missymay, there are similarities in the values of all the major religions.
As for me, I was raised by huge religious hypocrites. So I read and was preached to, and went to Christian school, and
largely kept apartmfrom my peers (wasnt allowed outside, and apparently all the neighbors were evil). I found that not hurting people for the sake of not hurting people MAKES SENSE. as do most of the othwr religious "rules". I reject the reasoning, and just try to be a good person.
Religion set forth a guideline that allowed the human race to be successful as a large com,munoty. You could replace the wordmreligion with culture, and the effect is the same. But really it boiled down to rules to keep us together cohesively instead of killing each other over goats, women and farmland. I just think that many of us see the sense in containing ourselvea without the threat of hellfire.
I think religion is a very personal "matter". I am guessing your parent's personal interpretation of whatever religion is the exception. I don't fear hellfire, for example, and I have absolutely no desire to "convert" anyone to my way of thinking.
People can have bad thoughts, but not act on their thoughts b/c they fear the consequences of what they will face here on earth due to laws - written or otherwise. Almost all known "societies" practice(d) some sort of religion and had/have cultures, and many never constructed cities. But, no civilization was ever created w/o agriculture of some sort. Of course, communist states eliminated religion by law "after" both the cities and religion(s) existed. Other animals have cultures, and they contain themselves, too - but granted, no cities, none known, anyway. I don't think religion is all that keeps people from committing crimes either, in other words - and I don't think religions were independently devised to "control the masses" while civilizations were being built. Humans are the most dangerous animal on the planet, bar none. Like it or not, w/o freedom of religion any freedom you have is guaranteed to evaporate - not
civilization. Maybe civilization as you know it, but not civilization. While people are free in a free society to attack religion (I am not saying you are), they might want to look at the really big picture.
Religious persecution is either a good thing, or it is not.