I've been emailed this old article.
It sounds like propaganda prepared for U.S. citizens to rationalize the idea of continually invading islamic countries. Creates an enemy image.
It's understandable that today Islam gets demonized to justify U.S. and Britain's meddling in the Middle East. And while I'm not defending Islam, I'm urging people to think outside the box.
I just have a few points to make.
I'm against all religions, but the viewpoint of this article is weak.
By singling out Islam it implies Christianity is much better.
When in fact, crusades and inquisition were very real products of that religion and just because today believers choose to ignore some violent lines in the Bible, doesn't mean they are not there any more.
One day someone may choose to refer to them again and it may so happen the firtile ground will also be found.
Here is a great list of calls for violence in the so called 'holy book' http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html
Christian extremism is just as possible as Islamic. Why are we seeing more of the latter? I guess because their countries are being invaded and occupied more often. Christian (non-muslim) countries aren't, so there are much less of Christian extremism (maybe just enough to bomb a couple of abortion clinics).
Now as to the minority and majority. This is our human nature, unfortunately.
Few of us are intrinsically evil (or good), but most of us are conformists, ready to submit to authority, which was demonstrated by various psychological experiments (link, link). So the same argument applies everywhere. Hey, most Americans are against the war in Iraq, but it still continues. So the peaceful majority is irrelevant in this case just as well. But can we draw any conclusions like the one the author is making by writing 'Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up'? Can we use the same logic to say 'Peace-loving Americans are the enemies since they don't speak up'? Actually, I think that's precisely the logic terrorists are using. They justify their attacks by saying 'people should have pressured their government, they are all responsible, they all are our enemies'.
When trying to compare the two evils, when weighing deaths caused by terrorists against those inflicted by men and women in uniform I am asking myself the ultimate question: did it matter to parents burrying their children whether they were killed by a suicide bomber in the name of Allah or a ligitimized killer with a thought of democracy in his head. I stay convinced all propaganda is evil when it reaches it's goals.
Islam, Christianity, communism, nazism - these are just different types of doctrines used to brainwash and control people. Unfortunately, they all worked. Just as now the concept of a 'gun-barrel democracy' seems to be working. So don't blame Islam exclusively. Blame our lack of independence, critical thinking, susceptibility to propaganda and indifference.
More posts from this category: The ultimate problem with free willPseudoscience. Astrology, physiognomy, numerology...
I wonder what if any alternative you might suggest? I only ask as I've never been able to find an easy answer myself.
I don't have an answer to that either. Still looking...
Philip Zimbardo is suggesting that we can change the society gradually, by promoting heroism. It sort of worked in SU. We had a massive propaganda campaign encouraging people to compete in doing good things, in becoming heroes. They were basically creating a fashion for morality.
But this does not answer the fundamental question of fixing peoples conformism. All we can do - is program them for good instead of evil. But that will work right until some new charismatic guy comes over and launches his own propaganda.
SU fell apart. 'Good' propaganda is over. Society is back to 'screw the heroes, i'm minding my own business' state.
I wrote more extensively about democracy here
I don't think of commenting as infiltrating
Great, but I never said anything about the author, only about this particular article and the message it is sending.