One of the great paradoxes of our times is that knowledge is accumulating exponentially, while beliefs are increasingly invading the political space.
< p>Take the recent clashes between Palestinians and Israelis. The crux of the conflict is of course the establishment of the Jewish state on territories that belonged de facto to the Palestinians. But rationality and the spirit of conciliation tend to fade on both sides as fanatical religious factions take power or approach it. The Muslims of Hamas, Hezbollah or the various Orthodox Jewish parties all have in common the idea of defending the interests of a deity – the same one, moreover. But their religious beliefs cloud their reason to such an extent that they are sometimes ready to kill those who refuse to believe the same implausibilities as they do.
1. What examples of religious fanaticism can be found in Israel?
According to the religious fanatics grouped around the Israeli Minister of Defense, the Jews believe they form a superior race which has the right to dominate the others, in particular the Palestinians. This racist worldview is supported by extremist interpretations of the Torah. However, that recent archaeological discoveries show that Yahweh was originally the god of blacksmiths, a god who later became a universal god, does not make them reflect on the nature of their divinity.
< p>2. How are Muslim protests co-opted by Muslim leaders?
The Palestinians who demonstrated this week in Jerusalem and ended up barricading themselves in the al-Aqsa mosque are intertwining their territorial claims with their religious beliefs. The irruption of the Israeli security forces in the mosque, and the images of Muslims who are beaten there with truncheons have gone around the Muslim world. Hezbollah took advantage of the situation to claim that Muslims were ready “to shed blood”. Do Muslims understand that they are being manipulated by Hezbollah leaders in the name of their beliefs? Not at all.
3. Who is behind the religious extremists?
Jewish and Muslim religious extremists are supported by states that see this support as a political interest. Jewish extremists are good settlers who eat away at Palestinian territories. Muslim extremists are supported for some by Iran, which through Hezbollah powerfully contributes to destroying Lebanon, for others by Saudi Arabia and some associated states, which thus extend their control throughout the world.
4. Are the religious wars of the Near and Middle East coming here?
As long as the religious wars of the Near and Middle East only exacerbated local conflicts over territory, oil resources, water, or even tribal struggles, it was easy for countries outside this region ignore them or take advantage of them. But with immigration, these medieval religious beliefs, which are opposed to modern knowledge, have spread.
5. How do beliefs affect education?
The followers of these beliefs have challenged the Quebec Ministry of Education for decades. For example, in the name of what right do we tolerate that children raised by extremist Jews are cut off from practically all modern knowledge? How can radical Muslims demand prayer rooms in schools to maintain their beliefs, when one of the goals of the school is precisely to fight through knowledge against beliefs of all kinds?