No, We Don’t Despise Islam Just Because of the Extremists

by Luke Muehlhauser on August 3, 2010 in Islam,Video

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

antybu86 August 3, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Ugh… a Steven Crowder video. That guy is a complete nutjob.

  (Quote)

Brice August 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Isn’t this the guy who appears on Fox News and promotes the idea that this is a Christian nation? The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.

  (Quote)

Jacopo August 3, 2010 at 2:56 pm

“The enemy of my enemy is not my friend.”

Whether or not you accept this will determine the feelings of many people to this sort of thing. It is a shame that those who are on the right and/or who are Christians are the majority of those criticizing Islam. The movement of people who see Islam as a threat from the perspective of those committed to secular democracy is on the rise, but they’re less likely to make ‘in your face’ demonstrations of resistance (for want of a better word) like this – and they are still outnumbered by religious and political extremists who often have different, more sinister motivations for their opposition to Islam.

I know it is true that a good criticism is a good criticism regardless of whether Graham Oppy or Ann Coulter says it. Nonetheless, standing shoulder to shoulder with people like Crowder on things like this does make me very uneasy …

  (Quote)

Zeb August 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm

“Tell me your impression of the nation of Islam.”

What an ass. Luke, instead of propagating the idiocy of these demagogues, please write and share your own analysis of the special problems of Islam.

  (Quote)

Jeff H August 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm

I must admit that I still don’t see the problem with reading the Qur’an “incorrectly” if the end result is a more peaceful religion. Do atheists really need to argue for a correct Muslim theology? Because that seems like a losing strategy.

  (Quote)

Baal August 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Jacopo, QFT.
It makes it hard to criticise aspects of multiculturalism in the UK and elsewhere when Christian nutters and xenophobes are making superficially similar arguments but coming from a totally creepy place.
It is why I deliberately support people like those behind the One Law For All campaign against the creeping Sharia in Britain. They are mainly Muslims, ex-Muslims, and especially women, behind it. Basically people whose lives have been directly impacted by Sharia in their own countries and who don’t want it taking a hold here.
At a recent demo by One Law For All on the anniversary of the the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan in Iran, we had Islamists on one side and another gang that call themselves the EDL. The EDL or English Defence League is made up of the types that used to be fighting at football matches. Not much different to the BNP. They come out with the same rot about people being challenged for wearing crosses, and handing out leaflets about Christianity. That and the accusations of it all somehow being the fault of the commies. They even try to use the potential for repression of gay people as a stick with which to beat the Islamists. But as a gay man they are exactly the kind of people I’d hate to run into on a night out.

  (Quote)

mkandefer August 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm

One difference between the way Christianity is practiced today and the way Islam is practiced is that Christianity is largely practiced in secular societies, with some possible exceptions (e.g., Uganda) while Islam is practiced in many theocratic states. When Christianity has been practiced inside of a theocracy we got the following:

- Forced Christian religious practices
- Criminalizing homosexuality
- Book burnings

A secular Islam would probably be a more peaceful Islam, if Christianity is any indication. This video offers a very limited, and biased, comparison.

This is not to dismiss that fact that Islam is a greater threat than most religions, but to point out that dogmatism of any form can lead to horrendous results when it is given control of a state.

  (Quote)

lukeprog August 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm

mkandefer,

I dunno. A religion founded by a pacifist is less likely to be practiced violently than a religion founded by a military conquerer who said to kill the infidels, and also married children.

  (Quote)

Mike AKA MonolithTMA August 3, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Just a note: The Nation of Islam and Islam as a whole are not the same thing. I don’t care what anyone’s book says, I only care how they act.

  (Quote)

Zeb August 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Luke, I agree. No matter how much bullshit Christian leaders may pile on, we can always hearken back to Christ (even if he is a myth). Sure the “Old Testament” carries a lot of baggage, be we can always go back to Christ. I don’t know what Muslims have to go to. A lot of good has come out of that religion, but it seems to be based on a corrupt founder, and I don’t see how Muslims overcome that (or explain ot away). I’d love to be educated on that.

  (Quote)

Nonchai August 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Its a telling indictment of religion imo – at least of “book based” ones – that it seems always to be those adherents who take their religion LESS seriously, ( or literally ) that are the most benign and least likely to come across as douchebags.

