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Silence of the Flock

30 Nov

I should state before you read this, that I have a problem with terrorism from whatever religion is purported to be, it just so happens this post is based on a Muslim’s comments and caught me at a time when I was paticularly grouchy.  So taking a leaf out of Ren’s book I went for a bit of politics and as ever I welcome any constructive disagreements on the piece below, as challenging and thought-provoking discussion is always good.

I don’t normally get political and whilst I was reticent to do so as I have neither the eloquence or the patience for such things usually; coupled with the face that this blog is usually an outlet for book passion and whimsy I felt I had to deconstruct an article I read on Facebook entitled Moderate Muslim: Where Are All The Moderate Christians Denouncing Planned Parenthood Shooting?

Usually it’s a stimulating pastime to pick something off the net to research and argue it, I am continually trying to challenge my critical thinking, what I know and from what source I derive it.  Anyway I couldn’t sleep and Idly started reading this wonderful gem (full link above) uttered by 27-year-old Muslim Anika kaber and felt the need to write about it

“I just want America to be the kind of country where I don’t have to denounce assholes that have nothing to do with me and where other people don’t have to fall on the sword for people they don’t know. That’s not American. That’s not even common sense. We need to get back to the place where it’s just presumed that good people condemn bad people, no matter what political or religious group they belong to”.

Complacency is a wonderful thing, let us assume from silence that we are condemning bad people for the carnage both politically and ideologically, how did that work out for the silent majorities in 20th century, Russia, Germany, China, Japan, any number of African countries and so forth because the list goes on and the body counts gets more astronomical the more you research.

These ‘assholes’ claim to represent her religion, she should be angry, irrespective of the beliefs she has, she should be condemning the violence, as should we all. Using other people’s silence or lack of conviction as an excuse not to speak out is both a stupid, irrelevant and a lazy course of action, the silence of the majority of moderate Muslims  could seem to this outsider to be tacit agreement rather than condemnation.  (To balance this there is a growing movement of condemnation but this isn’t reported much in the press, unsurprisingly)

“But until that day comes, yeah, I’m going to speak out every time a white, middle-aged, Christian fundamentalist goes on an anti-abortion killing spree and the same bastards who demand that I bow and scrape to them over the Paris attacks don’t immediately condemn people of their own ilk. Sue me.”

By all accounts there has been no clear motive mentioned yet but let’s assume (as is most likely) that it is an attack by a Christian terrorist, this man was a recluse and seemingly had little contact with the outside world according to locals, which would back up the lone wolf theory that the media are reporting.  Nonetheless it will be interesting to see if Christians do stand up and condemn him over the coming days and it is right that they do.  I’m not sure why Kaber feels the need to bow and scrape so dramatically when a simple denouncement would be enough.

There is a schism in Christian politics (especially and most vehemently in the US) that has been highlighted many times before which is due to the Reformation which has both seismically shifted the West’s understanding and views on Biblical texts (or perhaps that should be confused it), allowing for discussion on such things as contraceptives and abortion, re-examining the texts has been something undertaken in both Judaism and Christianity and should be under continual scrutiny.  Islam being a younger religion has steadfastly refused this self-examination which I fear is both dangerous and myopic, especially in the face of the violence that continues every day.

“the fact is that since that day far, far more Americans have been killed in domestic mass shooting events than have been killed in Islamic terrorist attacks. So why do they insist,” she asked rhetorically, “on demanding that I apologize for the Paris attacks and specifically condemn those psychopaths, but they get to just put their hands up and slide-step six paces to the right away from this Planned Parenthood shooter?”

The rarity of attacks on American soil is partly down to the foiling of plots and the tightening of security, whilst there have been a lot of shootings in the US, there have been many more killings (of many different nationalities including the US) that have been carried out abroad in the name of this religion that Western Media hasn’t given much coverage to but nevertheless attest to a shocking waste of innocent human life.

The arguments Kaber uses are generally weak, working on the assumption that the motive is established which it, in all fairness probably will be as expected, he was acting alone.  Lets not misdirect ourselves here, he didn’t learn how to kill in a training camp, did not murder people in the hope his own soul would enjoy 72 virgin (which in itself could be a mistranslation) or any other reward.

The biggest threat to the world are Islamic fundamentalists and whilst what happened in Colorado was abhorrent and should be vilified by everybody, with the church leading the way, we should not back down to any religious person who thinks their divine duty includes murder, as soon as we do that, they will just keep pushing.

