ISIS has become the new terror threat, and now it appears that they have succeeded in striking in the United States, leaving 14 people dead in California. Once again, the media is trumpeting that the people carrying out the attack were "radicalized." And yet, they were a sedate married couple who left a six month old baby behind. So what really happened? What does "radicalized" actually mean? What motivates ISIS fighters to so routinely and so willingly give up their lives for their cause? What motivates the enormous financial support that what appears to be a barbaric rogue state enjoys?

In the west, there are two schools of thought regarding what should be done about ISIS. The first is that we should attack them militarily with overwhelming force and be done with it. But what happened first in Korea, then in Vietnam and most recently in Iraq strongly suggests that, aside from carrying out genocide, this approach will continue to fail. The other side counsels lifting the areas where the extremist groups operate out of poverty so that young people will have opportunities in this world that will prevent them from wanting to seek solace in the next. However, this approach is equally likely to fail. If it was effective, then financially comfortable people such as the California killers would not be doing what they do.

So what’s really wrong, and what is the solution? To understand this, it is necessary to do what essentially no non-Muslims in the west do, apart from a few academics, which is to read the Koran. But once you have understood a few very basic things about Islam, you will also understand why ISIS is so durable, and why it receives no condemnation, or very little, from so many Muslims.

First, as a person who has read the Koran in two different English translations, I can attest to the fact that it is a magnificent and comprehensive document, one of the great books of religious mysticism. It weaves powerful ideas into magnificent poetry. Arab speakers with whom I have discussed it assure me that the translations I can read pale in comparison with the actual text, which is a kind of music of the soul.

So how could it be that this music translates into something as horrible and discordant as the oppression of women, grotesque public executions, eons-long vendettas and monstrous acts of terror?

The instruction that has led to this situation comes from the body of Muslim revelation, including the Koran and the Shahada. And the idea, espoused by too many western leaders, that Islam in its present state is in some way compatible with western notions of democracy, is simply false. In Islam as it is now viewed for the most part from within the religion, there is and can be no separation of church and state. If a society is to be Islamic, then Sharia must be its code, but this code, virtually unchanged in its core for over a thousand years, cannot offer anything remotely approaching justice in a modern society, any more than the Bible can.

Western society discovered the individual during the early part of the Christian era, and the valuation and protection of the individual has, over the generations, become more and more central to it. You cannot have a free society, as we conceive it, if it is ruled by a set of religious beliefs. In Islam, religious doctrine stands above the law and above the individual, and this is why it is proving so difficult to integrate Muslims into western societies, and why the influx of immigrants now taking place will prove to be so problematic.

But why? What’s wrong that a substantial minority of Muslims do not condemn the extremists in their midst? The reason goes back to the Koran, where it was written and when. There are two basic parts to it: the Mecca suras and the Medina suras, with the Mecca suras being the earlier ones. They are also where you find the Koran’s deep humanity and its defense of the dignity of man. By contrast, the Medina suras are much more warlike, and it is there that you find the admonitions to spread Islam by force and to kill the unfaithful.

When the Mecca suras were written, Mohammad was living in peace. But when he got to Medina, he soon went to war as the head of an army and fighting for the very life of his religion. Unfortunately, Muslim scholarship has, since its earliest days, advocated that the text written last is the truest word of God, and the final suras are God’s final word to man.

This means that what appear to western eyes to be extremist groups are actually something much closer to the mainstream of Muslim belief than we prefer to believe. Of course most Muslims do not carry out or espouse extremist acts. The problem is that those who do can point with authority to their holiest of sources and say that their acts are not only condoned, but are required if one is to be a pious Muslim. Fortunately, only a minority of Muslims not only believe this, but are willing to act on their beliefs. Among those who know the Koran, the vast majority simply ignore the violent suras. They are not going to kill anybody for religious reasons, and not only that, among Muslims I know, at least in the US, there is a quiet but persistent revision of the role of women, which is more and more limiting their subordinate role to religious practice and adopting a more humane approach in social and cultural life. But it’s slow. In many a Mosque and many a Muslim-American family, the inequality of the sexes is still considered not only acceptable, but morally right.

Unfortunately, the legacy of the Ash’ari school, which taught in the eighth century that the Koran was the literal word of God, has been reaffirmed again and again across the ages. In modern times, Muslim belief in this is far more widespread then is the belief in Christianity the Bible is the literal word of God. What is worse, there is really no central authority in Islam that might proclaim reform that would have to be adopted by all the faithful. So change is slow to come, and it’s not clear exactly where it will come from.

In the meantime, it is essential to understand that groups like ISIS are able to make a strong case that they are the only true Muslims, because only they uphold the admonitions in the later suras. Until there is some sort of vocal and effective voice from within Islam speaking for reform of the basic idea that the later suras are the most pure, terror groups will continue to draw support, and not only from the poor and disenfranchised, but from all who wish to practice their faith in what can be persuasively argued is its pure form.

