Belief is a funny thing. I can go to bed thinking my team won the game, despite having gone to be before it ended, and wake up to learn they blew it and lost. In other words, I can think one thing and suddenly think the opposite once new information is presented. I used to think BMW’s were great cars until I drove one. I still think they are great cars, but just not for me. In other words, even in areas of taste, the rational part of our brain works from facts and experience. New information results in new patterns of thought.
That’s not how it works with beliefs. I know very smart people who are also devout Christians. They believe God created the heavens and earth. They believe God created man in his image. Evolution, as far as they are concerned is a nice hobby, but not science and mostly nonsense. They simply don’t believe any of it and no amount of data or experience can shake that belief. It’s why I seldom engage in debate with ID’ers. You can’t argue about belief as belief is immune to facts and reason. Therefore, there can be no debate.
The thing about faith and belief is you can fake belief to a point, but you can’t fake disbelief. You see that on-line when liberal sock puppets post on conservative sites. They try really hard to pretend to be down with the issue, but they just can’t stop themselves from inserting exceptions. The best example I recall is the fake Jon Huntsman supporters from the fever swamp showing up in the comment sections. They would swear they were “right-wing conservatives” and then launch into what was essentially a liberal fantasy about Jon Huntsman. They simply could not maintain the facade. Their belief was too strong.
Faith is a biological thing. It is thought that belief as a human trait co-evolved with language. That makes it one of our oldest traits. Religion is a part of every human society that has existed. There are no records of any society devoid of some form of religious faith. It’s why when people say America or the West is becoming less religious, they are mistaken. Less Christian for sure, but the believing trait is still there in the same degree. It is just expressed differently. The political and social ideologies of the West now serve as the vessel for the religious impulse. As Rousseau called it in the Social Contract, the West now has the Civil Religion.
If you have been reading my stuff, you know I’m fond of calling American Liberalism a cult. It operates like a cult, even having a Führerprinzip. It’s temporary and tied to the democratic processes, but the dynamic is the same. Obama is the cult leader now, but will soon be replaced by whoever runs for president on the 2016 ticket. Obama worship will continue, but his leadership role of the one true faith will be handed to another. It’s not an accident that their heroes are all referred to by three letters, FDR, JFK, MLK, RFK, BHO. Bill Clinton is about to be demoted simply because no one calls him by his initials anymore.
So, where am I going with this?
This post by Jonah Goldberg got me thinking about what’s happening with the Left and Islam. Since Rousseau, radicals have had a loathing for Christianity. It has always been the big scary monster in their myths and legends. Today, they fret more about Bible-toting grannies in the South than bomb wielding Muslims in their own backyard. If you put “Christian backlash” in a Google machine, it returns over 8 million results. The phase “Muslim backlash” nets 1.7 million results, most about anti-Muslim backlash by Christians.
As an aside, you’ll note how they changed Reverend Martin Luther King into Doctor Martin Luther King. There’s never any mention of his faith. The same is true about the early Progressives of the the late 19th and early 20th century. There’s no mention of the fact that early Progressives claimed Christ as their source of legitimacy. The Temperance Movement, for example, is now cast a bunch of crazy church ladies, rather than progressive reformers. For the modern Left, Christianity is now beyond the pale, as unacceptable as racism or antisemitism.
This derangement is evident in the Obama administrations biological aversion to mentioning Islam in the context of the barbarism we are seeing in the Near East. Their refusal to accept a link between attacks on Jews in Europe and the fact the attackers are all Muslim has become a sick comedy. Obama was on television the other day complaining about the Crusdades, as if we have a problem with terrorism from the Knights Templar. As laughable as it is, they can’t seem to stop themselves. As I said, belief is a visceral thing. It’s biological. The modern Left has somehow come to believe that Islam is their soul mate in some way.
This bit from the Goldberg column is a good example:
In an essay for the Wall Street Journal, Secretary of State John Kerry asserts that “violent extremism can’t be justified by resorting to religion. No legitimate religious interpretation teaches adherents to commit unspeakable atrocities” such as those committed by the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and other Muslim fanatics. For those who invest in John Kerry supreme religious authority, that statement is unquestionably true. The problem is that very few people take their religious cues from Kerry — or Obama.
Kerry is repeating a line common on the Left. It is the No True Scotsman fallacy. In this case, Kerry is saying no true religion advocates murder. That’s nonsense, of course, which is why it is a fallacy. Now, if you are a fan of esoteric writing, you can argue he is telling the flock that Islam is not behind these acts and it is just propaganda blaming innocent Muslims. After all, not true Muslim advocates terrorism so it must be something else at work, like easy access to guns or racism.
That’s how Muslims hear it and I suspect that’s the true intention here. Kerry is clodhopper so I doubt he wrote the essay. It sounded nice so he signed off on it. The people who wrote it and the many speeches of Obama on the topic are true believers like Obama. They see in Islam a natural ally and therefore cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the obvious. There was a time when it was polite to avoid pointing out the link, in the hope that more sensible Muslims in the Middle East would deal with these lunatics. We’re well beyond that so it makes no sense to pretend Islam is not at the heart of ISIS, for example.
Still, the Left is embracing Islam and that’s no small thing. I’ve often wrote that modern progressive thought looks a lot like Islam. The anti-rationalism, the mysticism and the occasionalism are there in both groups. It’s a one way love affair, of course, but the Left’s deep hatred for Christians appears to have pushed them into an emotional partnership with the barbarians beyond the edge of civilization. For this generation of Western radicals, ISIS is the Black Panther Party of their parents generation.