A Southeast Washington retiree shares views on random topics.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
The Islamization of Europe and America: Which religion promotes freedom and democracy?
"Are the lights really going out?"
A family member recently forwarded me an email entitled, "The Lights Are Going Out All Over Europe."
My first thought was, Are they having power shortages in Europe? But the article was not about lights or electric power at all: The message was about the spread of Islam. The gist of the article was this: " Islam is not compatible with freedom and democracy,"
My first thought was this: "Is there a religion that iscompatible with freedom?" If so, it must be a new religion with which I am not familiar. The article complains of Muslims flooding Europe, taking over neighborhoods and even entire cities. Islamic subcultures forming pockets in European nations raised interesting questions for me: Where are they coming from? Why are they there? Is it an invasion, or are these refugees fleeing their more fundamentalist brethren? Can it be that they prefer a more liberal state after all? I have not studied the migration patterns in Europe, but in general, people migrate when they are hungry/starving, unemployed, persecuted or threatened with annihilation. Civil wars and religious wars can result in a lot of migration. When mass migration happens, people with strong religious ties and or racial identities gravitate/cling to one another and form enclaves, especially if they are not rapidly integrated into society. This may well be the case in, for example, France, which I understand (I just looked it up.) has had a lot of Islamic immigration due to wars and poverty in Africa, Lebanon, Syria, etc. Netherlands is seeing immigration from Indonesia and Surinam, and Germany from Turkey and the former Yugoslavia. Do you see a pattern here? Political conflict, religious violence, low standards of living and unemployment are driving people to move in deseperation.
In France, for one example, the general population is reacting with fear and distrust: Polarization going on. What are the dangers?All Abrahamic religions are potentially dangerous to other groups: As a rule they tend to be anti-freedom, anti-democracy, and anti-science, in my opinion, but Islam is particularly dangerous due to Muslim exclusiveness, combined with a demanding, and sometimes even warlike approach. Islam is a very successful religion in terms of survival and replication. Muslims seem good at systematically imposing their beliefs and practices on others: Perhaps they are even better at this than Christians (which really tells us something). Is the world endangered, by polarized groups of religious fanatics of all types? Probably so to at least some extent. The prospect of these two giants, Islam and Christianity, slugging it and dragging the rest of us into an all out religious war is particularly disturbing, yet forces on both sides are trying to increase fear, generate hate. stir up animosity and to foster intolerance. In the background one can almost hear the war drums beating: There are those among us who want the rest of us to get whooped into a killing frenzy. The downside of certainty People do like the certainty of absolutes: Religion appeals so much, that most people will indeed give up their personal freedoms for it. Not content with that, they will bomb and destroy infrastructure that took generations to build, all in order to enjoy group identity and promote religious solidarity. What could be more destructive than wars, and what motivation to fight is greater than the motivation of religion? Religious convictions entail the false certainties that are most likely unleash the uncertainties of war. Which religions are really democratic? Do any religions really believe in secular government? My experience with Christianity and my occasional observation of the international news tells me the answer in general is "No." Many religious folk with whom I have spoken seem to be using secular government in hopes that it will some day be replaced with their version of a religious monarchy. Many Christians wish to use politics to promote their own religion, and the same goes for Muslims. In my experience, neither Christians nor Muslims really believe in secular government at all, but they are willing to use secular government for all it is worth to promote their own civil rights, and to deny the rights of those of other faiths. Secular government versus religion
In America, one of the most feared bogeys of all time has been secular humanism. Yet secular humanism seems to be the only alternative, really, to the oppression, war, and cruelty that has beset the world for millions of years, all in the name of religion. It appears that the gods are not perfect. A secular, democratic society is not perfect either, yet it would be a great improvement over the blood-curdling, religious fanaticism that threatens to engulf us. State-sponsored religions have never promoted freedom for all. Meanwhile, public education is under ongoing attack by those who would like to control the curriculum and to supply religious myths en lieu of science. My response to all of this: Let freedom ring. Let government be secular. Let education be free. And let religious folk learn to get along with others, like everyone else does.