  (Quote)

TK August 3, 2010 at 5:47 pm

“A religion founded by a pacifist is less likely to be practiced violently than a religion founded by a military conquerer who said to kill the infidels, and also married children.”

a) Christ was not a pacifist (Matthew 10:34, and before any Christians jump on me for taking this verse “out of context”, note that you are probably being extremely uncharitable wrt the Qur’an yourselves)
b) the “Islam was spread by military conquest” hypothesis does not find a lot of actual support
c) “kill the infidels” is a notion that is actually opposed by the Qur’an in many, many, many places

Stephen Crowder is apparently lazy. a quick Google search revealed an interpretation of Sura 4:34 that is in keeping with modern ideals. if people were this uncharitable toward the Bible, there would be no Christians.

  (Quote)

Hermes August 3, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Zeb, there’s nasty and there’s nastier.

The less ugly and cruel step sister in Cinderella is still not a winner, and it’s not just because of the comparison between high school and kindergarten. Consider that Thomas Jefferson was able to prune the NT down to about 47 pages (and seems to have left out John 3:16 and the associated verses that immediately follow it).

  (Quote)

Hermes August 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Nonchai, agreed.

  (Quote)

Zeb August 3, 2010 at 6:29 pm

TK, I agree (except with your goofy interpretation of Mt), and that’s why I would love for a thoughtful Muslim to I interpret the Koranic presentation of Muhammad for me.

  (Quote)

Zeb August 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Nonchai, there is a huge difference between taking one’s religion or scripture seriously vs literally. Which of the Church Fathers took scripture literally? Certainly they all took it seriously, but total literalism is a latter day innovation. The liberal/conservative dichotomy is deceptive. The real divide is thoughtful/naive. Thoughtful Christianity had been the mainstream since the early centuries of the Church. Willfully naive Christianity only became codified with some offshoots of the Protestany Reformation, and only seems mainstream in a few countries where it is the vocal minority.

  (Quote)

Hermes August 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm

There are barriers in Islam that make that difficult. After all, how do you know if someone is being thoughtful and honest or if they are thinking of you as a kafir; diplomatically?

Diplomacy is the art of saying “Nice doggie” until you can find a rock.

–Will Rogers

Admittedly, there are similar attitudes in Christian circles (the whole anti-gay ‘pro-marriage’ and ‘pro-family’ (adoption restriction) groups are largely religiously motivated and supported). It’s promoted as sugar and nice, but it’s hardly either just as it wasn’t when the same-race groups promoted their idea of marriage.

  (Quote)

Red-agnostic August 3, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I enjoy watching videos that make fun of christian fundamentalism. I dont’n see any reason not to enjoy similar videos about islamic fundamentalism.

Nevertheless… what disturbs me about this video is that this guy, who thinks his government should just bomb the islamic world into secularism or religious reformation (an idiotic idea), ends up projecting an image of himself as being more civilized than his muslim victims. Amazing.

Forget about the god delusion, the christian delusion. Let’s talk about the imperial delusion….

  (Quote)

lukeprog August 3, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Red-agnostic,

And also the corporate feudalism delusion. :)

  (Quote)

G'DIsraeli August 3, 2010 at 11:41 pm

If you attack someone that was blind all his life (& still is), for making a claim he has seen a murder happen – that isn’t an Ad hominem fallacy, since it’s relevant to the argument.

However…
I have no idea who StevenCrowder is, but how is this relevant? Sounds like an Ad hominem attack. Especially if you fail to show how his background (or him) is relevant to his argument itself (& I’m not speaking of motivation).

  (Quote)

G'DIsraeli August 3, 2010 at 11:42 pm

About Islam and the west…
I suggest we build “Muslim Sensitivity Training” centers for the local populations in Sweden, America, England etc, so they won’t offend Muslims.
Offending people is bad, since according to contemporary
academy all opinions are equal. So the best we can do is to try and get along. after all, what’s so bad in living in an Islamic state? It’s just the same.

Let’s make a short list we should educate our ignorant citizenship about that are offensive to Islam & Muslims;
*Music (only chanting the Qur’an is allowed ,Haaram!)
*Woman (beat them. add brackets to please Westerns “lightly” in translations. After all, woman are like little children who need beating).
*Sex before marriage *Jacking off *Free Speech *Atheism *polytheism *Swiss Cross *Holocaust history teaching in schools *Pope Benedict XVI *Any body who critiques Islam (Criticism of Muhammad is equated with blasphemy, which is punishable by death) *The existence of a national state for Jews *Hindu Temples *Any other religion building prayer houses (forbidden in Islam) *The Danish Cartoons *emoticons (Fatwa bans them) *Burger King ice cream cones *Pigs *Achmed the Dead Terrorist *Airport security
*& many other

I guess no more “What a Wonderful World” in public?