Should Christians condemn the shooting, absolutely they should and Kaber is right to bring attention to the fact they seem to be quiet at the moment but should she use that as an excuse to ‘slide-step six paces to the right away’ herself, certainly not!  Is it not morally unacceptable to pick and chose what crimes we speak out against.

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43 Comments

Posted by on 30/11/2015 in Philosophy, Politics

 

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43 responses to “Silence of the Flock

  1. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder

    30/11/2015 at 21:02

    I’ve a problem with terrorism too and, I believe no religion nowhere has stated to kill other people practising a different religion. No God, Allah, Brahma or whatever other names the Ultimate Creator is called with, has never inspired to spill blood of others. It’s some political leaders, some fanatical fundamentalists, some gurus, who, for their ulterior motives make common people do so wearing the mask of religion!

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    • Ste J

      30/11/2015 at 21:11

      It is the wielding of power and being able to influence people that is intoxicating and of course the people who commits the acts of terrorism are the gullible or unintelligent. The lack of critical thinking in society troubles me, in understanding the religion they follow or just in general.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Maniparna Sengupta Majumder

        30/11/2015 at 21:18

        Right..they are gullible enough and as we all know, religion is the opium of the masses…

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        • Ste J

          01/12/2015 at 15:17

          Religion is one of the big magnets for people who wish to have a reason for violence for their own warped causes that they use in religion’s name. Having said that there are a lot of odious people out there who play on people’s faith and who misunderstand the whole thing. If people which to believe that’s fine but it doesn’t give them any right to force their opinions on others and expect them to supersede any other ideas and thoughts.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Maniparna Sengupta Majumder

            01/12/2015 at 17:47

            Still, I have hope Ste J, one day I hope we will understand that there is no other religion but religion of humanity… 🙂

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  2. Lyn

    30/11/2015 at 22:24

    I am a Christian. Yes, a born-again, Bible-believing, Christ is my Savior, Christian. And I do not in anyway approve of what Robert Lewis Dear did at the planned parenthood clinic in Colorado. It was every bit as abhorrent to God, (and should be also to any right thinking Christian) as any terrorist attack. I will also state, I do not approve of abortion. As far as I’m concerned, abortion is also murder. I can give you chapter and verse in the Bible to support my views, but I’m not going to, because it is not my place to judge those who have an abortion, or those who perform them. If I were of child bearing age and found myself pregnant because I’d been raped, would I have an abortion? In all honesty, I do not know. That is also another reason I will never condemn someone who has had an abortion.

    I hate the term “fundamentalist Christian,” because far too often, it besmirches moderate Christians. Don’t get me wrong, I know some so-called “fundamentalists,” and I’d like to give some of them a good swift kick up the backside while wearing hobnailed boots. You are absolutely right, Ste, we moderate (normal?) Christians should speak out against every form of terrorism.

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    • Ste J

      01/12/2015 at 15:57

      There are some movements in America to ban abortion in some states, meaning some women would not even get the choice were a sexual attack to happen. That sadly is what happens when politics and religion is allowed to mix but that is a whole other post which I am frankly to lazy to do at the moment.

      Fundamentalism is reported with the hysteria it is because it sells papers, a lot of the time good journalism is passed over in favour of a dramatic headline, personally I think it is up to everybody to register disapproval of something they disagree with and to distance themselves from the crazier element, that goes for all things in life.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  3. Jill Weatherholt

    30/11/2015 at 23:15

    “We should not back down to any religious person who thinks their divine duty includes murder.” Amen, Ste J.

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    • Ste J

      01/12/2015 at 14:39

      I’m all for people having a faith but when that belief causes harm to things and people that are in conflict with it and then they have the temerity to cause violence in its name, well perhaps I should start seeking out people who read e-books and break them, justifying it with my traditionalist book views. Ridiculous, we all have to get along and compromise otherwise the world would be a blood bath.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  4. clarepooley33

    01/12/2015 at 00:50

    I agree with you Ste and with Maniparna. Just tried to put thoughts into word and failed abjectly as too tired. Will try again tomorrow.

