Sep 29 2008

A religious war?

Jamie Barrows

I read an article the other day that was talking about the war and the reasons for it. The article claimed that the war was not a religious war and that religion was only being used by both sides to sensationalize and justify the war.
Specifically it claimed those on our side are trying to make this war out to be a Christians Vs Muslims war and that this isn’t true. And in a way, I agreed with the author. It’s not a Christians Vs Muslims war. Though I’m not sure that, despite the article’s claim, all that many people on our side are pushing that idea. From what I’ve seen, most people on our side simply believe that the other side is blinded by corrupt leaders and a lack of education. But that aside, I did agree with the author that it wasn’t a Christians Vs Muslims issue. And that got me thinking.

If you read anything that people in the middle east are writing, it becomes very obvious that the other side believes this to be a religious war. And yet, we have no interest in pushing our religions on them. So if we aren’t out there forcing our religions on them, then why do Muslims in these countries feel like their religion is under attack?
They clearly believe their religion is under attack by the West(specifically the US, but also Europe). And yet, we are making no efforts to impose our dominant religion(Christianity) on these Muslim nations. Not even on the ones we have occupied.

So what are we attempting to impose on them? What is the West actively pushing in every nation in the world? The answer is Secular Materialism. The thing we truly worship in this country and in most of the Western world, is secularism. And we are actively attempting to push that on every nation in the world.
In the West, the mainstream thought is that Religion should be tolerated as a basic human right, but is not considered to be important. In our world, religion is no longer central to society. Secular thought processes and ideas are what our society and culture embrace and follow. But since it isn’t a religion, we don’t see it as such. But outsiders(in this case non-Western Muslims) do. And so to them, this is a religious war. A war to protect their society from the religion of the West.

Sep 8 2008

Do we know what we think we know?

Jamie Barrows

I watched a video yesterday that really got me thinking. How much of what we think we know, do we actually know? The video was one of the really excellent TED presentations. If you haven’t previously checked out the TED presentations, then you really should. The presentations are on all different topics and are done by people from all over the world. But all of them are thought provoking and interesting.

This particular video was on the failure of our education systems. A failure that is so pervasive and so subtle, that we don’t even realize it is happening. In fact we end up believing we know things about how the world and our society works, when we really don’t know them.

We live in a world filled with information. From the moment we enter the school system, and even before, we are bombarded with facts and details about the world around us. By the time we graduate from school or college, we know all kinds of things. But do we really understand the things we know? And how many of the things we “know” are actually wrong?

I posted the video below so that you can watch it for yourself. The presenter gives a simple exercise at the beginning to illustrate his point. I recommend doing the exercise. I think you’ll be surprised at what you don’t know. I was, and it really made me wonder about the other things I “know.”

Sep 7 2008


Jamie Barrows

Saw the above comic on XKCD and it really struck me. Don’t you ever feel that way? I do.
A lot of the time I hear people complaining about this or that policy, and I think to myself, yeah that’s a problem. But at the same time I think it’s just not that big a deal. I’m basically content and happy with my life and with my country. I don’t feel the need to constantly protest or complain.