Given a green light to evil things what evil would you do?
If you are like most of us, you would not do a lot. The immorality, empathy for your fellow human beings, thought of later regret, risk of being caught, effect on your family, effect on your future, the thought on how badly you will be seen by others….and so on, would stop you.
But as we know, there are people who will do heinous things. We hear about horrible people locking captives in basements and abusing them. We hear of serial killers murdering people. We shake our collective heads and wonder how such people in the world can exist. Then we hear of couples or gangs who team up to commit atrocities. We are shocked how there could be two or more people and and how they would meet up and share such horrible traits and desires.
Gangs and hate groups and fundamentalists are an extension on this. You may say that religion plays a part in this mindset. It doesn’t. Where religion plays a part is that for a person so evil and committed to such horrible acts, religion can be seen as a way to justify them.
I say “can” be seen. Read different parts of different doctrine and interpret it in different ways and you may give licence to do terrible things IF you are inclined to do them anyhow, and wish to interpret the passage or phrase in a certain way. You may also find that you need to ignore anything else written in the doctrine that may negate the passage or phrase, BUT if you are a sociopathic or psychopathic fanatical fundamentalist, this is all able to be squared away.
What if you are a crazed fanatical zealot who can square away inconsistencies, and can read the most evil and immoral interpretations into a religious doctrine? What if you find a gang or a hate group or an army of like-minded people that can make the same interpretations as you? I say that makes for a lot of trouble, and it say mountains about that group and those that associate with them, and little about the religion itself.
Throughout time there has always been these kind of people and religion has always given justifications in religious fanatics’ minds. Now you may say, “Ha, you do not see the Christians or the Jewish doing this” when looking at attacks on Paris. Maybe not today. Both of these two religions have had to give in so much.
The Old Testament will tell you about Jewish people in Biblical times and they were every bit as combative and aggressive. They hit a wall. The Romans. They were completely dominated and subjugated. The religious/cultural warrior tribe was faced with a stark reality. As they had put down tribe after tribe of weaker tribes and found strength in their all-mighty, uncompromising, smiting, vengeful God, they could not any more. It is no surprise to me that around this time a splinter cult of quasi-Jewish people headed by a charismatic preacher started preaching new demands from the Abrahamic God, to be forgiving and non-violent. To conform. Indeed many of the differences between the Jewish and the Christian faith have their basis in this conformity and compromise. It ensured Christianity’s survival. Though it really did not help out Jewish survival ESPECIALLY when considering the animosity between the two religions in respect to the narrative that Christ was crucified at the behest of the Pharisee (Jewish ruling council). In fact a lot of the reason that Jews were not sympathetically seen in Europe was due to this, and the reason when Hitler targeted them, there was not a bigger pushback against this. So the Jewish people have had a number of incidences that have evolved their religion to be less warlike. The Christians became warriors and conquerors. The meek and mild and compromising origins did not last. Once they were strong enough, they became warriors too. Muslims too, the last of the Abrahamic faith, became warriors. In time there were a number of things that caused Christianity to become less fanatical and zealous. There has been scientific discoveries that have put the word of the church into question, splitting of Christianity into hundreds of denominations, child abuse scandals, fault with things such as witch-burnings, and so Christianity has had to compromise its stance, as the Jewish faith has. Fallen back more on its Christian compassionate roots than its Old Testament Warrior code. Islam has not had it time of compromise.
I can not say it will or will not. What I can say is this. Most Muslims practice their religion very peacefully and without violence and hate. Whilst Christian leaders and Jewish leaders are not as they would have been 3000 years ago (In the case of Jewish leaders) 500 years ago (In case of Christian Leaders), some Muslim leaders now will be hateful and bring to them the worst types of people as I mentioned above.
I think there HAS to be recognition that today’s society is in the space age. Doctrines and ideas from the Bronze Age may not be suited. They simply have to evolve and fit in to today’s society.
I am an Atheist and there have been plenty of bad Atheists in history but I would not say that they were bad because they were Atheists any more than I would say that these Terrorists are bad because they are Muslims.
I DO think it is entirely up to the Muslim community to call down the worst of the fanatical and fundamentalist leaders. To denounce their hate and their violence. To disavow them of the notion that their violent and hateful preaching is in the spirit of Islam.
As for the rest of us? We should target terrorists of whatever race, religion, skin colour, gender, age, or culture. We should root them out and prosecute them. We should make inquiries into all their dealings and be careful in immigration to know who we let into our country. We will not discover every terrorist nor stop every problem, but this ought to be bare minimum stuff.
Not every Muslim is a bad person, nor every Syrian, nor should we suddenly be suspicious of everyone who is . Punish the people who are doing wrong. Neutralise evil people. Do not target people who are doing the right thing.
Bigotry is never a good solution. People are more than their skin colour, race, nationality, religion and gender. Look at their individual actions and judge them fairly.