  (Quote)

Baal August 4, 2010 at 3:30 am

My problem with this kind of video is the way it commits a neo-platonic fallacy with regards to the Quran. That there is an essential Islam there in the Quran that is apprehended in a purely cognitive manner instead of there being many Islams that are co-constructed by the individuals within communities who build from the texts.
Almost as if the only way one can read the Quran is from the viewpoint of an Islamist. With a sense that any Muslim who doesn’t read it so is ‘not a true Muslim’.
Which would be like saying that only those who are fundamentalist Christians who are strict Biblical literalists are the real Christians.
One criticism of Quranic studies is how even Western scholars uncritically accept the orthodox Islamic views of the Quran and Mohammed. Unlike the way Biblical studies have approached the Bible and Jesus from the standpoint of radical doubt of the traditions.
A German convert, Professor Muhammad Sven Kalisch (who I think has left Islam in the meantime) came out and said that he had doubts that the prophet Mohammed existed as a historical person, or perhaps there was someone around whom a narrative was woven. There are the arguments that Islam started as a form of heretical Christianity which would explain the stories of prayers being directed towards Jerusalem before Mecca and mosques in Somalia with qiblas facing both places.
What he says about looking to Christ to find a proper view of Christianity and doing the same with Mohammed pretends as if there is only the gentle Jesus, meek and mild and not the Jesus who will come at the head of an army at the end times.

It suits this guy’s agenda to construct an idea of what a true Muslim is, that corresponds to the type of construction created by the likes of the Taliban and al Qaeda, in order to attack it and at the same time paint a picture of ‘Christianity’ as a superior religion. Ignoring the Christianities of the Phelps clan and Dominionists and various other wingnut types.

  (Quote)

Ken Pulliam August 4, 2010 at 4:04 am

Luke,

I enjoyed the video and thought it is effective in presenting the fact that Islam is at its core a violent religion, something which is not politically correct to say. I don’t care who the guy is making the video and what his personal beliefs are.

  (Quote)

mkandefer August 4, 2010 at 6:18 am

Luke,

There are moderate Muslims who perform the same actions moderate Christians do when it comes to interpreting their scriptures. They ignore or explain away the bad stuff (or known to be false stuff) and focus on the good stuff:

http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/good/long.html

I think secular environments tend to foster an attitude that allows for religious practitioners to perform the above acts. They realize that their theology holds no sway over the secular law, so they have to come to terms some how. Either by saying their religion actually supports secular ideas while simultaneously ignoring when it doesn’t, or fighting against their secular society. We see the latter now with claims that the U.S. is a Christian nation and should be brought closer to the Bible. The reconciliation process on the other hand cannot be performed as easily in a theocracy as there really is no motive to reconcile one’s religion with society, the state has already seen to it by forcing the religion on its populace.

As for the claim that a pacifist theology wouldn’t lead to atrocity when practiced inside of a theocracy based on it, well, that claim awaits testing. I have yet to encounter one such theology and theocracy. Perhaps pacifist religions just don’t lend themselves to theocracy. Did you have any examples in mind? I thought perhaps Buddhism, but then there are some skeletons even in Tibetan Buddhism.

  (Quote)

G'DIsraeli August 4, 2010 at 6:28 am

mkandefer – what you say is most likely false for these reasons:
(1)How is Islam different? – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib9rofXQl6w

(2)”Nor can it be said any longer that militant, fundamentalist Islam is just an insignificant minority within a peaceful faith community.”:

A good article from DyalightAtheism
http://www.daylightatheism.org/2010/08/how-to-eradicate-militant-islam.html

Offers also a solution.

  (Quote)

lukeprog August 4, 2010 at 7:51 am

mkandefer,

I second G’Disraeli’s link to the youtube video. (Except, note that contrary to that video’s claims, the Qur’an was not “one book, written by one man in his own lifetime.”)

Here’s the central point: ‘The Problem of Abrogation in the Quran’
http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Farooq_Ibrahim/abrogation.htm

  (Quote)

mkandefer August 4, 2010 at 8:01 am

G’Israeli,

You misrepresent what I’ve said. I never claimed that fundamentalist Islam was in the minority. I also explicitly said, “[What I've said] is not to dismiss the fact that Islam is a greater threat than most religions.” The reason I said this is that I acknowledge that Islam seems to be practiced mostly fundamentally, as the majority of its practitioner are members of states that are theocratic or governed by Islamic law.

My main claim is that environment matters when it comes to shaping beliefs and that a secular, productive, and prosperous environment increases the probability that a religious individual will develop a belief set that coheres with the secular laws of that environment. An environment, especially a less prosperous one, that dictates that one religion is correct and the one whose moral teaching are (mostly) to be followed does not offer such an opportunity, and tends to foster violence and crime.

