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Author Topic: What are your thoughts on Islam?
Pete at Home
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Jesus' actual teachings are the only thing that unite Christianity, just as Islam is united by the actual writings of Mohammed. If someone blamed a Sunni Muslim for the teachings of Ayatollah Khomeini, we would all agree that the speaker was either a moron, an ignorant, or a liar, right? Why should we judge more gently the one who uses language that impugns Christians generally for the teachings of say, the Spanish inquisition, which would have killed most Christians here as heretics and merely exiled the unbelievers. Kind of blaming the victim to hold us Christian heretics responsible for crimes against us, don't you think?

Apologies for confusing how on that Uganda idiocy. I am relieved that twisted bit of goebbelish did not come from you. I'lol triple check attributions.

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Pyrtolin
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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.

Ecexpt of course, by and large there are only a few poeple on the fringes that do that that do not represent the majoirty.

The accurate comparison is trying to equate the criticism of abusive use with power by Christians who justify their abuse in the name of religion with slandering _all_adherents of Islam with accusations of violence instead of focusing criticism on the small handful of those who advocate violence in the name of their their religion.

It's a false equivalence to justify outright bigotry that pretends the context of the criticism doesn't matter.

(And Maher's prejudice against religion isn't limited to Christians- he's equally insulting toward all organized religion. Even so, he's not representative of anything but the fringe)

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
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.
I am not missing that point. If you don't understand that you just made an ACCEPTABLE LOSSES argument, then you don't understand what military strategists (including Timothy McVeigh) meant by that term.
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NobleHunter
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quote:
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.
I don't see any of that "extreme resistance." Unless you mean resistance to assuming all Muslims are terrorists. Or to blindly endorse whatever middle-eastern bombing campaign is being pushed this month.
quote:
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?

I don't have the reference to hand but I believe a church put it's support behind the law. The use of the plural is accurate. International pressure may have forced Uganda to back down (I lost track) but the point remains: there are Christians who would have me executed if they had the authority to do so.

quote:
presumably after the hundred year's war in the 1600's
Pain. Historical Pain. Well, it's not as bad as I first thought, since you probably mean the Thirty Years War which I had alluded to.

More usefully, Greg, I think it's important to distinguish between act done as Christians and act done by Christians. For example, while some of the behavior of the Spain in the New World was religiously motivated, at least some clergy opposed slavery and tried to help the conquered people. A great deal of the mistreatment would have been in spite of Christian doctrine, not because of it. I'm not very familiar with the Belgian Congo but I didn't think it was religiously motivated.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
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
I disagree. It is practice and community that _definine_ what a religion says. Everything else is subject to interpretation, and thus less relevant than the real execution on the ground.

Community is the cornerstone of any religious belief. It's the defining feature that separates religion from personal spirituality. Any text, no matter how nominally central only matters in how it's interpreted, not in its actual content, because, as has been pointed out, people will interpret anything however they want to meet their perceptions and needs.

If you go and read a holy book and try to interpret it based on your beliefs and understanding, then you're not representing the religion, you're representing your interpretation of a spiritual text in the context of your own beliefs. The active practice of a religion in the context of the ongoing and evolving community understanding of for that faith is the only meaningful way to define a given religion or sect thereof.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
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.
I am not missing that point. If you don't understand that you just made an ACCEPTABLE LOSSES argument, then you don't understand what military strategists (including Timothy McVeigh) meant by that term.
Acceptable losses exist through commison, not thorugh the inevitable. PEople will eventualyl die of something; that's not an acceptable losses argument.

The acceptable losses argument is acutally on the other end- "If we kill enough of them, maybe they'll leave us alone" is an acceptable loses argument,. Their deaths are acceptable losses in order to hopefully provide us with security. THe losses are part of the asserted action when you propose a stringent or violent response.

You have to beg the question to turn the position of "If we act in nonviolent ways to prevent future attacks" into an acceptable losses scenario. You have to assume it won't work, and then assert that the advocate of the position doesn't really accept that it will work either, or, a the very least, presuppose that more attacks would be encouraged, rather than be discouraged.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
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.

