War and Tolerance

Wired magazine has an article in the November issue about New Atheism. New Atheism, while not a completely organized movement, appears to be asserting that religions have to be destroyed in order for mankind to continue. Of course, there’s plenty of people who are atheist or agnostic and don’t have any problem with religious people.
But it’s impossible to ignore the role of extremist religion in today’s world. It may be politically incorrect to describe our current “War on Terror” as a war between Extremist Islam and western thought. Yet that’s probably the most accurate way to characterize our current conflict. So how do we rationalize the traditional American desire for tolerance with the manifest conflict between ideologies currently igniting the globe?
Religious tolerance is ultimately a social contract. It only works in American society to the extent that all parties involved agree to a policy of tolerance. When one party declines to participate, the contract is null-and-void. Just like rule of law loses force when the participants fail to recognize the authority of the legal system, our underlying “religious system” fails when someone doesn’t play by the rules.
When the rule of law fails, groups fall back on competition via force. This is essentially what has happened in the realm of religion. The religious extremists preach that human life is not universally valuable. They teach that death and destruction are rewarded more than loving and creative acts. Ultimately, the war isn’t against “terror”, it’s against these beliefs. As long as extremists believe it’s better to kill an infidel than it is to tolerate one, our war will still be on.
The hardest part about a war of ideologies is that you rarely succeed by killing people. You win by convincing them. I’m unconvinced that anyone in government at the federal level is capable of the task currently before us.

My friend’s brother

My friend’s brother is in the hospital after a serious house fire. He is critically burned, and currently in a medically induced coma. The family has a website, and if anyone out there is moved to offer them support – emotional or otherwise – I know they would appreciate it.

Renting from CZS Developments

I moved into the Village at Whitehall apartment complex in October of 2004. The complex is located in Fairmont West Virginia and is managed by CZS Developments LLC. It was an uneventful move into an uneventful complex. Over the last two years, the property manager has issued open letters to the tenants on an increasing basis. The letters were generally reminders about basic things like “don’t let your pipes freeze in the winter!” Their biggest impact was imparting a warm fuzzy feeling of having a surrogate mother nearby.
As the summer of 2005 wore on, it became clear that the proerty manager was becoming increasing concerned over matters which seemed disconnected to my experiences at the complex. (For example, the letter on September 20, 2006 was largely concerned with parking, an ongoing obsession for the management of the complex.) Then, on September 25th, 2006 we all received an open letter with a major revelation in it.

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