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Religious vs. Political Motivation for Jihadists

 
lynmc
 
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lynmc
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02 August 2017 09:50
 
NL. - 31 July 2017 04:15 PM
Brick Bungalow - 30 July 2017 08:13 PM

I agree but I also think we have a serious problem when certain people disclaim religion as the source in their very first comment about a terrorist incident as it’s unfolding. Hillary Clinton, for instance has gotten on camera within hours of these attacks and before expressing grief for the victims or any intention to prosecute justice spends twenty minutes denying that religion has anything to do with it. This is what creates the pressure to state the obvious.


Does it necessarily, though?


I feel like I’m usually the one arguing the other angle when it comes to matters of religion on this general forum, so rather than play the same old tune for the millionth time, I’m going to propose a thought experiment that I have open intuitions on (meaning, I regard it more with koan-like puzzlement than a decided stance). The idea being that perhaps this will be more of an intuition hack than a repetition of the same points.


A couple of notes:

- A point of protest I foresee arising is that these examples are not all identical - some are ideologies, some are pseudo-ideologies, and some are the absence of an ideology. For the pseudo-ideologies, please understand how I’m comparing them to ideologies. ‘Doctor’ or ‘police’ is not an ideology in the sense that “All doctors think the same way, ergo it’s an ideology” - that is NOT what I’m implying. However, the consensual agreement of literally billions of people that “Meeting X, Y and Z requirements to be given the title ‘doctor’ or ‘police’ does in fact allow a person the authority to wield life and death power over other people’s lives, a tradeoff we all agree to for utilitarian purposes.”. THIS intersubjective agreement is where I think ‘professions’ have a categorical overlap with ‘ideologies’.


Regarding the lack of an ideology, as in atheism / the value-free quality of science - I am NOT claiming “it’s an ideology in and of itself”. I AM saying that a thing and its opposite have a conceptual relationship that is worth examining, though. When we say “lack of a morally realist (i.e., religious) ideology doesn’t cause X”, what is that analogous to saying? Is it like saying “It’s ridiculous to say that child grew up to be a criminal because of bad parenting! Why, his parents were so careful not to put any bad ideas into his head, they didn’t teach him anything at all, they never let him anywhere near a school! So how could he have gotten bad ideas from them, it must have come from elsewhere!”? Or is it like saying “That person is not a stamp collector, and everyone knows a lack of stamp collecting leads to troublesome behavior! He would have grown up fine if only they’d gotten him into stamp collecting!”? As always, knowing what analogies are accurate is a big part of intuitions, and again, I’m not reaching conclusions here, only framing an experiment.


Anyways. That said, what would your reaction be in each of these scenarios? (And try to literally picture it happening in real life, not just read through it - like literally think of this being on the news.) Would you find it obfuscating? An honorable show of support? A terrible thing to say? A bizarrely random thing to say, i.e., something we wouldn’t really even think about saying in our paradigm? Sensible? Poor taste? Just weird and inexplicable? Etc.


And then… what is the difference here? What accounts for those different reactions? (Again, I’m not leading up to a certain answer, I genuinely don’t know myself, it just occurred to me that this is an interesting way of thinking about it.) I’ll start with yours and go from there:


Hillary Clinton, for instance has gotten on camera within hours of these attacks… denying that religion has anything to do with it.


There is a news report on death and displacement caused by the Peligre Dam. The news report is quick to say that of course we should not blame neoliberalism for this problem.


A famous person dies on the operating able due to medical error. The news report is quick to say that of course we should not blame the institution of medicine / profession of doctors for this tragedy.


An atomic bomb goes off in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The news report is quick to say that of course we should not blame scientific progress and research for this tragedy.


A Seventh Day Adventist child dies for lack of a blood transfusion. The news report is quick to say that of course we should not blame religion for this tragedy.


A gang member shoots a member of a rival gang for showing disrespect to his gang colors, shouting as he shoots that his gang is the best. The news report is quick to say that of course we should not blame belief in the greatness of one’s gang on this tragedy.


A child dies in an auto accident over an issue that the company heard reports of but did not want to conduct a recall on. The news report is quick to say that of course we should not blame capitalism for this tragedy.


A child dies of a treatable disease due to drug pricing caused in large part by the cost of lawsuits, profit margins, and stockholders. The news report is quick to say that of course we should not blame torte issue or investors for this tragedy.


A police officer fires an unarmed man, erroneously believing him to be reaching for his weapon. The news report is quick to say that of course we should not blame the institution of policing for this tragedy.


