Secular Wings - Thoughts on the New Preface
I think this is going to be one heck of a read! Upon starting the preface, I had a sense of honesty and introspect that contrasted the feelings I had about the Harris book, "Civilization and it's Enemies". To me, Harris oversimplified and took an unattractive partisan (not just political partisanship) stance, pitting "US" against them (note the emphasis on the capitalization). Ms. Armstrong seems to strive for a more honest and practical approach. Kudos! I wonder if Ms. Armstrong meant to take umbrage with Harris, when she states on page viii: "This was not a clash of civilizations."
Throughout the preface, I was reminded of many posts I made in the Harris discussion. Harris was keen on trying to dupe us with his 'fantasy ideology' theory, which I roundly rejected. Harris states that the targets of the 9/11 terrorists were not strategic in the sense of Klauswitz, that they were basically symbolic, rather than tactical. I saw this for nonsense immediately and I refuted this by stating the obvious: The Towers and Pentagon are THE centers and symbols of our economic and financial identity. Again on page viii, Armstrong states: "The World Trade Center and Pentagon...fell to the ground like a house of cards before the onslaught of this religious wrath [fundamentalism]. It was a deadly blow...America's proud self-sufficiency and confidence had crumbled with the Towers. There was one phrase I was not too happy with however: "[People had] been grounded, cut down to size, their SECULAR wings clipped..." (capitals mine). I disagree. My secular wings have been strengthened by this idiocy.
Counter to Harris again, Ms. Armstrong seems to understand that there ARE roots to all this fundamentalist activity...and she does NOT put all the blame on the Muslim faction, rather acknowledging that fundamentalism has been around "for almost a century". She rightly points out that all three major religions share in this disgrace. The ends justify the means to these extremists. They are at war with a world that they see relegating THEIR faith to the "sidelines". This may be true, and thankfully so. But we have to realize that these fundamentalists feel the need to fight back. She argues that fundamentalism could not have reached the heights it has and achieved the results it has without our modern society, underlining the fact that "it is not a throwback to the past", but a very real result of our present. The roots of this fundamentalist sickness are indeed the realization that the archaic faiths are dying out, irrelevant in the grand scheme of world affairs.
Yet, due to the high profile nature of the 9/11 attacks, religion has been thrust back into the mainstream media and has garnered the attention it should not get. Fundamentalists now dance in the footlights of the media stage. Here in our country, it is the Christians that enjoy this turn. Should any dare speak against them, they are called traitors and reminded that this is a Christian nation, which we all know it is not. Ridicule and character assassination allow the fundamentalists to gain a foothold again. This has worked enough to have a sub-par person elected to the most powerful position of power in the world! But these are all false hopes for them in my opinion, simply delaying the inevitable, but it is a gain for fundamentalist baloney nonetheless. They have gained ground and are poised to take more...like a Cinderella team in sports, depleted in talent but full of drive, they may just take out the powerhouse of logic and reason. We cannot let that happen, but we must do more than hope they go away.
One quote sums it all up for me. On page X, Armstrong states: "the hideous September attack shows that when people begin to use religion to justify hatred and killing, and thus abandon the compassionate ethic of all the great world religions, they have embarked on a course that represents a defeat for faith." Amen to that!
The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.Edited by: misterpessimistic at: 12/31/04 5:37 pm
I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain
HEY! Is that a ball in your court? - Mr. P
I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper