In his response to this mass murder, President Obama didn’t mention Islam. However he did condemn hate, assault rifles, and discrimination against gays.
With black and white quasi-fundamentalist thinking in the US, many people think Obama is all right or all wrong. However, he seems to be right on many things and wrong on some things….some big things.
Fundamentalism and the gun
For instance he is totally right on assault rifles. It is insane and without reason that the U.S. permits citizens to buy and own assault rifles. For what? Is there any purpose for assault weapons other than to mow down numerous people at once? Do hunters need them? Do home owners need them to protect their property? Are they any good for individuals fighting an oppressive government (for which the 2nd Amendment was created)?
We come back again and again to the philosophical error of fundamentalism. Gun proponents often cite the constitution’s 2nd Amendment: “The right to own guns shall not be infringed.”
First of all the Constitution, like the Koran and the Bible – and every other human document — are not absolute documents. They don’t contain absolute, eternal, and certain truths – regardless of how much we strive for these absolute truths. (Who wants to live in a world or probability and uncertainty?)
Fundamentalism and revealed truth
With the Bible and the Koran the key theological conflict (the thesis and antithesis) is whether or not God:
- Has revealed his truth at a certain time, once and for all; or
- Whether He is continuing to reveal truth. (Some believers hold that God reveals new truths at every moment.)
Concerning the Constitution, the thesis is that it contains certain and absolute truth, versus the antithesis that the Constitutions needs to be modified and interpreted as history moves on. (Of course, often the Constitution needs to be modified, for example, the deletion of the 2nd Amendment — since it is so dysfunctionally applied, but it is politically impossible. Thus, ending in political dysfunction.)
Concerning assault weapons, the 2nd Amendment was written when only one-shot rifles and cannons were available. Thus the writers seemed to have meant that Americans have the right to own rifles. And it is quite possible that writers didn’t mean that every Tom, Dick, and Harry had the right to own a canon. And certainly they didn’t mean that every person had the right to own a surface-to-air missle…nor an assault rifle.
Probably, in the long run, the 2nd Amendment will have to be repealed. Then the right to own weapons will be decided by political lawmakers. Then, hopefully the U.S. will be like nearly every other country in the world and prohibit the purchase and ownership of assault rifles……and surface to air missles.
(Currently the US has 20 times the rate of mass murders than any other country. And the US is the only country where an average citizen can purchase an assault weapon. Can you see a connection?)
Perhaps eventually the country will be led more by reason.
Opening a can of worms
Obama may have even been right in not mentioning the Islamic influence on these – now common – mass murders.
Obama may have learned from George Bush II that we should be careful before we declare war on a country or, in this case, declare war on a religion. If Obama stated that fundamentalistic Islam was a main cause of the carnage – which is closer to the truth – rather than his political truth that the cause was “radical extremism,” he could have opened a politically destructive can of worms that could not be contained.
The unintended consequences of such a declaration — that the Koran is somewhat responsible for the mass murders — can never be known, and this is where the wisdom of political leaders has to be trusted. A political candidate, a writer, a professor, or a youthful activist can say whatever they want without large consequences – good or bad. Not so with an elected political leader. His words can have serious consequences. (A reality that Donald Trump has not yet grasped.)
Political lies are ok
We should leave more absolute truth to writers (like me), academics, and religious leaders, and leave political truth to politicians. That is, politicians must only state truths when they don’t have dysfunctional consequences. Other persons more concerned with authentic truth can state the truth as they see it, and let the chips fall where they may. These non-politicians’ chips don’t cause war, starvation, economic collapse, and other destructive effects. Good politicians must be more functional.
However, fundamentalistic Islam probably is a main cause of all these murders, and most people know it. Whole nations of Islamic people yelling “Death to America” has effects.
And most laypersons are aware that the Koran is basically a fundamentalistic document. Most Muslims believe that the Koran is directly from Allah; it is literally true; and it cannot be modified. Many laymen are aware that the Koran specifically states that:
- believers have the right to kill infidels;
- women should be subordinated to men (that is, they are inferior);
- homosexuals should be killed;
- thieves should have their hands cut off;
- apostates (any Islamic believer who converts to another religion) should be killed;
- there should be no separation between religion and state (religious leaders should rule the country);
- the whole world should submit to the Koran and Allah; and
- Muslims have the right to impose Islam on people by force.
The antithesis to the above paragraph is that the critics of Islam are cherry picking statements out of the Koran, and that the Koran says the opposite of these beliefs as well.
This antithesis may be true. One can interpret sections of the Koran in many different ways. And Islamic leaders (Imans) have done exactly that. Some Imans say “peace” and some say “Death to America,” and some say “Death to Isreal.”
However the fact remains that many Muslims – around 25% — believe in the violent interpretation of jihad. These believers are not extremists; they are not psychopaths, they are not psychotics. They are authentic Islamists who believe in an authentic and rational interpretation of the Koran.
We can see the 1.3 billion Muslims as falling on a bell curve, going from the right wing, through the peak of the curve in the middle, and onto the left wing of the curve. Again, from around 25% are on the right wing. Perhaps another 25% are on the left wing – advocating peace, democracy, separation of church and state, and religious freedom. The rest — 50% — can be seen somewhere in the middle.
(Probably over 5% — the extreme right — support mass murder in support of the movement to subordinate the whole world to Allah and the Koran. Thus out of the 1.3 billion Muslims, there are probably around 65 million who support mass murder. ISIS is the current most popular representative of this right wing.)
A fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran — which is an authentic and reasonable interpretation of the words in this book — was a main cause of the mass murder in Orlando. But it may be better for political leaders not to mention it. But RG can.