It is very difficult to convince a person to come out of his conservative shell, unless he feels discomfort there.
The best way to avoid a catastrophic conflict of beliefs is to be more compassionate about other people’s beliefs as long as they do not advocate for prejudices, bigotry and sectarianism.
Killing a bunch of Jihadis may be morally justified, to save humanity from their wrath, but it won't terminate Jihad for long. Jihad or Holy war would keep festering one way or another, until religious fundamentalism is eradicated from the human society. Until the whole humanity learns to scrutinize its most revered scriptures with the sharp tool of reasoning, Jihad will keep on striking over the world. If one does not have the basic conscientious capacity to refute the primitive textual verses of the scriptures that demand one to kill or torture another being for holding a different belief system than one's own, then that entity is no being of the civilized human society, it is merely a pest from the stone-age. No Quran, no Bible, no Gita, no Cow, is greater than the human self. There shall be hope for harmony and peace in the world, only when fundamentalism is destroyed forever. Harmony is not a luxury, it is an existential necessity of the species. And to achieve it, if a hundred Bibles have to be sacrificed, then be it. But for no Bible, Quran or Gita, can harmony be compromised.
The take-home message is that we should blame religion itself, not religious extremism - as though that were some kind of terrible perversion of real, decent religion. Voltaire got it right long ago: 'Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.' So did Bertrand Russell: 'Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do.
What can you say to a man who tells you he prefers obeying God rather than men, and that as a result he's certain he'll go to heaven if he cuts your throat?
During the Bosnian war in the late 1990s, I spent several days traveling around the country with Susan Sontag and her son, my dear friend David Rieff. On one occasion, we made a special detour to the town of Zenica, where there was reported to be a serious infiltration of outside Muslim extremists: a charge that was often used to slander the Bosnian government of the time. We found very little evidence of that, but the community itself was much riven as between Muslim, Croat, and Serb. No faction was strong enough to predominate, each was strong enough to veto the other's candidate for the chairmanship of the city council. Eventually, and in a way that was characteristically Bosnian, all three parties called on one of the town's few Jews and asked him to assume the job. We called on him, and found that he was also the resident intellectual, with a natural gift for synthesizing matters. After we left him, Susan began to chortle in the car. 'What do you think?' she asked. 'Do you think that the only dentist and the only shrink in Zenica are Jewish also?' It would be dense to have pretended not to see her joke.
You know,” said Jehangir, breaking the silence, “it's only Muslims who use the term 'innovation' to mean something bad.
Looking at Great-Great Grandpa Baldwin's photograph, I think to myself: You've finally done it. It took four generations, but you've finally goddamned done it. Gotten that war against reason and uppity secularists you always wanted. Gotten even for the Scopes trial, which they say was one of many burrs under your saddle until your last breath. Well, rejoice, old man, because your tribes have gathered around America's oldest magical hairball of ignorance and superstition, Christian fundamentalism, and their numbers have enabled them to suck so much oxygen out of the political atmosphere that they are now acknowledged as a mainstream force in politics. Episcopalians, Jews, and affluent suburban Methodists and Catholics, they are all now scratching their heads, sweating, and swearing loudly that this pack of lower-class zealots cannot possibly represent the mainstream--not the mainstream they learned about in their fancy sociology classes or were so comfortably reassured about by media commentators who were people like themselves. Goodnight, Grandpa Baldwin. I'll toast you from hell.
Truth is not fully explosive, but purely electric. You don't blow the world up with the truth; you shock it into motion.
Extremism is so easy. You've got your position, and that's it. It doesn't take much thought. And when you go far enough to the right you meet the same idiots coming around from the
In the days when hyenas of hate suckle the babes of men, and jackals of hypocrisy pimp their mothers’ broken hearts, may children not look to demons of ignorance for hope.
The trouble with all these far-right and far-left mentalities is that they can encompass only one side of an argument and are congenitally incapable of holding two opinions in their heads at the same time.
The dangerous enemies of your species are fundamentalism, intolerance, separatism, extremism, hostility and prejudicial fear, be it religious, atheistic or political.
I got a text from my husband. “Manal, you are divorced,” it read. “Your papers are in the court of Khobar.” I was divorced in my absence, just as I had been married.
The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists, indeed the passion is the measure of the holders lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held passionately.
