What’s with the Religion-based Violence Lately?

Last week, we heard about the Muslim man, Muzzammil Hassan, who beheaded his wife. This was the same man who made a name for himself by “founding a Muslim-American television station to help fight Muslim stereotypes.”

Right…

Almost as worse as the crime itself is the suggestion that this may have been a honor killing.

Now, we hear the story of the Christian father who stabbed his son.

What horrible thing did the son do?

Police said a 58-year-old man stabbed his teenage son after he refused to take off his hat at church earlier in the day. The father and his 19-year-old son got into an argument on Sunday afternoon. That’s when police said the father went to a car, got a knife and stabbed his son in the left buttock and fled.

Obviously, the son deserved it. We all know God will only listen to you if your hat is off. (Unless, of course, it’s a yarmulke… or a turban… or a Papal Tiara.)

How on earth do these punishments justify the “crimes”? They don’t. And you’d be hard-pressed to find defenders of either criminal.

I also think it’s unlikely you’ll ever read many stories about hard-core atheists doing things of this nature because it’s just not part of our makeup.

To quote a friend, “An atheist would never stab his son in the ass.”

Here’s what I’m really wondering: The guys committing these acts of violence — Are they really bad people, or did their devotion to a faith override their own common sense? Was it just their religious fervor that caused them to act so viciously or would they have done this in some other situation?

  • http://pastorwick.blogspot.com WICK

    I think there are people of any/no/anti faith who would respond in stupid ways to life’s situations.

    These situations seem to be people who are a little off-balance already, who are disconnected enough with their faith as well, to think it allows freedom to respond these ways.

  • http://erkkila.org epe

    Maybe it was a tinfoil hat?

  • http://thebitchreport.blogspot.com/ Milena

    I don’t really see either of those cases as necessarily religiously motivated. The man who beheaded his wife was apparently angry that she was divorsing him and had already obtained a restraining order against him. In the article about her death, previous incidents of domestic abuse are mentioned.

    In the case of the man who stabbed his son, it’s probably safe to assume this isn’t the first violent incident. Stabbing someone over a hat after a peaceful and loving parent-child relationship seems unlikely.

    So, while both cases have religious overtones, I think the bigger issue is domestic abuse of spouses and children.

  • http://cyberlizard.com CyberLizard

    Violent crimes, especially domestic, generally don’t have anything to do with common sense or logic or even religion. In the case of the father and the son, I would suspect it has a lot more to do with control than with religion per se. Certain people will fly off the handle and engage in violent acts no matter what their religion or lack thereof. Whether it was because the son refused to take off his hat or refused to clean his room, this father was going to hurt his son.

    As far as “An atheist would never stab his son in the ass.”, that’s just bullshite. Being an atheist has absolutely nothing to do with one’s predilection to stabbing people in the ass.

  • David D.G.

    Here’s what I’m really wondering: The guys committing these acts of violence — Are they really bad people, or did their devotion to a faith override their own common sense? Was it just their religious fervor that caused them to act so viciously or would they have done this in some other situation?

    Yes.

    ;^D

    Seriously, I doubt the two are comparable.

    The “honor killing” phenomenon and the whole context for it is both religious and cultural, mixed inextricably, so it’s hard to ascribe the practice to religion alone. Also, the people there are steeped in it all their lives, so you might have a hard time finding someone with what we would recognize as “common sense” after such intense and lifelong indoctrination. To them, killing your wife when she misbehaves IS “common sense” — just as, not too long ago, it was widely considered “common sense” in this country for a man to beat his wife if she wasn’t properly submissive.

    The second case is different. There certainly isn’t a cultural mandate here to stab your kid for being insolent to you. There is a religious mandate for something of the sort (i.e., stoning disobedient children), but even the worst cults don’t take that portion of the Bible all that literally (i.e., culture and law trump religion in that respect). I think this may have been a case of ongoing strife between the father and son, and this silly hat argument was just the final drop that flooded over the father’s dam of self-control.

    In other words, the first case is both religiously and culturally condoned by the society in which it takes place; the second is not, at least not in actual practice. Despite the religious element in the second case, I don’t think religion was the issue there. Control was the issue.

    Come to think of it, I think both cases have something in common after all: the issue of control. It’s just that the man in the first case was following what his society promotes and expects of him in maintaining control of his wife (or punishing her refusal to submit to it), while the second case was of an individual going against the expectations of society by not merely berating or humanely punishing his son, but assaulting him. Religion was, I think, only incidental in this case, and it could well be that it was only incidental in the first case as well.

    ~David D.G.

  • http://www.madmansparadise.blogspot.com Asylum Seeker

    I think the correct phrasing was supposed to be “An atheist would never stab his son in the ass over wearing a hat in church”. I think that that is a pretty safe assumption. But, then again, crazier things have happened…

  • http://darwinsdagger.blogspot.com Darwin’s Dagger

    You missed the story down here in Virginia Beach about the father who decapitated his five-year-old son to save him from the Antichrist.

    http://www.wset.com/news/stories/0209/594314.html

  • http://www.ethicalfocus.org/index.php?mpage=34/Free_Will.htm VeridicusX

    I am strongly of the opinion that the religious concept of “free will” is at the root of these atrocities. When mixed with the religious concept of divine right, it is completely predictable that we should see these sorts of attacks, especially when you realize that a religious person’s identity and worth is almost completely tied up in these religious fables.

