Hearts of Darkness

Why are almost all terrorists Muslims?

The recent terrorist atrocities in Bombay, India, have forcibly returned the War on Terrorism to global attention.  People in the West have been lucky for some time now in enjoying the absence of terrorist attacks.  You've certainly had other things to concern ourselves with of late, but even if you're not interested in war, war is interested in you, and the same is true of terrorism.

This latest horror should serve as a timely reminder of our unfinished business.  There has been improvement in Iraq and in other places; but we are far from from a state of peace and safety.

By the nature of terrorism, it will always be far easier to carry out terrorist attacks than to defend against them.  The only long-term solution is to persuade the terrorists to stop, either by killing them all or by changing their minds.

Nobody minds killing terrorists in the heat of battle, but there seem to be an awful lot of them.  Polling data seem to indicate that around a tenth of all Muslims support the idea of suicide bombing.  There are roughly a billion Muslims worldwide; 10% is 100 million persons in favor of the most barbaric sort of terrorism.  Killing even a small fraction of that many people would be impractical; in order to be rid of the menace of terrorism, we'll have to persuade them to stop.

The ease of mounting terrorist attacks and the absurd cost of defending all possible vulnerabilities make it all the more important that we understand what motivates the terrorists so that we can figure out how to de-motivate them.  Yet in some ways, enlightenment is further away from us than it was on 9-11 itself.  The most fundamental reason for our lack of understanding of what we're up against is our leaders' ignorance of the most basic motivator of all: religion.

Why Religion Matters

There have been many articles discussing the disappearance of religion from European and American society; but even though American religiosity has plummeted, elites on both sides of the pond are still dismayed that a significant number of Americans cling to religious beliefs which the Europeans have long since abandoned as obsolete.  During the primary campaign, Barack Obama famously criticized rural Pennsylvanians for clinging to their religion rather than embracing modern diversity; as the resulting furor demonstrated, this view of religion as obsolete and irrelevant is almost unanimous on the left, and surprisingly common on the right as well.

A recent op-ed in the Washington Post written by a professor who is also a Roman Catholic priest pointed out that our leadership elites tend to have no real understanding of faith, which is the basis of any religion.

It's not that we don't know about religion; it's that we don't understand faith and its life-shaping power.

This was OK when our elites led our fight against the Soviets during the Cold War.  The Soviet ideology of Communism was profoundly atheist.  Our irreligious elites could deal with their equally irreligious opposite numbers in the Soviet Union and understand them pretty well.

We won the Cold War because our economic system was greatly superior to theirs.  We beat 'em the old-fashioned way - we out-spent them.  This strategy worked because, as Reagan discovered of Gorbachev, neither of them wanted their grandchildren evaporated in a nuclear Armageddon.

If you're an atheist, all you get is this one shot at life and when you're dead, you're done.  The Russians didn't want to die any more than we did.  They wanted to win, and would spend as much as they could to do so, but the leaders wanted to live, everybody on both sides wanted their grandchildren to live, and the common people wanted decent lives.  This mutual desire to survive and to live comfortably if at all possible formed a basis on which their leaders and our leaders could agree that it was desirable not to annihilate the world in a nuclear war.

We face two different, more recalcitrant problems in dealing with terrorism.

First, terrorism doesn't cost the perpetrators much.  We can clearly outspend them, but that won't win the war, or battle, or whatever it is.

The second issue is an even bigger difficulty.  All over the world, the vast majority of terrorism is motivated by religion.  Our irreligious elites are ill-equipped to deal constructively with highly-religious terrorists.

If someone truly believes that he gains a huge number of points from God if he dies while killing you, it's difficult to negotiate with him to persuade him not to kill you or die trying.

Our side gets carried out in baskets when our negotiators don't understand the primary motivations of the other party.  We've reported on the Japanese government winning a hands-down victory when negotiating with us over restrictions on importing Japanese cars into the US.

It wasn't ignorance of Japanese religion that defeated us; Japanese religions are nominally peaceful.  What did us in was that our guys did not realize that their guys had had personal experience with starvation during and after WW II.  Personal experience with starvation profoundly affects one's world view.

