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Author Topic: What are your thoughts on Islam?
Pete at Home
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In turkey as well as Pakistan and Indonesia, recent years have seen Muslim msupermajority population vote in Islamist's over earlier secularists, and the Islamists have increased war on perceived enemies internal and external, including other Muslims. Also begun to prosecute ,"blasphemy",laws.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Your bloody words, pyr. So stop quacking about straw men and either show how what you said applies, or retreat from your first assertion, or get off my leg. I have not misrepresented you. On the contrary. I have simply paid more attention to what you said than you did yourself. That's not my bad, but yours.
Also, you replied to me to begin with here, not vice versa, so it's you on my leg. You want to address what I said, address what I said, don't inject things outside of the claim I made, then suggest that I'm the one that's somehow after you.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
In turkey as well as Pakistan and Indonesia, recent years have seen Muslim msupermajority population vote in Islamist's over earlier secularists, and the Islamists have increased war on perceived enemies internal and external, including other Muslims. Also begun to prosecute ,"blasphemy",laws.

And these are all countries that have been domestically peaceful and stable? Or are they countries in or around war zones, dealing with instability and economic division?
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Pyrtolin
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I will note that Turkey in particular was a places where moderation ruled until exposure to violence picked up, and the extreme interpretations have moved in in response to fears, not as a precursor to them.
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seekingprometheus
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Pyr:
quote:
The root of the problem lies in the poverty and power imbalance in the part of the world where Islam is most dominant.
This isn't really the root of this specific problem, though. This is a proximate cause, the ultimate cause is really the specific authority which is instigating violence as a response to these relatively universal problems.

Going back to Milgram, your argument is tantamount to the suggestion that some of the proximate causes (which may distinguish the motivation pattern in those who are willing to obediently deliver lethal shocks from the motivation pattern of those who aren't) are the real problem. The issue is relevant, but it isn't really the root of the problem--which is really an abusive, instigating authority which is catalyzing a specific reaction to these types of proximate causes. There are many responses to poverty and power imbalance which aren't violent terrorism, after all.

And the notion that this is just a problem of impoverished people in economically unstable Muslim majority countries is simply incorrect. Many of the radicals (particularly those in charge of the movements) come from affluent backgrounds, and many of the terrorists who have committed attacks in western nations were raised in middle class families in stable economies in the west.

This constant obfuscation of the locus of the problem is...part of the problem.

A while back, in another thread, Greg D posted a link to a great interview of Maajid Nawaz, a British-raised member of the middle class, who was also a former radical Islamist recruiter. In it, he gives a great explanation about the motivators behind his own radical journey, and he does discuss issues of race, poverty and power imbalances, but he very carefully locates these issues in terms of how they relate to the real problem--which is ideological.

It's worth reading the whole thing, if you want a grasp on the issue which isn't rooted in parochial political values.

[ November 23, 2015, 06:25 PM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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seekingprometheus
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This is my favorite part of what Nawaz says--the context is his response to Muslims offended by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, but it seems so much more broadly applicable, to me:
quote:
the conversation I have with them is that actually the issue here is you can be offended all you like. What you can't do is insist that others do not offend you. There is a right to be offended. There is no right to insist that other people do not offend you.

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cherrypoptart
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I always wondered what was the deal with the 72 virgins. It seems hard to imagine that they were having sex in heaven so I wondered what they were doing up there then like maybe plopping plump ripe grapes into your mouth and fanning you with palm fronds but I've seen something that indicates otherwise. Not sure about its accuracy so if anyone knows then enlightenment would be welcome.

----------------------------------------------

"In Islam, the concept of 72 virgins (houri) refers to an aspect of Jannah (Paradise). This concept is grounded in Qur'anic text which describe a sensual Paradise where believing men are rewarded by being wed. to virgins with "full grown", "swelling" or "pears-shaped" breasts. Conversly, women will be provided with only one man, and they "will be satisfied with him".

Contemporary mainstream Islamic scholars, for example; Gibril Haddad, have commented on the erotic nature of the Qur'anic Paradise, by saying some men may need ghusl (ablution required after sexual discharge) just for hearing certain verses.

Orthodox Muslim theologians such as al-Ghazali (died 1111 CE) and al-Ash'ari (died 935 CE) have all discussed the sensual pleasures found in Paradise, relating hadith that describe Paradise as a slave market where there will be "no buy and sale, but... If any man will wish to have sexual intercourse with a woman, he will do at once.

It is quoted by Ibn Kathir, in his Qur'anic Commentary, the Tafsir ibn Kathir, and they are graphically described by Qur'anic commentator and polymath, al-Suyuti (died 1505), who, echoing a hasan hadith[9] from Ibn Majah,wrote that the perpetual virgins will all "have appetizing vaginas", and that the "penis of the Elected never softens. The erection is eternal".

