Fun and Mental Seeks Marriage of Ancient Philosophy and Nuclear Weapons

Some faiths are better than others.

The debates between religious apologists and those critical of religion often run aground for the question of fundamentalism. The secular liberal, eager to avoid even a hint of a whiff of cultural imperialism, concedes that yes, religious fundamentalists are dangerous and a problem. But always with the caveat …but as they represent a minority, we cannot condemn a religion for the acts of bad apples.

The fundamental tenet of Jainism is non violence. To arrive at this very natural conclusion about the philosophy of Jainism does not require one to cut a path through a dense intellectual jungle of contradictions, or perform acrobatics to arrive safely and well poised on the mat of moral certainty in regards to Jainism. To be a Jain is to be non violent, and no manner of twisting or interpretation will lead even the most devout Jain to blow themselves up in a Bombay market. To be a Jain extremist is to walk with your eyes focused on the ground so as to avoid squishing a bug underfoot, or to filter your water with cheese cloth so as to avoid eating same. Simply put: the more crazy the Jain, the less we have to worry about them.

Something similar can be said of Quakers and the Amish et al. Those religions are religions of passivity. No imaginable corruption of faith would permit a Quaker to reconcile their Quakerism with blowing up a school bus. Something similar can not be said of the world’s most popular religion among suicide bombers.

There is no such thing as Quaker military jurisprudence, or Amish military jurisprudence, or Jain military jurisprudence. Islamic military jurisprudence, on the other hand, is all too real and consequential. A set of laws (and not the only set) evolving from the Qur’an and the Hadith, and used not merely as justification for deadly violence, but for engaging in said violence with enthusiasm and total certainty that one is virtuous for spreading death in the name of Allah.

It should be plain that fundamentalism is not a problem per se. Fundamentalist Quakers will not turn to beheading journalists to further Quakerism, and will not be at the controls of the next airplane to hit a skyscraper at 800 kilometers an hour. The natural inference, and if you take nothing else from this please take this; it matters what the books say.

The enlightened secular liberal, full of respect for notions of cultural diversity and relative values, and readily and desperately acknowledging a so called ‘sophisticated’ faith a few of his friends espouse, views the religiously motivated terrorist as being anything but religiously motivated. He points to American imperialism. He points to economic hardship. He points to the myriad of local factors that result in disenfranchised young men turning to Islam for having nothing else… to turn to. But what is this Islam? Are we to take the specifics of this faith as incidental?

To sum: if you had to choose a religion for the country next door, and you had to choose between Wahabi Islam and The United Church, which would you choose? If you think the only appropriate means of choosing is flipping a coin, then you disagree with everything said thus far. Otherwise, you admit that some religions are preferable, and the reason they are preferable is for the literal meaning of their written philosophy.

Robin Lindsay



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