Sunday, 11 September 2011

Ten years on

Unsurprising that there should be so much media focus upon 9/11, although, somehow, the images still seem, to me, unreal; but was that the day when we finally woke up? Certainly, startled eyes gave rise to questioning minds; at least, on this side of the pond; and that trend has continued, buoyed by the unremitting reason of scientists.
I recall, shortly after the second plane struck, a young woman, on London's busiest trading floor, turn to me; her eyes lacking their usual softness; “It’s all about religion”, she exclaimed. “It’s all about Islam” I swiftly replied.
Ten years on, I sense that she was the wiser. The problem, to my mind, is certainty; they all deal in it; stories and images of heaven; each of them proffering a single way to get there; a way that declares opposing ‘truths’ to be born of fools and liars. So, perhaps, it was the logical outcome, that malleable young men would fly aeroplanes, into buildings, in their attempt to reach a fabricated ‘paradise’, at the tragic cost of so many.
Yet, resistance endures. “There’s nothing in the Koran that permits this”, we hear and “it’s not what Islam’s supposed to be about!”
The precise content of the Koran I can’t comment on. Like most people, I’ve read only snippets, but what’s surely beyond reasonable doubt is that suicide killers are empowered by contrived visions, which purport to call them home.
It is, then, a conclusion, born of evidence, that this world would be nigh on three thousand lives richer, if only the deliverers of 9/11 had been left with a healthy sense of the unknown; and acknowledging an inconvenient truth may, fittingly, ensure that the victims in the towers did not, after all, die in vain.


nick said...

Unfortunately all religions are vulnerable to those who are not genuine believers but merely use the cover of religion to justify their personal taste for murder and mayhem.

Webbawebb said...

Thanks for your comment and I really appreciate your input. I still maintain, though, that the root of the problem can be found in the concept of sacred text. The certainties propagated set groups of believers in opposition and eradicate, in individuals, a healthy acknowledgement of the unknown, which prevents many others from reaching for 'paradise'
Decisions should be based on evidence (something conspicuously absent from 'holy' books) and nothing else, much as a jury would, hopefully, reject presumption in a courtroom. When they are not, there are problems of varying degrees; the events of 9/11 being the most obvious example
Faith is fine, as long as it's the deistic faith of, for example, Thomas Paine, or the unusually high level of faith in humanity, that exists in atheism. Anything else, I suggest, will inevitably sow the seeds of war.

Anyway, I've said my bit once again! Take care.

vjohn82 said...

I think the root of the problem lies in the gullibility of human beings and the exploitation of that gullibility by people professing to have inside knowledge (whether it be from divine revelation or the words in a sacred, holy text).

The Atheistic position, I argue, does not have a high degree of faith in humanity per se because Atheism is simply the noise that rational people make in the face of religion.

However, that there are a low number of suicide bombers in relation to the vast number of believers gives me faith in humanity to the extent that the belief in a better life waiting for us is not really considered that much of a hardened fact in those circles as the media would have us believe.

Webbawebb said...

An interesting response and I think we're very much in agreement. Having said that, I wouldn't want all who believe in a better afterlife to be considered potential suicide bombers. I imagine that many wouldn't be swayed to that extent, by hateful clerics; but, of course when they are it's a massive problem!

vjohn82 said...

I think that was sort of my point; there simply aren't as many ready to die for their faith now, or in defence of it, than certain quarters would like us to think.

I do agree with Sam Harris that religious moderates who give credibility to religious texts offer another reason for the nutjobs to take it one step further.

The sheer number of child suicide bombers in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrated to me that the certain belief in paradise is probably not that high or else the men would have no need to strap bombs to children.

If anyone asked me to blow myself up because paradise and bliss awaits, I would question why they are telling me this information and why they aren't willing to take that step themselves.

Webbawebb said...

All valid and very important points, in my opinion. What frustrates me, more than anything, is that the events of 9/11 haven't caused more people to see reason and it makes me wonder just what would have to happen before they did! It's beyond reasonable doubt that the towers fell because of theistic religion and yet they still refuse to acknowledge it; so we have Obama standing at ground zero, ten years later, delivering a homage to religion...the very thing that caused the catastrophe!
Well, I just hope they have a rethink soon, or that new tower they're building may well go the same way as the others!
People everywhere must start to see themselves as citizens of the world and put reason ahead of their communal interests, because it's very unlikely there'll be change for the better until they do.
Anyway, there I go again! Thanks for reading.