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    • Ste J

      01/12/2015 at 15:01

      Sleep, the ambrosia I lack as well at the moment. Ironically it was my lack of sleep that gave me the time to write the post lol.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • clarepooley33

        01/12/2015 at 21:10

        I am so glad I don’t have to do night shifts! I have trouble sleeping as it is but night work would send me crazy!
        What I tried to say last night was this – activists of any type are difficult to live with as they have no idea how the rest of the world functions (for example Animal Liberationists). When politics and/or religion is involved and these people are put in power over others then there is always trouble. They are positive that they have right on their side and eventually will not tolerate any opposition. Think of the Nazi Party in Germany. They often start off supporting down-trodden and weak groups and they accumulate followers who really believe that their lives will be made better and they will gain a voice and freedom. In the end there is only subjugation and brain-washing – terrorism and fear.

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        • Ste J

          02/12/2015 at 15:37

          It is interesting how the activists only seem to have that one passion in their lives that becomes more consuming than anything else, it always leads to something of a militant streak be it in physical or just an oratory way (although that is in a poor state these days). I think a lack of education in the art of thinking about things critically is the problem, so many people are told something that they just believe without questioning, we should always question and learn, fill the gaps in our knowledge and reason, that would be the best weapon against fundamentalists.

          Liked by 1 person

           
  5. Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie

    01/12/2015 at 16:27

    I wonder where the domestic terrorists were years ago when women found themselves in back alleys, in filthy rooms, with (mostly) non doctors who were going to rid their bodies of pregnancies their families and society chastised them for…extremely harshly. It’s why, today, we have abortion clinics, the staff of which come with targets pasted to their bodies so the domestic terrorist knows who to shoot, stab, blow up. The amount of killing that has been done, on this earth, in the name of a god, is mind boggling. And it has never solved anything…for whatever reason she has…a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body…perhaps the domestic terrorist should find out why woman are making the choices they do, of course it’s so easy to blame the clinic. Not really sure I am addressing the issue presented in your post…and this after I let myself get sucked into a political discussion with the family right wing fanatic Thanksgiving Day…YIKES!!!

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    • Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie

      01/12/2015 at 16:29

      that’s “why women are making the choices they do” 🙂

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      • Ste J

        02/12/2015 at 15:11

        You are spot on with your above comments, the sad thing is that religion in general places women lower than men, I believe that is the view if the Republicans these days with what they are trying to do in the south with abortion clinics. I can understand the arguments on both the pro and anti abortion sides and why they think them but dialogue is more effective than scaring women into making the choice to go to a backstreet clinic that’s dangerous for their lives but away from the notice of deranged gunmen (and it usually is men as well).

        Whether it is morally right or wrong to have an abortion is as much about the circumstances as it is the argument, I believe and the choice should be down to the woman and nobody else, coercion by violence just breeds a backlash that will eventually fall onto the people who perpetuate the mindless shootings.

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  6. Resa

    01/12/2015 at 17:45

    There is no fun in fundamentalism. Whatever happened to “give peace a chance”? It all feels so far away. Excellent article, Ste J.

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    • Ste J

      02/12/2015 at 15:25

      Peace would be nice, the majority of people just want to get on, do their job, have some fun when off and feel safe when they go to crowded places. Peace on Earth for Christmas is postponed until next year at the very earliest it seems.

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  7. readinpleasure

    02/12/2015 at 16:15

    Fundamental, moderate or whatever we choose to label the various religions; what is wrong is wrong, Ste J. I am a bible believing Christian and proudly so and I equally condemn acts by Christians that go against the teachings of the Bible. Equally I will condemn any act by any group, Islam or not, that go against basic humanity (since I do not purport to know much about the teachings of Islam or any religion).

    You see, its so easy to make sweeping statements like the quotes above when we talk from an emotional point of view instead of making critical informed decisions based on reason.

    Then again, I can dare say that we live in terrible times, with so much happening that do not make sense; Or do they? I find answers in my Bible and it works for me, Ste J. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      02/12/2015 at 16:25

      I do always find it strange that that people that purport to follow religions of peace seem to find myriad reasons to inflict pain and death upon people. That makes me suspicious of those people’s motives and sadly it does tend to reflect on all believers when for the majority, they just want to have their faith and live their lives as it should be.

      I think the problem with Kaber’s arguments as you say, were that they were a reaction and not a thought out arguments or rebuttals. Emotion does tend to cloud our human minds more often than not but that is the way we are!

