Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Ground Zero Islamic Center - My Take

I am atheist and proud of it. I am of the firm opinion that everyone should be free to practice their religion (or lack thereof) as they see fit. This is part of who we are as Americans. It is a sacred principle enshrined in our constitution. For this reason I find the debate over the so-called "ground zero" Islamic center to be a farce and mark of shame for our country.

Islam does not equal terrorism. Would anybody think it a rational argument if Christians were prohibited from building churches next to the Oklahoma City Federal Building just because Timothy McVeigh was Christian? Obviously this would be a nonsensical position. Why is the Islamic center any different? True, the 9/11 terrorists were all Muslim, but it does not follow that all Muslim's are terrorists. In fact, many of the 9/11 victims were themselves Muslim. Why should all Muslims be asked to answer for the crimes of a small and sick minority that shares the same faith?

From my personal perspective, religions (all of them) are misguided. I recognize and respect everyone's right to worship and believe what they choose, and I make no claim to know better than anyone else the ultimate truth or the nature of reality. I am frustrated, perplexed and amazed by people's unwavering and uncompromising certainty about things they have no possible way of knowing. I feel that there is plenty of evidence to show that religion has been a force for evil in the world (case in point the 9/11 attacks themselves), which does not reduce by one bit the virtue and good done by many honest and devout religious folks of all religions.

Let's face it, the protest against the "ground zero" Islamic center is nothing short of religious fundamentalism and bigotry, dressed in the guise of political correctness and a plea for "consideration". For God's sake, let honest people worship as they will. Your religion is no better than theirs and is no more grounded in reality or morality than those of others.

That's my take, anyway.

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

The flaw I see in your McVeigh analogy is that (to my knowledge) McVeigh's actions were less "in the name of" Christianity than the 9/11 hijackers' actions were "in the name of Islam." I don't think this invalidates your point - both were still the actions of individuals, and strongly opposed by other individuals who share the same faith - but it is a relevant difference.

Bucksome said...

I agree that it is bigoted to think the islamic center can't build a mosque near Ground Zero.

What amazes me is that people (politicians and new entertainers mostly) are getting all riled up when the people of New York are okay with it.

Rob Bennett said...

Your religion is no better than theirs and is no more grounded in reality or morality than those of others. That's my take, anyway.

And your take is no more grounded in reality or morality than the take of those who believe that some religions are better than others, Shadox. It is one thing to tolerate all religions. It is something very different to say they are all equally true.

If all religions were equally true, there would be no point in choosing one over another.

Rob

Shadox said...

Anon - you make a valid point regarding my analogy (which is incomplete), but as you mention my point is not weakened by that.

Let me amend my analogy in any case - if McVeigh were a religious terrorist, do you think folks would object to building a church near the Federal Building? I think not.

Bucksome - I am outraged that our leaders are quietly allowing this bigotry to continue. Some of them are actually supporting it!

Freedom of (and from) religion is a fundamental principle of this country and it is one out of many reasons I live here.

Shadox said...

Rob - my point exactly. There is no point or evidence for choosing one over another. Hence atheism is my personal choice.

However, this is not a religious or theological discussion, it is a discussion about freedom of religion. I am not a believer, but it is deeply important to me that those folks who believe be permitted to practice their faith, free of disguised bigotry.

Bill said...

Bucksome, where are you getting the data to back your assertion that most New Yorkers support the mosque location?

Marist Poll
CNN/Sienna Poll

Fact is that most people DO NOT back the location of the mosque. Would you feel differently if one of your children were murdered in the name of Islam? For sure, it was a small group of people that committed the atrocities of 9/11, but to many New Yorkers, the wounds are still too fresh.

Do they have the right to build the mosque in Manhattan? Yes. Should they? I'll leave it to you to answer that one.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for some rational thought.

Not easy to find in a country where the majority of people believe in some sort of supernatural phenomena (e.g. gods, devils, demons, angels)

Kimberlee Stiens said...

Bill: What about the hundreds of Muslim families who had loved ones who died? That's what really gets me about this whole thing. People talk about how "insensitive" it is to build a badly-needed community center near Ground Zero. But people just don't care about the Muslims who died that day, you only qualify for sensitivity if you are a Christian.

And anonymous: Even if the McVeigh analogy is bad, there are hundreds of apt ones. Do we pitch fits if someone wants to have a religious service a couple blocks from an abortion clinic that was bombed by Christians? I know you were not disagreeing, but the distinction is meaningless; Christians are insulated from the extremes of their religion, while every Muslim gets blamed and treated badly for the extremes of theirs.

The idea that 9/11 belongs to Chrisitans is, as Shadox stated, a bigoted idea. It infuriates me.

guinness416 said...

I doubt it'll get built. They don't have the funds anywhere near raised yet, so it'll probably stay as a useless boarded-up old burlington coat factory or whatever on a side street with no foot traffic.
And the oversubscribed mosques nearby will continue to have to turn people who want to pray away. And the loons at the NY Post will be happy, yay America!

Anyway, as someone who was a few of blocks away on 11th Sept and had a colleague crying on my shoulder as his wife was in the building, I'll tell you that very little in the news recently makes my blood boil as much as this ridiculous "issue". Particularly the language in op-eds for and aginst who literally can't see the people who'll use this centre as the New Yorkers they are. Those like Palin and Gingrich and their lackies jumping all over this as part of some numbers calculation - will it get me closer to the white house next time out?? - are truly sickening. Good post!