Friday, July 29, 2005

Faith and Terrorism

This is a letter sent to the editors of the Ft. Worth star-telegram in response to the article "A Terrible Glimpse" by Jonathan Gurwitz.

Mr. Gurwitz is mistaken when he states that there is no enlightenment to be gained in understanding the terrorist by examining there religion. To gain this illumination one must look at the underpinnings of religion, of belief. One must look at its epistemology, at the philosophy of how one acquires knowledge. In his article Gurwitz states "you will no more find the answer to suicide bombers and beheadings in the Quran than you will find the answer to burning crosses and lynchings in the Gospels." Does not, however, the gospel and the Quran demand acceptance without reason or evidence. Is it not even proclaimed a virtue to do so and is this not what is called "faith?" But, also, is this not the epistemological premise of the lynch mobber and the suicide bomber?

"What is it that is transforming those decent young men into homicidal fanatics?" Bouyeri (a terrorist murderer) has told us; it is "faith." No matter how strongly one has faith in humanity and compassion, beliefs, those ungrounded claims to knowledge, leave us intellectually disarmed against the terrorist who claims quit a different "faith."

On 9/11 we witnessed religions highest virtue, total sacrifice to an unknowable contradiction, and yet we sank in horror and then arose in outrage. It is unlikely that this will be acknowledged (or readers will even see this letter) because it would require the rejection of much more than just "an ideological subset of Islam." It casts a shadow of condemnation on all religion and all belief. It would require facing nihilism or rediscovering the principle on which all knowledge must be grounded and to finally recognize what that law asserts.

Things are what they are, and legitimate knowledge must be grounded on this law of identity. The thing which this principle asserts is self-sameness. The call for faith is the attempt to evade this simple incontrovertible truth. Faith in itself violates this law; it embraces the contradiction, "unknown is known." The failure to embrace the axiom as an absolute is to loose all claim to it. This is why faith sabotages all claims to any knowledge!

Groundless, we are domed to fight the "holly wars" and the sacrifice will continue.


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