      I think the majority of people just want to get on and live a good life whatever they believe, why some people see this as a threat is beyond me but if we can effectively destroy their arguments with common sense then that would go a long way.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • readinpleasure

        02/12/2015 at 16:37

        I agree my friend. Its all about living with each other peacefully, no matter your faith. Shalom! 🙂

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    • writersideup

      05/12/2015 at 20:38

      I really don’t want to get into any kind of deep, moral conversation just now (I’ve had many over the years and I’m too tired and busy, to be honest), but I’ve been compelled to READ everyone else’s comments here. Yours, Celestine, reflects, in a very non-provoking, eloquent way, some of the thoughts I would express.

      I will simply state that: religion/faith – common sense and/or tolerance = peril. So many factors go into what people believe, from fundamentalism to atheism, that when viewed (in my opinion) realistically, there is no truly effective way for humankind to combat or rectify the problems that arise that are based on those belief systems.

      When, due to those beliefs, someone speaks out (as per the example you cited, Ste J) in a generalized and obviously uninformed manner, yes, you can speak out in opposition, but it rarely, if ever, has any positive, changing or lasting effect. Basically it’s just an outlet to voice our opinions and release the accompanying emotions.

      When, due to those beliefs, someone harms someone else, attempts to rectify or retaliate, whether through words, laws or weapons, almost always perpetuate the problems, and many times the retaliation is just as wrong/immoral/hippocritical as the inciting actions.

      As for me, I feel there is only one answer and, as you may have guessed—it is directly related to my beliefs 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

       
  8. Seyi sandra

    03/12/2015 at 20:05

    I dislike people who believe they have a right to take another person’s life in the guise of religion, they’re simply crazy. There are many things I abhor, which I should probably keep to myself, but I find it hard to rationalise a moderate Islamic Jihadist (if there’s anything like that). In a sane society, murder is wrong, whether it’s committed by a Muslim, Christian or a Buddhist, it’s still wrong. I don’t really get what that lady was rambling about. Muslims are general touchy about their god, in Nigeria, thousands have been murdered on the pretence that someone spat on the Koran.

    Great article my friend, we’ll chat again soon.

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    • Ste J

      04/12/2015 at 19:02

      Since I wrote that post there has been yet another shooting, it really is getting beyond sanity. Moderate Muslims are more defensive because the acts of terrorism perpetrated in the name of their religion is always in the news, perhaps they need to be speaking up against the hateful people that encourage the deaths of innocents…that goes for all religions and indeed political parties.

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  9. Sherri

    04/12/2015 at 08:54

    Excellent essay Ste. And now of course, we have the latest, the awful shooting in California by a husband and wife team it seems. I’m not clear on the details so won’t say more about that. But you’re right, murder is murder is murder, clear and simple. Militants of any religion who think it’s their ‘right’ to kill innocents cannot be reasoned with. They have nothing to lose and that makes them very dangerous. The media is so good at putting any and all ‘Christians’ under one umbrella…but what to them really defines true Christianity? Most decent, clear thinking people do not put moderate muslims beneath the same umbrella as Islamic terroists, but why is it that every time a ‘Christian’ commits a crime, like this crazed loner (and let’s face it, he had to be crazed to do what he did, maybe he thinks he’s Jesus…or the devil….) that so many are quick to put all ‘Christians’ in the same crazy, bible thumping category? How will this all end? How will we learn to listen to one another and stop blaming religion and hiding behind our pesonal vendettas and hatred of those we don’t understand? How indeed. Thank you my friend for your brand of courage in sharing this piece. We need more like this in these dark times.

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    • Ste J

      04/12/2015 at 19:19

      I cut it down as nobody would have stuck with me for a 3000 word essay which probably got a little off topic. It’s good to get some thoughts out every so often on the big topics and sadly it came out just before another terrible incident. The problem with the media is that the facts do get in the way of a good story, Fair enough space is at a premium but I am sure they could differentiate between denominations of religions if they could be bothered. There is too much that is reactionary coverage to bother with for me, I prefer to learn about the causes and the psychology of such things. Debate is the best weapon but these people won’t communicate because of their questionable ‘right’ of truth.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Sherri

        05/12/2015 at 12:33

        Your post stirred me up along with everything else going on for me this past week, and I had to link to it, I hope that’s okay. You make such an excellent point and yes, this reactionary coverage is unhelpful at best. I too want to know about the causes and the psychology (and I ask this very question in my post because we still don’t understand why kids kill kids in America with guns meant for war zones) because although school shootings and office shootings and church shootings and terrorist attacks are from completely different motives, the end result is exactly the same: death and carnage. Oh I could go on all day about this, but thank you so much my friend for having the courage to write this post, I salute you!

