The West vs. Islam?

Crusader 2015One popular narrative on the American right is that the West is engaged in a “clash of civilizations” with Islam. Some phrase it in terms of Islam being at war with the West, while some are willing to cast the war as being between the West and radical Islam (rather than all of Islam). Not surprisingly, the various terrorist groups that self-identify as Muslim would probably be quite pleased with this narrative: they also would like it to be a war between all of Islam and the West.

There are various psychological reasons to embrace this narrative. Seeing oneself on the side of good in an epic struggle with evil is certainly very appealing. This provides a person with meaning and a sense of significance that is so often lacking in modern life. There is also the lure of racism, bigotry and religious intolerance. These are strong motivating factors to regard those who are different as an implacable enemy—inferior in all ways, yet somehow demonically dangerous and devilishly clever.

There are also powerful motivations to get others to accept this narrative. Leaders can use it as political fuel to gain power and to justify internal oppression and external violence. It also makes an excellent distractor from other problems. As such, it is no surprise that both American politicians and terrorist leaders are happy to push the West vs. Islam narrative. Doing so serves both their agendas.

While the psychology and politics of the narrative are both very important, I will focus on discussing the idea of the West being at war with Islam. One obvious starting point is to try to sort out what this might mean.

It might seem easy to define the West—this could be done by listing the usual Western nations, such as the United States, France, Germany, Canada and so on. However, it can get a bit fuzzy in areas. For example, Turkey is predominantly Muslim, but is part of NATO and considered by some to be part of the Western bloc. Russia is certainly not part of the classic West, but is the target of terrorist groups. But, perhaps it is possible to just go with the classic West and ignore the finer points of this war.

Establishing the war is fairly easy. While many terrorist groups that claim to be fighting for Islam have declared open war on the West, the overwhelming majority of Muslims have not done so. As such, the West is only at war with some Muslims and not with Islam. Likewise, Islam is not at war with the West, but some Muslims are. Muslims are also at war with other Muslims—after all, Daesh (which likes to call itself “ISIS”) has killed far more Muslims than it has killed Westerners. The West could, of course, establish a full war on Islam on its own. For example, President Trump could get Congress to declare war on Islam.

There are, however, some obvious practical concerns about taking the notion of a war on Islam seriously. One concern is the fact that while the are some predominantly Muslim nations that are hostile to the United States (such as Iran and Syria), there are others that are nominal allies (such as Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia) and even one that is part of NATO (Turkey). As such, a war against Islam would entail a war against these allies. That seems both morally and practically problematic.

A second concern is that many friendly and neutral countries have Muslim populations. These countries would probably take issue with a war against their citizens. There is also the fact that the United States has Muslim citizens and waging a war on United States citizens could also prove somewhat problematic both legally and practically. But perhaps Muslim Americans could be treated the way Japanese Americans were treated during WWII. That worked out great, so why not just repeat history? Donald Trump has laid out some of his thoughts on this matter, at least in regards to handling the war with Muslims in America. He has considered requiring Muslims to be registered in a special database and to identify their faith. As those who are familiar with history will remember, this sort of thing has been done before. While I am no constitutional scholar, this sort of thing would seem to be a clear violation of basic civil rights and is clearly immoral.

A third practical concern is determining the victory conditions for such a war. “Classic” war typically involves trying to get the opposing country to surrender or to at least agree to conditions that end the war. However, a war against a religion would seem to be inherently different. One rather awful victory condition might be the elimination of Islam, either through extermination or conversion. This sort of thing has been attempted against faiths and peoples in the past with varying degrees of “success.” However, such exterminations seem to be rather morally problematic—to say the least. Alternatively, Muslims might be rounded up and kept in concentrated areas where the West could observe them and ensure they did not engage in any hostilities against the West. This also seems rather impractical and morally horrifying.

Victory might be defined in less extreme ways, such as getting Islam to surrender and creating agreements to behave in ways that the West approves. This is, after all, how traditional wars end. There are, of course, many practical problems here. These would include the logistics of Islam’s surrender (since there is no unified leadership of Islam) and working out the agreements all across the world.

Or perhaps there is no actual intention to achieve victory: the war on Islam is simply used to justify internal suppression of rights and liberties, to manipulate voters, to ensure that money keeps flowing into the military-security complex, and to provide pretexts for military operations. As such, the war will continue until a more traditional opponent can be found to fill the role of adversary.  Russia seemed eager to get back into this role, but they now seem willing to take part in the war on terror.

