The Blame Game
In growing up and becoming a responsible adult, one of the lessons a person must learn if they're to thrive is how to take responsibility for their own actions.
It is a very simple thing, really, yet is quite difficult for most people to grasp. It is a lynchpin in the process for people in recovery, and is an absolute necessity for adversaries who wish to make real peace.
In the process of learning how to take responsibility, you learn first that you are responsible for your actions. Any consequences that result from that action are your responsibility as well. If you initiate an action that creates a problem for you or for another person, you own that problem. It is your responsibility to make reparations, which may be as simple as an apology, or as severe as serving time in prison and paying back millions of dollars. Regardless of the severity, it's your responsibility.
This makes sense to most people, and is practiced a fair amount, though not nearly enough.
There is more difficulty for people when they are learning the more subtle concept of being responsible for your re-actions. Yet, in a way, this is more critical to the process of becoming a mature, responsible adult.
Again this is sometimes easier to illustrate in the context of recovery, because the distinctions are often more blatant and easier to identify.
Most recovering people trace their sickness back to events or relationships earlier in their life that deflected them onto a path of addiction. They were abused, betrayed, raped, molested, lied to, or seriously wronged in some other way, usually in an ongoing fashion, and often in more way than just one.
An important part of the recovery process is for the recovering person to separate the actions of the person who wronged them with their own reactions to those wrongs.
There's a prayer you often hear at 12-Step meetings:
God, grant me the Serenity,
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And Wisdom to know the difference.
Let's say a child, we'll call him Tony, is abandoned by his father, leaving Tony and his mom and brother flat. Tony grows up insecure. He has low self-esteem, is undisciplined, afraid of success, sabotages most of his opportunities to prove his unworthiness, and runs away from all of his problems.
When he gets older, and these problems start causing chaos in his life, he realizes hs needs to get a handle on his issues. He examines his life and sees that while his father did wrong him, he is responsible for responding to these wrongs by becoming the fulfillment of his own fears. He takes responsibililty for his reactions to the circumstances in his life and begins building a new, positive pattern of living based on what he has learned about himself.
Now admittedly my story (yeah, duh, right?) is certainly a mild case of this sort of pattern, but the truth remains the same regardless. The worse the wrong, the harder the work to gain new perspective, yet the same realization lies at the end of that process.
There is also a phenomenon known as codependency that many victims and other people close to the abuser/addict often exhibit. The codependent enables the abuser to perpetuate his negative behavior by making excuses for their behavior to others, accepting the blame for the abuser's wrongs, or blaming others, all the while allowing the abuser to escape accountability for those wrongs.
Thus we come to the problem with Islam today. Modern Islam is one screwed up junkie. It is spreading violence and chaos all over the Middle East. Yet the world community and Muslim leaders are the ultimate codependents. Rather than holding the violent Muslims accountable for their actions, and especially their reactions, they make excuses for their violent, murderous behavior and blame others, like, say, the Pope, for the abhorrent reactions and violently disproportionate responses to real or perceived wrongs.
The only way this cycle of deadly childish temper tantrums is going to stop is for Islam to wake up and realize that it is the one with the problem. Not just militant groups, but Islam in general. It wouldn't be so if Muslim leaders in the middle east weren't so conspicuously quiet in the wake of atrocities committed by militant Muslims in the name of the same Allah they purport to worship. Notice I said "quiet" and not "silent." We get perfunctory, pro forma statements from a few quarters. But where is the outrage? They can be outraged at a few stupid cartoons, why not when one of their own blows up innocent children? Could it be they actually condone the killing of infidels but lack the honesty to just say so? Could it be they're afraid of their own followers? What could it be?
If Islam is ever to truly become the "Religion of Peace" it purports to be, then Islam is going to have to unify and make some radical changes.
One - They must admit that the problem of violence is Islam's problem and stop blaming other people for their own followers' abhorrent and violent actions.
Two - They must renounce violence as a tool for dialogue without exception.
Three - They must recognize the basic, individual dignity of all human beings regardless of creed.
Four - They must unequivocably reject and ostracize violent militant groups and individuals, isolate them from any fellowship with mainstream Islam, whether Sunni, Sikh, or any other faction, and respond to their attacks with the same outrage with which they responded to these cartoons and the Pope's speech.
Five - Moreso they must stop making excuses for militants' inexcusable behavior, and place the blame where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of militants and those leaders who incite them.
Islam must learn to take responsibility for its problem and cease this idiotic demand on the civilized portion of the world community to cater to their immature, intemperate, plain uncivilized patterns of behavior.
I'm not holding my breath, but here is how this whole brouhaha should have gone down.
Group of Peaceful Muslim Leaders: Hi there, Benny. Nice speech.
Pope: Why thank you.
GoPML: We have to take exception with one thing though.
Pope: Certainly, do tell.
GoPML: We do understand the intent of your speech, but your quote about Mohammed was a bit offensive to some of our followers, and really we're not sure it was necessary to make your point in that way.
Pope: Well, it doesn't reflect my personal opinion, you know. I was trying to provide context for the next part of my quote.
GoPML: No, we understand that, but we're just not sure it was necessary and, well, you're a powerful guy in the world, and to some people it may have seemed a bit inflammatory, using that sort of quote.
Pope: Well, I certainly didn't mean to offend, and if I have, I apologize. I will try to be a little more circumspect in the future.
GoPML: Why thank you. Turkish Delight?
Pope: Thanks, don't mind if I do.
That's how civilized people handle a disagreement... with a little embellishment for entertainment's sake, and I'm nothing if not entertaining.
The madness of the Islamic world and the codependency of their leaders and the world community is simply out of control. It has to stop. I mean, how ironic is it that these Muslims are up in arms because they think the Pope called Mohammed evil and violent and called their religion violent? How dare you call us a violent religion. Now we're going to make war on you and kill you! You are doomed!
Please. The next person I hear blame the Pope for this mess is going to be bundled up in burlap and driven to the next Al-Anon meeting.