The foundation of morality on the human sentiments of what is acceptable behavior versus repulsive behavior has always made morals susceptible to change. Much of what was repulsive 100 years ago is normal today, and - although it may be a slippery slope - what is repulsive today is possible to be normal 100 years into tomorrow; the human standard has always been but to push the envelope. In this way, all generations are linked, and one can only hope that every extremist, self-proclaimed progressive is considering this ultimate 'Utopia' to which his kindness will lead at the end of the chain.
How did you get back?' asked Vautrin. 'I walked,' replied Eugene.'I wouldn't like half-pleasures, myself,' observed the tempter. 'I'd want to go there in my own carriage, have my own box, and come back in comfort. All or nothing, that's my motto.''And a very good one,' said Madame Vauquer.
A mature heart for Christ would much rather spend its time praising him than condemning his fanatics.
The 2 extremes, neither one worse than the other: the result of bad religion is self-loathing and violence; the result of bad spirituality is self-worship and narcissism.
They hate us because they feel--and they are not wrong--that it is within our power to do so much more, and that we practice a kind of passive-aggressive violence on the Third World. We do this by, for example, demonizing tobacco as poison here while promoting cigarettes in Asia; inflating produce prices by paying farmers not to grow food as millions go hungry worldwide; skimping on quality and then imposing tariffs on foreign products made better or cheaper than our own; padding corporate profits through Third World sweatshops; letting drug companies stand by as millions die of AIDS in Africa to keep prices up on lifesaving drugs; and on and on. We do, upon reaching a very high comfort level, mostly choose to go from ten to eleven instead of helping another guy far away go from zero to
Fanaticism is the opposite of love. A wise man once told me - he's a Muslim, by the way - that he has more in common with a rational, reasonable-minded Jew than he does with a fanatic from his own religion. He has more in common with a rational, reasonable-minded Christian or Buddhist or Hindu than he does with a fanatic of his own religion. In fact, he has more in common with a rational, reasonable-minded atheist than he does with a fanatic of his own religion.
But what is it that drives haters crazy with rage? Many times, it's being ignored. To a person with pride, being ignored is often worse than out-and-out hate; it's that much more of an insult, that you're not even worth noticing.
In 1969 the Khmer Rouge numbered only about 4,000. By 1975 their numbers were enough to defeat the government forces. Their victory was greatly helped by the American attack on Cambodia, which was carried out as an extension of the Vietnam War. In 1970 a military coup led by Lon Nol, possibly with American support, overthrew the government of Prince Sihanouk, and American and South Vietnamese troops entered Cambodia.One estimate is that 600,000 people, nearly 10 per cent of the Cambodian population, were killed in this extension of the war. Another estimate puts the deaths from the American bombing at 1000,000 peasants. From 1972 to 1973, the quantity of bombs dropped on Cambodia was well over three times that dropped on Japan in the Second World War.The decision to bomb was taken by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and was originally justified on the grounds that North Vietnamese bases had been set up in Cambodia. The intention (according to a later defence by Kissinger’s aide, Peter W. Rodman) was to target only places with few Cambodians: ‘From the Joint Chiefs’ memorandum of April 9, 1969, the White House selected as targets only six base areas minimally populated by civilians. The target areas were given the codenames BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER, SUPPER, SNACK, and DESSERT; the overall programme was given the name MENU.’ Rodman makes the point that SUPPER, for instance, had troop concentrations, anti-aircraft, artillery, rocket and mortar positions, together with other military targets.Even if relatively few Cambodians were killed by the unpleasantly names items on the MENU, each of them was a person leading a life in a country not at war with the United States. And, as the bombing continued, these relative restraints were loosened. To these political decisions, physical and psychological distance made their familiar contribution. Roger Morris, a member of Kissinger’s staff, later described the deadened human responses:Though they spoke of terrible human suffering reality was sealed off by their trite, lifeless vernacular: 'capabilities', 'objectives', 'our chips', 'giveaway'. It was a matter, too, of culture and style. They spoke with the cool, deliberate detachment of men who believe the banishment of feeling renders them wise and, more important, credible to other men… They neither understood the foreign policy they were dealing with, nor were deeply moved by the bloodshed and suffering they administered to their stereo-types.On the ground the stereotypes were replaced by people. In the villages hit by bombs and napalm, peasants were wounded or killed, often being burnt to death. Those who left alive took refuge in the forests. One Western ob-server commented, ‘it is difficult to imagine the intensity of their hatred to-wards those who are destroying their villages and property’. A raid killed twenty people in the village of Chalong. Afterwards seventy people from Chalong joined the Khmer Rouge.Prince Sihanouk said that Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger created the Khmer Rouge by expanding the war into Cambodia.