42 Comments

  1. Whitley, I agree with your
    Whitley, I agree with your line of reasoning, and I only add the thought that rethinking Islam has to be done by Muslims themselves. They can do it, even if they have no institutional equivalent to Pope Francis. The pope is offering the “Jubilee of Mercy” as a key for understanding the Bible in a “musical” rather than “literal” sense. Maybe more than one Muslim will call others of their faith to reread all the suras in the light of the first. Another thought comes to me from that wonderful movie, Monsieur Ibrahim, where Omar Sharif repeats the phrase, “Je sais ce qu’il y ha dans mon Koran — I know what’s in my Quran,” and it turns out to be a dried flower, placed between the pages to remind him of the woman he loved. A Sufi might do this.

  2. Whitley, I agree with your
    Whitley, I agree with your line of reasoning, and I only add the thought that rethinking Islam has to be done by Muslims themselves. They can do it, even if they have no institutional equivalent to Pope Francis. The pope is offering the “Jubilee of Mercy” as a key for understanding the Bible in a “musical” rather than “literal” sense. Maybe more than one Muslim will call others of their faith to reread all the suras in the light of the first. Another thought comes to me from that wonderful movie, Monsieur Ibrahim, where Omar Sharif repeats the phrase, “Je sais ce qu’il y ha dans mon Koran — I know what’s in my Quran,” and it turns out to be a dried flower, placed between the pages to remind him of the woman he loved. A Sufi might do this.

  3. I can’t shake the idea that
    I can’t shake the idea that Allah and Mohammad set out what is in the Medina Suras as test, with far too many failing that test miserably by following them…

  4. I can’t shake the idea that
    I can’t shake the idea that Allah and Mohammad set out what is in the Medina Suras as test, with far too many failing that test miserably by following them…

  5. Whitley, what you are saying
    Whitley, what you are saying here is totally in line with an article from the March issue of The Atlantic:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/03/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

    This article is so detailed, and well researched and written that I have been sending the link to as many people as possible. We have to come to some understanding of the “why” of all of this before we can even begin to address the problem. And how do we address this challenge that dates back literally hundreds of years? That is a huge question and it will be a trial for our very souls for years to come.

    Regarding the young couple that murdered and injured so many people in the tragedy in San Bernardino, I can only say that some kind of cleverly disguised form of duality is going on that allows these people to disassociate their daily lives from from the deeply embedded Islamic part of themselves. What strikes me is that a young mother was willing to leave her 6 month-old baby to pursue jihad, knowing she was facing martyrdom for her cause. This is actually an very non-Islamic thing to do for a woman. As the Islamic state seeks to recruit women, it is for traditional reasons and mainly to provide mates to the men, take care of the home, and have more babies to fill the future ranks of the Islamic State. Young women involved in terrorism rarely are ‘warriors’, and their direct involvement rarely goes beyond being suicide bombers. One of the people involved in the Paris disaster was also a woman, but little has been revealed about her part in it, other than that she died during a blast when the police stormed the building where she and other terrorists were supposedly in hiding.

    So, what else is going on? Does anyone else feel that it is more than an odd coincidence that our own military announced in the last few days that women will now be allowed to be actively involved in the battlefield?

    There appears to be an unsettling paradigm shift going on regarding the ‘sacred’ feminine energies. Women are not just seeking equality with men, which is as it should be, but they are also acting like men, and not just the best qualities of men. As I have posted a few times here at Unknown Country, using the name of ISIS for the Islamic State may be undermining the sacred feminine in a particularly insidious way and altering consciousness in ways that are currently beyond our understanding.

    At the risk of sounding ‘New Age’, for years we have been hearing from many out there, including William Henry, of the return of the ‘Sacred Feminine’. At this point, and maybe it is because I am a woman, I sense that this concept has been hijacked and to no good end for any one. That softer, nurturing energy is slowly but surely being drained from consciousness and on many levels. It is wrong and reflects a reality totally out of balance which is reflected in everything from politics, to religion, culture, and even Nature. The Sacred Feminine is being systematically murdered via a slow tortuous death.

    So, before we start assessing blame and pointing fingers about terrorism, destruction, and Islam, we need to go deep within and discover how each and every one of us have contributed to the state of our world and reality. Words, thoughts,and symbols are software deeply embedded in reality and driving the current ‘program’. ’Soft’ is an adjective that may be considered feminine in nature. Isn’t it interesting that a computer cannot run without ‘software’?

    Oddly enough, this posting did not end up going the direction that I planned, and I can only add that the words came from my soul in ways that I don’t even fully comprehend in this moment.

  6. Whitley, what you are saying
    Whitley, what you are saying here is totally in line with an article from the March issue of The Atlantic:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/03/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

    This article is so detailed, and well researched and written that I have been sending the link to as many people as possible. We have to come to some understanding of the “why” of all of this before we can even begin to address the problem. And how do we address this challenge that dates back literally hundreds of years? That is a huge question and it will be a trial for our very souls for years to come.