Ecexpt of course, by and large there are only a few poeple on the fringes that do that that do not represent the majoirty.
Why are you talking about majorities and minorities? Get your head out of power structures for a moment, Joshua is asking about the holy books.

quote:
The accurate comparison is trying to equate the criticism of abusive use with power by Christians who justify their abuse in the name of religion with slandering _all_adherents of Islam with accusations of violence instead of focusing criticism on the small handful of those who advocate violence in the name of their their religion.

Again, you're talking about the wrong subject. No one is talking about smearing Muslims, the topic is whether liberals are prepared to say negative things about Islam as they are about Christianity. Most epithets in America that I've ever heard are against Christianity itself without particular reference to individual Christians or organizations. Typically there is some vague reference to the crusades, Inquisition, and Galileo. These kinds of critics tend not to be very well versed in Christian history or theology. But in the case of Islam people seem to not want to say anything bad.
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NobleHunter
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quote:
Again, you're talking about the wrong subject. No one is talking about smearing Muslims, the topic is whether liberals are prepared to say negative things about Islam as they are about Christianity. Most epithets in America that I've ever heard are against Christianity itself without particular reference to individual Christians or organizations. Typically there is some vague reference to the crusades, Inquisition, and Galileo. These kinds of critics tend not to be very well versed in Christian history or theology. But in the case of Islam people seem to not want to say anything bad.
I predict when there are the same number of Muslim would-be theocrats as there are Christian ones in the US, people will say an equal number of bad things about them. There's no mainstream movement in the US using Islam to justify regressive policies and that means there's less need to try and undercut its influence.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
I predict when there are the same number of Muslim would-be theocrats as there are Christian ones in the US, people will say an equal number of bad things about them. There's no mainstream movement in the US using Islam to justify regressive policies and that means there's less need to try and undercut its influence.

It's not that big a mystery why Americans have Christianity on their minds more than Islam. It's just a piece of provincial prejudice that makes Christianity more of a big deal because of its presence in their country, as opposed to some religion you hear about in other countries but sounds more like a spectre than part of your real life. I think Pete was on to something when he suggested it might have to do with Americans not travelling that much.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
No one is talking about smearing Muslims, the topic is whether liberals are prepared to say negative things about Islam as they are about Christianity.
Yes they are, because the tendency of liberals to defend Islam as a whole from smears is being discussed here and trying to be compared with the tendency of liberals to point out abuses done by Christians that don't give them the standing, even in terms of the teachings of Christianity itself, to level such smears against Islam.

There is an active confusion being injected between "Don't smear them" and "We support anything hey do" that's reflective of other fallacious "with us or against us" arguments, where objections to unfounded criticism are falsely recast as expression of support for those being criticized.

I don't have to agree with them to argue that it's unjust to smear them.

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Pete at Home
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Doesn't change the fact that when you blame "Christianity" for atrocities that were mostly committed by a few sects of Christianity AGAINST OTHER CHRISTIANS, you might as well be telling a bunch of rape victims that the problem is those damned human beings are a bunch of rape fiends. It's called blaming the victim. Own it.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:

quote:
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.
The thing is, it's not just "not ALL Muslims..." It's "MOST Muslims..." or "a VAST MAJORITY of Muslims..."

A vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists. Most Muslims (if not a vast majority) condemn terrorism.

So it's not diverting course; it's keeping course in reality.

And even for things were a significant minority, or even a majority, of Muslims do something, you have to look at the culture of the areas, too. How much is from Islam, and how much is from the traditions of the people in the area? You could still take Islam out of these areas, and the people would still follow the traditions.

So while praying to Mecca is something that ALL Muslims do, and Islam is solely responsible for, many of the other things are not. Many things that people on this forum want Islam to be responsible for is not.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
I predict when there are the same number of Muslim would-be theocrats as there are Christian ones in the US, people will say an equal number of bad things about them. There's no mainstream movement in the US using Islam to justify regressive policies and that means there's less need to try and undercut its influence.

