Well, my 9/11 commentary sure drew a lot of negativity from listeners, but I guess that’s to be expected when you have an internet full of people who each want to blame their own personal boogeyman for these horrendous attacks. And it seems that if you proffer any different motivation for the attacks, no matter how reasoned, no matter how much the facts agree with it, no matter how many intelligence experts agree with the conclusion, then you’re a horrible person who loves the terrorists and wants to make excuses for them.
These people seem to fit into one of three categories. The first is the jingoistic “America First!” crowd. To these people, America is absolutely perfect and wonderful because we have freedom and the terrorists hate that, and that’s why they attack us, and no other reason. Point out that there are other countries that are freer than America in many respects, such as Switzerland and New Zealand, and they aren’t anywhere close to being the terrorist target that we are, and you’ll receive loud screeds about how you hate America.
The second category is the Alex Jones conspiritard “truther.” I think the less said about them the better.
The third is the one I want to talk about, because that’s where I’ve gotten most of my criticism. As an atheist skeptic, it stands to reason that I’ve attracted a lot of atheist and skeptical listeners and subscribers, and many of them took great issue with what I was saying. How could I not be shouting from the mountaintops that this was due to religion, how religion poisons the minds of otherwise-good people, and makes them commit these kinds of atrocities? It just had to be Muslim extremists who believed in 72 virgins because there’s just no other way you can get people to kill themselves and others by flying planes into buildings.
Here’s a sampling of some of the comments: “Terrorist want to rule the world so the resistance to this regime and its religion is inevitable.” “We need a world free of religions once and for all.” “Religious prophecy has predicted the end of the world, and work very hard to make sure that prophecy comes true.” “Such reactions are not only fueled by religious dogma, they are a direct result of it.” “Even if we stopped meddling there’s not much can be done against a religion that hates us.” “Sorry, it is Islamic ideology, first and foremost, that drives people like Bin Laden to commit such pernicious suicide attacks.”
Well, there’s a very good reason why I didn’t say that, and that is, quite simply, it just isn’t true. Continue reading