On the plane en route from Milan to Dubai – cramped in coach beginning to read Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” – unable to use the net to see any responses, I am writing strictly based on an early pass.
In the preface, Mr. Dawkins reflects on his dicumentary presented in the UK entitled: “Root of All Evil?” he begins his reflection by suggesting that 9/11, 7/7, suicide bombings, the crusades, the palestionian/Israeli conflict etc. would not have happened without if religion were to be relegated from this earth.
While it would be obtuse to suggest these events were/are not motivated by religion it is just as naive to believe that religion is the only motivating factor. While the crusades may not have had their own chapter in the history of human depravity, the result would have been the same. Wealthy lords and monarchs would still have waged wars for land, human labor, and jewels. Millions of people would still eventually die by the sword, cannon, burnt at the stake and turn victim to biological warfare.
Most of the horrible things that are done in the name of religion have underlying social factors that put events in motion- religion in these situations is a farce. Not a purveyor of religion myself, I have no desire to try to convince one way or another as to what you should believe- but would hope you keep an open mind and question religious fanaticism as merely a reaction to a torn social fabric.
I would not hesitate to posit that religious fanaticism almost always is fostered by social inequality, both economic and political. Many people have supported the Arab Spring’s uprisings and calls for greater political representation from the populous. People on the other side of the debate express concern over the barbaric nature of the laws and order in these societies and would much rather see despotism that at least helps to propagate western values.
Both sides are politically charged and treat the political system as the solution to a much more systemic problem. Government survives only with the backing of the people-whether or not they actually support the system or the party isn’t the issue as much as their tolerance to such. If they lose patience, inefficiencies arise in broken services, tax evasion, externality markets etc.
Changing the political makeup of the region is not going to change underlying social differences. There are many things that can help bring stability to the region, but bandaging the wound wont always stop the bleeding and sometimes a more surgical method is needed. The common thread that is sewn throughout the violent, volatile world today is poverty. Be it Chicago USA or Egypt, Mali, Congo, Iraq, Yemen, or Afghanistan poor living conditions foster envy, cynicism, violence and desperation. If one wishes to properly stitch the wound, the issue of poverty must first be addressed.
When the Taliban recruits a jihadist or al Qaeda a suicide bomber in which place do they prefer to look, in the wealthy neighborhoods or the slums? The slums of course, here they find people who feel they have been given a bad hand in life, they see movies and tv with people flaunting a ridiculous amount of wealth, women partying on yachts and private swimming pools etc. How much easier do you think it is to explain to a guy that the people with that lifestyle are living in sin and have not just wronged you but have wronged god. This is where 9/11, suicide bombings and the works largely come in.
One cannot say that religious extremism would not exist should we give everyone their plenty- however the visibility of such in the gore and carnage we see far to often in the news would be far and few between, and certainly the safe havens where these mass terror plots are planned would be safe no more for these fanatics.
So when you blame religion for all the earths woes, take off the beer goggles for a second and ask yourself what would be the new excuse if we didn’t have religion- because there almost certainly would be one…