In the wake of 9/11, we found ourselves asking what could inspire people to commit such a tragedy. We were asking ourselves, why do they hate us? I have begun so far explaining the roots of our religious challenges in the modern west that have lead to the contempt of the west. This is in no way justifying their behavior, don’t get me wrong, this is merely explaining it. Only with understanding the ideology can we combat it. Only ideology can defeat ideology.
But let us continue identifying problems before solutions. The crisis of modern religion in the west so plagued by secularist dogma is a primary factor in the surge of terrorism. The series of questions I asked myself two paragraphs earlier are precisely at the core of the terrorist issue. You may ask how terrorism can be so intertwined with those questions, but it is less the questions themselves but the lack of answers to those questions. There is a specific discipline of study designed to answer those questions. A discipline so utterly rejected and denied of legitimacy: theology.
It is ridiculous to assume the theological field of study is not a legitimate one. And yet this is how the public perceptions are steadily moving towards. It does not take a genius to realize this. In our day and age, the public attitude only thinks about philosophy in general. The books we read, the classes in school, the people we hear about are in the field of philosophy. The Church ministers of our day misinterpret scripture on an almost weekly basis, someway or the other. In the Muslim World, extremists (this does not imply terrorists) refuse to even consider the theological approach to Islamic study, leading to much of the confusion and disaster when it comes to institutions in power such as the Muslim Brotherhood.Many simple questions I have about the Bible are not even addressed on Google today, as if the theologians of our day don’t even have access to the internet (think about John 17:4 – carefully). Most of our intellectual public can explain to you what existentialism is, but don’t have a clue about biblical predestination. This is a sad truth, and this truth is why terrorists terrorize.
To be a doctor is to have one of the most widely respected professions of our day. Doctors have a responsibility for taking our bodies. By analogy, theologians are responsible for taking care of our souls. Ironically, people of western religions would see the soul as infinitely more important than the body, as it is everlasting, and yet we refuse to give even a moment’s thought to the importance of the field. The here and now are equally important to theologians. How we deal with the societies we live in based upon our religious values is decided by them: the very moral structure of society lies in the hands of the theologians, and to lose them is to lose the insight they can provide. A teacher of the Islamic university Al-Azhar states that a theologian requires two disciplines: theology and sociology. The understanding of religion is intertwined with the understanding of society, so that one can apply their faith within the context of their living. Without theologians both are lost.
Because of this loss of insight, we live in a sort of religious anarchy today. Religion is practically free for all, and we interpret things whatever and whichever way we want to. We do foolish things like quoting “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” without even understanding the meaning of the phrase (no, it has nothing to do with secularism). To most secular minds, the theologian has no relevance, but I don’t think even an atheist should see it that way. When the learned of a faith suddenly lose relevance to that faith, the people with the loudest voice and the most testosterone take the faith into their own control: thus the terrorists. When the voices of the scholars that repeatedly and constantly preach against extremism are suddenly silenced, the bloodshed continues on. This is the phenomenon in the Muslim World, where the theological tradition was nearly destroyed after colonialism. Just as I can feel philosophy to be pointless, the destroying of such an institution would only cause more problems then I’d seek to solve.
The lack of religious understanding in our modern world can be attributed to the loss of theology. The numerous questions we ask, or don’t ask for that matter, are what terrorists answer themselves without the tools to look into other methods. This is in broad terms of course, as the majority of terrorists would be gangsters if they lived in America, or cartel members if they lived in Brazil. But the foundations and roots of radical ideology come from this lack of resources, this lack of understanding. The chaos that erupts from no learned opinion is disastrous. Imagine if half of all US bills on civil law in America suddenly disappeared. Our court system would go haywire, and our justice would become unjust. The loopholes would tenfold, and the system would be abused to the point of no return. This is what has happened, to an extent, to the religious traditions of the world. The secularist dogma has destroyed it seemingly irrevocably, and the gaps were filled by maniacs. Put simply, the maniacs then do whatever they want. That is why the terrorists terrorize.
TO BE CONTINUED.