What if I said:
“The biggest problem facing the world today isn’t the individual Homo Sapien animal, but ‘humanists.’ By that, I mean animals who actually believe they are humans, and that being human gives them special rights that Homo Sapien animals do not have. But the problem is much worse than this. These ‘humanists’ also believe that being human places certain duties on them, and if they are not diligent in performing these duties, they will lose their claim to being human and, along with their claim, all their rights. In other words, if they neglect these duties, they will become animals again, just like the rest of us.”
If I said this to you, how would you respond? Would you disagree? If so, why? Or better yet, how? On what grounds would you disagree? What line of reasoning would you use? What evidence would you present to support your argument? Do not dismiss my line of questioning. How you answer is critically important to understanding the real point of this essay.
If you simply object to my claim that ‘humanists’ are the biggest threat to our world today because you do not like my definition of a ‘humanist,’ then you are being ‘intolerant’ — at least as the modern world defines it. You are placing your personal feelings above mine without giving me any reason to believe they are better than my beliefs. If you go further and apply force to your objection — force of any kind — then you cross over into the realm of ‘ideological imperialism.’ In other words, you are trying to force me to conform to your beliefs simply because you think your beliefs are superior to mine. There’s little difference between this practice and those who justified slavery, or taking land from native peoples. Any attack that could be made against those who justified slavery or the taking of land from native peoples would apply equally to people who think they are justified in using force to make others comply with their belief system.
Now, before we go further, let me ask you if you understand the implications of what I just said. If you object to my definition of ‘humanists,’ but you cannot give me a reason for your objection other than how you feel, are you sure you aren’t one of these ‘humanists?’ I mean, if your only reason for objecting is the way you feel, but you still object, then doesn’t that suggest that you believe you have a right to object and a duty to correct me? Does that then mean you think I am one of the animals? So why are you objecting? I mean, haven’t I actually justified your feelings? Didn’t I provide a reason for you to feel you have the right to feel the way you do and a duty to correct anyone who disagrees? So you are humanist and you think I am an animal that needs to be corrected….
OK, do you see the slippery slope in all this? Without something to anchor us, we can ‘reason’ ourselves into circles that double back upon ourselves. So, how do we anchor ourselves? What do we use to keep us from going in these absurd circles?
In short, we are talking about the need for a consistent way of understanding the world: a world view, if you will. For most of human history, man has sought to make sense of things through reasoning. Now, there are many forms of reasoning, and not all of them are based in formal logic. Some are based in superstition, others in logic, but all have their own rational. One of the fundamental principles of all good reasoning is consistency. This requires a set of rules to guide our thinking, and the correct application of those rules to everything we consider. And one of the primary requirements for consistency is the need for fixed definitions. In fact, all reasoning is built upon definitions. Without them, we simply cannot reason. Now, let’s go back to the start of this essay and my definition of ‘humanist.’
Why might someone object to my definition of ‘humanist?’ Well, for one, I excluded all homo sapiens who might not agree with my definition. In fact, I define them as ‘animals.’ In addition to this, I categorically denied that these ‘animals’ have rights. Furthermore, I implied that the real humans (i.e. ‘humanists’) have a duty to treat the animals a certain way or lose their claim to being human, and thus, lose their rights in the process. For most of us, this is simply an unacceptable definition, but why? We know this definition is wrong, but how and on what grounds would we object to it? And by what right could we do so without admitting we are ‘humanists?’ (Do you see why I said not to dismiss my earlier line of questioning?). Now stay with me, please. I’m not going to go into a lengthy argument about the definition of a ‘human.’
I took you through all of that to make this point: objective definitions do exist and they do not depend how we feel or what we believe. Now, we may describe a definition in different terms, such as defining a human in terms of DNA or membership in the species of homo sapiens, or as moral agents, but all of those criteria exist as a material part of the thing we are calling a human. They apply to all members of ‘human.’ In the case at hand, they would apply equally to the ‘humanists,’ as well as to the ‘animals.’ Therefore, we could use these criteria to refute my definition of ‘humanist.’ This is because a thing is defined by objective criteria. This principle even applies to ideas! So let me change my argument and ask you how you would deal with this:
“God has told me that all humans who believe in him are to be called ‘humanists.’ If a person does not believe in god, they are to be considered ‘animals.’ Because they believe, only ‘humanists’ have rights. God gives them to believers as a reward for believing in him. ‘Animals’ have no rights. However, along with these rights come responsibilities, or duties. One of these duties is to obey everything god says. If a believer does not do so, they become an ‘animal’ and will be punished by god. He will send them to a fiery hell for eternity. Another of these duties is to convince all ‘animals’ to believe in and obey god. If the ‘animals’ refuse, they are to be enslaved and pay believers a tax, or they are to be killed. Still another duty is to kill any ‘humanist’ who stops believing in god, or who tries to change god’s commands. ‘Humanists’ are to obey these commands until there are only ‘humanists’ left in the world. This will bring about world peace.”
What do you say now? If you object simply because you do not like my claims, then you are being a intolerant, a bigot and an ideological imperialist and maybe even a racist (i.e. a ‘hater’ of the worst order). What’s more, if you object, you are saying that you are above god. Heck, you are saying that you are god! After all, I am saying my source of authority here is god — not me. Therefore, only god can correct me. So, I ask you again: how do you respond? Do you tell me my definition of a ‘humanist’ is wrong? On what grounds? This is god’s definition, I am just the messenger. Do you try to change that definition? So you think you are god now? Remember: ‘Humanists’ are commanded to kill you for that! How can you condemn someone for obeying god? Do you deny there is a god? Where is your proof? Again: how do you respond? On what grounds do you object? Where is the objective evidence that I am wrong?
If you haven’t already realized it, I have been talking about Islam this whole time. More specifically, I have been talking about those people who have tried to differentiate between ‘Muslims” and ‘Islamists.’ The people who try to make this distinction are the ‘intolerant, bigoted’ ideological imperialist and racist haters‘ I mentioned previously. I say this because they are forcing their beliefs onto Islam in the face of objective reality. Muhammad never made such distinctions. Muhammad said there are only Muslims (those who obey him), infidels (non-Muslims) and apostates (Muslims who disobey, try to change or leave Islam). These are the criteria which define a Muslim, and there is no higher authority as to what defines a Muslim than Muhammad. That means we cannot object to these criteria. If we do, we fall over the edge of that slippery slope I illustrated in the beginning of this essay.
I drug you through all of the above just to help you understand the mistake these people are making when they try to create ‘good Muslims’ and separate them from ‘Islamists.’ It does not matter what you and I think, in the eyes of obedient Muslims, these people are claiming to be god! Those obedient Muslims are commanded to kill such people! Therefore, if we object to the things Muhammad taught, and that true Muslims believe (true according to Muhammad — not me), we must do so on objective grounds. This can only be done by granting all of Muhammad’s claims, then proceeding to demonstrate how and why they cannot be true. Anything less than this will accomplish nothing. In the eyes of obedient Muslims, we will be affirming Muhammad’s words and justifying his commands. What’s more, the only way we are going to show that Muhammad was wrong is to assume the same type of reasoning being used by Muslims, and that is spiritual reasoning, not ‘scientific.’
This is the only way we will be able to deal with the threat of Islam and we had better start accepting this fact, and fast! Because Islam is incompatible with our world view as well as our system of government. We cannot treat it the same way we treat other religions — because it is unlike any other religion in the world. It is a political ideology cloaked as a religion, and it has commanded its followers to conquer the world for their god. The rest of the world will either accept this and act accordingly, or… Or it will be conquered by Islam!