    Regarding the young couple that murdered and injured so many people in the tragedy in San Bernardino, I can only say that some kind of cleverly disguised form of duality is going on that allows these people to disassociate their daily lives from from the deeply embedded Islamic part of themselves. What strikes me is that a young mother was willing to leave her 6 month-old baby to pursue jihad, knowing she was facing martyrdom for her cause. This is actually an very non-Islamic thing to do for a woman. As the Islamic state seeks to recruit women, it is for traditional reasons and mainly to provide mates to the men, take care of the home, and have more babies to fill the future ranks of the Islamic State. Young women involved in terrorism rarely are ‘warriors’, and their direct involvement rarely goes beyond being suicide bombers. One of the people involved in the Paris disaster was also a woman, but little has been revealed about her part in it, other than that she died during a blast when the police stormed the building where she and other terrorists were supposedly in hiding.

    So, what else is going on? Does anyone else feel that it is more than an odd coincidence that our own military announced in the last few days that women will now be allowed to be actively involved in the battlefield?

    There appears to be an unsettling paradigm shift going on regarding the ‘sacred’ feminine energies. Women are not just seeking equality with men, which is as it should be, but they are also acting like men, and not just the best qualities of men. As I have posted a few times here at Unknown Country, using the name of ISIS for the Islamic State may be undermining the sacred feminine in a particularly insidious way and altering consciousness in ways that are currently beyond our understanding.

    At the risk of sounding ‘New Age’, for years we have been hearing from many out there, including William Henry, of the return of the ‘Sacred Feminine’. At this point, and maybe it is because I am a woman, I sense that this concept has been hijacked and to no good end for any one. That softer, nurturing energy is slowly but surely being drained from consciousness and on many levels. It is wrong and reflects a reality totally out of balance which is reflected in everything from politics, to religion, culture, and even Nature. The Sacred Feminine is being systematically murdered via a slow tortuous death.

    So, before we start assessing blame and pointing fingers about terrorism, destruction, and Islam, we need to go deep within and discover how each and every one of us have contributed to the state of our world and reality. Words, thoughts,and symbols are software deeply embedded in reality and driving the current ‘program’. ’Soft’ is an adjective that may be considered feminine in nature. Isn’t it interesting that a computer cannot run without ‘software’?

    Oddly enough, this posting did not end up going the direction that I planned, and I can only add that the words came from my soul in ways that I don’t even fully comprehend in this moment.

  7. I have no respect for
    I have no respect for fundamentalist of any religion. The old white guy who shot up the PP building in Colorado. Fundamentalist are dragging and kicking into the 21st Century. I suggest RV to weed them out. time to put the PSI agents to work. It is simply to easy and extremely dangerous in our modern world to kill in mass.

    Problem number 1….. 7,2 billion on a planet that can not sustain that number if we live like Americans.

    This is a problem never talked about. Want to know why? Fundamentalist get furious over the abortion issue.

  8. I have no respect for
    I have no respect for fundamentalist of any religion. The old white guy who shot up the PP building in Colorado. Fundamentalist are dragging and kicking into the 21st Century. I suggest RV to weed them out. time to put the PSI agents to work. It is simply to easy and extremely dangerous in our modern world to kill in mass.

    Problem number 1….. 7,2 billion on a planet that can not sustain that number if we live like Americans.

    This is a problem never talked about. Want to know why? Fundamentalist get furious over the abortion issue.

  9. Though the thinking is a bit
    Though the thinking is a bit muddy and the grammar and typing skills are wanting, I generally must agree with “Tenacious D”. Fundamentalists/extremists of various stripes — political, religious, what have you — are fighting desperately to impose their rigid and paranoid views upon the “rest of us.” (See “Barefoot Boy”‘s post.) Violence being the last resort of the stupid and the first resort of the psychotic, it is not difficult to understand the current human condition — especially when greed is thrown into the mix. “Civilization” has traditionally been run, or at least afflicted, by people who are willing to commit murder to get what they want. With all the noble propaganda stripped away, that’s all war is, right? — people murdering “others” to get the world that they want. Until we ALL learn, really KNOW, that there IS, in truth, no “other” (as Whitley has often pointed out, even the “visitors” may be “us”) some level of carnage will continue to be our lot on this strange, beautiful planet. The problem, of course, is what do we do until then? How do the sane keep the insane from overrunning the asylum? And who determines which is which?

