No Denying

Another train bombing. This time in Mumbai, India. At this point, there’s really no denying it. As soon as we hear news like this, we know exactly what happened. The details will follow, to be sure. We will find out which little group or cell is responsible. We will be introduced to some other hate preacher who was the "spiritual leader." We will hear the sinister turbaned figure snarling on the web about "zionism" and the "Islamic Caliphate," and threatening further attacks.

If there’s any silver lining, it’s this: Every time a different country is targeted, another society is exposed anew to what religion is capable of. You would think we would remember things like the crusades well enough. We all learn about them in school. Everyone is horrified. We see the results in films like "Kingdom of Heaven." We experienced the carnage firsthand in 9/11. But each time this happens, and a nation sees its working class heroes (irony intentional) cut down by religious attacks on commerce, they gain a new appreciation for what the stakes are in this battle.

After the Golden Temple massacre, and many other incidents, you wouldn’t think India would need reminding. But apparently so. Tensions with Pakistan will no doubt increase. But if any pressure is to be applied, it is this: Worldwide legal action is required to shut down the preachers of hate. Pakistan remains solidly in the Islamic camp. But regardless of where the indoctrination took place, we know it happened. Terror cannot take hold unless young minds are first conditioned to accept death as unreal. Belief in the afterlife and supernatural are the first stages of this disease. To end terrorism, we must end belief itself. There is no other way.

Comments (10 comments)

sunrunner / July 11th, 2006, 8:43 am / #1

Sean — you have to go to and see a clip of an interview of John Dean (by Keith Olberman) about his new book on authoritarianism. It’s really a must-see!

Matt / July 11th, 2006, 8:56 am / #2


I did a very similar post last night, based on the Sunni/Shi’a violence in Iraq, but of course before the news of the Mumbai bombing:


Good post man,


Matt / July 11th, 2006, 8:57 am / #3

Oops, link didn’t come through:


BlackSun / July 11th, 2006, 9:28 am / #4

sunrunner, great clip. I’m going to have to get the book!

Here’s the link for the video:

Mark / July 11th, 2006, 12:53 pm / #5

“To end terrorism, we must end belief itself. There is no other way.’

There is no way to totally end terrorism , which is a tactic that has been used throughout the ages. And often for purely secular political aims. We can, however, end religion inspired terrorism by ending religious belief. But good luck! The mind boggles at the difficulty of doing this.

Matt / July 11th, 2006, 1:49 pm / #6

“often for purely secular political aims”

These too are beliefs. By ending belief, you end the tyranny of ideas over humanity, thus ending the reason that terrorism exists.

Belief is a condition where you accept something as truth, even with a lack of evidence (or in some cases evidence to the contrary). Anytime you have a condition where you elevate truth to something other than factual evidence, the potential for terrorism exists. By ending belief, you WILL end terrorism.

This is why I say in a similar post to this (the one I linked above) that the real war should not be the ‘War on Terror’ but the ‘War on Dogma’, Eastern, Western, Middle-Eastern, it doesn’t matter, all Dogma.

You are right though, it does boggle the mind.


Mark / July 12th, 2006, 12:06 am / #7

I would point out that terrorism is still a minor cause of death worldwide. I don’t mean to imply that it’s not a problem, but many, many more people will die from malaria this year than will die from terrorism, and more people die in car accidents in any given month than were killed on September 11, 2001 by terrorists.

Matt / July 12th, 2006, 8:48 am / #8


I agree that in terms of raw deaths, it’s not as big of a problem. But if you think about the fact that Malaria can be supressed if you throw money at it, Car accidents can be minimized with safety standards, etc… but Terrorism can’t be stopped, because it involves stopping people from being fanaticsl. I think that’s why it has more weight to it then car accidents and malaria.


sunrunner / July 12th, 2006, 9:32 am / #9

I thought you would appreciate that clip :-).

Belief is a funny thing . . . we all “believe” in some things. I try to believe “facts” but sometimes the facts that convince me to think one thing or other turn out to be mistaken. But that is ok, I am flexible and I care more about the
“truth” (well, usually!) than being “right” — the point is, that we have to not only learn how to think for ourselves but to do our best to cultivate a world in which everyone has an ability to think for themselves.

Regarding terrorism. Fear is not a thought, it is not a policy, it is not a “thing.” It is a human emotion. And all human emotions are by their nature irrational. That is not to say that there aren’t real dangers in the world. Rattlesnakes are danger, but if I let my fear of them dictate how to behave when I encounter one then I am likely going to get bit. The same with “terrorism” — no one is dealing with this very real phenomena in an intelligent thoughtful manner, rather those in power are (largely) striking back in fear.

I keep thinking about the unbelievable amount of money that we are spending on the war in Iraq. What if that money — over the past 10 years — was spent in intelligent reasonable ways to eliminate poverty and disease? What if the US gov had really supported the construction of a “real” gov. in Afghanistan before the Taliban came to power? Had poured money into education and training and small business loans?

The fact is, the more desperate people’s lives people become, the more likely they are to turn to “savior” figures, religious or political. People who have a sense of genuine autonomy are much less likely to go down a road that will only bring pain and chaos to their lives. When people have something ‘real’ they are motivated to protect it rather than become a force to destroy what others have.

BlackSun / July 12th, 2006, 11:13 pm / #10

sunrunner, my first choice for Iraq war money would have been renewable energy. This would have shut down our need to control the middle east.

We have to look at the complicity of the American people, in terms of their own consumption; which puts America at odds and in competition with the developing world. I agree that prosperity in the third world would reduce the need for external saviors, and thus belief.

Looking at the John Dean clip, we can see how the authoritarians benefit from this conflict. This also explains (beyond financial ties and cronyism) why the government of George W. Bush has only paid lip-service to the energy transition.

America’s dependence on the middle east is the perfect conflict to replace the cold war, while not ostensibly threatening global annihilation. Keep people off balance and in fear, and they will let you do whatever you need to do.

Mark, car accidents and malaria don’t involve specific intent. The fact that there are believers who would kill me on sight scares me a lot more than a random occurrence, even if the random occurrence is much more likely. Also, as I mentioned, the threat of terrorism is a convenient umbrella for taking away civil liberties.

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