Over the past decade or so we have seen the face of terror strike in ways we thought unimaginable in the years before, The freedom to think for oneself, the freedom of and from religion, the freedom of the press and the right to peaceably assemble on public property have all been under attack, both at home and abroad. These are pretty basic freedoms that shamefully only a handful of countries employ and enjoy, why? I really do not know, maybe politicians need to trample on these once in a while to get elected, take advantage of them in a crisis, however, collectively we are all to blame for letting this slide.
Recently we have seen terror attacks that strike at the very core of our civilizations future, attacks on our children and teachers in schools across Africa and the Middle East, deranged religious nuts deliberately killing journalists in France and a sole murderer holding innocents hostage in a chocolate shop in Sydney. This is becoming an all too familiar tale, maybe we are just going to have to accept this as the norm from now on?
So how do I say this without offending, ….. with apologies to the French Iman, these innocents were not martyred in any religious sense …. they were murdered in cold blood by people whose education was limited to their interpretation of one book – written centuries ago, by people who didn’t even know the earth revolved around the sun!
But how do we stop this? We have spent trillions of dollars over the past decade with military strikes in foreign lands, arrested hundreds, if not thousands of people who would do us harm, simply because we hold different beliefs. These events have convinced me that we are doing it all wrong. Yes, we need to eradicate these forces, but more importantly we need to look to a different strategy or else we will have a continuous wave of murderers for centuries to come.
What do terrorist and their leaders fear the most?
Recent history has shown terrorists certainly do not fear drones, guns, bombs and bullets – their numbers have grown exponentially since the middle east wars, more than likely due to the terrible living conditions and collateral damage that these strikes have caused across the world. We just keep feeding and breeding the next wave of hate.
I think the truth is hidden in plain sight.
Terrorists across the world are targeting schools, slaughtering children and teachers by the thousands, bulldozing historic sites. They simply despise education, why? Because they lose control when someone can think for themselves.
I hope the next time the world spends 10 trillion dollars fighting terrorism and protecting homeland security that we split it in half and attack it with a million teachers and a trillion books across the world – this is the one thing terrorists fear the most, the secular education of the lower socio-economic masses in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the masses – that they so love to manipulate and control.
Maybe we limit arms, trade and aid to countries that do not support the freedom to think for oneself, the freedom of and from religion, the freedom of the press and the right to peaceably assemble on public property, maybe, just maybe, there will be a rethink.
Countries that have religious governments for the most part, are the problem, they tacitly support these terrorist groups in some forms. We do it to, without realizing it, albeit in a more benign fashion. Australia recently ‘invested’ nearly a billion dollars to have chaplains in public schools for social services, which will nearly exclusively be christian chaplains, who for the most part are not trained for social services, especially for teenagers going through the sex, drugs, bullying phases of life. And in the USA, which as a country is always pushing back against the far right wing, these are groups that insist on teaching nonsense to children in public science classrooms. Add to this Germany, Ireland, Italy and Russia which all have active blasphemy laws, so the Middle East and Africa are not alone in the silly religious laws arena.
We are not born religious, although there is plenty of evolutionary evidence to suggest we seek it in some form, rather we are indoctrinated into it by our parents, like they were from their parents and their parents before them, it is generally not a bad thing, but it can be. Your religion is more about your time and location, if you are born in Australia in the 20th century you are more than likely to be a Christian, in India, a Hindu, in Pakistan, a Muslim and so on. If you were born in ancient Greece you would have believed Zeus was the God of Gods.
The Greatest Gift of All
The greatest gift of all is the freedom to think for oneself, my parents gave me that, of course like any parent they tried their best to steer me in what they considered the right direction, education, religion, ideologies, however, my siblings and I, all eventually found our own paths and each one is different than the other. For the most part we can have lively but considered discussions. My friends also have different beliefs, some are deeply religious, some not so much, some are into spirituality and some don’t have any religious beliefs at all.
The problem arises from people who get all their news, knowledge and guidance from one source type, and cannot have any meaningful relationships with people who have different views. How the hell can you learn anything when you close off people who don’t agree with you? Once you enter into this realm, you are yourself an extremist, you are closed off, you seek only the comfort of people who think the same, what a sad way to live ones life.
Why Secular Education is the perfect antidote.
A person who understands and appreciates the writing of Shakespeare, Angelou, Whitman, Turgenev and Dostoevsky, the great architects of the Greek and Roman Empires, the music of Chopin, Bach and Tchaikovsky and understands the simple majesty of evolution and the mind blowing, mind numbing beauty of the universe and our place in it, is more likely to be, at worst someone who spoils a good low brow dinner conversation, rather than the lives of people they disagree with.
Why do I add secular to Education? Secular education is free from religion in all but religious studies. Religion does not cross paths into any of the sciences, except in an historical context. However all public schools should teach religion, all major religions, because without religion we would not have what we have today, much of the great art, poetry, music, culture, architecture and literature has historically been created or inspired by some religion, so to me it is as important as any of the sciences. But it is not and never has been a science.
Home schooling is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard of, of course people should have the right to do this, but to support it through some crazy libertarian ideology is just so ridiculous, the majority of home schooled kids these days have very religious parents, who for some reason, again do not want their kids to think for themselves.
The majority of home schooled kids lack the education they need in the real world (yes,the one we live in), are socially inept, are isolationists and have parents that rarely understand how much commitment is needed by them to effectively home school a child. Doing it properly is also much more expensive than any public and many private schools.
It always amazes me how the powerful religious people in most countries want to inject their majority religion into areas of education that have nothing to do with religion, in the long run it only hurts their own religion. As an example, an educated person will soon understand how ridiculous a creation story is or say that of Noah’s Ark if taught in a science classroom, which would then in turn make them question the rest of their religion. Just like it would be Astrology in an Astronomy lesson, alchemy in chemistry and so on.
People who study more than one religion, usually have more of a sympathetic view of other religions and this can only make for a better society. In the long run, we need secular education in all our schools, with religion in religious studies, science in science and so on. Being a moderate who fights against this is, only makes you sympathetic in thought to any extremist ideology.