I was under no illusion that these were anything but fantasies, that supernatural powers did not exist no matter how useful they could be in solving the problems of the world.
Going to Sunday School was a similar experience to reading fantasy comics. Jesus Christ did all the right things for the right reasons but lacked the panache and charisma of Green Lantern or Superman.
At the end of the day I concluded that both sorts of superheroes were unnatural, unbelievable and unnecessary. In other words I grew up.
I understand the certainty and comfort that belief in supernatural beings brings in an uncertain world. I am tolerant of religious beliefs, but only up to the point that they start interfering with my world. Sadly, too many believers in the supernatural don’t have the same tolerance of unbelievers.
ISIS is the latest manifestation of religious nutters determined to force their belief system on others. They need to be dealt with but it is no use hiding our heads in the sand about their motivation. They are religious fanatics pure and simple and not understanding that is to not understand the problem as Kiwiblog explains in an excellent article quoting Graeme Wood’s. Here are some extracts with David Farrar’s comments:
What Islamic State really wants February 19th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar
Graeme Wood at The Atlantic has a huge article on the Islamic State. It is a must read, especially for those who think ISIL is just another bunch of terrorists like Al Qaeda and that what motivates them are issues such as Palestine, US foreign policy, drone strikes, depictions of Mohammed etc.
Again I encourage people to take half an hour or so to read the entire article. It is hard to summarise. But a few extracts:
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.
So a summary of what we know:
We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.
The key point being, that ISIL is not a terrorist group. The tactics to defeat it are different.
And yet the risks of escalation are enormous. The biggest proponent of an American invasion is the Islamic State itself. The provocative videos, in which a black-hooded executioner addresses President Obama by name, are clearly made to draw America into the fight. An invasion would be a huge propaganda victory for jihadists worldwide.
So it is vital to stop their expansion, and push them back.
It would be facile, even exculpatory, to call the problem of the Islamic State “a problem with Islam.” The religion allows many interpretations, and Islamic State supporters are morally on the hook for the one they choose. And yet simply denouncing the Islamic State as un-Islamic can be counterproductive, especially if those who hear the message have read the holy texts and seen the endorsement of many of the caliphate’s practices written plainly within them.
Muslims can say that slavery is not legitimate now, and that crucifixion is wrong at this historical juncture. Many say precisely this. But they cannot condemn slavery or crucifixion outright without contradicting the Koran and the example of the Prophet. “The only principled ground that the Islamic State’s opponents could take is to say that certain core texts and traditional teachings of Islam are no longer valid,” Bernard Haykel says. That really would be an act of apostasy.
Just as most Christians say the Old Testament is no longer valid.
Best of all, stop believing in supernatural beings. It really is a pastime, but a potentially lethal one, for those who haven’t grown up yet.