If you've spent years wondering how you're going to feed yourself and your kids, you aren't going to settle for reduced exports just to please the United States.  Although not motivated by religions concerns per se, this fervent pro-export attitude on the part of the Japanese was as fervent as any religious belief.  Ignoring this belief system handicapped our negotiators just as surely as not understanding religion handicaps our diplomats in the Middle East.

Not only are most of our leaders utterly unequipped to understand the current wave of terrorism, they can't even decide what to call our efforts to combat terrorism.  Religion matters in dealing with religiously-motivated terrorists; what we call the conflict more or less controls how everyone else perceives our goals and motivations.  If we don't know how to describe what we're doing, we won't do it well.

The Many Names of War

What's in a name?
That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.

- Juliet Capulet, Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

You might think that which we call a skunk, by any other word would smell as foul.  You would be wrong.

As politicians have discovered, deciding on the correct name to call things is vitally important in persuading people to see things your way.  Would you rather be "pro-life" or "anti-choice"?  Would you rather be "pro-choice," "pro-abortion," or "pro-aborticide"?  Do you oppose the "estate tax," or the "death tax"?  How about "racial preferences and quotas" versus "affirmative action"?

Each of these pairs describe the same thing but they sound rather different.  You can get a decent idea of which side of a debate holds the upper hand by which terminology becomes most widely used.

The more important the issue, the more important it is to call it by its proper name, and there are few issues more important than war.  We've been fighting what some call the "War on Terror" for nigh on seven years and we still haven't come up with a name everybody accepts.

Sometimes we are in a "clash of civilizations", or a "War on Islamofascism"; other times, we're responding to the "Terrorists' War on Us"; then there's the "Global War on Terror" or GWOT.  When things look particularly bad, we're trapped in "The Long War."  There have been countless lesser labels which have been tried, found wanting, and cast aside.

If you don't know where you're going, you probably won't get there.  If you don't know what you're doing well enough to describe it clearly, you probably won't do it very well.  The very word "terrorism" is problematic; it means different things to different people.  We've explored the history and origins of both the word and the tactic and proposed an improved definition.  Terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy; you can't fight a war against a tactic.  You can't fight a "War on Land-Mines" or a "War on Phalanxes," for example.

For as long as there have been historians, wars have been named in one of four ways.  Some wars are named by the geography of where they were fought - e.g. World War I and II, or the Peloponnesian War.  Others are named after the combatants, like the Iran-Iraq War and Sino-Japanese War.  A few are named for the ruler involved, such as King William's War, though this causes problems if the ruler changes partway through.  Occasionally you get a war named after the event or cause which triggered it, like the War of Spanish Succession or the War of Jenkins' Ear.

We could call it the War of the World Trade Towers, perhaps - but what about the Pentagon, the USS Cole, Khobar Towers, and so on?  Many Democrats like to call it "George W. Bush's War," and often do; but the problem of terrorism is not going to end with the Bush administration, no matter how much we all might wish it to, as the Bombay horror makes plain.  Al-Qaeda has operations all over the world but somehow calling it World War III seems a little overblown.  We don't have a good name for the conflict.

The Face of the Enemy

Even naming the war still leaves the enemy unnamed.  Who is the enemy?  What do we call the enemy?  In naming the enemy, we run smack into political correctness.

We all know exactly who the enemy is.  What's more, the enemy knows who they are, as do all people who have occasion to be close to them.  Abdelrahman al-Rashid, managing director of al-Arabiya satellite TV, put it very plainly:

It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims.

This statement has been attacked as scandalously politically incorrect.  It can be ignored; it can be excused, but it can't be denied.  Not only is Dr. al-Rashid's statement true, it is so true as to be not merely a stereotype, but a truism.

Sun Tzu, the author of the world's first and greatest military treatise The Art of War, advises the warrior to "Know Your Enemy."  Whether we are in a "real" war or are merely dealing with international criminals, we surely do have an enemy which we must understand.

This is not to excuse the enemy.  While Ground Zero was yet smoking, various liberal apologists attempted to blame terrorist attacks on their victims; Ward Churchill memorably referred to the WTC financial workers as "little Eichmanns", comparing them to the infamous Nazi.  There is no understanding to be found in placing ourselves at the same level as barbarians.

