I am very interested in finding out as much as I can about how Radical religious groups view space exploration. Especially those interwoven with terrorist factions. This is going to be an intregal part of the new novel which I am currently developping. The novel is a near future earth scenario in which nations are deploying colony ships to escape earth.
I usually do not discuss religion in public forums and I humbly request that this not turn into a heated religious debate. I wish in no way to offend anyone or there religion.
So, I have nothing besides my own speculation to go with as of now. Do extremist Muslims even believe that men have stepped on the moon?
I would be very thankful for any comments, links or insight.
There are several types of terrorist. One type is trying to overthrow the government. They might simply want a change of who is in charge.
Now the extremist Muslims have shown a strong tendancy to want to return to the 16th century, pre-industrial times. Other than using weaponry of the modern age to bring about their control, I have not seen anything that shows they are interested in the use of technology.
What the leadership believes and knows, is a lot different than what the general population believes or knows. It is also different from that the leaderships SAYS they believe.
If you look at societies that the government holds absolute control, the goverments will officially say anything to get the effect out of the people they are after.
You will also find that in the individual "cells" of terrorists, you will have one person who is the brains, who is the one who really knows what is going on, and then the rest are following because they believe the leader. Of the hyjackers, Most of them had no idea that the plan was to crash the planes.
In general, the leadership lies to the followers to get them to do what they want. "You die in the cause of our religion, you will get seventy two Virginians in heaven."
Not only Moslem extremists, but lots of back-to-our-roots cults have little interest in improving the comforts of the "masses" through science and technology.
Think of how many religions try to focus on the rewards of the afterlife to distract from the grim realities of the present.
A spacefaring race can also hold "the masses" in contempt. The level of comfort may be higher - video games, washing machines, fast food chains, and so forth - but the blocking of all "inappropriate" activities and speech boils down to the same thing - control.
I think it is important to note that all characters will have a complicated and seperate view on all things, not just space flight. You can't judge a communitee based soley on their religion, or even on what their leaders say. There could very well be a person somewhere who's leaders say one thing, and they may approve and mostly believe that what the leaders say is true, but then look at the moon, or the stars and want to touch them.
I think if you rely too much on stereotype beliefs of terrorist, you run a danger of making your characters cardboard.
Just remember that every person, even those in a cult or brainwashed from childhoood, will have their own thoughts and justifications for why they act.
I also think(this is just an opinion) that maybe the terrorists in your story would want to destroy spaceflight because their enemies have a much better control of it. They can probably use cell phones and fly airplanes, so they aren't idiots. You don't want to make them cave men. So as they utilize technology, but know they are lightyears from the steps we took in 1969, a rational and complicated feeling of hatred for being less than their enemies, makes sense and smells true. I don't think people would kill themselves only for the chance of seventy-two Virginians. There has got to be a deeper motivation than that.
The terrorists we know and love DO love technology, just only the technology that makes people die.
I am not sure it is true that they don't love technology, per se. I think a lot of technology allows people to get information from other sources which they would NOT like. And technologists of all sorts are used to thinking in ways which is apart from religion. Which they would not like. Technology can be used, though, to control and shut down people's freedom/movement/thought as well as facilitate thought/freedom/movement so I think it could go either way. I mean the terrorists have a lot of scientists on board, I am thinking of that female virologist they have working on bioweapons and all the nuclear people devising the nuclear weaponry and delivery systems.
So I think it could go either way,logically. Yes, they could embrace technology, with the caveat that they kept control over it. Or NO, they could achieve their specific ends and then deep six technology beyong what it takes to BBQ a goat.
There is always Scientology and Rev. Farrakhan's organization to look at as religions that look outside of earth for inspiration.
However, as stated above, most religions are conservative by nature. They have teachings (or dogma) that they don't want changed because those teachings are vital to the establishment of their religion. That includes Judaism, Christianity, Islam.
Space travel is not a conservative concept(in the classical sense of conservatism, Islams are very conservative in that they intensely grasp to retain their traditions), except as a means for people to escape what they deem to be an oppressive environment. (space pioneer cliche, there)
I would suggest you also do a bit of research into early 20th century anarchists. Those were terrorist acts, but they were more politically motivated than religiously motivated and might provide you with a synthesis of views that might be used in your upcoming work.
[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited October 29, 2009).]
As touched on above... terrorists aren't just terrorists, they have some kind of an agenda. It may be religious, political, ethical (e.g. animal rights protestors) or some combination thereof, but in general, they are (in however unpalatable a way working to achieve something. The "something" will vary hugely according to their agenda. Therefore, quite frankly, you can twist the agenda of some as-yet-unknown/unborn terrorist group to suit your plot; as long as you make their agenda clear, their actions will "logically" follow. Years ago I did some vague (lost) writing about a near-future space colony designed to ensure the survival of humankind (and other species) if a disaster befell earth, and there was going to be lots of political infighting over control of it, and at least one excluded faction would try and destroy the colony simply from the "if we can't have it, no-one can, we'll all die on Earth together" approach.