  10. Though the thinking is a bit
    Though the thinking is a bit muddy and the grammar and typing skills are wanting, I generally must agree with “Tenacious D”. Fundamentalists/extremists of various stripes — political, religious, what have you — are fighting desperately to impose their rigid and paranoid views upon the “rest of us.” (See “Barefoot Boy”‘s post.) Violence being the last resort of the stupid and the first resort of the psychotic, it is not difficult to understand the current human condition — especially when greed is thrown into the mix. “Civilization” has traditionally been run, or at least afflicted, by people who are willing to commit murder to get what they want. With all the noble propaganda stripped away, that’s all war is, right? — people murdering “others” to get the world that they want. Until we ALL learn, really KNOW, that there IS, in truth, no “other” (as Whitley has often pointed out, even the “visitors” may be “us”) some level of carnage will continue to be our lot on this strange, beautiful planet. The problem, of course, is what do we do until then? How do the sane keep the insane from overrunning the asylum? And who determines which is which?

  11. I think that the core of all
    I think that the core of all fundamentalist rage is that their ideas and cherished beliefs are being outstripped by the modern world. Who can really believe any of that stuff anymore, the strange, scientifically impossible stories, the jealous, slightly crazy gods like Yahweh, all the strictures of Islam, the huge crowd of Hindu deities?

    I would be what I pretty much was before I had my close encounters in 1985 if they and all that followed had never happened: a secular individual with a spiritual bias and a sentimental attachment to Catholicism.

    However, my life has taught me two things: there is such a thing as nonphysical consciousness, and we are embedded in a vividly alive energetic world. The past knew this, too, and tried to make sense of it through the medium of religions that were grounded in their understanding of nature and reality.

    Their understanding was limited and their gods don’t exist. But the world they attempted to touch with their ideas does. It’s time to turn to the tools we now possess to see if they can enable us to understand more. By this I mean scientific and academic tools of observation and analysis.

    We’re at a level of sophistication that can enable us to use these tools to reach a much more objective understanding of this other world, of which we are a small, confused and frightened part.

    Jeff Kripal and I go into this quite deeply in Super Natural. Hopefully, it will be the spark for a new conversation. We shall see. (It’s out in February.)

  12. I think that the core of all
    I think that the core of all fundamentalist rage is that their ideas and cherished beliefs are being outstripped by the modern world. Who can really believe any of that stuff anymore, the strange, scientifically impossible stories, the jealous, slightly crazy gods like Yahweh, all the strictures of Islam, the huge crowd of Hindu deities?

    I would be what I pretty much was before I had my close encounters in 1985 if they and all that followed had never happened: a secular individual with a spiritual bias and a sentimental attachment to Catholicism.

    However, my life has taught me two things: there is such a thing as nonphysical consciousness, and we are embedded in a vividly alive energetic world. The past knew this, too, and tried to make sense of it through the medium of religions that were grounded in their understanding of nature and reality.

    Their understanding was limited and their gods don’t exist. But the world they attempted to touch with their ideas does. It’s time to turn to the tools we now possess to see if they can enable us to understand more. By this I mean scientific and academic tools of observation and analysis.

    We’re at a level of sophistication that can enable us to use these tools to reach a much more objective understanding of this other world, of which we are a small, confused and frightened part.

    Jeff Kripal and I go into this quite deeply in Super Natural. Hopefully, it will be the spark for a new conversation. We shall see. (It’s out in February.)

  13. Thank you Whitley for
    Thank you Whitley for providing an in-depth view…at least from your perspective, the complexities of understanding Islam. What you have done is an attempt to bring clarity to an issue which has dogged me for a long time. My views on Islam and Muslims in general, have been shaped largely by what I see and read in the various media. I have seen it as an archaic belief system which is incompatible with our modern traditions. In my opinion the only way we, as temporary residents on this Earth will ever drag ourselves out of this fundamentalist quagmire, is a shift in consciousness. A step-up to a better understanding of who we really are and our relationship to one another. This change has to come from some external source because I feel we, at this moment in time, cannot do it ourselves. And this evolutionary jump, I think, is long overdue. RM

  14. Thank you Whitley for
    Thank you Whitley for providing an in-depth view…at least from your perspective, the complexities of understanding Islam. What you have done is an attempt to bring clarity to an issue which has dogged me for a long time. My views on Islam and Muslims in general, have been shaped largely by what I see and read in the various media. I have seen it as an archaic belief system which is incompatible with our modern traditions. In my opinion the only way we, as temporary residents on this Earth will ever drag ourselves out of this fundamentalist quagmire, is a shift in consciousness. A step-up to a better understanding of who we really are and our relationship to one another. This change has to come from some external source because I feel we, at this moment in time, cannot do it ourselves. And this evolutionary jump, I think, is long overdue. RM

  15. Why not at least impose a
    Why not at least impose a litmus tests on religions for receiving U.S. tax immunity? Freedom of speech is one thing (and a good thing IMO), but the U.S. taxpayer supporting Muslim mosques that essentially condone (by silence) terrorist acts committed in the name of their religion is at least distasteful to me as an American. A simple requirement to publicly state that the religion in question rejects such acts of violence and promotes tolerance of all faiths in accordance with the U.S. First Amendment is not too much to ask for when granting tax-free status. A little financial pressure might break the ice when it comes to the Muslim community, or at least force their hand to declare their intentions one way or another. As long as a standard is fairly based on U.S. law and applied equally to all religions, it shouldn’t be viewed as discriminatory (although no doubt those accusations will be made.) My concern is that we’ll “tolerate” ourselves into a deeper and deeper hole. I feel we need a middle path, somewhere between Obama and Trump.

