October 17, 2003
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....
posted by Eric on 10.17.03 at 11:19 AM
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This war of attrition is driving me bananas!
Attacking Christianity is one thing, but must they butcher geometry?
Are there trashy distinctions in freedom of expression?