Questionable Motives

January 2, 2010

Why can’t we be honest about religiously inspired violence?

Filed under: belief,blasphemy,Faith,God,Intolerance,Islam,Media,Religion — tildeb @ 3:08 pm

From the NYT article:

Attempt to Kill Cartoonist Fails

The police foiled an attempt to kill an artist who drew a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad that sparked outrage in the Muslim world, the head of Denmark’s intelligence service said Saturday.

Jakob Scharf, who heads PET, the Danish intelligence service, said a 28-year-old Somalia man was armed with an ax and a knife when he tried to enter the home of the artist, Kurt Westergaard, in Aarhus on Friday evening.

The attack on Mr. Westergaard, whose rendering was among 12 that led to the burning of Danish diplomatic offices in predominantly Muslim countries in 2006, was “terror related,” Mr. Scharf said in a statement.

Terror related? Perhaps. But definitely religiously related. And not just any religion, either; the specific religion is Islam.

So why can’t we admit this link? Why must public officials bend over backwards to describe religiously inspired violence on behalf of showing piousness to Islam as something else and why do the press go along with this intentional deceit?

Mr. Westergaard, 75, who had his 5-year-old granddaughter on a sleepover, called the police and sought shelter in a specially made safe room in the house, the police said.

Does one build a safe room in one’s home against some ubiquitous ‘terror-related’ intrusion? No. One builds such a room to find sanctuary from religiously inspired nutbars of Islam who want to kill you for drawing a cartoon of their favourite prophet promoting violence.

The irony is almost palpable.

And why do agents of this religion want to kill the cartoonist? Because Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.

Idolatry is by far the worse crime in Islam than the targeted murder of an individual expressing an opinion. That kind of religiously tolerated morality is at best obscene, and acts based upon its religious assumptions are too often described as belonging to some other motivation. Let’s just be honest. Do we have the moral courage to be even that?


  1. Good article

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 2, 2010 @ 8:29 pm | Reply

  2. From googlenews (

    MOGADISHU — Somalia’s radical Islamic Shebab group hailed Saturday the attack by a Somali on a Danish cartoonist reviled by Muslims for his drawing of their prophet Mohammed.

    “We appreciate the incident in which a Muslim Somali boy attacked the devil who abused our prophet Mohammed and we call upon all Muslims around the world to target the people like (him),” Shebab spokesman Sheikh Ali Muhamud Rage told AFP.

    Note the call is not to all ‘terrorists’ as Jakob Scharf of the Danish intelligence service would have us believe, but to muslims.

    Comment by tildeb — January 3, 2010 @ 2:04 am | Reply

  3. Yes, it is scary indeed. It seems to be a religion of hate.

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 4, 2010 @ 3:37 pm | Reply

    • But is there a meaningful difference of kind between the religious impetus to kill the blasphemer – as in this specific case – or kill the homosexual? The doctor who performs abortions? The girl who is accused of bringing ‘dishonor’ to the family?

      Whenever religious belief is used as a justification to reduce an individual’s secular human rights and dignity of personhood, then we know it is the religious belief itself that is wrong. The religious tenet is morally wrong. Yet many from the religious community continue to insist that it from these religiously wrong moral tenets where we derive our morality!

      Comment by tildeb — January 4, 2010 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  4. God does not teach us to kill that is what you keep missing. Everyone has the right to live – God giveth and he taketh away, not us mere humans. People should know that if what they are learning is hatred/killing then something is very, very wrong. We have no right to kill anyone. “Whenever religious belief is used as a justification to reduce an individual’s secular human rights and dignity of personhood, then we know it is the religious belief itself that is wrong. The religious tenet is morally wrong.” You are correct – it is usually a sect of some kind that has broken off and gone mad. That doesn’t mean all religion is bad. If people read the bible they would see for themselves but many choose to just follow and not seek the truth which is devastating for all! Seek the truth in everything!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 4, 2010 @ 11:21 pm | Reply

    • I know you believe that god does not teach us to kill, but many people who believe in god kill others on behalf of honouring what they believe to be this god’s wishes. That’s why the call that ‘god is great’ was yelled by the good major in Fort Hood as he gunned down thirteen of his comrade-in-arms, and why the same call was yelled by the hijacker pilots on 9/11 before crashing the planes: the intention was to act in such a way to bring honour to their god.

