August 10th, 2005

coyote Phil

What would Jesus REALLY do?

thebeardedone replied to my post on terrorism by saying that I am underestimating the rationality of terrorists, if they want an eternal reward.

Actually, that's one of the points of the article I referenced. Terrorists aren't always, or even usually, especially devout Muslims. Here's an article claiming that most suicide bombers are motivated by secular, geopolitical issues rather than religion: US 'misread motivation' of suicide bombers. Here's another article, based on a leaked British document, that says that most of the Al-Qaeda recruits tend to be loners “attracted to university clubs based on ethnicity or religion” because of “disillusionment with their current existence”.

I think this says a lot - not about terrorism, but about religion. It's very interesting that politics can drive someone to be a suicide bomber more easily than religion can.

I want to go further, and say that "people of faith" are ALWAYS, 99.9999% of the time, either irrational, or don't really have faith. I don't know much about Muslims, but I know a lot about Christians. Do you remember a Saturday Night Live skit about a preacher at a funeral, who was preaching about how the dearly-departed had moved on to a much better world, and then one-by-one the listeners were so swept away that they all killed themselves? It's only funny because we know it's true. If people really believed the things they teach about heaven, they would be happy when a family member died.

A society full of people who were REAL Christians would disintegrate within a week. Jesus taught that you should sell all your possessions, leave your job, abandon your family, ignore politics, wander the countryside preaching and doing good works (or at least what good works you're capable of doing when you have no home and no money), and turn the other cheek if anyone hurt you. You can't be a Christian and own a fancy car, or get married, or run for office. A Christian nation would have no politicians, no soldiers, no workers, and no children.

So what is the disconnect? I think people's religious "beliefs" are just a conscious, declarative-memory veneer over a vast procedural-memory subconscious that encodes what we really, operatively, believe. (And that takes us back to my post "You are not your own superuser.")