Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Being Informed [UPDATED]

Debbye at Being American In T.O. takes David Brooks' latest column and does some expansion:

[H]ow can people who lack a spiritual nature nourished by God truly comprehend the murderous nature of those who believe they are the divine instruments of Allah? How can people who have no beliefs understand that there are fanatics who are consumed by their beliefs?

Equally true is the fact that those who acknowledge their own spiritual natures are capable of recognizing the spiritual nature of others as it manifests in the others' religions. However much Americans are mocked because we have retained our religious sensibilities, the existence of those sensibilities enables us to truly respect Muslims rather than patronize them.
To truly understand what's going on in the spiritual areas of life, one must be plugged into those areas in one's own existence. It's similar to the 'inside/outside' problem in sociological approaches to religion. An observer from the 'outside' cannot fully grasp or understand what is happening on the 'inside.' As a result, any response made by those who don't have that spiritual connection (or who don't respond to it) will be (naturally) uninformed.

As I think is evident, acting without knowledge is behavior that needs discouraging. So why are the secular forces of this world so disposed not only to acting without knowledge, but also to rejecting out-of-hand any possibility of gaining that knowledge?

Trudeaupia points out the patronizing nature of those who don't connect with spiritual aspects of life:
People like Cherie Blair react to suicide bombers in buses with a patronizing, condescending sympathy. Such things can only be caused by some kind of grievance, a reaction against unjust colonialist legacies. Rejection of Kyoto or inadequate foreign aid. Rigged WTO rules. There just has to be something. It is a patronizing view where people are less than fully human and they just can't be blamed for how they react to western countries.
This point can be roughly reduced to the conflict between the 'personal responsibility' and 'group responsibility' worldviews - who do we hold accountable? The idea has been elaborated upon at length by the incredible Bill Whittle, and his essay is a must-read primer for the subject.
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