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Author Topic: Orson's latest-Freedom of Religion in Islam
Kent
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Now who can disagree with this editorial? I challenge you to show your smallmindedness!
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ngthagg
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I was really hoping for a controversial post from OSC. What's up with this one? "[T]olerance of other religions does not mean we have to tolerate any religion that claims the right to kill unbelievers." Well, duh. And he only mentioned western intellectuals once. Is OSC slipping in his older years?

ngthagg

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NobleHunter
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quote:
In fact, when we look at the Muslim world, it's worth remembering that almost every nation now listed as "Muslim" was once of another faith entirely, and most of them were not converted but conquered.
There's his usual rhetorical problems as well, but this is a particularly bad passage. He's using it to imply that the Arabs forcefully converted people. In fact the Arabs were hoping people wouldn't convert so they would continue to pay the tax. At least in some regions, I don't know the whole history of the Arab expansion. This is either bad history or the deliberate pertuation of it.
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KnightEnder
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This post is out there. It is so full of double standards and hypocracy it takes a word-smith of OSC's considerable talent to keep it from decending it to a hate filled diatribe. He almost pulls it off.

quote:
There is no faith under compulsion.
Of course he meant physical compulsion, not societal pressure, threats of horrors after death, or peer pressure. I won't even get into being brainwashed by your parents, shools, television, and the local Christian Organizations.

quote:
The problem for Islam is that it is not an organized religion.
Unlike Christianity that is one unified body in which all Christians adhere to the exact same beliefs and standards.

quote:
Communism was (and, it must be pointed out, remains) a proselytizing religion
Communism a religion? But OSC has said before that Russia and the USSR were atheist nations. He even used the USSR as an example of how Atheism could be as evil as Christianityy. So which is it? Religion or atheistic country? You can't have it both ways. Can you?

quote:
(Communism) used (and uses) every tool, including murder and terrorism and war, torture and prison, constant spying and betrayal, in order to spread its rule, ultimately to every corner of the earth. Wherever it established its grip, it held on brutally and relentlessly; wherever it stretched its hand, it took powerful and usually bloody resistance to stop it.
Yeah, that's nothing like Christianity.

quote:
many millions of Muslims manage to live their faith without killing or hurting anybody. But
But? Whenever I say anything even remotely bad about any Christian I am hammered by other Christians who recite the same stats about Christianity. Apparently that standard only applies to Christianity. Apparently, other religions must maintain 100% goodness or else they have to be fought at every opportunity.
quote:
listed as "Muslim" was once of another faith entirely,
Yes, but Mormons and Christians have always been here.

quote:
There is no Muslim nation where conformity to Islam is enforced with the death penalty -- or even with exile. It is a mockery of faith to enforce it.
Then what was this whole article about?!!!

quote:
We can talk about democracy all we want, but if the right to convert to another faith is not fully protected by law, we are not bringing freedom.
Is OSC confused? Does he think democracy equals freedom? If he believes that he should walk into a deli and piss on the potato salad.

And I'm sure he would be happy with Muslims passing judgment on Mormons the way he is doing to them here.

quote:
and active church membership in most Western countries is low and falling lower.
Hey, some good news!

quote:
To those who have never known religious freedom, it is difficult to understand that, when faith is voluntary, it grows more robust among those who freely adhere to it.
But, but, he just said that that wasn't what is happening. Low and falling doesn't seem to equal robust growth?

OSC basically accuses Muslims in the US of being sleeper agents waiting for the time they can rise up an conquer us. I just love how champions of religions only champion their religion.

Basically OSC is calling for a holy war!

KE

[ April 04, 2006, 06:33 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Scooter
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No offense, Kent, but I think your interpretations are overly simplistic. Besides, regardless of whether or not his points pertain to Christianity, that takes nothing away from the validity of the point--unless he specifically claims to be comparing the religions all along, which he didn't explicityly claim (except perhaps when talking about the crusades, and was critical of them--and that was for a specific point, not for the essay in general).

Besides, if modern Christianity had the same dealth penalty policy as Islam, then your comparisons would be relevant to the discussion. If Christianity has some of the same issues, the end result is not killing those who convert to Islam (or other religions/philosophies)--so those issues are not salient to his main point.