It is not necessary to excuse barbarism in order to understand what motivates it.  British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain thought that Adolf Hitler was a rational man like himself, a man you could "do business with", and who would keep his word in negotiations.  Chamberlain thought the Munich Agreement which sacrificed Czechoslovakia to the Nazi machine would ensure "peace in our time" because that's what the agreement said - and honorable people stick to their agreements.

He failed to understand that Hitler viewed treaties as nothing more than scraps of paper to buy time and then to be disregarded when convenient.  Winston Churchill had a far deeper and more accurate understanding of Hitler.  This didn't make him sympathize with Nazism, far from it!  Staring directly into the dark heart of evil gave Churchill the strength and determination to fight it with all his might and to win.  It was Chamberlain's refusal to see the evil truth standing in front of him that nearly sacrificed his country.

The fact that nearly all terrorists are Muslims is a fact which urgently needs to be confronted, considered, discussed, analyzed, and most of all, understood.  This is not to say that we agree with terrorists.  It's not to say that Osama bin Laden's conviction that Allah requires good Muslims to kill non-Muslims is the correct one, necessarily, or that Islam has a correct world view.

All that matters is that, as we have pointed out, the terrorists are utterly convinced that they hold the only true interpretation of Islam and they take their beliefs seriously enough to die for their beliefs.  If we are to fight and win to the point that they stop trying to kill us, we need to understand what makes them tick.

This series will examine the roots of the religion of the terrorists, in comparison with various other world religions that might be more familiar.  There are very good reasons why, as the devout Muslim Abdelrahman al-Rashid mentioned above said, "almost all terrorists are Muslims."

In the next article, we'll examine some of the basic ways in which religions differ so that we can discuss the many reasons why almost all terrorists are Muslims.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
Reader Comments
"Nobody minds killing terrorists in the heat of battle, but there seem to be an awful lot of them. Polling data seem to indicate that around a tenth of all Muslims support the idea of suicide bombing. There are roughly a billion Muslims worldwide; 10% is 100 million persons in favor of the most barbaric sort of terrorism. Killing even a small fraction of that many people would be impractical; in order to be rid of the menace of terrorism, we'll have to persuade them to stop."

Profound if accurate, but I don't think it is.

You should note that there are a billion Muslims MANY of which are in very remote areas. Unless I'm mistaken Pew Research didn't travel across Pakistani sand dunes to get their numbers. They use trends from different researchers to predict numbers for different regions.

This is OK to do provided readers understand where Pew got their data. I wouldn't base generalizations off it.

Still, a few good read. Thanks.
December 8, 2008 1:55 PM
So darren, you're saying that Pew is wrong, and that there are actually a lot fewer than 10% of Muslims in favor of terrorism - few enough that it would be practical to kill them all?

Or are you saying that Pew is wrong, and there are MORE than 10% of Muslims in favor of terrorism - in which case, what?

Or is it that most of the pro-terrorist Muslims live in the middle of nowhere and can fulminate all they like, since they're too far away to do any damage? We thought that about Afghanistan and look where it got us...

I think, by definition, an opinion poll (by Pew or anyone else) IS a generalization. You're right about the methodology affecting the accuracy, but in practical terms, what are you saying?
December 8, 2008 2:08 PM
This article is a manifesto for religious persecution.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. If a religion is destructive to a society, that society has every right to persecute it.

But since we ARE talking about religious persecution, it's important to get the numbers straight.

Pew Research says in the very link you used that in many of the hot spots they tested the numbers are indicative of urban trends. They also took samples in groups of 18-30 people at a time, face to face - typical with researchers. In Islamofacist hot spots, how many people in a group of 18 are going to say they oppose suicide bombs? It's rational to assume that MANY hundreds of people went along with whatever the loudest person said.

I do not know which way the numbers are wrong, but every rational fiber of my being believes the entire question and premise - even the TESTABILITY - to be absurd.
December 8, 2008 2:32 PM
Wait a minute - what you are saying is that it's inherently impossible to demonstrate how many Muslims support suicide bombers?

