From the things I have read, I don't think Islamic theology is any less barbaric than Catholic or Protestant theology. They are all branches of the Abrahamic faith, after all, steeped in the same history of the region, and then diverged from each other based on cultural practices. The biggest difference I can detect is that there are more Christians and Jews who are willing to deviate from the scriptural/religious dictates than there are Muslims willing to do the same. This then creates a pressure for the religious doctrines in the Judaio-Christian faiths to evolve and catch up with the believers lest the faiths became irrelevant (as a side note: this, more than anything else, is evidence that religions are manifestations of human will in the guise of serving the divine, not a set of guidelines revealed by a divine source to aid human behavior). We certainly have religions that do not evolve with time that still exist, like some sects in the Orthodox Jewish community and some groups within the Catholic church. We also have convergent development in some fringe Fundamentalist and/or evangelical Protestant sects that attempt to live by the old traditions. But these groups remain the numerical minority in their respective faith communities. So, yes, faith and religion affect people's behavior. But so do other things. Economic development, globalization, and advancement of accessible public education all reduce the hold of religions on their followers. This is why some countries, like Iran, ban these cultural exports from the Western world. Just like communism in China and Russia was not ended by gun fires and canons, but by gradual erosion of ideological rigidity through trade and global interactions, it is my belief that the proper tool to combat extremist Islamic sects is through inclusion, dialogue, and embracing the greater Muslim population into the global community. In the arena of competing ideologies, the ones that champion self-determination, individual choices, and personal responsibilities tend to win out over doctrinally rigid views of morality and ethics. With this, we might see the modern Islamic branches undergo the same cultural transformation that Christianity and Judaism underwent decades ago. This view does mean that the onus is on the Muslims to change their behavior such that there is a pressure on their faith leaders to change the religious views, the same way that divorce became mainstream in Protestant faiths. Change the culture, and the way that people want to lead their lives, and their religions will follow, or those religions will dwindle into irrelevance.
That's a very caricature way of describing why religious people (Christians) do good things. Plenty of Christians do good deeds to glorify God, or to exemplify the principles of charity and compassion, and not because they think they need to collect stamps on a ticket to go to heaven.
That link did not say what you described. It was a clip of 2 people saying that a person came up to film the crowd demanding the people in the crowd to take off their masks, which led to them being chased off and punched. It didn't say that the people assumed the people filming were white supremacists.
I actually quite enjoyed my 5 years of Bible studies in school. I learned the basics of Catholicism, and then we tackled the Bible (parts of OT and NT) to try to understand the parables and metaphors and the historical context. It was a good series of classes ranging from mildly boring to really engaging (depending on the year). It certainly helped me understand Western Literature much better, because so much of it reference the Bible and Christianity. I think I didn't feel any pressure to convert despite the school setting for 2 reasons: (1) being Catholic at my school is a class thing - middle and upper classes are Catholics because it's a colonial thing, and I am from the poor class background and (2) the group that runs our school doesn't believe in that sort of tactics. So, not all religious classes in schools need to be a bad experience.
Well, at least we agree on that part, which is what I said is apologetics - you admit that it's sexist, but you accept that it's a product of the cultural context and you don't think we should continue to hold to those sexist ways depicted in the Bible. So, cool. My response was to Daemrion who was arguing that the Bible is NOT sexist.
I know, right? Why would an omnipotent supernatural being have chosen to impart its edicts to humanity at a time when it knows we cannot fully grasp the meaning? Assuming that God is perfect, then it must mean that... He intended the message to be corrupted by culturally inescapable sexism? And homophobia? And xenophobia? Beats me.
This begs the question that there is an "outside perspective." That is actually the crux of the disagreement between theists and atheists - is there some supernatural entity out there? This belief also assumes that the outside perspective gives one whit about humanity to want to give us guidance. But I suppose if you want to accept that a supernatural entity exists, it is not that much more of a burden to assume that it takes a special interest in humanity.
Cherry-picking Biblical passages to criticize is a valid response to those who hold that the entire Bible is inerrant and true. That is a specific claim that can be refuted by showing how a few passages are not true. But not all Christians believe that the entire Bible is without errors.
You're eliding the multiple meanings of "believe," which is a common event. The way we "believe" taxation is important is not the same way that people "believe" in a god. If you equate the two, you're saying you are approaching your faith in the same way that you analyze the pros and cons of taxation, which I find it hard to... believe. Faith is the defining element of being religious, imo, and faith does not operate in the same realm as other forms of analyzing reality. But I guess it's possible that there are people who see their believe in God as the same as how they see their tax forms. That's very sad, if it's true, but to each their own.
A point of clarification: Do you think that putting women in the position of being protected and sacrificed for signifies that the Bible treats women as equal, that it gives women agency, and that it allows women the same range of self-determination as men get? If you do, then it's no wonder you think the Bible is not a sexist work. Most feminists will disagree, imo, with the view that women should be protected by their husbands and sacrificed for, especially as a form of balance against being submissive to the husband's will and decisions, is what gender equality looks like. Arguing that the Bible is not sexist is a very difficult task, attempted by many and by my standards, succeeded by none. The best you can achieve is to apologize for the sexism by saying that human vessels are flawed in receiving Divine revelation and perverted the will of God by their own cultural limitations. Although, how you can pervert something as important as the downfall of humanity from Eden, I don't know, and I am somewhat skeptical about the worthiness of a Divine being who cannot communicate clearly what it wants to express. But that's nit-picking, I suppose.
From my perspective as an atheist, religious people don't "find the truth" from religion, either. They're just collectively inventing a reality to share and convince each other that this is the truth. Which is, really, what we all do, religious or not. It doesn't make theism and religion any better, or more deserving of being followed.
Most don't. But plenty do. Look at the whole movement of evangelical Protestanism in the U.S., for instance. I also hold that for people living in countries where there are information infrastructure, they are indeed choosing their religion by NOT choosing something other than the one they've been brought up in. Not changing is also a choice.
Hitchens et al. do not speak for atheists as much as they are promoters of atheism. The two are the same. I am not going to feel embarrassed by any of them any time they make a faux pas. I didn't elect them to be atheism's representative. Perhaps there are truly embarrassing moments in that video linked. If so, what's the relevance? That some people famed for their atheism can be dicks and bombastic? Well, ok. Duly noted. I'd rather watch the Stephen Fry's debate with the Catholics as he enumerated why religion overall does more harm than good (it's on youtube, you can google it).
On the larger issue, I think there's a place and time to question certain aspects of a person's faith. For instance, I think there are legitimate reasons to ask a Catholic person how s/he squares the sexism in their chosen religion with their support for feminism, much like one can question why someone who's pro-life might support capital punishment. There are aspects of a religious belief that stand in contradiction with some common elements of modern beliefs. We should be able to discuss and argue and critique those, in the right forum. Often, though, it verges into the realm of counter-proselytization where the discussion becomes a browbeating against the religious person for being religious, when the focus ought to remain on the aspects of their religious belief that can be legitimately examined. By that, I mean it's not okay to question people "who do you have faith in the supernatural" (as a point of critique, and not a point of genuine curiosity), but it should be okay to ask "why did you choose this particular faith to believe in" or "how does your faith interact with the rest of the world."