This website typically does not write about breaking news, but in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and the ongoing conflict with ISIS and the many players involved in battles across Syria and the Middle East, it seemed impossible to ignore this time.  It’s not that ISIS has finally gone “too far” – they crossed that line long ago – it’s that we are, as Sam Harris so eloquently puts it, “sleepwalking towards Armageddon.”  We are afraid to address the issue at hand:  that a religious ideology rewards martyrdom, paradise, and jihad-ism.  And that until the ideology changes (is that even possible?), then we will be in this conflict for many, many years to come.

It seems fitting that we are reminded of Carl Sagan’s words, when he spoke about the magnificence of life.  Perhaps, if we all thought about life like he did, the world would be a more peaceful place.

I would love to believe that when I die, I will live again….  that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue.  But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.

The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence.  Far better, it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.

Carl Sagan

"Make the most of this life." - Carl Sagan
Source: Zen Pencils
  • Bearvarine

    If you are reading this, you are likely not an average person. Most people learn to make sense of the world by arguing like lawyers in favor what is comfortable to them. This, of course, has nothing to do with enlightened inquiry, which is what scientists engage in. But, religious belief is not only about making a personal choice about the afterlife, it is about defending one’s culture, one’s dignity and way of life. If you have been shamed for your backward religious views, your way of life ridiculed, everything about who you are and where you came from was written off as ignorant, backwards, superstitious and stone aged, wouldn’t you also be walking around with a huge chip on your shoulder? THAT is what the West is fighting in the Middle East. These aggrieved fundamentalists hate us because at their core, they know we’re right but cannot admit it. Instead they want to isolate from us and turn the clock back to the 7th century when their beliefs still held sway. They simply want power, and they are willing to do anything to get it. How is this any different from Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, Kim Il and North Korea, or Hitler and the Nazis?

    • Micah Geni

      Many generations would you reckon an Islamic State, with forced internet and education and child protection would last ?

      Maybe 2, but probably less generations. Let them kids in ISIL get their little playground for a while, if they can agree on certain important matters. Their kids will be pissed off and tired of their backbent parents pretty quick. It is even happening in Saudi. Only brutality keeps the system in check, one can smell. Strange that the West allows Saudi those liberties. Maybe there is more under the table. Maybe they are less brutal, than what our media shows us.