A Brief Conversation about Religious “Fundamentalism” vs the Mythical “Peaceful” muslim
Recently, I engaged in rather short online “discussion” with a couple of people regarding the existence of so-called “peaceful” muslims (which I believe to be a myth). I thought I would share the conversation with you here, in the hope that it would be informative and aid you in your own conversations with religious bigots and their apologists. I have omitted the last names of the participants in the interest of their privacy. The conversation began when I posted a link to my article titled, “A ‘Peaceful’ muslim? Really?!” and it went as follows:
Danielle: There are millions of peaceful Muslims. Just like not all christians are like the Westboro crazies, not all muslims are fundamentalists.
Gandalf Stormcrow: No, Danielle. There are no peaceful muslims. Actually read the blog post, and my post below to Matthew. Break out of the “box” and do a bit of research and critical thinking. The fact is that all existing religion is inherently bad, because it ACTIVELY TEACHES, advocates, practices, institutionalizes and validates as “normal” (and even demands of its membership) things like bigotry, intolerance, oppression of entire demographic groups (such as women, gays, and all people of other faiths), and in some cases (e.g., islam) harsh brutality, violence, intimidation, and murder. Whether these things exist in mild or extreme forms (compared to one another) is completely irrelevant. They all do it, and it is ALWAYS wrong, so to compare one sect of christianity (or rather, your perception of that sect — as an outsider) to Westboro and then claim that it must be “good” or “peaceful” is patently ridiculous because institutionalized bigotry in any form is not a “peaceful” thing — and neither are intolerance, divisiveness, or the wholesale oppression of entire demographic groups. “Peaceful” is not simply (and narrowly) defined as “an apparent lack of overt violence and brutality” as you and so many others seem to believe. Stripping entire demographic groups of many (or all) of their freedoms and civil rights and human rights and forcing them to live their entire lives in fear, deprivation, and/or anonymity is NOT a peaceful thing — even if done without violence. Even mere tolerance of these things is NOT a “peaceful” thing — especially when the “fundamentalists” are so few compared to the so-called “millions of peaceful muslims” in the world.
Religion itself is the disease. People who choose to expose themselves to the mental pathogens (i.e., the infectious agents) of its teachings (and it is important that you remember that it is a choice they make) are always affected by it to one degree or another, and the “health” of society is always compromised as a result. The symptoms of infection that we see in the individual include pretty much the same types of bigotry, intolerance, divisiveness, hate, oppression, and violence that their religion espouses and teaches, perpetrated against selected individuals and demographic groups, and (just as with any physiological sickness) the severity and outward appearance of these symptoms may vary individually but they are always present — whether you happen to (or are trained to) notice them or not. The widespread, cumulative symptoms we see in our society are many. They take the obvious form of strife between “opposing” religious doctrines (especially as they battle to gain prominence and power within our governments); but the concepts are then extended and applied beyond religion and take the secondary forms of racism, sexism, and other forms of inequality, bias, and discrimination (bigotry); and the oppression of, and violence (including war) against, those who are different from us (because after all, even “god” is a very violent, destructive being when it wants to get its way). Yes. I am saying that the roots of all these societal maladies lie in religion and the evil, bigoted shit it has taught (and imposed upon) societies since the beginning of time. It is my belief that most of these things are not inherent to the heart of the individual human being, but that they are learned from (and largely accepted in) societies that are well-steeped in varied (and mostly unapparent) religious bigotry, doctrines, beliefs, and practices.
Whether or not one cares to admit it, the reality is that ALL of christianity is bigoted, intolerant, divisive, and oppressive — even if only mildly so compared to Westboro. The same goes for ALL of islam, ALL of judaism, and so on. WHY would anyone (or any society) want to tolerate these things — even in “milder” forms? People’s lives are still being negatively affected by it — just to a somewhat lesser degree. How much bigotry, intolerance, hate, exclusion, violence, and oppression of entire demographic groups is an “acceptable” amount, Danielle? I guess the answer to that probably depends upon how much YOU and those you love are being affected by it. Christianity talks a lot about “love” but its love (like that of all religions) is extremely conditional, and the “seed” at the center of the fruit of their “love” is the institutionalized bigotry that their own “god” expects from them. They will never truly accept you if you are different from them — because their “god” has taught them that you are an “abomination” or an “infidel” and that they are better than you — that they are “special,” and “favored,” and “acceptable in his sight.” And that means “non-believers” are not, and that is blatant bigotry. That is why the concept of “sin” exists and why they believe there is a hell.
