All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day
Abd al-Rahman al-Rashid, the Editor-in-Chief of the Arab Press Review, recently wrote an editorial titled, The Sad Truth Is That All Terrorists Are Muslim. While it is brave of an editor in his position to take that stance, he's letting an awful lot of True Believers off of the hook. The real sad truth is that all terrorists are True Believers. From Osama bin Laden to the Unabomber, Jeffrey Dahlmer, Adolf Hitler, George W. Bush, Attila the Hun, Rush Limbaugh, Timothy McVeigh, neocons, neo-Christers, eco-terrorists, corporate raiders, and the rest of history's long, painful list of viciously scary folks, every one of these nuts is a True Believer in something. Usually something that seems completely idiotic to the rest of us.
If we want to make the world safe from terrorists, we need to spend serious money disproving the fantasies of the world's True Believers. Now that would make a terrific campaign for a Presidential campaign, wouldn't it? "Help stomp out irrational faith, vote for The Brain!" Or, maybe, Pinky would be a more credible candidate behind that platform? Or some completely suicidal politician who has a brain tumor and absolutely nothing to lose?
The fact is, most humans are some whacked out True Believer. At the dawn on this country, a few humans labored under the fantasy that humanity was at the beginning of a new age, the Age of Reason. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin, and George Washington created a country that would be free of religious interference and irrational fantasies, largely against the prevailing winds of the time. The nasty fact is that only a few of the country's founding fathers were affected by the Age of Reason.
The overwhelming majority of their fellow citizens were just as superstitious as cavemen, or more so because they had been infected by the past 1,000 years of Catholic and Protestant weirdness. You'd think that European expatriates would be a tich nervous about religion in general, after the Inquisition, the witch trials, and the various whacky religious persecution of various whacky religious groups. They supposedly immigrated to the "New World" to get away from all that, but they really came here to turn the tables. Almost every religious colony established its particular fantasy as the delusion of choice. Very few of the refuges provided a lick of tolerance to people of differing faith.
As for different cultures or races, intolerance was the philosophy of choice. The majority of the country's founders were so committed to slavery that Jefferson and Adams had to write limited tolerance for the "institution" into the Constitution to keep the country from breaking into dozens of mini-states even before the United States were united. By the time the Constitution was written, Manifest Destiny was the nutty fantasy of the age. Neo-Americans were dispossessing, shooting, strangling, chasing away, and poisoning with disease Native Americans as if killing the existing residents were a god's law. More True Believers doing more serious damage.
Even science has True Believers who may need a massive dose of veracity. From the global warming advocates and opponents to alternative and conservative energy promoters to evolution vs. "intelligent design" proponents, science is overfull of folks who believe so strongly in their pet fantasies that the unbending rules of science never come into play during their arguments. It's past time for a New Age of Reason. In fact, if humanity wants to survive into the 22nd Century, it's possible that True Believers may have to cash in their weird fantasies for a tenuous grip on reality.