Until one nation ceases its attempts to dominate another, there will never be true freedom. Until one religion relinquishes its quest to prove its god superior to that of another, there shall never be world peace. We will never truly prosper or experience lasting harmony, until we refrain from preaching the gospel of our own moral values and our personal preferences by forcing it upon others.
Extremism stifles true progression in all fields of human advancement; it is a detriment to everything but war, tribalism and the personal power of Nietzschean entities, striving only for the narcissistic vindication of their ego and will. The enlightened mind knows that all is challengeable, ergo questions all and thus, learns and grows; progression. The weak and narrow mind makes its beliefs sacrosanct; fearful of challenge, their creed becomes unalterable, defended with violence. Political extremists, much like religious zealots, are the latter. They destroy what they cannot convert. They annihilate those they cannot control, or force to conform. They have found no peace in life, no love, and so promote war and division, as emotional cripples – inflicting their own pain and misery and malignant stupidity on the world. Their language binds people together, but only by stirring the darkest excesses of the soul; language of hate, and intolerance, fear and conspiracy, and the need for vengeance. In war-scarred Europe, these cripples direct mass-psychology, and would make the world in their own likeness; mutilated by violence and tribalism and hate.
Gradually, I realized that the ideas I had embraced and defended blindly all my life represented a singular, and highly radical, point of view. I began to question everything.
The Islamic State’s ideology exerts powerful sway over a certain subset of the population. Life’s hypocrisies and inconsistencies vanish in its face. Musa Cerantonio and the Salafis I met in London are unstumpable: No question I posed left them stuttering. They lectured me garrulously and, if one accepts their premises, convincingly. To call them un-Islamic appears, to me, to invite them into an argument that they would win. If they had been froth-spewing maniacs, I might be able to predict that their movement would burn out as the psychopaths detonated themselves or became drone-splats, one by one. But these men spoke with an academic precision that put me in mind of a good graduate seminar. I even enjoyed their company, and that frightened me as much as anything else.
It would be facile, even exculpatory, to call the problem of the Islamic State 'a problem with Islam.' The religion allows many interpretations, and Islamic State supporters are morally on the hook for the one they choose. And yet simply denouncing the Islamic State as un-Islamic can be counterproductive, especially if those who hear the message have read the holy texts and seen the endorsement of many of the caliphate’s practices written plainly within them.
Centuries have passed since the wars of religion ceased in Europe, and since men stopped dying in large numbers because of arcane theological disputes. Hence, perhaps, the incredulity and denial with which Westerners have greeted news of the theology and practices of the Islamic State. Many refuse to believe that this group is as devout as it claims to be, or as backward-looking or apocalyptic as its actions and statements suggest.Their skepticism is comprehensible. In the past, Westerners who accused Muslims of blindly following ancient scriptures came to deserved grief from academics—notably the late Edward Said—who pointed out that calling Muslims 'ancient' was usually just another way to denigrate them. Look instead, these scholars urged, to the conditions in which these ideologies arose—the bad governance, the shifting social mores, the humiliation of living in lands valued only for their oil.Without acknowledgment of these factors, no explanation of the rise of the Islamic State could be complete. But focusing on them to the exclusion of ideology reflects another kind of Western bias: that if religious ideology doesn’t matter much in Washington or Berlin, surely it must be equally irrelevant in Raqqa or Mosul. When a masked executioner says Allahu akbar while beheading an apostate, sometimes he’s doing so for religious reasons.
We know Jesus taught that if someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to the left. We know that Mohammed was sacked from his village and stoned at Ta'if, but he quietly left for Medina.If both of these men, beaten, and bloodied—the incarnations of their respective faiths—asked God to forgive their aggressors, then who were today's religious leaders to advocate holy war?
This division is not one by religious affiliation, rather it separates the extremists and the peace-loving people.Therefor I'm optimistic: now a humanistic Islam is getting shaken awake. Moderate Islam needs now to finally break cover and explain how to deal with the violence-glorifying parts of the Quran. The (psychological) repression that this has nothing to do with our belief doesn't work anymore. We have to face this challenge.
There can be no religious discourse which is in conflict with its environment and with the world and therefore, we Muslims need to modify this religious discourse. And this has nothing to do with conviction and with religious beliefs, because those are immutable. But we need a new discourse that will be adapted to a new world and which will remove some of the misconceptions.