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October 07, 2007

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More like Holy Crap! There are some scary people running this country.

The problem is far larger than Hagee and Holy Joe. The problem is religion in general.

Over the last two millenia (and longer) most wars have been fought in the name of religion or because of religious differences. The list is long, but just to name a few: the militant expansion of the Holy (note Holy) Roman Empire; the militant expansion of Islam; the Crusades; the 100 Years War; the Irish Civil War; the Middle East wars since 1948; and the current threat from Al Qaeda.

If you're anti-war, the logical solution is not just to oppose nutcases like Hagee, but to get rid of all religions.

As Christopher Hitchens says in the title of his book, "God is not great."

Neocon atheists like Hitchens and Sam Harris use atheism as a cudgel to bludgeon Muslims. They are certainly not anti-war. Both have been very supportive of the Bush/Cheney war agenda, and Harris does some amazing logical contortions to justify torture in his book The End of Faith.

As an atheist myself, I find myself agreeing with their rejection of belief in the supernatural, but repulsed by their pro-war stances.

When I wrote this post I expected some response from you, Craig, maybe something intelligent and analytical. What I get instead is your all too predictable rant against religion. Ban religion and there'll be no more war blah blah blah. What utter nonsense!

I don't know where you've been for the last century, but I can't think of any major war in that time period that had anything remotely to do with religion, not even the illegal aggression in Iraq, which is all about oil and extending American power and securing markets and "promoting democracy." Islamists are merely the bogeymen used to justify that aggression.

Me, I'm a Jesus kind of guy, meaning I tend toward the pacifism Jesus advocated. You know, "turn the other cheek" and "love your enemies", that sort of thing. I have little patience for the "true believers", whether religious or secular, who countenance violence to force people to live according to their doctrines.

Hagee is an extreme example of the religious "true believer", while Stalin and his successors (including the warmonger Hitchens) exemplify the certitude of atheism and materialism. I think you'd be hard pressed to disprove that, of late, greater atrocities have been committed in the pursuit of the secular, rather than the religious, ideal.

Terry, While we may see it as a war for oil...the Islamists see it as a Jihad.

Jesus is a crutch. You don't need Jesus or Buddha or Mohammed or any other prophet or false god to love thy neighbor.

As for wars fought wholly or partially in the name of religion or because of religious differences over the past century, where have you been?

I'll give you WWI, which had no significant religious content as far as I can recall. WWII, of course gave us the Holocaust. Many others have had more explicit religious bases or origins.

A partial list:

-- The Irish Civil War (Protestants against Catholics)

-- All the wars from 1948 to the present between Israel and its neighbors

-- The Sudanese Civil War (Phase I began in 1957. Phase II broke out in 1985 when the Khartoum government tried to impose Sharia law on the non-Muslim southern region.)

-- The war in Kashmir between surrogates of Islamic Pakistan and Hindu India

-- The insurrection in Russia between Muslim Chechnyans and the Russian government

-- The 8-year war between Iraq (Sunni-dominated at the time) and Iran (Shiia)

-- The current civil war between Sunnis and Shiias in Iraq

-- The ongoing attempt by insurrectionists in Algeria to overthrow the government and impose a strict Muslim government.

-- The civil war in Lebanon (Shiia Hezbollah versus secular Muslims and Maronite Christians)

-- The civil war in Sri Lanka (Buddhists versus Hindus)

Some scholars argue that the Cold War was also religious in that Communism was an ideology that had many of the same attributes as a religion. It was ideological, organized, messianic, and expansionist. I refer you to the 1949 book by Arthur Koestler entitled "The God That Failed." The book documents how he and other communists lost faith -- yes faith -- in communism.

-- And, of course, the current biggie -- the worldwide terrorist attacks of Al-Qaida and its affiliates since at least 1993. Al-Qaida is not associated with a specific country, but its announced objective is to establish an Islamic caliphate.

You can make all kinds of arguments about how Israel, Israeli policies, the U.S., and U.S. policies helped give birth to Al-Qaida. But even if these are true or partially true, you have to be willfully deaf or biased to ignore the fact that AQ explicitly justifies its attacks in the name of Islam.

Ban all religions.

No, but you probably do need Jesus to accept the "unreasonable" suggestion to "love your enemies", which is what I wrote.

None of the biggies --the ones with the most casualties-- of the 20th century had anything to do with religion, even WWII. It's a stretch to attribute Hitler's hatred of the Jews to any religious sentiment. The others --Korea and Vietnam-- were fought to stymie the spread of communism.

Speaking of which, you confirm what I wrote about the certitude of atheism in turning communism into a religion. All the true belief "isms", including secularism, have characteristics of institutionalized religion.

Humans are by nature religious. Why else would anyone love his neighbor?

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