Empirical evidence would give a non-mathematical but nevertheless informative and actionable answer: an awful lot more than is safe for everyone else.

What's more, the silence from the non-violent Muslim majority when presented with Islamic crimes is quite deafening, especially when compared with the condemnation by other religions of their criminal co-religionists.
December 8, 2008 3:09 PM
Yes, of course it's impossible.

a) We're dealing with a relatively untestable subject matter. Reasons stated previously.

b) "Support" is entirely subjective. How many of the interviewed that were in favor would have strapped on bombs themselves? How many personally knew people who did? How many of them would their friends or family to? How many of the support the CAUSE of the suicide bombers but NOT the act of bombing specifically?

This is similar to asking Americans "do you support evolution, yes or no?" For most rational people, the answer cannot be given a valid answer with a simple yes or no.

This article takes major strides off of preliminary "facts" that are not necessarily so.

Is there a need to define Muslims in terms of the percentage that want to bomb others? I don't think so. It's pretty obvious that all the world's terrorists are Muslim; case closed. Even if that's only 1% of Muslims, it's enough to be asking these questions.
December 8, 2008 3:30 PM
The second article in this series has been published.

http://scragged.com/articles/hearts-of-darkness-2---comparative-religion.aspx
December 12, 2008 7:51 AM
The third article in this series has been published.

http://scragged.com/articles/hearts-of-darkness-3---the-nature-of-god.aspx
December 19, 2008 8:28 AM
My Understanding of the Nature of God

As a young child, religion didn't answer any of my questions, and as a result, I have avoided religions all my life. I found them to be controlling and fear-based: if you don't do this and that, you will spend eternity in a blazing fire. This never made any sense to me. I do realize that there is a kernel of spiritual truth in every religion, but oftentimes, it is deeply buried or misinterpreted.

My parents introduced me to catholism, but the hypocrisy and lack of compassion from the local priest appalled me. Every year, he drove around town in a brand new Cadillac when children in his parish needed clothes and shoes. He was an alcoholic and showed up at the local pharmacy every morning to order a bromo seltzer, hence the nickname "Father Bromo".

I went to a protestant college and didn't glean much from that experience. I met more hypocrites, a profession who wanted sex instead of cash for therapy sessions and folks interested in profiting from God.

And when people would quote the bible, I often wondered which version they were quoting. When I was a child, we played the "telephone" game. Ten or twenty of us would sit in a circle. Someone would whisper a sentence to the person sitting next to them, and then that person would whisper what they thought they heard to the next person, and so on. By the time the statement came back to the originator, it was amazing! We often heard: "That's not what I said!" Now, don't you think that the same holds true for what is printed in the various bibles? Remember, Jesus didn't have a secretary, a Dictaphone or a tape recorder. And one more fact about Jesus: He was a member of the Essenes, a peace-loving, vegetarian sect of Judaism, who lived in harmony with life. He was an avatar, a way shower, an example of how God's Children were supposed to live on Earth. He was our brother.

Instead of religion, I turned to spirituality and this is what I discovered: Regardless of our color, nationality, gender, beliefs or social status, we are all Children of Alpha and Omega, Father and Mother God, whose Presence is anchored in our heart. In spite of what we do, or don't do, They love us unconditionally; that is without expectation, criticism or condemnation. They are our Parents and it is Their desire that we turn to Them, and not to outer sources - people, animals, places, conditions and things - for our every need. They may not supply our "wants", but They will supply everything that we need for our spiritual growth and service. This is where true faith comes in: Do you have faith and trust in God's Plan/Will for you, or in the power of you own ego's will to supply your needs? When we turn to outer sources to supply our needs, we often force and/or coerce others to get what we want; and, we're not opposed to using shame, blame, guilt, murder or war either.

We are not here to amass material possessions and misuse the elements. Originally, we came to Earth to reproduce Heaven on Earth. At least, that was God's Plan/Will for us, but for millions and millions of years, we have strayed off course and created havoc on Earth.

I think it would help if we understand that first and foremost, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Ask anyone who has had a Near Death Experience (NDE) and they will confirm that we are energy beings and how we use our energy determines the quality of this life and subsequent ones.

