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Re: Fundamentalism/Intolerance - reply to Trey Wickwire

Reader comment on item: The Evil Isn't Islam

Submitted by Mark (United States), Dec 17, 2002 at 08:17

Trey,

Thank you for the quote you provide from http://www.religioustolerance.org/reconstr.htm. I believe it demonstrates my point that it is Islam and not religious fundamentalism in general that is the problem. The group that you cite seeks to convince the citizens of the United States (and other countries) to adopt the Mosaic laws that this group favors in a democratic manner. This is no different than any other group that acts within the democratic process, be they libertarians, socialists, Democrats, Republicans, etc. Muslims who want to convert a country's majority to Islam peacefully, change the constitution by due process, and institute Islamic law fall into this same category. Orthodoxy Jihadist Muslims, Revolutionary Socialists, the Mafia, etc., want to conquer and rule by force and don't seek to convice a majority to follow them.

I should point out that I am not a Christian, and I currently do not follow any religion, but I do view with disfavor the beliefs and goals of many religious groups (I also see a great deal of wisdom in many religions). Just because I disagree with their goals doesn't mean that I fear them or that they are dangerous. Their methods of achieving their goals is extremely important to consider in making this assessment of them. As history should have taught us by now, especially given the examples of the 20th century, all means are not justified by suitable ends; the notion that all means are justified by suitable ends (and not the end goals themselves) is the font of evil.

Let me give you a very concrete example. I disagree with your post in reply to me. I would like to convert you to my way of thinking. I can write this post and hope you read it and are persuaded. Or I can come over to your house, beat you into submission, and threaten you with more of the same unless you change your mind and agree with me. Failing to convince you that way, I could simply do away with you and have one less person who refuses to follow my orthodoxy. Which would you prefer I do? Which way do you find more dangerous? (This hypothetical is a thought experiment only; please, no physical confrontations or restraining orders!)

-Mark
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