I think extreme religion is about to remove itself from liberal, western society as the result of internal terrorist attacks.
Historically, liberal society has been inclusive. The mantra has been multiculturalism, inclusion, and all the related synonyms. But homegrown terrorism, where thousands or tens of thousands of religious people have all but openly declared war against the western way of life, will force liberal societies to choose.
Either continue being attacked from within, or admit that there are religious ideologies that are in direct opposition to the liberal society that we’re trying to build.
It won’t be easy, as should be clear from the fact that it hasn’t happened yet, but continuous terrorist attacks by the same groups will force us to act.
So the question is, “What do we do? Who do we target? And what do we do with them?
I think the answer we’ll arrive at will be targeting those who outwardly show signs of embracing traditional beliefs. Full stop. If you associate yourself with an old religion that has beliefs that are counter to modern liberalism, you will be removed from society.
Incarceration, removal of citizenship, and/or banishment from the country.
Sound extreme? It is. But so is not being able to enjoy the benefits of liberal society, where you take your family to the city center, lounge about in a park, take a coffee, have a nice dinner near the center square, etc.
If people in modern society cannot do these things, because they fear being murdered by people who hate secular government, homosexuality and womens’ rights, then they will eventually do the logical thing and label and treat these people as an enemy.
I speak, of course, of Islamism, but it will not be the only target of this expulsion. Traditional and extreme forms of Christianity will be targeted as well, assuming they have any tie to violence or forced anti-liberal behavior.
And how will we know someone has these beliefs? That will be rather simple, actually, since you can simply ask them, or look at their appearance. If the men are wearing the garb of acolytes of a centuries-old religion that has well-documented anti-liberal beliefs, that person will be removed.
If a man wants to found a church where only men can be pastors, and where they consider homosexuality to be a choice, and a sin, and where women are basically indoctrinated to be homemakers and nothing else—that family will be removed.
To be clear, I’m not saying this will be a good idea. Or that it’ll be effective. Or that it’s the right thing to do. I’m saying some form of this will happen. What religion will be left with is its secular components. The imagery, the food, the dancing, etc. But the strongly-held beliefs will be taboo.
I do think that it’s logical and acceptable to chart out the fundamental and inflexible beliefs of a society, and to require all citizens to adhere to them. But those tenets should be extremely broad and non-controversial for the vast majority of people. They should only exclude those who embrace ancient and dogmatic belief systems that are directly anti-liberal and anti-progressive.
I think the problem with any such system is that its potential for abuse will be extraordinary, and it will be difficult to implement any logical form of it without introducing its own unfairness and injustice.
Examples might be external markers like hairstyles and beards, or certain types of clothing. They may become banned because they’re associated with extreme Christianity or Islam, yet a new style of dress could arise that shares characteristics with it, and it would be banned as well because it’s too similar.
I think the key would be keeping the system extremely simple, and only prohibiting the obvious markers. A woman walking around with her hair covered, for example, or a man wearing religious robes in public.
The core concept here would simply be that if you don’t accept the full equality of women, of homosexuals, of all races, etc., and you associate yourself with groups that are known to to oppose that equality, then you have to leave.
That’s it. Leave. You can’t be here anymore. You have embraced a belief system that is counter to our way of life, and this is clearly associated with violence, so it can no longer be tolerated.
That’s what will happen. That’s the line that will be drawn. And like I said, I get it. I am ok with the underlying concept of being honest about the fundamental incompatibility of these belief systems and an open, equal society, but I’m not going to like the way it will manifest.
But we should expect it. The current model of being attacked from within by people who live next door and hate liberal society simply cannot continue. And the more attacks that come, and the less able we are to enjoy our open society, the faster these policies will be called for.