You would be a cannibal if you were born to cannibals…REALLY???


~ 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

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16 replies

  1. Perhaps so many young adults join Isis and run around screaming and brandishing their weapons because it’s the only way they feel they’re being heard. I doubt that peaceful protesting has any impact in an area more familiar with force than with reasoning when it comes to getting your message across. How many teens and college students (from richer nations) join a “cause” so they can feel like they are a part of something special, so they can feel like they are making a difference in the world? Why wouldn’t the same be true for these kids? The only difference is they don’t have the same options and opportunities that our western culture offers. If my choices were to live in fear against a militant group, or join and be protected from their wrath, I might very well take up a gun and at least go through the motions just as a means of self preservation. Lies and opinions are only lies and opinions if enough people don’t believe them. If something is repeated to you enough you come to view it as the truth, but knowing deep down somehow that it probably isn’t true you’ll fight even harder to protect yourself from having to face the reality that you’ve bought into a bunch of bullshit. The people that know their message is just a tool to control others will be the ones screaming the loudest and taking the most drastic of actions to convince others to get in line. The best defense is, after all, the best offense.

    • “so they can feel like they are a part of something special”

      dude i totally think that is dead on, i’m convinced that people want to feel apart of something, and when they don’t have anything going on in their life, they are left with an empty feeling

  2. I wonder… Maybe it is because we think that if we are born to cannibals that we will become one, that it happens? Also, isn’t this related to the concept of true empowerment–i.e. to have the tool to be able to independently investigate the truth? Could people who do horrible things have started at the right place, for example with the thought that the world is filled with injustice, only to go horribly wrong because they didn’t have the right tools to analyze in depth where the injustice comes from and what the course of action they have chosen will actually accomplish?

  3. I know this is not the theme of your post by it’s an ongoing issue that I think you need to address.

    You’re doing it again: you are assuming that non belief is a belief when you say children raised in an agnostic or atheist family sometimes end up exchanging their atheism for a belief in… What’s there to ‘exchange’? Did some physicists ‘exchange’ their non belief in the Higgs boson for belief in it once demonstrated? Did you ‘exchange’ your non belief in Ancitif for belief in Jesus? Do you see the problem you’re creating by framing atheism as some sort of belief set this way? How does your non belief in Quetzalcoatl come equipped with some set of anything that can be ‘exchanged’ at some other time?

    You do it again when you say there are many examples of children who are raised in one belief and give up their parents beliefs implying that a home where neither parent believes in any gods or a god share some set of beliefs that the children can later ‘give up’. But there’s nothing there to ‘give up’!

    Perhaps you may want to do a post that lists what these ‘exchanges’ consist of, what these atheist non beliefs are before you continue suggesting that these supposed elements of atheism are not simply figments of your imagination.

    • You keep referring to a semantical standard for your definition of “non-belief”. To who, or what are you appealing;

      –) Websters dictionary? Why? When did all the humans get together and decide that Websters is the semantical standard?
      –) The English Language? Who said the English Language is the standard for defining the semantical standard of “non-belief”
      –) Have you studied Sanskrit? I’ve spent 100 hours this year studying Sanskrit and there are many human concepts that simply don’t exist in English that exist in Sanskrit and there are human concepts that don’t exist in Sanskrit that exist in English. So why are you so insistent that your language is the standard from which we must have this discussion? Why are you convinced that because you understand something in your language; that you must have arrived at the ultimate truth on this issue?

      Without language you could not think; and since you haven’t studied all of the other languages you are entirely lacking in your ability to see every side of this issue. You have a one dimensional view of what ‘non-belief’ is and I simply don’t have the space to be your professor and cram thousands of hours of semantical teaching into a response to you.

      It is the height of ethnocentrism for you to continue claiming your semantical standard as superior, because dear blogger, you only see in part, because you only think in part.

    • You are under the false impression that the definition I use is somehow one of my own making. Not true.

      The Oxford English dictionary is my source, and I didn’t write it, by the way. This is what it says

      atheism (mass noun): Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

      Origin: Late 16th century: from French athéisme, from Greek atheos, from a- ‘without’ + theos ‘god’.

      In addition, this is the definition used by most atheists today. It has nothing to do with me and going after my lack of fluency in Sanskrit seems to smack of desperation.

      So my question to you is why are you trying to impose on this standard meaning something that it isn’t supported by those who use this identifier? Might you have another agenda than simply being accurate and using the term appropriately? Methinks thou dost protest too much and focus inappropriately on the assumed lack of literary volume by the messenger rather than take into consideration the accuracy of the corrective message.

    • Tildeb,

      So because you say that the Oxford definition is the “standard” that makes it the standard? Or because English speaking people say it is the “standard” that makes it the standard? Do you not see how ethnocentric you sound?

    • Because this is the reason why atheists use the term to identify themselves. They (and I) wouldn’t use the term if it meant what you think it should mean!

      You can’t use the term the way you think it should mean and then impose your meaning in place of the one used by those who claim the term as an identity, and then claim that that those that use it according to the common definition are the ethnocentric ones. My identity is not based how you define it, thank you very much, but on common definitions that I think best and most accurately describe me. And I think I should know what terms best fit me better than someone like you who changes common definitions to suit your own agenda that is clearly other than what’s true and accurate, and who then tries to blame others for pointing out this definition changing you exercise. That’s rather arrogant of you, don’t you think, because I can do the same about you and misrepresent you by taking your own identifiers and altering the meaning of the terms to suit whatever I want in place of what’s true and accurate.

  4. Actually, Paul used to be an extremist, taking lives of innocent believers, families, children. However, afther his trip to Damascus he could change. Probably one of the key factor was, that he could change, that he was given a second chance from the very people whom he had persecuted. That was the real love, without any established, institutionalized religion. Maybe, if we didn’t let politicians, corporations to misuse other parts of the world, helping, supporting, giving from heart instead we could live in a safer and more prosperous world with honest forgiveness and care, love.

  5. Very thoughtful, and honest in that the answers are missing. I suspect each instance of change in a person’s beliefs may be multi-faceted and different.

  6. We can only hope that regardless of our upbringing, we will remain open and critical and not blindly accept ideas that are put in front of us. In my older years I often find myself answering my owns thoughts with something like “is that really true. Does that make sense. How does that idea affect me?” and slowly I have shed some not so helpful thoughts and been able to be more open to other ideas.

    • In my older years I often find myself answering my owns thoughts with something like “is that really true?”

      Imagine if you started life always asking this question of all claims! Include the question “And how do I know if it is” and you have the crux of exercising critical thinking always. Amazing how such simple questions reduce credulity and gullibility.

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