A member of Black Lives Matter kills a police officer. The news report is quick to say that of course we should not blame Black Lives Matter for this tragedy.


An atheist USSR brutally murders millions of its own citizens. The history book is quick to say that of course this had nothing to do with atheism.


An environmental protest turns into a riot and people set fires, killing an elderly woman in a nearby residence. The news report is quick to say that of course the protestors cause has nothing to do with this tragedy.


Greece experiences a financial disaster and goes bankrupt, for all intents and purposes. The news report is quick to say that of course socialism has nothing to do with this tragedy.


A family of refugees is returned to their violent home country and murdered by the gang to whom they owe money. The news report is quick to say that of course nationalism has nothing to do with this tragedy.


A feminist throws a bottle at a security guard during a protest, lacerating his arm. The news report is quick to say that of course feminism has nothing to do with this tragedy.


So those are a few example. My question is - did you respond to all of them the same way? And, if not, what is the deciding factor when it comes to intuitions here, why do they differ where they do? Again, I’m not pointing at any given answer here, I’m musing over this myself.

Of course, in denying that something (a philosophy, a group) causes violence, one implies that it might very well cause violence.  The incidents you cite aren’t particularly parallel, not all can be categorized as violence, and your proposed “news report” often doesn’t blame the most likely party or philosophy for the incident.

I suspect one’s reaction depends on one’s initial image of the group to which person committing the violent act belongs.  Someone who thinks blacks are (or tend to be) violence-prone criminals might very well think the “Black Lives Matter” point of view is to blame when one of their members kills a cop.  Someone who thinks feminists are lesbian man-haters and that women should stay at home and take care of the children might be inclined to blame feminism for a bottle thrown at a cop during a protest.  Similarly, someone whose image of Muslims is that they’re violence-prone fanatics (and whose image of Christians is that they’re civilized and peaceful) is inclined to blame Islam for religious violence by Muslims (and go to great lengths to explain why Christianity isn’t to blame for Christian violence)

 
NL.
 
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02 August 2017 12:52
 
lynmc - 02 August 2017 09:50 AM

Of course, in denying that something (a philosophy, a group) causes violence, one implies that it might very well cause violence.  The incidents you cite aren’t particularly parallel, not all can be categorized as violence, and your proposed “news report” often doesn’t blame the most likely party or philosophy for the incident.


According to who? You? And based on what? That’s the entire point of this thought experiment, so just saying “Well, clearly some of these examples are wrong and some are right because I know so” kind of defeats the purpose. I purposely picked a wide range of examples on various sides in order to evoke different intuitions and discuss where those intuitions come from, not make a truth claim about the causality of large scale social events (which no one can claim to do.) The point is not whether you consider these right or wrong, the point is why you consider them right or wrong, what thought processes and intuitions go into that.

 

I suspect one’s reaction depends on one’s initial image of the group to which person committing the violent act belongs. Someone who thinks blacks are (or tend to be) violence-prone criminals might very well think the “Black Lives Matter” point of view is to blame when one of their members kills a cop.  Someone who thinks feminists are lesbian man-haters and that women should stay at home and take care of the children might be inclined to blame feminism for a bottle thrown at a cop during a protest.  Similarly, someone whose image of Muslims is that they’re violence-prone fanatics (and whose image of Christians is that they’re civilized and peaceful) is inclined to blame Islam for religious violence by Muslims (and go to great lengths to explain why Christianity isn’t to blame for Christian violence)


I think this is certainly a part of it. I also find for myself, however, that I can think of many examples where I am simultaneously critical of a paradigm or ideology - capitalism and socialism, for example - without viewing it in black and white terms. I can admit that almost every ideology has relative pros and cons and good points and bad points (for the cultural aspects of religion, btw, I would say the ‘pros’ are moral realism to counterbalance moral nihilism; and very possibly a large-scale framework for cooperation that allows for developing societies to grow in a way we haven’t seen replicated via secular methods.) But in thinking about these examples, I notice some different parameters, i.e.:


- How likely is it that the idea in question is really going to be criticized at all? There are in fact cases where it’s extremely unlikely, not because it’s taboo, but because there’s just so little disagreement about the framework. When we see a case of horrific child abuse on the news, does anyone call the institution of parenting into question, bang their fist on a table and say “If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, things like this wouldn’t be allowed to happen if all children were raised in government sponsored care facilities, and this is just more proof! How much more proof do these fools need before they see the light!”. This is pretty much the same for professions like doctors, nurses, teachers, and so on.