    1. I would just like to add a
      I would just like to add a caveat to what you have stated…..and it is this: Do Muslims place their first allegiance with Islam….or with the country wherein they have declared themselves citizens? I think that this should be the real litmus test! RM

  16. Why not at least impose a
    Why not at least impose a litmus tests on religions for receiving U.S. tax immunity? Freedom of speech is one thing (and a good thing IMO), but the U.S. taxpayer supporting Muslim mosques that essentially condone (by silence) terrorist acts committed in the name of their religion is at least distasteful to me as an American. A simple requirement to publicly state that the religion in question rejects such acts of violence and promotes tolerance of all faiths in accordance with the U.S. First Amendment is not too much to ask for when granting tax-free status. A little financial pressure might break the ice when it comes to the Muslim community, or at least force their hand to declare their intentions one way or another. As long as a standard is fairly based on U.S. law and applied equally to all religions, it shouldn’t be viewed as discriminatory (although no doubt those accusations will be made.) My concern is that we’ll “tolerate” ourselves into a deeper and deeper hole. I feel we need a middle path, somewhere between Obama and Trump.

    1. I would just like to add a
      I would just like to add a caveat to what you have stated…..and it is this: Do Muslims place their first allegiance with Islam….or with the country wherein they have declared themselves citizens? I think that this should be the real litmus test! RM

  17. I think it is time for the
    I think it is time for the western world to get rid of the notion of “freedom of religion”. It will be the downfall of western society. Why do we need it anyway? If your religion is against everything the western world stands for why should it be allowed? I feel it is time for the west to grow a pair and stop pretending about this “equality” we are all supposed to have. Hit them where it hurts, financially. If you don’t want to join the rest of us in the 21st century then get out.

    They will use our politically correct mindset against us. They do not like us. They tolerate other religions for the better way of life they can have in the west compared to their homelands.

    I’m tired of all the bloodshed. It is going to get worse. Westerners will start to retaliate and civil war will ensue.

  18. I think it is time for the
    I think it is time for the western world to get rid of the notion of “freedom of religion”. It will be the downfall of western society. Why do we need it anyway? If your religion is against everything the western world stands for why should it be allowed? I feel it is time for the west to grow a pair and stop pretending about this “equality” we are all supposed to have. Hit them where it hurts, financially. If you don’t want to join the rest of us in the 21st century then get out.

    They will use our politically correct mindset against us. They do not like us. They tolerate other religions for the better way of life they can have in the west compared to their homelands.

    I’m tired of all the bloodshed. It is going to get worse. Westerners will start to retaliate and civil war will ensue.

  19. BobInNJ and Lost_in_Reality,
    BobInNJ and Lost_in_Reality, you have to realize that what you are proposing is a very slippery slope towards open totalitarianism, and, while potentially not as violent as the measures being taken by ISIL/Daish, it would be a form of extremism that would punish the non-violent majority for the sins of the extreme few. The Patriot Act was a bad enough breach of the US Constitution; the government hardly needs to be empowered to pass laws, financial or otherwise, that dictate what people can and cannot believe.

    Considering the proportion of our population that relies on religion, if religion were to be outlawed, this would very quickly lead to limited armed rebellion in the Unites States, as many would revolt to protect their churches, mosques and temples. The death toll would certainly be in excess of the lives potentially saved. We also have historical precedence, as attempts to abolish religion in communist countries didn’t work out at all well.

    You also have to bear in mind that such laws would give certain authorities agency to shut down sites like Unknown Country, since in their eyes, we’re just another group of nutbars with dangerous beliefs, and considered even more expendable than Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, et. al.

    I am, personally, not a religious person: it’s just not a path that’s appealed to me over the course of my life. But I know countless other people, many that I love dearly, that rely on religion as a structure for their personal spirituality. It’s not something that I can directly share with them, but I will not be party to denying them that expression. There is nothing wrong with religion, in-of-itself: the problem lies in individuals that use religion as an excuse to avoid responsibility for their destructive actions. They are criminals, pure and simple, regardless of how the media enjoys painting them as “mastermind” supervillians with extraordinary powers.

    The San Bernardino killers were absolutely nothing special when compared to the other mass shootings that are plaguing the United States. The only difference is that they were using God as an excuse to avoid responsibility for their actions, as opposed to the myriad other pathetic excuses other killers have used in the past.

