Sunday, February 05, 2006

The End of Religion?

I was just thinking that it feels like the battlelines are being drawn. Just seen on the news that the 400 year old catholic sect in Iraq is now upping sticks and pulling out. 400 years of co-existance with Islam, through the "Great Game" the 19th-century imperial rivalry between the British Empire and Tsarist Russia. Through the discovery of oil and the Saddam years it is now finally all breaking down. Demonstrators in London calling for the beheading of people who insult Islam and our police do nothing. If I went into parliament square with a "Eat the Rich" sign I would be nicked so fast my feet wouldn't touch the ground!
I can't see any way back from here. The last global war, The Cold War, was between two conflicting political ideologies. This century it's religion. Sheesh! At least Stalin existed! You can't asassinate a mythical being. And the one thing that we're facing that is totally outside our experience this time is that to die for allah is a bonus! Fighting an enemy that is truly unafraid to die. Communist Bloc & NATO troops would be happy to wave the white flag if needs be. it's different this time. It's the one thing that could not happen without religion. Like the 911 hijackers, they're sure of going straight to heaven. (Bush called them cowardly, I can see nothing cowardly in flying a plane into a building and facing certain death without flinching) It's the religiosity of both sides that is to blame for the mess we are in. Bush & Blaire publicly admit to being theists. And theism is the very bedrock of the terrorist threat from Islam. The irony of both sides shouting "Allah Akhbar" and "With God on Our Side" as they kill each other has been noted since the original crusades. It's still happening. On Radio4 here in the UK we get a theist spot in the morning news. Christians calling for restraint on both sides and understanding between religions. Sickening! Not able to see that they are part of the problem. It's ALL religion, not just islam. Perhaps the one good thing to come out of all this, when it's finally over. Might just be that the majority will see that it is theism that is the problem. Could this period we are in be the last throes of religion?


Couch Stu said...

Although not all really believe, there are ~1.3 billion Muslims, and I think ~2 billion Christians, plus hundreds of millions of other religions. 3+ billion people decided to leave rationality at the door.

There are simply to many stupid people, or people who wish to be deluded for religion to die, any time soon, if ever.

Morpheus said...

I think it's the way children are set up to believe what their parents tell them. Back in the hunting and gathering days, if you had to have evidence for the things you needed to know to stay alive you wouldn't be alive very long. By the time yougot to "How do you know that this tiger thing is lethal?" you'd have been nibbled by one and found out the hard way.
So kids are set up to swallow whole, without question, all that they are taught early on. Be it fact or fiction, get a child immersed in a religion and he'll believe. This is the mechanism that causes all the trouble. Once itsaved our skins. Now it is used by theists to infect the next generation. I don't think it's stupidity, or wanting to be decieved. But something evolution gave us that has been subverted.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

I understand your feelings, but I feel you are being far too pessimistic. You mention the 'Cold War.' If you had asked people 17 years ago what would be the big problems 17 years from thewn, they would have included the actions of the Soviet Union. Within a year, Communism as an effective force was dead. (I remember reading THE ECONOMIST then, a magazine that skips only one issue a year, publishing a 'double issue' around Christmas/New Year. Because of that skipped issue they missed the entire story of the collapse of the 'satellites', almost. They came back and said that 'the other countries are falling, probably the only country that will remain Communist was Rumania.' Rumania had fallen before my subscription copy got to me.)

The reason that Communism collapsed, more than any other, was satellite television. The reason the Islamist movement will collapse, among others is the Net. Yes, AlJazeera and AlQaeda have their sites, but so do many others. Muslims can no longer be isolated, or be limited in what they see to their parents ideas. And Islamic women are getting on the net and into forums. They may retain a love of their religion, but they are still challenging the attitudes of the medievalist clerics.

Add to this the fact that in most Islamic countries, even Iran, the upper middle classes up are hardly religious, in Pakistan the music revolution, and the revulsion I expect that Hamas will receive when it tries to impose Sharia law on the very secular Palestinians, and the Iron Mosques will be cracking fast. There will still be the crazies, but we have them here and elsewhere. Islamic crazies may be worse, but they will be surprised at how rapidly their support will start drifting away.

Maybe I'm too optomistic, but damnit, I hope not and I think not.

Prup (aka Jim Benton)

Morpheus said...

If you had gone back the 17 years you mention and explained to the "chattering classes" in the US about the Patriot Act or Presidential unauthorised wire tapping you would be laughed at. It's the same here in the UK. The increasingly right wing government is becoming more and more controlling daily.
Iran was a decomcracy not so long ago. It's suprising how seemingly modern, progressive societies can step back into totalinarianism or mono theistic fanaticism. They say Germany sleepwalked into Nazism. You can see the same controls over free speech, books you own, websites you visit, people you mix with here and in America. Most people pay little attention to politics until it's too late. It happenson both sides of the current difficulties.