Monday, November 16, 2015

In the wake of the Paris attack the words of Sam Harris about the Islamic faith seem more timely than ever.

Now I think you all know that my position on ALL religions is that they are an unnecessary and potentially harmful crutch used by people who do not trust their own critical thinking abilities.

However, like Harris, I also find some religions more concerning than others, based on their basic tenets and also how the teachings are interpreted in this day and age.

As you know I spend a great deal of time criticizing Christianity in this country, and those who profit from and hide behind Christianity in this country, mostly because it is the most prominent and impactful religion in this country.

And yes the horrific things that have been done in the name of Christianity in many ways overshadow the violence done in the name of Islam.

However in today's world one would be foolish not to recognize that there is a singular danger represented by the those who interpret Islamic teachings as a license to kill and destroy.

And ISIS in particular embodies the most dangerous elements of Islam. As noted back in March of this year by The Atlantic: 

Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world. 

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.

It is almost impossible not to recognize the positions of some of our more radical Christian leaders reflected in the above description. Many of them also believe that we are on the brink of witnessing the End of Times as well.

And in fact I would argue that it was George W. Bush's religious fundamentalism that inspired him to set into motion the events which have resulted in the dangers we are seeing today.

However make no mistake, if there is a terrorist attack in the world right now it is more than likely carried out by an Islamic Jihadist.

And understanding that fact, and the reasons behind it, may be our only hope of eventually putting a stop to all of this violence. 


  1. Anonymous6:25 AM

    Gee, all of that "end of times" nonsense sounds a lot like some fake-Christians here in the US.

    It is clear, however, that there is no country of ISIS for the GOP to invade. ISIS is subversive and a little bit everywhere in the broken world of the Middle East. And it's also time for those few relatively stable Moslem countries to confront this menace themselves. We should not have to do the job for them; in fact, we cannot do the job for them. Much as the Bush Administration damaged Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, it did no alone create ISIS. ISIS is a product of internecine hatred among members of conflicting Moslem congregations in the Middle East and they are the ones who can and must bring it under control.


    1. Anonymous6:53 AM

      ITA. But I'm not holding my breath. Anymore than I hold my breath for moderate Christians to stand up to extreme fundamentalists, instead of tolerating them and making pets of them (like the Duggars) and therefore helping normalize their extremism.

      Bottom line, religious beliefs will destroy this planet.

    2. Anonymous8:55 AM

      The only resolution is for the rest of the Islamic world to stand up to ISIS publicly and boldly and join forces with the west to defeat the jihadists.. Until that happens there will be no end to the atrocities committed by this group.


  2. Anonymous6:49 AM

    Their goal is to help bring about the end times their holy book describes. I'm surprised Christians don't act the same way since their holy book describes the same kind of end times. Murder and war precedes the coming of their savior. Their savior will then cause centuries of death before judgment day. Religion (in traditional or perverse practices) is the most dangerous threat to mankind and has caused most of the killing in human history.

    1. Anonymous7:19 AM

      I think most Christian extremists are held back by the relative prosperity in this country, among others. A lot harder to recruit suicide-bomber types who have disposable income, pot, video games, smartphones, and streaming channels to play with.

    2. Anonymous9:10 AM

      As 7:19 says, economic security and a peaceful (relatively) lace to abide is the main difference between ISIS and the radical Xtians. If their young male population faced economic hardship, lack of available work, crushing boredom and a loss of country you are damned right they'd explode just like ISIS.

    3. Anonymous4:55 PM

      It's a different age in their religious growth. Christians had their time of oppression and murder.

    4. Anonymous5:32 PM

      What do you think their BiBi/Israel infatuation is a bit, 6:49?

    5. Anonymous5:32 PM

      Panem et kirkensis, 7:19.

    6. Anonymous5:34 PM

      Which will come again in xtianitu if te income divide grow wider, and TeaThugs get elected. Desperate people with little to lose and little hope of their kids doing better are dangerous people.

  3. Anonymous7:10 AM

    Beaglemom-- Absolutely, what you say is true. And I wonder how much U.S. involvement is prolonging the conflict, insofar as it gives the Middle East a perceived enemy to focus on (much like our "illegal immigrants", the big bad Other.

    And as long as you can keep the focus off yourselves, why bother to try to work things out? And yeah, Israel, this includes you.

    America should get out of the Middle East and stay out. Cut our losses now.

    1. Anonymous9:11 AM

      You do notice ISIS has not touched Israel? Know why not, because they know that nut head Yahoo would turn Syria into glass to kill them all.

  4. Anonymous7:11 AM

    From Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman this morning:

    "Take, for example, Jeb Bush’s declaration that “this is an organized attempt to destroy Western civilization.” No, it isn’t. It’s an organized attempt to sow panic, which isn’t at all the same thing. And remarks like that, which blur that distinction and make terrorists seem more powerful than they are, just help the jihadists’ cause."