Don’t get me wrong, I agree with this, and I have no problem with this framing - but I think we should just notice that it is a framing, that these are cases where we could hypothetically see similar controversies and yet we pretty much don’t. What does that tell us about our intuitions, in terms of how various elements frame them?


- For topics that are debated, how strong is the reaction likely to be? While people do have lively and nuanced debates about things like economic and foreign policy philosophies, there are some ideologies that do in fact cause direct harm when you look at the ‘cons’ list, and yet the idea that people would be up in arms about them is remote. Does neoliberal thinking cause problems sometimes? Yes. Is neoliberalism ‘off limits’ as a topic of criticism? Of course not. Would there be any worry that neoliberals would be demonized and targeted immediately in the wake of a tragedy where this philosophy was implicated? Pretty much no, people might discuss it in the abstract but you wouldn’t have angry voters in the streets demanding safeguards be put in place around neoliberals. (This is why I’m more ok with the public calls for protection of many groups - from Muslims to police officers - after lightening rod events. It’s not about blocking debate, it’s about knowing who’s likely to be encircled by the proverbial angry pitchforks.)


- If there are ideologies where the intuition is that at least ‘most’ criticism is unwarranted - whether we say this explicitly or just feel it intuitively, as in your intuition that those who criticize feminists must be driven by a belief that all women belong at home - why is this? What’s different about these ideologies? (I am not a fan of the idea that any ideology or framework should be beyond any criticism, btw, but I do think context is very important. For example, Andrew Sullivan (who I often agree with and find pretty intuitive about people’s perspectives and motivations,) puzzled me with this quote recently:

I fear that the truth is Islam has become an untouchable shibboleth for some on the left. What they lacerate in other religions, they refuse to mention in Islam. Sexism, homophobia, the death penalty for apostasy … all of this is to be rationalized if the alternative is Islamophobia. Why, one wonders? Is it because Muslims are a small minority? But the same could be said for Jews. My best guess is simply that, for the far left, anything that is predominantly “of color” is preferable to anything, like Judaism and Christianity, that can usually be described as “white.” That’s how “intersectionality” can be used to defend what would otherwise be indefensible. The preoccupation with race on the far left is now so deep, in other words, it’s becoming simply an inversion of that on the far right.


I was really surprised that “Because we’ve killed millions of Muslims over the past couple of decade, deaths which are often fueled by anti-Muslim rhetoric” didn’t occur to him. I mean of course people are sensitive about the topic, we are not talking about some fuzzy abstract threat involving the threat of people’s feelings being hurt, we’re talking about millions of deaths. (I do not, btw, think this is a simplistic issue and was simply caused by anti-Islam sentiment - there have been legitimate terror threats that the US has had to contend with - but those sentiments and the focus on them has been fuel to the fire.) So yeah, I think when millions of your people have been killed, certain groups do get a bit of a pass on a constant “pointing out of one’s faults” for awhile, I’m sorry, but I do. Not terrorists, of course, that is a different ballgame, but the innocent population surrounding them? Yes, I think there is a time and a place to lay off the rhetoric and criticism for awhile. Is anyone protesting the human rights workers who go into villages and work with locals to stop the practice of FGM? Of course not. Because that is an entirely different context - so yeah, I do understand the idea of wanting to limit criticism in certain contexts,, even if not as an absolute.


I’m sure there are a few more points in here I’d like to dissect but out of time for now - may post more if I think of them later.

 
Kalessin
 
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02 August 2017 16:30
 

For example, Andrew Sullivan (who I often agree with and find pretty intuitive about people’s perspectives and motivations,) puzzled me with this quote recently:
“I fear that the truth is Islam has become an untouchable shibboleth for some on the left. What they lacerate in other religions, they refuse to mention in Islam. Sexism, homophobia, the death penalty for apostasy … all of this is to be rationalized if the alternative is Islamophobia. Why, one wonders? Is it because Muslims are a small minority? But the same could be said for Jews. My best guess is simply that, for the far left, anything that is predominantly “of color” is preferable to anything, like Judaism and Christianity, that can usually be described as “white.” That’s how “intersectionality” can be used to defend what would otherwise be indefensible. The preoccupation with race on the far left is now so deep, in other words, it’s becoming simply an inversion of that on the far right.”
I was really surprised that “Because we’ve killed millions of Muslims over the past couple of decade, deaths which are often fueled by anti-Muslim rhetoric” didn’t occur to him. I mean of course people are sensitive about the topic, we are not talking about some fuzzy abstract threat involving the threat of people’s feelings being hurt, we’re talking about millions of deaths.

