War and Peace

The following email was sent to me by my sister.  I present it in it’s entirety with my reply I sent back to her discussing the matter, and a few extra remarks I added for this site.

——- A thought-provoking dissertation

There was a man whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

“Very few people were true Nazis,” he said, “but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”

We are told again and again by “experts” and “talking heads” that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.

Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.

It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are
gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who
zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority” and it is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.  China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War II not a war-mongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most were killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace-loving”?

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:

    Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.

    Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany , they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

  Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

As for us who watch it all unfold—we must pay attention to the only group that counts:  the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

At the risk of offending someone, I sincerely think that anyone who rejects this as just another political rant, or doubts the seriousness of this issue, or just deletes it without sending it on, is part of
the problem.  God Bless America!

My Comments:

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.

I am good friends with an Arabic scholar and historian that has spent the last 25 years of his life writing and studying the Bible (which includes an understanding of Hebrew, Arabic, and other languages, as well as history and other religions as well).  When I say 25 years of his life, I mean that is pretty much all he has done in the last 25 years.  He grew up and lived most of his life in the Middle East.  He states the exact opposite of what whoever wrote this stated.  That most Muslims don’t practice Islam strongly just like most Christian and Catholic Americans don’t practice their faith strongly either.

He said his family was more strongly Muslim than any other family in their community and he rarely prayed.  He said he remembered growing up and he rarely saw people pray.  He said what we hear, read, and watch in the media is Muslim fundamentalism.

But even if we believe for one second that the above quote is true, than why did so many Arabs leave Iraq and Afghanistan prior to the war?  Surely if they were the Christianity hating fundamentalists we are to believe they are then they would have stayed behind to kill some Americans right?

It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave.

This leads me to believe whomever wrote this is a Christian.  Probably the same type of Christian as the others that say Christianity is being attacked (think Billy Boy).

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

I guess it just disheartens me every time I hear or read what someone says about war and peace they always have to point to Islam as the shinning example.  But in all actuality, all religions have just as much death, destruction, and war associated with it as any other, and for one simple reason.  Obviously Islam has had more as of late, but to say Islam breeds fundamentalism is ridiculous.  The correct way of stating this is religion breeds fundamentalism.  Why?

People believe.  What is one of the first things you learn about most any religion?  Believe this, this and this or you go to Hell!  Beliefs are something hard to change.  Beliefs are what ground someones thinking making it hard to accept outside evidence.  Think conspiracy theories as well here.  And once you have a belief, it is just one more step to fundamentalism or radicalism…

17 thoughts on “War and Peace

  1. For the first two paragraphs I was sure it was a warning about the impending fascist takeover of the U.S by Christians.  I’m starting to feel that we may really be in the position that the average German on the street was in the 30s.

    Instead, it’s a warning that Christians are in danger if they don’t kill and torture enough nonwhite people.  Huh?

    Peace-loving Americans have already become irrelevant as our president and the few people still cheering for him start one war after another, mostly against people who have done us no harm.  Will we speak up before it’s too late?  Or is it already too late?

    First they came for the Japanese, but they let them out again after the war was over.  Then they came for the Communists, and the country eventually came to its senses and shut down McCarthy.  Next they’re coming for the Muslims – what are we going to do about it this time?

  2. I think extreemism, whether political or religous can only exist when things are categorised – it would be difficult to undo categories already created but I think things like racism and homophobia were only possible because of categorisation.

    Pollitically, increasing globalisation and interdependance, and the existence of organisations like the EU and UN should be beneficial for opening the barriers a little, language barriers will take a long time to clear but you get places like canada, wales and belgium where things are hopefully slowly similarising, and the brining about of international curruncy like the euro should help bring people together. That said, some rivalry keeps contries, corporations, etc, in check and prevents a power monopoly.

    Religous freedom and the internet, should help to slowly but incompletely mix and merge religous theories, and you now get ones that take concepts from multiple religious – like new age for example. However if the oil runs out and we nolonger can support the internet or media infrastucture as is, and travel options decrease, people may get more isolated and segregated

    Religions in some ways seem quite similar, at least the overall effect of it does – same for why communism was regarded as not too different in some ways to fascism – they become similar when they become extreme and swap theory for force

    Unfortunately vocal asshats have more influence in various aspects of life because they are forceful, pro-active and won’t rest until they get what they want. You cannot really make someone pro-active if they don’t have the energy for it, but this is what the letter intended to do. Whatever happens to the world there is a limit as to how bad it can get – would it really be that bad if humanity wiped itself out? – a rouge physicist might create a miniture singularity on earth to eventually consume earth if they though they would be doing mankind a favour by putting it out of it’s misery

  3. That most Muslims don’t practice Islam strongly just like most Christian and Catholic Americans don’t practice their faith strongly either. […] But even if we believe for one second that the above quote is true, than why did so many Arabs leave Iraq and Afghanistan prior to the war?  Surely if they were the Christianity hating fundamentalists we are to believe they are then they would have stayed behind to kill some Americans right?

