Posted on July 9, By Scott Youngren Despite the scientific and philosophical arguments for the existence of God presented on this website and elsewhere, some readers may still be haunted by a persistent question:
Yet anger will not be enough to get us through what is sure to be a long struggle. For that we will need answers. The ones we have heard so far have been comforting but familiar.
We stand for freedom and they hate it. We are rich and they envy us. We are strong and they resent this. All of which is true. But there are billions of poor and weak and oppressed people around the world. They don't turn planes into bombs. They don't blow themselves up to kill thousands of civilians.
If envy were the cause of terrorism, Beverly Hills, Fifth Avenue and Mayfair would have become morgues long ago.
There is something stronger at work here than deprivation and jealousy. Something that can move men to kill but also to die. Osama bin Laden has an answer--religion.
For him and his followers, this is a holy war between Islam and the Western world. Every Islamic country in the world has condemned the attacks of Sept. To many, bin Laden belongs to a long line of extremists who have invoked religion to justify mass murder and spur men to suicide.
The words "thug," "zealot" and "assassin" all come from ancient terror cults--Hindu, Jewish and Muslim, respectively--that believed they were doing the work of God.
The terrorist's mind is its own place, and like Milton's Satan, can make a hell of heaven, a heaven of hell.
Whether it is the Unabomber, Aum Shinrikyo or Baruch Goldstein who killed scores of unarmed Muslims in Hebronterrorists are almost always misfits who place their own twisted morality above mankind's.
They come out of a culture that reinforces their hostility, distrust and hatred of the West--and of America in particular. This culture does not condone terrorism but fuels the fanaticism that is at its heart. To say that Al Qaeda is a fringe group may be reassuring, but it is false.
Read the Arab press in the aftermath of the attacks and you will detect a not-so-hidden admiration for bin Laden.
Or consider this from the Pakistani newspaper The Nation: It was reaction and revenge, even retribution. Pakistan will dare not allow Washington the use of its bases. Saudi Arabia trembles at the thought of having to help us publicly.
Egypt pleads that our strikes be as limited as possible. The problem is not that Osama bin Laden believes that this is a religious war against America.
It's that millions of people across the Islamic world seem to agree. This awkward reality has led some in the West to dust off old essays and older prejudices predicting a "clash of civilizations" between the West and Islam.
The historian Paul Johnson has argued that Islam is intrinsically an intolerant and violent religion. Other scholars have disagreed, pointing out that Islam condemns the slaughter of innocents and prohibits suicide.
Nothing will be solved by searching for "true Islam" or quoting the Quran. The Quran is a vast, vague book, filled with poetry and contradictions much like the Bible. You can find in it condemnations of war and incitements to struggle, beautiful expressions of tolerance and stern strictures against unbelievers.
Quotations from it usually tell us more about the person who selected the passages than about Islam. Every religion is compatible with the best and the worst of humankind.
Through its long history, Christianity has supported inquisitions and anti-Semitism, but also human rights and social welfare. Searching the history books is also of limited value. From the Crusades of the 11th century to the Turkish expansion of the 15th century to the colonial era in the early 20th century, Islam and the West have often battled militarily.urbanagricultureinitiative.com helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators.
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