Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"The Real War" (3/2002)

I think with all the talk about Christianity and Islam being at odds with each other, about "the West" being at war with the Muslim world, and about all the "us against them" posturing that's going on, we are losing sight of what's really going on here. The terrorists are using the people they recruit to engage in violent acts against those they see as not whorshiping God the "right" way, and our own government pits our entire civilization against the terrorists, and paints a picture of one culture against another (much like they do in the overblown "culture wars") to foment jingoistic hatred. But all of this bluster and shouting masks the real war that's going on.

That war, the one we should be concerned about, is not us (the supposed universal Christian "us") versus the Taliban, or us versus al Qaeda, or us versus Islam in general. It's the war between those who believe that serving God's will is more important than the health and well-being of humanity, and those who know better than this and think otherwise. All theophiles, whether they be fundamentalist Christians or extremist Muslims, are on the same side, because they all have the same goal—to bring about conflict between people based on ethnic and religious boundaries, at the cost of our collective and individual freedom and happiness, all for the glory of God.

Their leaders are categorically not interested in bringing about peace; they relish the thought of conflict between us. Bush gleefully sees himself as a war President, and sees the resurrection of the US's military-industrial complex to the status it had back in Nixon's day as a primary goal. Bin Laden has no desire to free his fellow Muslims or bring about any benefit in their lives, he is encouraging them to suffer and die for the glory of their God. More important than choosing sides in this battle between bullies is choosing not to choose sides, electing instead to reject the very notion that we should be in conflict with each other over what God tells people to do.

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