There are a lot of bloggers out there who try to write hopeful posts about the good things in life and how religion starting to disintegrate is a good thing and we all ought to be thankful. I’m not like that because, while I admit there are hopeful signs about religion in the first world, the fact is that there are many, many more signs that we have a long way to go and that the times will become much worse before they become better.
I say that because, even if the western word is becoming more secular, the ones that are left with a religious mindset are the really crazy ones. Moderate and liberal theists are abandoning the churches in droves, leaving behind the real fanatics who lack any real theological brakes on their beliefs or behaviors. The ones that walked away almost certainly would never have opened fire on an art exhibit in Garland, TX, no matter how personally insulted they may have been. It’s the crazies that are left behind without a moral filter that are pulling the trigger and maybe, just maybe, it’s the moderates who abandoned Islam, in this case, that served to moderate the behavior of the fanatics.
Without that kind of social control, are we going to see even more violence from groups that previously, while fanatical, were not apt to pull the trigger? Could we imagine that the Westboro Baptist Church started bringing M-16s to their protests? Are we looking at more radicalized Islamic violence right here in the states because we don’t have a large moderate Islamic community to stop them and report their plans to the authorities? I don’t know, that’s a question that I find both interesting and terrifying. It’s not just the Muslims though, the radical Christian right has said that there may be a coming civil war if the Supreme Court doesn’t vilify gay marriage in the United States. Yes, a lot of this is probably just talk, but is that all it might ever be? If these people truly believe they have nothing to lose and are convinced that they have a better life waiting for them in heaven, might we not see more people grabbing their guns and bombs and weapons of mass destruction and attacking secular society because they really do have nothing to lose? Dying doesn’t matter to these people, they think that this life is meaningless anyhow.
I’m not trying to alarm people but I honestly think we’re likely to see more religious attacks in the coming years than we’ve seen in the past. These people, regardless of their religious tradition, are convinced that the world they want to live in is going away and they might as well attack secularism before they go out in a blaze of glory. I just want people to remember that even though we’re seeing some good signs on the horizon, the worst has almost certainly not come yet and we have to be vigilant against religious violence and fanaticism. It just takes one religious crazy to fly an ultralight into the White House or set a bomb in an important public place. Do these people have a sufficient safety system in place to stop them from committing these acts? I just don’t know anymore.