Violence may be on the downswing in historical terms, but we’re often reminded that it ain’t gone. The murder of a dozen Parisian newspaper people by Islamic terrorists is only the most recent instance of religious murder.
Muslims are having a hard time convincing Westerners that Islam is really a peaceful religion, because there seems to be an unlimited supply of radical Muslims eager to kill. Random Westerners are suitable for killing, but Jews are OK too, and even Muslims of a different flavor will do in a pinch. It’s helpful if the potential corpse has committed an “insult”, the determination of which is left to the discrimination of the murderer.
Muslims are having a hard time
convincing Westerners that
Islam is a peaceful religion.
I can’t think of any other religion where a perceived insult to the religion itself is considered sufficient reason to murder someone, although the Turks do have their “insulting Turkishness” meme. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether the perceived insult is intentional, let alone meaningful. Muslim murderers get their sensibilities insulted over satire, or stuff the rest of the world finds merely irritating or in bad taste. It’s rather like killing someone because they insulted your favorite veggie, broccoli.
The founders of most religions do in fact call for peaceful and respectful living, but in every religion there are always plenty of those, maybe even the majority, who don’t get the message, whether they are the aforementioned Muslim killers, the crusading Christian knights and Popes of earlier centuries who murdered Jews and Muslims wholesale, or the Jews of modern Israel who are killing Palestinians while stealing their land and destroying their homes and livelihoods. In India, Hindus and Muslims routinely trade rampages that kill thousands. Then there are the nutcase American fundamentalists who feel called to harass a whole list of ordinary people, or boycott “anti-Bible” restaurants that serve shrimp. Shrimp? Examples of religious madness and idiocy are legion, and have been with us forever.
It’s like killing somebody
because they insulted
your favorite veggie,
Lest anyone think I’m ranting because I’m anti-Muslim, that’s not the case. I’m ranting because I’m anti-religion. I call myself a follower of Buddha, whose teachings show us how to live in every moment, but Buddhism is indifferent to the central element of theocracy, a supernatural master nobody can see. Buddhism itself has branched into twigs that have scant resemblance to what Siddhartha taught. In Burma, so-called Buddhists have taken on the sacred responsibility of ridding the country of Muslims by driving them away or killing them. Buddhists in Sri Lanka have been similarly un-Buddhist. Every spiritual belief, from those of ancient China, Africa, India, Europe, and the Americas, has enthusiastically sponsored horrible atrocities against others in the name of their religion, sometimes with hundreds of thousands of victims.
That’s not my main argument with religion, however. My argument is very simple: there isn’t the first shred of real, objective evidence for the supernatural that is at the heart of every religion in the world. There is plenty of reason to gather together for communion, to be sure, but we can no more afford to believe that the supernatural fantasies of religion are real than we can accept Grand Theft Auto as guidance for our lives. If it’s impossible on Monday, it’s impossible on Sunday. The belief in fairy tale foolishness has led to endless atrocities against our very brothers and sisters at least since the dawn of agriculture some ten thousand years ago.
There isn’t the first shred
of objective evidence
for the supernatural at the
heart of every religion.
It doesn’t matter how “good” most of the adherents of a religion might be, or for that matter, how “good” the citizens of a given country might be. If the leaders decide to address what they perceive as a problem caused by another religion or group of people they want to blame, those people will be demonized and atrocities will happen in the name of religion, and all the followers will be caught up in it. These leaders commit a great sin, which is to preach that every individual of their target group is a lesser being and therefore must be killed. Such a thing traps one’s own people. We have only to look at wartime Germany’s myth of Aryan superiority, where to resist the Nazi machine put you in serious danger for your own life.
Islam is currently the only religion that appears to believe it’s just fine to kill someone you imagine has insulted not you, but your religion. Until this changes, the religious hypersensitivity of these murderers will also jeopardize innocent Muslims, who will suffer at the hands of reactionary nationalist infidels.