  5. O/T everyone but it's happened again. This time a 3 year old has died because he had access to a weapon.

  6. Anonymous7:22 AM

    I'm channel surfing this a.m. (after President Obama's speech) and it's amazing how the media is pushing WWIII! It makes me sick to my stomach. It's all about fear and hate! We are so unchristian acting as a whole!

    President Obama is sane, thought provoking and anti putting more Americans overseas to face death and harm. The Republicans, on the other hand, want us in more war that we cannot afford, with some of their party members wanting President Obama to send 50,000 Americans to the middle east!

    Fuck them! Tell them to send their own family members over there and see how quickly they back down! I'm really getting angry and I'm sure other Americans are too! There will be rioting and killings in our streets throughout the country. I sense it coming!

  7. 66gardeners7:27 AM

    Gryphen, I totally agree with your statement:

    "I would argue that it was George W. Bush's religious fundamentalism that inspired him to set into motion the events which have resulted in the dangers we are seeing today.

    1. Anonymous7:37 AM

      That goes double for me, 66.

    2. Anonymous7:54 AM

      Well, it was that along with the petty little idea that he had to exact revenge on the guy who threatened his daddy.

    3. Anonymous10:58 AM

  8. A utility on each of my systems runs in the wee hours of the morning and prepares a summary of the previous day's log files. Just for fun, it includes an entry from the fortune cookie file. Here is this morning's:

    They [preachers] dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live.
    ——— Thomas Jefferson

  9. Sharon7:36 AM

    All throughout history religion has been used to control the masses....period. Power and money are the only goals with religion, I don't care what you call it...they are all the same. Living your life with these rules for the ultimate reward in the afterlife instead of making moral choices as a human being set the atheist apart from the believers. I don't need a book to guide my choices or a person in a building asking for money to relieve my responsibilities for living a moral life.

  10. Anonymous7:37 AM

    So far four states will no longer accept Syrian refugees...

    Michigan, Alabama, Texas and Arkansas

    This is exactly what ISIS wants -- to create an even greater divide.

    1. Anonymous8:12 AM

      Are we at all surprised TEXAS is one of the states? I feel for the residents living there and controlled by the Republican party!

    2. Anonymous8:15 AM

      And each of those states will build a (yuuge) wall to keep them from drifting in from neighboring states. They will make Syria pay for the wall.

    3. Anonymous9:27 AM

      I kinda like MI (or what it was anyway) but how about the other three just secede and form their own nation, do whatever they want. That way we prosperous northerners won't have to support them any more.

    4. Anonymous9:59 AM

      It can't be done:

    5. Anonymous10:01 AM

      this too:

  11. Anonymous7:38 AM

    After ISIS there will be a new (bigger, badder) terror outfit, because there's wealthy people that like other people to do the killing and dying.

    Ranting murderers are pretty much local without massive funding. Bombing the end product of the terror pipeline just shifts the money to a different set of murderers.

  12. I worked with a guy once who couldn't wait for the afterlife. He wasn't suicidal or psychotic; he honestly believed a better world awaited. Radical religious extremists of any stripe take that idea further. They want to hasten the destruction of civilization in order to get to that dream they believe awaits.

    Political baggage aside, I have never understood how someone can believe in a divine entity in which there has never been evidence of its existence. There is something weak minded and ineffectual about those so at odds with life they choose myth over living.

    1. Anonymous8:50 AM

      All the end of time idiots need to look at are the starving, mutilated, marginalized populations in the world. If their god created those people, which their bible says, then if he is not going to care for all his people why in hell would anyone be stupid enough to believe in the promise of a wonderful afterlife? Delusional is the only word that fits for the xtian, allah worshippers and all the others.

    2. Anonymous5:39 PM

      Mark Twain had one of the best responses to the myth of an afterlife and how internally illogical thebwishbfor one among xtianists is. IN his Letters from Earth.

  13. Well, there goes the neighborhood.....

  14. Anonymous10:02 AM

    Sam Harris is a very smart, thought provoking guy.

  15. Anonymous10:42 AM


  16. Anonymous12:03 PM

    I am agnostic but I find Sam Harris to be a very intelligent and well-spoken young man. I don't agree completely with everything he says but it's hard not to like the guy or just hear him out. I wish him much continued success.

  17. Anonymous1:27 PM

    No, Gryphen. You've NEVER stated your opinion on religion. You should try being half as well-spoken as Sam Harris.

    1. Anonymous5:41 PM

      Who put the sand on your underwear, 1:27?


Don't feed the trolls!
It just goes directly to their thighs.