Growing up as part of a Christian minority living within a Muslim majority forces you to hang on to your religion. Although I am not religious, I have a lot of respect for my religion and its significance to me and my family. And it's really sad to see how the world is going through some religiously turbulent times nowadays. The rise of fundamentalism has caused a lot of uncalled for inter-faith hate. To many, current day Christians are neo-Crusaders, Muslims are terrorists and Jews are superevil, baby-eating conspiratorial aliens who actually built the pyramids. I think it's safe to say that all 3 are just stereotypes fed to the uneducated masses by years of propaganda that serves a certain hidden agenda (I stole that line from somewhere, clearly it's not me). And it doesn't stop there, religious discrimination and prosecution is everywhere, Christians in the Arab world, Muslims in Europe, and even Muslims by fellow Muslims in Iraq for example.
What's even more dangerous, in my opinion, is that sometimes families tend to socialize their kids about how their religion/faith is the greatest and how other faiths are not. Growing up, I remember things like: Jesus the son of God! The son of God walking on Earth! Jesus didn't die on the cross! thrown at me by my 'friends' at school when we were only in 4th grade?! But I can't judge because I too have been socialized with a lot of 'wrong things' with Islam.
Maybe it's just me, but from where I stand it is a gloomy picture, so amidst all of this I decided to be part of the solution and seek to understand. I started reading Karen Armstorng's
A History of God. This book doesn't preach religious tolerance to its reader, it demands it. I was impressed by how extremely similar different faiths are to each other and how all those misconceptions you hear about, make a lot of sense when you read about them in an unbiased context. I've just finished the book and I feel I have a new found understanding to both my faith and other's. I believe this book should be a mandatory reading to graduate from high school if we want to have a shot at a peaceful future.
P.S: Sunny elCairo, I love you.