The sensual pleasures between believers and houri in Paradise are also confirmed by the two Sahih collections of hadith, namely Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, where we read that they will be virgins who are so beautiful, pure and transparent that "the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the bones and the flesh", and that "the believers will visit and enjoy them".

-----------------------------------------------

So if that's true that's pretty interesting. If someone actually believed all of that perhaps that would go a long way to explaining why they are so willing to kill and die. It hardly seems altruistic though.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
I will note that Turkey in particular was a places where moderation ruled until exposure to violence picked up, and the extreme interpretations have moved in in response to fears, not as a precursor to them.

I'll note that here again you fail to provide any evidence for your conclusory claim, and based on experience if I ask you to specify you will accuse me of trying to make you do my homework for me so unless you say otherwise, I will assume that the existential "threat" you refer to was either 1. The terrifying prospect of Iraqi Kurds not being bombed or gassed next door: 2. The acceptance of Turkey into a league of Molly Christian countries: 3. The growing recognition that what they had done to the Armenians was nasty, and/or 4 the reconciliation of Muslim and Christian Cypriots in defiance of external Muslim COLONIAL WARMONGERING.

Old spare the jackassery of calling that a stew man. I didn't put it in your mouth; I am trying to "do my homework. "

[ November 23, 2015, 07:18 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:

The sensual pleasures between believers and houri in Paradise are also confirmed by the two Sahih collections of hadith, namely Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, where we read that they will be virgins who are so beautiful, pure and transparent that "the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the bones and the flesh", and that "the believers will visit and enjoy them".

I really dig those see-through ladies... the X-rayed look is totally in. Seeing their marrow is totally hot - don't hide it ladies! [Eek!]
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
I think you should re-read the conditions of the Milgram Experiment. The participants weren't subjected to "outright duress," so I doubt the distinction you raise has any relevance in terms of whether the experiment applies...

...and the result wasn't one of silence while violence was perpetrated, it was one of participation in an ostensibly violent act in response to an authoritative command to do so...

Maybe I'm just misunderstanding your question. What are you trying to ask?

We're discussing why Muslims around the world might not only tolerate but abet in radical behavior. You cited the Milgram experiment, which shows that a perceived authority structure and power dynamic can result in bad behavior that otherwise goes against what the participant would say is his set of ethics. My point was that these experiments were not conducted under duress, while a substantial portion of the abetting of radical Islamic law is surely a result of duress (such as in Saudi Arabia). Therefore the Milgram experiments may be instructive to us in scenarios where people are pressured but not under duress, such as in America or the more moderate Muslim countries, but they probably won't help us understand more extreme environments like Saudi Arabia.

I was not asking a question; more like adding to what you said and suggesting that the experiments are instructive but are only pertinent to a subset of the Islamic world.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
This is my favorite part of what Nawaz says--the context is his response to Muslims offended by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, but it seems so much more broadly applicable, to me:
quote:
the conversation I have with them is that actually the issue here is you can be offended all you like. What you can't do is insist that others do not offend you. There is a right to be offended. There is no right to insist that other people do not offend you.

I think this is why the American left departs from the European left on this topic. To the American Left, the Europeans are acceptable losses in the war to secure the rights of the loudest complainers to never be offended.
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seekingprometheus
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Fenring:

Hmm.

I guess I misunderstood why you asked if Muslims in the west qualify for comparison with the experiment?

In any case, I'm not certain I agree that the condition of duress applies to instances of the infliction of violence in countries like Saudi Arabia. People in Saudi Arabia can certainly be understood as not engaging in proscribed behaviors they might otherwise engage in on the basis of a condition of duress, but I'm not certain that instances of the enactment prescribed violence are typically compelled by a condition of duress.

In other words, as I understand it, Saudis may be constrained from, say, acknowledging themselves as atheists due to fear of duress, but I'm not sure that instances of prescribed violence are likewise committed out of fear of duress. I wouldn't suppose, for instance, that a father who "honor kills" his daughter for having sex is doing so out of fear that failing to do so will result in immediate violence to himself--I would suppose that such types of violence are committed out of simple submission of potential alternative values he might hold (like loving his daughter) to the prescription of what he accepts as moral authority.

I could see a valid distinction between the conditions of the Milgram experiment and, say, the Lord's Resistance Army (which is Christian), wherein the authoritative command for a new recruit to kill is threatened at gunpoint with the duress of impending violence if he should refuse to obey the authority--but I'm not certain that such a condition of duress is really present in most instances of the authoritatively prescribed perpetration of violence in Muslim-majority countries.

The authoritative prescription itself (in tandem with perceptions of "honor" which are informed by the same authority) is usually sufficient to instigate violence, I think.

