Wednesday, December 9, 2009

American Home Grown Terrorists - Islamic Roots

Among atheist bloggers, I'm a misfit: I don't believe religion is the root of all war. Atheists tend to blame religion for most of the world's evils, especially war, but not me. I believe wars are really about power and money, not religion, and that religion is merely used cynically by military leaders and dictators to achieve their ends. It's a tool, not a cause.

But with the rise of a new brand of home-grown American terrorists, it's hard to see how religion, Islam in particular, can escape the blame.

These new terrorists are Americans who have taken up the radical Islamic calling, and hope to kill Americans using terrorist tactics. (I, along with the vast majority of Muslims, am very careful to distinguish between mainstream Islam and radicals, just as I don't lump all Christians in with the likes of McVeigh).

These are not desperate young men with no future who were recruited by the Taliban, nor are they well-educated middle-class Saudis fighting colonialism (i.e. the 9/11 terrorists). These new American terrorists are ordinary young men who have been seduced by religion into a life of crime and terrorism.

It's hard to see how religion can escape the blame for this new brand of home-grown terrorism. The holy texts of all three Abrahamic religions have so many conflicting, confusing, and ambiguous passages that anyone can interpret them to justify anything. Combine that with the idea that God is on your side, and it's easy to justify mass murder. Not right, but easy.

Without religion, these young men (and it's almost always men) would probably be radicals, malcontents, and other types of societal misfits, but they wouldn't be mass murders. It takes religion to turn a malcontent into a terrorist.

1 comment:

  1. Ahoy Mister James,
    Nice article you have there. I wasn't too aware of these "home grown terrorist" and I too share your belief that not all actions are actions of religion. Wanted to thank you for your update in that current event agree yeah, there are certainly be oddball individuals who, when left alone are ok(in the sense that not many will be harmed), but with other influences makes this world a bit more eye brow raising.


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