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Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”
The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Why does Islam seem to have more violent fanatics than other religions?
Several reasons, really.
Firstly: Islam is a particularly all-encompassing religion, in the sense that being a “Muslim” is supposed to be your primary identity and motivation in life. Arguably one of the reasons that Islam got so huge in the first place was that it encouraged the fragmented and tribal arabian peninsula to put aside petty squabbles for the first time and unite for a common cause. Other areas that adopted the religion followed similar paths: It’s a central doctrine that before your race, gender, family allegiance or nationality, you’re a Muslim. This is why historically the Islamic world has historically been organized into large, multicontinental caliphates, and it’s also why Islamism has been a massive issue in the middle east since the fall of the Ottoman Empire: The fragmented, corrupt and secular arrangement of the middle east is a historical anomaly, and one that doesn’t make too much sense from the old school Muslim perspective that the Islamic world should be united.
Secondly: There’s a selection bias in the western media that violent muslims must necessarily be religious fanatics. The Islamic world is a massively diverse place, with lots of different issues other than just religion. Palestinian militants are no more fundamentalist muslims than Irish terrorists in the 70’s were fundamentalist catholics: Religion obviously plays a role, but it’s usually more of a justification than an actual reason. Similarly, the Iranian-Israeli rivalry is typically depicted as a religious one, but in reality the Iranians hate the Saudis almost as much as they do the Israelis (There’s a religious element in the Saudi-Iranian rivalry too, but it’s still not the dominant factor).
Lastly: It only takes a few bat-shit fanatics to make an entire religion look bad. Those guys who killed that soldier in the UK, or that guy who stabbed that filmmaker in the Netherlands obviously make up a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of the muslim community in Europe. While it’s probably the case that there are more Muslims willing to do violence in the name of religion than there are Christians, with both populations you’re dealing with a minute fraction of the population that really shouldn’t be used to judge the religion as a whole. If the Islamic world were intent on bringing down the west, there would be a lot more of them fighting.
When I listen to music I used to listen to in high school
When I grab the cereal from the cabinet and realize it’s empty because my brother is a dick