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Pete at Home
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The fact that the soldiers in the LRA need to be brainwashed and/or threatened with violence, underscores my point that the extremist disease runs through Muslim communities more than Christian ones during this generation.
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Fenring
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SP, I would say that an environment of duress is one in which it's much more likely that people will seek the path of least resistance, which is of course to adopt wholesale the total worldview that is being forced on them. As you suggest, only certain behaviors are proscribed, but the general gestalt of having to submit out of fear is probably enough to cause most people to give up trying to mount tiny unseen rebellions in their behaviors that are not technically enforced at gunpoint. But I'm sure you're right that it's a bit of a mix as well, where in reality they don't quite have to comply quite as much as they do, which does then allow Milgram to apply to some extent. Then again those who actively participate in the system, for example those who dole out the punishments and enforce sharia law, may well be doing so out of direct duress since failure to conduct their duties would result in punishment.

I think Milgram applies to anyone at all to some extent, but when discussing a nation where basic adherence to religious law is mandatory and enforced at gunpoint it becomes strained to ask of such people "why don't they object", or even the more moderate "why don't they resist to whatever extent they can?" Maybe they do and we don't notice it, but it would be dumb as bricks to answer a questionnaire over there by saying you oppose the state.

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
I think this is why the American left departs from the European left on this topic. To the American Left, the Europeans are acceptable losses in the war to secure the rights of the loudest complainers to never be offended.
I think that the some left-leaning folks in America sometimes have a hard time seeing beyond what is politically correct to see what is simply correct, but I certainly wouldn't at all agree that the "American Left" see European casualties as "acceptable losses," Pete.

That seems like a piece of pretty petty vilification, to be honest with you, pal.

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
Then again those who actively participate in the system, for example those who dole out the punishments and enforce sharia law, may well be doing so out of direct duress since failure to conduct their duties would result in punishment.
What, like if the official Saudi Arabian hand-chopper-offer-assistant just decides not to hold somebody down?

I don't think people are typically thrust into such roles against their wills, but perhaps I'm mistaken.

Again, to go back to my example of honor-killing, I don't think that the authoritative prescription to commit violence is enforced with direct duress--as I understand it, a father who tries to protect his unmarried, non-virgin daughter from other community members who want to enact the authoritatively prescribed punishment might get hurt in the crossfire, but I don't think he is under threat of violence if he simply fails to enforce the violent punishment against his daughter himself (though he might face a penalty of "lost honor").

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Fenring
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I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm suggesting something more along the lines of Stockholm Syndrome, where people who know they are under general threat come to love the thing threatening them. Orwell illustrates this point quite well, where the people in that society are both under duress at all times and yet simultaneously really do love Big Brother. The mental subjugation of a people can have strange effects, especially when they are of the brainwashing variety. I'm not really trying to contradict you, more just expanding on the situation a little.
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Greg Davidson
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I am sorry to arrive to the discussion late, and I am also afraid I disagree significantly with several premises presented here.

First, I believe that the historical evidence strongly contradicts JoshuaD's assertion that
quote:
the history of Islam is more full of violence than any other religion.
If that were true, you should be able to look back over 1400 years of history and see Muslims disproportionately involved in instigating wars or committing mass murder. History simply doesn't support such a claim. Even in recent times, if you asked everybody in the world in 1995 what was their religion, and then twenty years later talleyed the number of murders committed by people from each religion, the fraction of those murders committed by Muslims would be no larger than the fraction of Muslims in the world's population (in fact, it happens to be smaller). All this discussed at length here a few years ago
Ornery September 2001

And as for the assertion made by NobleHunter of Christianity being "defanged", this strikes me as judging Christianity by a more lenient standard than what is being used to judge Islam. Christian scripture, like all religious scripture, includes some pretty negative language about others, for example there is doctrine implicating Jews in deicide (the killing of their god), which has to be one of the most serious accusations that can be made in a religion. While I believe this text is not important to most Christians who have ever lived, if we were to apply the same level of scrutiny to Christianity as some of you are giving to Islam, it could result in some pretty stark condemnations against Christianity. For example, it is at least arguable that German perceptions of Jews in the 1930's were not unrelated to Christian doctrine (if there had never been Christianity in Germany, does anyone think that Jews would still have been selected for extermination?).

I am definitely not arguing that Christianity is evil, I am just saying that if you applied a similar level of effort to attribute evil acts historically performed by Christians to Christianity as you do to evil acts historically performed by Muslims to Islam, then you can make a case that is just as plausible.

I also agree that we currently do have evil extremists using Islam for political gain, but I believe that is not based on the intrinsic scripture of Islam, but instead its utility for political purposes.

