Terrorism in the name of any God. Yes, even yours.

Terrorism is often equated with Islamist fundamentalism.  Time and time again terrorism is mentioned and alongside that image in America is a bearded man with dark skin. Maybe not the “scruffy” Middle Easterner we may have seen a decade ago, but still the common theme is this: Islam.  Often in our main stream media the word Extremist is synonymous with Islamist Extremist.  The rhetoric automatically paints any form of extremism as an extreme version of Islam, bent on destroying all that is good, or destroying Israel, or America, or whatever the popular Western idea is at the time.  None of the most vocal or socially powerful people that espouse this belief ever stop and wonder if perhaps it isn’t Islam that is the problem, but fundamentalism itself.  Perhaps it isn’t even fundamentalism, perhaps it is extreme religiosity? Or, perhaps it is religion itself?

Many times I hear the argument for Fundamental Islam as being intrinsically terrorist and violent and that Christianity is just not so.  I’ve heard that an objective reading of the Quran leads us to a violent end while an objective view of the Bible fills us with a never ending stream of love and friendship.  The argument tends to boil down to a few main points: If you believe in the Bible as historically true, you will be led to goodness and piety and the effect will be “good”. If you believe in the Quran as historically true, you will be led to badness and immorality or violence, and will be “bad”. To do violence in the name of the Bible is a perversion of Christianity, and conversely, by that same definition stated above, to do good in the name of the Quran is to pervert it as well.  After all, if you aren’t doing violence and are a Muslim, and the Quran leads you to violence if you take it seriously, you either aren’t a Muslim or you are being two faced and living up to (typically “Christian”) some other set of values.

This simply is not the case and I wish people would stop spouting such idiotic nonsense.  Every single argument leveled against Islam can be leveled against Christianity (and any other religion as well).  The Muslim belief isn’t solely responsible for the violence that Muslims do in the name of Allah, it is religious indoctrination itself that is the problem.  Living in a theocracy that destroys individual rights in favor of Bronze Age mythology is the main culprit. Believe me, if we lived in a Christian theocracy we’d see the same kinds of terrorists acts perpetrated just like we do in other religions.  Don’t believe me? Need proof? Surely Christians aren’t possible of terrorism or heinous acts, at least not real ones or real organized ones.

I am not going to go into a huge amount of detail explaining the atrocities of the KKK, fundamentalist Christians that believe Protestantism is the only true belief and terrorism is an acceptable form of “swaying” public opinion.   Mormons, a fundamentalist Abraham religion that holds the view that the darker your skin is, the less godly you are.  yes, there is scripture according to the Church of Latter Day Saints that claims that Black people are cursed and are not fit to live along side pure White people.  The Westboro Baptist Church that pickets the deaths of soldiers and claims that their deaths are the fault of homosexual activity in the United States. The IRA (Irish Republican Army) that has been responsible for and the recipient of several terrorist attacks in the name of a Christian god.  I can go on and on about how several Christian groups, both fundamentalist (and some not so fundamentalist) and extremist are capable of the same atrocities that occur in the name of Islam. Or Zeus. Or Thor. Or whoever.  Keep in mind, every single one of these groups that have committed either terrorism or some other atrocity can find actual scripture to back them up.

The point to be made here is no one religion is immune to its own effects. Whether it’s hardcore Christianity, or Islam, or Shintoism, or Judaism, or whatever, fundamentalist beliefs in a divine god that favors the actions of a select in group will inevitably lead to violence and harm to any population. We need to stop attacking Islam as a source of violence and oppression, but attack religious faith as a basis for morality and justification for actions.  Only then will we see the bloodshed and fear in the name of god come to an end.

Jason K.

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17 comments on “Terrorism in the name of any God. Yes, even yours.

  1. Mike says:

    Jason,

    Your arguments continue to remain the same – unfounded and totally illogical.

    I agree with your assessment in the second paragraph, that if you read the Quran correctly, it will lead you to a violent end as that is what true Islam is all about. That is the reason behind the terrorism. Their goal is to destroy “infidels” (Non-Mulims) and turn the entire world into Muslims. The same it is true of the Bible, is correctly interpreted, it will lead you to a life of peace and good. Now the extremists are the ones who incorrectly interpret the Quran or Bible (i.e. Mormons, Westboro Baptists, KKK, IRA, Roman Catholic, All Protestant churches, etc.).