One reasonable counter to the above is to insist that although the ideas of a war with Islam and a clash of civilizations are quite real, a more serious approach is a war with radical Islam rather than all of Islam. This narrower approach could avoid many of the above practical problems, assuming that our Muslim allies are not radicals and that our and allied Muslim citizens are (mostly) not radicals. This would enable the West to avoid having to wage war on allies and its own citizens, which would be rather awkward.

While this narrowed scope is an improvement, there are still some obvious concerns. One is working out who counts as the right sort of radical. After all, a person can hold to a very radical theology, yet have no interest in harming anyone else. But perhaps “radical Islam” could be defined in terms of groups that engage in terrorist and criminal acts that also self-identity as Muslims. If this approach is taken, then there would seem to be no legitimate justification for labeling this a war on Islam or even radical Islam. It would, rather, be a conflict with terrorists and criminals—which is as it should be.

There are some very practical reasons for avoiding even the “war on radical Islam” phrasing. One is that using the phrase provides terrorist groups with a nice piece of propaganda: they can claim that the West is at war with Islam, rather than being engaged in conflict with terrorists and criminals who operate under the banner of Islam. The second is that the use of the phrase alienates and antagonizes Muslims who are not terrorists, thus doing harm in the efforts to win allies (or at least to keep people neutral).

It might be objected that refusing to use “radical Islam” is a sign of political correctness or cowardice. While this is a beloved talking point for some, it has no merit as a serious criticism. As noted above, using the term merely serves to benefit the terrorists and antagonize potential allies. Insisting on using the term is a strategic error that is often driven by bravado, ignorance and intolerance. As such, the West should not engage in a war on Islam or even radical Islam. Fighting terrorists is, of course, another matter entirely. We should certainly put an end to Daesh and other such groups to protect the West and Muslims. And Western Muslims.

 

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17 Comments.

  1. Doris Wrench Eisler

    A ‘war on Islam” would be the greatest folly since the Crusades, which were also fought for land and treasure under the guise of higher morality and love of God and the Good. But we humans have never been too smart, or honest. Such a “war” of course, would be figurative, like ‘war on drugs’ or ‘war of poverty’, both dismal failures at any rate. As for Donald Trump, he wouldn’t be walking around, much less spouting nonsense in anything like a sane world. Well, maybe
    that’s an overstatement: he should be aloud to walk around and talk – but no one would pay much attention, except maybe to snicker patronizingly. To get back to Daesh, how did they get so powerful in the first place? Some say through deliberate Western assistance.They can be convenient in ‘regime change’ situations – no doubt, there.
    What about a ‘war on militant Christianity’? Or better yet, let’s arrest everyone until proven innocent, however that is defined.
    Personally, I put my faith and hope in gene mutations: it is a source of great comfort to me to reflect on the fact that the super-ugly dinosaur morphed into the delicate, harmless, aesthetically pleasing birds of today which I never tire watching at the bird feeder next my window.
    And the way things are going pollution-wise, mutations should increase exponentially. Some are bound to be positive – however that is defined.

  2. It’s the narrative of ‘war’ that’s part of the problem here, because it’s so easy to think in terms of military war

    But there is a clash of ideas.

    Most western nations, and many outside the Old and New World ‘west’, are based on liberal and democratic principles. If, as a simplistic representation of this state of affairs we say the US Constitution is close enough, then all the poor foreign policy stuff is alien to the principles.

    In other words, the west has a democratic and liberal ‘Constitution’, but forces within the west have to go against those principles to do wrong. US foreign policy, when waging a military ‘war on Islam’, is acting against those principles – through bad intent, corporate and personal interests, and total incompetence. We can point out very clearly when those ideals are not being upheld.

    Islam on the other hand is a controlling religious-political ideology. It is non-democratic in many ways – particularly if a state becomes an actual theocracy or Caliphate. You cannot vote out an Islamic government in favour for a secular one because to do so amounts to an act against Islam, which is apostasy, which means death. Islam certainly isn’t liberal. Liberal Muslims have to ignore elements of Islam if they want to be totally liberal, democratic, and supportive of totally equality of everyone no matter what religion or none they hold to.

    It’s not that simple.

