This article circles around two postulates:
1. Islam marries religious ecstasy and sectarian hatred in a way that other religions do not..
2. Liberals are blind to the dangers of religious ecstasy / devotion..
“I have long struggled to understand how smart, well-educated liberals can fail to perceive the unique dangers of Islam“…
Well, – that makes two of us !
It’s not that we are short of possible answers to why there is this unholy alliance of Liberals and muslims, e.g.
– both hate Big Satan, the U.S., and Little Satan, Israel..
– common enemy is Christianity..
– muslims vote overwhelmingly for Liberals, i.e. Liberals wish to gain their favor..
– Liberals are sissies, too afraid to speak out in opposition to Islamic ideology…
– opposing the political right takes priority over criticising Islam.., i.e…
– defending Islam is in itself an attack on Conservative, “white supremacists”..
– “well-educated” Liberals are ignorant about Islamic doctrines..
– “Liberals”, secretly, share wet totalitarian dreams with muslims..
– Liberals are sh.. scared of being called a racist, a bigot, an Islamophobe..
I’d say Sam Harris probably agrees with most of the above, but in his latest article, he offers this explanation, worth considering:
Secular Liberals are lacking in empathy..
Liberals accuse “Islamophobes” of “failure to empathize with the billion peaceful and blameless Muslims throughout the world“, and the radicals, “whose legitimate political grievances and social ties cause them to act out in regrettable ways..”
No, says Harris, it is YOU – (Liberals) – who “fail to empathize with the primary victims of Islam—the millions of Muslim women, freethinkers, homosexuals, and apostates who suffer most under the taboos and delusions of this faith“.
It is called “psychological projection”, i.e. attributing undesirable thoughts or feelings onto someone else… – I’ll leave it to you to decide who’s doing the projection, but I’ll tell you this much: I am completely on Harris’ side !
Lacking empathy for the victims of Islamic intimidation is bad enough, but Harris comes up with a novel idea:
Secular liberals also fail to understand and empathize with the devout..
“Most secular people cannot begin to imagine what a (truly) devout Muslim feels. They are blind to the range of experiences that would cause an otherwise intelligent and psychologically healthy person to say, “I will happily die for this.”
Unless you have tasted religious ecstasy, says Harris, you cannot understand the danger of its being pointed in the wrong direction, and of course “religious ecstasy” is not the hallmark of secular Liberals, so it makes some sense…, although I don’t completely agree with this..
Harris offers this video below, (two million views on YouTube), that will give people who don’t understand the power of devotion, a chance to see how dangerous religious ecstasy can be.
The reciter is Sheikh Mishary bin Rashid Alafasy of Kuwait who “has as many Twitter followers as Jerry Seinfeld and J.K. Rowling (2 million). In other words, it is not the fringe of Islam. It is the center…
“This video has everything: the power of ritual and the power of the crowd; tears of devotion and a lust for vengeance. How many of the people in that mosque are jihadists? I have no idea—perhaps none. But their spiritual aspirations and deepest positive emotions—love, devotion, compassion, bliss, awe—are being focused through the lens of sectarian hatred and humiliation”.
“If you cannot feel the haunting beauty of this recitation, if it is inexplicable to you that people can be moved to tears by the mere sound of these verses, then you are not in contact with the data. Indeed, if you don’t understand how someone could be willing to die to defend the legitimacy of such an experience, you are very poorly placed to understand the problem of Islam”.
“Read every word of the translation so that you understand what these devout people are weeping over. Their ecstasy is inseparable from the desire to see nonbelievers punished in hellfire. Is this some weird distortion of the true teachings of Islam? No. This is a recitation from the Koran articulating its central message”.
Sam Harris: Islam and the Misuses of Ecstasy