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On Terrorism and Religion

22 November 2015 at 11:47:54 AM

Although it's always easier to trot out a bumper-sticker meme of an opinion after something noteworthy, even horrendous happens, i'm going to try to resist that urge here. Some time back, I spent several years examining my own christian beliefs and assumptions to see whether they held up, and they didn't. I pretty much decided that, while others can believe what they want, so can I, and still remain cordial, civilized people. 

Using terrorism to achieve a goal is despicable.Now, it isn't like terrorism has been exclusive to one religion,one idealogy, one field of thought, etc. It is wrong to say, for example, All Muslims are Terrorist, it's a logical fallacy, any more than the Christians who have committed acts of terrorism indict ALL of christianity. Anyone who has read even a smidgeon of history knows of many many holy wars and battles done in the name of one religion against another, and that includes christians against christians. I also personally know a number of Muslims, and, at least within my circle of nerds, these people are not terrorists. I also believe that the world is not black and white, where All Muslims agree with what ISIL is doing, even where, as in the case of the bombings in Beirut, ISIL is killing other Muslims (why? Because that terrorist group considers the Shiites to be apostates) . That very fact PROVES that not all Muslilms are terrorists  or even that they have unity, or else the ISIL terrorists would not be attacking other Muslims. In the same way that there is no one flavor of christianity, but many many sects, same thing with Islam, there are different sects and different beliefs. I have read that ISIL wishes to unify the world into some pure vision of Islam that they have, but surely that's the work of fanatics, and not agreed to or shared by the world at large. 

The bible is full of acts of terrorism, many initiated by god. And yet most people, except for the mentally ill, do not actively go out and kill or destroy others because of the examples in the bible. (For example, anti-abortion christian extremists) Why not? Because they're trying to live their daily lives, and unless very zealous or fanatic, are not working to inflict horror on the world. People can cherry pick verses on how to interpret the bible, and I assume the same is 1 with the Koran and with those who preach. 

So, let me start here. I do not believe that any gods exist. Therefore, any religion that makes reference to a god is not one I would ever subscribe to. When someone shouts the name of god while doing a terrorist act, it might be a meaningless phrase or it might be, for that person, something that permeates every part of his or her being, but, for me, a god isn't sanctioning or changing or listening, because he or she or they does not exist. 

If a religion in its holy books sanction or otherwise tell its adherents that killing others is the right thing to do, and a follower believes that and acts on it, it's religion that is to blame for man's inhumanity to man. And, a step before that, a belief that there is a god that told that follower to kill. 

There is obviously something in the Koran that makes some adherents believe that going against others who do not share their religious viewpoints is acceptable. Again, do ALL Muslims feel this way? Of course not, it's not logical to believe that. Is it possible to know what percentage of Muslims believe this, and out of that number, how many are likely to even take the trouble to act on those beliefs? Only zealots? 

Religion, at least in the form of lip service, informs a lot of Republican party politics, ie, the idea that the bible says this or that, and therefore needs to be law. Those of us that scorn Republicans intrusions over women in the right to choose a legal abortion obviously disagree that one person or one party's religion should be used as a cudgel to force others into what to do. And yet, that appeal to religion is used constantly by Republicans. The people who bomb abortion clinics in the name of christianity and say "Praise Jesus", should their terrorist actions be attributed to ALL christians or is it that they, in their reading of the bible, believe this is an appropriate action? Cruz, Jindahl and Huckabee attended an event hosted by a christian pastor who made a call to kill all the gay people-how is that not terrorism?  Incidentally, I dislike the "No 1 Scotsman" form of argument that says "No 1 christian" would do this or that, or "no 1 Muslim", etc. What that presupposes is that there aren't a ton of sects in all religions. 

Thinking people decry and abhor terrorism, regardless of its source. There should be a distinction made between people who decide to be terrorists, who are also religious, and those who believe in a religion that has wacky things in so-called *holy* books. But I don't agree with some who want to somehow divorce the idea of *Islam* from terrorist groups, any more than terrorists who use christianity to effect their goals are someone not using a non-human idea of religion. The distinction has to be made that some nut groups run with their religious ideas and should be considered, first, TERRORISTS. 

If it is 1 that Islam includes some terrible instructions, then it should be made available to the same scrutiny and ridicule that christianity gets. Any time a religion tells you not to question, to accept blindly, you should reject that and wonder why you are being told not to use your mental faculties. The groups that espouse and do terror acts while praising their respective gods do not exist in a vaccuum in which their religious beliefs should be given a pass. Do they represent every single person of a given religion? No, but that's part of the folly of any terror group that hopes to unify the world in one particular vision. It can't be done and people who don't believe that vision and simply want to be left alone to live will act to prevent them from doing so. 


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1 - Hi There!   24 Nov 2015 @ 7:29:14 PM 

Um... the whole Deuteronomy 13:12-16 is a bad example to use. First of all, that's not Christianity; that would be Judaism, because Christianity was not even around at the time Deuteronomy was writtern.

Second, most if not all of the towns that the Israelites were invading were doing incredibly

2 - salon   30 Nov 2015 @ 10:35:38 AM 

@Hi there. If it were 1 that christians no longer used or referenced Deuteronomy or any other part of the so-called "Old Testament" and relegated references to it strictly to Judaism, I would agree with you. (Example: christianity does not cite the Koran). But it's not 1, christians regularly cite, teach in sunday school classes stories such as the walls of Jericho coming down to children,, etc, the *other* part of the bible and don't tell people, pay no attention, that has nothing to do with christianity. To be consistent, with your argument, NONE of the books of the bible that predate the *new* testament* should be used at all, including Genesis. 

More on christian terorrism. 

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