Religious Fanatics?

Recently I heard a caller to a radio talk show describe the terrorists who attached the US on 9/11 as “religious fanatics.” But of course, they weren’t “religious fanatics.” Instead they were Islamic (or Muslim) fanatics (if even the term ‘fanatics’ is accurate). To describe them as religious fanatics is like describing the Nazis of WWII as “government fanatics.” It should be clear, however, the problem with the Nazis was not the fact that they were a government entity. Government as such was not the problem. Indeed, no such entity is a “government as such” entity. In like manner, the problem with the 9/11 terrorists was not that they were religious (Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens notwithstanding). The problem was with the specific doctrines that motivated them (together with the fact of the fall of mankind). Whether such doctrines are consistent with orthodox Islam is not my point here. Rather, I repudiate the notion that it was religion as such that was at fault. Just as the threat of the Nazis was met by good governments in the allied powers one level of the threat of Islam can be met by good religion.

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One comment on “Religious Fanatics?

  1. Kurt Wise says:

    And neither are they “fundamentalists” as some would like to claim. That is just another attempt at guilt-by-name.

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