It's not that big a mystery why Americans have Christianity on their minds more than Islam. It's just a piece of provincial prejudice that makes Christianity more of a big deal because of its presence in their country, as opposed to some religion you hear about in other countries but sounds more like a spectre than part of your real life. I think Pete was on to something when he suggested it might have to do with Americans not travelling that much.
It's provincial prejudice to address real problems that affect you directly instead of letting them slide because other people have other problems? That's concern trolling at an impressively high level. People tend to talk about and address the problems that affect them and are their concern than they do problems that are other people's responsibility to work on and they have little influence over; and it's actively oppressive to assume that we have the right to go into other countries and fix their problems for them on on terms and based on our standards.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Doesn't change the fact that when you blame "Christianity" for atrocities that were mostly committed by a few sects of Christianity AGAINST OTHER CHRISTIANS, you might as well be telling a bunch of rape victims that the problem is those damned human beings are a bunch of rape fiends. It's called blaming the victim. Own it.

They're not being blamed for it, though. They're just being told not to cast stones- specifically to not participate in that kind of behavior expressly because their attacks amount to that kind of conflation.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
Doesn't change the fact that when you blame "Christianity" for atrocities that were mostly committed by a few sects of Christianity AGAINST OTHER CHRISTIANS, you might as well be telling a bunch of rape victims that the problem is those damned human beings are a bunch of rape fiends. It's called blaming the victim. Own it.
Thank you, Pete. That's what we've been trying to explain to those who have been blaming Muslims for these atrocities that have been committed mainly against other Muslims. They're blaming the victims. Even worse, they want to punish the victims. They first get raped, and then get blamed for being rapists! [Roll Eyes]

At least you get it.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
It's provincial prejudice to address real problems that affect you directly instead of letting them slide because other people have other problems?

Actually, yes. The ability to only have rational concern about something right in front of you in which you have a personal stake is provincial narcissism. It's a quite understandable bias, make no mistake, but it's a bias nonetheless.

Pointing out such a bias is somewhat different, mind you, from pointing out that the bias goes further and actually tries to restrict criticism of the beliefs of those other people. I come across a lot of social media material detailing the problems with Christianity. I don't see very much material detailing the problems with punishing apostasy with death. This is the sort of thing Dawkins speaks about frequently, and is the sort of thing Maher mentions as being a bit of schizophrenia in America.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
It's provincial prejudice to address real problems that affect you directly instead of letting them slide because other people have other problems?

Actually, yes. The ability to only have rational concern about something right in front of you in which you have a personal stake is provincial narcissism. It's a quite understandable bias, make no mistake, but it's a bias nonetheless.

Nice goalpost shift. We're not talking about having concern, we're talking about investment of time and effort to address concerns. You're confusing investment of effort into certain concerns with a higher ROI with having concerns at all. That again, is the very essence of concern trolling.

There is no lack of concern, there is simply prioritization based on what people can effect and what they have any business at all getting involved in.

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velcro
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quote:
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.
Here's the problem. You are trying to find out "what the religion says".

Can't be done. Nobody can tell you "what a religion says", just their personal interpretation.

You have the holy texts, and every human being who reads them will interpret them a little differently.

There is no Ideal Islam (TM) that all Muslims agree to. Nor Christianity, nor Judaism, etc.

So unfortunately, there is no answer to your question.

The best we can do, as someone has hinted at, is condemn bad behavior and encourage good behavior. Slapping a label that encompasses a billion people on any behavior is just silly.

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
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.

You need to be a LOT more careful with your attributions, inferences and paraphrases if you hope to have a remotely constructive impact on the conversation. What you're doubling down on appears to be "If I choose to distort or ignore forum members' actual intentions [which is easy to do because I'm not using their names or their words here] and, in completely bad faith, sum up the goals of a group I associate with them, I think it's fair to use that straw man to justify itself."

It's petty vilification at best.

[ November 24, 2015, 01:18 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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Pete at Home
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Scifi, these are my paraphrases. Are you really certain that they distort the original statements:

"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."

If I take the trouble to dredge up the originals that I am referring to, will you take the trouble to explain to me the substantive difference between the original and my paraphrase? I will bet you that the difference is far less significant than the difference between what I said re Same Sex Marriage, and the ""Pete thinks SSM should be illegal",bull crap that you said I should not call a lie, dishonest misreprentation, etc.

[ November 24, 2015, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
quote:
JoshuaD: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.
Velcro: Here's the problem. You are trying to find out "what the religion says".

Can't be done. Nobody can tell you "what a religion says", just their personal interpretation.

You have the holy texts, and every human being who reads them will interpret them a little differently.

There is no Ideal Islam (TM) that all Muslims agree to. Nor Christianity, nor Judaism, etc.