Additionally, religions are inherently viral and predatory; thus, they intentionally exploit the poor, the weak, the desperate, and the gullible, and they actively seek to spread themselves and gain power over the citizenry through a marriage to our governments.
Matthew: There is a bit of a difference between the active Jihadi and the Muslim who wishes to belong to modernity, yet can’t because of a fear of speaking up.
It is likely that Martin Luther would have had a difficult time with the Protestant Reformation if modern weapons had existed at the time.
Islam faces the same problems. It is in the midst of a Reformation, yet any reformers, who wish to cast off the archaic relics of ideology (demanding ideological purity, and demanding that Islam is the “perfect” religion, etc), have difficulty doing so, because they tend to be promptly killed when they attempt to do so.
Gandalf Stormcrow: I totally understand what you’re saying, Matthew, and it is always a hopeful thing for the world when barbaric, bullshit religions like islam begin to evolve, but they never do so on their own, because they actually believe they are “commanded by god” to do the sick things they do to humanity. Complete elimination of organized religion would be an even greater boon to mankind. But even when barbaric religions like islam begin such a transformation, it always takes hundreds of years, costs untold millions of damaged or destroyed human lives (or whole societies), and requires enormous social pressures to force such change; and remember that even in their most “peaceful” state, religions are still inherently bigoted, intolerant, oppressive, and hateful — which negates ANY notion that they are peaceful (or that they ever can be). Christianity underwent a similar transformation — and, in fact, is still in the process of change. But it will never be truly peaceful, or it will cease to be “christianity” as defined by its own “god.” The same goes for islam. Regarding islam and the so-called “peacefulness” of its “members,” please consider the following, Matthew:
- IF islam is to be thought of as a bona-fide religion (instead of bogus, man-made crap like the rest of them), then one must begin with the assumption or true belief that it was created by its own infallible, ALL-wise, ALL-knowing, ALL-seeing, ALL-powerful, ETERNAL GOD, and that it (i.e., the religion’s doctrines, standards, practices, and eternal beliefs) was all passed in PERFECT, infallible form to its early prophets for dissemination amongst the peoples of the earth. If one can’t even admit to that much, then one is (in effect) admitting that the “religion” is made-up, bogus bullshit along with its “god,” its “prophets,” and all of its doctrines.
- IF one can convince themselves that islam was created in such a way and that its “god” is not a bumbling, inept fool; but rather, an ALL-wise, ALL-knowing, ALL-powerful “god of the universe” who can see through all dimensions of time and space with equal clarity (laughing at the utter stupidity of such a thought) then one must also believe that its god could never make a mistake and, therefore, its doctrines and its commandments would be ETERNALLY sacred and ETERNALLY applicable (even into “modernity”); therefore, one would have to commit themselves to EVERYTHING that their ALL-wise, ALL-knowing “god” teaches and expects — IN ITS ENTIRETY — ALL of it — for ALL time — even in the face of ever evolving social standards and practices among lowly humanity. (This is a great deal of why most islamic cultures are backward, arrested, and brutal — because the vast majority of muslims devotedly cling to their god’s commands with total faithfulness and without regard to worldwide social outcry or public pressures.)
- Thus, if one is to actually “belong” to that religion, then one must actually believe that their “god” is real, and that it is completely infallible and ALL-wise, and that it expects total obedience in all of the doctrinal dictates it passed to its early prophets — WITHOUT EXCEPTION and WITHOUT QUESTION.
- IF one refuses to obey their “god’s” commands because they believe that it is wrong to do some of the horrific things their chosen “god” instructed them to do, or because they appear outdated in current society and that they prefer to live in “modernity,” then one IS necessarily:
- In a state of open rebellion against their chosen (ALL-wise???) “god of the universe” and its doctrines (which technically makes them not a “member” of that religion anymore—even if they still have not yet come to that realization and are still wearing the garb and going through the motions of some of the practices and traditions); or they are
- Admitting that their own eternal “god of the universe” is a fallible, bumbling, inept, unwise, error-prone boob, and that it is no better that the narrow-minded, bronze-age goat herders who made it all up anyway!