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
Orwell illustrates this point quite well, where the people in that society are both under duress at all times and yet simultaneously really do love Big Brother. The mental subjugation of a people can have strange effects, especially when they are of the brainwashing variety.
I'd definitely agree that mental subjugation can result in strange effects.

I'm actually inclined to think that this is fairly ubiquitous among humans, who are all subject to the consequences of violating social norms.

After all, the allegorical nature of Orwell's work is intended to mediate the fact that he wasn't really writing about some distance set of others in some other reality, he was writing about us in his own here and now...

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JoshuaD
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quote:
quote:
JoshuaD:I'm starting think this is a problem that exists in Islam itself.
Scifibum: I think that's true, but in the sense that Islam contains the problem, not is the problem. And that's because it's simply too large and diverse a group to lay anything at the feet of the entire group.

If you said the Quran is problematic, then I'd agree without qualifications.

I draw a distinction between Muslims and Islam. It seems to me to make the most sense to call the teachings of Muhammad "Islam", and anyone who attempts to follow those teachings, perfectly or not, "Muslims".

I don't there is much of an actual disagreement between us here.


quote:
quote:
JoshuaD: I don't blame peaceful Muslims for the actions of radical Muslims. I am starting to think it's legitimate to recognize the failings of Islam, and how these failings help create the serious problems we're seeing today.
Scifi: But what practical application is there? I'd certainly recommend other religions over Islam to a seeker if I was for some bizarre reason obligated to recommend one, but nobody's asking. Opposing Islam in general only increases the justification for jihad (for those who are so inclined).
I don't know. I believe in discovering truth more than anything else. What practical application comes from having a better understanding of reality and of stuff? My faith is a lot, but I can't say for sure how this piece of knowledge is helpful.

I believe that many religions, despite their differences and unique small failings, are all keepers and preservers of truth. I don't try to convince my Christian or Jewish friends to become Buddhist, because I think that the various religions are all vehicles of truth. Because people are very different, it might be that we will come to understand morality through different vehicles. So good, be Christian. Let's talk about morality together. We might disagree about some of the smaller points, but that's OK. I don't think any of these religions is complete or perfect. I think they're all generally very good. For me, Buddhism is the one that seems to have the most applicable truth coupled with the least amount of required faith and supernatural beliefs, and for me, Buddhism is the one that is most practical, so I like it. I have good friends who see Christianity that way. Great.

My question is whether Islam deserves to belong on this list. If a friend of mine feels a growing faith in Christianity, I tend to encourage that. Should I encourage faith in Islam? I'm starting to think no. Based on my reading (which, again, I admit is not extremely deep) I don't think the Qur'an is something we should have faith in. I think it's a book we can look at, but should view with skepticism and judgment.


quote:
Scifi:Working to convince people that Islam itself is problematic may work against convincing Muslims that its practice is compatible with secular government and cultural diversity. I think the latter should spread and that it is the best setting to ensure human rights take priority over religious extremism.
Yea, maybe. My question isn't on the level of good tactics yet. I'm still thinking about the fundamentals. Is Islam generally good, or is it a poisoned moral philosophy? I think it's important to have a good answer to that question before trying to solve any problems that arise from Islam.

quote:
Scifi:I can't think of a solidly better alternative than what many people (including some of our leaders) generally do already: praise the peaceful practice of Islam, and condemn the violence and totalitarianism that can be derived from parts of the scripture. It says "Islam can be compatible with liberal ideals".
Yea, I don't believe in dishonesty. The thoughts behind my original post started when I saw a bunch of facebook memes insisting that Islam is a religion of peace. A bunch of well-intentioned people were trying to encourage others to not take violent actions against peaceful Muslims (something I wholeheartedly agree we shouldn't do) and were making the argument that ISIS is simply twisting Islam, and that Islam doesn't teach that sort of violence.

Well, I like the goal. I don't know that I agree with the reasoning. We shouldn't attack innocent Muslims. I am starting to think that the teachings of Muhammad are too violent to be called good.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
quote:
JoshuaD:You cannot take the suttas of Buddhism and turn them into the backbone of a warring, terrorist state. The raw materials simply don't exist in that religion.
Pyrtolin: We're seeing evidence to the contrary in the South East Asia region. The real truth is that any time a religion gets ties to the power structure in a given region, it gets warped into another tool by those who would abuse power and do harm to satisfy their desires or fears. Religious authority is power. Power attracts the corruptible, and human ingenuity knows no bounds. That includes no lower bound on being able to twist anything into a justification for abuse.
This is true in the extreme sense, of course. Anyone can read anything and pretend that it says pretty much anything they want.

