Sunday, August 22, 2010

Religious Fundamentalism: Not Just an Islamic or Christian Problem

There's an article in Haaretz warning about the rise in Jewish fundamentalism in Israel. It's interesting just how close the parallels in thinking are with Islamic fundamentalism/extremism. For example:

"In discussions on the killing of infants and children ... it is reasonable to harm children if it is clear they will grow up to harm us. Under such circumstances they should be the ones targeted." And finally: "There is no need to discuss the question of who is and is not innocent, just as when we are defending against evil we do not hesitate to strike at limbs that were not actually used in actions against us." AND ""When there is a conflict between orders based on the ethics code and a halakhic instruction, of course one must follow halakha" - Jewish law."
Blind, fanatical adherence to religion is a problem that transcends any one particular faith. The writer even calls the movement he is attacking, "Jewish Wahhabism." As the article notes, fundamentalist rabbis have
approved murder, attacks on Arabs and their property, the illegal takeover of land, racist segregation between Ashkenazi and Mizrahi female pupils, and have ignored (at least ) the murder of a prime minister.
Like fundamentalist Islamic madrassas that turn out Muslim extremists,  Jews have yeshivas turning out "tens of thousands" of students who then go on to become soldiers, and take other positions of authority.

Many Americans support Israel -- at least in part -- because despite the many differences between the U.S. and Israel, they recognize it as a sort of kindred state: an advanced, modern, industrialized nation built along Western lines. If it were ever to become a radical Jewish state, where a fundamentalist version of Judaism takes center stage, much of that support will dry up. Fanatical adherence to religious beliefs, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish or something else, is a plague on society whenever it infects, let alone takes over government. Anything can be justified if it's God's will. And since God doesn't actually talk to anyone, God's will tends to be determined by fundamentalist leaders and their particular interpretation of holy books.  Religious fundamentalism and government authority are a deadly combination that should be kept as far apart as possible. 

1 comment:

  1. Quote: "Religious fundamentalism and government authority are a deadly combination that should be kept as far apart as possible."

    Especially true for the religion of atheism. As the history of Russia, China, Cambodia, North Korea etc and the murderous tyrants of those religious/political regimes have proven throughout history.