ISIS and other religious extremist sects around the world fill us with a sense of intellectual superiority – a feeling of being fortunate that we aren’t so backward as to be ones to entertain dogma with any seriousness, let alone base any serious decisions upon it. “We might say we believe in God, but we don’t take that too literally. We’re more advanced than to allow ourselves to let doctrine compel us into any kind of meaningful action”.
Or so we tell ourselves.
But no matter what we tell ourselves, the world around us knows better, especially in the Middle East. Case in point: Israel, the country we helped found, supported vehemently, continue to forgive every time it crosses moral lines, and turn a blind eye to its constant atrocities. An officially apartheid state which was founded using terrorism and genocide, which subjugates an entire population according to ethnic/religious distinctions, and which is drifting more toward extreme forms of racism and bigotry in its public opinion polls.
Moreover, supporting Israel has not come cheap one bit. We spend billions of dollars every year to keep Israel viable. To help stabilize Israel, we had to cut up the neighboring Arab area into bogus “countries” and install a bunch of dictators over them and support them as their despotic regimes fostered despair and extremism. We had to help squelch the Arab spring that attempted to overthrow these rulers because, among other reasons, overthrowing them scared Israel. The death toll from all this maelstrom that we helped create is in the millions of Muslim civilians in the Middle East since 1948. That, having to live in constant fear of terrorism, and the perpetual strain on our collective Western economies because of the war on terror can all be tied to the cingular act of the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
So why, you may ask, do we put ourselves through all of this for Israel? The most confessed answer that we don’t spend much time even trying to deny is that we simply believe that God gave the land of Palestine to Jews 3000 years ago. That’s why. That’s why we helped Zionists from Europe exterminate an entire population and confiscate their homes and lands, why we continue to place the security of the entire world in peril, and why we are content watching millions of civilians die and millions of others live under oppression: because we believe God gave that land to the Jews.
Who then, pray tell, is the real religious zealot in this picture?