    The common denominator is NOT religion, or Christianity, it is the Human Will as you have already consented that you believe in. ALL people, Atheists included sometimes make choices that are not good, and which cause others to suffer. It is “choice” NOT environment that is the problem. This dog just won’t hunt.

  2. Jay says:

    Mike, how does one correctly interpret the Bible?

  3. Mike says:

    By the way the Bible is written, it demands the men and women recognize and honor logic as well as the law of rationality. Then using the reasoning power given to all of us by God, we draw only such conclusions as are warrented by the explicit and implied statements of the Bible.
    The reason that Catholicism, Protestantism, Denominationalism, Mormonisn, Jonesism, Westboroism, etc, exist, is because these individuals have not correctly reasoned concerning the explicit and implied statements of the Bible. The same is true of the Quran.

  4. Jay says:

    Forgive me if I’m asking a lot of questions, some of this is new to me, and I’m trying to approach it with an open mind.

    How do we know God had a hand in writing the Bible?

    How do we know that God gave us reasoning power?

    And then, how can so many people reason incorrectly if they are using both the words of God and reasoning power God gave them?

    • Mike says:

      Jay,

      I understand your point of view in not believing in God, and I simply stated my answer in accordance to your question – “Mike, how does one correctly interpret the Bible?”

      We KNOW that God had a hand in ‘having’ the Bible written by men, because He has told us so.

      We KNOW that God gave us the ability to reason, again, because the Bible (God’s own words) tell us so. Not in so many words, but it is implied.

      People reason incorrectly everyday. Just because God has given us all the ability to reason, does not mean that He has made us robots that will reason correctly everytime. We still have free choice.

      • Mark says:

        Mike,

        You explanation here has no grounds. I could write a book called the Official Word of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The first sentence would say “This book is true because it was written by the all powerful all knowing FSM and if you don’t believe it then you will be tortured for eternity.” The second sentence would be “People are able to reason because the FSM gave that ability to people.”

        The point is that you can’t know something is true by just reading it, you have as much reason to believe my book as you do yours. Truth requires external verification.

        Funny why the Bible needs to threaten people if they don’t believe in it, surely if it was the “Good Book” people would believe it on it’s own merits.

      • Kris says:

        > We KNOW that God had a hand in ‘having’ the Bible written by men, because He has told us so.

        If that isn’t a circular argument then I’ve never heard one. The rest of your argument stems from this, and thus isn’t logically valid. Rational people won’t listen to you unless you have *real* evidence.

  5. Mark says:

    Mike, in regard to your first comment.

    You first say “…if you read the Quran correctly, it will lead you to a violent end as that is what true Islam is all about.” However you later say that “…the extremists are the ones who incorrectly interpret the Quran…” You are inferring that peaceful Muslims are extremists. These statements are contradictory, could you please clarify.

    The majority of Mormons, Catholics, or Protestants are not extremists. I’m not sure what you mean by “extremist” but usually it means someone who is either violent and/or has radically different views from the norm.

    You say that “…if you read the Quaran correctly, it will lead you to a violent end…”. In the next paragraph you say that “It is ‘choice’ NOT the environment that is the problem.” From a dictionary, “Someone’s environment is all the circumstances, people, things, and events around them that influence their life.” It’s pretty clear that religion is part of a person’s environment. By your latter reasoning Middle Easterners are intrinsically “bad” because of the higher rate of extremism and the schools run by the Taliban have absolutely nothing to do with the indoctrination of children, those children become suicide bombers because they want to! Your statement that environment is not the problem is also completely contrary to earlier statements you made saying that evolutionary thought caused Hitler and Stalin to commit atrocities.

    You have failed to provide any reasons why “Your arguments continue to remain the same – unfounded and totally illogical.” You have also managed to write two paragraphs that do not contain a single coherent sentence.

    • Mike says:

      Mark,

      My dictionary defines extremist or extremism as “the quality or state of going to extremes” I guess it depends upon your view of what an extremem is. Looking at it from the view point of the Bible (If interpreted correctly) – Mormons, Catholics and Protestants have taken an ‘extreme’ intrepretation of it, by saying that men are born sinners, and that once saved, a person is eternally saved no matter how they live. Or that the head of the family will become his own god, over his own planet after he dies (Mormonism), or that the Pope is the head of the church and makes all the decisions, etc., etc.