      You have written that you believe that the god of islam and the god of christianity are really the same god merely worshiped in different ways. To the dedicated jihadist, it is the love he or she has for this god that allows them to sacrifice their lives. That may be difficult to wrap one’s head around, but there is some pretty good psych evaluations that show some of these suicide bombers are as sane as thee and me. So if these kinds of murderous acts are simply dismissed as madness as you suggest, then where is the line between acting on your religious beliefs in a sane way and acting on them in an insane way? I don’t see a clear line… except by the measurement of consequences to the human rights and dignity of others by undertaking the act itself. So it’s not god who is the determining factor between right and wrong; to a large extent it must be the consequences of the act on others.

      My point here is that as soon as a religious tenet reduces another person’s rights and dignity, then all of us know that the tenet itself must be morally wrong. By the word ‘reduce’ I don’t mean only killing; I mean supporting ANY measures on theological grounds that alters another person’s standing in any way to be less than your own. Think about that. What that means is that if on theological grounds a male treats a woman as anything less than he would treat a man, it’s wrong. If a woman voices support for removing a civil right that she herself enjoys – like the ability to marry another adult who loves you – based on a theological assumption that same sexed couples cannot marry, her support for such an act is morally wrong. Against this secular backdrop, all of can determine for ourselves if the acts we undertake on behalf of our attitudes and beliefs are wrong. I think that kind of self-evaluation – Will this act sho9w respect for or reduce the rights and dignity of another? – can go a long way towards each of us being honest with ourselves about our whether or not our actions are right or wrong in spite of our religious beliefs.

      Comment by tildeb — January 5, 2010 @ 1:18 am | Reply

  5. I understand what you are saying and agree with most of it. However, Christianity does not teach hatred/killing and that is where the problem lies. If someone in a Christian church told us to kill for God, etc…we would know there is a serious problem. This is an issue with people in general though – so many do not seek the truth. They take what they were raised with or what their friends encourage and go with it. I do realize that most people do not have the time/inclination to seek the truth but that is what is seriously wrong with society everywhere. We are all human beings, we all deserve to be treated the same – men/women/races/religions, etc…That is where society needs to grow or evolve as you might say. We have come a long way at least in the states of making and viewing people as equals – but now it is the media that is corrupting the youth and filling them with sinful ideas which I believe will be the demise of society if they don’t seek something greater than themselves. As for the jihads -that is a sect/cult and that is where problems arise. Muslims do not kill for God, it is these groups that break off and gain the weak minded lost souls and this is what we end up with. It is quite tragic! Even though this goes on, it does not prove that God does not exist. I do believe if the word could be spread that God is love to all….everywhere….and I know the Christian church tries,things would get better – though not sure we would never suffer any issues because there are psycho’s everywhere (unfortunately)along with greed, hatred and sinfulness.

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 7, 2010 @ 11:13 pm | Reply

  6. The problem I see with your rationalization that some follow truth rather than seek it is that religion is not about truth. It’s about belief. Religion (including christianity) isn’t about objectively verifiable facts (which is what truth is) it’s about beliefs that are accepted on faith. Faith is a virtue in religion.

    The thing with that is, belief is also completely subjective. Beliefs will differ from person to person and society to society. The good individuals (such as yourself) will *believe* that your religion isn’t about hatred or killing. The evil will *believe* something different. There are elements of good and bad in religious scripture that will cater to both of these kinds of people.

    Comment by thebooreport — January 8, 2010 @ 1:28 am | Reply

    • Do you realize that Jesus fulfilled over 100 prophecies of the OT? That he did not sin and preached love and forgiveness?

      Comment by 4amzgkids — January 8, 2010 @ 3:47 am | Reply

      • And eternal damnation, don’t forget.

        Comment by tildeb — January 8, 2010 @ 4:00 pm

    • I understand your comment was directed at 4Amzgkids for consideration about the problem of mixing up truth and faith, but I feel compelled to make my own contribution here.

      Religious belief is all about biology and the human brain.

      I think Jaynes’ theory of the bicamarel mind is leading us in the right direction. Because our brains work by means of creating symbols, by changing electrical signals into symbolic representations of what the world seems to be, we come predisposed to use our right brains to assign agency using the assumption that the representation our brains provide is real, meaning true enough to act upon, true enough to elicit a limbic response (even when we dream).

