…my dear friend, Mary Carol Moran writes a terrific blog on http://basiconeness.blogspot.com (and for good measure, she has another blog at http://soulofattraction.blogspot.com …worth catching both of them)… here she lays out quietly and succinctly a thoughtful piece on sum’thing the vast majority of decent folks will appreciate… the rational view of the nonsense that sum’times masquerades as ‘religious justification for atrocity’...
Our Reptilian Brains Tend Toward Fundamentalism
For many years, I’ve felt that the growing voice of strident extremism has a single deep seated unconscious root. Our reptilian brains know that our habitat is destructing around us. We feel the heat, suffer through the augmented storms, wonder what’s coming next.
Add to that the instantaneous news of climate disasters everywhere on the planet. The reptilian part of our brains not only feels what we experience ourselves, but gets gut-punched by the tsunamis, the earthquakes, the super storms, the drought, the floods around the world.
When disaster happens, the natural response is to retract into what feels like safety. Clinging to absolutist beliefs isn’t that different from hiding in a cave from a thunderstorm.
Growth of Religious Extremism
Some Christians have become more entrenched. Supreme infallible truth has a growing appeal in times of uncertainty. Perhaps the people most in need of reassurance are the ones who shout the loudest. Or perhaps the shouters are those who seize the moment for personal gain, fanning fear instead of calming the flock.
A very few Christians have embraced terrorism. Robert Dear, Jr., claims to be a “warrior for the babies,” after a killing spree at a Planned Parenthood building in Colorado.
Some Muslims have also embraced extreme fundamentalism. A very few of those have embraced terrorism, most recently felt in the west in Paris and San Bernadino.
The vast majority of Christians, Muslims, and those of other or no religion, are horrified and repelled by the actions of these few killers.
Terrorism is Not Religious
I’ve read moving articles stressing that we must not conflate terrorism with religion. We must denounce as false all claims of a religious basis for acts of terror. Those who commit terrorist acts are killers, making up a convenient excuse for their barbarism.
This assertion is certainly true. All religions need to unite in denouncing all terrorism. Period.
But I believe there’s more to the story. We need to understand why these killers have seized on religion as their excuse. We need to fathom the underlying angst, beyond even the practical considerations for example of drought in Syria.
I believe at its basest root, it is existential angst over the destruction of our natural world that drives Christians, Muslims, and those of many religions, toward the most black-and-white versions of belief.
Once you have noncriminal religious people shouting extremism, the zeitgeist is ripe for terrorists to rise up and use religion as their excuse.
Leaders Must Rise Above Angst and Self-Interest
Is it realistic to expect everyone to release their existential angst? No.
What is realistic is to expect leaders to rise above their own angst, and their own self-interest, and to embrace that their role in an uncertain world is to calm rather than to incite.
Many are doing this already. Many more are needed. The voices of moderation, embracing, and unity need to become louder than those for divisiveness.
We need today’s Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Lincoln to start shouting. We need religious and political leaders who are as brave and outspoken as Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama.
And we need a media that gives them airtime and focus.
The Long Long Long Term Solution
I believe that when we begin to see effective action toward coping with climate change, we will begin to see the demise of terrorism.
Everyone needs to believe that their home is secure. Physiological and safety needs are the base levels of Maslov’s heirarchy. Nothing will get better until we feel safe.
We know in our guts that the world isn’t going to go back to the planet we knew. We need also to know in our guts that the new world will be a place that we can live in security and peace.
As always, Mary looks forward to reading your thoughts in her blog comments columns. Go join in! She wishes yeez a joyous day!
… thanks for this, Mary…
…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…
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