Thoughts Following 9/11

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10-15-2001:   I have added a Terrorism  link (above). Unfortunately, this is a subject that's going to be with us for a while.
    Kevin Kearney has sent an Atlantic Monthly article entitled, "The Roots of Muslim Rage: Why so many Muslims deeply resent the West, and why their bitterness will not easily be mollified." This helpful article adds to other articles with similar messages that try to explain why there is as much general Muslim support for bin Laden as there is.
    I've been tempted for several months to recite here my concerns about major religions and the potential for a resumption of religious wars. This was based upon my observation that certain Protestant churches are attempting to send missions to attempt to proselyte Catholics, and even other Protestants to their respective denominations. Their ministers complain about the ungodliness of the U. S.' constitutional separation of church and state. These ministers don't seem to understand that if that barrier is removed, it won't be their minority church that crowds out all the others.
    The world's major religions are built upon ancient, holy writ that is rooted in dogma, and isn't to be modified. These religions' tenets are timeless, and were dictated by God. Of course, God dictated quite different things to prophets of different faiths.
    Each sect is convinced that it's the only correct faith, and that adherents of rival denominations are at risk of going to hell. And although religions may liberalize at times, and may draw in more of the uncommitted, fundamentalist movements periodically reverse these trends when some of the more conservative elements in the religion sway the guilt-ridden to return to the more-restrictive practices and beliefs of the original sacred writings. Examples of this in Christianity are the Protestant Reformation, followed by the Puritan Movement (including the Cromwellian Interregnum), and then the early days of the Presbytarian church. A recent example of this within Islam is the brief Reformation instituted by the Ayatollah Khomeini. These puritanical interludes haven't generally lasted very long because people haven't wanted to live under them. But while they've lasted, some of the great religious wars of the past have been fought.
    It worries me that large segments of the world's population have entered the 21st century clinging to belief systems formulated several thousand years ago. It would be all right if these true believers were willing to put their money where their mouths are, and restrict themselves to the technologies (and particularly, the military technologies) of those bygone eras. It would be all right if they would agree to place their trust, as a grain of mustard, in God, and allow God to feed, clothe, and cure them in response to their prayers. But instead, we have zealots who arm themselves with the latest weapons, while mindlessly obeying mortmains from the foggy past. This seems to me to be a recipe for disaster.
    I think that the next few weeks will tell us what we can expect from our anthrax attacks. I think there may be more cases of anthrax exposure. Hopefully, these exposures won't escalate into fatalities.