All thought-provoking stuff.  My first question on this was - is it really the “millions of deaths” that give pause?  Not that such a thing might or should not give pause, but just whether the very selective sensitivity argued in the Sullivan quote (where some but not other religions can be routinely subjected to criticism) is actually a reflection of this.  It might be, but the universalist defences of Islam I have heard (or the accusations of Islamophobia) are not often based on someone’s lack of sensitivity about the victims of recent conflicts, but more often about general cultural considerations, often involving racism.

My second thought was, that might be a good reason to be sensitive in dealing with individuals, especially those affected by conflict, but should particular political injustices mean that criticising certain ideas is out of bounds?  For example, what about Saudi Arabia or Qatar, neither of which have experienced millions of deaths as a results of Western activity.  Is it acceptable to look at the religious tenets underpinning Saudi society and ask critical questions? 

Finally, I wondered whether there any immediately obvious counterfactuals which invalidate the Sullivan position - such as “no, the left are right there readily criticising African, Asian or Latin American countries that are oppressive or corrupt, and don’t just focus on Europe, the US and Israel” ... again my experience of that is relatively thin. 

My personal view is that it should be possible to debate and critique any ideas in a civil and respectful way, and really at any time, within certain bounds of goodwill and decency.  No one in their right mind would approach a grieving mother of a drone attack victim in Pakistan and initiate a hard-hitting discussion about specific hadiths, but that is not where these interactions take place.  No one who joins this forum, for example, should be offended or outraged by a civil debate about the validity of any religious tenets per se (unless they thought this was a baseball discussion board).  And one’s identity shouldn’t invalidate or strengthen any argument unless it provides some level of evidential weight (so saying “as a Jew I find your questioning of circumcision deplorable and racist” is unnecessary, since you don’t have to be a Jew to disagree with a position or consider it racist), for example through relevant personal history or cultural expertise.

Kalessin

 
NL.
 
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02 August 2017 17:58
 
Kalessin - 02 August 2017 04:30 PM

All thought-provoking stuff.  My first question on this was - is it really the “millions of deaths” that give pause?  Not that such a thing might or should not give pause, but just whether the very selective sensitivity argued in the Sullivan quote (where some but not other religions can be routinely subjected to criticism) is actually a reflection of this.  It might be, but the universalist defences of Islam I have heard (or the accusations of Islamophobia) are not often based on someone’s lack of sensitivity about the victims of recent conflicts, but more often about general cultural considerations, often involving racism.


I don’t think people are generally very good about describing the source of their own intuitions. Yeah, I think the wars of the past couple of decades have a lot to do with the shift in attitude. But that’s my opinion, obviously.

 

My second thought was, that might be a good reason to be sensitive in dealing with individuals, especially those affected by conflict, but should particular political injustices mean that criticising certain ideas is out of bounds?  For example, what about Saudi Arabia or Qatar, neither of which have experienced millions of deaths as a results of Western activity.  Is it acceptable to look at the religious tenets underpinning Saudi society and ask critical questions?


I think currently Saudi Arabia is one of the few Muslim majority countries that it is acceptable for the “Hard Left” to harshly criticize, which is part of how I came to the conclusion that I did.

 

Finally, I wondered whether there any immediately obvious counterfactuals which invalidate the Sullivan position - such as “no, the left are right there readily criticising African, Asian or Latin American countries that are oppressive or corrupt, and don’t just focus on Europe, the US and Israel” ... again my experience of that is relatively thin.

 


I’m not sure what you mean here - counterfactual to what point or position, exactly (since we’ve been throwing around a few in this thread.) In a ‘sponge absorbing zeitgeist’ kinda way, I can very much say that when I was young, it was acceptable to post things on MySpace about topics like misogyny and FGM in Muslim majority countries and go “Oh my gaaaaaawd, this is so awfuuul, type “Yes” if you agree”. Over a decade later, the “Acceptable American Nice Girl stance” on African, Asian, and Latin American countries (where the social-media worthy concerns are famine/war; sex trade/dog eating festivals; and gangs/drug violence, respectively,) have not changed much at all, whereas the parameters around Middle Eastern countries have changed enormously. Only one of those variables changed, so yeah, it seems to me that there is anecdotal support for my POV here.

