Sunday, June 26, 2011

Suicide Bombers and Polygamy


I have a theory about why young muslim men can be persuaded to commit suicide for a cause:  polygamy.

It is mathematically impossible for all young men to get married if they live in a society that allows men to have multiple wives, but does not allow women to have more than one husband.  The ratio of men to women in Afghanistan is 1.05 to 1, hardly enough to accommodate a polygamous lifestyle.  In Saudi Arabia, home to bin Laden, the ratio is even worse: 1.27 for each woman.

Is it any surprise that suicide "martyrs" are promised a harem in heaven?  Islamic law limits the number of wives to four (although bin Laden's slutty daddy had twelve -- apparently you can bend the laws if you're rich even in Islam).  And although polygamy is permitted, there has to be a good reason for it.  The man also has to prove that he is able to treat all the wives and children equally, i.e. besides being affectionate to them all he has to provide material support.

So what hope does a man have if he's educated enough to make a decent living, but not educated enough to make a polygamous living?  Palestinian suicide bombers are enticed by promises of financial support for their impoverished families.  For a middle-class Saudi man, that won't fly.  And unlike a Palestinian, that middle-class Saudi is giving up quite a bit when he sacrifices his life.   They have to up the ante to get them to fall on their sword so to speak.

I haven't seen anybody else make that connection.  This article on infidels.org brought it to mind today, especially this part:


The holy killers left behind a testament they had shared among themselves, saying they were doing it for God: "Know that the gardens of paradise are waiting for you in all their beauty," they assured each other, "and the women of paradise are waiting, calling out, 'Come hither, friend of God.' They have dressed in their most beautiful clothing."

They did it for the wimmin.  Believing that Heaven is a real place was prerequisite of course, but Heaven had to have more appeal than the Judeo-Christian ideal of an eternity of floating around in space and praising God's arse for eternity.  I think it's amusing that they expected virgins, though.  The reason for wanting a virgin on Earth presumably has something to do with ensuring your children will really be yours.   There's no pregnancy in Heaven, so why not have a harem of prostitutes?  They'd be a lot more fun.

There are many possible motivations for killing people, and suicide bombers share them, but promising a harem to unloved young men certainly adds to the mix of possible motivations.  Add the gullibility of religious adherents who will believe anything, and you can promise them the most ridiculous things to get them to off themselves.  The 9/11 hijackers certainly seemed to have polygamous ambitions.

28 comments:

Infidel753 said...

Polygamy actually isn't very common in Islamic societies, even though religious law does allow it. Some rich and powerful men have multiple wives, but most men have only one.

There could still be a connection, though. In a society where a harem is one of the rewards of success, the attraction of acquiring one -- even in the afterlife -- is all the greater.

I suspect, though, that poverty, inequality, and sexual repression are bigger culprits. In a typical Islamic country, many young men can't get married, not because all the women are sequestered in harems, but because they can't afford it. Having a girlfriend, in the sense common in more relaxed societies (the West, Japan, Russia, etc.) isn't an option either, when pre-marital sex for women is so strictly taboo. There's anecdotal evidence of widespread adolescent homosexuality, but that's desperation, not preference. With such a barren life, the celestial harem starts looking pretty good.

I think it's amusing that they expected virgins, though. The reason for wanting a virgin on Earth presumably has something to do with ensuring your children will really be yours. There's no pregnancy in Heaven, so why not have a harem of prostitutes?

The virginity fetish is carried to absurd lengths in the Middle East. "Used" women are considered trash, hardly worthy of a martyr in Paradise. Besides, an experienced woman might compare you unfavorably with a previous lover.

LadyAtheist said...

Thanks for the input.

The Middle Eastern culture seems very insecure to me. I used to have a boss from Egypt who was very prideful and considered humiliation the ultimate defeat of his enemies. This backfired on him and he was demoted because he was more worried about his ego games than being a good boss. It's a shame, because he really did have a lot to offer, professionally.

The ultimate in the virginity fetish is killing a woman or girl who has been raped. That's horrible.

Infidel753 said...

The ultimate in the virginity fetish is killing a woman or girl who has been raped. That's horrible.

Such "honor killings" are probably pervasive in the Islamic world -- most reports come from relatively-modern countries like Jordan and Turkey, but that's probably just because information about such things is less easily hidden there. Honor killings are also a recognized problem in the Muslim minority in Europe.

In many such cases, autopsies showed the victims to have been virgins. The mere suspicion of sexual impropriety (including being a rape victim) is often enough to create a "stain of the family honor" which can be erased only by killing the "defiled" female.

A sick, twisted set of traditional values indeed.

Gideon said...
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Infidel753 said...

