Looking back over my previous posts, I get the impression that I come across as an Islamophobe. Many of my stories have targeted Muslim religious idiocy and talked about how intellectually bankrupt that particular religion is. This is regrettable, as my intention in this blog is to highlight the intellectual bankruptcy of all religious traditions.
So today I’m picking on the Jews.
Israeli settlers in the West Bank are suspected to have vandalised a mosque by spraying slogans on its walls, Palestinian officials say.
Oh goody! Vandalism of sites of religious worship! Gee, where have we seen that before? It’s almost as though by vandalizing the sites of worship of your political opponents, you are no better than the neo-Nazis that are committing these hate crimes against you! And where are the objections from Jewish religious leaders against the acts of mosque vandalism? Conspicuously absent. To their credit, the IDF did not shrug it off and actually did make an arrest but without sufficient evidence no charges could be laid.
My point isn’t that Jewish people are bad, or that Muslim people are bad, or that Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. etc. etc. people are bad. People are people (I’ll pause a moment to let the soaring heights of my rhetoric wash over you). When you allow people the space to think and reason, and give them the tools to do so effectively, people are capable of great things. However, when you poison their rational mind with religious nonsense and take away their capacity to work through issues logically, they can lose that capacity. Furthermore, when you whip them into a furor, based on that faulty reasoning and arbitrary belief structure, they are capable of committing acts of profound evil. Even the great atheist mass-murderers of our time (Pol Pott, Stalin) used the same tactics of suppression of logical thought and rational ability to spur their troops on to commit slaughter.
Encouraging an individual’s mind through logic and reason leads to an improved life for humankind and a hope for our continued existence on this planet. Perverting the mind through nonsense and stupidity can only have negative consequences. No cultural group is immune from this, as all religious teachings are equally flawed.
And while I’m at it, let’s pick on the Sikhs too.
The RCMP and Vancouver police are investigating threats against Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh posted on a Facebook page labelled “Ujjal Dosanjh is a Sikh Traitor.” The most menacing posting urges, “someone shoot him — ASAP.”
Regular readers will remember that I have picked on the Sikhs before. Ujjal Dosanjh, recently made internationally famous on the Colbert Report, is an MP for Vancouver, BC. Of course Vancouver is one of the most multi-ethnic cities in the country, so one would imagine that people might be a bit more tolerant of opposing viewpoints on any number of issues. Then again, as Christopher Hitchens says: “religion poisons everything.” A recent parade held by the Sikh community was the centre of a great deal of controversy, as parade organizers refused to take down displays depicting Sikh terrorists as martyrs for a greater cause. Veiled threats were leveled at Dosanjh and Dave Hayer (an MLA) for speaking out against the glorification of murderers.
So how does the religious community, motivated as they are by a desire for peace on earth and goodwill towards men, react? Of course – they threaten to kill him.
The [Facebook] page administrator Avtar Kanda claims that Dosanjh “used his Sikh roots to get elected in Vancouver, but then betrayed his own people.” “This piece of s— is a scumbag traitor and an insult to the Sikh religion,” Kanda said.
Another poster calling himself Sukhi Loco Singh said: “Do not spare anyone who insults guru ji-shaheed sent jarnail Singh ji Khalsa bhindranwale.”
This is not a political or cultural disagreement. This is not about the free expression of religion, or an argument in defense of the practice of Sikhism. This is a religious furor being perpetrated by Canadian-born kids who are importing conflicts from another hemisphere.
The point of this post is that no matter what the group – Jews, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Mormons, Scientologists – religious belief corrupts the mind and infiltrates the world around us. If religious practice was a personal matter that took place in the privacy of the home or in a cloistered environment like a church service, there would be no problem. However, by its very nature religion commands its followers to submit the world to its will. Not all of the followers listen, but that’s due more to their own forbearance and wisdom than it is the nature of the religious belief. All religion asks its followers to stop thinking and follow blindly, and whenever someone speaks against the beliefs, it tells the followers to get angry and take personal offense. After all, they are insulting your god.
This is a picture of an otter: