If you are reading this, it means you are an intricate part of this modern human civilization. And as a modern human being you already know what the term “Jihad” actually means. So, I won’t go into the worthless analysis of the term itself. However, the purpose of this brief article is to pin-point the actual cause of its birth, and how we can work towards terminating it from our society once and forever.
The very existence of Jihad or Holy War is predicated on one’s personal idea of religion. It all comes down to one simple matter of personal realization – what is religion to you?
Here let me bring up a little excerpt from my book Biopsy of Religions: Neuroanalysis towards Universal Tolerance.
“If to you religion means reading books and obeying every single word from it without a slightest bit of reasoning, then such perception would only bring destruction upon you and the world. Also there are people who use the words from those books to justify their own filthy actions. Let’s take a conservative Muslim, for example. Say, the conservative Muslim male Homo sapiens (I won’t call such creature a human, regardless of the religion, since his action here shows no sign of humanity) is found to be beating his wife. Now, if someone says to him “this is wrong”, he would naturally reply, “this is a divine thing to do, my book says so”. Now, if a Christian says “my book is older, so you should stop obeying your book and start obeying mine”, there will come the Buddhist, and say, “my book is much older still, obey mine”. Then will come the Jew, and say, “my book is even older, so just follow mine”. And in the end will come the Hindu and say “my books are the oldest of all, obey them”. Therefore referring to books will only make a mess of the mankind and tear the species into pieces.”
Therefore you see, it is not really about which religious scripture permits war on your fellow humans just because they hold a different belief system from your own, rather it is about how you perceive the words from certain scripture.
All Scriptures are mere literature created by ordinary humans based upon the deep spiritual experience of certain individuals of human history. Upon the ecstatic experience of these individuals all religions are founded. They experienced what I have termed in ‘What is Mind?’ as “Absolute Unitary Qualia”. It is an immensely ecstatic state of transcendence. In this state one’s sense of self disappears and the person mentally gets immersed into the universe. And the experience manifests in different individuals in different manners, such as meeting with God, or angels or visualizing a bright divine light followed by a feeling of inexplicable bliss.
Here one’s personal beliefs, intuitions, urges, instincts and conjectures play a crucial role in the manifestation of the experience. In such experience a person often receives the solutions to all his or her confusions in the form of divine revelation, which actually rise from his or her own subconscious mind.
Thus if a person has an innate urge to have authority over the rest of the society, he (not she) would receive divine messages giving consent to have some sort of sacred authority over the whole humanity. That’s why alongside beneficial philosophical teachings, most of the religious scriptures also possess verses that quite unambiguously advocate misogyny, polygamy, violence in the name of God, and various other monstrosities.
Jihad or Holy War is also the product of one of those innate primordial urges for authority. Does this mean that religion does indeed cause violence? The answer is No. Religion is a social construct founded upon the neurological sensation of divinity. And far from being harmful to the society, religion actually promotes health.
Countless experiments of modern neuroscience, eloquently depict, in usual circumstances of daily life, religions, or more specifically religious rituals have great health impact over the human biology. Only a fool with no scientific knowledge would deny it. And as I have said in my book In Search of Divinity: Journey to The Kingdom of Conscience, “a prayer/meditation a day keeps the doctor away”.
If so, then how is it possible, that most of the destructive events of human history took place in the name of religion! Indeed these acts of destruction took place and still do take place in the name of religion, but not because of it. Behind it, lie two major factors – one is the textual advocacy of holy war in the scriptures, and the other one is the neurological predisposition to act in profoundly hostile ways, that is the body’s fight-or-flight response. To quote from Biopsy of Religions.
“the only difference between us, the so-called lucid humans and those who fight the Holy War, is that we have a functional Prefrontal Cortex, that keeps our wild and hostile instincts in check. But unfortunately, the warriors of the Holy War have very little activity in their PFC, that is caused by their boiling rage against the society.”
Let me shed some light on the situation with a simple everyday scenario. Imagine yourself having a fight with your romantic partner. The tension of the situation makes your limbic system run at full throttle and you become flooded with stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin. The high levels of these chemicals suddenly make you so damn angry, that you burst out in front of your partner saying, “I wish you die, so that I can have some peace in my life”.
Such expression is simply the fight-or-flight response of the beast within you. But when the conversation is over, and you rest for a while, your stress hormone levels come down to normal, and you regain your usual cheerful state of mind. Immediately, your frontal lobes of the brain, start analyzing the explosive conversation you had with your partner, a few moments ago. Healthy activity of the frontal lobes, suddenly overwhelms you with a feeling of guilt. Your brain makes you realize, that you have done something really wrong. As a result, you find yourself apologizing to your partner and making up to him or her, no matter how much effort it takes.
Now turn this into the situation of the holy warriors. First, circumstances make them so damn angry against the society, that their rational regions of the brain stop functioning properly. And as time passes, those regions become permanently damaged. Now all they can think of is vengeance. And that vengeance finds absolution in the textual creeds of the scriptures.
“And when mentally unstable individuals join hands and get hold of such creeds (textual commands from the scriptures to fight for God), they unconsciously foster a dividing line between them and the rest of the world. Their “us versus them” mentality neurologically overloads their brain’s limbic system. This generates fear and hostility toward people who hold different beliefs. The moment they feel like their personal belief is threatened and they need to defend it, their brain kicks into overdrive, generating stress chemicals that put them into a state of fight-or-flight.” – Biopsy of Religions
Here the religious fundamentalists grab onto these mentally unstable young minds like infectious virus and drive them in the path of Jihad. Through the sacred verses filled with violence and self-righteousness, the minds of the angry individuals find a way to get rid of all their misery. They visualize a glimmer of hope and emerge as holy warriors. Consequently the whole world faces the wrath of unrestrained rage in the name of God’s judgment.
Hence, rises religious terrorism in the hands of bloodsucking religious fundamentalists. However, it bothers me to use the term “religious” right before “fundamentalists”, because fundamentalists are by no means religious. The purpose of religion, by its core, is freedom of the human mind. Any religion that tends to bind a person with the twisted knots of textual fanaticism, needs reformation.
The greatest threat to mankind is not terrorism, rather it is fundamentalism. Fundamentalism acts as the mainstream fuel for religious terrorism. The moment, fundamentalism disappears from the face of earth, only then, the society would finally get rid of religious terrorism.
(This Article was originally published on Goodreads, under the title “Biology of Jihad & The Cure”)