The biggest Daddy of all tells us, “Don’t be afraid, don’t worry. There are no ultimate monsters”.
Section content: Why they Hate us (Fareed Zakaria documentary); Nowhere left to hide; What we are trying to do; Rethinking justice as unconditional; Tolstoy and Jefferson on the contradiction between Jesus and the gospels; Attack? Nah; Changing our thinking; Religion and violence; Sam Harris on bad religious ideas; The Jesus/Paul contradiction; Complaint re conditional religion; Pathology of Alarmism; Wealth creation enables environmental improvement; Sanders on climate hoax; Chronology argument for Christian contradiction; New comment from Bob Brinsmead; Notes on love (Can we find a better term than unconditional?); Large Hadron Collider documentary.
“Why They Hate Us” (Fareed Zakaria, CNN, May 24, 2016)
Fareed Zakaria recently took a look at what might be behind Islamic violence across the world today. Some of the participants in his documentary rightly cautioned that Islamic violence comes from a minority in the Muslim world and does not represent the attitudes of most Muslims, who are moderates. I would add to this caution that any discussion of Islamic violence needs to be placed within the larger context of Western religion. The bad religious ideas that promote Islamic violence today have descended down from Zoroastrianism, to Judaism (see Old Testament), to Christianity, and from there into Islam. And of course, we can trace bad religious ideas back even further to the very first human literature (i.e. the Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian mythologies).
I have traced this line of descent of bad ideas below in other sections (see, for instance, “Islamic violence”). There is startling evidence (The Priest and the Prophet, Joseph Azzi) that Muhammad’s mentor was a Jewish Christian priest (Ebionite). The mentor, Waraqa, taught Muhammad from the “Gospel to the Hebrews” which was roughly similar to the Christian Gospel of Matthew. He filled Muhammad’s head with ideas of a violent God, threatening violent punishment for unbelievers. Note the dreary repetition in the Quran of an ever-watching and threatening God who will send people to Hell, just as Matthew repeatedly warns people of being “cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. (Consider also the fear/aggression link noted in psychological research)
Also, Muhammad affirms throughout the Quran that he accepted and absorbed the “other scriptures” (i.e. the Jewish scriptures and the gospel to the Hebrews). Islam is very much the direct offspring of Jewish religion and Christianity.
So yes, let’s not just point the finger at Islam.
But Zakaria appears hesitant to fully embrace the influence of this violent deity mythology. At the end of Why They Hate Us, he said that the root of the Islamic problem was not the theology but that it was political. And of course, the political element is present. So are the elements of economics, the claim of “Western social corruption”, and the personal histories of Islamic extremists (i.e. the criminal pasts of many jihadists). But do not dismiss the critical theological issue in this mix. We are talking about the myth of a violent, punishing God that is used to incite, inspire, guide, and validate violence toward unbelievers. You find the very same theological influence and violent outcomes throughout the histories of Judaism and Christianity. Read the rest of the opening comment here