Religion Doesn't Create Terrorists. Society Does

If the goal is to stop this sort of organized violence that plagues the world, then finding other ways to provide disaffected youth the money, protection, inclusion and social bonding they are missing that lead them to become outlaws in the first place should be our top priority.
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The recent motor cycle gang violence in Texas has many wondering why the media isn't talking about things like white-on-white crime; why prominent white leaders aren't out denouncing this violence; or why the talking heads aren't dissecting the problems with white culture like they seem apt to do with violence perpetrated by non-whites.

After all, the executive director of the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association called these biker gangs domestic terrorists, and data show that many of the things that lead people to join extremist groups like ISIS are very similar to what leads people to join violent gangs.

Given this, it seems the media should cover terrorist organizations a little more like they have covered the biker gangs. For example, perhaps nothing exemplifies America's condemnation of Islam more than the Pew poll that shows that around 22 percent of countries have blasphemy laws on the books. Of course, it should be pointed out that Canada and certain U.S. states still have blasphemy laws on the books as well, so it seems unlikely that the laws themselves have much of a correlation with violence. It should also be noted that in some of these countries blasphemy laws were introduced by Europeans not the Quran. This suggests that blaming the Muslim holy book for the actions of extremists would be like blaming Harley-Davidson for the actions of these biker gangs.

Another take away from the Pew poll is that Islam is an inherently violent religion, since in some countries a majority of Muslims support death for apostates. Obviously this exposes a problem with these believers; however, it appears that despite what polls may say, most of these supposedly radical countries ignore these laws. In fact, the vast majority of the countries haven't actually killed anyone for apostasy or blasphemy.

Bill Maher once stated that, while the U.S. has crazy Christian fundamentalists, what makes us better is that we don't let them rule our country. If courts in the majority of Islamic countries don't actually sentence anyone to death then does simply having a poll that suggests people support the law actually prove that the bulk of Muslims are really more in need of help than America's religious extremists?

Has anyone ever done a poll of Christians to ask if homosexuals should be killed for being gay? In the U.S. some 30 members of the LGBT community are killed each year. Given that the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin punishable by death, there are numerous preachers who support this belief, and 76 percent of Christians believe the Bible is the written or inspired word of god. Would it be safe to say that the Bible is the mother lode of bad ideas? Would it be okay to castigate the entire religion for the actions of a select few? Are Americans and Christians really that much different than Muslims in the Middle East?

Polls show 57 percent of Republicans support making Christianity the official religion of the U.S. while 60 percent of Tennessee residents are in favor of making the Bible the state's official book. Similarly majorities of Muslims are in favor of making Sharia law the official law of their country; however, contrary to what some would have you believe, many of these Muslims feel Sharia law should only cover Muslims.

Polls show that U.S. citizens described as "Steadfast Conservatives" (69 percent) and "Faith and Family left" (91 percent) both strongly support the idea that believing in God is essential to being a moral person. Similarly Muslims in various regions believe the same thing, with support ranging from 61 percent for Southern-Eastern Europe to 94 percent in Southeast Asia.

Ninety-five percent of Americans believe the U.S. was founded on the right for citizens to have religious freedom. Similarly, vast majorities of Muslims believe religious freedom is a good thing, with South Asia being the highest at 97 percent.

In the U.S. 38 percent of Whites believe Blacks are the most racist while only 10 percent of Whites believe Whites are the most racist. Similarly in Egypt 50 percent of Muslims believe Christians are hostile towards Muslims while only 35 percent of Muslims believe Muslims are hostile towards Christians.

For those who attend Church weekly, 69 percent believe humans were created by God in our present form while only 1 percent of this group thinks Humans evolved with no help from God. Similarly, 67 percent of Muslims in the Palestinian territory believe God created humans as we look today.

Eighty-six percent of Americans believe television has caused a decline in values. Similarly, 88 percent of Pakistan Muslims believe western entertainment has hurt morality.

Pretending that the Pew poll results of one question regarding apostasy somehow proves that the Quran is a book of evil is ignorant at best. There is little doubt that extremists that claim to represent Islam are currently the most violent among religious groups, but polling and other data suggests that Muslims across the globe and religious Americans are cut from the same conservative cloth.

The reality is, the reason that the media isn't spending much time investigating white-on-white crime, the absence of white leaders denouncing these murders, or the problems with white culture in response to these biker gang attacks is because the media doesn't believe this is a systemic problem. Which begs the question -- why are these same people not willing to accept that this could also be true of Muslim extremists?

Clearly, convincing religious followers that their holy book is not meant to be taken literally but rather used as a guide for how to be a better person would be helpful. But if the goal is to stop this sort of organized violence that plagues the world, then finding other ways to provide disaffected youth the money, protection, inclusion and social bonding they are missing that lead them to become outlaws in the first place should be our top priority. Unfortunately, for many, having an enemy that can be portrayed as inherently evil is far better for business than accepting that society's failures create the perfect environment for violent groups to flourish.

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