The Root Cause


After Friday’ terrorist attacks in Paris, my Facebook feeds have been inundated with liberal rants saying don’t blame Islam, and conservative rants about how we have to send in troops and wipe ISIS out, and how we would be crazy to accept more refugees into our country.

I’ve given it a lot of thought, and here’s what I come up with.  I have to disagree with my liberal friends. Islam is responsible for the attacks.  I understand that the terrorists equal less than one percent of the worldwide Islamic population, and that they are but a small cult with their own extremist interpretation of the religion.

The point is that all the attacks were executed by Muslims in the name of Mohammed or Islam or whatever name they give to their bearded guy in the clouds. Just like the people who bomb abortion clinics in the name of Jesus represent a small percentage of the people whose bearded man in the clouds is the son of another bearded man in the clouds.

Of course I don’t blame the billion or so Muslims who would never commit such atrocities, just like I don’t blame the billions of Christians who renounce violence in their savior’s name.  I blame the institutions.

The problem is religion, more specifically, organized religion. There isn’t one that is better than another.  They are all a collection of superstition and nonsense, and their usefulness has long been negated by the death and destruction carried out in their names. We are well into the 21st century, and we should have advanced past the point of believing in the parting of seas or who has been chosen and who hasn’t. At some point, we need to step back and look at all of the chaos and destruction, all the madness and murder, and recognize the common denominator:  religion.

I have no idea how we rid ourselves of the cancer that religion has become. Even as it grows outdated and marginalized (the majority of young Americans do not attend church or count themselves as members of any specific religion), its power, its influence, expands. It’s easy, it’s accepted, it’s even encouraged to discriminate against different religions. This is why so many Americans cling to the ridiculous notion that President Obama is a Muslim. It’s socially unacceptable to discriminate on the basis of race.  However, it’s acceptable to discriminate against those who don’t “share the same values.”

The fanaticism of true believers is one of the most powerful forces on the face of the earth.  How does any society defend itself against people who are willing to strap explosives to their body and give their own lives in return for hundreds of innocent lives?  It’s the extreme madness that only religion can inspire.

Every day, somewhere in the world, people are murdered in the name of God.  And every day, families bury the victims and pray on their behalf to the same God they died for.

We need freedom from, not freedom of, religion. As long as religion exists, as long as nation-states legitimize religion, the insanity will continue unabated, and the numbers of innocent men, women and children killed in the name of God will rise.

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3 thoughts on “The Root Cause

  1. From my view of history the common denominator is not religion but people. Religion like any belief system has potency for those who believe it. KKK members can hang innocent people without having a church.

    • You make a good point but I’d argue that religion (including the KKK, which is a cult of Christian extremists) provides an institutionalized framework that outlives individuals – for example, the Spanish Inquisition’s reign of madness and terror lasted for some four hundred years couldn’t have lasted so long if not for being sponsored by the Vatican

      • Institutions including religious intitutions have sponsored justice and charity throughout history. Religions were the leaders in making Sunday a holiday for workers. Any organization associated with god can be used by people to harm, hurt, and destroy people. The problem in my view is not the organization but the people in it that are using it to enhance their own privleges and power. Since I am an agnostic I am somewhat impartial to religion. I see good and harm coming from religion.

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