I have a confession to make. Last night I needed a drink. Not because of anything to do with my job or family or personal relationships, but for an entirely different reason. Last night I needed a drink because I found it impossible to come to terms with the atrocities other human beings have become capable of performing.
I ride a bike. Much of it on sidewalks. I get extra cautious near driveways, partially for my own safety but even more out of concern that someone will walk out and I might hit them and injure them. I am as careful as I can possibly be because the thought of even bumping someone with my bike is unacceptable to me. So when I hear on the news that a deranged Islamic terrorists mows down over 80 men, women and children out of what he has somehow concluded is a righteous cause, I can’t wrap my head around it. I know that most if not all of the people reading this feel the same way as I do, but last night for me, at least personally it reached a bit of a boiling point.
I try desperately to get some sense of what can make someone do something so unspeakable, and all I can come up with is the following conclusion. They fear nothing. They do not fear consequences, they do not fear death, and they certainly do not fear God. They may justify it by claiming they are performing an act that is needed to restore God’s honor, but in every scripture in every religion, God is patient, merciful and loving. Yes the innocent suffer, but the theological and philosophical question of why does not translate into some sort of perverse divine endorsement of murder.
To be opposed to the taking of any life under any circumstances, even punishment, is a more rational philosophy than to believe one is doing God’s will in murdering the innocent. These terrorists, brainwashed by their ideology and empowered by the desperation of their lives, are doing nothing short of playing God. This is Ayatollah Khomeini’s great Muslim revolution. This is not all Muslims by any means, but this is a result of millions of people allowing the idea of a religious revolution to propagate. Thank Iran for this, thank the PLO and Yasser Arafat, for these are the people and places where modern day terrorism was born. If these people that are committing these horrific acts saw different consequences it would eventually stop. But as of now they are taught that they are helping the growth of Islam and that not only will they not be punished, they will be rewarded in the afterlife. Rather than thinking they will burn in hell and destroy the world, they believe they will save the world and be heroes in the afterlife.
Desensitization is often what makes us get through the day. How many people still think of Istanbul, Brussels or Orlando or San Bernadino, not to mention the constant onslaught on the population of Israel over the years. We all think of these things and of course we think of 9/11 as the mother of all terrorist attacks, until the one that takes more lives than the 3,000 taken back in 2001. But even when we think about it we move on with our lives, enjoy our days whenever possible, eat, drink, laugh and love and smile. No one is wrong for doing so. It’s self-preservation. But last night I reached the point when I could not smile, when m emotion overpowered my self-preservation, because I could not understand how a human being could reach such depth of anger and hatred that they could kill with no conscience. In some ways maybe I am lucky to still feel enough to reach that point, but there is no celebrating that fact. I would prefer to never test it at all.
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