Look: the war on terror isn't winning the war on terror. Everyone knows that, in fact, the more you go to war on terror the more terror you create, one way or another. And the major reason that we find it so hard to counteract terrorism is the suicide bomber. As has often been said, if someone is happy to die in the attempt to kill people, then it is almost impossible to stop them doing so.
And why are so many people happy to die in the attempt? Strap belts loaded with explosives and nails and bolts and ball-bearings around their body and push a button that will cut them in half leaving only a head to identify. Or drive a truck, similarly loaded, into the middle of a crowd and press a button that will not even leave a head to identify. Or open fire with an automatic weapon in a crowded station knowing they will be cut down by police or army. Well, because they have been told, firmly and definitely, that there is life after death. Yes, rewards of various kinds in heaven/paradise, but fundamentally the reward is that you get to live again.
But easy to fix. All that needs to happen is that all religious leaders combine to solve the problem -- declare, in unison, that there is no life after death. Make whatever excuses they are comfortable with. Sorry, bit of a mis-reading of an ancient parchment; sorry, bit of a mis-hearing of an imaginary voice. Sorry, we really thought it was the case, but it's obvious by now that after all this time there would have been some kind of evidence of a second life. And several hundred years of biological research, let alone common sense and common observation of every life form on Earth, including the strangely deluded Homo Sapiens, tells us that life after death is just a fairy story, a tale to get you through the night.
Don't get us wrong, the elderly men dressed in various colored robes and funny hats would say, we still think religion is a jolly good thing. Makes people act ethically. Makes them docile citizens. Makes them contented with their lot and unlikely to embrace socialism. Maintains harmony in society. Inspires art and music and architecture and supports the wedding industry. OK? So don't stop coming to church, donating money to support your local religious leaders, but just forget about the after death business. You blow yourself up you stay dead.
And we would appreciate it if the media would stop their mealy-mouthed pussy-footing around the issue. We appreciate that they didn't want to offend anyone, but we are over that now. So, people don't "pass" or "pass away", they are not "laid to rest" and don't "rest in peace", we won't see them on "the other side" (there is no other side), there are no pearly gates, no virgins, no nothin: dead is dead. People just die.
Now, call me naive, but I reckon that after a statement like that the makers of bomb belts would experience a sharp global financial crisis. I reckon the next time some charismatic terrorist leader told a young man, or woman, to go and blow themselves up in the cause, they might get told to blow themselves up if they were so keen on ending their lives. Oh and people might start putting a bit more care and effort into life on Earth, knowing that they only get one go at it.
And there will be more people like Sergeant Asch ("I'm not going to die for this sort of Germany") and Lance-Corporal Kowalski ("Man, perhaps one day there'll even be a Germany which is worth living for!").
Not much to ask, surely?
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