I also disagree with your first video in some spots. I’ll explain point by point:

1a) The Qur’an is not full of symbolism or vague points.

The same is alleged by many Christians that take the Bible literally, and has been said historically. Was it a mistake in understanding the complex symbolism of the Bible that caused Christians to imprison Galileo, or adherence to literal interpretations of how the Bible described our universe? Was is mistake in interpreting complex symbolism or vague terminology that spurred the inquisition, or a literal interpretation of passages like:

“If thy brother … or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods … Thou shalt not consent unto him … neither shall thine eye pity him … But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.”
If your brother, son, daughter, wife, or friend tries to get you to worship another god, “thou shalt surely kill him, thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death” Deuteronomy 13: 6-9

This is a seemingly clear edict that if religion were as the author of the video had it, we’d have to declare Christianity a religion of violence incapable of being practiced in secular society.

Also chapters like chapter 99 refute the claim that the Qur’an doesn’t contain vague or symbolic statements:

“When Earth is shaken with her (final) earthquake and Earth yieldeth up her burdens, And man saith: What aileth her ? That day she will relate her chronicles, Because thy Lord inspireth her. That day mankind will issue forth in scattered groups to be shown their deeds. And whoso doeth good an atom’s weight will see it then, And whoso doeth ill an atom’s weight will see it then.”

Pretty vague and symbolic, unless of course you consider an atom’s weight (which kind, who knows) a standard unit of measurement for moral deeds.

1b) That Muslims must ignore earlier passages if they contradict later passages. The later passages are the violent ones, while the earlier ones are peaceful.

The video doesn’t support your claim here. It actually supports mine. It acknowledges that there are some moderate Muslims that cite the earlier passages, and some that cite the later passages. I’m skeptical about this claim that Muslims are to ignore earlier contradiction in the text. No citation is offered, and a brief internet search of the Qu’ran didn’t bring up anything. Nonetheless, even if true, this further reinforces my claim that Muslims can do what Christians have done and ignore parts of their holy text. Clearly the moderates are doing this if they are embracing the earlier good passages, and ignoring the later violent passages and this alleged demand to follow the most recent writings when it comes to contradictions.

2) Forcing Sharia law is Islamic duty.

These moderate Muslims disagree:

http://www.reformislam.org/

Furthermore, forcing Biblical law has been a feature of Christian theocracies of the past, and continues to be a feature of some democracies that are potentially theocratic (e.g., Uganda and LGBT rights). Islam does not differ here.

3) Muslims are allowed to deceive non-Muslims to help Islam.

Hear of lying for Jesus? Not a Biblical edict, but some Christians find it acceptable.

http://unreasonablefaith.com/2009/03/20/pastor-gets-caught-lying-for-jesus/

That said, if you’re using this to suggest there really aren’t moderate Muslims and that they are lying for Islam, then this borders on conspiracy theory, which of course you have proof for. For example, moderate Muslims saying they don’t want Sharia law, while secretly setting up Sharia courts. If not, then you acknowledge my point Islam can be practiced peacefully, and without deception in secular society.

I do agree with the video in one claim, to declare universally that Islam is a religion of peace is silly.* There are passages and environments that will foster violence, and ones that won’t. However, the same is true of other religions, including Christianity.

* – To make universal claims about the beliefs of believers of a religion in general is silly. Point me to a believer and you will have identified someone that probably doesn’t follow their holy text in some manner. To create the set of necessary and sufficient properties for being say, a Christian, is quite the task. Some necessary properties one would think include, the death and bodily resurrection of Jesus… but then there are Docetists. It might just be one of those things we have to bite the bullet on and say, people are Christian if they say they are.

  (Quote)

Hermes August 4, 2010 at 8:08 am

Mkandefer, thanks for the post. While I agree, it seems to me that the moderates (including Christian moderates) are attempting to make a birthday cake out of a cow pie, or at best they are making stone soup and can do without the stone.

  (Quote)

mkandefer August 4, 2010 at 8:17 am

Hermes,

I agree. I often ask moderate Christians why they just don’t do away with the Old testament, like they have with the New testament apocrypha. It doesn’t makes sense to me to retain that as part of one’s holy book, especially when most moderates already acknowledge that it wasn’t written by God. However, humans are great rationalizers, and reconciling one’s faith with their environment can be done, even to the point where we could still have Christianity in a world where a historical Jesus was proven not to exists (see Docetism).