My personal view is that it should be possible to debate and critique any ideas in a civil and respectful way, and really at any time, within certain bounds of goodwill and decency.  No one in their right mind would approach a grieving mother of a drone attack victim in Pakistan and initiate a hard-hitting discussion about specific hadiths, but that is not where these interactions take place.  No one who joins this forum, for example, should be offended or outraged by a civil debate about the validity of any religious tenets per se (unless they thought this was a baseball discussion board).  And one’s identity shouldn’t invalidate or strengthen any argument unless it provides some level of evidential weight (so saying “as a Jew I find your questioning of circumcision deplorable and racist” is unnecessary, since you don’t have to be a Jew to disagree with a position or consider it racist), for example through relevant personal history or cultural expertise.


“Selective attention” is an extremely slippery, nuanced topic, and one in which I think every single one of us can be incredibly hypocritical. We feel righteously indignant when accused of it - “What, if I don’t comment on every ill in the world I have a malicious fixation on _____! That’s ridiculous!”. And of course there’s truth in that, people specialize in certain fields of knowledge and have particular concerns they focus on and so on, be it the environment or poverty or violence. And yet when we see other people engaging in it in different contexts, yeah, we’re human, a part of us is not going to go “Well I mean it’s not like that guy from the deep South with a Confederate flag on his blog can post about every ill in the world, he is just devoting his time to reporting on every crime he sees in the news that involves black people! He must have a special concern for them!”. I don’t really have a good answer for that, other than to say we are subjective beings who operate via subjective impressions, and ultimately there’s no getting around that unless we hand the world over to robots, ha ha!

 
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03 August 2017 12:40
 
NL. - 02 August 2017 12:52 PM
lynmc - 02 August 2017 09:50 AM

Of course, in denying that something (a philosophy, a group) causes violence, one implies that it might very well cause violence.  The incidents you cite aren’t particularly parallel, not all can be categorized as violence, and your proposed “news report” often doesn’t blame the most likely party or philosophy for the incident.


According to who? You? And based on what? That’s the entire point of this thought experiment, so just saying “Well, clearly some of these examples are wrong and some are right because I know so” kind of defeats the purpose. I purposely picked a wide range of examples on various sides in order to evoke different intuitions and discuss where those intuitions come from, not make a truth claim about the causality of large scale social events (which no one can claim to do.) The point is not whether you consider these right or wrong, the point is why you consider them right or wrong, what thought processes and intuitions go into that.

 

For a similar reason that if you’re told, “don’t think of an elephant”, you think of an elephant.  Just saying something doesn’t cause violence raises the question.

I didn’t say any were right or wrong, perhaps I didn’t phrase my comment correctly.  In e.g. the doctor’s case, you clearly state it was an accident, that’s different from intentional violence such as throwing a bottle at a policeman.  In some cases blame of specific organizations or parties (Black Lives Matter, the institution of policing, investors) is denied, in some cases a cause, philosophy or religion (environmentalism, capitalism, nationalism).  And in some cases, you picked a cause that (I think) fewer people would blame, e.g.  atheism for the U.S.S.R. murders rather than communism, although perhaps it’s a good idea to throw atheism into the mix.

I think it’s a great thought experiment anyway.

 
NL.
 
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03 August 2017 13:47
 
lynmc - 03 August 2017 12:40 PM

I didn’t say any were right or wrong, perhaps I didn’t phrase my comment correctly.  In e.g. the doctor’s case, you clearly state it was an accident, that’s different from intentional violence such as throwing a bottle at a policeman.  In some cases blame of specific organizations or parties (Black Lives Matter, the institution of policing, investors) is denied, in some cases a cause, philosophy or religion (environmentalism, capitalism, nationalism).  And in some cases, you picked a cause that (I think) fewer people would blame, e.g.  atheism for the U.S.S.R. murders rather than communism, although perhaps it’s a good idea to throw atheism into the mix.

I think it’s a great thought experiment anyway.


Thanks. And the above response is the kind of thing I was thinking of, that interests me here. For example, you and Sam Harris (ironically, ha ha!) seem to share an intuition of idealism, that the mere fact of being driven by a certain creed or intentions, regardless of outcomes, counts for a great deal. So to you it is almost nonsensical to include doctors as an example because they do not intentionally harm people. I agree, and my intuitions are similar - but hypothetically, I don’t think there’s anything that says you have to frame it that way. You could also say “We know, with pretty much 100% certainty, that if you allow the institution of medicine to exist, a certain number of people will die as a result of medical error.” You are essentially giving a nod and a “go ahead” to those deaths, in supporting medicine. (The word ‘violence’ speaks to intent, after all. The end result - ‘death’ - does not. [Although that aside, my examples were all supposed to be of things that people generally find unanimously ‘bad’ outcomes if applied to themselves, not violence specifically].)


