There has been a lot of activity lately on the Religion is not benign, nor does it provoke more good than harm node, so much so that an editor actually locked it.
I think the entire node, the entire debate can at the same time be summed up by and dismissed by this simple statement (Orange Julius kind of says it but not as simply and succinctly as I'm going to put it):
There always has, and always will be, Assholes.
There are Catholics that are assholes. There are Muslims that are assholes. There are Atheists that are assholes. There are agnostics who are assholes. Yes there are even Buddhist assholes. There are multi-millionaire corporate executives who are assholes. There are poor people who are assholes. There are black assholes, white assholes, hispanic assholes... short people, blind people, deaf people, tall people, Americans, Britons, Canadians, Australians... well, you get the drift. Assholes are everywhere. As long as there are people, there are assholes.
Sure. I agree with what George Carlin says in his bit on the Ten Commandments (which is supremely funny) that more people have been killed in the name of God than any other reason, even if you created some magical ray gun that would blast away all religion from the face of the Earth, there'd still be assholes.
What can we do about this problem? Nothing. You can eliminate all the assholes. But rest assured, more will be born in due time. Besides that would suck because we all have to poop. Oh, nevermind. And plus, we can't concretely all agree on what an asshole is. No matter how good you think you are, there's probably somebody out there who thinks you're an asshole. Granted, the chances of this go down the nicer you are.
Apropos of absolutely nothing I've said above, today is my wife's 30th birthday. Happy birthday, love. The poor women's getting old I guess. /me ducks! I get to make fun of her for a month and a half until I myself turn 30.