But the text matters. What I am saying is that the text of the Qur'an seems to be much more violent than the text of the Pali Canon or the Bible. Are you disagreeing with this assertion? If not, then we're not talking about the same thing.


quote:
quote:
Joshuad: I'm starting think this is a problem that exists in Islam itself.
Pyrtolin:The root of the problem lies in the poverty and power imbalance in the part of the world where Islam is most dominant.
Yes. Poverty is a problem. Desperation is a problem. I am not talking about those things right now.

I am talking about the particular characteristics of Islam as a moral philosophy and religion. I have evaluated it and I have asked for input on my evaluation, with the hopes that someone who is deeply educated in Islam might show me that it's not as poisoned as I fear.

Any talk of the social stuff regarding the practice of certain Muslims isn't interesting to me at this moment in the discussion (of course, it may be interesting to others in the thread, just not to me). There is no doubt in my mind that poverty and desperation play a big role in what we see in the middle-east, but the questions I'm talking about are not about what we're seeing in the middle east right now.

I am interested in evaluating Islam as a religion. That means I want to talk about its texts, its long-standing churches, lines of teachers, and its well-reasoned conclusions.

quote:
Pyrtolin:Islam, as practiced in the mainstream om economically stable countries emphasizes peace, integration and cosmopolitan civility
Is this based on some larger or holistic reading of the Islam scriptures that I ignored in my post? If so, I'd love it if you could expand on this point.

If it's based on your observation of what Muslims in America or other affluent countries do, like I said, for me right now, this isn't interesting.

What is commonly practiced by a certain set of Muslims or Catholics in a certain economic situation isn't terribly germane to what the religion says. How Islam says we should act, how Catholicism says we should act, that is what I am interested in discussing. There are plenty of Catholics in America who don't understand what the Church teaches. There are plenty of Buddhists who don't practice as the Buddha taught. I am sure there are plenty of Muslims who don't do what Muhammad taught, as well. Right now, I'd like to talk about what Muhammad taught.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Wayward Son: Yes, Jesus very clearly brought a message of peace and forgiveness, but people have been very adept at ignoring those parts. Just look at some of the Republican Presidential contenders for modern examples.

People twist religions to suit their point of view. They make religious text say whatever they want them to say, including the Bible. This has been demonstrated throughout history in witch burnings, crusades, and slavery justification in the U.S.

People latch onto the text that justifies their position, whatever that position is. So I don't blame the Bible for the evil that men do. So neither would I blame the Koran.

Those who want to do evil will find the text that justifies that evil. Those who want to do good will find the text that justifies that, too.

Yea, I'm not talking about the failings of adherents. I'm talking about the religion itself.

Islam is different than Buddhism. Buddhism is different from Catholicism. Catholicism is different from Protestantism. Protestantism is different than LeVayan Satanism.

These moral philosophies teach different things. I think there is a moral truth. I think that these various religions either come closer or further away to that moral truth. I'm willing to say that LeVayan Satanism is a bad religion; it doesn't teach a good moral system. I'm willing to say that Buddhism is a good religion; it does teach a good moral system.

I am willing to say (rightly or wrongly) that I think Catholicism is a better form of Christianity than Protestantism, based on the specifics of those religions.

I am looking to evaluate Islam in the same way. I have provided my initial analysis, which I am hoping is wrong. I would like to talk about the specifics of Islam, and whether its message on whole is either good or not good. I would like to talk about the real meaning of its teachings, how the sections I have concerns about should be read in the larger context of Islam, and what the totality of the teachings of Muhammad are. Then I would like to talk about whether we think those teachings are on balance, good or bad.


quote:
Wayward Son:Islam does not make people and countries worse than they otherwise would be. I see the liberalism of Indonesia and Turkey as proof of that. The evil of terrorism and the subjugation of peoples comes from another source, much deeper in the human psyche, much harder to root out. It will exist whether the violence is justified by the Koran, or the Bible, or even Shinto.

Like Christianity, Islam can be used for peace or war, for love or hate, for life or death. It all depends on what the people, and the individual, wants it to justify.

When the day of judgment comes, God is not going to excuse anyone for their evil just because they did it in God's name, whether that God is called Jehovah or Allah.

Yea, I don't think it's at all accurate to say that all religions are basically the same. These things are different. They teach different things and they come to different conclusions about how we should treat one another. Lumping them all together and saying they're simply mirrors for the adherents looks very wrong to me.
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JoshuaD
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quote:
quote:
JoshuaD:the history of Islam is more full of violence than any other religion.
Greg Davidson: If that were true, you should be able to look back over 1400 years of history and see Muslims disproportionately involved in instigating wars or committing mass murder
It's my understanding that after Muhammad issued his teachings, Islam spread by war and conquest across the middle east, northern Africa, and large portions of Europe. This, coupled with the seemingly never-ending violence in the middle east, is what my statement was based on.