So unfortunately, there is no answer to your question.

The best we can do, as someone has hinted at, is condemn bad behavior and encourage good behavior. Slapping a label that encompasses a billion people on any behavior is just silly. [/qb]

Yea, this simply isn't true. It's not my experience in my analysis of any other religion, and there's no reason to believe it's true with Islam.

Of course, reasonable people can and will disagree about minor points, but that's not what we're talking about. If Islam were a tree, I'm trying to have a conversation about the basic shape of the trunk and major branches, not whether a particular leaf is more greenish-brown or reddish-green.

Are you an atheist?

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Pete at Home
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"If I choose to distort or ignore forum members' actual intentions "

Neither you nor I know what any other's actual intent is. I can only respond to what they say. I suspect that the actual intent of some people that say the dumbest things on this forum,is to contradict people that they don't like, and to convince themselves that they are fighting the good fight while sitting on their ass and typing.I think the actual intent of a lot of the dumbest posts on ornery, is not to pay attention with what they are actually saying, but rather with whom they agreeing with and to whom they are contradicting. You are.one of the shrinking handful of people who I can reasonably hope will address the issue and not just the person.

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JoshuaD
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@Velcro, and others: In Buddhism, I can talk about the core teachings of the Buddha, despite the fact that there are three or four major branches of the religion that disagree about a significant amount of finer points.

I can look to the closest thing we have to the words of the Buddha and talk about the characteristics of those teachings. I can talk about the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eight-fold Path, Dependent Origination, the practice of concentration and the practice of insight meditation. I can talk about the five precents for laypeople, I can talk about the greater set of precepts for monks.

I can judge Buddhism as a religion (whether it be Theravadian, Mahayana, Zen, or whatever else) based on these core teachings.

And yes, I might disagree with a Tibetan Buddhist about the value of attaining Arhantship. I might emphasize insight through experiencing the three characteristics moreso than a zen buddhist, who might emphasize emptiness.

The fact that there is diversity under the umbrella called "Buddhism" does not prevent me from talking about Buddhism as a whole. To talk about Buddhism as a whole, I need to look at its core scriptures and teachings.

Similarly, I am looking at the core teachings of Islam. I am looking at the Qur'an and the Hadith. And when I look there, I find a lot of recommended violence. And that concerns me. And so I judge Islam.

But because I know I have only a cursory understanding of the religion, I have tried hard to invite someone with a deep understanding of Islam to say "No. You are reading those sections wrong. Look at X, Y, and Z, which provides a context for that section. In that context, the teaching of the Prophet is not what you are afraid of."

I have had this discussion with Christians regarding Leviticus (for example) to my satisfaction. They point to the section of the New Testament where Christ says he comes to fulfill the teachings of old, and they take that to mean that his actions are the perfected example we should follow, not the imperfect rules written in the old testament.

I find that satisfying. Jesus was a revolution. It makes sense to me that Christians revere the books that existed before Jesus, but that some of the laws from those books are superseded by Jesus's direct teaching.

I am basically begging for an Islamic scholar to sit down and talk about these sections of violence in the Qur'an and Hadith, and talk to me about them.

[ November 24, 2015, 01:56 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by velcro:
quote:
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.
Here's the problem. You are trying to find out "what the religion says".

Can't be done. Nobody can tell you "what a religion says", just their personal interpretation.

You have the holy texts, and every human being who reads them will interpret them a little differently.

There is no Ideal Islam (TM) that all Muslims agree to. Nor Christianity, nor Judaism, etc.

So unfortunately, there is no answer to your question.

The best we can do, as someone has hinted at, is condemn bad behavior and encourage good behavior. Slapping a label that encompasses a billion people on any behavior is just silly.

Ok. Can we agree that Christ is the central uniting authority of Christianity and that Mohammed is the central authority of Islam? And those who deny that Mohammed speaks for Islam, would you be willing to submit your remarks in person to a room full of Muslims?
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NobleHunter
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quote:
I have had this discussion with Christians regarding Leviticus (for example) to my satisfaction. They point to the section of the New Testament where Christ says he comes to fulfill the teachings of old, and they take that to mean that his actions are the perfected example we should follow, not the imperfect rules written in the old testament.
Twitch. Twitch. I don't think that belief is... theologically rigorous. Or, at least, you can't use it as a get-out-of-jail-free card for the whole of the OT.

