Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Paris Attacks Highlight Our Original Mistake: 'We're Not at War with Islam'

On November 17, 2015, the New Jersey Star-Ledger editorialized:“It's clear now that President Obama's strategy on ISIS was not sufficient to meet the threat, and that a tougher response is needed.” (After Paris, don't repeat mistakes of September 11)

I left these comments:

This is true but a major understatement. In his Turkey speech, Obama said he agreed with President Bush that “this is not a war on Islam.” As long as he believes that, a repeat of mistakes will continue.

We are at war with Islam; not with every Muslim, but with fully consistent Muslims. The Islamic militants are motivated by a moral vision of totalitarian rule according to God’s will. They are supported by a large minority, numbering in the tens of millions, of Muslims worldwide. With the Qur’an as their blueprint, the Islamists seek theocratic world rule. These are not radicals that hijacked a peaceful religion. They are conservative true believers living up to the full consequences of their religion. They are imperialist aggressors motivated by their belief in God's will and supremacy, who believe their duty is to wipe out or subjugate the “infidels” who don’t unthinkingly obey God’s will, as the militants see it. The Islamic militant organizations are not fringe groups. They are not practicing a perverted interpretation of Islam. They are practicing fundamentalist Islam fully and consistently. ISIS and its ilk—this is exactly what unfettered religion looks like.

Religion is inherently authoritarian by nature. Religion is not rational, and thus open to reasoned criticism and persuasion. Religion is faith-based, which means closed to rational persuasion. When reason is abandoned, force is the only option left. Christianity, having reformed itself through Enlightenment, has mostly adopted reason, pushing faith into the background. Christianity—which once launched Crusades, Inquisitions, and generally persecuted or killed heretics, their version of infidels—is not today consistently faith-driven. Most Christians, though still professing an element of faith, are primarily reason-driven and thus peaceful. That and that alone is the reason Christians aren’t the ones blowing up buildings and slaughtering helpless innocents. Modern militant Islam is in essence a replay of pre-Enlightenment Christianity. Un-enlightened Christianity too was driven by a fundamentalist, imperialist, faith-based “ideal” that only they knew God’s will, and had a moral right and duty to enforce it, whatever the costs or means.

Bill Maher gets it:

People say ISIS hijacked Islam. Actually the opposite is true. Religions do have hijackers but the hijackers are the moderates. . . They’re the ones who took a Sharpie to the Bible and redacted all the crazy parts. . .And now someone in Islam needs to do that with the Qur’an.

The so-called moderates are the real radicals; the ones who rip out the militant, intolerant aspects of their religions and cast them into the dustbin of history. We are at war with fundamentalist, unfettered religion, in the form of [Jihadist] Islam. We must, hopefully with the help of radical “moderate” Muslims, win this war. To do so requires fully and explicitly communicating our message that we are at war with primitive, fundamentalist Muslims, not Enlightened Muslims. We will then pave the way for a fully Enlightened Islam to emerge, ready to join civilization alongside their enlightened Christian counterparts. As long as we have leaders like Bush and Obama who won’t acknowledge the truth of what we are up against, we will continue to pursue policies that are woefully insufficient to meet the threat.

Related Reading:

Ten Steps to End Jihad Against the West—Craig Biddle for The Objective Standard


Related Viewing:

Religion vs. Morality by Andrew Bernstein


Steve D said...

'They’re the ones who took a Sharpie to the Bible and redacted all the crazy parts'

Maybe, but unlike the Old Testament, Koran or Vedas, you have to look long and hard at the New Testament and interpret your head off to find passages condoning violence.

Jesus overturned few tables and yelled. His follower Mohammed executed hundreds. His other follower, Charlemagne cut the heads off 5000 Angle Saxons for not converting to Christianity.

Religions are essentially totalitarian but not all regions are equal. It took Christianity (whose founders preached peace) hundreds of years to reform. How long will it take Islam?

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

True. Unlike Mohammed, Jesus was essentially a man of peace. That didn't stop Christianity from sinking into a millenium of tyranny and barberism.

How long will it take Islam? A lot depends on the West's response to Islamic Imperialism.

Mike Kevitt said...

But it's also true that reformers of religions and their posterity have always stuck with their altruism, trying to graft it onto a more rational fundamental philosophy. This must lead to corrupting that rationality, and to statism. Plus, faith and the supernatural are still maintained on the side. That, too, is a corrupting and a statist influence. Muslim reformers will probably do the same. But it will still lessen the threats to civilization and facilitate a philosophy of reason from the ground up, and help head off any resurgence of secular irrationalities that could also bring down civilization, having threatened to in the 20th. century.