Believe what you want.

If we were to have equally skilled lawyers battle out the existence of God in an American courtroom neither side would be able to prove or disprove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
While religion obviously is present, as in, it does exist, the existence of the deities that are held in the highest regard of most religions may or may not exist or have ever existed. So, when you do something to please someone in the name of your religion, I guess, why do you do that?
I am speaking about what occurs all over the world in all forms of religion. Certainly the word “extremists”, comes to mind. Fringe members of any religious community. However, this term seems to be applied more frequently to the Muslim faith, people committing “jihad” in order to defend their prophet Mohammed.
The term “jihad” is not by definition a violent term. In Arabic “jihad” literally means struggling or surviving. As described by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, “jihad” has many meanings. It can refer to internal as well as external efforts to be good Muslims or believers, as well as working to inform others of the Muslim faith.
So how does this term now represent a violent “holy war” demonizing the faith and ways of Western culture?
Essentially selective reading, but this behavior is not unique to Muslims.
People of every religious denomination take their holy text and decide to curtail it to the lifestyle they choose to live, absorbing some passages while ignoring others.
This is where I am lost.
Who or what most people observe is really no different than whether they say “pop” or “soda”, or which sports team they claim allegiance to. You were born into a Jewish family, you are likely Jewish. Your beliefs are likely a combination of tradition and location. Which means if you truly believe in your religion, and believe that you were born in your position by God’s will, then everyone else was also. Which completely validates other religions and supports the idea that there is one God and no religion is incorrect.
If you are agnostic, then you could certainly argue that everything is random.
Religion is tarnished. With all the trouble it creates in the world, it’s easy to say I hate religion. I don’t hate religious people, and I don’t hate the basic principles most religions stand for. But, because people have established a “right” and “wrong” based on their own personal beliefs and back it up with one small passage in their book of choice, religion as a whole is a giant problem.
There are 5 major religions in the world. Christianity (31%), Islam (23%), Hinduism (15%), Buddhism (7%), and Judaism (0.2%). It takes blind faith for someone to say that their God is The God. The only one to follow. On an individual level I am fine with this. Everyone has their right to choose what they believe and how to live their life. On an individual level religion can be a positive. It can help people sort out their lives, give them something more than themselves to aspire to, give them a group of people to see eye to eye with. I get it. However, once one takes their faith and deems it the only respectable belief and all other beliefs irrelevant, then only terrible ensues.
It is rare to go through any news source and not find someone doing something awful in the name of religion, so yes, I am mad at it. I am a firm believer in “stand for something or fall for anything”, but without an open mind, we do not have open hearts. If there is any truly universal theme in religion, it is to have love.