Saturday, October 11, 2014
Thinking it Over, I'm With Affleck and Kristoff
It's not like me to mull something like this over so long. For a long while I had a leaning in the direction that Maher and Harris are displaying, although to help their argument, I think what they are looking for is the word "fundamentalism". Unwavering fundamentalism in religion, a hard-core unwavering ideological belief system, is pretty basically pernicious and unhelpful and impedes dialog. And I will allow that it is true that majority Islamic nations have a high percentage of people who have fundamentalist Islamic views and that people who are professed Muslims tend to agree with those fundamentalist views, wherever they happen to be--although I kind of think this might be "more in theory than in practice."
I've done a bit of evolving myself over the religious question. I used to have a scarlet "A" from Dawkins' Out Atheism project on my sidebar, but I just don't care--atheism isn't an organized thing. And as my atheism might suggest, I ain't so much of a joiner anyways. I was skeptical of the idea that the US had to recognize the variety and specific understandings of people of faith in the areas we diplomatically dealt with, but think I got even then that we are dealing with a problem of multiple viewpoints. And now, considering a group like ISIL, it makes even more sense to embrace the Islam that mostly is practiced by moderate and peace-loving folks, to alienate the abhorrent chaotic nightmare these extremists want to wage, and share a common viewpoint that random violence and beheadings and all that are not acceptable.
We don't chose, most of us, our mental landscape. I mean, we for the most part are steeped in some version of cultural stew. Islamists have their thing. This doesn't necessarily poison all of Islam. Anymore than the crusade of Scott Lively impacts my understanding of Pope Francis regarding "Christiandom". I see the difference and it's getting better all the time.
Yes, I think the Pope still presides over a basically anti-gay church, But his deal is more open than Citizen Scotty's Crusade. There are, it would seem, very different strokes for extremely different folks. Ditto with Islam. I'm not keen on alienating a majority to strike at a minority. I say, I like people I can speak with, and I can't with ISIL or NOM or whatever. But the problem isn't in Islam alone. It's in the ideology, the fundamentalism, the exclusion of any conversation with other faiths. And so long as there is the potential for dialog with Islamic nations, I think Maher and them are missing an important point.