Why Islamic Fundamentalism Exists
It's a fun house mirror.
Islamic Fundamentalism is the most striking anachronism we encounter in our modern world besides “talk to the hand jokes” on New Girl. Concurrently, a man in California is pushing the boundaries of space exploration—while making a profit—and a man in Palestine is blowing up Jews, and himself, to have sex with virgins. These two people are the same species, by the way.
It’d be different if Islamic Fundamentalism only existed in places like Iraq. The Fertile Crescent peaked 6,000 years ago. They’re the guy in your high school who was a little too popular, then spent the next 20 years getting fired from carpet cleaning jobs. But Islamic Fundamentalism is everywhere, even in California. In fact, Californians are accepting of any view different than theirs because it makes them “chill,” which is the MO of Californians.
But let’s not kid ourselves. Barring the obvious problems with Islam that flew in our face on 9/11, it subjugates more women than feminism, engenders more faith (re: willful stupidity) than a Tim Tebow touchdown, and really, really thinks death is better than life. No, really.
Does Islam exist because people are always going to believe crazy ideas? Because there’s no changing humanity’s penchant for indignant emotions?
Even when we consider the massive inbreeding in Arab populations, and the possible loss of critical thinking as a result, I think this is a cop-out explanation. Hill people are inbred, and they don’t think slavery is okay anymore. Why? Because we’ve dealt with the ideas that supported slavery. We’ve gone beyond fighting a war for those ideas—we’ve discussed them. We’ve gotten to the intellectual underpinnings of slavery and taken them out with stronger, more correct ideas. Emotional underpinnings exist now in the form of racism, but if you think racism is still a problem then you read The New York Times too much. And at least nobody tries to seem chill when a discussion of slavery comes up.
This, the status of slavery, is where Islam needs to be relegated to. In order to achieve this, we need to, as we did with slavery, deal with its intellectual underpinnings—three stubborn issues in particular that, like a good Californian, are trying to seem chill. But the problem with being chill is you start wearing sunglasses inside, which makes it difficult to see when the emperors are naked.
The concept that it’s okay to believe without seeing—even belief in the supernatural (which presupposes not seeing)—is still a contentious issue in America, even for people who build skyscrapers and fix heart valves. If it’s okay to entertain the notion we’re going to heaven when we die because we feel it, then we will never be able to fully condemn somebody in Karachi for suicide bombing himself into heaven. How can we know his heaven doesn’t have virgins? All we can say, existentially, is the result of his faith is worse. This doesn’t undermine suicide bombings anymore than a divorce undermines the existence of love.
Humans spent the first 10,000 years of civilization fighting because nobody had a job yet we all had bosses. We were like unemployed guidos who look up to the guy with the best tan. But then we figured out how to have jobs, so getting along felt better because it padded our wallet. This was all good. But then our wallets became so padded that we lost touch with reality. Now, we’re so content that we’re afraid to point out the elephant in the room, even when it blows up the room. “But who cares?” says Fred. “I have a four-bedroom colonial and I my wife does fellatio on my birthday.” In conclusion, we call Islam different instead of wrong.
3. Sexual Insecurity
We think Kim Kardashian a whore because she has sex with her boyfriend. And let’s face it, she’s more of a whore to us because her boyfriends are darker than her unibrow. The free love movement was merely a knee-jerk reaction, and without an intellectual rudder, it still kept sex on the sidelines. Western civilization has yet to come to terms with the fact that some people are going to have more sex than others, and with better-looking mates. It doesn’t make them any worse (or any better). Until we deal with these issues, and feel any grief this causes us to feel, we cannot stand on firm ground and claim that burkas are morally reprehensible. All we can do is point out how bad burkas are compared to what we do. It’s like being an abolitionist yet defending indentured servitude.
Muslims may have issues to deal with, but so do we. We’ll only begin to replace Islam with reason, science, philosophy, and sex once we stop seeing Islam as a problem, and start seeing it as a challenge. It’s an opportunity, really, to discuss and re-discuss deep, intellectual and emotional issues that we as Westerners have yet to come to terms with completely. Only then can we truly be chill.