  20. BobInNJ and Lost_in_Reality,
    BobInNJ and Lost_in_Reality, you have to realize that what you are proposing is a very slippery slope towards open totalitarianism, and, while potentially not as violent as the measures being taken by ISIL/Daish, it would be a form of extremism that would punish the non-violent majority for the sins of the extreme few. The Patriot Act was a bad enough breach of the US Constitution; the government hardly needs to be empowered to pass laws, financial or otherwise, that dictate what people can and cannot believe.

    Considering the proportion of our population that relies on religion, if religion were to be outlawed, this would very quickly lead to limited armed rebellion in the Unites States, as many would revolt to protect their churches, mosques and temples. The death toll would certainly be in excess of the lives potentially saved. We also have historical precedence, as attempts to abolish religion in communist countries didn’t work out at all well.

    You also have to bear in mind that such laws would give certain authorities agency to shut down sites like Unknown Country, since in their eyes, we’re just another group of nutbars with dangerous beliefs, and considered even more expendable than Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, et. al.

    I am, personally, not a religious person: it’s just not a path that’s appealed to me over the course of my life. But I know countless other people, many that I love dearly, that rely on religion as a structure for their personal spirituality. It’s not something that I can directly share with them, but I will not be party to denying them that expression. There is nothing wrong with religion, in-of-itself: the problem lies in individuals that use religion as an excuse to avoid responsibility for their destructive actions. They are criminals, pure and simple, regardless of how the media enjoys painting them as “mastermind” supervillians with extraordinary powers.

    The San Bernardino killers were absolutely nothing special when compared to the other mass shootings that are plaguing the United States. The only difference is that they were using God as an excuse to avoid responsibility for their actions, as opposed to the myriad other pathetic excuses other killers have used in the past.

  21. Matthew F. writes: “BobInNJ
    Matthew F. writes: “BobInNJ and Lost_in_Reality, you have to realize that what you are proposing is a very slippery slope towards open totalitarianism, and, while potentially not as violent as the measures being taken by ISIL/Daish, it would be a form of extremism that would punish the non-violent majority for the sins of the extreme few.”

    Hi Matt,
    Respectfully, I don’t think what I proposed punishes anybody. In fact it preserves the right of people to organize and express distasteful views, religious and otherwise, but it potentially removes tax-exempt status from organizations that promote values and policies in conflict with the Constitution of the United States. They can hate the U.S. and our pluralism but not on my dime, is basically what I’m saying. And of course they can’t actually break the peace or they must suffer consequences.

    After many years of hearing the same thing on a wide range of issues, I’m very tired of “slippery slope” arguments like yours, which tend to polarize people away from taking a reasonable “middle path”, as I mentioned it. This paranoia is part of what has made many people so extreme, believing that setting any restriction at all on something like guns or abortion is a step on an inevitable path of total extremism. And they whip their constituents into a frenzy with dire predictions like that. I believe that as long as we preserve the principles and institutions of our democratic republic, there is no slippery slope, even if laws and policies might sometimes veer right or left of center from time to time, and it will likely never be “perfect” for everyone.

  22. Matthew F. writes: “BobInNJ
    Matthew F. writes: “BobInNJ and Lost_in_Reality, you have to realize that what you are proposing is a very slippery slope towards open totalitarianism, and, while potentially not as violent as the measures being taken by ISIL/Daish, it would be a form of extremism that would punish the non-violent majority for the sins of the extreme few.”

    Hi Matt,
    Respectfully, I don’t think what I proposed punishes anybody. In fact it preserves the right of people to organize and express distasteful views, religious and otherwise, but it potentially removes tax-exempt status from organizations that promote values and policies in conflict with the Constitution of the United States. They can hate the U.S. and our pluralism but not on my dime, is basically what I’m saying. And of course they can’t actually break the peace or they must suffer consequences.

    After many years of hearing the same thing on a wide range of issues, I’m very tired of “slippery slope” arguments like yours, which tend to polarize people away from taking a reasonable “middle path”, as I mentioned it. This paranoia is part of what has made many people so extreme, believing that setting any restriction at all on something like guns or abortion is a step on an inevitable path of total extremism. And they whip their constituents into a frenzy with dire predictions like that. I believe that as long as we preserve the principles and institutions of our democratic republic, there is no slippery slope, even if laws and policies might sometimes veer right or left of center from time to time, and it will likely never be “perfect” for everyone.

  23. BobInNJ, great response. I to
    BobInNJ, great response. I to feel a middle ground approach is required. I didn’t mean to sound like I am for abolishing religion but why allow one specific religion that is against everything our country believes in to do what they want?

    Freedom in the USA is essentially an illusion anyway so why don’t the powers that be just outlaw Islam in the United States? If the one religion that threatens the entire world is allowed to operate with impunity where will that lead?

    The US has been operating on a slippery slope for years and this is no different.

  24. BobInNJ, great response. I to
    BobInNJ, great response. I to feel a middle ground approach is required. I didn’t mean to sound like I am for abolishing religion but why allow one specific religion that is against everything our country believes in to do what they want?