We are held accountable for every bit of the energy we use - for how we think, remember, feel, act, say, see, hear, do and even for what we eat. We are here, on Earth, to live by the Golden Rule and to fulfill God's Plan/Will/Design for Earth. The Golden Rule is the same as the Law of Karma, the Law of the Circle, the Law of Cause and Effect, the Law of Magnetic Attraction, and What you sow, you shall reap. The Law states: What you cause a person, an animal or the Earth to experience, you must also experience, both positive and negative, times ten. We can't blame anyone for what happens to us because we are the creators of our lives according to how we use or misuse our energy.

Before we incarnate, we agree to repay our karmic debts; to experience what we caused another to experience. We choose every single one of our life lessons to balance our energy and to use it in more constructive, positive loving ways. For example, if in a past life, you polluted the air element, you will live in a polluted environment and perhaps, serve God by helping to clean it up.

In a past life, I mistreated animals, and in this lifetime, I took care of abused horses, dogs and cats therefore, repaying my debt to them.

The Law of Karma explains why "bad things happen to good people"; it also explains the so-called life inequities. When you see someone living on the streets, know that it is his/her karma, which he/she has chosen to expiate. Perhaps, in a past life, he or she caused another to lose his/her home and die on the streets. The street person needs to experience what he/she caused another to experience. Mother Theresa caused many to suffer in Atlantis and agreed to help as many people as she could in this lifetime; and she did so lovingly with complete trust and faith that God would provide everything that she needed for her service.

There is perfect order in the universe - there are no accidents - because the Law of Karma, or what goes around, comes around, is always in play.

If we understand what God's Will is then we can't help but live in harmony with the Golden Rule. God's Will is having complete trust and faith in the fact that He/She will supply everything that we need for our spiritual growth and service. God's Will is: Love and Light; Goodness; Happiness; Joy; Gratitude; Peace; Harmony; Love; Enthusiasm; Kindness; Tolerance; Wisdom; Courage; Compassion; Thanksgiving; A sense of Oneness with all; Healing; Understanding; Gladness; Acceptance; and Forgiveness. Anything that adds to your Light and that of the earths is God Will. Anything contrary is not God's Will, but our ego's will.

Murder, war, poverty, killing animals, hunting, exploitation, power and control, unfairness, judgment, condemnation, criticism, vengeance, greed, wastefulness, deprivation, domination, violence in any form, anger, etc are not God's Will.

When we live in fear of not getting what we want to make us feel worthy, acceptable, lovable, good, whole, or complete our (ego's) will prevails. What we don't realize is that as God's Children, we are worthy, acceptable, lovable and complete, just the way we are. But, we can't feel this inherent sense of belonging and oneness unless we are connected to the God Within our heart. Generally, our energy is connected to a variety of outside sources, and because we aren't certain that these sources will provide us with what we want, or need, we live in constant fear and anxiety that our needs will not be met on our terms.

When we have expectations, we're bound to become disappointed when they are not met. And when our expectations are not met, we become anxious and stressed-out, and our greatest fear is often realized.

Spirituality has taught me that regardless of how I use my energy, I AM, first and foremost, a Child of Father/Mother God who loves me unconditionally. And, God's Will/Plan for me is to learn my lessons, to use my energy in constructive/positive/loving ways, and to perform service for God. Service doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering. I serve God on a daily basis by doing the best I can to use my energy positively. I further serve God by being mindful of my impact on the environment; by using only biodegradable products; by recycling everything that is no longer needed or useful; by not accumulating stuff; by not spewing unkind thoughts and feelings into the atmosphere; and by being kind to all those I come into contact with. Remember the irascible ones need our love and compassion the most.

Spirituality has taught me that Father/Mother God, Alpha and Omega, created us, the animals and our universe, and therefore, we are all energetically connected. We are not here to dominate and control, but to live in harmony and oneness with all.

