Cartoons, Faith, & Extremism

9 February 2006

So buildings are being torched and people are being killed because of some offensive cartoons? Hmm. I don’t mean to be all “they hate us for our freedoms” or anything, but WTF? I can certainly understand being offended by people violating your religious laws, and I can understand the need to express that through just about any means, but why would one get violent over it? I imagine there’s more going on here and that the hostility has been seething for a while now, but I can’t imagine that Muhammad would really be this pissed off to say that you should kill someone over his depiction. More to the point, so what if he does? I think that’s a sign that maybe the religion has some, say, problems. Now, I know enough Muslims that I don’t believe that most Muslims are really inclined to kill or harm over such things, but all religions get trouble when they try to be literal or fundamental. There are just too many contradictions.

It’s the same with just about any religion, which, frankly, drives me further and further from them. Nietzsche respected Christ but not Christians, and I can identify with that perspective. I have grappled with the notion of faith in general. On the one hand, it means trusting in the unknown. But how does one know where to put one’s faith in that case? It seems a bit like a crapshoot. I guess you just feel it, but what happens when other people feel it differently?

I think about people who freak out over things like cartoons. At what point do you decide that God wants you to kill over the thing, and at what point do you say, “That’s not really my thing, so this isn’t the religion for me”? That’s a human choice, but it seems sensible to me. Maybe I just don’t have enough faith.

But then, what about morons like E’s ex who are afraid of numbers like 666 and stuff? I think that’s similar to the cartoon issue, because if your faith is really so strong, then it shouldn’t be affected by such superficial things. Maybe I’m trying to be too rational (although my argument might not be so rational) and I’ll pay the eternal price, but I just can’t make myself believe something on that level.

When it all comes down, I suspect that all the potential gods are pretty disappointed right now.