Zealotry and Fiction: Not So Distant, It Seems


If extremist fanatics wish to make their religious zeal look any more despicable and ridiculous to the rest of the world, I really do not know how they could do it: the continued fatwa on Salman Rushdie’s head, and the renewed furor against him caused by his recent knighting, serves only to make these religious zealots look like murderous retards. Have any of them read and understood The Satanic Verses? It has little to do with blasphemy, and much more to do with understanding (and damn good storytelling). But of course, such people can only read all things completely literally, and are unable to fathom depth, complexity, nor challenging themselves with differing perspectives. And they read the Qoran in just such a manner as well, and are thus able to find justification for blatantly murderous and bigoted responses to everything. Just as Christian religious extremists dig through the Bible to hunt for random verses that will support their prejudice and hatred of all perceived evils.

What I continually fail to comprehend is how people who claim to believe so strongly in something could have their faith shaken so easily by such misperceived and unimportant slights as contained within a book of fiction. While this may attest to the power of the written word and of ideas, it also attests to the fear and insecurity lying so close to the heart of fanaticism. If these people truly believe in their God and in his prophet, then they would know that this God is untouchable by insults from nonbelievers, or blasphemy by outsiders. What is important is the knowledge and faith that they have in their own hearts. But quite obviously, many of them do not have knowledge and faith in their hearts. They only have a slinking overprotective fear that turns quickly to bristling anger and direct attack in the face of any challenge.

What these so-called religious zealots fail to realize is just how apparent their own inner blasphemy is made to the rest of the world when they react in such a manner. These are not men of God. These are hypocrites and blasphemers of the worst sort, who proclaim and beat their chest about their beliefs to the world while all along they do not actually believe them in their own hearts. These are idolaters, murderers, and bigots, who have created a desperate farce of a show to demonstrate that they are righteous, that they are faithful, that they will get into heaven.

Such people earn nothing but disdain from the world, and if there is a God, then they are undoubtedly plowing themselves a direct path to Hell. This is what I think of the people who would uphold a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, and of those unsavory and hypocritical businessmen who have posted bounties on his head. This is my sentence on you.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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