    Freedom in the USA is essentially an illusion anyway so why don’t the powers that be just outlaw Islam in the United States? If the one religion that threatens the entire world is allowed to operate with impunity where will that lead?

    The US has been operating on a slippery slope for years and this is no different.

  25. I can’t argue with logic like
    I can’t argue with logic like that, so I won’t.

  26. I can’t argue with logic like
    I can’t argue with logic like that, so I won’t.

  27. Freedom of religion is
    Freedom of religion is something that goes with the formation of America, like the right to bear arms. It’s well passed being formed now, so it’s more like nostalgia, the type of insanity that goes with repeating yourself.

  28. Freedom of religion is
    Freedom of religion is something that goes with the formation of America, like the right to bear arms. It’s well passed being formed now, so it’s more like nostalgia, the type of insanity that goes with repeating yourself.

  29. I couldn’t help thinking of
    I couldn’t help thinking of John Hogue’s prophecies of Nostradamus when reading this. And the images of Europe being overrun by Islam.

    Religious wars are always the bloodiest. I think that it should be clear that we are in a Religious War with Islam, and the Islamic State. They have no qualms, about using any weapon in there disposal, against us. I remember when there was a religious blessing to use Nuclear Weapons against this country.

    This countries ability to resist, a military challenge short of a nuclear war, is diminished, given the economic status of most American’s living here, the average income being $30,000 a year, with record numbers of children living in poverty, we are no longer the nation that prevailed in WWII. We are a country that is full of sickness, both mental and physical. 60% of the population is on some sort of a psychotropic medicine. A country with incompetent corporate leadership, that has done its best to outsource our infrastructure to third world countries. An Empire that is crumbling.

    The Terrorists of the Islamic State have everything to die for, to sacrifice themselves for Allah. In essence, we have McWorld, versus Jihad. From the title of a famous book of that name. My sense of this is that we are at the beginning of a conflict that is going to go on a very long time, and its going to be very bloody.

  30. I couldn’t help thinking of
    I couldn’t help thinking of John Hogue’s prophecies of Nostradamus when reading this. And the images of Europe being overrun by Islam.

    Religious wars are always the bloodiest. I think that it should be clear that we are in a Religious War with Islam, and the Islamic State. They have no qualms, about using any weapon in there disposal, against us. I remember when there was a religious blessing to use Nuclear Weapons against this country.

    This countries ability to resist, a military challenge short of a nuclear war, is diminished, given the economic status of most American’s living here, the average income being $30,000 a year, with record numbers of children living in poverty, we are no longer the nation that prevailed in WWII. We are a country that is full of sickness, both mental and physical. 60% of the population is on some sort of a psychotropic medicine. A country with incompetent corporate leadership, that has done its best to outsource our infrastructure to third world countries. An Empire that is crumbling.

    The Terrorists of the Islamic State have everything to die for, to sacrifice themselves for Allah. In essence, we have McWorld, versus Jihad. From the title of a famous book of that name. My sense of this is that we are at the beginning of a conflict that is going to go on a very long time, and its going to be very bloody.

  31. So the West can neither kill
    So the West can neither kill them into submission nor try to enlighten them enough to stop their killing and aggressive subjugation? Is the bloody stalemate unavoidable at this point, to put it simply?

  32. So the West can neither kill
    So the West can neither kill them into submission nor try to enlighten them enough to stop their killing and aggressive subjugation? Is the bloody stalemate unavoidable at this point, to put it simply?

  33. I think you’ve hit on the
    I think you’ve hit on the central issue there Jim, in regards to our point of view: The West assumes it has to fix everything, an attitude that created the power vacuum that ISIL formed to fill to begin with. Early on, when ISIL was gaining territory in Iraq, it was discussed that the best solution would be an Arab victory over Daish: too much meddling from the west would just exacerbate the overall situation, as has been the problem all along, and just be seen as yet more meddling by Christian crusaders. Training and support from the west for the fighters opposing ISIL was suggested, although even that’s still proven to be a problematic kettle of fish so far.

    And Jim: Long time, no see! Come, join us in chat… we know you want to… 😉

  34. I think you’ve hit on the
    I think you’ve hit on the central issue there Jim, in regards to our point of view: The West assumes it has to fix everything, an attitude that created the power vacuum that ISIL formed to fill to begin with. Early on, when ISIL was gaining territory in Iraq, it was discussed that the best solution would be an Arab victory over Daish: too much meddling from the west would just exacerbate the overall situation, as has been the problem all along, and just be seen as yet more meddling by Christian crusaders. Training and support from the west for the fighters opposing ISIL was suggested, although even that’s still proven to be a problematic kettle of fish so far.

