A common fallacy among the current crop of religious fundamentalists, regardless of their religion, is that they take the writings of their respective religions literally. When these scriptures are taken literally, they are open to interpretation by anyone, for any purpose...up to, and including, suicide and mass murder. Understanding these writings as metaphor and allegory allow us to put them in their proper perspective...that being that they serve as guideposts, pointing us in the general direction we need to go so that we might become human beings. The trick lies in not becoming so entranced by our own personal vision of these guideposts that we concretize them and attempt to apply them to all, regardless of their fit. It is like claiming a garment is fit for all to wear, when, in fact, some might find it too loose. Others might find it too tight. Yet others might find the fit to be perfect. The true measure of a person's spiritual and moral mettle lies not in how loudly they sing in church, nor in how boldly they proclaim their virtue. Rather, it lies in how they live their lives. Do they live their lives in accordance with the tenets of their chosen faith? Do they let their actions speak for them? If they do, they are the ones to follow, not the charlatans who strut across their stages or stand upon their soapboxes preaching their gospels of hatred, intolerance and death. So long as we fail to understand the dangers of this literalism we will continue to see these self proclaimed holy-men insisting that they, and they alone, have a direct line to god. We will continue to see atrocities committed in the name of religion.