"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Monday, October 17, 2005

Religion's Blindspot

Every time some terrorist pulls off something horrible, we hear a lot of questions like, "How can they sleep at night?" or, "How can they look at themselves in the mirror?"

The underlying assumption is that because they have done something terrible, they should feel intensely guilty.

Unfortunately, they don't feel guilty.

How can this be? How can you blow up school children, people gathered in a market place, office workers in a couple of skyscrapers, and not feel guilty?

The answer to this lies in a "blind spot" we have. Here it is: Far too many people believe that because 94% of the population shares a belief in the divine, that we are all essentially alike and because of that, one of these days we will all get along.

Unfortunately, it isn't the shared belief in the divine, whatever form it takes, that unifies us; it is a shared MORAL CODE.

A MORAL CODE is the codification of values. It is a set of values we have chosen to guide our thoughts and behaviors. Among most peoples of the world, human life has been, to one degree or another, selected as the fundamental value by which all others are measured. Human life is the "standard of the good;" those thoughts and behaviors which tend to promote human life are considered "good," while those thoughts and behaviors which tend to threaten human life are considered "bad."

Not so with Islam. The Islamic "standard of the good," by which all other values are measured, is the spread of Islam. Any thought or behavior, up to and including murder and mayhem, which tends to support the spread of Islam, is considered "good," while any thought or behavior which tends to threaten the spread of Islam is considered "bad."

That's why, when a terrorist blows up 50+ people on a subway, he can sleep peacefully that night, and look at himself with satisfaction in the mirror the next morning. Because of his MORAL CODE, he thinks he has done something "good."

It is in this respect that Islam must change if they are to join the rest of the earth in peace and productive work. They can keep Allah, the Kaaba, the Pillars, praying five times a day, the Hajj, and whatever other trappings they want; they must, however, abandon the spread of Islam as their fundamental "standard of the good."

Until and unless we recognize that it isn't a shared belief in the divine that unites us, but rather, a common moral code, this conflict will continue.


  • At Tue Oct 18, 07:35:00 AM PDT, Blogger Always On Watch said…

    The jihadomaniacs are convinced of their elevated status in Paradise. Add to that the fact that Islam allows for egregious acts against any and all infidels (whom Muslims regard as subhumans), and we see the formula for the worst kind of zealotry. In fact, all religious zealotry becomes dangerous when it's used to force the establishment of an ideology.

    Unlike any other religions, Islam has absolutely no concept similar to the Golden Rule. And in many respects, Western morals are based on a concept akin to the Golden Rule.

    I don't see Islam as a religion (as in a personal faith). It's more a geopolitical ideology. Jason taught me that phrase, and it works for me!

    PS: Thanks for stopping by my site. I'm making blog rounds this morning, but haven't been to my own site.
    PPS: I left an interesting link about CAIR at one of GM's articles. You might like to check it out. CUANAS, the site I mentioned, "gets it."


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