Hello everyone, I would like to start a discussion on where we are on the unmentionable subject of racism in the modern world. I believe that all men are equal, provided they treat all other men ( and women ) as equals. I'm sorry if I offend anyone's values, but I firmly believe that we should treat everyone as a potential friend, but that's not how some cultures and religions treat me. I am a legitimate target for those, whose religious doctrines dictate that I am a non believer, and therefore deserve to perish. Is this right? Does my non- religious stance then make me a racist for hating those who would want to kill me and my family, or anyone who happens to be around when their bomb explodes.
I think not.
I try not to be a judgemental person, but I struggle with this indiscriminate war being inflicted on the innocents, and unfortunately the crimes I see, are being committed by committed extremist Asian or Arab Muslims.
Am I wrong to think this way.
Wrong? Not at all. It seems racism seems a side effect of ignorance. It is easier to hate that which we don't understand than to try and understand it. Racism seems to also emerge as a form of scapegoating, to project blame for personal suffering or experienced injustice on an external entity. Rationalizing this through targeting specific groups that do are apparently different from the subject itself is comfortable and easy. If we however use reason and rationalize that we humans are genetically identical, that most differences among us are mostly educational, cultural and ethical, we come to the conclusion that racism is irrational. On a scientifically moral level racism holds no ground and is morally wrong. For it is a misinterpretation of reality in order to advance and fulfill a selfish objective instead of being an unbiased observation of others sharing our environment.
Those who discriminate those of other color, other culture, religion, race or anything else simply demonstrate a degree of ignorance necessary to come to such simple minded conclusions. Just one more reason why we must advance the cause for rational thinking and get people to see the world through the lens of truth supported by evidence.
Indeed. I would propose hating their religion being the right thing to do. It is the religion causing the harm, not the people who, for the wrong reasons, believe in that religion. It is understandable that the people themselves usually have no fault in believing in their religion. They are brought up in it, it is engrained into them by their culture.
In this case we must focus our discontent not at the people themselves, but the delusion which causes them harm.
Alan, if you just take the word "Muslim" off and leave it at "extremist", then I couldn't agree with you more. That's primarily because there are Christian extremists, Republican extremists, Japanese extremists, and so many more, I can't list them. There are also good, and kind Muslims, Christians, Republicans, Japanese, etc. and as a devout friend of mine said, you just can't lump everyone in a group together, because they're individuals, and not lockstepping as a group.
That said, there ARE times when it seems like everyone is lockstepping as a group -- the Germans under Hitler come to mind -- but even then there were some who refused to cooperate, sometimes at the cost of their lives, and those people, in every group, shouldn't be subsumed under an all-encompassing rubric.
So we need to remember the necessity of personal responsibility, and do our best to try to prevent extremists from acting out, while rewarding those who do good. But please, no labels.
Thanks for that Natalie, you are probably right in what you say. I should have used "extremist" instead of "Muslim", as there is a danger of scapegoating a whole group of people for the actions of a few. I believe though that the "extremists" ride on the back of their moderate brothers, deliberately blending in with the crowd. When the inevitable backlash to their actions occur, they can then use this as further justification to continue their campaign of terror.
In an ideal world, we would all be tolerant of each others views, but unfortunately that's not where we are. A problem for me, is that it is simply impossible to express in public, a view of anger towards the underlying religious rhetoric, without being branded a racist. Thank goodness for this site for providing a non judgemental platform for legitimate views.
Alan, you're right about the underlying religious rhetoric that goads those already vulnerable to anti-social activity further into extremism. It's why I feel so strongly that those who are members of the more moderate sects of ANY religion need to actively oppose extremists. Because when the extremists get the upper hand, the situation gets explosive. Europe was a devoutly Christian continent, but they were easily led, not by the best instincts of Christianity, but by its worst, into conducting the Holocaust, and while people love to concentrate the blame on Hitler, or the upper management, so to speak, the inferno never could have happened without the majority of the heirs of Christian antisemitic ideologies cooperating or at least saying nothing. A counter-terror movement could have been MOST influential in the beginning -- if there had been groups of activists saying NO, and demonstrating and putting pressure on their local governments as well as the national government of Germany, boycotting businesses owned by self-professed Nazis, and doing what they could to counteract the evil, it most likely would never have happened.
By the same token, if there were Muslims who were actively opposing terrorism, and yes, at risk of harm to themselves and their families, it might not deter everyone determined to commit an act of terrorism, but it might help people on the edge to come back to their senses. Because once the terrorists gain the upper hand, there is no turning back.
