A cure for religion 73

Is religion the most frequent cause of death?

Do more people die from religion than from heart disease, cancer, or road accidents?

To take just one religion, the most lethal at present: Islam kills people every day.

Here’s one of today’s reported incidents of Death by Religion:

From the Washington Post:

A machete-wielding mob of Muslims on Sunday attacked the home of a minority sect leader in central Indonesia, killing three and wounding six others

About 1,500 people – many with machetes, sticks and rocks – attacked about 20 members of the Ahmadiyah Muslim sect who were visiting their leader in his house in Banten province on Indonesia’s main island of Java. …

Ahmadiyah, believed to have 200,000 followers in Indonesia, is considered deviant by most Muslims and banned in many Islamic countries because of its belief that Muhammad was not the final prophet.

Think of it – right now, in this age of space exploration, nuclear power, the internet, some people are killing other people because they believe that a man who lived 1400 years ago was “not the final prophet”!

Surely this killing disease, religion, is curable?

We recently heard of a group of Muslims who went to a university in the West and there encountered Enlightenment literature. They were stunned by what they read. They have become secularist, possibly atheist. They plan to make themselves known as a group and speak about their discovery in the near future. If and when they do, we will be among the first to applaud them.

What does their story tell us but that superstition is a curable disease? It suggests that if the West only took the trouble to teach its values to the peoples who live in darkness – those billions of Others – it might 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 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 critical examination.

We know that the nations who live more freely live more happily. We know that educated women make better mothers. We know that Muhammad wasn’t a “prophet”, and also that he won’t be the last to claim that title. Why don’t we say that sort of thing, loud and clear, to those who should hear it?

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, and insist that any who come to live among us conform to them. Away with “multicultural” sentimentality and hypocrisy. For the most part, those other “cultures” contain far more that’s fearful and contemptible than is worthy of respect. And the intolerance of Islam is intolerable.

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.

Let’s seize them by the ears and say, “Now listen here … !”

Jillian Becker   February 6, 2011

Posted under Articles, Commentary, Islam, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Sunday, February 6, 2011

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