Steve Chapman: Religious Extremism and the Road to Civilization


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Sigmund Freud said the founder of civilization was the first person who hurled an insult instead of a rock. He was almost right. The true founder was the first person to respond to an insult with an insult of his own.

Some modern-day people have yet to reach the stage achieved by some of our ancient forebears. Muslims who treat offensive depictions of the prophet Muhammad as grounds for execution are the most conspicuous examples of that tragic failure to evolve.

In having adherents who believe they have a duty to stamp out intolerable ideas by any means necessary, Islam is no different from many religions as they have been practiced at some point in history—or from many political movements the world has seen. It is unusual only because it still has a significant number of such followers today, acting on their convictions, writes Steve Chapman.