How far from those "core teachings" can someone get and still be Buddhist? Because that seems a pretty rigorous set of congruent beliefs. For Christianity, the only common belief seems to be that Jesus Christ existed and had some sort of insight or relationship or something with the Divine. It can be defined more narrowly but then groups which self-identify as Christian start getting excluded.

[ November 24, 2015, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: NobleHunter ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
NobleHunter: Twitch. Twitch. I don't think that belief is... theologically rigorous.
Why not? I find it intellectually satisfying. What is making you "twitch"?

quote:
NobleHunter: Or, at least, you can't use it as a get-out-of-jail-free card for the whole of the OT.
Of course not.

quote:
NobleHunter:How far from those "core teachings" can someone get and still be Buddhist?
I don't know. I don't think its my job to tell someone that they're not Buddhist or not Muslim.

I do think that if someone chops off the heads and fingers of his enemies, he is not living in line with the teaching of the Buddha. Similarly, I think if a man strikes his wife, he is not living in line with the teaching of the Buddha.

Based on my reading of the Qur'an, it seems to me that there are a lot of passages which approve and recommend violence in a way that seems immoral to me.

I'd like to learn about those sections more.

quote:
NobleHunter: For Christianity, the only common belief seems to be that Jesus Christ existed and had some sort of insight or relationship or something with the Divine. It can be defined more narrowly but then groups which self-identify as Christian start getting excluded.
Yea, again, I'm not interested in how people "self-identify" or anything like that.

If you say you're a devotee of Einstein, then if you say that E=mc^4, well, I don't really care what you say. It doesn't impact my perception of Einstein's teaching. I know what Einstein taught; it's written down.

I'm interested in what well-educated physicists say about relativity, based on their studies of the teaching of Einstein. I'm not terribly interested in what every devotee of Einstein believes, or how some bad people decide to twist his words to suit their ends.

I want an honest reading and understanding of Einstein's teaching (and then I want to evaluate the veracity of his teaching with my own judgment.)

I want an honest reading and understanding of Muhammad's teaching (and then I want to evaluate the veracity of his teaching with my own judgment.)

[ November 24, 2015, 02:40 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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Wayward Son
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quote:
Can we agree that Christ is the central uniting authority of Christianity and that Mohammed is the central authority of Islam? And those who deny that Mohammed speaks for Islam, would you be willing to submit your remarks in person to a room full of Muslims?
Pete, what does that have to do with what Velcro wrote? [Confused]

Velcro didn't say that Mohammed speaks for Islam. Velcro said that "There is no Ideal Islam (TM) that all Muslims agree to. Nor Christianity, nor Judaism, etc."

A room full of Muslim would all agree that Mohammed speaks for them.

And then they'd all start fighting over what Mohammed meant by what he said, and which parts are the most important. [Roll Eyes]

Just like Christians. [Smile]

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NobleHunter
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quote:
Why not? I find it intellectually satisfying. What is making you "twitch"?
I think it's a convenient dodge to ignore the parts of the OT that present particular difficulties while retaining the parts that considered more useful. I'm reasonably sure the scriptural foundation for that belief is rather dubious.

quote:
I don't know. I don't think its my job to tell someone that they're not Buddhist or not Muslim.
But it matters for vague and unspecifiable but very important reasons.

I'm not sure your metaphor holds. Einstein put down his teachings in math which has an objectivity which doesn't apply to less quantitative kinds of knowledge. But I get your point.

It doesn't seem like there's anyone here who can assist you, however.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
Can we agree that Christ is the central uniting authority of Christianity and that Mohammed is the central authority of Islam? And those who deny that Mohammed speaks for Islam, would you be willing to submit your remarks in person to a room full of Muslims?
Pete, what does that have to do with what Velcro wrote? [Confused]

Velcro didn't say that Mohammed speaks for Islam. Velcro said that "There is no Ideal Islam (TM) that all Muslims agree to. Nor Christianity, nor Judaism, etc."

"Can we agree" was intended to convey that my response to Velcro was not a disagreement with what he said, but to continue to expand on and refine what he said.

"

A room full of Muslim would all agree that Mohammed speaks for them.

