Of course, not many people look good in mugshots, and those who do have presumably had way too much practice.
Another article in today's Times discusses a moderate Islamic televangelist (for want of a better word), who advocates a more tolerant (dare we say, modern) attitude toward the religion. Wonderful news, but it's sad that this is still so surprising. Shouldn't this be the default attitude of all religious leaders? Mind you, this is not aimed solely at Muslims. Frankly, the Solipsist is more concerned with the right-wing Christian fundamentalist element ("Christianists" as one pundit labeled them) here in the US. They pose a far greater immediate threat to the republic.
At any rate, one tries in vain to get into the mindset of these people. What must have happened (or not happened) to all these folks--Christian fundamentalists, Islamic hatemongers, Zionist totalitarians, Buddhist stormtroopers (it's possible)--while growing up. Don't they have better things to worry about? Seriously, what would the world be like--not just for US but for THEM--if everyone suddenly "fell in line" and agreed with them? They'd be pretty bored for one thing.
But maybe we should all try it. Yes, let's pick one religion--any one will do--and, worldwide, agree to live by its precepts for, say, a week. Then, when the world is still filled with suffering--maybe not religious strife, but, y'know, all those old standards like hunger and disease and natural disasters and poverty--when the world is still filled with all these things, we can go back to the proselytizers and ask them what went wrong. "Where's your Vishnu now, eh?"
And, in that way, one at a time, we can scratch out all the world's great religions one by one and get on with the business of actually making the world a better place and not waiting around for some messiah to save us.
Here endeth the rant.