Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Migrants grouped at Turkish-Syrian border.

A Syrian teacher, a refugee in Europe, was quoted as saying, "You have to help us. We're human." 

This is certainly an idealistic statement, voiced in desperation. I understand desperation. I have experienced it. Yes, it is possible to experience desperation in The West. However, though truly desperate, I realized that I was responsible for my own salvation. This realization in subsequent life choices/events has served me quite well. I was able to come to this realization through pursuing education and through rejecting much of what I had been bullied into believing as a child. 

Yesterday I posted my thoughts about religion and the current migration crisis in Europe. I am sure it has, and will, rankle those prone to religion and hollow sympathy. That hollow sympathy is best represented by the armchair humanitarians who would indignantly instruct average citizens of Europe to absorb the culture shock and expense of hundreds of thousands of traumatized migrants. 

The demanding Syrian teacher represents the victims of patriarchy/religion/politics who have invested their faith in things they had been taught as children, until their lives have become unbearable. These people have played their part in a written script for their lives. They have schemed for survival and bowed to authority when it suited them. They have had children and done conventional work. They feel they have done everything right and are being unfairly persecuted. I get it, but I do not accept their perception of the greater reality. I do not see them all as hapless victims. 

The failure or inability to gain a realistic view of the world through skeptical education has its consequences. A quick look at the Muslim world will illustrate what I mean. And those consequences are not the responsibility of the rest of the world to assuage. In fact, previous attempts by developed nations to assuage ignorance, violence and poverty where they had held back civilization are now popularly condemned as imperialism and colonialism. 

The supporters of the Muslim religion cannot ethically demand or rationally expect salvation from their own internal ideology and its consequences. Just as we in the Judeo-Christian world cannot be saved from our own indoctrination without doing considerable work on ourselves. The movement from Judeo-Christian fundamentalism and sectarianism has yielded the less violent and improved standard of life which economic migrants to the U.S. and Europe seek.  That is the movement from faith to skepticism. From religious belief (submission) to scientific challenge (discovery). 

Here in my own neighborhood this week I have seen wealthy Muslims, happy Muslim men and grumpy Muslim women in full concealment. I have seen haughty Muslim fathers amusing themselves without care with their sons while their women and daughters slog along behind with suitcases or packages. These Muslims are most likely far from being migrants. They are most likely members of the elites in their societies. They do not look concerned about the Middle East. Like the wealthy in all societies, they feel immune from suffering. And they too are human. 

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