For those of you who watch events unfolding on the news channels and in the newspapers, it is easy to become insensitive to what we see unfolding in the Middle East.
For those who write Sci-Fi books like me, it is easy to overlook the fact that what is happening in Iraq and Syria reflects a reality in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically one that is degraded beyond imagination. That is to say, it is dystopian.
I find it beyond understanding that young men and women are so bereft of common sense that they regard it as acceptable to rape, torture and slaughter the innocent in the name of God. What does God have to do with any of these acts committed in his name?
Let me be clear, I have no belief in any God, but I firmly believe that the spirit exists separately from the human body it occupies. So how can anyone be daft enough to believe that they will go to heaven and enjoy the company of virgins by doing unimaginably bad things to others, in the name of Allah?
How can driving wagons full of living people into pits in the desert be worthy of entry to the supposed kingdom of heaven? How can the dipping of women in acid be justified? How can the random shooting of children be anything but deranged?
This is where the death of fanatics of this ilk justifies the use of drones to eliminate them from this planet, so they can never breed. But what about their spirits or souls, whatever you care to call them? My feeling is they descend to a spiritual version of Hell, from which they will never ascend. There they will congregate and despair for what they have done, in the name of their false god, Allah.
Religion over many centuries, particularly of a monotheistic, Abrahamic source, has a lot to answer for, as do its warped preachers.