- Here’s a hint, Matthew: If one is smarter, or wiser, or more discerning than their own “god” and they can “correct” its shortsightedness and doctrinal mistakes to make them more “appropriate” then either that so-called “god” is stupid and its judgment and teachings can never be trusted, or that religion is complete bogus bullshit and one shouldn’t be part of it anyway — in any form. Remember, that the fallible “created” humans do not have the divine authority to override their chosen “god” and redefine ITS religion to make it more “acceptable” or more palatable to themselves, or so that it meets the changing expectations of “modernity” or of its various members at any given point in time!
- IF one commits themselves to a religion they are, in actuality, committing themselves FIRST AND ONLY to that religion’s “GOD” (not to an elastic, moldable-at-will philosophy and ever-evolving public opinions about that god and what it expects from its followers) and that necessarily includes a commitment to all the philosophies and doctrines that that religion’s “god” says are to be believed and practiced — not simply the ones they individually deem “appropriate” or the ones they decide to believe and practice (while still claiming to be “faithful” members of that “god’s” religion). The idiocy of such (commonplace) mental duplicity is astounding!
- IF one rebels against their chosen “god” and casts off (ANY of) its “sacred” doctrines and behavioral expectations, then one is necessarily casting off the “god” itself and, thus, its entire religion. Simply because some people can’t understand that, and choose to continue to refer to themselves as “members” of that religion and wear the garb and practice some of the traditions, doesn’t mean that they actually are members, and I believe their religion’s “god” would agree with me (if it were real).
- It is a FACT that islam (i.e., the GOD of islam) teaches and requires of its members, certain beliefs and acts which are greatly harmful to entire demographic groups of human beings (hundreds of millions of people around the world). The fact that some people (who by pure chance were born into islamic cultures and were indoctrinated into or forced to adopt the sick religion) are inherently opposed to [only some?] [all?] such atrocities, injustices, and vileness, does NOT speak well for the religion, because the religion is what ITS GOD defines it as (through the actual words in its “holy” texts and those of its principle “prophets”) — not what each “member” of the religion decides to define it as. No, it speaks well of those specific individuals (in a very limited, non-religious context) and it demonstrates that (in their hearts) they are not actually “members” of that vile, bullshit religion — even if they haven’t yet come to that realization. Thus, the term “fundamentalist” is purely bogus, as all actual believers of any religion are fundamentalists. Everyone else is either confused (i.e., that have yet to realize that they abandoned the religion when they rebelled against the “god” of that religion); or they are feigning commitment to a religion out of fear or social pressures; or they do so for a feeling of “belonging” and acceptance (in much the same way that people join social clubs and gangs) or for perceived social “status” and are, thus, more apt to be willing to sway their “beliefs” with the ever-changing tide of public opinion and “not believe in” certain parts of their own chosen “god’s” HOLY commandments and instructions to them.
- IF one is a committed member of islam (in their heart), then one necessarily SUPPORTS the “god” who decreed (from “on high”) that all women are lesser beings than are men, and who then opened the door for them to be oppressed and treated as little better than property; and that gays, non-muslims, and apostates are to be killed. If (in their heart) a committed muslim supports the ALL-wise, ALL-knowing “god of the universe” who dictated these things, then they must also support those who carry out such crimes against humanity — even if they are not openly vocal about it and even if they have never personally participated. This may be a difficult realization to accept; but it is, nonetheless, true.
