Trauma, viruses, or bacteria cause the death of a biological entity. Viruses and bacteria are major killers of human beings and present great challenges to medicine. They can be deadly and have the uncanny ability to mutate. Yet they are there for their mission of ending life.
Life exists due to balance: body and soul, good and evil, and life and death. This holds true even to the lesser foundations of our lives, and how we spend our time. The small, seemingly trivial ripples that we create each day eventually build into a wave -- the wave of mankind. The moment a new entity is formed, an array of forces work to end it. Death, in effect, is pre-birth. Without death, everything freezes in place. Death often provides the raw material for the new birth. The death and decay of a tree, for instance, supplies the needed nutrients for the seed to grow; the Newtonian physics' obsolescence provided the foundation for Einstein's relativity theory.
Death and renewal are also fundamental to religion. It is for this reason that many religions promised renewal in the person of a savior. The Jews, for instance, expect the Messiah; the Christians long for the second coming; and some Muslims pray for the appearance of the Mahdi, while other Shia Muslims supplicate God for the return of Imam Hussein.
Poorly understood and little-appreciated are psychosocial viruses -- PSVs. As is the case with their biological kin, psychosocial viruses also work to corrupt any idea, mental functions, or belief and help supplant them with new ones. Various forms of mental disorders are the result of interaction between the PSVs and the person's predisposition to the condition. Not all mutations caused by PSVs are pathological. Many serve to advance the human enterprise. Without contributions of the beneficial PSVs, humanity would still be stunted in its development at the level of day one.
In the case of Islam, a special group of PSVs set out to work the minute Muhammad launched his faith, and mutation rapidly followed. First, there was the Islam of Mecca, or the Islam of Meekness. For thirteen years, Muhammad's teachings, as recorded in the early Suras of the Quran, were about many good things. Very few people became attracted to what he preached. In fact, the people scorned the man, harassed him, and eventually made him flee his hometown of Mecca for Medina. Then a major mutation took place: the Islam of Medina, or the "Islam of Tyranny," arrived on the scene. The Quran Suras of Medina are replete with exhortations of intolerance, exclusivity, and sanctioning of violence against non-Muslims. This mutation deeply appealed to the temperament of the Arab Bedouins, and they flocked to Muhammad's faith.
The PSV of the time of Muhammad continued to mutate as it reached other peoples and other lands. Each people's own ideas and beliefs -- their cognitive immune system -- responded differently to the invader. Some completely resisted the assault and defeated it. Others were overwhelmed and forced into submission. Yet some of the vanquished, over time, managed to repel the invader, while others incorporated it to various extents into their own systems of belief. In due course, the mutation among the vanquished people became so divergent that some of the variants can hardly be recognized as the progeny of the original.
Islam of today is composed of a dozen major sects and hundreds of sub-sects and schools. Just two examples should demonstrate the fact that Muhammad's Islam has decomposed.
One branch of Sunni Islam, the Wahhabi, has interbred with the Pashtun culture of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the result has been the Taliban version of Islam: a most reactionary, repressive, and savage "religion."
On the Shiite side, for example, there is a sect of the Ghulat Alavi that holds only to one of the five pillars of Islam: the Shehadah, an Islamic credo that says, "I testify that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger." This sect does not subscribe to the remaining four pillars of praying five times a day, fasting one month a year, pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime, and paying the religious tax of zakat. The Alavi women are allowed participation in all religious events and are not required to don the hijab -- a stark contrast to the Taliban, who deny even rudimentary education to women and forbid them from leaving home without the accompaniment of a male relative.
The Ghulat Alavis deify the Imam Ali and the other Imams. They particularly revere the Imam Ali and worship him as a co-rank of God. They profess, " Ali khoda neest, valee as khoda joda neest" -- Ali is not God, but he is not apart from God. This very same sect places Imam Ali above the Prophet Muhammad.
Ideas and beliefs should thrive or fail on merit only, and not because someone says that they are the best and that everyone must accept them without questioning. Let the meritorious and the fittest survive, and let the phony and the unfit die. It is this form of freedom that has been the engine of progress in all fields of human endeavors. And it is the exact opposite practice of stifling free inquiry in many organized religions; that is the main cause of much superstition, stagnation, and even untold suffering.
What needs to sink into the Western people's minds is the realization that, to the Muslims, the idea of freedom and free thinking is largely an alien concept.
From birth onward, a Muslim's brain is packed with the notion that everything in life is predicated on the will of Allah. Allah is in charge of all things at all times. Allah is very much a hands-on God. He does the thinking, he does the ordaining, and he decides the outcome for everything large and small. And since Allah is the all-knowing as well as the all-everything, the duty of the faithful is unquestioned obedience in all matters, irrespective of any and all contradictory evidence.
Islam presently has its stranglehold over a billion humans, posing an existential threat to all non-Muslims. When this billion and a half adhere to the pathological belief of Islam and use it as their marching order of life, the rest of humanity can ignore the threat only at its own peril.
Once again, Islam has risen from the ashes and is on a campaign of conquest throughout the world. Hordes of life-in-hand foot-soldier fanatical Muslims are striving to kill and get killed. All they want is the opportunity to discharge their homicidal-suicidal impulse, on their way to Allah's promised glorious paradise. And in the background, granting the foot-soldiers' wishes, are their handlers, the puppeteers, who pull the strings and detonate these human bombs. Those who cherish life must recognize these emissaries of death -- what makes them, what motivates them, and how best to defend against them.
The campaign of death waged by the Islamist jihadist, be he a puppet or a puppeteer, is energized by the belief of delectable rewards that await the faithful implementer of Allah's dictates. Through highly effective indoctrination, the jihadist has come to believe firmly in Islam's grand delusion. He believes that Allah is the one and only supreme creator of earth and heavens, that it is his duty and privilege to abide by Allah's will and carry out his plans at all costs. He believes firmly in a gloriously wonderful immortal afterlife in paradise, for which a martyr's death is the surest, quickest admission. Although the dominating theme of the delusion is quasi-spiritual, the promised rewards of the afterlife awaiting the martyr are sensual and material. All the things and activities that the jihadist desires and cannot attain or practice, and rejects in his earthly life, will be purified and proffered to him in the paradise of the next life. Thus goes the promise.
It is also important to understand that the human mind is not a perfect discerner of objective reality. In actuality, reality is in the mind of the beholder. The outside world supplies only bits and pieces of raw material that the mind puts together to form its reality. Depending on the type and amount of bits and pieces that a given mind receives, its reality can be very different from that of another mind.
Nonetheless, it is time for Islam to shed its "burqa." The cat is out of the bag, so to speak. In the age of instantaneous communication and with rising literacy, the task of keeping this stone-age belief called Islam under cover is an impossibility.
No belief system or set of ideas, be it religious, scientific, philosophical, political, or otherwise, should be protected from open, honest criticism. It is up to the individual consumer to decide for himself, to the best of his ability and the compelling nature of the information, the value and veracity of any offering in a marketplace of free ideas.
None of the numerous contending Islamic sects is indeed the Islam Muhammad launched. That original Islam died with Muhammad, and the belief immediately started splintering and kept on splintering, with each splinter claiming to be the true Islam and renouncing and fighting every other splinter. This time around, the invigorated Muslims are using the immense amount of petrodollars they extract from oil-addicted non-Muslims. The sword is temporarily replaced by just as deadly a weapon, the petrodollar. Before long, the fanatical Muslims running Iran aim to add a more deadly modern version of the sword: the Islamic bomb. With the bomb in one hand and the other hand on the oil spigot, the religion of peace and brotherhood will have the power to bring the non-Muslim world to its knees.