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Friday, September 10, 2010

Nine Eleven Twenty Ten

The concept that people can come to believe in a god or higher power of their understanding was popularized, if not originated, in 12 step self help recovery programs. People of all religious backgrounds are able to move forward from that concept and into healthier patterns of thought and action. 

One need only witness pogroms, crusades, inquisitions, and genocides from time immemorial inspired by arrogantly mistaken interpretations of the world's various spiritual texts. Say what you will about the founding fathers of the USA recognizing slaves as 60 percent of a citizen, and denying women the vote altogether, they wrote the US Constitution expressly allowing for freedom of religiou / spiritual discipline and of the press. As a nation, we knew better then than to burn books, be they Korans, Bibles, Torahs, Bhagvad Gitas, Kama Sutras, Books of the Dead, Necronimicons or whatever.

Nine years ago today, yes 20 people arrogantly misinterpreting the Koran took an additional 3000 people along for their suicide. Those 20, and those who gave them their orders, do not represent the views of the overwhelming bulk of Muslims. They certainly don't represent the views of ANY person I've ever met, Muslim or otherwise. To blame the sincere practitioners of a religion whose name means submission to divine will for widespread mass murder is to commit the same logical fallacy as to blame the bulk of Christianity's practitioners for white supremacists engaging in their terrorism, justified by the strictures of Leviticus to not gender one's cattle with a diverse kine. If the KKK takes the Bible's instructions on animal husbandry as the green light to murder persons of color, as they have since at least 1868, and run up a tally of at least 3000 dead, would that be a justification to exhort nationwide burning of Bibles on an arguably significant date, say June 19th?

I didn't think so. So today, if you see a Muslim person walking in your path, tell him or her as - salaam -alaikum, and eid mubarak. That's right, peace be with you, and happy end of Ramadan. I know full well YOU didn't fly planes into a building, wouldn't have supported it, and on the off chance I'm wrong about that, the security environment is such that much criminal mischief is nipped in the bud before people die here. And at least Mr. Obama isn't trying to fan the flames of war any higher than they were burning the day I voted for him. A few more years of mutual tolerance and respect won't kill anyone of any religion, or lack thereof. Such as it is, that's actually the American Way, and nobody with a twisted concept of divine will is going to kill 300 million followers. Al Quaeda may have gotten 3000 nine years back, as the KKK got their thousands, as have wrongheaded people throughout the ages. You're not going to get 300 million to swallow that much wrong, and that's just in the USA. The rest of the world has about had enough of the madness, too.

Burn fewer books, and more fallacious straw men.

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