That is my primary reason for my position on Israel and Palestine. In that case, the Palestinian terrorists HAVE gained the upper hand among their people, and those who advocate peace are caught and tortured and killed. And children are being taught in kindergarten about the glories of "martyrdom" and jihad. So, instead of cooperation and peace with Israel, they continue to lose ground (and I mean that literally) and freedom, because Israel does whatever it thinks necessary to protect ITS citizens. If there had been no string of terrorist massacres in Israel, it would never have built the wall, and there would have been much more freedom of movement between the West Bank and Israel and more economic and educational opportunities for Palestinians, because before the wall, Israel was willing to let Palestinians work and learn in Israel. But now, what you see is hardship for Palestinians, and extremist religious Israeli settlers building towns in the West Bank, because extremism begets extremism, and instead of having a cooperative relationship with the Palestinians, many Israelis are becoming very hard-line about territory as well.
Likewise for Gaza. Israel voluntarily pulled out COMPLETELY, leaving villages of houses, greenhouses and infrastructure intact. The Jewish settlers who were physically dragged from their homes weren't terribly happy about that, but it was a gesture of willingness to make peace. So what was Israel's reward? Barrages of missiles that eventually totalled around 12,000. And then when Israel responded, the world cried out in sorrow for the poor, mistreated Palestinians. And that's why there's not a chance that Israel will pull out of the West Bank any time soon, because they have no faith that it would have a happy ending.
If the Palestinians had been willing to work for what was possible, they could have had a peaceful, economically robust country of their own a long time ago, but their terrorist leaders did not want it that way. Even though there is not a chance that they could possibly militarily defeat the far better armed Israel, they simply follow their irrational extremist leaders and those passages of the Quran that tell them to kill Jews. And then cry when the Israelis retaliate. Israel already tried the most radical solution it could think of (Gaza), and since that didn't work, it's no surprise that they're not willing to try it again. So the terrorists have accomplished exactly the opposite of what they claim to want. On the other hand, if what they truly want is to exterminate the Jewish people of Israel, they will keep on trying, and Israel will keep on fighting back, and the lives of the Palestinian people will get more and more constricted. This is a lose-lose situation, and I don't see any way out.
That is very beautifully written, yet horribly formatted ;)
As for the content of your post I agree wholeheartedly. People should have the liberty and freedom to believe what they want. However when it comes to morality and aspects which impact the lives of people on this world we as human beings with the intellect we possess should be more careful and more persistent in applying our abilities in order to avoid suffering. That is what morality is all about. A science that focuses on the mitigation of suffering in the best way possible.
Despite what people like to claim, suffering can be quantified, for amounts of suffering can be weighed up against each other and we can take rational conclusions by doing so. We need to look closely at the consequences of actions and try to approach any conflict capable of causing suffering to humans, or other kinds of beings, with extra care. At the moment this is not what is going on in this world. Humanity is more interested in maintaining their regional and cultural pockets, put tradition and religion, ritual and greed as well as conflicts ahead of the need to combat suffering. As long as humanity ignores the suffering of others, in favor of selfish cravings, the problems of this world will never be solved.
It comes at no surprise to find the world in the state it is now, for that is what one would expect to find given our human nature and instincts. Self preservation reigns over empathy and rational observation of events affecting people beyond our scope of sensory perception. We are not build by nature to care for clans that live kilometers apart beyond the mountains. But we are no longer clans of individuals striving for survival, we are a civilization who must overcome their basic human nature in order to fight the only real enemy humanity faces. Suffering itself.
Racism has its roots in The Old testament and can be found in Genesis 9: 20-27, in the account of Ham’s curse made by Noah to condemn his son Ham and his off spring, for eternity, to a life time of slavery and damnation. This has been the warrant and justification for racial slavery and oppression supported by the Abrahamic faiths dating back to the times of their promulgation. Ham and his progeny were cursed for the alleged crime of ‘dishonoring’ Noah by looking upon him as he lay passed out in his tent from his drunkenness. Theologians in the antebellum period in America wrote widely on this topic both in the north and south to make the case for racial slavery. These attitudes are still present in the Christian imagination to this day.
I don't believe racism is caused by religion. It is natural adversity to that which is different. I believe it comes from instincts. Misguided instincts, sure, but instincts nonetheless. (ofc social, religious and cultural elements can strongly build upon those instincts and reinforce or suppress them). In the case of racism culture has been doing quite a good job at overcoming this fear of those who appear different from ourselves.
I completely agree with you. While all religions are harmful, Islam is especially harmful at this moment in history. Even the most extreme fundamentalist Christians are not flying planes into buildings!
They're murdering doctors and homosexuals, though.