PS Love the "nuns with guns" pic.

LadyAtheist said...

Finding pictures for these posts is half the fun of making them!

Gideon said...
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Robert the Skeptic said...

I recall hearing that Muslim martyrs are given 72 virgins in heaven. So I'm wondering if he is so sex starved if he goes through 71 of them in his first two and a half months, is he going to want to "save" the last one for a few millennia? How's his heavenly experience going to be once he has run through them all?

And who are these virgins? Supposedly women who died and went to heaven as well? Are they beautiful, or just old maids who never got married? And do they even want to have heaven-sex with the deceased martyr? I mean, what if she isn't in the mood or that martyr is butt-ugly?

The whole concept of heaven is so silly. People don't put much thought into it, just assuming it will be like some kind of prolonged vacation. One Mormon missionary told me you spend eternity "learning about god" - like does he have PowerPoint or can we watch a tutorial? Frankly it sounds like a pretty boring place and I am not all that anxious to get there.

Gideon said...
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LadyAtheist said...

What if all those "virgins" are aborted fetuses? Would that turn them off? They're supposedly disembodied souls, so uhhh how do they have sex in heaven anyway? What an idiotic concept.

*lol* @ God's powerpoint.

Robert the Skeptic said...

LA, you might want to think about enabling "comment moderation" on your blog. Works great and keeps it uncluttered.

Infidel753 said...

What if all those "virgins" are aborted fetuses?

Maybe they're all the virgins who suffered honor killings after being falsely accused of being rape victims?:-(

The Islamic Heaven is largely taken from the Zoroastrian version (Persia was a major power during Muhammad's lifetime, and knowledge of Persian culture including the Zoroastrian religion would have been widespread). The Zoroastrian Heaven featured "beautiful maidens and youths" who were part of the amenities of Heaven (that is, not actual people who had once lived on Earth) and acted as servants to the virtuous dead in an obviously quite corporeal afterlife. I don't know whether their role had a sexual element, but Muhammad obviously saw the value in adding that feature as a motivator for his warriors.

(The "beautiful youths" crop up in accounts of the Muslim heaven too, leading to speculation in the Middle Ages that Heaven might perhaps be accommodating to gentlemen of different tastes -- no one seems to have thought of what women in Heaven might want.)

The concept is very ill-thought-out -- Why 72? Wouldn't even such a harem pall eventually, as any kind of eternal static existence would? What if the martyr had a wife he actually loved and wanted to have with him in Heaven? Recall, though, that it originated in a primitive society where such logical questioning was not common. Today it appeals mostly to the immature and irrational whose attitudes toward life and sexuality are shallow -- but people who don't fit that description aren't good prospects for becoming suicide bombers in the first place.

Infidel753 said...

I second Robert's recommendation of moderation. What you've got here is the equivalent of a dog repeatedly crapping on your lawn. I've always used moderation and I get so many commercial spam "comments" that it wouldn't be practical to do without it -- I just include the colander in each day's mass reject of those. No mess, no fuss.

LadyAtheist said...

I've been just moving the posts to the spam folder but I got tired of that & started deleting the content. I'll go back to moving them to the spam folder. I don't want people who are posting actual posts to have to wait for me to publish them.

cl said...

I have a theory about why young muslim men can be persuaded to commit suicide for a cause: polygamy.

Do you have any empirical evidence for your theory?

cl said...

So, where's the evidence? Just because you want your theory to be true doesn't mean it is.

LadyAtheist said...

9/11 -- all the suicide bombers were unmarried muslims

cl said...

That's it? That's your empirical evidence? Puh-leeze!! That is decidedly NOT empirical evidence. Tell me, how did you go about ruling out confounders?

LadyAtheist said...

I thought you wanted empirical evidence, not a philosophical debate

cl said...

Uh yeah... because "confounders" are so totally philosophical debate, right? If you don't understand the importance of ruling out confounders when making empirical claims, you don't understand science. Seriously. This hasn't squat to do with philosophy.

LadyAtheist said...

This is a blog, not a Ph.D. dissertation. Move along if it's not up to your standards.

LadyAtheist said...

p.s. I asked a few friends in the sciences if they use the word "confounder." Nope, they don't.

cl said...

This is a blog, not a Ph.D. dissertation. Move along if it's not up to your standards.

Nice dodge! Surely you're not implying that my style of debate is too academic for you?

p.s. I asked a few friends in the sciences if they use the word "confounder." Nope, they don't.

Then they aren't in sciences where controlled studies are used.

Anyways, it's clear you just want separate standards for your own claims, so we can just leave it at that :)

cl said...

Science News Articles About Confounders

Don't say I never tried.