I’m not quite sure how to say this. I don’t want to be misunderstood here. And I’m going to say something that may sound a little outrageous. Please don’t have me committed!
My trip to India dramatically changed my perspective on the world and I can kind of see how outfits like Isis recruit westerners.
We talk about how people become “radicalized” by bad influences. But from their point of view, their eyes are being opened to the truth and everyone who says they’ve fallen in with a bad crowd seems like woefully ignorant sheep. To be clear, I don’t think this is real truth.
I just understand what it feels like to have your eyes opened. I returned from India with a very different understanding of the places where my religion and politics intersect. The politics that people have been telling me about for years. It suddenly clicked. I still don’t 100% agree with all of it, but I’d say that how I see the world has changed tremendously as a result of my time in India.And I’m very lucky that Hinduism doesn’t have a tradition of exclusion and violence. (Not to say that there aren’t incidents of violence and people who advocate violence). It doesn’t have the kinds of groups that Islam has where they are ingrained with a very dangerous and scary interpretation of scripture and justice. Even radical Hindu groups don’t advocate that everyone in the world should be or has to be Hindu (not that I’ve encountered, anyway, after eleven years as living as a Hindu and six years of blogging).
I may be becoming radicalized but I’m lucky that being radicalized in Hinduism is quite different (and much safer for everyone) than being radicalized in most other religions.