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        • Ste J

          05/12/2015 at 18:29

          Of course adding a link is okay my friend, it makes me feel all popular. I think it is less my courage in this instance that made me post but rather the sheer frustration with such things still happening and be allowed to happen. Whenever the news reports something it seems to play on people’s emotions rather than just report the facts and allow the viewers/readers/listeners to make up their own mind.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Sherri

            06/12/2015 at 17:30

            I know that frustration, I feel it too. And I still think you’re brave. You should feel all popular too 🙂

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  10. macjam47

    07/12/2015 at 12:43

    Terrific post Ste J. Terrorism has no place in this world. We should never back down, and there are no acceptable excuses for it.

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    • Ste J

      07/12/2015 at 14:25

      You’re right there aren’t any excuses, we should take a hard line on the subject and anybody who espouses it. There is no place for it in the sane world.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  11. RoSy

    12/12/2015 at 05:49

    Oh SteJ – I don’t know where to begin or end. So – I will let myself thoughts self-destruct in 1, 2, 3 POOF!
    I just don’t get so many things in this world & the older I get – the less I understand man-made / disorganized religion.
    Hate is hate. Evil is evil. And – terrorism is terrorism. :/

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    • Ste J

      14/12/2015 at 13:45

      Your last sentence says it perfectly my dear friend. The world does seem to become a stranger place but I suppose that is the nature of life throughout the ages.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  12. ajshannon2014

    06/02/2016 at 13:46

    One of the differences between Christianity and Islam (although there are many), it seems, is that the Christian message, certainly when the New Testament is given primacy (although I believe that’s a heresy in Catholicism) is inherently peaceful. If it was to be carried to it’s literal extreme, it advocates complete pacifism (which in some situations would be unjust and unreasonable). In Islam, it seems that there are just too many examples that can be taken as directly advocating violence, back when it was written and even now in the modern world. I do feel sorry for those Muslims who just want normal peaceful lives, but one cannot deny how their Quran can be used. That being said, there are always people willing to go to the extremes in different areas of life, hence we have a Christian man who attacked the members of Planned Parenthood. The world is a very unsettled place. A priest said to me a few months ago that their is no doctrine more evident in the world than Original Sin.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Ste J

      06/02/2016 at 20:56

      It does seem there will always be those willing to take religious texts in a misguided way and for their own ends, I do feel that were people from all religions to be more active in keeping an eye on these people where possible and ready to report people to the authorities if they display signs of mania then it would send a strong message.

      Islam does seem more combative, sadly I don’t really know enough about the religion, it’s customs or the thoughts of the average Muslim. Were I to know one locally, I suppose a discussion over a pint wouldn’t go down to well either sadly! I find the idea of violence from religion fascinating, by which I mean violence advocated or suggested at through Holy books.

      Out of interest why is the primacy of the New Testament heresy? Had it not been for events in the New Testament, would there have been a Catholic Church and if so would it be as it is today? Perhaps I need to delve more deeply into the 1000 odd page History of Christianity that is sitting enticingly on my shelf.

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      • ajshannon2014

        07/02/2016 at 22:33

        You’re absolutely right Ste J, I apologise, I made an error with that statement about heresy above. It is not in fact a heresy and the NT is given primacy, as Jesus is seen as the fulness of revelation of God. I got confused with a dualistic heresy called Marcionism, which denies that God in the OT is different and inferior to God in the NT. I’ve read parts of that book, ‘History of Christianity.’ Certainly an interesting read 🙂 In relation to your point about keeping an eye on the behaviour of individual within a faith community, that is of course a good idea. Rationality has to come into our actions as humans as we are obviously human beings.

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        • Ste J

          09/02/2016 at 14:08

          Marcionism is something I had come across but forgotten to look at in depth, such is the way with the internet these days with distractions aplenty and my wandering mind. I am looking forward to the History of Christianity, although I suspect there will be obscure things it will miss out as the book only seems to be just over 1000 pages, what can I say I am completist and very picky!

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          • ajshannon2014

            09/02/2016 at 21:56

            Enjoy the read 🙂 It is clear you are quite well read, it is commendable. I unfortunately lost the habit in my teens.

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            • Ste J

              10/02/2016 at 14:57

              I do like to dabble in as wide a range of subjects as possible, at the moment it is a book on the differences between African and European plays, the ideals, themes and focusses of each. It’s a good read but I do keep being distracted by the football. The habit is never lost, just misplaced.

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