After reading an article on CBC about the possible banning of Mark Steyn’s book in Canada, “America Alone”, I knew I had to read it. I will confess up front that I am also terrified by the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. But then, I am also terrified by the rise of Christian fundamentalism. I am an atheist and I make no apologies for it. In fact, I believe that for the world to survive, and by the world, I mean human beings (the planet will be here long after we are gone), religion must die. We, the rationalists of the world, must launch a campaign to educate the world about the dangers of religion. Religion, after all, is an organized movement designed to control large groups of people. Control them to do what, you might ask? Well, sometimes it’s to vote for you. Sometimes to fill your coffers with cash. Sometimes to fight for you. And far too many times, religion’s purpose has been to rally the troops to kill for you, possibly by strapping a bomb to your chest and blowing yourself up in a public place. In God’s name, of course.
I’ll start by giving Mark Steyn credit for writing what is, in fact, a courageous book, though not one without its flaws. The trouble with Mark’s book (for me, at least) comes at the end of the introduction to the paperback edition. He says that “10 years from now, of the two groups, those worried about global warming and those worried about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, one will be right and the other will feel like an idiot.”
Sorry, Mark. I actually agree with you regarding your belief in the dangers of fundamentalist Islam’s growth and our blasé response to militant Islam’s demands on our culture. However, it’s not an “either or” proposition. It almost never is. Global warming and the rampant destruction of our environment will kill us just as surely as a Jihadist with a bomb strapped to his chest. The difference is that one is a pretty much instantaneous death and the other may take decades . . . or less. Another kind of violence is rising in the world; food riots. And it has nothing to do with Islam, at least not that I can tell. In that case, global warming and the destruction of the environment, is at least partly to blame. That and good old-fashioned greed.
Religious fundamentalism IS dangerous. Islamic fundamentalism doubly so since it’s pretty hard to find a Christian fundamentalist who wants to blow himself up in a crowded marketplace. However, to sound that alarm and mock other dangers just because one danger is ten years out and the other is 30 to 50 years out, isn’t 100 per cent smart, or honest.
The Western world may have gotten so used to our freedom that fighting for it is largely alien, but we’ve also become so used to the abundance of our resources and to the health of our environment that we are equally absent from that front.
It’s not “either or”. It’s both. One threat may be more pressing, but we can’t ignore the other in the process. Sometimes the battle takes place on many fronts. To ignore the advancing army on your backside just because another is before you makes little sense. Shore up those defenses early and put men, and women, on both sides.
Save the environment. Defeat religious fundamentalism.
Sure, fighting two battles (or three or four or . . .) is hard, but sometimes the bad guys are coming at you from all sides. This is one of those times.