I agree with you on questions 3 and 4. I've seen and heard my fair share of them. I'm probably guilty myself aswell.

But question number 2 can be very relevant, right? Especially in the light of the ending of your post.

Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
A bad one would be, "How can you (meaning members of religion x) think z about y?"

This is not a thread for evangelizing or tearing into religions (indeed, this isn't a board for that). It's a thread for expanding the ranges of characters we as writers can create by adding enough understanding of various religions to our repertoires of character mind-sets.
For instance, let's take religious violence as an example. The question would then be: "How can followers of a certain religion think it's okay to use violence against the followers of another?"

I think this type of question can delve into the mechanics behind the violence. What is it that makes "the other" fair game, while violence within the own group is mostly frowned upon? Wat does scripture or the clergy say about it? What in people's upbringing, worldview or psychology enables them to do something horrific but at the same time see it as benificial or even morally good?

So, I guess in this case the question is not meant to judge, it's meant as a learning tool. Sometimes these type of questions do tear into religion and not exactly in a kind way. But what we learn can be very useful when it comes to understanding.

What do you think?