So, you want to defeat ISIS…
In order to defeat ISIS, it is necessary, very necessary, to destroy the foundation of extremist, fundamentalist Islamic religious belief. It is possible to do this by attacking the ISIS stronghold of the city of Dabiq in northern Syria, decisively defeating protecting ISIS forces, and estabilishing and defending a peaceful city open to moderate beliefs of all religions and areligious views as well. This would require a coalition of many countries, including middle eastern countries, and require representation of moderate parties from all major religions. It would be a difficult undertaking but much better than decades of war and prolonged and intense religious acrimony between the major religions.
And why the city of Dabiq? Both Christianity and Islam are religions with an apocalyptic prophesy at their endpoint, a vestige of the intense supernatural world view that was held in ancient times when supernatural imaginings ruled what was then civilization. In Islam, the city of Dabiq is the focal point of the coming Islamic apocalypse. It is at this location where Mahdi (the Islamic version of Jesus) and Jesus will come together and vanquish those that oppose Sharia law. Jesus will break a cross to disavow Christianity and bring his followers into the fold of Islam. The beheading of Peter Kassig in took place in Dabiq because of its importance in the end time prophesies. When this diabolic act was completed the statement from ISIS was “Here we are, burying the first American Crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive."
An Islamic hadith predicts that the best Islamic fighters will control Dabiq and capture “Romans" (meaning Americans in ISIS interpretation). Then Islamic prophecy openly states that Romans, meaning the western world, America in particular (Present Obama is termed as “The dog of Rome") will arrive at Dabiq and tell all the Muslims to stand aside so that they can fight only those Muslims who took the captives. The Muslims will then unite against the “Romans". The Islamic State is working to make that prophecy come to fruition. When the battle begins, according to the prophecy, about one-third of the Muslim forces will run away (“whom Allah will never forgive"), one-third will die as “excellent martyrs" and the remaining one-third will win the battle and then conquer Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey). Then, according to prophecy, following the victory in Dabiq and Turkey, the Islamic Antichrist, Dajjal, will appear and be defeated by the Islamic Jesus.
To western ears, most of them, this is a fantastic story from a time long past, a legend, a myth, a fairy tale. But then many in the western world also believe in such fantasy, Noah’s Ark and the end times Apocalypse, beginning with the Battle of Armageddon that is to take place at the Plains of Megiddoe or the Tel (a hill) of Megiddoe, a city about 60 miles north of Jerusalem are examples of such myths in Christianity. But the end times myth of great battles at Dabiq fuels the fury of ISIS and other Islamic extremists and it seems necessary to decisively demonstrate that these stories are just ancient myths and have no basis in reality. Our civilizations, our achievements, our efforts to make our world habitable for humanity in the future depend on defusing the power of religious myth, and that can be done only through education and demonstration of the absence of any shred of reality in the substance of ancient religious myth.
In our times, if civilization is to survive, we have to somehow salvage what is good within religion, discard what scars and limits the best that human societies can achieve, and build a civilization that allows humanity to live peacefully within the environmental carrying capacity of our little planet. If we don’t do this, humanity may survive, but it will be only a contentious remnant on a war torn and severely environmentally degraded Earth.
So, you want to defeat ISIS…
You start off claiming that an idea can be defeated by force. Simply not true. However your solution of establishing a peaceful city where education can occur has its merits. Attempting to override a mythology using real actors however makes absolutely no sense. You can’t do it. No matter what you do, it will be interpreted to the story that ISIS wants.
Its very unlikely ISIS will be defeated; they’ll burn themselves out eventually, but they won’t be defeated.
Fortunately, we in the western hemisphere don’t have much to worry about. In the old world however, ISIS will probably be a major player for a long time.
So, you want to defeat ISIS.. In our times, if civilization is to survive, we have to somehow salvage what is good within religion, discard what scars and limits the best that human societies can achieve, and build a civilization that allows humanity to live peacefully within the environmental carrying capacity of our little planet. If we don’t do this, humanity may survive, but it will be only a contentious remnant on a war torn and severely environmentally degraded Earth. Martin MoeWell, it sounds nice. How does the world pull that off? How do we pull that off while Isis and other factions are hellbent on blowing up the world and themselves for the glory of their god? How do we negotiate with such people? How do we "salvage what's good in religion" when their religion is to die as martyrs? How do we pull that apart? You give no practical suggestions, just high flown rhetoric. You might as well be saying that to save the world we must save the world. What is the practical approach starting with today? Then what do we do tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next yesr? Next century? Give us some details, not platitudes like, "we have to somehow salvage what's good within religion." Start by defining "what's good" and explain how we get rid of what's bad? Whose definition of "what's good" do we use? How do you get world powers on the same page? Something tells me we are going have "a contentious remnant on a war torn and severely environmentally degraded Earth," no matter what we do.
These are all good points, I do have a penchant for rhetoric, which often does not sit well with the practical mind, but often rhetoric is a stimulus for action that would not be attempted if not for the rhetoric (not necessarily my rhetoric). My point was that defeating a movement based on a supernatural belief would be more possible if the foundation of that belief was shown to be invalid. Admittedly, that works only some of the time with only some of the people, and usually cultural and societal pressures prevent expression of those counter cultural ideas. I’m also very afraid that future of humanity will be the result of our evolutionary baggage, “a contentious remnant on a war torn and severely environmentally degraded Earth," no matter what we do. But the first step to possible solutions is to point that out .
But you don’t show a religious belief is invalid by singling out some important prophecy and explaining how it failed. There are volumes written on faith based groups responding to failed prophecy by simply re-writing the prophecy, either retroactively or adding some new twist.