Friends are reassessing their support for Tulsi Gabbard because she said that Islamic Terrorism is connected to Islam. Apparently this is taboo, a litmus test. (ISIS openly claims they are motivated by Islam, and people deny them their claim, too.)
This is an impossible discussion to have, but we need to talk.
Denying connection between theology and action is baseless. It’s true of all faiths. The fringes are unequivocally motivated by their beliefs. It’s true of Radical Christian Terrorists who shoot up abortion Clinics, or deny gay rights; It’s true of Heaven’s Gate Cultists who believed so strongly in a mothership behind the Hale-Bopp comet that they killed themselves to get there. What’s the difference? Only that Heaven’s Gate’s theology did not call for earthly domination, murder,of disbelievers, etc.
They all took action based on their indoctrination and on belief in their theology.
What do we gain by claiming that certain Islamic Jihadist acts are not connected to theology? It flummoxes me. We lose, and face much more danger, when a topic is so taboo that we cannot have rational discourse about it.
Religiously motivated violence has theological/ideological roots. Even if 92% of a given faith ignores the incendiary verses, their existence within the broader rubric of “The Bible/Koran is perfect” enables and causes the behaviors we sondesperately seek to eliminate.
The trouble, as I’ve noted elsewhere, is that even the sanest, measured, rational person bringing up this topic will usually be met with two problems:
1. people on his/her side side saying “You’re being Islamophobic (or Anti-Christian).” Regressive left conversation killers and vested-interest-believers unite.
2. Finding that idiots take the basic “sound point” and turn it into “therefore kill em all!” No nuance. Strange bedfellows.
Thesis: lifelong religious indoctrination creates a percentage of radical zealots who will act on their beliefs. These beliefs include wiping out those who disagree, and subjecting “Man’s law to God’s law. The action is justified by the religious texts and indoctrination.
Saying it has nothing to do with specific beliefs seems counter-productive denial. Religiously based, religiously motivated violence is real. It’s just like Climate Change (or Global Warming). It’s really happening.
The difficult part lies in formulating an agreeable response. I’d suggest a lot less indoctrination (the theological corollary to “reduce greenhouse gases”), so that fewer radical fringe thinkers are created and justified by faith. But that’s not likely to fly with any of the faith parties — each of which is certain their Book is the right book, and their god is the right god.
In fact, this debate is EXACTLY like the Climate Change debate, rhetorically speaking. Evidence, deniers, entrenched power structures, peoplemwho believe continuing to do exactly what they believe vecause they believe and are immune to rethinking a faith proposition. Intractable political mess over how to respond, likely suffering more climate related/religiously inspired destruction before we act.
Where will we end? Mutual self destruction over theology and fossil fuels, or a more secular, solar-powered world of bliss. 😉