    The actual point of the OP is not that the majority of Muslims are hankering to kill Christians, but that it is an active minority that has seized the initiative, and who are driving the Islamist violence today.

    It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave.

    This leads me to believe whomever wrote this is a Christian.  Probably the same type of Christian as the others that say Christianity is being attacked (think Billy Boy).

    You don’t have to be a “War on Christmas” kind of person to note violence by avowedly Islamic groups (governmentally backed or not) on Christian populations in Saharan and just-sub-Saharan Africa (Sudan being a good example, though Ethiopia and Egypt also play a role). 

    I guess it just disheartens me every time I hear or read what someone says about war and peace they always have to point to Islam as the shinning example.  But in all actuality, all religions have just as much death, destruction, and war associated with it as any other, and for one simple reason.  Obviously Islam has had more as of late, but to say Islam breeds fundamentalism is ridiculous.  The correct way of stating this is religion breeds fundamentalism.

    Actually, the correct way of stating it is that ideology breeds fundamentalism.  It doesn’t have to be religious (in terms of theism)—political, social, nationalistic ideologies do just fine, too.  Whether it’s a matter of non-critical thinking, obedience to leadership, or us-vs-me-ism, it’s all a recipe for potential disaster.

    I don’t know as you could—or would even want to—do away with ideology per se.  But it’s something to be constantly be wary of.

    Instead, it’s a warning that Christians are in danger if they don’t kill and torture enough nonwhite people.  Huh?

    Not quite sure where you got that from.

  4. Dave: The actual point of the OP is not that the majority of Muslims are hankering to kill Christians, but that it is an active minority that has seized the initiative, and who are driving the Islamist violence today.

    Not according to what was posted:

    We are told again and again by “experts” and “talking heads” that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.
    Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.

    I read nothing about active minority…

    The focus of my next point is this line:

    It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian

    It is one of the couple small hints to me that whomever wrote this OP was trying to cloud their real agenda of Christians are loosing.

    Actually, the correct way of stating it is that ideology breeds fundamentalism.  It doesn’t have to be religious (in terms of theism)

    Thank you for the correction, that was what I meant, but I musta had another brain fart wink

    Please don’t attribute that last line to me.  Chris said it…

  5. How come we don’t hear of fundamentalist xians travelling individually into the middle east on rampages – perhaps christianity doesn’t have quite the ‘go to heaven for dying in battle’ that seems to give the jihadists an edge – xian states seemed to previously rely on fighting for king and country, or pope, either way for someone alive and in power – perhaps why they tend to shy away from death a little more – fundies seem to go on god smiting everyone instead of god rewarding those who fight for the given human-created-theory. Overall the beliefs seem to determine how agressive vs protective the tactics used are – how afraid they are of death.

  6. Webs:  I read nothing about active minority…

    Try “The hard quantifiable fact is that the ‘peaceful majority’ is the ‘silent majority’ and it is cowed and extraneous,” along with the examples given of Japan, Germany, China, Russia.

    The OP doesn’t believe that all, or even most, Muslims are bloodthirsty.  She says that they, in fact, aren’t, is irrelevant if they allow the minority to control the agenda and act out their bloodthirstiness. 

    I knew that Chris said the other line—I did not properly cite it—my apologies.

    Distant Claws:  Overall the beliefs seem to determine how agressive vs protective the tactics used are – how afraid they are of death.

    Christians have had their eras of bloodthirstiness.  Today you don’t see it as much (though it’s still around )—and, often as not, it’s commingled with tribalism / nationalism / jingoism / us-vs-themism (leaves off the same branch in many ways).

  7. To me, I read the OP that the major problem, besides citizens willingness to be silent on fanaticism, is fanaticism itself.  And as I stated, it appears that every time someone mentions fanaticism they have to use Islam as the example.  Here is what I mean, from the OP:

    The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.

    This shows me the author is not speaking of a minority but rather a majority.

    Which brings me back to my point that from what I have heard from the friends I have that are Arabic or Persian (all of whom lived out their life in the Middle East and came here for college and/or graduate school, besides the one I mentioned in the article), this is not the case.

    From what I hear from all of them they do not hate us or our way of life.  The ones that do are fundamentalists and have taken their religion to a radical extreme.

    No problem about the other line, I didn’t mean to come off like an ass or anything there, sometimes it’s hard to show emotions in writing…

  8. I think extreemism, whether political or religous can only exist when things are categorised

    Categorization – perhaps the most practical sin of omission ever perpetuated.

  9. How come we don’t hear of fundamentalist xians travelling individually into the middle east on rampages

    It’s easier to order a missile to be launched.

    90 years of the west fucking about in the Middle east doesnt help.

