The Devil’s Rant: The Problem of Religious Fundamentalism Is Tolerance of Religious Intolerance

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As if you had to dig too deep to find a problem with religious fundamentalism, or a hundred. Perhaps the headline of this article is inappropriate at first glance, but I need to rant about one of the many difficulties the world should have with religion. 

I say I need to rant because this impulse comes from frustration. And this frustration stems from reading headlines about Afghanistan and the continued plight of her people. 

A disheartening circumstance especially after publishing the first part of The Happiness Project.

The Devil Unbound: Religious intolerance
Compassion and Tolerance

“We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.”

Karl Popper, Philosopher of Science

“KABUL, Oct 8 (Reuters) – A suicide bomber attacked a mosque in Afghanistan’s northeastern Kunduz province on Friday, killing scores of worshippers in the country’s third attack this week on a religious institution.”

I said this before, and it is worth repeating that the most vulnerable victims of Islamic extremism are other Muslims. And I reiterate that as long as the parties of God remain in control, nothing will change. 

Yes, religion needs to die for this world to heal.  

The one problem I need to rave about, with my rhapsody being impertinent to many, is the defence of intolerance in the name of religious and cultural sensitivity. 

I have no quips, no stream of humorous invectives, nor do I feel the need to find any in describing my concern. 

I’ll get right to the point.

As Sam Harris once noted, the problem with religious fundamentalism is the fundamentals of religion. 

Moreover, and this is where I disagree with the current liberal movement, the acceptance of the nonsense those fundamentals bring to the world in the name of tolerance is a form of toxic intolerance. 

The Devil Unbound: Religious Fundamentalism and Extremism
Religious Intolerance

As you read the rest of my words, remember that the Devil is one of the first liberal figures in history. Also, consider that the point isn’t to suppress (even the fundamentalist’s) freedom of expression, but to stand against bad ideas with rational, critical argument. 

Imagine a western feminist unwilling to argue with an Arabic male about his outward misogyny for fear of trespassing into perceived racism. Such reluctance implies that there is a context in which mistreating women is acceptable. That disinclination to stand firm in defence of universal enlightened values creates a mantel under which bad behaviour can escalate to extremism. 

The disingenuous moral relativists and the anti-intellectual postmodernists will always rush to inject their cowardice and laziness into the argument for cultural sensitivity. 

As a direct result of that weakness of character, they are essentially to blame for the resurgence of hate and bigotry in the west. Their deconstructionist approach to life continues to formulate slippery slopes that prudent humans can’t navigate honestly. 

In their pious confusion, they can’t separate the individual human from sets of beliefs rooted in archaic traditions. To them, religion, politics and human beings are the same. 

And that last point is precisely how the Taliban see others who disagree with them. 

Think about it this way.

If some ideas contradict and threaten my worldview, and they are intrinsic parts of the people who hold them, it follows that those people must go.  

Understandably, sociopolitical factors are necessary parts of this equation. U.S foreign policy isn’t friendly, and on the contrary, it appears to be antagonistic to external players. However, we only need to go back a few decades to see how many of the problems with the developing world stem from antiquated ideals. 

The Devil Unbound: War and Injustice
War and Injustice

Even today, too much of the world’s suffering results from systems that preclude open inquiry and human equality—namely, culture and religion. 

And, as I said at the beginning of this grievance against the bigotry of the pseudo-progressive mind, so long as these systems remain in place, the world will continue to suffer unnecessarily. 

I’ll restate that the problem with religious fundamentalism is tolerance of religious intolerance under the guise of cultural relativism and sensitivity. 

I’ll finish by letting Karl Popper explain my point further.

“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise.”

Karl Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies
The Devil Unbound: Karl Popper, Philosopher of Science
Karl Popper, Philosopher of Science

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Thank you for reading.

— The Devil Unbound

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