June 06, 2010

Seductive Lies Newspapers Tell

A newspaper article touts two Pakistani novels that deal with the question of what makes someone go from a happy immigrant to a terrorist. One of the Pakistani authors says it comes down to a personal trauma (broken love affair, financial disaster), combined with a personality type that doesn't "embrace complexity" and third, feelings of persecution.

Isn't this reductionist concerning humans? Doesn't it ignore the role of religion? Doesn't it ignore the existence of evil, the devil and the operation of free will?

What the author, Mohsin Hamid, conveniently ignores is that millions of Christians could be said to have feelings of persecution, a personality type that fails to embrace complexity and a personal trauma, and yet you don't see Christians attaching IED devices to themselves. Ironically, I think Hamid is not willing to embrace the complexity of the role of religious belief.

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