  10. When Hitler came for the Jews… I was not a Jew; therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church — and there was nobody left to be concerned. (Pastor Martin Niemoller, Congressional Record, October 14, 1968 – Vol. 114, p. 31636)

    I suppose I’m having as tough a time supporting the Islamic silent majority as Niemoller had supporting Catholics and unions.
    I just wish we heard from more Muslims such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaking against their fundamentalist minority.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali: In an interview with UK Metro newspaper, Hirsi Ali was asked the following question: “Do you see any positive sides to Islam?” She responded “That’s like asking if I see positive sides to Nazism, communism, Catholicism.”

    I presume most men in the silent majority are silent for fear of reprisals from the folly of fundies controlling the game.
    To speak out in a country or civilisation (using the term at its broadest) where there is no freedom of speech takes a special type of courage I no longer have … if I ever had it.

    Muslim world requires a dose of girl power
    Islam has NOTHING to offer to the west, because us [sic] in the west are more evolved in our thinking, we have done away with sexism long ago, we have democracy and freedom of speech, which by the way are VITAL to our continued development. Islam on the other hand doesn’t allow free speech, therefore Muslims are not allowed to grow and progress as they should alongside the rest of the world. The result is an increase in jihad because they are angry and don’t get why the infidel world is so much more successful in each and every sphere of life.

    In one of the many articles I scanned I noticed a reference to the Arab Human Development Report 2005 but can no longer find the article.

  11. quote within LJ’s comment: freedom of speech, which by the way are VITAL to our continued development.

    I would agree, ultimately you can’t silence people unless you use the nazi SS style ‘blame your neighbour if you have a vendetta’, which gave asshats incredible attack power.

    People need to say stuff in order to get past thinking about it – to bury the issue sometimes, and life feel like a farce if you’re living in someone else’s image. In addition if lack of freedom of speach limits job options, society will be less efficint if people can’t specialise as they would naturally

    LJ: takes a special type of courage I no longer have … if I ever had it.

    In an autocratic society courage may be a death sentance – In some circumstances bravery is not the most logical approach when it comes to how it would affect you and others (namely family), I think of ‘brave’ driving sometimes as an analogue. If you do decide that the benefit to society outweighs the risk to you and your family, you also have to consider your ability to have an effect, and how permanent that would be

  12. The crux of freedom is religious freedom.  Contrary to popular opinion, in the US, the real battle for religious freedom is only just beginning to be fought, even though it was one of the central tennant of the founders of the country.  Islam was founded in 600 AD.  That’s 600 years after Christianity.  Wind the clock on Christianity back 600 years and we find Christians doing some pretty awful things in the name of God.

      On the one hand, we need to cut Islam some slack.  They don’t have enough history behind them to justify demanding that they be as tolerant as Christians now are, and if Christians still have trouble letting people believe what they want in supposedly the most progressive country in the world; the US, then how are we to expect them to do it in nations that are submerged in their religious bias.

      On the other hand, if we are to salvage anything in Iraq, we need to make a secular government a condition of our continued participation.  We KNOW what a religiously controlled government will do.  We know it is a BAD IDEA.  History backs that up.  Nothing our brave soldiers (and the Iraq forces) do will make one single bit of difference unless they have a secular government.  That at least gives them a chance.

      One secular government, supporing all religions inside its borders will have a tremendously stabilizing effect on the region.  For all his faults, (and hooboy did he have a lot) Hussein knew this.  He’s gone now, and good riddance, but not everything he did sucked.

      Everytime religion… ANY religion gets to control the lives of people outside the religion, you’re going to have crusades, jihads and general bloodshed, either because people don’t like to be ruled that way, or because the religious nuts in the faith feel threatened by those who don’t believe as they do.

  13. swordsbane: They don’t have enough history behind them to justify demanding that they be as tolerant as Christians now are

    Interesting point, and I don’t know how influential it is. The waters are muddied because the situation they are ‘evolving’ in is quite different than back then – things like the internet leave them less isolated so helping their society integrate with what the rest of the world knows, but internet also help terrorists in their planning, and the AK47s and bombs of today even the odds a little more in favour of terrorists, whereas 600years ago you had to be part of an army to have much chance of killing

    swordsbane: One secular government, supporing all religions inside its borders will have a tremendously stabilizing effect on the region

    I agree, in a deeply religously unstable country the government can only be stable by keeping out of it. Also passing religously biassed laws is unfair

    in supposedly the most progressive country in the world; the US

    Most economically powerful – at the moment that is (watch for china), but generally speaking the EU is quite secular and open. Also it’s a public image thing, and I think things like iraq and afghanistan (and vietnam) might be the beginning of the end of that image – I think the running out of oil (or the market forces as that happens), when it happen, will hit the US hard, and it will be interesting to see what happens – countries like brasil (uses lots of biofeul), and france and japan (both use lots of nuclear) may be less scathed, and therefore able to sieze upon oppertunities that result. America might also burn itself out in a desperate last ditch rush for oil, or at least some conflict may occur between supliers when it becomes extremely valuable

  14. Every culture is resistant to change, and most resistances of that sort eventually spawn violence. It’s happening in the Middle East because they’re the keen focus of much of the world’s economics. It happens in the US when we do things like stopping segregation, or allowing legal abortions. Even Canada, which is probably the most culturally tolerant places you can think of has cultural change issues in Quebec.