Just a couple examples--Russia may have been atheistic--not believing in God--but Comunism was treated/practices as/like a religion (according the OSC's claim)--thus, Russia can be atheistic and religious at the same time.

Religious attendance can be dropping as a whole, but that doesn't contradict the claim that those who "freely adhere" to their faith have a more "robust" experience with it. You may not agree, but there is no contradiction.

It almost seems as if you are seeing what you want to see instead of what is being said. You'll likely make the same claim about me--and you may be right, but I still think your interpretations are skimming the surface of his words at the expense of their meaning, FWIW.

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KnightEnder
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quote:
It almost seems as if you are seeing what you want to see instead of what is being said.
If that isn't irony I don't know what is.

Welcome to Ornery. You are wrong.

KE

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TCB
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If I were a religious man and believed that God commanded the execution of apostates, I would support it. Why would I be willing to trade God's will for Western enlightenment principles?

This is really a fundamental difference between European and Middle Eastern cultures. Unless their culture changes in a major way, there is no reason compelling enough for conservative, religious Muslims to want to allow apostates to live.

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Cytania
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OSC is really getting rather good at rhetoric. Unfortunately this makes pointing out the errors and ommissions in what he says tricky.

One thing he doesn't appear to touch on is the history of compulsion in European christianity right through protestant/catholic persecutions up to the 18thC era where fines for church non-attendance were finally done away with (was it 1824 or later?).

One thing that is clearly expressed is that for OSC islam is the new communism, a bogeyman to scare Americans into rightwing policies they wouldn't otherwise countenance.

How real is the muslim threat? Well they don't have huge armies, Pakistan has a couple of nukes but no ICBMs, after that it's fear of terrorism, fear of Iranian nukes. Clearly numbers wise and arms wise the islamic diaspora is _not_ another Russia or China.

America should be grown-up enough to realise how strong it is and how puny the muslim states are and stop jibbering about suitcase nukes... oh hold on I forgot about the oil... funny how OSC didn't mention that once...

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Technomad
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What OSC is apparently ignorant of is that while yes, Islamic conquest often did involve conversion, _this was SOP in those times for everyone!_

Being conquered by the Byzantines would make things, er, "interesting," not just for non-Christians, but for Christians who didn't happen to subscribe to the orthodoxy-du-jour out of Constantinople. This facilitated Islamic conquest in places like Syria/Palestine and Egypt...the locals were "Monophysite" Christians, and did NOT appreciate being hassled by the Byzantines' religious nabobs. Even when this sort of attitude cut the Byzantines' own throats (Armenia, forex) they kept it up.

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Kent
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I love this thread! You guys are the BOMB!
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theyux
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Well damn everyone stole all the good flaws.

Although I will point out, jehads were created as a defensive holy war.

In fact In the Era of the Crusades, the Muslim world was as close as they ever come to a civilized society. (they didnt suffer from the dark ages, in fact they thrived during them).

In fact they even tolerated other religious groups to visit the "holy land".

In fact the crusades were acts to liberate the "Holy Land".

Dont get me wrong the whole death thing is stupid. But Lets not forget puratins what 200 years ago? Lets face facts christians moderated faster than muslims thats about it.

And about the Commmunist. Well its a government. A great one on paper. But all it needs is one really bad leader. To make it as bad as it was. The only reason communism will never work is thier is no incentive to work. You get payed the same if you try twice ahrd. And a doctor makes as much as a street sweeper. It eliminates the human drive to excel.

It doesnt make it evil.

As for im gonna strap a bomb on my chest and suicide bomb a scientoligist cause thats how athiests roll. Or am I mixing something up?

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DonaldD
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Kent, don't you feel kinda silly for not being aware of even a fraction of these attitudes, even after reading this forum for so long?

I mean, I can understand not agreeing with these posts, but not being able to see any of the specifics coming? Doesn't that make you wonder about your own blinding preconceptions?

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Kent
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I do feel silly. I can't believe how prejudiced I am. Keep up the good work you guys. Rip Card to shreds!
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javelin
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Those are interesting assumptions, DonaldD.
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DonaldD
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What, you think that condescending sarcasm in response to condescending sarcasm is out of line, javelin?
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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
What, you think that condescending sarcasm in response to condescending sarcasm is out of line, javelin?

