Dutch YouTube series Dit Is Normaal recently conducted a social experiment that probably should be repeated throughout the West: They disguised a Christian Bible as The Holy Koran, and had people on the street read troubling passages within it:
The result is all kinds of troubling prejudice bubbling quickly to the surface:
What's compelling about this to me is that, as a Canadian, I've always felt an affinity for the Netherlands. (Perhaps that's how I ended up writing for a Dutch marketing blog!) Like Canadians, the Dutch pride themselves on being a tolerant and open-minded society. But I can imagine some of the same reactions happening on the streets of Ottawa.
The thing is, many of the world's religious texts were written in more violent and intolerant times. But as L. P. Hartley wrote (in 1953) "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."
To take almost any ancient holy text literally, as a whole, and consider it a guide for modern living is religious extremism. And that's what we really need to be afraid of.