There are other factors, such as our soul/ego age, that influence our outlook and attitude about God and Life. There are five stages of soul, or ego, evolution on the earth plane, each with seven levels to complete. Regardless of the stage that we are at, we have vestiges of the earlier stages. When we incarnate, oftentimes we bring with us our likes, dislikes, fears, worries, concerns and memories from past lives. A "bleed-through" is a past life memory that has bled through from your soul to your conscious mind. And, a "carry-over' is a past life memory that you have brought with you from a former lifetime. Most of us are not aware of our past lives, but some children are being born today who do have recall of their past lives. Some past life memories trigger a deja-vu experience or a familiarity with a person, animal or place.

A friend's daughter, for no apparent reason, would scream when she saw a dog. As it turned out, in a past life, she had been attacked by a wolf and brought that memory with her into the present lifetime. After much exposure with a variety of dogs, her attitude relaxed and her fear waned.

One day, my friends and I decided to hike the neighborhood mountain, and as we reached the summit, I started to get sick to my stomach and my neck started aching. Now, I haven't been sick in over twenty five years. I almost felt paralyzed, so I headed down. Later, I discovered that I had fallen from a mountain and broke my neck- that's an example of a deja-vu.

The first stage of soul/ego evolution is known as the baby stage. The baby or infant soul/ego is the closest to God, yet the furthest away because it does not have a memory of its spiritual identify or purpose.

Some characteristics of this stage include:

. Focusing primarily on survival and since it doesn't have many past lives to draw upon, strange situations confuse and frighten the baby ego. Fear of everything dominates this cycle.
. Learning rudimentary moral and social codes of ethics.
. Viewing him or her self as a little minnow in a pond of big fish.
. Fearing not being able to survive on its own merits, so it imitates and complies with the cultural standards of the group to which it belongs.
. Adopting the religion of its parents without question.
. Seeking employment that is menial, sporadic and short-lived (again, no prior skills to draw upon).
. Preparing food that is usually tasteless and overcooked. Because they are fearful of catching every thing, their kitchens are usually antiseptically clean.
. Missing the importance of personal hygiene - it may be hit or miss.
. Being bitten by dogs who have no history of biting.
. Being frightened of horses and would not be likely to go horseback riding.
. Having an undeveloped sense of humor.

Oftentimes, sex is equated with lust. They are prone to develop allergies to animals because they fear them. Fortunately, no more baby souls are being born.

As earthly embodiments accrue, so does the soul or ego's ability to survive and thrive. The grade school ego becomes more extroverted and forms attitudes, beliefs and habits.

Some characteristics of this stage include:

. seeing the world in terms of me and many other me's.
. agreeing until an opposing viewpoint is expressed and then may become baffled, belligerent, angry or hostile.
. wanting to be the big fish in the tiny puddle so recognition may come from being mayor, selectman, police chief, or principal.
. joining clubs - Kiwanis, Rotary, Elks and historical societies.
. seeking higher education, but in a small conservative school, or in trade school setting.
. Believing in fundamental religions and the forces of evil.
. Adhering to strict moralistic beliefs and values regarding what are right and wrong. Differences are viewed with an Archie Bunker type of mentality. Guilt, shame, blame, ridicule and ostracism are used to keep those in line.
. Being uneasy with its sexuality.
. Preparing uninteresting and tasteless food. The habit of equating food with comfort, such as eating sweets to sweeten one's life begins during this cycle.
. Most old ladies who focus on their bowels are grammar school egos/souls.
. Having a compulsive need for cleanliness.
. Likely to use the court system to vindicate their position.
. Seeking group/peer acceptance.
. Humor can range from slapstick to graphic and explicit - bathroom jokes and crude sexual allusions are popular.

The adolescent or teenage stage is full of contradictions - attitudes and beliefs fluctuate from one extreme to another. The byword of this cycle or stage is achievement and the pursuit of higher education to achieve this goal.

The teenage ego is certain of its ability to survive and thrive in the physical world, so this is a time of much exploration - it's a period of passion and zeal, much like the physical teenage stage.