Another example I’ve heard Harris and Glenn Greenwald use is the idea of speed limits - we mentally sign off on a huge number of deaths by not having the speed limit at 30 across the country. These deaths of innocent men women and children are not caused intentionally, true, but we know in advance that they are unavoidable under those circumstances, for all intents and purposes we know they are going to happen, it’s not a matter of ‘if’. But for the sake of driving faster, we will sign a death warrant for an unlucky percentage of the population provided there is no ill intent involved and the victims are chosen at random, not pre-selected - somehow this configuration is green lighted through our moral intuitions.


In the case of religion, btw, my intuitions differ from Harris’s not because of idealism (because, as I said, it seems all three of us probably share that moral intuition, whether right or wrong, wise or simply enculturated), but because I think he takes an overly literal view of religion, as if it is computer code that simply gets inserted into a person’s head and gets run in the same manner until ‘modernity’, as he says, chips away at it. (This was his original view, at least, it may be somewhat modified now that he has encouraged more of a ‘reformist’ stance on religion, I don’t know. I have heard him make a couple of references to at least the debatability of religion as functional, so maybe.) Maybe I am simply moving the goalposts since I am still somewhat religious myself (albeit in a bizarre, hybrid, “undertones of new age and techno utopia combined with the softer side of Buddhism and Christianity” way that would probably make the founders of any actual recognized world religion face palm about what the world is coming to,) but my intuitions are based on the idea that:


- Religion does in fact promote violence at times - however, not in a way that appears to be any difference from any ‘protect the tribe’ style violence. That is a terrible ill but not one where anyone can claim innocence unless they are a total pacifist - and one could arguably say that pacifist religions cause violence as well, or at least create a situation that allows for it - pacifists simply choose themselves as the victims of said violence. Do I find that more morally noble? Of course - but again, that’s based on an idealism that is simply my gut intuition. For all I know a world full of 90% complete pacifists and 10% greedy jerks would actually be one of the bloodiest possible worlds out there.


- There are no examples, that I know of, of societies that have formed the necessary cohesion and culture of cooperation required for, well, building a society and a rule of law, without some form of tribal ideology. There are no examples of warfare tearing down tribal ideologies only to reveal the utopian humanitarianism that was hiding underneath - tearing down one tribal ideology only seems to knock people further down on that ladder, to an even more tribal one.


- My intuition is that it’s simply unlikely that huge groups of humans believe stories they cannot empirically verify for no particular reason. It seems extremely likely to me that various ideologies catch on because they are relatively better or worse at piggybacking on to psychological capacities that were subject to millions of years of evolution and which we we probably understand very little. In that sense I think religion is more formulaic than literal, or functional than literal, even if it often has to be understood literally in order to achieve this.

 
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14 November 2017 15:20
 

If you would say that “the desire to increase one’s political/ideological power” is a political motivation, then of COURSE there is a political motivation for jihadists.  Obviously there are religious motivations as well which have been discussed ad nauseam here.

But I think this whole discussion is a bit pointless for people who aren’t Muslims or don’t live around Muslims or don’t have a platform within the Muslim world.  We can debate causes until we’re blue in the face but if we don’t use the obvious problems with Islamic terrorism to keep jihadists from entering the areas in which we live (when they are still disproportionately in the MENA region), then this debate will unfortunately end up being little more than an intellectual circle-jerk in my view.

Again, the only way I see this topic being of any significant use is if it’s a conversation had with Muslims - not among atheists.  And even then, are the Muslims who are most interested in an earnest discussion about this representative of Muslim communities throughout Europe and the US?  I don’t actually know the answer to that but it would seem an important question if we’re trying to use our valuable time wisely in a world full of threats and ideological pathogens.

I’m also perfectly happy to have someone point out why I personally should care whether it’s a political or religion problem or both.  I don’t see what actions I could possibly take based on answering that question - I DO see what actions I could take based on the observation that Islamic terrorism is a massive problem which we need not expose ourselves to with further Islamic immigration.

Bottom line is, jihadism disproportionately exists outside the US and I want it to remain that way, whether the cause is religion, politics, or both.

[ Edited: 20 November 2017 13:03 by Quadrewple]
 
 
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