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By Robert A. Vella

The recent terror attack in Nice, France – the latest in a worsening trend – has understandably generated tremendous outrage against Muslims.  The target, an incredibly beautiful and peaceful vacation resort which I remember fondly, made the attack even more unfathomable and unpalatable.  In the atheist community, reactions have focused primarily on blaming the precepts of Islam – specifically, its violent expressions of jihad or “holy war” against its perceived enemies.  A now-deleted opinion post by a fellow WordPress blogger had provided an illustrative example of this outrage as well as poignantly revealing debates in the comment section.

Anyway, my message is this:

The real world is not simply black-and-white.  Close examination exposes varying shades of grey and color.  Subjective generalizations are almost always wrong because they are too easy.  The much more difficult nuances of methodical, objective analysis are superior means of understanding.

I abhor institutionalized religion as much as you do, and believe it to be responsible for great harm.  However, the circumstances causing Islamist-inspired terrorism in the world today go far beyond that theistic influence.  Religion can and does exploit susceptible minds reeling from misery, but its success is wholly dependent upon opportunism.  Educated, prosperous people are generally immune from its devices.

The bulk of the populations in the Middle East are terribly uneducated and poor.  Their countries have been abused by internal tyrants and external powers.  They are mad as hell and are striking out any way they can.  You would too if it was your children, your family, your friends, and your neighbors so aggrieved.

I suggest becoming more familiar with human psychology, group dynamics, sociology, politics, and the history of the Middle East;  that is, if you really want to understand this ongoing tragedy and its escalating extent.  The history of Palestine is a good place to start.  Before the onset of oil exploration, WWI, WWII, and the establishment of Israel as an internationally-recognized nation, Palestine was a sleepy backwater land where Jews, Christians, and Muslims of all sects got along rather peaceably.  Why?  Did not radical Islam exist back then too?  What really triggered this momentous change?

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12 thoughts on “A brief message to my friends in the Atheist community

  1. Excellent message. I live in an area of Chicago were thousands upon thousands of Muslim immigrants from the Middle East live. I’ve lived here for 20 plus years. In that time, I’ve seen 0 terrorist acts. Witnessed 0 acts of violence by the Muslim populace on anyone or anything in the area, and it’s an area were thousands of Jews also live. I’ve also witnessed 0 acts of violence committed by the Jews living here. I’ve seen multiple crimes and violent acts committed here by “normal, Christian” American citizens, robberies, drug sales, illegal weapon sales, and even murder. I think that Islam is as ridiculous as Christianity and many other religions, but to blame all Muslims for the acts of the radicalized jihadists, is quite wrong. It simply adds oil to the fire. We have a situation here that is going to bring about the end of what we think of as the modern world. The polarizing hatred and violence that is happening in the world is just beginning to truly brew. Brexit, tRump, and the current platform of the GOP are signs of hell beginning its crawl toward the surface of the earth from its bowels. I see no decent way for this to end. Bloodshed and death are coming. In 50 years, our planet will be unrecognizable. To quote Eeyore, “Pooh Bear, I do believe we are doomed.”

  2. Hello Robert. Thank you for your heartfelt post. I have posted several times on my blog that when I needed help it was a Muslim neighbor out of all the rest who came to my aid. He never asked for anything, he saw a need I had when I was in a wheelchair and he simply acted. That speaks volumes for him as a person. I can not hate all Muslims no more than I can hate all Christians, or all of any group. It is possible that there are people who have had negative experiences with white people, old white men with white beards maybe, should they hate me who they never met? I wouldn’t want to be judged that way. Be well and happy. Hugs

    • Thanks Scottie, nice sentiments. The now-deleted atheist post I referred to, which you might have read, received comments last night advocating for “ethnic cleansing” against Muslims. I was shocked, to say the least.

  3. Great post. Many people suffer from the disease of looking for simplistic solutions to complex issues. We often scratch the surface of a problem and arrogantly believe we know everything there is to know about it.

    Life is usually one big gray area.

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