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Entry 18 – An Agnostic in Islam’s Court

December 4, 2009

Thought I would interrupt the ‘already scheduled program’ to bring you a ‘special report’. 

I posted this story on another favorite blog of mine called The Misanthrope’s Journal.  Here it is…

Was waiting to see my dentist the other day and I picked up a recent Time Magazine with a picture of the Fort Hood Suspect, Hasan, on the cover. A huge banner over his face read, “Terrorist?”

A man sitting on a couch in the waiting room saw me with the magazine and said to me, “Terrorist, huh?”

I muttered something like, “Yeah, that was a horrible situation what happened at Fort Hood.”

The man came back with, tongue in cheek so to speak, “Yeah, but Muslims, they have a religion of peace.”

I muttered back with a neutral “Hmmm”.

Then I went to that place in my brain and asked, “Wonder if I should try and stick up for Islam here at least in small measure?” Answer came back, “Yeah I guess so”. So here is what I said back…

“Yeah, but you know, I think pretty much all religions are ‘on the hook’ so to speak when it comes to this sort of thing. Religion by its very nature is exclusionary and can breed fanaticism in its followers…” something to that effect.

Man, kind of chuckled at my statement, feeling smug, as I saw it, in what he was going to come back with next. “Yeah, but Christianity isn’t like that.”

He spouted off a verse in the New Testament (can’t remember which one), but it was something to the effect of Jesus’ statements about love and peace.

And while I don’t deny that Jesus made these statements (assuming Jesus’ statements have been accurately recorded by his followers, Jesus was actually a real person, and his statements were passed down accurately down through the millennia…whole other issue there), I think there are many others like the verse in Matthew Chapter 10, verse 34 where Jesus says he came not to bring peace, but a sword.

Conversation kinda died.

Luckily, he found a good ‘out’ with the billing lady who was passing through the lobby, and easily transitioned away from a difficult religious issue with a…”Hey, about my bill from last time…”

I think more than organized religion, and the question of whether a religion is a religion of peace or a religion of violence, the more accurate question is was Hasan a critical thinker?  I’m guessing he pretty much sucked at it.  And I think that had he been a good critical thinker he might not have changed the worlds of the people he killed and the families of the same so completely and sadly.

If Hasan had received more critical thinking training and less religious counseling, maybe his mental state would have improved and the outcomes witnessed from his extremist interpretations of the Koran never realized.

Please, if you want to be religious, that’s fine, we live in a country that respects your right to practice your religion.  But I beg you to NOT check your brain at the door.

With every dose of religiousity you take in the mosque, in the synagogue, or in the church, ‘wash’ those pills down, so to speak, with a healthy amount of sketicism and critical thinking.

I promise next time to get into the subject of America as being founded as a ‘Christian’ nation.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by!


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