Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Brutality, Savagery, and Stupidity of Religion in Two Nut Shells

When American journalist James Foley was beheaded by a fundamentalist Muslim  terrorist organization, ISIS, and  the horror of it video taped for the world to see,  it exemplified the very worst that religious fervor brings to civilization. 

The moderate apologists of Islam will insist that it was not driven or endorsed by Islam and Islamic doctrine, which is a “religion of peace”, but by “not true Muslims” who have co-opted Islam for a political purpose. The problem of course is that to religious fundamentalist extremists of any flavor politics and religion cannot be separated, they are one in the same.  It is as true now in Islamic theocracies, and among Christian right wing Republicans who’d happily see the USA a theocracy, as it was in the days of the Hebrew King David, the Egyptian pharaohs, and the Holy Roman Empire.  And in those times and places, the political imperative was marked by brutality and savagery that was justified and spurred by religious belief.

This newest horrific and rabid form of Islam is akin to a mutation of an already deadly virus, one for which there is no cure. For a cure, it would take universal acceptance of reason, and rejection of religious delusion and justification, and that is nowhere in sight.

It will become a world wide epidemic spreading fear, violence and death as it attracts and infects new blood from the ranks of moldable “Moderate Muslims” ripe for radicalization.  When and how this will end, how civilization will deal with this throwback to a Dark Age uncivilized abomination, I cannot predict, no one can. I am reasonably certain that it will get worse before it gets better. And I am very certain I will not live long enough to see the final outcome. I wish I could foresee some sage, positive, hopefulness, but the fact is I got nuthin’ to offer in that regard.

So much for the savagery and brutality of religion; now onto the nut shell of stupidity. 

This evening as I listened to the local news I heard a woman from James Foley’s hometown here in New Hampshire say this: “I said the Rosary every day for James while he was captive.  And now I say it for his family.” 

Obviously the complete and utter irrationality of what she said is entirely lost on her.  For over a year she prayed the repetitive and droning Rosary everyday appealing to the Virgin Mary to intercede on her behalf to cajole and convince Jesus/God to save Mr. Foley and deliver him from evil…only to have it fail with such horrible finality.  But never mind… now she’ll do the exact same prayerful appeals to Jesus/God on behalf of the Foley family and hope for a better result... whatever that may be.  Stupidity.    

James Foley was himself a devout Catholic.  He wrote a piece about his captivity in Libya in 2011. Here is an extract:
”If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.” 
I imagine James Foley was praying all during his captivity in Iraq. Alas, his god, AKA the odds, didn’t favor him this time.  If prayer and belief gave him courage and strength during that time, and as he was about to die, then it played the only good role the lie and delusion of prayer and religion can deliver. And I’m hopeful for his sake that it did.


Gerard 26 said...

The late Christopher Hitchens debated a Islamist scholar, Tariq Ramadan, on the topic of is Islam a religion of peace? Hitchens asked the question of why the idea of a muslim caliphate is still very strong among millions of Muslims including those who reside in London, Paris and other European capitals and, perhaps, even in our country. He called this a fantasy, that still motivates millions of Sunni, Shia and other Islamist sects and asked why that is? No answer came from the professor to the question put to him his only response was to employ the same old evasive rhetoric and to use relativistic nonsense to ignore the question completely. These are the very same tactics used by christian extremist when they argue for the necessity of a theocratic America. You are spot-on in the title for this posting the peril of this meme is very real and dangerous.My heart goes out to Mr. Foley and his family for this horrific crime committed against him and, by extension, the rest of us.

TommE said...

The decapitation of Foley is beyond horrific. The picture of him standing awaiting execution turns my stomach each time I see it. Your comment that the atrocities committed in the name of Islam are likely to continue for some time I'm afraid is extremely likely. It's time for all thinking people to call Islam for what it is, and include it on the FBI's subversive organization list.

On a different note. When I read that Foley had prayed during captivity in Libya and his "prayers were answered", but prayers during captivity in Iraq were not - 50/50 - it brought to mind George Carlin's "Religion is Bullshit" routine. God answered 50% of my prayers, just like Joe Pesci. A brilliant routine. It should be required viewing before being allowed to vote.

Toni Gandel said...

Excellent comment Gerard to a wonderful piece on the insanity and danger of religions.

Miriam44 said...

I struggled—and it was a struggle—through the entire Koran just to see what the religion was truly about. Is it a religion of peace? The answer to that is an emphatic NO! Muhammed began his tyranny by claiming to be peaceful and tolerant of other cultures (religions) as long as they were peaceful with him. As he aged and became more powerful—and insane—his vehemence and fanaticism grew, along with his insanity. By the time of his last rantings he was demanding that the true Muslim attack, enslave, and kill anyone who did not bow to their faith. In fact, his people were to invade, burn, pillage, destroy first, and ask questions later, if anyone was left. At first, he claimed to be tolerant of Christianity and Judaism. After all they were all founded on the first five books of the Bible/Pentatuch—whatever. He claimed that the late great JC was the greatest of the prophets. At first. By the end of his life, just like with any religious fanatic, his way and only his way was permissible. Now he did claim that Muslims were peaceful and brotherly to their own faith. But as the years went by, his definition of that faith grew narrower and more exclusive. He was as destructive to peace as Hitler, Stalin, John Calvin, the Westboro bunch, and many more.
Right now, we despair of th Westboro Baptist Church, but through any little quirk in time, leadership, or situation they could be in power. It’s happened before. It will happen again.
And, lest we forget, JC himself wasn’t as devoted to peace and brotherhood as we claim. I don’t have the energy to look up the passage, but most of us know it: I come to to bring peace. I come with a sword. Mother against daughter. Brother against brother. Forgive me for misquoting, but that’s the essence. Furthermore the JC in Revelationsm, once he’s on his throne, is as power-mad, revengeful, sadistic, and violent as any Old Testament king acting on the commands of Jehovah.
O God, what a mess you’ve made of your ‘creation.’

I have, by the way, found the source of the 72 virgins in heaven. The truth is, um, hilarious. And Mohammed didn’t get quite so extreme with his laws for women until after Ailiyah—child bride—kind of messed around with a probably more attractive young man and got herself ‘lost’ in the desert with him. Yes, the Koran would be fun, if it weren’t so damned boring 99 percent of the time.



Zarathustra said...

One small Hydrogen bomb over Mecca, would be an appropriate response....