Have you ever worried that the "dogs of color" are threatening our safety? Do you believe that black horses are less intelligent than white horses? Do you believe that black and brown cats are more likely to commit acts of violence than white cats? Or that dark-colored cows are more likely to get high by eating loco weed than white cows?
Why do these questions seem silly, yet for centuries, racist attitudes have persisted in America about people with certain superficial physical characteristics?
And what does any of this have to do with religious violence?
It has long been my belief that racism arises primarily out of fear — fear that the racist really is no better than those against whom he directs his/her irrational beliefs. Why don't we fear black horses, black dogs, cats, or cows? Because we know that we're their masters. We only fear that which is a genuine threat. We don't have to make any loud proclamations of our superiority to animals of any color, because there's no question which is the dominant species.
So when the racist starts proclaiming loudly about the inferiority of others, it is not a sign of superiority, but rather a sign if fear and weakness. When racists commit violence, it is a sure sign that they feel very threatened. In their hearts, they know they are wrong, and it frightens them.
Modern religions are showing these same symptoms. The recent hijacking of the United Nations, describe here very nicely by Pat Condell,
is an example of this effect. Various nations (apparently all Islamic dictatorships) are trying to criminalize "defamation" of religion worldwide – that's right, they want to criminalize free speech everywhere in the world if it might insult some religion.
This sort of reaction has, at its root, the same fear that the racist feels: Deep down, the religious people trying to ban defamation have no confidence. Deep down, they are afraid they are wrong. If their God was such a certain thing, they would have no need to be aggressively defensive.
Truth is immune to defamation. Say what you like about gravitation, relativity, quantum mechanics, or the roundness of the Earth, and it won't change the facts. You don't see anyone passing laws to protect these well-established branches of science. There is no need, the truth speaks for itself.
The aggressive, fear-based defense you see of Creationism, and now this anti-defamation attempt by Islamic politicians, is clearly a sign of fear. It shows that the believers, deep in their hearts, are not so certain as they'd like to believe.