~ Last week I watched a number of videos on YouTube of recent war conflicts between ISIS and the Iraqi army. If you hadn’t heard, both pro-Iraq and pro-ISIS sympathizers upload videos onto YouTube of the various war conflicts that take place each week in the Middle East.
The videos show the ragtag ISIS soldiers, largely made up of teenagers and twenty-something men wearing sandals and carrying machine guns. It’s rather disturbing to see that ISIS is really nothing more than a bunch of young adults running around with weapons and screaming war chants.
It is often the sheer volume of ISIS soldiers that lends to their winning some of these battles; at times they will outnumber the Iraqis quite a bit; one video I watched featured nearly 200 ISIS foot soldiers against one Iraqi truck that had a few soldiers inside.
A number of people have said to me that it is only because we live in Western Culture that we do not understand why these young adults have joined ISIS, “If you were born into a tribe of cannibals then you would be a cannibal” one person told me.
Really? Is that true? Is the only reason you are a Christian, a Muslim, an atheist, or fill-in-the-blank due to the family you were born into or the culture in which you were raised?
It is true that that statistically speaking, richer nations tend to produce a greater number of atheists and agnostics, while poorer nations tend to produce a greater number of religious believing people. Is it possible that religion is something that the poor and oppressed use to cope with their state of affairs? Is it possible that money and affluence influence us to believe in a world without a creator?
It is undeniable that our experiences and upbringing definitely affect our views on life. However, there are many examples of children who are raised in one belief and give up their parents beliefs as adults;
—) Many children who are raised in hardcore fundamentalist Christians homes, end up abandoning their faith when they get to college; the yoke of fundamentalism was so severe on their shoulders as children that they are more than willing to give up their Christianity in favor of something that doesn’t suffocate them to the point of frustration.
—)And what about the many children who are raised in atheist and agnostic homes as children. They grow up wondering about a greater meaning to life and when introduced to a religious perspective of the world, they end up exchanging their atheism for a belief in a metaphysical world as it gives them a more satisfying understanding of their life and purpose.
Those are examples of people who are born into one situation and upon adulthood exchange their beliefs for something else; So why aren’t we hearing of people born into extremist homes in the Middle East who give up their parent’s extremism for something more peaceful and moderate? Is it the freedoms we have here in the West that allow us to ‘believe whatever we want to believe’? Is the lack of freedom in Middle East countries the reason we don’t hear of more extremists who turn into pacifists?
It is disconcerting to see so many young adults joining ISIS and running around those desert towns murdering, killing, and screaming their war chants. It is disconcerting to hardly ever hear of extremists who turn into pacifists.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society