Adventures with Ignorance

A friend from my high school days asked me this set of questions today via Facebook.

I was wondering – and no judging against you no matter what your answer might be, with your military history and your religious beliefs, what are your feelings about Muslims? Do you think they are all bad/evil people that wish harm to all non-Muslims? I don’t know what kind of people you might have encountered in your adventures. That is one reason I am asking. I seem to have been “unfriended” by some people because I have a few friends/acquaintances that are Muslim. I just want to know what others are thinking about this subject.

Germany, 9–10 November 1938. Krystallnacht. Germans, both paramilitary militia and civilians,took to the streets to destroy every Jewish business they could find. German law enforcement turned a blind eye. State-sponsored hate doesn’t appear overnight like toadstools in the lawn. It’s the result of a devolving society, one in which morality comes to mean something that pertains only to those who look, speak, and believe like “us.” It springs from ignorance as surely as poisonous fungus springs from decay. When an entire community, or an entire nation, come to regard those who are different as dangerous, or when the actions of a few fringe-dwelling psychopaths are taken as the prevailing tendency of an entire culture, the results look like Krystallnacht. Or the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Or the systematic genocide (Would you like a blanket little girl? Don’t mind the small-pox.) of Native Americans.

But I digress. The German people gradually came to regard Jews as something less than human. Jews were demonized and generalized as “bad” people that wish to do harm to non-Jews. A few years later, 6 million of them had been murdered.

Here’s the thing. I see this trend beginning in the United States, and it worries me. There are Christians who bomb abortion clinics, so why don’t we extrapolate from that a belief that all Christians are bad or evil and want to blow up buildings. (Those Christians are batshit-crazy. We’ve got to stop letting them immigrate!)

There is clearly a militant strain of Islam (and Christianity, and Hinduism, and Zionism, and Communism, etc.) that is evil, and demonstrably dangerous. That must be fought. But while we’re fighting the fringe element of extremist Islam, we have to educate ourselves about Islam as a mainstream world religion that does indeed put an emphasis on peace. In fact, the Arabic word for peace is, salaam (سلام) (“secured, pacified, submitted”), which has the same root as the word Islam.

My friend asks, “What are your feelings about Muslims?” Which Muslims? Which individual? I feel about Muslims-in-general the same as I feel about any religious group. If a religious group seeks to squelch knowledge and truth, I’m against it. If a religion, say, Christianity, advocates denying rights to those who believe differently, I’m against it.

We have brains, and we can use them any way we like. Really. It’s okay. If someone wants to adopt some elements of Islam, some of Zen Buddhism, and some of Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I have no problem with that person. As long as they don’t tell anyone else what they should believe or how they must live.

Chistianity, Islam, and Judaism has each demonstrated that, if followed to the letter, war, death and ignorance on an apocalyptic scale is the likely result. Are all Muslims evil, my friend asks? The answer is the same as to the question, are all human beings evil? Yes, and no. Ignorance is the true evil.

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2 comments

  1. Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics? Many thanks!

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