    And Jim: Long time, no see! Come, join us in chat… we know you want to… 😉

  35. I am a US citizen who has
    I am a US citizen who has lived in the world’s largest Muslim country for 30 years. I have at times had under my employee many Muslims and count many of them as friends. Whitley just nailed it. Bravo Whitley. That was perfect. The vast majority of Muslims really are peaceful. But it would be very dangerous to be an apologist for them, and ignore the lurking potential many of them have to become radicalized.

  36. I am a US citizen who has
    I am a US citizen who has lived in the world’s largest Muslim country for 30 years. I have at times had under my employee many Muslims and count many of them as friends. Whitley just nailed it. Bravo Whitley. That was perfect. The vast majority of Muslims really are peaceful. But it would be very dangerous to be an apologist for them, and ignore the lurking potential many of them have to become radicalized.

  37. Whitley; was there ever a
    Whitley; was there ever a final take on the supposed UFO phenomenon over the Dome of the Rock? Fraud, real or mystery?

  38. Whitley; was there ever a
    Whitley; was there ever a final take on the supposed UFO phenomenon over the Dome of the Rock? Fraud, real or mystery?

  39. Cosmic Librarian wrote above:
    Cosmic Librarian wrote above: “So, before we start assessing blame and pointing fingers about terrorism, destruction, and Islam, we need to go deep within and discover how each and every one of us have contributed to the state of our world and reality. Words, thoughts,and symbols are software deeply embedded in reality and driving the current ‘program’.”

    No, Jim Boyle, we can’t ‘enlighten’ the Muslims because we ourselves are so painfully unenlightened.

    Whitley has stated before, we can not handle belief.

    We can’t because of what Cosmic L has stated so well. Our beliefs are so ingrained from childhood that we don’t see that they are only blind assumptions that we hold as steadfast landmarks of ‘how things actually are’. There isn’t a religion in the world that doesn’t fall prey to belief that builds walls against all other beliefs. And then we get offended. And then the resentment. And then the bitterness. And then the killing.

    I’m reminded of what the Master of the Key said about a triad of Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists and that they are a single system/path introduced by three different masters (pg. 65, 2011 edition): “They are one system in three, not three separate religions.”
    Christianity seeks God. (active principle)
    Islam surrenders to God. (passive principle)
    Buddhism finds God. (reconciling principle)

    Then Whitley states in the Afterword (pg. 168, 2011): “…Christianity is the seeking, or active, side of a triad, Islam the surrendered side and Buddhism the balancing side, I was startled to see, suddenly, a very much larger perspective on the three teachings that went beyond doctrine and belief, and far beyond the primitive ideologies that have in recent centuries been attached to Christianity and Islam. …I came to understand the presence of the sacred in human life in a completely new way, as [a] profoundly true process that leads toward a state of balanced surrender.”

    Common ground is feasible. Necessary.

    A large part of the change that needs to happen to stop all this foolishness of terrorism must occur on the individual level first. The killing and bitterness will not stop until we no longer see those who have differing beliefs as “other”. There is only ‘we’ or ‘us’.

    “All are responsible for All.”

  40. Cosmic Librarian wrote above:
    Cosmic Librarian wrote above: “So, before we start assessing blame and pointing fingers about terrorism, destruction, and Islam, we need to go deep within and discover how each and every one of us have contributed to the state of our world and reality. Words, thoughts,and symbols are software deeply embedded in reality and driving the current ‘program’.”

    No, Jim Boyle, we can’t ‘enlighten’ the Muslims because we ourselves are so painfully unenlightened.

    Whitley has stated before, we can not handle belief.

    We can’t because of what Cosmic L has stated so well. Our beliefs are so ingrained from childhood that we don’t see that they are only blind assumptions that we hold as steadfast landmarks of ‘how things actually are’. There isn’t a religion in the world that doesn’t fall prey to belief that builds walls against all other beliefs. And then we get offended. And then the resentment. And then the bitterness. And then the killing.

    I’m reminded of what the Master of the Key said about a triad of Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists and that they are a single system/path introduced by three different masters (pg. 65, 2011 edition): “They are one system in three, not three separate religions.”
    Christianity seeks God. (active principle)
    Islam surrenders to God. (passive principle)
    Buddhism finds God. (reconciling principle)

    Then Whitley states in the Afterword (pg. 168, 2011): “…Christianity is the seeking, or active, side of a triad, Islam the surrendered side and Buddhism the balancing side, I was startled to see, suddenly, a very much larger perspective on the three teachings that went beyond doctrine and belief, and far beyond the primitive ideologies that have in recent centuries been attached to Christianity and Islam. …I came to understand the presence of the sacred in human life in a completely new way, as [a] profoundly true process that leads toward a state of balanced surrender.”

    Common ground is feasible. Necessary.

    A large part of the change that needs to happen to stop all this foolishness of terrorism must occur on the individual level first. The killing and bitterness will not stop until we no longer see those who have differing beliefs as “other”. There is only ‘we’ or ‘us’.

    “All are responsible for All.”

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