Some characteristics of this stage include:

. Expending life, which is to be exploited in terms of its usefulness.
. Having insatiable appetites.
. Conquering and overcoming obstacles - they try to dominate the elements.
. Riding the rodeos.
. Being out of body is unpleasant for the teenager and it returns as soon as possible. Whether in or out of body, the teenage ego/soul has a very difficult time learning its spiritual lessons.
. Taking credit for all its accomplishments and sees itself independent of God.
. Viewing God as a masculine figure to be feared and placated and is called upon only in dire emergencies.
. Believing that "might makes right".
. Pursuing recognition, achievements and accolades and wants to be a big fish in a large pond.
. Proving its superiority by being right, in control and having it way. Competition, position and instant gratification are by-words of this cycle.
. Climbing the status is important.
. Electing cosmetic surgery is popular.
. Dressing may be extreme.
. Equating love with sex and materialism.
. Indulging in a period of excesses - eating habits may be extreme.
. Using humor to prove its position, which may include mockery, sarcasm and barbs that harass, hurt, humiliate and embarrass.
. Controlling, dominating, exploiting and manipulating abound.
. Being certain of its ability to assume the role of God and determine its destiny.

It is interesting to note that most religious zealots and fundamentalists are in this stage of development.

The four stage of ego/soul evolution is the mature cycle. It is during this stage that the ego/soul turns in another direction to find the meaning and purpose of its existence and does so through a more intellectual, peaceful approach.

Some characteristics of this stage include:

. Exploring psychic phenomena.
. Changing its view of God to a more loving and understanding Being.
. Gaining a greater reverence and respect for animals and the nature kingdom.
. Being drawn to quieter faiths such as Buddhism, Unitarianism or Quakerism.
. Pursuing higher education, but not necessarily in the traditional framework.
. Depending on the intellect for all the answers to life's mysteries.
. Experiencing inner turmoil, which may lead to depression?
. Preparing gourmet foods - their hollandaise sauce dares not to curdle and wine fetishes are at a height at this stage. A mature soul/ego would never serve Zinfandel with lobster, but an old soul wouldn't hesitate if Zinfandel happened to be his/her favorite wine.
. Riding to the hounds may be a past time.
. Expressing humor in more abstract ways - repartee, play on words, incongruities from in oxy-morons, absurdities, irony and travesty- typify this cycle.
. Equating wisdom with knowledge and power with the ability to fulfill its quest through nonviolent means.
. Realizing that finding God is not an intellectual pursuit.

On a lighter note, pets belonging to the mature ego/soul are often winners at obedience trials.

The fifth stage of development is that of the Old Age Ego/Soul. During this stage he/she has integrated its lessons and seldom clings to dogma. He or she is aware of its Divine Nature and purpose for being and makes a conscious effort to fulfill his/her destiny plan. There is a deep yearning to go home.

Some characteristics of this stage include:

. Knowing God on an intimate basis becomes a driving force.
. Acknowledging the Presence of God everywhere. God is no longer confined to a church and traditional religious ties are severed.
. Needing to break away from peer group and cultural pressures. Typically, old age souls/egos don't serve on boards or committees.
. Preferring manual labor and gardening. He or she exhibits great competency and expertise in almost any endeavor because of the skills acquired from their many lifetimes, but may choose an occupation that will not interfere with his/her spiritual quest.
. Choosing a casual and comfortable style of dress.
. Taking the time to enjoy beauty and smell the roses.
. Playing a key role during this stage is laughter, which can be earthy and bawdy.
. Cooking is casual and recipes are sometimes used just as a guideline.
. Riding the trails.
. Expressing self-control over one's thoughts and feelings. Wisdom is spiritual truth and love is the force that makes the world go round.
. Learning to experience a sense of oneness with all; that is, seeing the God Light in all, and that includes skunks, red squirrels, mosquitoes and even black flies.
. Living by the Golden Rule is the credo for this cycle.

What is interesting is that even nations have ages and stages.

. India is mostly a baby soul nation with a pocket of late level mature who watch over them.
. Japan is a teen-age nation.
. Argentina and Brazil are late baby and early teenage.
. The US is a teenage nation heading towards mature. Its current president is a teenage ego/soul, while its newly elected president is the reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln. Bill Clinton is the reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson.
. Canada is a mature nation.
. Saudi Arabia is late young and early mature.
. Mexico is early mature with pockets of old.
. Africa is mostly mature with young leadership.
. China is young and early mature.
. Germany (East and West), France and Denmark are late level young and early mature.
. Egypt is mature with some old.
. England is mature with pockets of old and baby. Princess Diana was the reincarnation of Marie Antoinette.
. Sweden is mid-level mature.
. Lebanon is predominantly mature with some zealous young souls.
. Peru is mid-cycle mature.
. Poland and Italy are late mature.
. Finland and Cuba have a great deal of late mature and early old.
. Russia is late mature and early old, particularly in rural areas.
. Norway is late mature to early old.
. Czechoslovakia is an early old soul nation.
. Iceland is mid-cycle old soul nation.
. Switzerland and Holland are both old soul nations.

