- Religion and Philosophy»
- The Role of Religion in History & Society
Same Old Story
Just Different Characters
The Christmas Day Bomber, the Fort Hood Shooter, the Times Square Bomber; none of these people fit the profile of a radical Muslim. Somehow though, they all bought into the idea that their faith was under attack, and needed to be defended. It's an idea called 'The Narrative'.
The piece I referenced speaks of Islam, but it seems to me that fundamentalists of various stripes have taken the concept of their faith being under attack and a need for 'true believers' to fight back.
Judaism has the most unique take on the idea of a faith under fire to me. Their version is based more on a place that a faith. Jews the world over, especially in America, have been convinced that the defense and protection of Israel, without question or dissent, is a component of their faith. The incident with veteran journalist Helen Thomas, the criticism of those who questioned Israel's handling of the aid boats trying to break the blockade, and even the way that the media covers Israel may all be examples of this idea that confuses a country, a political view and a religion.
The Christian interpretation is based more on the ideas of a faith being attacked. To a Christian Fundamentalist, the faith is under attack not so much from a people or a country, but from ideas like evolution and equality. The true Christian must defend the teachings of Christ, or more often the Old Testament, from a secular society that sees that women and homosexuals deserve equal treatment and that scientific fact be taught instead of religious dogma.
Of all the persecution narratives, the one that the atheists, agnostics and other rationalists have created actually makes the most sense. In their eyes, reason and science are under attack. They have historical evidence in what the Catholic Church did with Galileo, etc, and can point to Intelligent Design as a way that faith attacks what takes man off its pedestal a bit.
The problem lies in the radical among the rational. Who have decided that it's not merely religious radicals that are doing the attacking, but religion as a whole. They see every time a court protects a religions right to publicly exercise their faith as an establishment of religion in general. They also don't realize, like their religious counterparts, that most Americans at least don't want to see religion removed from the fabric of society.
It's all the same basic plot, a belief under attack from some 'other'. So how do we re-write the story?