This portion of history is not my strong suit, so I could be mistaken on this point, and invite correction.

quote:
Greg Davidson: Even in recent times, if you asked everybody in the world in 1995 what was their religion, and then twenty years later talleyed the number of murders committed by people from each religion, the fraction of those murders committed by Muslims would be no larger than the fraction of Muslims in the world's population (in fact, it happens to be smaller).
Would you provide the sources for this claim? I would like to read them.

quote:
Greg Davidson: Christian scripture, like all religious scripture, includes some pretty negative language about others, for example there is doctrine implicating Jews in deicide (the killing of their god), which has to be one of the most serious accusations that can be made in a religion
1. I don't believe you'll find this sort of thing in the Pali Canon. Not all religious scriptures are the same.

2. Are you suggesting that the Qur'an and the Bible teach basically the same thing regarding violence? Because this seems to me to be very obviously false; in my review, the Qur'an (not to mention the Hadith) has a lot more violence and deplorable morality than the bible. No doubt, the Old Testaments has some problems. (Problems which I invited my Christian friends to address, and which they did to my satisfaction.) I'm now similarly inviting any Muslim friends I might have: here are sections of the Qur'an and Hadith that concern me. Can you explain them in a satisfying way that alleviates my concerns about your religion?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
quote:
I think this is why the American left departs from the European left on this topic. To the American Left, the Europeans are acceptable losses in the war to secure the rights of the loudest complainers to never be offended.
I think that the some left-leaning folks in America sometimes have a hard time seeing beyond what is politically correct to see what is simply correct, but I certainly wouldn't at all agree that the "American Left" see European casualties as "acceptable losses," Pete.

That seems like a piece of pretty petty vilification, to be honest with you, pal.

Wish it was. Think again. Not saying that they used the actual term. One member of this forum even said that we should resign ourselves to incidents like 9/11 every decade or so and should not respond militarily. Another one last week said that it was OK for sake of PR for France to take temporary security measures but any long term restrictions on immigration would be horribly immoral. I think such statements map over fairly well to the milispeak term "acceptable loss". Better to just bury our dead and say, please ached, may I have another, than take security measures that might offend an arguably racial minority.

If you think about it, there is no bloody difference at all in saying that these lefties value political correctness over French (and/or American lives) and saying that they view such lives as acceptable losses in the holy war for political correctness. PC being yhe leftist goal of creating a world where an Eurohonky male's duty to avoid offending an arguably "racial" minority, supersedes his need to eat, sleep, or breathe.

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Pete at Home
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"I think that the some left-leaning folks in America sometimes *[b] have a hard time seeing beyond what is politically correct to see what is simply correct[,/b], but I certainly wouldn't at all agree that the "American Left" see European casualties as "acceptable losses," Pete"

Translation: "I admit to six, but I certainly wouldn't at all agree when you say'half a dozen,' Pete."

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Rafi
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quote:
I am definitely not arguing that Christianity is evil, I am just saying that if you applied a similar level of effort to attribute evil acts historically performed by Christians to Christianity as you do to evil acts historically performed by Muslims to Islam, then you can make a case that is just as plausible.
It is bizarre the lengths some will go to condemn Christianity and defend Islam. One opposes gay marriage, one actively seeks out and kills gays. Which one is ok to the left? Strange isn't it? When we see such a deep level of intellectual dishonesty, you gotta ask yourself what really going on? Why do they prefer Islam?
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Pete at Home
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Rafi, I think there is some American leftist infatuation with modern Islamists' willingness and ability to shut the whole world down to focus on its screaming fits over just how offended they are over some obscure film. Political Correctness demands that if so many "minorities" (American leftists don't travel enough to grasp that Arabs aren't a minority in Arabia) are pissed off and burning stuff, it would be racist and "punching down" to criticize them.
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NobleHunter
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Rafi, I trust you're familiar with a place called Uganda and the role certain American evangelical christians played (or attempted to play) in policy formation?

Not to mention the idea that the left "prefers" Islam is ludicrous. If more time is spent criticizing Christianity it's because it might actually work. There's scarcely much point in complaining to the Sauds or the Ayatollahs. Not to mention there's something to be said about cleaning your own house before trying to renovate your neighbour's.

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Fenring
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NH, that's not what Rafi's talking about. He's talking about the same thing Bill Maher does, which is the willingness to smear and insult Christianity any old time, but extreme resistance to anyone saying anything bad about Islam. It has nothing to do with the efficiency of such criticism, and has everything to do with PC culture. Criticizing Islam is punching down, criticizing Christianity is punching up. That's all there is to it, and so license is assumed for one and forbidden for the other.
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Greg Davidson
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JoshuaD,

Included in the link I provided are specifics, but I will summarize. By far, the most human beings murdered by others since 9/11 have been in the Congo, where about 4 million have been murdered in warfare between two Christian groups. Some of the murderous warlords have committed their murders in extremely explicit religious terms (a particularly stark example was Laurent Nkunda, a self-proclaimed Pentecostal Pastor and leaders of Rebels for Christ).