    Because there are elements in the Islamic world that want to tone down the power of Islam. When Reza Aslan points to Islamic countries that give women political power, they are usually democratic republics of some sort, with what is essentially a secular government – even if the state religion is Islam.

    And in the western world – especially the US – there are political forces that would like less democracy and liberalism. The conservative Christians want special privileges, but just for their religion. The Constitution is often misrepresented by the Christian right, and separation of church and state has been abandoned in many ways.

    So, while I think there is a genuine clash of ideas, the waters are murky.

  3. This excerpt from an article in the London Review of Books, entitled “Magical Thinking about ISIS”, by Adam Shatz, might be of interest: “Most of these young jihadis became radicalised online not in the mosque. Some, like the perpetrators of the attacks in January and November, have histories of arrest and time spent in prison; about 25 per cent of IS’s French recruits are thought to be converts to Islam. What most of the jihadis appear to have in common is a lack of any serious religious training: according to most studies, there is an inverse relationship between Muslim piety and attraction to jihad. As Olivier Roy, the author of several books on political Islam, recently said, ‘this is not so much the radicalisation of Islam as the Islamicisation of radicalism.’

  4. swallerstein,

    I disagree with those points. The radicalised ARE already Muslims, if not scholarly ones. But that then raises a problem with the other point:

    Islamic scholars try to make the point that the Quran needs scholarly interpretation and shouldn’t be taken literally. That in itself would be a fair claim – it’s their religion, so they decide how they interpret it.

    But there are still problems even then:

    1) How come for ‘peaceful’ Muslims it’s always the good stuff that is taken literally, while the bad stuff needs context to explain it away. Literalists like ISIS are on much firmer ground.

    2) If the bad literal stuff does need scholarly interpretation, what are they doing putting this dangerous book in the hands of every Muslim? If it needs scholarship then of course teaching it to every Muslim without thorough scholarship is crazy. And teaching them to just recite it is crazier still, since their unscholarly minds WILL take it literally.

    3) Many non-Arab-speaking Muslims can’t take from it the literal or the nuanced stuff, because they don’t understand it – they are merely reciting a foreign language. That leaves them open to radicalisation by any imam or local Muslim guy that wants them to go and fight for ISIS.

  5. Doris Wrench Eisler

    Concerning Ron Murphy’s remarks , the “waters” are “murky”, indeed. For instance, speaking of fascism, Mussolini could not have made it on his own without partnership with the Catholic church. Hitler also made “alliances” with the Catholic Centre Party who signed the Enabling Act that launched Hitler and Nazism. Then we have Franco in Spain, in tight with Rome. Organized religion of any kind has a fascist streak in the interests of keeping people in line and unquestioning of the state, whatever it is, and the state is fine with that and gives reciprocal support in the name of “democracy” and “freedom”.
    We would have had no problem with Islamic countries had not the Bushes studiously made enemies of them, not to mention earlier interferences , for instance in Iran1953, when, in the interests of BP and all oil companies, a democratically chosen leader was “ousted” in favour of the Shah. and perhaps most cynical and hypocritical of all was the religious radicalization of Afghanistan under Reagan to discredit the Soviets as “Godless” when they had been asked by the secular government to help them avoid an illegal coup.
    Saudi Arabia and the emirates are supported by the West and Israel and they are cruel autocracies. Religion is a tool of power, usually, and is dangerous to the degree that power is.

  6. Ron Murphy,

    If you want to argue with the author of the above excerpt, write the London Review of Books or email the author personally.

    You’re right: the Koran has some stuff in it, that read by
    an unbalanced mind or by a resentful person, maybe by someone with a history of violence (many of the terrorists have already been in jail for petty crime), may lead to horrible violence, as do the Old Testament, the collected works of Lenin and the Portable Nietzsche.

    However, the Koran, whether we like it or not (I prefer the Portable Nietzsche myself or even Mill’s utterly non-violent On Liberty), is part of our universe and we are going to have to learn to live and let live with it. So it might help to know that the violent jihadists tend not to be Koran scholars, that’s all.

  7. Yes, we have to live with it. But we don’t have to submit to it. It’s how we live with it that’s the interesting bit. And one way of doing that is pointing out what’s wrong with it, as indeed Maajid Nawaz and other Muslims and many ex-Muslims do.