And then they'd all start fighting over what Mohammed meant by what he said, and which parts are the most important. [Roll Eyes]

Just like Christians. [Smile] "

Absolutely agreed.

But it's fair to start a discussion by citing the bare text quotes, isn't it? I certainly would not want to insult Jesus by saying that his words could not be presented without a bevy of expert authority. Why should I grovel to authority on the Koran when the plain text suffices me for Jesus? M and J were both "Arabs by language and Jews by galactic law, and holy men by reputation. Setting aside the question of Jesus'divinit which wile central to Christianity is irrelevant to our question of content re violence. If our intent is honest dispassionate analysis of their messages, why we be grown ups and read this words for ourselves?

[ November 24, 2015, 03:28 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Fenring
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C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity has as its thesis the attempt to determine what most or all branches of Christianity have in common. For all their differences, they must have some things in common such that they can all be called Christians. At least one commonality is the NT as the holy book, but there are doctrinal commonalities as well. It isn't at all fruitless to try to determine 'the basics of Christianity' as a whole without having to go into minute detail about each sect. That being said even within a sect this project can be done again and the commonalities between the believers can be discussed within reasonable parameters.

There's no reason to suppose this same kind of project can't be done with Islam, and specifically within the purview of inspecting the Koran. I can't contribute at all to such a project, but I'm confident a fairly general takeaway is possible without having to become a master of each particular denomination and take a survey of what each person thinks.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
quote:
quote:
quote:
JoshuaD:I have had this discussion with Christians regarding Leviticus (for example) to my satisfaction. They point to the section of the New Testament where Christ says he comes to fulfill the teachings of old, and they take that to mean that his actions are the perfected example we should follow, not the imperfect rules written in the old testament.
NobleHunter: Twitch. Twitch. I don't think that belief is... theologically rigorous.
JoshuaD:Why not? I find it intellectually satisfying. What is making you "twitch"?
NobleHunter: I think it's a convenient dodge to ignore the parts of the OT that present particular difficulties while retaining the parts that considered more useful. I'm reasonably sure the scriptural foundation for that belief is rather dubious.
How is that a convenient dodge? Jesus came and made a revolution within Judaism. That is what he did. He put aside some teachings and clarified others. He was deeply versed in the Jewish teachings and he often countered the teachings of the religious leaders of his time with applications of his message.

If Christians do that, if they follow the trajectory of Jesus's teachings and apply the analysis to things like Leviticus, that makes sense to me.

It can be done dishonestly. It can also be done honestly. I don't see this as a "dodge" at all.

quote:
quote:
JoshuaD: I don't know. I don't think its my job to tell someone that they're not Buddhist or not Muslim.
NobleHunter:But it matters for vague and unspecifiable but very important reasons.
I'm not able to follow this.

quote:
quote:
JoshuaD:If you say you're a devotee of Einstein, then if you say that E=mc^4, well, I don't really care what you say. It doesn't impact my perception of Einstein's teaching. I know what Einstein taught; it's written down.
NobleHunter: I'm not sure your metaphor holds. Einstein put down his teachings in math which has an objectivity which doesn't apply to less quantitative kinds of knowledge. But I get your point.
I think it holds. Science is different than religion, but they are both philosophies that attempt to describe an objective reality. Science tries to describe and model the physical reality. Religion tries to describe and model the moral reality.

(Some people reject that there is an objective moral reality and some people reject that there is an objective physical reality. It doesn't change the purpose and goal of these philosophies).

Muhammad gave us a teaching about morality. He told us how we should relate to ourselves, one another, and the world. It looks to me like his teachings are beautiful and deeply flawed, perhaps like the philosophical teachings of Socrates. Socrates was very wise and taught a lot of good things, and he also got some things wrong.

We evaluate his stuff using our intellect. We revere him, but we don't mistake him as the foremost prophet. We recognize that he taught a lot of truth, but that everything he said wasn't true.

I look at the teachings of the Buddha and I see a man who only taught the truth. I look at the teachings of Jesus, and I see the potential for the same thing (although, I still have some personal reservations). I look at Muhammad, and I don't see that. I see teachings that are beautiful and flawed. Much like what I see when I look at Moses or Marcus Aurelius.

quote:
NobleHunter: It doesn't seem like there's anyone here who can assist you, however.
I don't know, I'm hoping to be surprised.

