Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Real Antidote to "Radical" Islam

"Radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution," asserts Daniel Pipes. Others argue that the only antidote to Radical Islam is secularism.

They are both wrong.

They are wrong not only in their proposed solutions. They are wrong about the problem.

Radical Islam is not the problem. Rather, radical Islam is a problem, albeit a rather formidable one. To be more precise, it is a mere symptom of the problem.

What is the problem?

The problem is the human condition itself, the inexorable human potential for evil.  Radical Islam is merely the most salient manifestation of evil in current times, but by no means the only one.

Islamism in any form, moderate or radical, is a product of human authorship, and hence, subject to human error.

By definition, morality must be based on absolute values, not flimsy man-made doctrine. When a fervently religious society has gone amuck and lost its moral compass, it is because their morals were predicated on an erroneous belief system. As radicals, their values have now become radically erroneous. Their behavior now spirals out of control.

According to conventional thinking, the problem is their radicalism. In reality, however, the root cause is their inherently flawed belief system to begin with. (See my past blog post about "extremism.")

After all, extreme Islam did not develop in a vacuum, but is incontrovertibly rooted in original historic Islam, its dogma and writings. The so-called extremists maintain, and perhaps rightfully so, that their version is in fact the authentic Islam.

It follows that "moderate" Islam is not a solution. It is part of the problem.

Radical Islam has given its misled adherents a cause for which to die and murder, even mass murder. We need to give these morally bankrupt individuals a cause for which to live and help others live.

If our proposed cause for life is on the same footing as the puritan Islamists' cause for death, i.e. it's just another interpretation of the same man-made belief system, but merely a more moderate one, then we are leaving room for more errors. Some people err moderately, some err radically. In a Muslim world racing toward nuclear weapon potential (thanks to our current president's foreign policy), there is no margin for error, even little errors.

What we need here is a complete paradigm shift, a radically new approach (pun intended). Something that will make false dogma irrelevant, not by a weak attempt to modify or reinterpret it, nor by replacing it with some other man-made ideology, like "secularism," for example.
Parenthetically, my grandmother used to admonish us: "Beware the 'isms." She grew up in turbulent times in the early twentieth century during which time many newfangled ideologies were touted as the end to all problems... Socialism, Marxism, Fascism and nationalism, to name a few. But the 'isms failed. In fact, the larger and more glorious the movement, the bigger the failure.

Yes, beware the 'isms. They may be based on lots of good intentions, aspirations and lofty ideals. But they're man-made, subject to the frailty of the human condition cited above.

Replacing one 'ism with another has not proven to work. In fact, the results have been disastrous.

In the Middle Ages, when "extreme" Catholicism reigned supreme, humanity did not fare well. Besides for the dismal conditions of the depraved and largely illiterate masses of Christian Europeans, this era brought untold suffering to our people: wholesale slaughter at the hand of the Crusaders, incitement to violence by the fanatic clergy, blood libels, forced conversions, inquisitions and expulsions, to cite some of the numerous examples that stain the pages the European history.
The Dark Ages were succeeded by reformation and renaissance, followed by revolutions and emancipation that transformed the masses. Or did it? Age-old religious prejudices were replaced with nationalist and ethnocentric ones. Nationalist movements gave rise to extreme nationalist movements. Indeed, the modern era brought us horrific pogroms, widespread persecution and ultimately the Holocaust. More recently, atheist regimes like the former Soviet Union succeeded in creating G-dless societies, replete with totalitarianism, gulags, mass murder, Iron Curtain, extreme human rights abuses, etc.
The Muslim world is still submerged in a Dark Ages of its own. Is our goal to secularize or democratize the Muslim masses? Will that solve their problems? Bear in mind that Hitler initially ascended to power democratically,* as did Hamas, Fatah and Arafat, may all their memories be erased. "Cannibals tend to elect a cannibal king," my mother commented.
No, neither moderate Islam nor secularism are viable solutions. They are still part of the problem. Man-made religions and ideologies invariably end in failure and corruption, often on an Orwellian scale.

What we need here is something different and completely out of the box. Something Divine and immutable, invulnerable to the perils of human subjectivity. Refreshingly new but ever timeless and eternal.

Let's  look back to the beginning of time and rediscover the Code, the Divine Code authored by our Creator that applies to all of Creation, irrespective of race, ethnicity, creed or societal trends.

This Code is know as the Seven Noahide Laws, the seven commandments enjoined by G-d to Noah and his descendants for all times.

1. There is one G-d Who creates all of existence. Don't worship idols.
2. Don't blaspheme G-d.
3. Respect the sanctity of human life, created in G-d's image. Do not murder. Period. Murder is wrong, never justifiable for any religious, pseudo-religious or political objective.
4. Do not engage in immoral (i.e. incestuous, adulterous, homosexual or bestial) sexual unions.
5. Respect human property. Do not steal, rob or deliberately damage another's property. Kidnapping, torture and mutilation are strictly forbidden.
6. Do not eat of a live animal.
7. Establish competent courts/legal system to ensure law and order.

In the words of President Ronald Reagan, this Code is "the historical tradition of ethical values and principles, which have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws, transmitted through God to Moses on Mount Sinai."

The Code can be taught in any language, culture or milieu. It automatically resonates with healthy human conscience. It is inherently ingrained in our spiritual DNA.

To teach it effectively, one does not need to engage in philosophical debate or negate religious dogma or any other belief system. We are simply presenting the Seven Laws as commanded by G-d, or Allah, or how ever the individual refers to our Creator. We ought to underscore that the Seven Commandments are immutable, cannot be revoked or modified by any subsequent prophet or religious leader.

When an individual comes to understand that murder of any kind is abhorrent to Allah, he will automatically reject the violent doctrine of jihad. Armed with the knowledge of what our Creator really wants, he or she has the moral clarity and fortitude to challenge the injustices of the corrupt society in which he or she lives. Individuals empowered with knowledge of the Seven Laws will have no sympathy or tolerance for murder of any kind, nor any other barbaric behaviors rampant in the Muslim world (suicide bombings, honor killings, female mutilation, misogyny, slavery, repression, to name but a few.) They will undoubtedly repudiate theologians and politicians who preach hate and violence, or any other violations of the Code.

Individuals who embrace the Seven Noahidic Commandments are liberated from the oppressive mores of the Islamic world. Together, they can depose corrupt leaders and strive to rebuild a peaceful and free society. Arabs who accept the Code will eagerly make peace with their Jewish neighbors and find enough common ground to live peacefully and respectfully alongside members of other faiths, nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.

To be sure, this will be a drastic departure from the Muslim world of today and will need to be a gradual process, perhaps similar to the growing movement of Noahide communities in the United States.

The Seven Commandments were given in the wake of the Great Food which nearly destroyed mankind and engulfed the entire world. The sole survivors, Noah and his descendants were entrusted with safeguarding future societies from the degeneracy that had led to the world's collapse prior to the Flood.

Today's world appears to be on the verge of collapse once more. Imperiled by depraved genocidal Islamists and a dangerous policy of appeasement, apathy and moral relativism in the West, the future of human civilization hangs in the balance. Now more than ever before, we need the Seven Noahide Laws to safeguard our world from the societal ills that threaten to destroy it. Let's start teaching the Code to all Noah's descendants. Together we can reverse the tide and instead create a deluge of good, flooding the world with acts of goodness and kindness. "And the world shall be filled with knowledge of G-d as water covers the ocean bed."

* Hitler's Nazi Party won a stunning thirty eight percent of German votes and became the largest party in the Reichstag. This led to his appointment as Chancellor and ultimate coup.

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