes. To convince people to relax in the face of those who have a belief, not only in their superiority, but the superiority of their god, could cause many deaths. You cannot love that which hates you. You cannot negotiate with those who are sure their way is the way.
For religion diplomacy means that you concede to their demands. Meaningful progress in negotiations to the believer means that you are closer to doing as they desire. Concessions work only in their favor or they do not work. Many a war has broken out amidst peace negotiations.
The human species is not ready for coexistence, not while there are so many of us still dealing in “black and white with no shades of gray” religious belief. The inflexibility of such beliefs can only lead to conflict. A people who believe so strongly in their religion that they would advocate Armageddon as a means of bringing the end times are simply too dangerous to deal with. A strong deterrent force is the only answer to such a threat.
What we can do now is work steadily towards a secular society. Through education we must change the character of society. As long as people believe there is a life after this one, the value of this life will be diminished. Those living in squalor will be more susceptible to the desire for a better life. Religions that offer such a life will always have adherents among those that have little else. The standard of living must be raised worldwide to release the grip such religions have on humans. We must do this carefully making sure not to lower one peoples’ standards while raising another to avoid the development of resentment.