  • http://www.juanformoso.com.ar Juan Manuel

    Lol @ “An atheist would never stab his son in the ass.”

  • Jeff Satterley

    Carlin said it best about religion and wearing hats:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FKOVFyd3nc

  • Jesse

    I’m surprised Hemant, I didn’t think that I would see you say “An atheist would never….” Unless you fill the space with “believe in (a) god,” then you are almost certainly assuming too much, as you obviously are in this case.

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    Stephen Weinberg said it best:

    With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

  • Chal

    I’ve never really agreed with that quote. Desperation, for example, could cause a good person to do evil.

    I think it would be more accurate to say that religion could be used as approval for evil things.

  • http://www.noonespecial.ca/cacophony Tao Jones

    I agree with others who aren’t too happy with the “An atheist would never stab his son in the ass” comment. It’s elitist and downright dangerous to assume we are somehow superior to theists simply for our disbelief in gods.

    Besides, I can think of plenty of reasons why an atheist would stab his son in the ass. Perhaps the father is a doctor performing surgery? Perhaps a bomb had gone off and the dad was cutting shrapnel out of his son’s ass as a first aid measure. Maybe terrorists were holding guns to their heads and said they would kill father and son, unless the father cut out a pound of ass meat. Or what if the boy’s ass was talking to the father, telling him to do bad things. Rather than succumb to the voices, the father chose to shut them up.

    Point is Mehta, you really don’t know what you’d do until you’re in that situation.

  • http://www.primordial-blog.blogspot.com/ Brian Larnder

    I think in this story it’s more about the need to control rather than just religion itself. The son was refusing to do what his father had commanded him and the father didn’t know how to force him anymore so he lashed out in anger and frustration. This could have happened over a thousand different issues but it just happened to be this one and made the news.

  • http://www.myspace.com/youreundoingmybeltwronghun Tim D.

    I don’t think religion (or beliefs in said) ever compels people to do things. I think people choose to do things of their own accord; it’s not so much that people reflect their religious beliefs as it is that their choice of religion reflects their personality. Obviously this doesn’t cover people who were raised in a certain tradition, but if you ask me, once you reach a certain age, you’re basically forced to confront the possibility of your beliefs being untrue or flawed….and a person who is, say, 58 years old, has had plenty of time to consider right and wrong in the context of his beliefs.

    So in this case, I would say that the old man would’ve found any reason. If (as another poster has I believe said) it was an issue of control, then the father was probably just using religion as an excuse to act out deeper personal feelings. Many times, people will search for something outside of their mind to grasp in hopes of justifying something on the inside; in this case, it was a petty religious tradition.

  • Pseudonym

    It’s weird that this sort of thing is noticed, but the recent spate of basement dungeons discovered where women were held captive for decades was pretty much ignored.

    When it’s a religious person who does something horrible, it’s presumably religion’s fault. When it’s an atheist who does it, it’s presumably that the person is just a sociopath.

    If Milgram taught us nothing else, it’s that good people can easily be persuaded to do evil things in the absence of religion.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    When it’s a religious person who does something horrible, it’s presumably religion’s fault. When it’s an atheist who does it, it’s presumably that the person is just a sociopath.

    “Presumably” according to who? Judging by the 17 comments above, it looks like Hemant is pretty much alone on this one.

  • Ed

    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”
    -Steven Weinberg

  • Autumnal Harvest

    OK, alone except for Ed and Buffy. Never mind. . .

  • Chakolate

    I doubt that religion had much to do with the ass-stabbing at all. It sounds more like a father who got fed up with an impudent son. The hat-wearing was just the proverbial back-breaking straw.

  • David

    Lately“?

  • gribblethemunchkin

    Correlation does not necessarily equate to causation, as any data analyst can tell you (and indeed, just has). Are controlling authoritarians (i.e. thoselikely to stab their son for disobedience or murder their wife for divorce) more likely to be free thinkers or are they more comfortable joining hierarchal authoritarian churches?
    Islam and christianity are at their core, authoritarian, Love god and do as he says or he will punish you. Does this idea attract people of like mind or does it create them. I suspect a little of both.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    Here’s what I’m really wondering: The guys committing these acts of violence — Are they really bad people, or did their devotion to a faith override their own common sense? Was it just their religious fervor that caused them to act so viciously or would they have done this in some other situation?

    They’re bad people.

  • Sock

    I wonder if the son turned the other cheek…

  • http://pastorwick.blogspot.com WICK

    HAH – Sock wins the award for best comment here.

  • Pseudonym

    Autumnal Harvest:

    “Presumably” according to who?

    According to those who decide what stories go up on Atheism blogs.

    Buffy and Ed: Stephen Weinberg was disproven by Stanley Milgram ages ago.

  • Candie Ann

    I thought I would add that in Virginia Beach a few months ago (on Lynnhaven to be specific), there was a man who be-headed his son because he “didn’t want the anti-christ to hurt him”. Unfortunatly, I didn’t see the news report, so I don’t even know if it was reported. My neice dated this religious nut’s nephew, that’s the only reason I know about it.


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