Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Friday, November 04, 2005

More on the war of the Right against the Right

Or a visit with the American Taliban.

For the last few days I have been spending time on the forum that initially had some problem with my log-in. On Oct 31 I received a very polite letter from Gabe Suarez, the owner of the forum, which is called Warrior Talk, assuring me that as far as he knew I had not been blocked or banned from his site, and telling me he had reset the account.

So with his invite I went back to the forum.

Sure enough, I was able to log on without problem. I went to the thread on South African knife and began reading through it.

By and large it was an intelligent discussion. I figured that it might be worth seeing just how people there might deal with someone who not part of their "affinity group", so I put up a post to see what might happen.

Well, one thing I was able to determine is that Gabe Suarez is a gentleman, often a very rare creature on internet forums, where people often feel that they can behave as badly as they like because they don't have to be responsible for their words and actions. While I suspect that Gabe and I would disagree on a number of things, at least it seems that it can be done from a place of respect, something all too rare these days.

There was only one sign of anti-Muslim (as opposed to "anti-Wahhabi hate group") sentiment in the thread, with a fellow leaving as a gratuitous comment to help foster the old lie that "The Koran, is very specific about its violent intolerance for anybody who is not a Muslim." We had to have a few words about this, where we determined that he actually knew nothing about the Quran and was getting his beliefs from right wing hate sites and that he would be happier putting me on his "ignore list" rather than letting any reality into the cess-pit that passes for his mind.

But everyone else on the thread was interested in South African knife rather than the politics of hate. This encouraged me to explore the rest of the forum. I found some of the thread titles quite interesting. The forum is in large part devoted to shooting, a sport I enjoy, and supports second amendment rights, which I also support.

During my explorations though I did discover an area devoted to anti Muslim hate talk. This was not a thread on real problems between the Muslim world and the West, it was more in the line of "lets dip all the Muslims in pig's blood for Ramadan (snicker snicker, nudge nudge)".

What was immediately evident is that there was no real difference between the messages that people were posting on this section of the forum, and the kind of hate speech found among fundamentalist, Wahhabi influenced Muslims posting on their forums. Or if there was a difference it is just a matter of degree. People in these sections of the forum are not strapping bombs on themselves and their friends (yet), and of course, though it is the same game, they are playing for a different team.

There was no part of the conversation going on there that was productive, there was only the sort of sophomoric talk that is the human form of a basic primate behavior.

If we observe chimpanzees (as well as some other primates), there are times where members of a group will work each other up, then go out, find another chimp, and tear him to pieces, literally. The sort of talk going on here seemed to be of the same sort. A way to focus and increase hate among the members of the conversation, as well as to draw in others with a vulnerability to a "killer meme".

One message in particular struck me as very sad, the fellow who wrote it said something to the effect of "If it were up to me I would have already nuked the Muslims"

This is always something that grieves me deeply, to see someone so willing to murder so many innocents, the children and women, the men who want nothing more to make a good life for their families, just because they are different. I wonder if he realizes just how close in spirit he is to Bin Ladin?

In other words, what I was seeing here was the Christian version of the Taliban.

A lot of people can't understand how the Taliban came into power in Afghanistan. The answer is really pretty simple. There were more violent and willing to kill people who disagreed with them than any other group, they had the means to use their violence to grab power, and in some ways most importantly, they had a simplistic memetic message that had coopted parts of Islam, twisted the message to its own desires, and could be adopted by people who had never had an opportunity or inclination to think for themselves.

I remember the exact time I came to understand that the so called "Christian fundamentalists" had completely lost their way and had passed from the teachings of Jesus (as), which would have indeed saved them.

It was Easter weekend seven years ago. I was driving from my home to a nearby town to take care of some business. I was spinning through the radio dial, looking for something interesting. There was no good music to be had at the moment, and the talk shows were boring, but I found an Easter show given by a well known "evangelist". I thought it might be nice to listen to an Easter sermon. Even though there would be,I thought, some theological differences, it is always good to hear a message of hope.

That was not to be.

The preacher, at the beginning of his sermon said "The only thing that matters about the life of Jesus (as) is his death". He then went on to make an argument about how the only reason Jesus (as) came was so that he could die and wipe out the original sin for anyone who believed that he was God.

I remember sitting in my car, being flabbergasted, thinking "well they have finally done it, they have found a way to completely remove the teachings of Jesus (as) from Christianity".

That has always been the problem for The fundamentalist Christians, that there have always been these inconvenient passages in the gospels, the ones where Jesus (as) instructs his followers on exactly how he wants them to live and behave. It is really hard sometimes to foster a message that plays on the worst in humans and uses hate and fear like a drug to keep followers under control when you have the words of Jesus (as) telling you exactly how to free yourselves from just that sort of thing.

The Roman church dealt with this problem by keeping the gospels in a language that could not be understood by almost anyone not indoctrinated into their power structure. Of course this was an imperfect solution, as seen by the reformation.

Ever since people have had access to the Torah, books of the prophets, and Gospels in their native languages the gap between what the power structure tells people they should be doing and what Jesus (as) told people to do has been a problem.

What an elegant solution to this, I though to myself as I listened to this preacher tell everyone that they didn't have to concern themselves with all the things Jesus (as) said, all they had to do was say the "magic words", join the club and do what he told them.

With this simple bit of theological slight of mind people never have to worry about those pesky instructions on how to draw near the Divine like:

Jesus Said:

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy'. But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same? If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don't even the tax collectors do the same? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect

The church can't be having people trying to implement this.

Hate is a drug. If you get people hating they WILL become addicted to the emotional states, and they will become externally focused on the OBJECT of their hate. When this happens they are very easy to control.

The instructions that Jesus (as) gave that still survive in the gospels are a way to be free, and therefore terrifying to fundamentalists.

And then there is this rather troublesome passage.

Jesus Said:
"Don't judge, so that you won't be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but don't consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you tell your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye;' and behold, the beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye.

Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
Jeeze, if you gave up judgment like this how would you know who to hate? How would you be able to compare yourself to the people in the "out group" so that you could feel good about yourself? Self Righteous Hypocrisy is a necessary component of fundamentalist manipulation on both the Christian and Muslim sides of the present conflict, and we must always remember that what we are really seeing is

A War of the Right Against the Right

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