Last week, the New York Times ran a story on Iraq with the premise that the religious ideas of Islam are being tested and rejected. The author, Sabrina Tavernese, used the phrase, “the American liberation”, which is only remarkable because the reputation of the NYT is that of promoting the idea of the war as a failure. While the war has a definite strategic purpose for the USA, I cannot think of a better achievement of the Iraqi people than for them to move past the outdated ideas of religion.
Here are a people who truly are liberated from a religious or military dictator, finally able to decide for themselves what to think. The laws of Islam have been dramatically exercised in Iraq. To a free man, the idea of screaming “God is great” as you chop off someone’s head is not appealing. In fact, the ideas of the clerics lead only to your own destruction.
When Bush talks about a forward strategy of freedom, I’m not sure he totally understands it. But a disillusionment of religion is exactly the kind of freedom I was hoping for.
3 replies on “Iraqis Liberated From Bad Ideas”
Good article. Honestly, very good. If your definition of religion is what he defines religion as, then I am not religious. And yet I am a believer in a higher power…
Sorry, I’m not interested in arguing the point either. I hope I didn’t get your dander up. Your blog struck a chord, and I had to say something. It all goes back to how we define religion, and what my religion is to me and how I worship is not characterized by Peikoff. I would join with him, and with you, in fighting against the kind of religion he describes. Where I differ with him and with you is that not all religion can be put into so neat a container, and that room must be left for the possibility that there are things that we cannot prove with science, and that not all belief in such things must lead to the vices Piekoff described, and that we see in Iraq, radical islam, the extreme right, or other such groups.
you have a point that the people described in the article might be working under the concept that if one thing in a class is bad, then they all must be bad. Sometimes that works (Trout makes you sick, so you don’t eat any fish), sometimes it doesn’t. Generalization can overreach and fail you.
Now, while I am convinced that religion, not a specific religion but the very concept divine inspiration and adherence to dogma, is not the best way to live, I am not prepared to argue for my position in the context of my blog. What I will do is point to a speech Leonard Peikoff made way back in 1986 called Religion vs America. In getting to his point, he has to define religion and explain it’s faults. That speech is a good representation of my view on religion and sets the context of any kind of conversation I might have about religion.
In the Last Battle by CS Lewis, an ape claims he has Aslan, the Narnian’s God in lion form, in a stable and speaks for him, demanding all their food (for him to eat) and forcing them into slavery, even forcing them to capture and kill their own king. What he actually has is a donkey dressed up in a lion’s skin. The king escapes, frees the donkey, and then liberates some dwarf slaves, fully expecting him to come over to his side when he reveals the false Aslan. Instead, the dwarves are so sick of religious opression that they refuse to believe anything and abandon their king in favor of their new enlightened position, killing parties on both sides while shouting “the dwarves are for the dwarves!”
Opression is evil in any form, whether religions or secular – think communism. Was it a great victory that communism freed Russians from belief in God by forcing atheism down their throats at penalty of death? I cheer the fall of any opressive regime, whether religious or not, and the expansion or free thinking, whether religious or not. The evil is not religion, the evil is evil, and religion can be used for both good and evil purposes. Because evil people use it in evil ways, this does not mean all religion is evil.