Think Stupid, Think Subway
Not too long ago, President Obama argued that we are fighting against those who had “hijacked” Islam. It was a solely political move, driven by liberal political correctness, he doesn’t dare say that we are at war with Islamic terrorism, in fact, he refuses to utter those two words together for any reason. He’s afraid to cost the Democrats any more votes than his regular stupidity already does. However, whatever his motivations, he’s still completely wrong and I’m going to explain why.
The actual religion of Islam and Christianity start with their books. That’s the only place that has any information about their gods and religious practices. For Christianity, that’s the Bible, the only book accepted by all of Christiandom. For Islam, it would be the Qur’an and Hadith, which are universally accepted by Muslims. There may be some other texts which are accepted by some theists and not by others, but these books are authoratative for all.
Except they’re not.
Every single sect of Christianity, of which there are more than 41,000 of them, picks and chooses which parts of the Bible they want to believe and which parts they want to quietly ignore. There are five major sects of Islam, although probably many more in practice, and likewise, they decide what passages of the Qur’an they are going to pay attention to and which ones they’re going to gloss over. In reality, the overwhelming majority of Christians and Muslims are not Christians or Muslims, they are heretics who have “hijacked” their religions because they aren’t actually following the commands in their books as written.
The only ones who are following the religions are the fanatics, the extremists and radicals who follow the book to the letter and don’t let social norms and cultural taboos get in the way of following their religious beliefs. The only true Christians or Muslims are the ones that are deemed to be terrorists because they don’t care what anyone thinks of them, they’re following the teachings of their religion regardless.
The idea that “mainstream” religion is bigger or more palatable and therefore somehow more correct is absurd. “Ownership” of a religion is not determined by how many people believe a thing, but by how closely they adhere to the rules of that religion. The overwhelming majority of Christians and Muslims barely qualify for they pick and choose what to accept and what to reject, even though the books they pretend to revere state specifically that not a single word within the book is to be ignored.
So the next time anyone tells you that ISIS and the Westboro Baptist Church are “hijacking” their religion, point out that IS and the Phelps clan are infinitely more correctly religious than they are. It isn’t the crazies that are hijacking religion, they are the true believers, it’s everyone else in the mainstream that are hijacking religion and refusing to be held to account for it.
From time to time, I’ll run into people on the extreme right who are convinced that everyone who isn’t as fanatically right-wing as they are, must be liberal. It means that the overwhelming majority of the planet, even among conservatives, are automatically liberal and they simply dismiss anything that any of them have to say out of hand because, of course, they are liberal. Now, I’ve started running into people on the extreme left who are pulling exactly the same thing, anyone who isn’t as fanatically left-wing as they are, they’re all automatically neo-cons and therefore not worth talking to.
Of course, the easiest way to deal with these people is to simply ignore them entirely but they tend to be very vocal and, if I didn’t know better, would suspect they were simply trolling, but they are so consistent that I have to believe they are serious. Now, I’ve had the distinctly weird experience of being accused of being both a conservative and a liberal by two entirely different people, responding to the same post. So which is it? Am I a neo-con or am I a liberal? Well, neither, both people who responded are so far out in left, or right, field that they’ve entirely left the ballpark.
I get the distinct impression when around these people of deja vu and the reason is, they’re almost identical to evangelical, extremist theists. Nothing you say means anything to them, you’re just a sinner of the political sort and unless you get down on your knees and pray for forgiveness to their political god, you’re going straight to ideological hell. Like I said, the only real way to deal with them is to ignore them entirely but they tend to comment on everyone’s posts and when you don’t respond, they proclaim that they’ve won the fight, even if the only fight was in their own little pea brains.
So how do you deal with extremists of whatever stripe you happen to encounter most? Inquiring minds want to know.