Course not. Just find it interesting, the assumptions required in that post. I have no problem if the sarcasm is accurate. Funny thing about Kent - he enjoys whipping up a little trouble now and again - and he's pretty careful about doing it. In this case, I'm sure he's mighty amused that his carefully worded challenge has been so predictably met. [Smile]
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Wayward Son
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quote:
One thing he doesn't appear to touch on is the history of compulsion in European christianity right through protestant/catholic persecutions up to the 18thC era where fines for church non-attendance were finally done away with (was it 1824 or later?).
Reminds me of my Christmas wish when the holiday season gets particularly annoying. I simply wish we still celebrated Christmas the way our great forefathers in Massachusetts did in the 1600s:

Fine each of the celebratants a shilling!! [Big Grin]

quote:
In this case, I'm sure he's mighty amused that his carefully worded challenge has been so predictably met.
Fortunately, it doesn't take a large mind to see the holes in OSC's typical essays. Just open eyes. [Smile]
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DonaldD
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"I have no problem if the sarcasm is accurate." Well, then - you must have a pretty good idea of what he actually meant - care to enlighten us poor dilettantes in all things Kent? [Smile]

BTW - even though Kent likes to hide behind his obscure references while stirring up the ****, there is one pretty straightforward assumption he has made in his opening shot. Well, maybe not an assumption so much as an implication...

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javelin
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Kent basically implied that anyone who disagreed with the article must be "smallminded". This would be sarcasm, with the "funny" being that he knew people would find something to complain about - and in being right, get a chance to snicker about it.

That help?

By the way, not only am I speculating on Kent's motives here, but I am making several assumptions. If I'm wrong, Kent, I apologize in advance. Hopefully I don't get banned over it.

[ April 05, 2006, 04:13 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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DonaldD
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So then you don't have a problem, do you [Smile]
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Mabus
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I found this to be a curious expression of one of Card's biases:

quote:
The problem for Islam is that it is not an organized religion. There is no Caliph to declare that there is a new, universal interpretation of the Koran that denies any right to kill anyone for the sake of religion. No authority in all of Islam that can say that Islam truly is and must be a peaceful religion, and any imam or ayatollah who teaches otherwise will be excommunicated from Islam, losing his position and his authority.
Now, I understand where Card is coming from. And I think I can understand why he thinks of centralized religion as desirable (hint: it's the same reason I consider it undesirable, or one of them anyway).

Card goes on to point out the problem with this perspective in the next paragraph, but I don't know that he realizes it: you can't trust that the Big Guy in Charge will do the things you want, any more than you can in secular government. A Caliph (or Pope, or High Priest--or President) may direct his religious community toward peace and tolerance--or he may instead call for a holy war. He may repeal "outdated ritual observances", or he may make more.

Less centralized systems are more resistant to change; that can be very bad (if the general membership includes a lot of bigoted hotheads, for instance) or very good (if the outside world is pressuring them to become bigoted hotheads). It's all a matter of what you're looking for.

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yossarian22c
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These seem to be some of the problems people pointed out

1) It's unfair to talk about the past of Islam (i.e. conversion by conquering).
A fair complaint but Islam seems to have undergone fewer changes than Christianity in the last 500 years so maybe not as unfair as it first seems. It's very hard to compare apples to apples in religions.

2) "The problem for Islam is that it is not an organized religion."
Again other religions don't have the problems Islam has right now, if lot's of Christians were calling for the death of converters a centralized Christianity could be useful in changing that beleif.

3) "Communism was (and, it must be pointed out, remains) a proselytizing religion."
The tenets of Communism had to be accepted on faith and could not be questioned, in that sense it could be called a religion.

4) Looking at extreme examples of Muslim faith and generalizing.
Again a very fair criticism in general but look at how large the extremes of Islam are and there is some relivence to what OSC does. When the extremes are large enough that moderates fear speaking out against them then there is a problem. If your claim is that that is not the case in Islam then this type of generalization from the extremes is meaningless.

5) "One thing he doesn't appear to touch on is the history of compulsion in European christianity right through protestant/catholic persecutions up to the 18thC era where fines for church non-attendance were finally done away with (was it 1824 or later?)"
How is this relavent? If Christianity were still doing these things then sure but OSC is mostly talking about the current problems in Islam just because they used to be problems in Christianity doesn't make them any better in Islam now.

