Marcus Brigstocke on the Abrahamic faiths


Once in a while, especially at times when people are fighting and killing over religion more than usual, I like to link to this audio of a rant by British comedian Marcus Brigstocke. The whole thing is worth listening to but especially the part where he talks about how while the violence is committed by a few extremists, the undoubtedly much larger number of religious people who are peaceful cannot completely escape responsibility for what is done.

“I know that most religious folk are moderate and nice and reasonable and wear tidy jumpers and eat cheese like real people… But they have to accept that they are the power base for the nutters. Without their passive support the loonies in charge of these faiths would just be loonies safely locked away and medicated, somewhere nice, you know with a view of some trees, where they can claim they have a direct channel to god between sessions making tapestry drinks coasters, watching Teletubbies, and talking about their days in the Hitler youth. The ordinary faithful make these vicious tyrannical thugs what they are… Without the audience to prop it up… fundamentalist religious fanaticism goes away.”

Comments

  1. lorn says

    Reducing religious fanaticism isn’t even as difficult as getting their audience to turn away. A lot of it comes down to money and/or logistical support. If Qatar stopped funding and arranging for supplies to ISIS they would, after they run out of supplies they captured, figure a couple of months, wither down to a much more manageable size.

  2. kraut says

    “And why did Islamic State, formerly ISIS, become winners? Because the “West” regimented, schooled, trained, logistically helped and weaponized most of IS’s Takfiri goons with a mission at hand: to destroy Syria. The “West” lauded them as “Syrian rebels”. Freedom fighters.

    Washington even promoted Jabhat al-Nusra (the official al-Qaeda franchise in Syria, and a “terrorist organization”, according to the State Department) as “good” jihadis, as well as the preferred Saudi combo, the Islamic Front. ”
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-220814.html

    “But US, Western European, Saudi, and Arab Gulf policy is to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, which happens to be the policy of ISIS and other jihadis in Syria. If Assad goes, then ISIS will be the beneficiary, since it is either defeating or absorbing the rest of the Syrian armed opposition.

    There is a pretense in Washington and elsewhere that there exists a “moderate” Syrian opposition being helped by the US, Qatar, Turkey, and the Saudis. It is, however, weak and getting more so by the day. Soon the new caliphate may stretch from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean and the only force that can possibly stop this from happening is the Syrian army.

    The reality of US policy is to support the government of Iraq, but not Syria, against ISIS. But one reason that group has been able to grow so strong in Iraq is that it can draw on its resources and fighters in Syria. Not everything that went wrong in Iraq was the fault of [now former] prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, as has now become the political and media consensus in the West. Iraqi politicians have been telling me for the last two years that foreign backing for the Sunni revolt in Syria would inevitably destabilize their country as well. This has now happened.”
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-01-220814.html

    As per usual – American policies to destabilize (as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine etc.)
    The empire of chaos at work with your tax dollars.

  3. aashiq says

    If you believe an unknown and unseen God is directing you to do destructive things, it is so much easier to misbehave! And without misbehavior, would there be leaps of progress?

    If God hadn’t inspired the settlers to kill off the ‘injuns, would the US be around?

    Peaceloving faiths with limited imaginations and romantic illusions, such as Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism have never conquered far-off lands and dared death to go into the unknown.

    “ours is not to wonder why, ours is but to do and die”. This used to be the epitome of heroism, before 9/11….

  4. says

    If Qatar stopped funding and arranging for supplies to ISIS they would, after they run out of supplies they captured, figure a couple of months, wither down to a much more manageable size.

    Good point!!
    If The US stopped funding and arranging for supplies to Israel they would, after they run out of supplies they have saved up, figure a couple of years, wither down to a much more manageable size.
    If The US stopped funding and arranging for supplies to the rebels in Libya they would, after they run out of supplies they captured, have been slaughtered by the Ghaddafi regime.
    etc,

    I am not saying the ISIS’ actions are palatable – indeed, they are aggressive warfare and there is a good moral case that should be made that it’s always acceptable to defend against aggression. Unfortunately the US’ fondness for proxy wars leaves no remaining moral high ground from which to lecture others. The only context in which concerted action can be taken against aggression is, unfortunately, the UN system, which is badly in need of a revamp (first and foremost, having the founding members give up their vetoes and extraterritorial “rights” to non-prosecution for war crimes). Well, a boy can dream, huh?

  5. says

    I realize I was not sufficiently clear. Let me hoist the black unadorned banner of nihilism — ISIS is following “the usual steps” that are taken to achieve political legitimacy: slaughter of dissenters, repression of the masses, control of the economy, centralization of resources and communication, establishment of rule by fear. That is how every single fucking government establishes its “legitimacy”(*) A longer form of Mao’s quip is the truth: political power is stolen at gunpoint(**) It’s hard for the established political bodies of the world to convincingly rage about ISIS when they are known to be hypocrites before they open their mouths.

    A world government, by the people, for the people, is the only viable response and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

    (* i.e.: none are legitimate)
    (** Original Mao: power comes from the barrel of a gun)

  6. kraut says

    “It’s hard for the established political bodies of the world to convincingly rage about ISIS when they are known to be hypocrites before they open their mouths.”

    and helped financing them, like they funded al-Qaeda, the taliban, Saddam Hussein with his war against Iran, financed and trained the death squads in South America, financed the islamists against Qaddafi, the fascists in the Ukraine….

  7. hyphenman says

    Mano,

    We’ve discussed before about how converts from Orthodox and Conservative Judaism have kept Reform Judaism alive. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the other side of that equation, which are the dollars Reform Jews pour into supporting Orthodox Jews so that there is a steady stream of converts to be had from their large families.

    Jeff

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