Throughout the ages, man has been given facets of spiritual truth, yet many have been distorted or misinterpreted. During the 1940's, information about our spiritual heritage was presented to Guy Ballard from God's Helpers, the Ascended Masters. The Ascended Masters are advanced beings such as Buddha, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Isis and Confucius who have come to earth, learned their lessons and then ascended into a higher level of consciousness. The Ascended Masters and the Angels are here to help us, but They will never interfere with our free will, so we must ask for Their help, which is just a heart beat away.

The Ascended Masters are disseminating information to us through many channels who have the ability to hear and see Them. The earth's axis is being straightened and the vibrations of the planet are being raised as well. We must keep abreast with these changes and the only way to do so is to turn to God, or the God Within, for assistance.

Earth will not be destroyed, but there will be many changes coming. We are meant to live on earth in harmony with all and that day is coming, sooner than later. Wayne Dyer said it best: "You'll see it when you believe it".

All the best,
A Child of God

On death and dying: After my father transitioned, I could hear him calling my name. At first, this freaked me out, but then I read every book on the subject by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, who then was the leading expert on death and dying. As I mentioned before, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Our body is akin to a heavy overcoat. When it is our time to transition, we leave our body behind. No one dies alone - an Angel accompanies us through a tunnel of Light into a higher plane/realm/dimension. There, we are greeted by friends and family members who have preceeded us. After a short rest, our life on earth is reviewed. We are not judged, but oftentimes, we judge ourselves when we see where we could have used our energy in more positive and loving ways. We will be shown how others felt and reacted to how we misused our energy. If we abused a person or animal, that experience will be reviewed and we will feel the pain the person and animal felt. The karma we create in this lifetime will be revealed to us when during our life's review and we have the free will to agree to expiate it in the next lifetime, or postpone it for a later one.

I was with my best friend when he transitioned and when he was dying, he could see the Angels in the room. They explained the process to him and he relayed it to me. It was the same scenerio...

We have nothing to fear....

January 2, 2009 9:16 PM
What the hell does that long screed have to do with this article?

Editors: please put a word limit in place on comments. This is getting annoying.
January 3, 2009 8:19 AM
I disagree with twibi. Faith is by definition a belief in something that cannot be proved. Reincarnation cannot be proved. Exploring it sheds light on the power of faith, which seems to be the whole point of the article.

I suspect that twibi might have difficulty negotiating with someone whose actions were motivated by a passionate belief in reincarnation.

In those 2 posts, we've seen a small-scale illustration of precisely the problem the article introduces - how do people who lack faith in something relate to people who have string faith? Censorship or denial of the other belief is not the answer.
January 3, 2009 11:15 AM
That comment (if one is generous enough to even call it that) obviously wasn't meant to refute any of the points of the article. The commenter didn't even bother listing anything.

Moderating sermonizers is a good and useful thing. Would that more internet hosts employed it. Most of my favorite sites have it in place to filter out bloviating, off-topic windbags like "Child of God".

(Notice that I did not ask for moderation in my tussle with Tony a few weeks ago. While I disliked his content and manner, he was being specific and on-topic)
January 3, 2009 11:41 AM
And this has nothing to do with "not understanding faith". This has to do with wasting people's time and being comment-appropriate.

Would you really want me (or someone else) to begin taking apart that 50-page no-religion-but-spirituality farce in a piece-by-piece rebuttal?

I would be equally angered by someone copying/pasting the first 3 chapters of Harry Potter into this area. It would be equally silly, off-topic and long.
January 3, 2009 11:46 AM
Add Your Comment...
4000 characters remaining
Loading question...