6) Islam isn't a real threat to conquer us.
Right now that is correct, but should we wait until they are to respond?

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theyux
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5) "One thing he doesn't appear to touch on is the history of compulsion in European christianity right through protestant/catholic persecutions up to the 18thC era where fines for church non-attendance were finally done away with (was it 1824 or later?)"
How is this relavent? If Christianity were still doing these things then sure but OSC is mostly talking about the current problems in Islam just because they used to be problems in Christianity doesn't make them any better in Islam now.


The point is, We grew faster than the middle east did. And they need time to catch up.

Were comparing a less advanced civilization to another. And expecting same results.

Modernization is happening fast in the world, but muslims will always be the hardest to reach. Similiar to hard core christians. But to a more extreme degree.

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mythusmage
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"He didn't say anything about Christianity."

What the bloody hell does that have to do with anything? The essay was about the practices of some who espouse Islam, any crimes committed by Christians have nothing to do with the case. Some people seek to use psychological and spiritual coercion to keep others in Christianity, whoop-te-do. Has damn all to do with the price of kumquats in Boston.

I agree with Orson, telling somebody they have to stay in the religion they were born into is to deny that person their free will. Practicing a faith is only valid when the practice is done freely. When it is done because of force it loses all value.

The crimes committed by the practitioners of another religion have no part to play in the central argument. They are a matter for another day. No, the only thing certain people are telling me with their meaningless protests is that their hatred of Orson Scott Card is so deep and so abiding it drives all sense from their heads and renders them incapable of rational cognition.

In short, whatever Orson says drives them nuts. And I thought Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) was nasty.

[ April 06, 2006, 06:52 PM: Message edited by: mythusmage ]

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NobleHunter
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It's not what Orson says, it's how he says it. I don't think anyone would stand for Card's rhetorical style in the debates here on the forum, so why should we let it pass for him? There's been several occasions where people have said "I agree with him but not with how he said it." This is all the more frustrating for some of us because we know how good a writer Card is.

Oh yeah, I agree that killing people who leave their religion is bad but many of the secondary arguments and supporting facts are irrelevant, incorrect or inflammatory.

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someguy
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Dunno why I bother correcting yet another piece of anti-Islamic propaganda with so many out there, but... OSC's basic premises - that "neither are there many Muslims openly opposing the idea that where Islam is established, no one may convert to another faith" and that American Muslims are not opposed to this idea - is clearly wrong. I refer his readers to the following:
* IslamOnline fatwa: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1141277529583&pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar%2FFatwaE%2FFatwaEAskTheScholar
* CAIR: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=articleView&id=2066&theType=NR
* Qaradawi, al-Awwa: http://www.adnki.com/index_2Level_English.php?cat=Religion&loid=8.0.280542046&par=0

I was amused by his unconscious Qur'anic near-quote:
"There is no faith under compulsion." The Qur'anic version conveys more meanings more precisely in fewer words: "There is no compulsion in religion" (2:256).

As to his main point - that there should be some kind of centralized Islamic authority able to excommunicate anyone it disagrees with - do I really need to point out the inconsistency of advocating freedom of opinion together with the excommunication of anyone who disagrees with you? Not that there's any way, short of some world-wide absolute dictatorship, to give anyone such power - certainly setting up some random council in America wouldn't do the trick!

[ April 07, 2006, 03:52 PM: Message edited by: someguy ]

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mlve
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Someguy-
I have to agree with you excommunication has been and is still used to silence those who disagree with the religious hierarchy. On the other hand it does sometimes seem that Islams lack of a heirarchy allows some crazy interpretations of the Qur'an (ie Bin Ladin, Iran, etc). (Of course, it is not like Christianity with all of its structure doesn't suffer from its own set of crazies.)

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Jesse
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Christianity with all of it's structure?

Branch-Davidians, anyone?

I think there are far more sects of Christianity than Islam...and I have no concrete evidence to back that up.

Still, anyone can hang out a shingle with the word church on it, and many do.

OSC is an Authoritarian. Note the big A. He distrusts chaos implicity. If anyone has ever defined that AD&D alignment "Lawful Neutral", it's our Uncle Orson.

If you don't believe me, read a few more of his columns, or a few of his books.