Going back in history, I cite the top ~25 wars since the rise of Islam in terms of killings, and the ~20 genocides in terms of killings, and then identify the religion of the group responsible. Muslims have varied between 1/4th and 1/6th of the world population, so if propensity to violence is random with respect to religion, we would expect to see Muslims implicated in no more than 1/4th to 1/6th of the wars and genocides. In terms of the top wars for death, Muslims were the instigators in maybe 3-4 of the top 25 (and the WW II Turks count as one; Iraq in the Iraq/Iran wars is another). Taking genocides since 1900, there Christian Belgians in the Congo, Muslim Turks killing Armenians, athiest Soviets killing Ukranians and Byeolorussians, Nazi Germans killing Jews, Gypsies, and others, atheist Cambodians with their genocide, etc.

Full data is in the link.

Oh, and people sometimes argue that wars and genocides committed by people who are Christian "don't count" because they are not "acting like Christians", while similar murders and genocides committed by Muslims do count because "violence is consistent with Islam". That's a double-standard. If you apply the same standard, you can find terrorists of all sorts use religious language - the terrorist who shot Israeli Prime Minister Rabin used Jewish religious language. I argue that in terms of your basic assertion, if Islam differentially promotes violence, we would see a disproportionate level of killing committed by Muslims. And we don't.

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Pete at Home
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"Rafi, I trust you're familiar with a place called Uganda and the role certain American evangelical christians played (or attempted to play) in policy formation?
"

How many people actually died because of that, Greg?

Also, please name more than the ONE evangelical Christian, since you claimed "Christians in the plural?

Finally, why put what you and I have already established as a false statement followed by a correct statement in alternative parenthesis?

This selective stretching of facts in order to Jerry-rig a sense of false equivalence , tends to support SP's concerns, and mine, although SP missiles my wording and says that my position exaggerated the extent of your distortions.

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ScottF
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
NH, that's not what Rafi's talking about. He's talking about the same thing Bill Maher does, which is the willingness to smear and insult Christianity any old time, but extreme resistance to anyone saying anything bad about Islam. It has nothing to do with the efficiency of such criticism, and has everything to do with PC culture. Criticizing Islam is punching down, criticizing Christianity is punching up. That's all there is to it, and so license is assumed for one and forbidden for the other.

This encapsulates it nicely. Politically I get it, because only one of these sects has consistently shown they will do everything they can to destroy blasphemers, so let's avoid saying/publishing anything to make them "angry". That said, the reluctance to acknowledge the difference by many on the left is fascinating. The gut reaction being "yeah, but not ALL of them [insert horrible behavior here].." There' a kind of psychology at work with that mindset that is really puzzling to me.
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Pete at Home
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"Oh, and people sometimes argue that wars and genocides committed by people who are Christian "don't count" because they are not "acting like Christians",

While you are on the topic of hypocritical evasions by folks not of this forum, have you seen the standard form reason why murders by atheists "don't count",in these discussions? If you attribute all killings by Christians without regard to the actual teachings of Jesus Christ, then how does the fact that atheism has no teachings provide any defense to the fact that history's most prolific murderers (May and Stalin more or less tie for murder by proxy while Atheist Breivik wins hands down for personal mass murder).

If culpability is content free, then lack of content is no excuse for group culpability.

I personally think that discussing the culpability of a religion is idiotic if not tied to that religion's accepted teachings.

It also seems obtuse and frankly dishonest to evade the difference between what IS and what WAS.

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Greg Davidson
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Pete, you have mistaken me for someone else who talked about Uganda, those are not my words.

The plural Christians are essentially all the others who committed ~4 million murders (with that many murders, it is likely that there's a few percent of the murderers from different backgrounds, but I will also note in the very similar Christian-on-Christian killing of 800,000 people in Rwanda in the mid-1990's, the small population of Muslims were largely uninvolved except for providing havens for Christian refugees during the violence).

And I think that Breivik is a very interesting case, because if fellow-believers were morally implicated based on the actions of those who share some beliefs, then that would imply that Islamophobes are responsible for his terrorist killings (and for the record, I do not believe that, but it would be an example of the kind of guilt-by-association that I do not believe is valid)

[ November 24, 2015, 10:41 AM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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Greg Davidson
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Pete,

You also talk about the "actual teachings" of Jesus and a religion's "accepted" teaching. And you argue about what IS and what WAS. All of the scripture directly associated with the founders of these religions were in existence over a thousand years ago. If there were a differential effect based on actual teachings, it would have been demonstrated some time over the last thousand years.