    I still think that religion is at fault for a great many things in the world related to poor critical thinking, but I think that its most intolerant and explosive iterations are more symptoms of basic human social responses than root causes. I don’t think it’s about being repressive or progressive either, I believe that the most socially progressive culture would respond to significant change much like a repressive one. It’s not about any of our ideas – it’s because we’re deeply flawed talking monkeys.

  15. Quote on swordsbane’s sig:

    “Grab a cat by the tail and you will learn things you can’t learn any other way.”
    – Mark Twain

    Unfortunately our national history is shaping up to be a long series of grabbing various cats by the tail, and not learning any lesson from it.  downer

  16. I have decided that the following people and groups (in no paticular order of significance) represent all of Christianity:

    Matthew F. Hale
    James Charles Kopp
    Otis O’Neal Horsley
    Paul Jennings Hill
    Eric Robert Rudolph
    David Lewis Rice
    Rachelle Ranae “Shelly” Shannon
    David McMenemy
    David Duke
    Benjamin Nathaniel Smith
    Clayton Lee Waagner
    Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr.
    Wesley A. Swift
    James Ellison
    Dr. William Luther Pierce III
    Richard Wayne Snell
    Richard Kelly Hoskins
    Timothy James McVeigh
    World Church of the Creator
    The Christian Identity Movement
    The Army of God
    Elohim City
    ChristianGallery.com
    The Lambs of Christ
    Aryan Nations (AN)
    Church of Jesus Christ–Christian
    The Order
    Westboro Baptist Church (WBC)
    Kingdom Identity Ministries
    RAcial HOly WAr (RAHOWA)
    American Protective Association
    Counter-Revolutionary Organization on Salvation and Service (CROSS)
    The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord
    The Forsyth County Defense League
    The Knights of the White Camelia
    Ku Klux Klan (KKK)
    National Alliance
    Phineas Priesthood
    Worldwide Church of God

    Wow, that sure is a lot of Christian terrorists and radical Christian groups.  Who would’ve thought that there were so many?  Anybody know how many I forgot?

    What’s that?  You haven’t heard of all of these people and groups?  Well, look them up.  They’ve done a real stand-up job doing the work of the Lord.

    If you can allow radical fundamentalist Muslims and the groups they belong to to represent the entire religion of Islam, then there is no reason why others shouldn’t be allowed to use these people and groups to represent Christianity.  Turnabout is always fair play!

    These Christian groups endorse and have carried out violent crimes against humanity, and continue to do so.  Yet I have yet to see hoards of “real” Christians taking to the streets to protest their actions.  Why can’t “real” Christians shut them down and put them out of business?

    Is it possible that the message of Christ can become just as twisted and misrepresented as the message of Muhammad?

    I’m no expert on scripture, but isn’t there something in there about removing the log from your own eye before pointing out the speck in your brother’s?  Once the above list has zero relevance, I’ll be happy to entertain any Christian critique of Islam and its followers.

  17. I’ll note two things:

    1.  I think you will find a substantial number of Christiams writing and speaking against the hate crimes nad violence committed by many or most of the above groups.

    2.  While there’s plenty of debate over whether this is a Christian nation or a Christian-dominated nation, the fact is that most of the “violent crimes against humanity” these individuals and groups have been, where possible, prosecuted under the law in most places.  (There have been shameful exceptions.) (And then you get things like Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the various First Amendment struggles.)

    That all said, I absolutely agree that “the message of Christ can become just as twisted and misrepresented as the message of Muhammed”—and will go further to agree that when the Klan is marching down the street and shooting out windows of folks who disagree with them (or when the Islamicists doing suicide bombings demonstrate they have no compunction about doing the same to Muslims who disagree with them), it’s tough to speak out (or, as a government, act, even when things like religious freedom and freedom of speech make it difficult to silence hateful assholes like the Westboro gang).

    All that said, I go back to what I commented earlier:  if the silent majority remains silent, then, yes, they are complicit in the crimes of the radical minority.  To the extent they write, or act, in protest, or move to counter the acts of extremists who wear the same religious label as their own—or, better yet, act out in counter to them, offering love and compassion and help in the wake of violence and hatred—they belie the tarring with a single brush.  That applies, as you rightly point out, to both Christians and Muslims (and Jews and Communists and …).

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