Religious fundamentalism advocates homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, polygamy and many other primitive evils. Can you imagine, somebody telling you, your love for your dearly beloved is a sin! Can you imagine, somebody telling you, women are inferior to men, and are meant only serve the men! Can you imagine, somebody telling you, a man can have multiple wives, and yet be deemed civilized! Here that somebody is a fundamentalist – a theoretical pest from the stone-age, who somehow managed to survive even amidst all the rise of reasoning and intellect. Such a creature with no modern mental faculty whatsoever, knows nothing beyond the words of a book, written hundreds or thousands of years ago, when ignorance was the default mode of thinking in the society. It does not only believe every single word of a book to be literally true, but puts all its efforts to convince others to believe the same. This way, it would be an understatement to say, such is a worthless creature. In reality, such a creature can cause a catastrophic contagion in a society, especially if that society is already going through socio-political turmoil.

~ Abhijit Naskar

Civilized people must, I believe, satisfy the following criteria:1) They respect human beings as individuals and are therefore always tolerant, gentle, courteous and amenable ... They do not create scenes over a hammer or a mislaid eraser; they do not make you feel they are conferring a great benefit on you when they live with you, and they don't make a scandal when they leave. (...)2) They have compassion for other people besides beggars and cats. Their hearts suffer the pain of what is hidden to the naked eye. (...)3) They respect other people's property, and therefore pay their debts.4) They are not devious, and they fear lies as they fear fire. They don't tell lies even in the most trivial matters. To lie to someone is to insult them, and the liar is diminished in the eyes of the person he lies to. Civilized people don't put on airs; they behave in the street as they would at home, they don't show off to impress their juniors. (...)5) They don't run themselves down in order to provoke the sympathy of others. They don't play on other people's heartstrings to be sighed over and cosseted ... that sort of thing is just cheap striving for effects, it's vulgar, old hat and false. (...)6) They are not vain. They don't waste time with the fake jewellery of hobnobbing with celebrities, being permitted to shake the hand of a drunken [judicial orator], the exaggerated bonhomie of the first person they meet at the Salon, being the life and soul of the bar ... They regard prases like 'I am a representative of the Press!!' -- the sort of thing one only hears from [very minor journalists] -- as absurd. If they have done a brass farthing's work they don't pass it off as if it were 100 roubles' by swanking about with their portfolios, and they don't boast of being able to gain admission to places other people aren't allowed in (...) True talent always sits in the shade, mingles with the crowd, avoids the limelight ... As Krylov said, the empty barrel makes more noise than the full one. (...)7) If they do possess talent, they value it ... They take pride in it ... they know they have a responsibility to exert a civilizing influence on [others] rather than aimlessly hanging out with them. And they are fastidious in their habits.

~ Anton Chekhov