Some have asserted that Christianity became "defanged" (presumably after the hundred year's war in the 1600's) - well, there has not been a substantial reduction in terms of the rate of killing by people raised with a Christian background since then. And in many of those wars and genocides, Christian clergy have been involved in the group committing the acts (think Spanish in the New World, for example, or Beglians in the Congo).

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Wayward Son
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quote:
Yea, I don't think it's at all accurate to say that all religions are basically the same. These things are different. They teach different things and they come to different conclusions about how we should treat one another. Lumping them all together and saying they're simply mirrors for the adherents looks very wrong to me.
I agree with you Joshua, and if we want to limit the discussion to the relative morality of different religions, it would be an enlightening conversation (although mostly revealing the person's relative morality, since, after all, religions tend to try to define morality [Smile] ).

But with the current worries about terrorism, especially from ISIS, it will be hard to separate the philosophies of the religions from the actions of people. Bigots are looking for any excuse to blame Islam, and all Muslims, for the terrorist actions of a small minority of supposed Muslims. For Christ's sake, we have a Presidential candidate who has called for the closing of all mosques in the U.S. because of Islamic terrorists! [Roll Eyes]

So any conversation about the relative merits of Islam must be predicated on the fact that the actions of all adherents don't not always, and often do not, correspond with the precepts of the religion.

(Then there is also the problem of understanding a religion from the outside. A Middle-East Muslim, reading how the Bible states that one should not allow a witch to live, and seeing how "witches" in one African country are being killed, might come to a different conclusion than someone who has lived in a Christian country all his life. [Wink] )

I agree that all religions are not the same, and that some are "better" than others (from my perspective). But we have to remember that stuff like honor killings has more to do with the local culture than with Islam, and to try not to equate the two.

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Fenring
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Greg, I think it's worth noting that in my view many leaders use religion as a puppet-show control mechanism to enforce order among a populous, while the leaders themselves aren't remotely religious. I think this is probably true for both Christian and Muslim countries. If so it makes any analysis of wars conducted by nations of either majority very dubious in terms of whether the religion had anything to do with it. You would have to somehow demonstrate that the leaders were following a religious principle rather than a secular one in their basic decision-making. This may be possible some of the time, but I doubt it can be accomplished for the most part since public statements by leaders may be all we can learn about them, which tells us nothing about their real beliefs. I mention this because if you really want to be able to find the level of correlation between a holy book and between wars waged you'd have to also demonstrate that the actors in those wars really based their actions on the holy book. I would suggest that this is not an attainable goal, which makes such a study inconclusive at best.

I know you like numerical, clear analysis whenever you can do it, but on this topic I think the numbers just aren't available.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
It is bizarre the lengths some will go to condemn Christianity and defend Islam. One opposes gay marriage, one actively seeks out and kills gays. Which one is ok to the left? Strange isn't it? When we see such a deep level of intellectual dishonesty, you gotta ask yourself what really going on? Why do they prefer Islam?
Rafi, no one "prefers" Islam, and no one, Left or Right, wants to see gays killed for their lifestyle. (Well, except for a few perverts like minister Ken Swanson, who calls for the Old Testament penalty for homosexuality, but those are fringe idiots that very few people listen to.)

The reason we try to defend Islam, and point out the flaws of Christianity, is because people like you try to equate Islam with those atrocious acts of barbarity which we all thoroughly condemn.

Sure, a strict reading of certain portions of the Quaran would justify those murderous acts. Strict reading of certain portions of the Bible would likewise justify murderous acts. Pointing this out is meant to show how shallow and meaningless it is to blame Islam for Islamic terrorism, not to justify horrendous acts done in the name of Islam by barbarious people.

If you want to talk about honor killings, subjugation of women, and terrorism, the Left will gladly join you in condemning them. If you want to talk about how Islam is solely responsible for these acts, well, you're just being like Pharasee who loudly thanked God he was not as evil as the tax collector. It's a very un-Christian attitude, if you ask me.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Better to just bury our dead and say, please ached, may I have another, than take security measures that might offend an arguably racial minority.
Except that you're missing the point, which is that the risk comes from such security measures and retaliation, while taking a path that actually discourages attack by making yourself a respected figure that it would be unjust to attack is the surer path to long term peace and stability. Breaking the cycle of alienation and murder instead of feeding it.
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ScottF
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:

If you want to talk about how Islam is solely responsible for these acts...

An there it is. The "yeah, but not ALL Muslims...." argument. It's a an extremely effective way to divert course, so I understand why it's such a go-to rebuttal.
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