Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A pox on all your houses

It seems like every few months, we go through this again.

In some far-flung locale, or not-so-far-flung, some idiots amass a bunch of explosives or bullets or whatever weapon they can find, and they go about the business of killing a bunch of innocent people, on purpose, with purpose.

The reasons don't really matter.  It could be because they don't like abortion.  Or they don't like a cartoon somebody published.  Or they don't like that their leader was arrested.  Or maybe they're crazy.

The reasons don't matter.

The reactions are predictable:  Ban the weapon! Ban the religion of the people who did this terrible thing!  Ban abortion!  Ban cartoons!  Build a wall, higher, deeper, more expensive!  Bomb Iran! Bomb Syria! Bomb Detroit!

Or:  Be reasonable!  Not ALL Muslims! Not ALL gun owners! Not ALL cartoonists!

And always:  For God's sake, stop this from happening again!

I don't mind saying it:  I'm really sort of numb to it.  Which, if you think about it, is the only reasonable reaction.  (Note that I didn't say it's the only valid reaction.)  Terrorism isn't an ideology.  It's a tool, often used to promote an ideology.  If your reaction to terrorism is to be scared, it's working.

But if you're sitting in your home in Peoria, Illinois, or Hot Springs, Arkansas, or St. George, Utah, and your reaction to a bomb going off in a European airport is to be scared of imminent terrorist action against you...I'm really not sure we can be friends.  You seem rather emotionally volatile.  In a less sensitive time, you'd be called crazy.  Nuts.  Off the deep end.

That's really not the point of this blog entry, though.  The point is that if you are an adherent to a particular religion, and you think you are somehow better than people who adhere to a different religion, somehow more noble, somehow less prone toward violence in the name of your religion, and on that basis you want to take some aggressive action against the people who adhere to the same religion as the people who are doing the bombing and the murdering, like bombing a country where many of them live or banning them from traveling here, or whatever:

You're part of the problem.

Instead of offering constructive solutions, or introspection, or any of the other things that reasonable, rational, sane people do when confronted with an evil act, you're offering a gross overreaction.  Just bomb them.  Just ban them.  Don't bother looking for causes; act, for God's sake.

For God's sake.

Yeah, as usual, there's the problem.

I'll take the outsider's view, because that's what I am.  But this outsider looks at you people, arguing over whose imaginary Supreme Being is real or more powerful or more worthy of worship, to the point of killing each other over it, and I can only ask myself:

What. The. Actual. F---. Is. Wrong. With. You. People?

Look, I get it.  You were raised in a religion. (So was I; I saw through it at an early age; I was too weak to admit it for a quarter of a century; it's not too late for you.)  You "feel the power."  (No, you don't.)  You're worried about what happens after you die. (Hint:  Nothing.)  Or any one of a thousand other reasons why people engage in the grand self-deception that is religion.

Doesn't matter.  It's a lie.  Your religion, whatever it is, does not make you better than anyone else.  Your religion is not a religion of peace.  Your religion doesn't justify anything like what you're advocating, and the only reason why you think it does is because you are happy to twist your religion into whatever damn thing you want it to be.

And it doesn't matter if your religion is Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism, or anything else.  All of those religions are composed of people.  People do bad things.  Religious people especially, because they deceive themselves into believing that it matters.

It doesn't matter.

What matters, friends, is how you treat other people.  Are you kind to others?  Are you helpful?  And no, I'm not talking about being "cruel to be kind."  I'm not talking about helping others to "find God."

When you're telling President Obama he needs to rain down bombs onto other people, is that a kind thing?  Can you put yourself in the shoes of someone who's on the other end of that bomb's trajectory, and say that it's a good thing to do?  Do you really think a bomb launched by our military against people in a far-off country is different in any real way from the bomb that was set off in that subway in Brussels?

It's not.  And it's time to stop pretending it's different.

And if your religion tells you that it's justifiable, your religion is lying to you.

"But, Jim, you sound angry."

Yeah, I'm angry.  I'm angry because all I want is peace, and on one hand I've got idiots who are bombing innocent people, and on the other hand I've got idiots who can't manage to string together a response that reaches beyond "bomb them back."

I'm angry.  The better question is, why aren't you?