Whose side is Satan on, anyway?

This general does not get it.

"Our enemy is a spiritual enemy because we are a nation of believers.... His name is Satan."

Atheists do not get it.

Christian fundamentalists do not get it.

Islamic theocrats who have declared war against this country did far more than declare war on Christianity. Or on Judaism. Or on Judeo-Christianity. They also declared war on atheism, secularism, agnosticism, and paganism.

NOTE: Atheists and pagans are often considered synonymous by Muslims.

While traditional Islam considers Judaism and Christianity to be infidel religions, once they are conquered, they are nonetheless permitted to maintain their religions, but in a subordinate status which means payment of special taxes, legal imposition of second class citizenship, prohibitions on public religious practices and proselytization, etc.

Not so for atheists, Buddhists, agnostics, and pagans. Unless they convert to Islam, these groups are to be exterminated.

Fundamentalist Christians have trouble recognizing that they are considered less of an enemy than many of their fellow citizens, and this makes me wonder whether they have trouble facing the simple fact that this is a secular country, and we are hated more for religious tolerance than for religious intolerance.

Likewise, atheists seem to have trouble with the idea that a radical fundamentalist religion has attacked Judeo-Christianity along with atheism, secularism, and all other religious or non-religious beliefs which do not conform to the beliefs of radical Islam.

It is not in the interests of anyone to call this a religious war, precisely because so many divergent groups of Americans would then have to see themselves as being allies whether they like it or not. Atheists no more want to defend fundamentalist Christians than fundamentalist Christians want to defend atheists. However, I have not seen too many atheists declare that this is a war between atheism and Islam -- even though a lot of Christians paint it as a war between Christianity and Islam. But logically, one can make the claim that it is both. And, considering the total annihilation promised atheists, in contrast to the second class status promised Christians, one could make the argument that atheists have more to lose in a defeat by Islam of the West.

It is by no means a foregone conclusion that "Islam" is in fact at war with "the West" because Islam is not the monolithic monster it is so often claimed to be. (For starters, there is a distinction between radical Islam and moderate Islam.) So I am not arguing that "we" are at war with "Islam."

But, let us assume for the sake of argument that a radical Caliphate is somehow established, and all Islam is united under radical Islam, which then declares war against "the West" -- or against the United States and Israel as "Great" and "Little" Satans. Characterizing this war as between Islam and Christianity distorts reality, and leaves many millions of Americans (along with many Israelis) unspoken for.

Atheists and fundamentalist Christians facing a common enemy -- and one which considers atheists the worse threat of the two?

No wonder there is a consensus against calling this a religious war.

That would be far too messy for the various ideologues....


ADDITIONAL NOTE: The above post (and much more) can also be read at Blogcritics.org.

posted by Eric on 10.17.03 at 11:19 AM










Comments

People need to bring to the fight whatever gives them the motivation to win. If casting this war in terms of good and evil gives this general a sense of purpose, a cause worth fighting for, then so be it. Maybe others see it as a struggle to liberate Islam from those who would do it harm. Or, the fulfillment of a prophecy handed down to a friend of theirs while tanked on Jagermeister at a party. Fine. Whatever gets the rounds going downrange. Given that he was speaking to a Christian group at the time, his version probably went over better than the Jagermeister Prophecy might have.

BH   ·  October 17, 2003 12:37 PM

No quarrel here with whatever works. They did attack all of us, after all.

Eric Scheie   ·  October 17, 2003 12:48 PM

Bear with me for just a few lines, please.

So we have some Islamic Wahabbists who want to slaughter all of The Others. Okay, no problem with that.

They managed to get 3,000 free and innocent people who went to work one morning. These people were working in a building that the murderers couldn't build on their own, and couldn't maintain properly if they hired us to build it for them.

They managed to kill these people by using civilian aircraft. These aircraft couldn't be built by the countries that produced the fanatics, and they can't maintain them at all by themselves even if they bought some from us.

Right after 9/11 I was regaled by people about how I wasn't looking at the big picture. Islam was once at the forefront of science, far ahead of the West.

This is true, but it hasn't been true for over 600 years. What went wrong? Why do they suck now?

It's due to their own classical values. Islam over science, religion over reality. If the real world doesn't fit what's claimed in their holy book then the real world is wrong.

So now we have to stop these guys from using the technology, the ability to manipulate the real world, that we developed without their help against us. This isn't a problem if we didn't care about innocent lives. Since we do it's going to be a long and uncertain struggle, with most of the uncertainty coming from whether or not we're punishing innocent people who aren't connected to the fanatics who want to kill us.

Many people are also scared of the fanatics. They're implacable, savage, single minded and utterly ruthless. Well, so are the ants scurrying under my feet and I'm not worried about them.

But, then again, I'm a free man. And the ants aren't trying really hard to get their mandibles on a nuke.

James

James R. Rummel   ·  October 17, 2003 7:25 PM

"Radical" (i.e., totalitarian) vs. "moderate" (i.e., live and let live) Muslims? There have been a few of the latter kind, most notably Akbar of India, who loved to hear philosophers of diverse religions (Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Sikh, Christian) debate in his palace. But he was an exception that proves the rule as his successors were not nearly so benevolent. Unfortunately, the first of the radical Muslims was none other than the Prophet Muhammad himself, who damned his own ancestors to Hell for having worshipped their traditional Gods and Goddesses, seized political power in Medina, conquered Mecca, and proceeded to eradicate the ancient faith. His successors then spread Islam westward across northern Africa all the way to Spain and even to France where they were stopped by Charles Martel, and eastward to India and Indonesia. The "live and let live" type Muslims are, unfortunately, either a deviant minority or else a very silent (silenced) majority.
It's just the same as with Christianity, at least since Augustine. The Christian churches have systematically enslaved, tortured, and murdered countless polytheists ("pagans", "heathens", witches"), Jews, heretics, and homosexuals throughout the nearly two millennia of their rule. Right now, their latest effort is to deny homosexual men and women every right they can get away with denying to them. Again, there are some very good, decent, live and let live Christians who have nothing whatever to do with any of that, but, again, they are either not the majority or not the loudest or most organized voices. Pity.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  October 18, 2003 11:32 AM

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