      The Bible teaches nothing of the sort.

      As for the Quran – it teaches that ALL infidels MUST be converted to Islam or killed. How else do you think they got such a foothold in the middle east? Do the Crusades ring any bells? Those who do not live by this code have incorrectly intrepreated the Quran. I’m not saying that it is not better that they have done so, I’m just saying that they have gone to the opposite end of the spectrum (extreme).

      I have also said that I agree that environment CAN play a part in what people belive, but it is not totally environment that shapes a person. There are any number of things that mold us into what we become. But it still comes down to “choice.” Even though our environment, teaching, family traditions, peer groups have brought us to a certain point in society, we still have the ability to choose what to accept and what to reject. People who live in the middle east, with all its trappings, have been known to make the choice NOT to accept that live style or religion. The same is true all over the world.

      By Jason’s reasoning that it is totally environment that determines our outcome, and that being raised in the United States that is mostly a Christian nation, then he should be a Christian. But apparently this is not true.

      • Kris says:

        > If interpreted correctly

        How do you know it is you who has taken the correct interpretation? That was one of the points Jason is making. How can you say that the Quran’s correct interpretation is bad and then say that the Bible’s correct interpretation is good when there are those who would say the opposite for the same reasons.

        > By Jason’s reasoning that it is totally environment that determines our outcome

        Where does Jason say this?

  6. jastiger says:

    Well Mike to respond to your last post, are you going to posit that Native Americans had a “choice” to convert to Christianity before they had contact with the European/Asian nations? Did they CHOOSE to not do it, or were they spiritual/mystic because of their environment? By my reasoning I am not saying that people have no choice in the matter of their beliefs. I am saying that environment weighs extremely heavily in the choice of morality and religious belief, so much so that it almost can choose for us, but not always.

    Furthermore there are passages in the Bible that advocate killing those that do not believe.

    If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12)

    In Luke 19:28 Jesus said, “…who would not have me reign over them, bring them hither and kill them before me”

  7. Mike says:

    Mark and Kris,

    If you would listen to everything that I have said and put it all together, then maybe you would understand where I am coming from.

    You know it is difficult to speak slowly through these posts for your understanding, but I will try one more time for the slow of learning.

    #1 – Evidence is a MUST in correctly interpreting the Bible, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, or the book of the FSM. The ability to correctly reason, as well as an open mind. ALL of this is necessary to come to a conclusion as to whether or not what is said in those books is plausible.

    #2 – Much of it depends upon whether or not a person believes that truth is absolute. Since I do, I understand that truth is obtainable. I or you can know it. Therefore, based upon the evidence, proper reasoning and an open mind, I am able to come to an understanding of what which book is right and which one is wrong, as well as which groups are right or wrong.

    #3 – There used to be this thing called “Debate,” when there were two differring views, so that all could listen to the two sides and determine by the evidence presented which one stood the test. However today straw-man arguments against debates (mostly because the one side knows their evidence will not stand) are few and far between. It has always been my understanding that truth will always triumph error, which I guess those who refuse to debate understand as well.

  8. Mark says:

    Thank you for personally insulting me, I was not aware we had come to that.

    In the environmental indoctrination thread I asked you what kind of debate you would like to do, apparently you have not read that yet.

    • Mike says:

      Mark, it was YOU who said about ME – “You have also managed to write two paragraphs that do not contain a single coherent sentence.”

      You can dish it out, but can’t take it.

      • Mark says:

        That is an attack of your arguments and quality of writing, not your personal attributes. There is a difference.

  9. Dan Reed says:

    “We need to stop attacking Islam as a source of violence and oppression, but attack religious faith as a basis for morality and justification for actions. Only then will we see the bloodshed and fear in the name of god come to an end.”

    If the bloodshed and fear in the name of god comes to an end, who is to say getting there will not include fear and the bloodshed of those that do believe in the name of god? There is nothing more religious people enjoy than a good persecution story.

  10. Mike says:

    I’m sorry Dan, but you do greatly err, not knowing of that which you speak. Attacking Islam as a whole, is the same thing as attacking the Islam religious faith. Their “faith” is built upon false precepts that motivates them to violence and oppression. Their goal is to take over the world and make everyone a Muslim. And to do that, they must use force, violence, etc.

    I totally disagree that bloodshed should or could be the means to an end.

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