  8. “We would have had no problem with Islamic countries if …”

    If they weren’t Islamic in the first place. Or at least we’d have other problems to solve. And they wouldn’t had problems from crusader countries.

    I blame those damned Romans myself. But it all depends on how far back we go.

    But no amount of history will spoil the fun of ideologues.

    What has anything in the Middle East got to do with British young men of Pakistani families? Islam.

    Why aren’t Christians now declaring a holy war on Islam? Been there done that.

    What has the Bush family to do with a pious Muslim girl being falsely accused of destroying th Quran and being killed and burnt for such desocration?

    When a women is raped rather than supported she’s accused of a sex crime, according to Quran 24:2, what has that got to do with the Bush family?

    When bloggers in Bangladesh want to engage in political activism and are hacked to death, is that the fault of Bush?

    When christian and Islamic groups in various African nations are hacking each other to death, which gets the blame for their religious imperialism, Islam or Christianity?

    How many very specifically violent incidents endoresed by the Islamic texts can we put down to either Bush?

  9. Why not date it back to the Persians invading Greece?

    They started it!!!

  10. I am no expert in these matters so this is perhaps not a very thoroughgoing account. I have been an atheist since quite early childhood. What religious people told me as a child just did not seem true. It was just in a sense another fairy story. The religion I was mostly exposed to was Christianity. I think overall I have never been a very suggestible person. However, I wonder if certain other races are genetically and/ or environmentally structured so as to be suggestible. This being the case, the sort of instruction, a young Muslim may receive from an authoritarian person will most likely be acted upon as completely truthful. Once he or she becomes fixated in the religion he or she is likely to do anything which a person in religious authority demands. In this connection . I note the quotation from Adam Schatz
    “Most of these young jihadis became radicalized online, not in the mosque.” Yes, they probably were radicalised online, but their minds had already been at an earlier stage structured by religious activities in the mosque, which so far as I can see in many cases demanded a reverence for the Koran and the ability to recite from it and repeat it ad infinitum often with rocking motions of the body. Which I suppose helps to stamp in the details and emotions which their brains are receiving. Rocking of the body is also evident in other religions and it occurs when uttering religious prayers or material. Whilst writing this I am reminded of the Hitler Youth Movement, which basically demanded something along the lines of getting them young, teach them our ways, then we have them for life.
    Richard Dawkins in his book The God Delusion stated that “Religious leaders are well aware of the vulnerability of the child brain, and the importance of getting the indoctrination in early. The Jesuit boast, ‘Give me the child for his first seven years, and I’ll give you the man,’ is no less accurate (or sinister) for being hackneyed.”
    It seems to me that possibly the majority of the Jihadists have no fear of their own death on account of the fact that for them when life ends, they will enter some sort of paradise, especially if they meet their deaths in some way or another, which involves their religious beliefs. This can of course make them formidable opponents in war

  11. Hello Don Bird,

    You wonder if certain races are genetically programmed to be suggestible to authority figures. Well, first of all, lots of scientists says that race is a fiction, but anyway, if I have a “race”, I’m semitic (I have a semitic nose) just like the Arabs (I’m Jewish) and like you, I’ve been an atheist or at least a non-believer in religion since early childhood.

    In fact, you cite the Hitler Youth, who were of the same “race” as I imagine that you are and who, unlike you, were quite suggestible to authority figures. Only 350 years ago or so, not so long in genetic terms, Europeans were slaughtering each other over the question of transsubtantiation, so the fore-fathers of today’s liberal Europeans were also quite suggestible.

    By the way, although Europeans (outside of the ex-Yugoslavia and maybe the Ukraine) today or fairly recently don’t kill each other for religious reasons, some are willing to kill members of other football clubs, which is about on the same level of mass idiocy.

  12. Mike Laboissere,

    “One reasonable counter to the above is to insist that although the ideas of a war with Islam and a clash of civilizations are quite real”

    They’re quite real in the sense of being real ideas, like the moon being made of cheese is a real idea, but the actuality of the idea depends on what you consider to be cheese; if you consider chalk dust to be cheese, then the moon is made of cheese.

    For a Clash of Civilizations to occur; the Occident Vs the Orient. Those two places must exist. They must be real places; and the Otherness of their cultures, people, etc, must be real too.

