If you identify as a secular humanist, and try to live by the philosophy that is secular humanism, you may be feeling conflicted about ISIS/ISIL. For purposes of this article, we will just call them ISIL for now. If you are like me, and believe that life is very precious, and that religion should never dictate how other people live their lives, you may see the conflict in dealing with ISIL.
On one hand, you have a classified “terrorist” organization hell bent on establishing an Islamic state that is beheading and killing people left and right, those who don’t agree with them. On the other, they are human beings with a very radical ideology, but human beings none the less. How do we, secular humanists deal with two major things that we are directly against (killing others and forcing religion onto others)? They are beyond reasoning with since most radicals are focused on the extremes of their religion.
One thing in particular that I’ve seen, as someone who does not believe, or follows a dogmatic religion, is a very scary similarity between ISIL and our own Republican party in the United States. A similarity that can only occur when extremes from most religions inject themselves into politics. Below are the beliefs shared by ISIL and most if not all of the Republican GOP:
- They both are strongly against Evolution being taught in school [ISIL Link] [Republican Link]
- They both liken gays to pedophiles [ISIL Link] [Republican Link]
- They both believe that religion should rule quite like a theocracy for the government
The only difference here between Republicans and ISIL, is that Republican extremists don’t go on religious holy crusades and kill people. They usually just stick with the 2nd amendment as protection enough to “defend your family” and justify things like “Stand your ground” and other things Republican supporters and congressmen alike have defended.
That doesn’t make Christian extremists any less dangerous or violent though. Throughout the last few decades we have seen many people kill in the name of “God” and Christianity in America. We have seen abortion clinics blown up by “pro-life” supporters (the irony is killing people, but they believe it’s justified to save an unborn zygotes life). We have seen mothers justify the death of their children, saying that “God” told them to. In the bible, as well as the Koran, we can find it laced with violence, rape, murder, torture, slavery, and other things we Secular Humanists feel are extremely unethical and immoral.
So this leads us to a fork in the road. Do we need to take out ISIL before more innocent people die by a radical extremists hands? Do we justify murder, to prevent murder? Is it considered murder instead of defending the weak or diversified population of the world? How can we Secular Humanists solve this issue when it’s beyond rational and reasonable negotiations?
We have similar conflicts in the United States. We find that talking to right-wing extremists is impossible because they won’t see the reasoning in our ideology. We don’t see what they call rational in their ideology, but we understand what makes them think like they think. They make up lies and propaganda for what we non-Republicans believe. So what do we do in a situation where rational discussion is impossible to be had?
In the United States, we can vote to rid those who refuse to see reason or compromise. In the other parts of the world however, where they don’t respond to voting, only violence, I’m afraid the only response is violence. We have an ethical obligation to humanity to protect itself against credible threats. We fight viruses all the time. We fight harmful diseases all the time. How is ISIL any different than a disease or virus that can kill you?
Follow me for a moment into my reasoning. I view religion as a virus thanks to Dr. Darrell Ray and his book, “The God Virus”. With an overwhelming amount of people carrying this virus of death, destruction, and destabilization, there’s no inoculation. We can’t treat this virus with a dose of rational thought. These people were born with an AK-47 in one hand, and a Koran in the other. Quite like the Republican extremists of today except it’s a Bible.
The Islamic extremist point of view goes one step further than Christian extremists. It actually acts on killing, rather than talking about killing (for instance, Christians wanting to put to death all gay people). Some Christian extremists do indeed act on that impulse to kill. Luckily, it’s not an epidemic (yet). The Muhammad Virus is strong with these Islamic extremists. It’s too powerful to inoculate, and it has consumed them whole.
Do I believe they are going to come to the United States if left unchecked? It’s possible. Do I believe they have the power to destroy the United States? No. Why? Because only we have the power to destroy ourselves. Look what we did in the name of freedom? We took our freedom away, to protect freedom. Patriot Act, Global 24/7 unwarranted surveillance programs, police departments receiving war equipment. We sacrificed our freedom, in the name of freedom. We wracked up a debt in the trillions by putting two wars on a credit card.
We bring our own pain onto ourselves. We meddle. We screwed up going to Iraq, and now we need to meddle some more. We have been caught in this endless cycle. I do believe we owe it to the world though, to try to clean up a horrible mess. A mess that was already there, but we decided to make it worse. This conflict has been happening since the dawn of religion and man. So because we meddle, we have threats against us. We are NOT the world police, but I do believe the world should come together to eradicate this virus. We as one planet need to fight ISIL, just like we would fight AIDS, or any other disease or virus. ISIL is no different than Ebola when it comes to trying to rationally get it to stop killing. The only difference is that ISIL will discriminate against who it kills, while Ebola doesn’t care who it kills.