In my last post I reference the debate that unfolded on Real Time with Bill Maher. In the video, you will notice Sam Harris being interrupted several times, while he and Maher were simply not listened to. I have argued that the attacks they have received have come from a place of emotion rather than reason, and most would find that they actually agree with them more than they realize. As is pointed out in the video above, we all are on the same side on this topic, and it’s time to be honest. I like that this interview does a very good job of clearing up a lot of misunderstanding so I think that it is worth watching. Enjoy and feel free to share your thoughts.
The correlation between Islam and the terrorism we are witnessing progress at an alarming rate does not seem to hold a middle ground in the debate forum. People either fervently believe this is an unbreakable relationship while others believe that this is a war of politics and madmen, tugging on the strings of Islam and creating an irrelevant connection. Those who side with the latter appear to condemn those that even consider Islam may be at the epicenter of this problem. They become quite offended, hardly allow the debate or discussion to even occur as they batter their “opponent” with the slander of calling them a racist, Islamophobic, bigot, etc.
As a big fan of Sam Harris’ work to this point, I was motivated to write this when I first became aware of the scrutiny he had faced over his stance on this subject. I, without needing his persuasion to begin with, hold similar views as he does on this topic. However, I am no large voice in this society, and I had been very busy, so I refrained. I have been motivated once more however after seeing the video above as even Bill Maher has faced similar heat as Sam.
The biggest problem I have with the side opposing Maher and Harris are the common arguments that I have heard, they either appear to be invalid and full of emotion rather than reason, or hold some truth but still miss the point that the likes of Maher and Harris are trying to make. With that said, I don’t intend to make this a massive blog post. I don’t think I need to. But in hearing these debates for some time now, I think I have identified three main points that are misunderstood or not completely correct.
Being Critical of Islam is not Racist
The first thing to realize is that Islam is not a race, it is a religion. Yet somehow, being critical of this religion or correlating them to terrorism borders on journalist suicide and one is almost guaranteed to be labeled racist within the day of their publication. But to argue that this is racism is to fail to set emotions aside and look at the facts. This is a debate about ideas and the consequences of those ideas, and in no way does race play a role. Never have I or any of the people I follow that have been criticized for this said “beware of the race x Muslims, but if the Muslims are white you’re golden”. Need I define racism? I find it too cliche.
What about those who are doing good?
Muslims that are out promoting a moderate interpretation of Islam really do help in the fight against the extremists and we who are critical of Islam will admit that at this point they are a necessary piece to a better tomorrow in ridding ISIS and other jihadist groups. The path to a world rid of belief in various faiths is beyond my life, and most on my side that want a secular society would agree. The most visible path to this ultimate destination is through the growth of religious moderation, but this does not mean that I support religious moderation. I stand for reason and what is, and as long as faith exists, the potential for these cancerous expansions exists. So while I support religious moderation in this moment, it is worth admitting that it comes with a heavy caveat. So while we will concede that those who are working to reform Islam are beneficial to society currently, this is a point that shows you are missing the point.
We aren’t concerned about the moderates. We are concerned about the obvious consequences of not being able to criticize bad ideas. These consequences should not be taken lightly. Not only do we have good reason to fear another attack of the 9/11 scale, but even as you read this, women are facing gross inequality, gays are still in silence or being persecuted, and far too many are under a constant and very real threat of Islamist extremism. All this because we are trying to be accepting of other people’s culture. All of this because we are trying to be politically correct. Under no circumstances should any of these consequences be tolerated to the degree that the mainstream liberals have. To do this is to ignore the true reality of the suffering that is occurring right now to innocent victims. To be sensitive to what is going on in the middle east, not wanting to be critical of Islam, is to fail to care sufficiently about the true victims of in this tragedy unfolding in front of our eyes.
This isn’t about the religion, this is about politics
Politics plays a role without a doubt for many involved, but those on my side would argue that it is not at the center of this conflict. To play along, let’s suppose that the leaders are brainwashing their followers for their own political agenda, but how is this being done? It is being done through the filter of a belief in Islam. The ones who are willingly doing these evil acts are not psychopaths, but merely devout believers in the literal word of the Koran. If not for this, the leaders would have little to sell its followers but for the chance to be a psychopath with no reward. At bottom, politics is not what is driving the masses of the conflict.
As I have continually said, this is a conflict of ideas and what is. Trying to simply be politically correct will not get us far when we truly understand the magnitude of suffering that is being caused by this very real problem of Muslim extremism. This cannot be taken lightly, and those of you who are fighting us for being critical of Islam are not looking at the grand picture for what it is. We need to stop trying to bolster our ego by supposedly satisfying the masses by being politically correct and for once have an honest and open discussion about this problem. If you disagree, or agree, I give you the floor in the comments section.
In case you thought I quit writing on this blog, you are wrong. I have merely let my creative juices rebuild as I look over topics I have thought about in the past while considering some new. I hope to have a post up in a couple of days and we will see if things ramp back up here soon. Not sure though, I’m a busy person outside of this blog. To bring myself back into the fold, here’s a video I really enjoy. Talk to you soon.