    Foreign Affairs is the journal where Samuel Huntingdon’s essay on the Clash of Civilizations first appears in the early 90s. Also popular in Foreign Affairs, other CoC style stories; The Triumph of Western Capitalism over Oriental Chinese Communism, through the process of Globalisation (even throw in some Judeo-Christian “values”…..in fact they can never seem to get enough of the Judeo-Christian “values”). They’re amusing stories from the perspective of anyone who knows that ketchup is as Chinese as drinking tea from fine bone China teacups, and Karl Marx was born in Germany. (Paper, ink, gunpowder, pork ribs in a sweet barbecue sauce, etc, it could be argued that Occidental civilisation is Oriental)

    Buadrillard uses Betty Boo and Helen Kane, for his description of what we can call the Baudrillarian simulacrum. But a better example would be Jesus, who begins as a Palestinian Arab, but is photocopied so many times the image deteriorates to the point he ends up as a German American folk singer with conservative Judeo-Christian values. Even if we dig deeper in an attempt to find the original Jesus, the bulk of the earliest documentation we have is the Greek photocopies which we know to be riddled with all kinds of translation and transmission errors. We only have fragments of other photocopies of photocopies; the Gnostic texts in Coptic, bits and pieces of early Syriac Christianity. The original, if an original ever existed, certainly does not now.

    What is the original inspirational document of Islamic radicalism; the particular type we see now with ISIS. Young men, rebels in strange clothes, with swords, in the belief they are locked in a cosmic conflict; battling the evil empire, in a place that looks not too dissimilar to Tatooine. Tatooine is not a real place; it’s a photocopy of Tunisia, used in George Lucas’ Star Wars. It’s not a coincidence that Jedi and Jihadi sound similar. Lucas was not a secret Muslim radical, Star Wars is such a seamless bricolage of cowboys, sea pirates, NAZIS storm troopers, Muslim swashbucklers of the near east (there was a time when they were quiet romantic), that it’s not easy to see where all the elements come from. Jedi comes from Jihadi, following the same rules that turn Isiah into Isa (or Jesus). Is it the original document. No, it’s a compilation of fragments of photocopies; the Saturday Afternoon Matinees of Lucas’childhood, the bible stories of his Sunday School.

    “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” Nietzsche

    “For now we see in a mirror darkly; but then face to face:” St Paul

    “When do I see a photograph, when a reflection?” Philip K Dick

    I believe, that for many, living in a world where there is no devil, or devils, is worse than living in a world where there is no God. That they will disintegrate without an inversion in the mirror: There were no devils in the Bataclan, there are no devils in Syria. There were no devils on Utøya island, and Anders Breivik is not the devil.

  13. Don Bird,

    “their minds had already been at an earlier stage structured by religious activities in the mosque, which so far as I can see in many cases demanded a reverence for the Koran and the ability to recite from it and repeat it ad infinitum often with rocking motions of the body. Which I suppose helps to stamp in the details and emotions which their brains are receiving.”

    I’ve known quite a few Muslims. So, I’ve had an opportunity to ask them what actually goes on. The thing with the rocking and the memorising of the Koran. It is every Muslims religious duty to memorise the Koran to the best of their ability. There are a few problems with this. It’s written in archaic Arabic. Imagine a child with enough trouble understanding their own language, say a child in Pakistan who speaks Urdu, trying to memorise or even read archaic Arabic. So, as a Pakistani friend who’d been through that system told me, the kids just mumble gibberish (The teacher may not speak Arabic either or only have the vaguest notion). The kids are then fed a carefully edited cotton candy version of the religion in their own language.

    That version has all the cotton candy versions of stories from the old testament. One of the myths of the Clash of Civilisations separating Occidental Judeo-Christian “values”, against alien Oriental Islam, is that they have their books from which they derive their imperfect morality, and we have our books of higher moral caliber; ……Nope..The Judeo texts are especially integral to Islam. Even in instances like to justify slavery they can be used to override the Koran, which you might have assumed is the last word, obviously it’s not. And a line from St Paul can be used to justify absolutely anything; Unto the pure all things are pure

    If you’re in a western Christian school, you’re not going to be taught a version of the texts that impels you to kill people for religious reasons. And these violent interpretations are not taught in eastern Islamic schools either. (A Pakistani friend told me the recruiters for Jihad in Kashmir were a little like Jehovah’s witnesses, going door to door.)

