Cultural Revolutions

The Problem With Religious Secular Zealots

Since September 11, I've heard it more than once and will likely hear it again. The argument goes like this: Yes, all this banal talk about Islam being a "religion of peace" is, of course, a lot of nonsense. But the problem is not their religion but all religion. "Religious" people, you see, are all potentially murderous fanatics since "organized religion" is a (if not the) "root cause" of war and repression. People who are "religious" think God speaks to them. They have a book (the Bible, the Koran) and their book tells them they are the "chosen" or the "elect" and that they are to strike down or forcibly convert the infidel. There is little difference, really, between America's evangelical Christians and bin Laden's Islamic fundamentalists. There may be a God, but He is beyond us and far removed from our everyday lives. Anyway, "religion" is a private matter. So goes the standard argument of the postmodern secularist.

The problems with this line of argument are both numerous and obvious. Were Stalin and Hitler, for instance, members of an "organized" religion? If we mean a church in the traditional sense, no: Both headed anti-Christian regimes that rejected the traditional "organized religion" of their respective societies and murdered far more people than any repressive "religious"...

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