If Religion Binds Us, We’re Doomed

Last night, I read an article about 5 Israelis who were (or possibly are) in close contact with Hamas officials and leaders. One of them was a settler, a rabbi, who became a good friend of A-Zahar, one of Hamas’ most powerful and influential leaders.


I’m not being too pedantic with names or providing any links because this article is not online (fancy that, me reading “offline news”!), but the point I wish to make can still be portrayed without names and faces.

The gist in that article was that the Israeli secular government fails to understand the Pals because the Pals aren’t really secular. The Islamic nature of Hamas, and thus, of the entire Palestinian population, of itself is what drives Israelis and Palestinians apart. Apparently, the reason the Pals feel like they’re being attacked is because their religious tradition is threatened by the Israeli secular “western tradition”, which possesses the potential of destroying it.

Only through religious eyes can it be understood why this is any pretext for boarish violence. Problem is: it actually makes a lot of sense.

The Pals are impoverished, poverty always being a strong correlate to religiosity, and are also direct descendants of a long Arabian tradition of tremendous, red-eyed religious fervor. Their entire culture pivots on Islam.

In effect, A-Zahar told the rabbi that the Palestinians belong to an Islamic tribal civilization, and our attempts to reach a secular co-existence with them is a mortal threat to their entire world.

The religious knee-jerk reaction to that is fighting, completely ignoring the fact that personal liberties are a blessing, and not a bane, to humanity.

The offshoot of this is that in the immediate future, it’s possible that the best way to reach out to the Pals is by sharing with them their religious insanity. The problem is that in the long term, organized religion poisons humanity. Religion can be fairly undestructive when it is a personal practice, but once it is ordained and dictates policy: we’re doomed.

The only way to peace between a secular nation and an ultra-religious nation is either by obliteration or conversion. Radical Islam has no room for compassion against those who wish to destroy it, and secularism, by its very existence, is an affront to it.

The way to reach out to the Palestinians is by textbooks, not bullets and shells. Only by educating ourselves (and them) out of the poisoned way of thinking that radical religion espouses can we ever achieve peace.


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11 Responses to “If Religion Binds Us, We’re Doomed”

  1. Test Says:

    test – comment

  2. 1234 Says:

    Testing again

  3. Jeff Says:

    I really couldn't leave this alone, of course. 😉

    But it is so complicated. I've started this comment about three times and keep going back. The bottom line, in my opinion, is that much of the Arab-Israeli Conflict is rooted in the fact that the UN, England, and America effectively promised they'd back both the Palestinians and the Israelis as World War 2 drew to a close. Given the disgusting lack of support for the people of Jewish decent during the holocaust, (especially given the whole history of anti-semetism)I totally get the idea that they'd be ready to say, "Screw you, world, we'll take care of our own, thank you very much."
    All this notwith standing, though, I have to say that if I was a Palestinian I'm not really interested in buying what the secular western world is selling. From where they stand, a group which had been slowly growing but still utterly a minority for centuries came strolling in and simply decided to set up camp in their front yard and displaced the whole nation.

  4. Jeff Says:

    In the US, it would be tantamount– in my opinion– to the country of France deciding it was going to back Native American tribes in taking back their ancestral lands from white guys like me. Much like The Middle East did have a remnant population of culturally, religiously, or ethnically Jewish people, America has a small number of Cherokee, Lakota, and other Native Americans who've stayed. Much like the Middle East where these people had a legitimate claim to the land, so to do the Native Americans.
    If this happened, I wouldn't be inclined to think 'wow, the worldview of the French is so enlightened. I ought to give up my primitive ways.'

    On a different note: Is it your position that being educated will "cure" people of any kind of religious comitment or that education will "cure" people of the more radical and destructive forms of religion?

  5. Freidenker Says:

    In my opinion, religion belief is rooted in human nature. It's not religious belief in itself that should be "cured", but the varieties of religious beliefs that make men divorced from reality, from rational thinking. You've found a way to compartmentalize your beliefs in a way that gives you full control over your rational faculties. Radical Islamists don't. They view the world solely from the viewpoint of their morally bankrupt religious zeal. Education made it possible for people like you, you are for whatever reason religious, still have the proper moral code as per the enlightened zeitgeist.

    Your religiosity, in short, does not enter the realm of your cognition 🙂
    In more developing countries, religion trumps education. Religion *is* the education. Religion, as far as I'm concerned, is a personal affair and pursuing it is fine by me so long as it doesn't trample enlightenment-borne values (human rights, suffrage, etc.
    Secular education is paramount, then, and also promotes religious causes as well: once religion becomes a personal matter: there is no strife. You let people believe and worship (or not) as they may, and then there wouldn't have to be a constant clash of zealots.

    It means that religion has to step down a little from its pedestal, but it also means that all religions who stay will get to stay forever. In my mind, any religion that is not peaceful enough to endure other points of view (which are equally receptive) is too evil to survive in the long run anyway.

  6. Mark Says:

    " The Islamic nature of Hamas, and thus, of the entire Palestinian population" – you do a wrong deduction here. If the Hamas was elected and became the largest faction in the Palestinian parliament – does it mean that all of the palestinian population is as zelous as the Hamas members? The Hamas was elected by a little above of half of the population, don't remember exactly the numbers – it means there's almost another half who doesn't align himself entirely on Hamas beliefs and actions.
    Moreover, those that did vote for the Hamas are not necessarily as religious as the party members. And surely, as you said, bombs and bullets won't make them let's religous or zealous – they'll probably just see the Hamas as their last fighters/saviors/heroes, the last people who fight for them, the worse the situation gets.

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