Historically Islam has not been remotely anti-science (it was the Baghdad Caliphate's preservation of ancient Greek, Egyptian and other texts that filtered back into Europe to spark much of the Renaissance; take a look at the names of stars and you'll see that most of them are Arabic; ). Conservatism is a current phase of some sections of Islam just as it has been of Christianity at various times in the past (cf. the Catholic Church and Galileo). Believe me, there are plenty of Muslims (scientists and non-scientists) who see absolutely no conflict between their religion and science, just as there are plenty of Christians who most certainly do.
Fundamentalist ideologies have a tendency to seek imposition of a belief system on nonbelievers through coercive force. However, a more commonplace agenda of fundamentalist groups strives to assert the group's dominance over a status quo. Mayhem, murder, plunder, taking away what makes a status quo superior in moral and social significance, and politics and wealth, a redistribution of wealth that serves a fundamentalist cause by any means available. Religion has been a cause that justified a means for asserting dominance over a competing status quo since before historical times.
Do the ends justify the means is a relatively modern philosophical question in terms of moral might makes right, yet any means to an end has become a self-justification for any aggressive action likely to favor an agenda, not least of all for fundamentalist groups.
Judaism arose partly as a response of an underclass nomadic people dissatisfied with the status quo of entrenched religious-social-economic-political authority.
Christianity arose partly as a response of an underclass nomadic people dissatisfied with the status quo of entrenched religious-social-economic-political authority.
Islam arose partly as a response of an underclass nomadic people dissatisfied with the status quo of entrenched religious-social-economic-political authority.
Relatively modern Eastern religions followed similar trends. In the precontact New World, religious practices mostly diffused into a somewhat homogenous animistic similarity, similar to paleolithic religious practices in the Old World. However, some American cultures were on the cusp of the transition from predeterminism's tyranny to self-determinism when European contact occurred.
Space travel, exploration, exploitation can conceivably be construed as analagous to earlier era colonialist, capitalist, imperialist, nationalist ventures. New territory offers new sources for great profit potential and new opportunity for property ownership and status quo dominance.
What possible reasons a fundamentalist group might oppose space travel could take several bases;
That it's out of reach for a fundamentalist group; therefore, unsuitable for infidels, gentiles, heretics, not-us's; we can't have it so no one should
That it enriches a status quo and further diminishes a fundamentalist group's potential for dominance
That it enhances a status quo's prestige and decreases a fundamentalist group's attractive qualities
That it encourages multiculturalism, which erodes a fundamentalist group's unique cultural identity
That it disproves established beliefs of a fundamentalist group and makes their cause meaningless
That it favors formation of a new dogma paradigm that makes a fundamentalist group meaningless
Technology is less anathema in Judaism and Islam than it was in Medieval Christianity as pertains to astronomy, although technology's biggest opposition comes from its tendency to diminish religion's role in civilization, and mostly from posing contraindicative questions that challenge the tenets and dogmas of a faith.
Arab astronomers kept the science alive during the intellectually and technologically dark Middle Ages in Europe. Islam's calendar is based on lunar cycles, so much so that a new month doesn't begin until a recognized religious astronomer marks the first visible moment of a crescent phase of a waxing moon. Astronomy is very significant in Arab cultures. Owning a part of the celestial sphere would, to me, be very important to Islam.
[This message has been edited by extrinsic (edited October 29, 2009).]
One particular bone of contention you could have a radical religious group become angry about with regards to space exploration (riffing on what extrinsic just said) is that space exploration might be construed as searching to prove that God's creation of Earth is not unique, that we are not his unique, blessed, and holy creation, as it clearly says in verse V of book B in Holy Text T. Therefore, the explorers are seeking to directly cause an affront to God (though of course the fanatics believe that nothing will be found). Therefore, they must be opposed/protested/violently destroyed.
It sounds simplistic, but... it's dangerously close to the "logic" used when the church opposed the idea of a non-geocentric model of the universe.
Mike, that was eerily close to what I was about to say, just before I read your post. Proof of intelligent life that is not within the realm of what some might consider "the image of God", could be a great threat to many fundamentalist religions. This could bring into question theology regarding creation, sin and salvation, and heaven and hell.
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Thanks to all who have offered ideas, links and other helpful information. You have given me a base to begin the real hard work of thouroughly researching my idea.
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quote:You don't happen to recal where you may have read this as this is the type of information I am seeking.
Alas, no. Probably one of the conservative magazines I read, or possibly an article on one of their websites. But I couldn't locate it with a brief search...and, probably, whoever said it got it from somewhere else. Perhaps one of the Bin Laden biographies floating around...maybe The Looming Tower or some other book about 9 / 11...