Can we please call the enemy by its real name?

We now face a new menace in the Mideast: a body of fanatics (armed with weapons we left) who will kill anybody who gets in the way of their turning the clock back to 1500.  They're openly threatening the US.

Once again politicians dance around the real problem.  It's not terrorism.  It's not even Dubya's "evildoers."  

No public figure has the guts to call the enemy by its real name: RELIGION.  A vicious, ineradicable set of shared beliefs that is responsible for 90% of the armed conflict in the world (and Muslims are involved in 90% of that).  9/11 was driven by religion -- specifically, by the presence of foreigners on their holy soil, i.e., the whole country of Saudi Arabia.  We left quietly a few years later.

Sunnnis and Shi'ites slaughter each other over who Mohammed's heir should be.  Most Americans aren't aware of the difference, and why should they be?   Who cares?  But it matters a great deal to the Muslims - because that's how they've been programmed.  In Nigeria, animists (I think) are fighting Christians and Muslims.  Such insanity!  Such horror over stories that didn't happen!  

It seems to me that religion gets a moral pass, which is even more significant than its humongous tax breaks. Should secular humanists be more vocal in identifying religion as the source of so much human suffering?

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Comment by Loren Miller on August 29, 2014 at 9:56pm

The believers expect us to go along to get along because that's what we've "always" done.  What happens when we stop going along?  Maybe they'll realize there is another POV out there, one which:

  1. Doesn't agree with their woo-woo and
  2. May be nice about it but won't shut up and won't go along.

And all of a sudden they'll be faced with having to do something they haven't done: adapt to us!

Comment by Frankie Dapper on August 29, 2014 at 8:37pm

Pat, I get it too.

I applaud Alan for his stance.

Comment by Pat on August 29, 2014 at 7:12pm

Glen, I understand Alan's stance perfectly. At my mother's funeral, as a pallbearer, I refused to stand for the reading of the gospel, make the sign of the cross, take communion, or engage in any of the other obligatory rituals to appease the sky father or the priest/soothsayers presiding over the death ritual. Alan will not appease the rabbi/soothsayers. Trust me. I get it!

Comment by Frankie Dapper on August 29, 2014 at 3:26pm

Alan, that takes guts. I doubt many will understand your stance.

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on August 29, 2014 at 12:52pm

@ Glen - whether the rise of Isis will ultimately shift the perception about extremism.

It's not that big a leap from One batshit crazy set of beliefs should be thrown into the garbage bin of history  to All batshit crazy sets of beliefs should be thrown into the garbage bin of history. Unfortunately it's a logical leap.

Comment by Alan Perlman on August 29, 2014 at 12:44pm

Point made by Glen deserves to be repeated, vocally and publicly: while apologists for religion may praise "moderates" ("Islam is a religion of peace" -- NOT), it is these very people who allow the extremists to flourish. And yes, ISIS will have to pull off another 9/11 before America gets pissed enough to really do something about them.

Deirdre, witnessing can be powerful, but it takes guts.  You have to be able to not give a damn.  At my mother's funeral (she's almost 96), I plan to enter the synagogue bareheaded, not stand, not say the Kaddish (prayer for the dead, repeated many times during a funeral service).  I may or may not plant a few seeds of doubt, but at least they'll see what principled unbelief looks like.

Comment by Frankie Dapper on August 29, 2014 at 12:20pm

I wonder whether the rise of Isis will ultimately shift the perception about extremism. Instead of being seen as a departure from the religious norm it will be seen as a natural consequence. If Isis turns out to be more competent militarily than al queda and strikes the west in a significant attack or attacks it might serve to unify the west in taking steps against Isis in particular and Islam in general. Concomitantly, a mass apostasy and a greater and more united front against religion...


Comment by Frankie Dapper on August 28, 2014 at 11:35pm

Zola sounds like Diderot...Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

The absurd and bold propaganda equating religion with morality ought to be challenged with utter confidence. That greatest lie told to mankind (yes bigger than fairy tales about creation) continues to be a source of protection insulating the culprit from scrutiny. How incongruous would it feel to give tax breaks to child molesters? How much worse is it to give tax breaks to churches?

So it is not proper or PC to criticize the true source of so much that is wrong with civilization. And that is why we have to hear how it is a few extremists who are responsible for this and that. We should be hearing how moderates pave the way, how the zealots are the purists, how inevitable so-called extremism is when there is no rational basis for religion's existence or its ethics. But instead we get spin, deflection and lies. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 28, 2014 at 10:36pm

The old paradigm: 


It looks like we have the makings of an intense logo. 


Comment by Alan Perlman on August 28, 2014 at 10:16pm

Thanks to all commentators. I agree with Loren - it's all about power, and humanists must practice persistence, integrity, truth...and harbor no expectation of success. Religion may be ineradicable.  

All religions, including the secular ones based on political ideologies (e.g., fascism, communism, etc.), it is based on a myth to which all cling, lest they be ostracized and excluded from the grand venture.   Both kinds of religion require a bilateral consensus - that some will lead, and the rest will follow unquestioningly.  You gotta have both.

Both kinds of religion have a mythic story which is used to cover up heinous acts. 

S/B, you do not think too much.  Hardly anyone does. When you get right down to it, there are few real differences between secular and religious tribalism.

"Civilization will not attain its perfection, until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest." - Emile Zola


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