God and Man in Paris

We all must die.

imagesBut we don’t let that stop us enjoying life. Indeed, it makes it all the more precious. Those Parisians were out enjoying life – at restaurants, bars, concert halls, and taking pleasure in the company of others.

It is this that was targeted.

Not infrastructure, not government, not military, not cultural icons – no, they targeted just human beings in the act of joyful living. They attacked the very essence of living itself.

Ostensibly they did it for God. The true motivations are a vipers’ nest of psychopathology. But at its core this is anti-humanism: the antithesis between what makes life worth living and a bleak mentality that reviles it.

But it’s the essence of religion to embody seemingly transcendent ideas which, throughout history, have enflamed people to torture themselves (and others) in service thereto; ranging from Indian mystics sticking pins through their bodies, to Shakers abjuring sex and Russian Skoptsy going one better with castration, and now Muslim radicals aspiring to some sort of perverted purification through violence, cruelty, and the self-destruction of suicide bombing.

UnknownEnough. There is no god. Just us human beings, trying to make the best of our limited lives and to love one another.

(Acknowledgment: this was inspired by a posting from the British Humanist Association.)

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10 Responses to “God and Man in Paris”

  1. DAN Says:

    I believe there is a God! Just not a God of Islam. Islam is not really a religion, but a political system(i.e. government) using religion to
    control the people.

  2. Didius Julianus Says:

    If you really believe it is religion when you say “But it’s the essence of religion to embody seemingly transcendent ideas which, throughout history, have enflamed people to torture themselves (and others) in service thereto” then surely you consider communism, fascism, socialism, and other “political belief” systems (substitute religions, especially those that are actively atheist such as communism) religions as well as they have caused tens of millions to die in the 20th century alone. It looks to me like neo-conservativiism and the financial military industrial complex, while grabbing hold in the 20th century, has set the stage for a repeat in our current century.

    It is not religion, but the fundamental innate duality of man the causes these terrible situations. Some times these flaws manifest themselves through the corruption of some religions (such as Christianity), or as the essence of others (such as Islam), and sometimes they manifest themselves in other belief systems that are frequently a direct or indirect substitute for religion.

  3. rationaloptimist Says:

    Messianic ideologies like communism, that purport to offer a route to salvation of a sort, have many characteristics of religion.

  4. Lee Says:

    Name a country in the middle east where we have not supported a tyrant … it is not as easy a task as it should be. The religion of american exceptonalism also has its victims and this contributes to today’s problems.

    We will have inadequate security no matter how many bombs we throw at the problem. Much as Begin did the unthinkable when he decided to talk to the terrorists in Egypt under Sadat’s reign, our best bet is recognizing that our enemies are worth talking to.

  5. rationaloptimist Says:

    Sorry, this is non-negotiable.

  6. Lee Says:

    Fortunately, your saying that this is non-negotiable, does not make it so. Those of us who want the approach that is most likely to succeed will continue to pursue it. We will continue to highlight the situations where the atrocities were quashed via dialog … Israel-Egypt, Israel-Jordan, ANC-Afrikaner, British-Northern Ireland … giving peace still lasting decades later.

    If you are thinking that today’s atrocities are somehow worse than in the good old days then you are forgetting. Surely you remember the palpable evil that was the invasion of Israel on Yom Kippur.

  7. rationaloptimist Says:

    Truly, I don’t think the leadership of ISIS can be negotiated with in the way that people negotiated in all the cases you mention. In all those cases, both sides had something to gain from resolving conflict. Whereas in the case of ISIS continuing conflict is of the essence.

  8. Lee Says:

    You are forgetting that we truly believed that Sadat’s only goal was to push the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea.

    I should note that I am not insisting that we give up on our military approach against ISIL; that is a secondary consideration. I am arguing that, at the very least, we should *also* put full efforts into dialog. If an accord can be reached, then it will be obvious that the time to stop fighting has arrived.

  9. rationaloptimist Says:

    You insult Sadat who was much more wise. And the kind of people who killed him — which in fact was the start of all this horror — and whose continuation is ISIS — cannot be reasoned with.

  10. Lee Says:

    I consider Sadat a hero. Although we did not see it at the time of the Yom Kippur War — really, think back … he appeared to be pure evil — it was not too many years later that his wisdom became apparent. That is the point!

    The ISIL leaders are human beings and thus do have the ability to reason. If you need further evidence that they can reason, look at their sophisticated recruiting techniques for example.

    We have been trying to vanquish them and their predecessors militarily for decades. While that has led to some reprieves, let us also try for something with more potential to lead to a lasting peace: dialog.

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