- WHY haven’t the hundreds of millions of so-called “peaceful” muslims ever stood up to the (relatively few?) so-called “fundamentalists” who are giving their “peaceful” religion such a bad name worldwide, and brought them to swift, public justice for crimes against humanity and for bringing shame onto the name of their “god” and its “prophet?” Perhaps it is because the millions of “peaceful” muslims do NOT exist, in reality. Perhaps it is because they quietly SUPPORT what islam does to others. Perhaps they are simply brainwashed from birth and do not know better. Either way, it does not make islam a credible belief system or worthy of respect, and it does NOT make (personally) non-violent muslims “peaceful.” To quietly tolerate (especially if one is “supposedly” in the overwhelming majority), is to SUPPORT. And don’t forget that islam permits muslims to lie to and deceive non-muslims in order to advance and further the spread of itself (in the same way that some pathogens can sometimes trick or deceive your body’s immune defenses in order to allow themselves to spread), so I don’t know that I would be so quick to believe in the illusion of “peaceful” muslims if I were you. They make it pretty clear what their goals are.
- Quiet tolerance of atrocities (even “milder,” seemingly nonviolent atrocities) against millions of human beings does not make one “peaceful” — especially if one continues to affiliate oneself with the very institution that is inflicting the atrocities onto the human population and the “god” who commanded it.
- Can there be any such thing as a “peaceful” member of the KKK, Matthew? Why not?! Does not simple membership in such a vile, hateful, bigoted, and dangerous organization mark one at the very least as a passive supporter of what that organization stands for and practices? Of course it does! WHY is there no such thing as a “peaceful” member of the KKK? Because the organization itself (the “belief system,” if you will) is inherently and fundamentally evil, bigoted, intolerant, hate-spreading, dangerous, and oppressive; and none of these things are “peaceful.” Thus, as long as one claims membership in (or even remains loosely affiliated with) such an evil organization, one can never be considered a “peaceful” member (even if they have never personally participated in a cross-burning or some other form of public intimidation, oppression, or terrorism)! And the EXACT SAME THING applies to islam and to other religions, because the GODS of those religions have defined their own religious doctrines and promulgated to humanity (through their various “prophets”) their own individual “sacred,” inviolable philosophies of bigotry, intolerance, division, hate, violence, and oppression — just like the KKK. And (in spite of what the religious would have you believe) religions do not (and should not) enjoy special exemption from the same scrutiny and open criticism we give to the KKK, simply because they claim to be “holy” or because some people choose to blind themselves to the truth about the organization they chose to join — or because they were taught by their parents that theirs is the one “true” religion and that their “god of the universe” is better than everyone else’s “god of the universe“, and is therefore too “holy” to be criticised in public discourse.
- Don’t make the common mistake of thinking that there is (or even that there ever can be) a distinction between a religion and its ideology. The ideology was established by that religion’s ALL-wise, ALL-knowing, ALL-seeing “GOD of the universe;” thus, the ideology can never be debated or “cast off” while remaining a “member” of that religion. The ideology IS the religion. The religion IS its ideology. That’s all it is, in reality. One CANNOT separate a religion from its ideology. When one separates themselves from the ideology, one has effectively separated themselves from the religion and its “god“—whether they realize this or admit this to themselves, or not; thus the term “fundamentalist” is an irrelevant, non-applicable term.
- The notion that there is a meaningful difference between religious “fundamentalism” and other “forms” of the same religion is silly.
- Remember: If the GOD of a certain religion is bigoted, intolerant, divisive, oppressive, destructive, vengeful, and hateful (as revealed in its OWN words and “holy” texts and in those of its principle “prophets”), then the ENTIRE RELIGION is equally so, because IT IS THE “GOD” WHO ESTABLISHES AND DEFINES ITS RELIGION — not “modern” apologists who decide they are smarter or wiser than their own ALL-wise, ALL-knowing, ALL-seeing “god of the universe” and who decide to water it down to make it appear more palatable for themselves or the masses.
Speak out against institutionalized oppression, bigotry, intolerance, and hate in all its forms wherever you find it (even “holy” religion), so that humanity can eventually live in peace and freedom. Such philosophies do not have a place in a peaceful, functional, modern society. Use logic and solid reasoning to unravel the long-held religious legends, superstitions, and myths and expose the truth — regardless of who it pisses off or where it leads. Your silence is not respect. It is not “peaceful.” It is approval. It is passive support. It is complicity in the atrocities that religion inflicts upon humanity every day.
“I am here to challenge your comfortable and familiar perceptions and paradigms — to help awaken you — to make you think.” — AAJG