This is a revised version of an essay by Jillian Becker first posted on February 6, 2011, under the title A cure for religion:
Is religion one of the most frequent causes of death after heart disease, cancer, and road accidents?
Surely this is a disease that is curable?
We have heard of Muslims who went to a university in the West and there encountered Enlightenment literature. They were stunned by what they read. They became secularist, possibly atheist. The rumor may be untrue, yet it seems highly possible. Even probable.
If the West only took the trouble to teach its values to the peoples who live in darkness – those billions of Others – it might in time achieve what wars have failed to: the subduing of the barbaric hordes, the ending of their persistent onslaught.
During the Cold War, America spoke to the Communist bloc through Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe. The effort was made to tell the enslaved peoples that what their masters would have them believe was not true. Those broadcasts helped to bring the Wall down. Why is no such effort being made to give new ideas to the Muslims? Vast numbers of them are taught nothing but the Koran – or rather, have it beaten into them. For many of them it is in a language (Arabic ) that they don’t understand. And even if they know the language, much of what they learn to recite by heart is incomprehensible. Those suras that are intelligible are full of evil counsel and absurdity: “kill the infidel…”, and a lot of solemn drivel about Djinns. Why doesn’t the secular West give them something better to think about?
Teach them to question ideas rather than dumbly accept them.
Teach them that freedom makes for a happier life, tolerance for a longer one.
It might be argued that many Muslims who live in the West are aware of Western values and ideas and still reject them in favor of Islamic dogma. True. And we may assume that there will always be some who cannot be cured of religion. But the probability is that there are many who can be, if only they were better informed.
Yes, we are urging “proselytizing” and “conversion” on a massive scale: not from one religion to another, but from religion to reason. (To oppose one religion by another – to think of Christianity, for instance, as a cure for Islam – is to misdiagnose the disease.)
It must be worth trying. A start could be made with young Muslims who are already in the West with a positive program of teaching the utility of doubt and moral necessity of critical examination.
No more giving in to Muslim demands for the separation of the sexes, for special facilities in schools and work-places, for courts to take account of their “cultural traditions” such as honor killings and wife-beatings and the sly deceptions involved in “sharia compliant finance”.
We have arrived at our ways for sound reasons, so let’s stick to them. Away with “multicultural” sentimentality and hypocrisy!
We’d like to teach the world to think. We’d like the Western powers to have a shared policy of continually lecturing the billions who live in darkness.
Okay, hectoring them.
Let’s seize them by the ears and say, “Now listen here … !”
But who will do this? Those who are in a position to do it, political leaders, educators, the media, prefer to denigrate Western values. They despise the world-shaping, civilization-advancing achievements of their own culture. Many of them not only scorn their inheritance, but hate it.
They hate and mock the “dead white men” of the great “patriarchy” who bequeathed it to us.
Jillian Becker February 15, 2016