PARTNER SITES

The Metaphysical Temper Tantrum of Islamic Terrorism

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., says it is time for the U.S. to stop being politically correct and focus its search on radical Islamists in Muslim communities.

King tells Politico.com that while most Muslims are not terrorists, the international base for terrorism against the United States happens to be radical Islam.

“There have been 16 terror plots against New York [since Sept. 11, 2001], all Islamist-based,” King told Politico. “We’re at war with Islamic terrorism.”

King speaks the plain truth. The politically correct establishment who runs our government will never acknowledge it.

We continue to hear that in order to stop terrorism, we must first understand it. The governor of Massachusetts declares that he has “a million questions” for the surviving instigator of the violence at the Boston Marathon, and the shootout that ensued.

We don’t really need to ask a million questions. We simply should accept that there’s an ideological point-of-view that is not only religious, but anti-life-on-earth at its core.

If you want to understand what motivates any terrorist—particularly the overwhelming majority of Islamic-inspired attacks both before and since 9/11—then you’ve got to take a look at what they believe.

Radical Islam shares one very important belief which all religions share: That life on earth is, at best, second fiddle to life after death.

To any religious person, the purpose of existence is not existence itself—but eternity in the afterlife.

There are many different ways to conceive an afterlife, and many different approaches to organizing one’s comparatively short time on earth around the overriding importance of the afterlife.

Even if you believe in reincarnation, as some religions do, then your present life is only one life amongst many you have yet to live—so in a sense, what’s the big deal?

Thanks primarily to the changes in the last two-hundred or so years—when human life on earth reached levels never conceived possible, thanks to economic growth and scientific discovery—the conflict of religion vs. human nature reached an inevitable climax. We are living that climax right now.

The other two major religions—Christianity and Judaism—have more or less reached a compromise, or what most people like to call a “balance” between the demands of the afterlife and the demands of life on earth. These two religious traditions, by and large, succumbed to the separation of church and state and the willingness to put the secular importance of life on earth on at least a level playing field with the afterlife.

Islam? Not so much. Radical Islam? Not at all. This is the reason why militant Islam is at war not just with the United States, but with “Western” or secular civilization as such.

Most Americans don’t grasp this. They take their freedom and material advancement for granted. They don’t apprehend how rare this is, not only over the span of human history but even on planet earth as we presently know it. Those who do have some grasp of this fact treat it as some kind of accident of nature, or a celestial lottery, in which the United States “won” and the rest of the world didn’t—and we should therefore all atone for it, by spreading the wealth around, as if the process of human talent and ingenuity could be “spread” in that way.

Earth to everyone: Neither Mother Teresa nor the U.N. create wealth. Only science, reason, freedom and free-market capitalism do. In the words of Woody Allen (in “Deconstructing Harry”), if it’s a choice “between the Pope and air conditioning … I’d choose air conditioning.” Amen to that.

Most do not understand that freedom and prosperity are not causeless. Secular advancement arises from sources. Those sources are primarily freedom and reason: i.e., individual rights, secular capitalism and science. These are things at war with religion, when religion is taken seriously. Religion, taken seriously, spurns this world in favor of the afterlife, and (at best) frowns upon freedom or individual rights, because this takes power away from the ruling religious authorities.

Islam gets what I’m saying. Militant Islam takes precisely the opposite view of mine. I’m saying life on earth is what counts, that reason and freedom are not merely the most important things—but the only things. Islam says, “No way. Allah is what matters. Death to all who say otherwise.” Secular America says otherwise on a scale too large for Islam to contemplate, and too painful for twisted little souls (like the Boston terrorists) to tolerate.

You have two polar extremes here. Reason/freedom/science/capitalism on the one side. Militant Islam—the voice of religion untamed—on the other. Most seek refuge in an undefined middle, seeking not to take a position, and by not taking a position (they hope) the issue will somehow go away.

The terrorists are here to remind you that the issue will not go away.

You can see why militant Islam appeals to an envious person who has concluded that he cannot succeed in this life, and decides to take this disappointment out on others. Acts of terrorism—whether grandly orchestrated as on 9/11, or more haphazardly employed as in Boston—all result from some form of envy. It’s a metaphysical envy, arising from a belief that because “my life does not matter, neither will yours.”

Islam, better than any other doctrine out there, appeals to this envy–on a quite literally cosmic scale. It says, “This world does not matter. Only the next one does.” To the terrorist, it’s an act of justice while simultaneously serving as a metaphysical temper tantrum. All rolled up into one. More than any other religion or ideology, militant Islam declares war on this world precisely because it is this world. It supplies all the rationalization anyone willing to take this “ideal” to its only possible conclusion needs.

You don’t need to ask a million questions to figure this out. We already know it.

  • Ronald Satz

    Excellent column.