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One Knight's Take on ISIL

I, for one, am not afraid of ISIL.

Yes, it's true. They are evil incarnate. Even worse, they are evil incarnate and somehow convinced that God is with them.

Those who kill in the name of God, or insist that God told them to force their will on other people, or accuse others of being hated by God as if they know God's mind, are delusional. Some might say demonic. They may point to their scripture and say: "look, it spells it out distinctly." These people are idolaters of words they think they understand, and blasphemers of "the Word" that they do not understand. A conscience forsaken by fanaticism can never know the Word or will of God. ISIL is just another blight on history. And, compared to other murderous states, a small one at that.

It is right for those immediately threatened by ISIL to be afraid of their fanatical vision, the modern weapons that they stole, their Dark Age viciousness and hate disguised as religious fervor, and their insidious influence on those who are easily led astray. I would be fearful too.

But ISIL poses no threat to me or my neighbors. We are a world away. We don't live in the Dark Ages, but in an age of unstoppable progress, protected by the most powerful nations the world has ever known. While, regrettably, their madness brings occasionally instances of violence to western nations, they are not an invading army. Far more people die in the U.S. from car accidents and preventable diseases, and accidental shootings, than terrorism.

ISIL uses the psychology of indiscriminate killing, augmented by exploitive media personalities in the west, to frighten us. They want to turn the home of the brave into a huddle of cowards. We must not allow that. We must be true to our own ideals instead, which are always being tested, but prove irresistible whenever upheld. In comparison, ISIL is a cancer that will successfully be excised.

We must be careful though. Fear has the capacity to turn people into fools.

Irrational fears are spread by a cacophony of fools, and those who thrive on discord for their own selfish purposes. These are not patriots. These are not our friends. Patriots make us strong and fearless, and embolden the highest virtues. Rabble-rousers make us weak. They dispel our integrity to the single-minded ravings of a lynch mob.

Despite the insistence of fear-mongers, ISIL is not Islam. Islam is 1.6 billion people worldwide. ISIL is about 20,000, mostly in Syria and Iraq. Like other religions, Christianity included, Islam has many different factions of believers, most of them quite benign. ISIL, a fundamentalist offshoot, wants us to fear, insult, and declare war on them all. We must not oblige their monstrous provocations. We are smarter than that.

Remember, fear never solves anything. It clouds reason and virtue, and spawns foolish errors we later regret. It makes civilized people blind and vicious-the kind of ideological hypocrites that the terrorists need to justify their hate.

Instead, let us be brave. Let us use reason to make wise decisions. Let us usurp the enemy's power by proving our moral values superior to theirs.

Anything less, and the enemy wins, even when they lose, which they inevitably will.


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