Fight the threat of religious fundamentalism with healthy doubts. -- latimes.com
I really really liked this article so much I couldn't resist but to post it and talk about its significance to the topic of my blog. The author is actually doing a book review and does an excellent job of bringing up key points of how to deal with fundamentalist religious beliefs that seem to clash with democracy on a consistent basis. Its the old east vs west conversation again. Really though, its always going to come up within the realm of this blogs discussions. The key point from this article that I will point out are the questions posed by the authors:
"If political ideology was the scourge of the 20th century, religious fundamentalism could be the greatest threat in the 21st. But how do we fight it? And is there any way to get beyond the narrow struggle between the true believers and the true nonbelievers? Is there a place in this battle for the majority of humans who are decidedly in between?" In other words is there a place in this world for moderates anywhere? OK that makes sense to me so far. But then he goes on with the answers posed by the authors of the book review:
"It's not easy. Too much anti-fundamentalist rhetoric spreads the type of relativism that breeds more fundamentalists. That is, challenging tradition softens absolutes, which is the beginning of relativism. That's liberating, until it isn't. If you no longer accept what was once taken for granted, you are burdened with the need to think it all through and come up with new or at least individual answers. And that burden can send people straight back to the absolutes. It turns out that liberal democracy -- with its protections of individual rights -- is the strongest guarantor of doubt. In fact, Berger and Zijderveld argue that doubt -- especially as expressed in the idea of a loyal opposition -- is at the heart of a democratic system. That means that, in the end, President George W. Bush was right when he said that what the fundamentalists of Al Qaeda hate most about us is our freedom. It also means that our democratic freedoms are our best weapons to fight back."
Now I thought the review and the authors comments were really on a roll until the last paragraph of the article when he brought George Bush into the picture. I believe in loyal opposition theory yes, true, OK, good, and all. But how do you go from there to the fight back statement from our democratic freedoms? Is there some specific reason why we as a democratic country are better able to deal with radical fundamentalists better than any other country? If so, what other countries are we doing better than at it? You mean for example Europe? They are also democratic right? However they are not having a n easy time with fundamentalist theories quite so much either last time I checked. I do not see the correlation with the George Bush statement. I just got lost somewhere. The article book review was making really good sense then it seemed to fall off at the end. Sorry about that Mr. Rodriguez no offense. Great article overall. I am sure the book is really good as well. Maybe you will comment me on my blog post if you ever see it.