Listening to the masked butchers of Nicholas Berg, the religious dimension of this war become apparent:
“Nation of Islam, is there any excuse left to sit idly by? And how can free Muslims sleep soundly as they see Islam being slaughtered, honor bleeding, photographs of shame and reports of Satanic degradation of the people of Islam, men and women, in Abu Ghraib prison? Where is the sense of honor, where is the rage? Where is the anger for Allah’s religion? Where is the sense of veneration for Muslims, and where is the sense of vengeance for the honor of Muslim men and women in the Crusaders prisons? As for you Bush, dog of the Christians, anticipate what will harm you… You and your soldiers will regret the day you stepped foot in Iraq and dared to violate Muslims.”
These terrorists believe they are on the side of God, as in the One and Only True God, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. They are driven by their theology. No news there.
But it is a mistake to extrapolate from that fact the conclusion that anyone who is driven by strong religious views is a menace. The problem is not that these murderers have theology, it is that they have bad theology. What they believe is false and that is why what they did was evil. The God they believe in does not exist and the God that does exist does not take kindly to cold-blooded murder of civilians. That is the bottom line in this case.
I’m getting tired of the word “extremist” because it is starting to be used in the sense that holding to religious beliefs too strongly is a problem. The message is that as long as you don’t take your worldview too seriously you will be tolerated, but don’t let religion drive your life. I don’t buy that.
If there is a God, He should be the one driving your life, as He is the one who will judge you in the end. If there isn’t a God, then who cares how far outside of the mainstream you are because nothing matters a lick anyway.
I’ll say it again – the problem is not with the terrorist’s philosophical approach to ethics or religion. It is simply that they are really, really wrong about what God is like. They think they are battling the Great Satan. As we will all see eventually, they are actually working for him.