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“God is Great, Merciful, Vengeful, bla bla bla…”
When we surrender our unique human ability to reason by choosing to blindly believe rather than rationally THINK, we risk becoming inhumanely unreasonable and in too many cases, kill for god, country, and party. God may be great, bla bla bla.... However, our human ability to reason certainly is great, if we but use it.
November 11, 2009 El Observador, San Jose
It's reported that U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan shouted, "Allahu akbar" ("God is Great") as he unleashed an automatic weapon upon his fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood, killing 13 and wounding many more. It is yet another murder committed by a reportedly lone gunman, ala Lee Harvey Oswald (killer of JFK), Sirhan Sirhan (killer of RFK), James Earl Ray (killer of MLK). The lonely, anti-social, lone gunman is a common profile of assassins. Did Hasan suddenly "snap" under the pressure of counseling other soldiers about to leave or returning from war? Or is there more to this killer than his singular pathology? Investigations of Hasan's contacts with a radical Islamic cleric continue, as well as reports that he prayed constantly and obsessed over his internal contradictions as a Muslim in an army fighting in two Islamic nations. He was severely conflicted by his ethical dilemma and rather than seek the very therapy he provided to others, he tragically denied it to himself.
Seeking to comprehend why someone kills people he does not know or who did him no specific harm, police, prosecutors, therapists and the public are quick to analyze the killer as mentally ill, de-ranged, depressed, unhappy, or suffering from post, pre or secondary traumatic stress. Any combination of these is likely to prove true. But it is equally difficult to make sense of group violence encouraged, promoted, planned and perpetrated by religious sects, cells, and cults. Many theorize that it is only breakaway religious fanatical cults who commit such acts, rather that the main branches of religious institutions, yet history disproves this notion. In the case of Hasan, shouting as he fired his weapon -- "God is Great" --is evidence that he acted in a disturbed illusion that he was acting out his faith by killing infidels, sinners, and evildoers on behalf of God.
Tragically--some persons act out their individual or religious fantasies, illusions, or scripts to the demise those in their line of fire. It is critical to examine how religious theologies and national ideologies are taught to all, expecting absolute belief. Those who do so are judged religiously: to be good Christians, Jews, Muslims, or whatever the "faith," or secularly: to be good Americans, Israelis, Britons, Germans, etc. From infancy, children are taught to recite prayers, tested on doctrines, pledges of allegiance, commitments to some faith, rewarded with praise, decorations, promotions, blessed by patriarchs, while those who question the "sacred teachings" have at times been abused, incarcerated, exiled, or excommunicated, even executed, and condemned to eternal damnation!
Many are indoctrinated from infancy by loving and beloved parents, teachers, leaders, priests, imams, rabbis and ministers as well as political leaders to believe without question-to believe that: "god is great, all knowing, just, merciful, vengeful, and everything happens for a reason." In the secular realm our indoctrination is that our nation, political party, movement, culture or ideology is the only true doctrine. Therefore, with the guidance of god, party, nation, general, monarch or president, one must surrender rationality to a god or a commander-in-chief, and may be ordered to kill the enemies of the faith, party, or nation. "I was only following orders" or "god's will be done," are all too common banal excuses when our actions cause great harm. When we surrender our unique human ability to reason by choosing to blindly believe rather than rationally THINK, we risk becoming inhumanely unreasonable and in too many cases, kill for god, country, and party. God may be great, bla bla bla.... However, our human ability to reason certainly is great, if we but use it.