Who is a Muslim?

Even as Deep Thinkers continued to belabor President Obama’s characterization of ISIS as not r-e-e-e-a-l Muslims, the SOB’s went right ahead and cut off the head of a British aid worker, David Haines.

For the record, Sam Harris considers ISIS real Muslims, and so does Albert Mohler.

You know there is something strange afoot when a atheist neuroscientist and a blinking-neon yahoo find agreement on religion.

The humdrum truth is that, like ‘Christian,’ nobody owns a copyright in the word ‘Muslim’ and, like ‘Christian,’ a Muslim is anybody who calls himself a Muslim and believes it. That’s why John Spong, Pat Robertson and Mitt Romney can all call themselves Christian, though they agree on virtually nothing. What is more, Islam, like Christianity, is a living religion and susceptible of evolution, so that the Muslim of 500-years ago is no more recognizable to a modern Muslim than the Southern Baptist of the modern era is recognizable to the Southern Baptist of the pre-Civil War era. Each occupies a point on a continuum, and denounces as heretics and blasphemers those who occupy different points.

It is certainly true that the generality of Muslims have no interest in the difficult and grisly work of beheading people who only want to make their lives easier, and in at least that sense the President is surely correct. And, if we could know, I venture that most Muslims would rather own an iPod and listen to rock-and-roll than restore the Caliphate. Remember the Arab Spring, when Muslims throughout the Middle East attempted to throw-off the regressive, backward-looking regimes that enslave them with life-hating dogmas?

I am sure that the disaffected Americans and Brits racing to join-up and start shooting at their former countrymen consider themselves real Muslims, and I am sure their new brothers-in-arms consider themselves real Muslims, too. I am equally certain that their leaders are cynical and amoral opportunists who find this grotesque notion of real Islam useful for mobilizing idiot savages, for the simple reason that the truth is always what people do — and they have not made any effort whatever to create an actual state. We are talking about cheap thugs (mis)using insignificant idiots’ fantasies of grandeur to get their dirty-work done, and tarting-up their thuggery with useful Piety. That’s all.

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The Will to Power

Book One: History of European Nihilism
II: Nihilism

§ 70 Against the doctrine of the influence of the milieu and external causes: the force within is infinitely superior; much that looks like external influence is merely its adaptation from within. The very same milieus can be interpreted and exploited in opposite ways: there are no facts. — A genius is not explained in terms of such conditions of his origin.

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The Will to Power

Book One: History of European Nihilism
II: Nihilism

§ 69 Nihilistic Traits

  • In the natural sciences (“meaninglessness”); causalism, mechanism. “Lawfulness” an entr’acte, a residue.

  • Ditto in politics: one lacks the faith in one’s right, innocence; mendaciousness rules and serving the moment.

  • Ditto in economics: the abolition of slavery. The lack of a redeeming class, one that justifies — advent of anarchism. “Education”?

  • Ditto in history: fatalism, Darwinism; the final attempts to read reason and divinity into it fail. Sentimentality in face of the past; one could not endure a biography! — (Here, too, phenomenalism: character as a mask; there are no facts.)

  • Ditto in art: romanticism and its counterstroke (aversion against romantic ideals and lies). The latter, moral as a sense of greater truthfulness, but pessimistic. Pure “artists” (indifferent toward content). (Father-confessor psychology and puritan psychology, two forms of psychological romanticism: but even its counterproposal, the attempt to adopt a purely artistic attitude toward man — even there the opposite valuation is not yet ventured!)

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H.L. Mencken, b. 1880-Sep-12

“I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind – that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.

“I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.

“I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty.

“I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.

“I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech.

“I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.

“I believe in the reality of progress.

“I – But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.”

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The Will to Power

Book One: History of European Nihilism
II: Nihilism

§ 68 Why everything turns into histrionics. — Modern man lacks: the sure instinct (consequence of a long homogeneous form of activity of one kind of man); the inability to achieve anything perfect is merely a consequence of this: as an individual one can never make up for lost schooling.

That which creates a morality, a code of laws: the profound instinct that only automatism makes possible perfection in life and creation.

But now we have reached the opposite point; indeed, we wanted to reach it: the most extreme consciousness, man’s ability to see through himself and history. With this we are practically as far as possible from perfection in being, doing, and willing: our desire, even our will for knowledge is a symptom of a tremendous decadence. We strive for the opposite of that which strong races, strong natures want–understanding is an ending.-

That science is possible in this sense that is cultivated today is proof that all elementary instincts, life’s instincts of self-defense and protection, no longer function. We no longer collect, we squander the capital of our ancestors, even in the way in which we seek knowledge.

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