      Our left hemispheres are the referees in what our right brains are presenting, and it is the left hemisphere that uses an assortment of learned tools to craft these assumptions into what we call thought. By applying these tools to critique our assumptions, we are in effect constantly engaged in a battle of wills within our own brains between what we believe to be true and what passes critical review to be true. By suppressing critical review of certain left brain assumptions about agency, like belief in god for example, we can see the evident compartmentalization people use to continue to believe in rationally incoherent beliefs while at the same time able to use highly critical faculties of reason to attain the very highest disciplined expertise.

      For example, Francis Collins of the NIH, the head administrator that led human genome project, shows evidence of both highly professional expertise in his area of human genetics and a thorough understanding and unmistakable acceptance of biological evolution while at the same time presenting the most incoherent justifications about a creator god who set the stage with a slime pit of chemicals to bring about his intentional and specially created species called man. His evidence for this assumption is morality, which he attributes to a supernatural god who took a leave of special absence from his day job after some five and a half billion years working out of a cubicle to be birthed from a virgin in a land of illiterates to bring moral law to the world (not sure why he didn’t show up sooner for all those people who came before Jesus like the Greeks who presumably had no access to morality?! As I said, it’s rationally incoherent but quite possible even for this man to maintain such a divergent set of reasoning if he uses two sets of brains within his own skull. After all, only in religion do we find an absence of evidence (faith) to be considered a virtue; in every other area of life such a ‘virtue’ is seen for what it is: the necessary basis for self-delusion.

      Comment by tildeb — January 8, 2010 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

      • Obviously a person far more intelligent and learned than you and you still doubt – hysterical!

        Comment by 4amzgkids — January 8, 2010 @ 10:43 pm

  7. ^^^ directed toward 4amzgkids 🙂

    Comment by thebooreport — January 8, 2010 @ 1:30 am | Reply

  8. Thank you thebooreport…..I assume you are a non-believer as well. Do you deny Jesus as a real, living, historically proven person? Jesus was God on earth – I am having a hard time understanding how people can deny this fact when the bible has been proven historically reliable by non-religious people. There’s also the fact that many died for Him and non-christians discussed Him. He has been believed to be God for over 2,000 years. Do atheists really believe we are all ignorant and don’t question anything? We don’t have any of these same thoughts and seek the truth? The most intelligent in history believed in God and Jesus as God. I just dislike the fact that people will deny Him without really looking into it – both sides and then make an intelligent decision. I couldn’t have done it over night myself. Please don’t give up HOPE – please seek the truth in everything. Religion is truth – it is the one truth you can trust. May God bless you always!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 8, 2010 @ 3:30 am | Reply

    • Sooo, let me see if I’m understanding you clearly…

      You believe that the bible is a historically accurate text? You’re a biblical literalist? And you also believe that even scientists, historians and non religious people share that point of view and have “proven” the bible to be reliable?

      If that’s the case I’d love if you could be so kind as to point me to the scientist and/or historian who has “proven” the creation story, the plagues of Egypt, or any of Jesus’ miracles if you don’t mind. Might make for some interesting reading…

      Comment by thebooreport — January 8, 2010 @ 5:23 am | Reply

      • No, I am not a literalist! The bible is there to teach us salvation history – it is a book inspired by God through man. There are many scientists that belive in God – you can see the list at my blog page. I am Catholic not a fundamentalist.

        Comment by 4amzgkids — January 8, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

  9. I also take that you’re a person of many faiths?

    You believe that the fact people have died for Jesus is proof that he was god?

    By that logic, you must be of the the belief that those men who slammed those planes into the world trade center were divinely inspired?

    This is quite fascinating indeed…

    Comment by thebooreport — January 8, 2010 @ 5:33 am | Reply

    • Jesus was sinless and taught love, that we shouldn’t judge, that we should forgive always – not to kill, obviously nothing like the jihadists.

      Comment by 4amzgkids — January 8, 2010 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  10. Men have fought and died over many religious beliefs therefore I assume you are a believer in all of them…

    Comment by thebooreport — January 8, 2010 @ 5:34 am | Reply

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