I've said this about him more than once, and people tend to think that I'm engaging in some sort of knee-jerk attack. It's not meant as an attack at all.

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Naldiin
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I'd forward there are many sects of any religion as each religion has true adherants.

As for OSC's article, with a few notable exceptions already discussed, I agree with it. Paticularly the idea that compulsion destroys faith. It does, in my experiance.

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mlve
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Well I was thinking more along the lines that over half of the worlds Christians are Catholic (over 1 billion people). Since the Catholic Church is built basically like a government. I was also think that most other major denominations have a similarily heirarchical structure.
But you are right Jesse, Christians do have a tendency to split off into new denominations when ever they feel like it.
I put this forward...The religious fundamentalist in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc., have more in common with each other then they do with their own religion.
I will explain...
Fundamentalist have one thing in common for the most part they use a religion or a religious ideal to control people. I does not matter the religion they twist the beliefs of the religion in question to fit the facts to fit thier "truth". And they use that "truth" to control societies and to bend them to thier wills. Fundamentalism is about power not religion.

(I make a distinction between Fundamentalism and Orthodoxy.)

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livermeer kenmaile
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quote:
In fact, when we look at the Muslim world, it's worth remembering that almost every nation now listed as "Muslim" was once of another faith entirely, and most of them were not converted but conquered.
Western Xtiandom is built on an ancient map built by conquering Romans who became Xtians who tolerated no breach of faith.

Xtians were uniquely intolerant in the day, and only 100 years ago this was still often the case:

In 1899 United States president William McKinley told a group of clergymen his justification for ordering a military occupation of the Philippines:

"...there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them"


Remember, y'all, too, that the Philippines were a Spanish territory: Catholicism. McKinley was a Protestant kinda dude. Xtian sectarian war over colonial property.

Yeah, Orson needs to go back to bashing Western intellectuals.

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RoseAuthor
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Wow! Did OSC's article go way off topic here?

I think mythusmage is the only one who actually read and understood the essay.

(standby while I think back to 'how to write an essay.' 101)

Yep, mythusmage is the only one who remembered!

In fact, I think this whole site has lost focused on what OSC intended when he started it. We've lost orneryism to elitism. Mutilate the average ornery people with intellectual dehumanizations. And if that fails... for god sakes, please confuse the issue with inclusions that do not apply to the premise.

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halfhaggis
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I think that OSC writes his essays with the specific purpose of annoying the people who visit the forum.
Then he comes and reads the cheerful banter and chuckles to himself.
Or perhaps I'm projecting. It's certainly something I'd do if I was a popular author.

As for this particular essay: it annoyed me less than usual. The information I found following someguy's links describes how Islam should treat this matter in theory. But in more fundamental Islamic countries how many people feel like they can freely change religions without persecution? I know I'd be hesitant to drop Islam if I lived as a Muslim in Afghanistan, despite what the rulebook says.
It doesn't matter what the rules are if the referee doesn't blow the whistle on the fouls.

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KnightEnder
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Nice post Myth. Don't bother to point out why people are wrong just throw out your opinion and walk away. Welcome to Ornery. You are wrong. And lazy. I doubt we'll see much of you.

KE

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Funkytable
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Mr. Card's article is very insightful and positive, but he made one small point I disagree with.

"Instead, what do we see? Western Muslims demanding that they, and they alone, be immune from even being offended by mere cartoons, though they themselves can attack people of other faiths however they want -- with words and actions."

One of my devout Muslim coworkers from Bangladesh and I discussed this issue when it came up. At first he was mad, he said newspapers should not insult religion and the two should remain separate. I explained that Christianity (my religion) is scoffed at in the newspapers on a regular basis, and they have a right to do so. The conversation ended there.

That Friday he attended Mosque and he came back and told me the speaker addressed the protests that were currently happening all around the world. The speaker encouraged everyone not to fight against this cartoon, just because the prophet was portrayed in such a dishonorable way does not change his character of or the content of the Koran. Anyone who is curious will look at the prophet's life and the Koran and discover the true nature of Islam.

When he explained this to me, we had a much more relaxed conversation about religion in the press and he no longer felt the urge to protest a cartoon.

There's an example of Islam Clergy denouncing the acts of dangerous volatile fanatics. So there is hope at least for Muslims in America. But I agree we have a long way to go.

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