The Despicable Reality and Perfidy of the Islamic State

I wouldn’t have believed it, but I’m pissed off about persecuted Christians.  Whoa, you’re saying, Loren’s lost his grip on reality.  No, I haven’t.  I just wonder if you can maintain YOUR grip on your temper, having seen this CBS News 60 Minutes report by Lara Logan.

American Christians make foolish noises about being persecuted.  Iraqi Christians ARE being persecuted for real and more: they’re being harassed, intimidated and murdered in uncounted numbers by the bastards who are the Islamic State.  Compounding the human toll is the loss of the ancient documents which the Iraqi Christians were forced to leave behind for IS to destroy, as they have despoiled so many ancient art treasures before now.  I’m a traditionalist as it comes to books: I like the printed page, preferably hard-bound and held in my hand, as opposed to a Kindle or other electronic simulacrum.  Books are valuta to me, in this case both precious and irreplaceable, and hearing that such works as were exposed to possible extinction PISSES ME OFF.

If nothing else, the actions which the Islamic State are taking in destroying artwork and manuscripts of religions other than their own are unmistakable indicators that they are agents of a particularly intransigent variation of Islam: one which not only states that There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet, but that Allah is the ONLY god to be tolerated under ANY circumstances, and that all others are to be relegated to non-existence, along with anything associated with them.  Now, stipulated that I am both an atheist and an anti-theist; it would bother me not in the least to see any form of religion and particularly the evangelical variety removed from the face of our planet.  HOWEVER … I would rather see that process happen by force of argument rather than by force.  I want our opponents to see reason, rather than put a gun to their heads, either literally or figuratively.  The militants of IS have no such moral compunction; they want the world as they want it, and any means to that end are justified, by their lights.

Such complete intolerance for any mindset other than their own deserves total, complete and absolute sanction.  I don’t know what it will take to remove the Islamic State from the face of planet Earth, but for the sake of diversity and the right to believe or not as one chooses, removed they must be.

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Comment by Joan Denoo on March 24, 2015 at 2:58am

Ruth did a brilliant piece of writing that Grinning Cat recommended and I recommend we all read.

Learn from marketing to save us all 

Comment by Loren Miller on March 23, 2015 at 10:26pm

Ted, there is nothing I would love more than to see the US completely, totally and utterly ABANDON Saudi Arabia.  Just tell 'em, "Guys, you're a bit too far afield for our tastes.  You treat your women like shit, you want your religion to be THE ONLY ONE, and you think that because you have money, that you can own the world.  Sorry, no.  Kindly, go fuck yourselves.  Do it today and avoid the rush."

We won't do it, though, because we're too afraid of running out of the oil which is an anachronism, an obsolescent power source, and if it isn't, it should be.  What oil there is left should be reserved for lubricants and manufacturing raw materials, but you can't tell that to Exxon/Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell and the rest of 'em.

Damn, but we're a stupid race ... and sometimes I wonder if we're too stupid to live.

Comment by Ted Foureagles on March 23, 2015 at 10:08pm

The common method of capital punishment in Saudi Arabia is public beheading.  They performed several last year, including one of a man convicted of sorcery.  Yet they are not one of the USs official enemies, and so they get a pass.

Look at the very different response to ethnic cleansing in 1999 in East Timor and Yugoslavia.  Indonesia was our official ally and so supported with weapons and diplomatic cover.  Serbia was an official enemy, and so bombed.  That bombing, by the way, initiated the humanitarian crisis, as any honest reading of the timeline tells and most honest historians agree was the anticipated outcome.  CIA supported and trained Kosovo militants led the insurgency and openly stated that terrorist acts would provoke asymmetrical government response and so draw NATO, specifically the US, into  their fight, and they did.  We bombed the shit out of the place, "our' side won, and it's still a hellhole.


Comment by Loren Miller on March 23, 2015 at 9:53pm

Not surprising to me either.  It's easy to be barbaric.  It's far harder to be disciplined and do something positive and constructive.  I rather wonder if ISIS has drunk their own Kool-Aid, and that's less "wonder" than "suspect they have."

And I'm still waiting on the general muslim population to get serious about those fucks.

Comment by Gerald Payne on March 23, 2015 at 9:43pm

What's so surprising about a religious group beheading people? Why all the disbelief? Religious groups have a history of barbarity. Barbarous yes, surprising? Not to me.

Comment by Loren Miller on March 23, 2015 at 9:21pm

Daniel, you have it backwards: ISIS is at war with the world, or more precisely, any part of the world that doesn't agree with them, and I'm not certain Boko Haram is any different.  Both deserve to be snuffed out like a used cigarette.

So where's the ashtray?

Comment by Grinning Cat on March 23, 2015 at 9:05pm

"I am clearly in the anti-theist camp and that just has to be set aside if a more effective strategy can occur.... Now is the time to take action."

As Ruth wrote in "Learn from marketing to save us all", we can learn from the techniques Apple, Harley-Davidson, Guinness, Hello Kitty, and others use to cultivate committed followings:


Thus far, Atheists haven't excelled at community building. We've focused on antitheism, instead of transcending the dysfunctional aspects of religion.... It's time to ... focus on a mature inclusive goal.... We could lead, while accepting religious adherents willing to modify their religions for sustainability. Trust that their children and grandchildren will take the next steps toward rationality.

As I wrote there, religious believers who reject the most toxic elements of their traditions and teachings are themselves taking a step towards rationality, implicitly acknowledging that moral authority comes from us humans, rather than from some god or scripture.

(Read more about other aspects of building an enthusiastic, committed "fan base" -- including presenting a clear vision, storytelling, grandeur, and evangelism. We can apply this "unity-building" to far greater purposes than selling products.)

Comment by Loren Miller on March 23, 2015 at 8:48pm
Who's screaming?!? Can't a guy make a statement with emphasis around here?
Comment by Gerald Payne on March 23, 2015 at 8:37pm

Kindly note Loren that screaming your head off about these things will not result in a significant change on the ground.

Comment by Loren Miller on March 23, 2015 at 7:27pm
Kindly note, Gerald: I'm not "confounded" by the actions of ISIS; I'm pissed as hell at them! Their motivations are as transparent as the products of Pittsburgh Plate Glass. I'm far more troubled about the need for effective action against ISIS, and what can practically be done at this point.



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