    Our secular myths are just as kooky as anything in the crazy books. To be honest I am far more concerned with the kind of things they teach kids in those socially and economically excluding schools of the elites, than what might be going on in Saudi sponsored Madrasas.

    When a group of farmers suddenly go nuts with guns in rural Africa. is it because some pamphlets arrived from Saudi Arabia, or might it be that dumping of “free trade” agricultural product from Western “good guy” nations, has wiped out their livelihood. Unto the good guys all things are good

  14. Re JMRC Nov. 28 2015

    Many thanks for your interesting and helpful reply. Thank God I am an atheist. I cannot think of any thing worse than having the whole of one’s life governed by a set of false and for the most part nonsensical rules. I do not relish the prospect of death and I guess it must be of some comfort to believe there is a hereafter. However, I was never discomforted during the millions of years before my birth, so I see no reason to fear discomfort after my death. Oblivion life oblivion seems to be the case. For me the World is a fascinating place and trying to understand it mostly by way of philosophy and science has occupied much of my time. As a child I used to think I had been put here as an observer and would eventually be called back to report my findings, so I was anxious to get things right. This probably led to my being highly suspicious of religious indoctrination and all that it leads to.

  15. What makes this war different, whether or not it is a clash of civilizations, is that it is not just opposing sides fighting over land or resources, as in the past, but a battle for hearts and minds.

    The worldwide web gives it a whole new twist as the disgruntled, on a spectrum ranging from religious fanatics to misguided idealists, to petty criminals, can be accessed wherever they are and invited to join the fray.

    It cannot be considered a religious war, as secular humanism has made western Christianity mostly toothless. What it appears to be is a conglomerate of all the misguided idealism and discontents left over from the twentieth century.

    As well it is individuals who rather than playing the game of life want control over how the game is played. They give up what they perceive as the lesser for the greater. There are those who have little to give up and consequently little to lose because of an inability or an opportunity to assimilate.

    If evolution can be viewed as a pyramid which started broad, as in physical evolution, and reached its apex in humans, the same could apply to psychic evolution. The problem is there is discontent with its pace and there are movements which force the issue and attempt to have everyone under the same tent, instead of accepting a diversity of psychic views.

    How best to deal with it would be to do battle with its ideology. Nazism and Communism were defeated as they were based on false premises: that one race was superior to another or that community is a matter of forced like-mindedness. The west is not perfect but accepting diversity with tolerance could be its greatest strength.

    There is also the idealism of youth. A novelist wrote of a man who never gave up his ideal of perfect justice and a woman who never give up her ideal of perfect love. Most get past the idealism of youth and reach a pragmatism that accepts life as it is lived — which is imperfectly.

  16. JMRC,

    If the Devil didn’t exist, we’d need to invent him. So we do.

  17. Ron Murphy:

    “Yes, we have to live with it. But we don’t have to submit to it.”

    What does this even mean? Is there a suggestion that we should be submitting to Islam in some way?

    I think the most generous conclusion that can be drawn is that this is simply an off-the-cuff remark.

    I take no issue with criticism of an ideology, but criticizing all its adherents because a few commit acts of terrorism is simply irrational. It would be the equivalent of criticizing all Christian because of the actions of the Lord’s Resistance Army so let’s keep this in perspective.

    “What has the Bush family to do with a pious Muslim girl being falsely accused of destroying th Quran and being killed and burnt for such desocration?

    When a women is raped rather than supported she’s accused of a sex crime, according to Quran 24:2, what has that got to do with the Bush family?

    When bloggers in Bangladesh want to engage in political activism and are hacked to death, is that the fault of Bush?

    When christian and Islamic groups in various African nations are hacking each other to death, which gets the blame for their religious imperialism, Islam or Christianity?

    How many very specifically violent incidents endoresed by the Islamic texts can we put down to either Bush?”

    Its obviously the adherents that are the point of difference, not the religious texts. If it was actually the texts we would blame slavery in Christian majority nations on Leviticus 25:44-46

    “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.”

    The reality is this merely reflected the ancient practice at the time of enslaving people and Christian majority nations including the US just wanted to reap the economic benefits and would have used this as part of their justification.

    Religion does inspire violence and atrocity but it does so in those who are looking for an excuse to commit violence and atrocity. Clearly there are many Muslims and Christians that can read these texts and go through life without victimizing others. So let’s focus our attention on the criminals and terrorists, not peaceful, law-abiding adherents.

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