[ November 24, 2015, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
It isn't at all fruitless to try to determine 'the basics of Christianity' as a whole without having to go into minute detail about each sect. That being said even within a sect this project can be done again and the commonalities between the believers can be discussed within reasonable parameters.
Absolutely, but you'll note that the process involves examining the religion as a whole and finding commonalities, not grabbing the bible and suggesting that studying it alone can give you a reasonable picture of those common structures.

You'll note that even the determination that the Bible is the common holy book doesn't come from looking at the Bible, but rather from the looking at the real implementation and affirming that, however they interpret it, they all at least agree that some portion of it is relevant.

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Wayward Son
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You know, Joshua, it sounds like you're looking for answers that we don't have.

Have you googled Introduction to Islam? Or Islam FAQ? There are plenty of sites that pop up. You might find some answers there.

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JoshuaD
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Yea, I've done some research, which lead to my original post. The way I learn best is in dialog, so I was hoping to find some people well versed in Islamic theory to go back and forth with.

It's a shame we don't have that here on Ornery. I think, in general, America is really lacking that; I don't think we really understand what Islam is.

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JoshuaD
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There's a mosque in my town. I wonder what happens if I walk in there and respectfully ask my questions to whoever's in charge. "I'm not looking to convert, but I don't understand Islam and I would like to. Would you be willing to spend some time talking to me about it?"
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
Yea, I've done some research, which lead to my original post. The way I learn best is in dialog, so I was hoping to find some people well versed in Islamic theory to go back and forth with.

It's a shame we don't have that here on Ornery. I think, in general, America is really lacking that; I don't think we really understand what Islam is.

There was one but certain members chased him away, to my annoyance.
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Fenring
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That might work out fine.

Out of curiosity, Joshua, what do you mean when you say that Socrates got some things wrong?

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NobleHunter
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quote:
How is that a convenient dodge? Jesus came and made a revolution within Judaism. That is what he did. He put aside some teachings and clarified others. He was deeply versed in the Torah and he often countered the teachings of the religious leaders of his time with applications of his message.

If Christians do that, if they follow the trajectory of Jesus's teachings and apply the analysis to things like Leviticus, that makes sense to me.

It can be done dishonestly. It can also be done honestly. I don't see this as a "dodge" at all.

Because he doesn't come out and say which parts are overriden and which parts aren't. It becomes a matter of interpretation regarding which parts of the OT still count and which can be ignored. A Christian may use Reason and Tradition to determine how much of the OT to follow but it's difficult to do rigorously probably reflects more about what the believers wants to be true than any ontological truth.

quote:
I think it holds. Science is different than religion, but they are both philosophies that attempt to describe an objective reality. Science tries to describe and model the physical reality. Religion tries to describe and model the moral reality.
The problem isn't in the subject matter; it's the medium. Science prefers to use math as a medium. That's because mathmatical expression possesses a singular meaning (provided one accepts the conventions and rules that apply). Anyone using the same system of math will receive the same information.

But religion's medium is language. Linguistic expression has a multitude of meanings. Some of those meanings change based on the receiver; some change based on the creator. The same words, in the same language, written by different people and read by different people will result in the readers getting different information.

I guess you know this because you're asking for someone to help you understand the Qur'an, but that understanding will remain distinct from an understanding of Islam.
quote:
There's a mosque in my town. I wonder what happens if I walk in there and respectfully ask my questions to whoever's in charge. "I'm not looking to convert, but I don't understand Islam and I would like to. Would you be willing to spend some time talking to me about it?"
I think it would work. At least, as long as you avoided the Islamic equivalent of the less intellectually curious churches.
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Pete at Home
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"Because he doesn't come out and say which parts are overriden and which parts aren't. It becomes a matter of interpretation regarding whic"

Within some limits. Given Jesus response to the woman taken in adultery, one would have to be an exceptionally bloodthirsty villain to pretend to believe that stoning sir sexual sin still applied in Christianity.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
Out of curiosity, Joshua, what do you mean when you say that Socrates got some things wrong?

Oops! I meant Aristotle. I was thinking of his teachings of physics, as an example. Wonderful improvements to the understanding of his time, but not universal truths.
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