Sunday, February 22, 2009

Suicide Attacks

Interesting article from Science Daily: "Collective Religious Rituals, Not Religious Devotion, Spur Support For Suicide Attacks".

The report comes from a survey of Palestinian Muslims. The conclusion is based on two facts:
"The researchers found that devotion to Islam, as measured by prayer frequency, was unrelated to support for suicide attacks. However, frequency of mosque attendance did predict support for suicide attacks."
This is an interesting analysis of the psychology behind this behavior. But it ignores the underlying phenomenon - bad theology.

There is so much interplay of bad theology here - I don't know where to start!

First we have the scientists involved. They cannot appeal to any sense of right and wrong (they're post-moderns). So, it is simply a matter of trying to figure out what is driving this "undesirable" behavior. They're also committed to an atheistic mindset: the idea that there really is a God - who gives explicit commands, which must be obeyed - is completely unimaginable to them.

Then we have the faithful Muslims. They are true to their theology - killing unbelievers (although there is some disagreement as to whether it is permissible to commit suicide while doing so). They must work to earn God's favor, and rigorously follow all of God's commands (as given in the Koran).

Finally there are the "cultural Muslims". Like there "cultural Christian" relatives, they have little knowledge or interest in theology. They are simply participating in common activities.

The researchers then try to wrap things up with some "all religions are the same", saying:
"In the last experiment, the psychologists surveyed members of six religious majorities in six nations (Mexican Catholics, Indonesian Muslims, Israeli Jews, Russian Orthodox in Russia, British Protestants and Indian Hindus)... These results also showed that support for parochial altruism was related to attendance at religious services, but unrelated to regular prayer."
Of course, it ignores the fact that Catholics, Jews, Orthodox [Christians], and Protestants do not condone killing unbelievers.

Also, I am unaware of any measure of Christians faithfulness that does not include both regular group attendance (Hebrews 10:25) and regular prayer (numerous references to "pray always").

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