  (Quote)

G'DIsraeli August 4, 2010 at 8:35 am

@mkandefer

“My main claim is that environment matters…”
For closed communities, see England or Sweden.

1a) are those representative? Yes or no
1b) Lazy. See here:
http://www.islamreview.com/articles/quransdoctrine.shtml
http://www.mostmerciful.com/abrogation-and-substitution.htm
http://www.answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Jam/chap4.html
2) Islam does differ here from Judaism & other polytheistic religion, if what you say is true.
3)Did Jesus say “lie for me or my religion”?

You miss the point of the whole post, and regard people who believe and shape there religion and not the religion that shapes people.
“There are passages and environments that will foster violence” – early versus later, see above 1b

  (Quote)

Hermes August 4, 2010 at 8:58 am

3)Did Jesus say “lie for me or my religion”?

Who cares about Jesus if it’s common practice with many Christians? I mean, what’s one little lie if you can save someone for Jesus — or deflect danger that can threaten your own soul?

Even in the case of moderate Christians, the defense mechanisms go up and the lies flow when anything vaguely threatening — like honest comments or inquiry — happen. Those nasty atheists! If actual pointed questions are brought up, the defensive reaction is ramped up even further.

  (Quote)

mkandefer August 4, 2010 at 9:15 am

G’DIsraeli,

You said, “See England or Sweden”

You’ll have to explain a bit further, but I think you may be misrepresenting what I’ve said, and appear to be embracing a form of black and white thinking that I refuse to introduce to the conversation. I didn’t say it was universally the case that all Muslims will abandon fundamentalism. I said that it “increases the probability” that they will in secular societies. Both of those societies have Muslims that are against Sharia law:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1206/p07s02-woeu.html
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11712848/

So, to answer your question. Yes, those countries are representative of what I’ve said.

You also said, “Lazy. See here.”

Thanks for the sources, see the previous post for why The Doctrine of Aboration doesn’t matter, or even better your second source, which says:

“According to some Muslim commentators, more than 260 verses of the Quran have been abrogated. Others concede only 5 verses while others deny there is any abrogation. Thus, there is no general agreement as to what all the abrogated verses are. This can become a point of confusion as sometimes, these abrogated verses deals with matters of life and death. For example, most scholars believe that the stoning verse for adultery for married persons, which was once in the Qur’an, has been abrogated from recitation, but remains in effect in the Sharia.”

Sounds to me like things aren’t so cut and dry in Islam, and that there are many interpretations and many ways, including peaceful ones, or practicing the religion.

You also said, “Islam does differ here from Judaism & other polytheistic religion, if what you say is true.”

I’m not clear on what you’re getting at here. Can you please rephrase?

You also said, “Did Jesus say “lie for me or my religion”?”

This was acknowledged, please read what I wrote, not what you wish to believe I wrote. Furthermore, you seem to demonstrate here that you believe because a holy book says something all individuals that identify as a member of that religion must believe it. Am I mistaken? If not, please see the discussion at the bottom of my original post on the difficulties of establishing a list of necessary and sufficient properties for being a member of a religion.

Finally, you said:

“You miss the point of the whole post, and regard people who believe and shape there [sic.] religion and not the religion that shapes people.”

I never said this. Surely books are part of environments, and I was making the claim that environments shape beliefs. You’re the one that seems to be selectively identifying one part of complex environments and claiming it is the sole factor in determining religious beliefs. To sum up, I recognize the influence holy books can have on beliefs, but also recognizing societies can influence beliefs. There are moderate Muslims. They are more predominate in secular societies than they are in theocracies. Why do you think this is the case?

  (Quote)

Márcio August 4, 2010 at 9:22 am

I think that the best thing in this video in the difference between the christian utopia and islamic utopia.

Jesus vs Mohammed.

If a person acts like Jesus, the world will be a better place. If a person acts like Mohammed, he/she would go to jail.

  (Quote)

Márcio August 4, 2010 at 9:23 am

It’s Muhammad, sorry about that.

  (Quote)

mkandefer August 4, 2010 at 9:26 am

If a person tortured someone indefinitely for not believing in them, they would go to jail. :)

  (Quote)

Hermes August 4, 2010 at 9:26 am

Márcio, Jesus doesn’t want to be tainted with all those unbelievers and is quite happy to have them in Hell. Personally, my morals would be infinitely better.

  (Quote)

Márcio August 4, 2010 at 9:53 am

Hermes,

Jesus is not happy when a person goes to hell. Where do you get that idea from?

Believing it’s the easiest way to be saved. Imagine that the only way to be saved is to never lie, or to never disrespect another person or to never break the law? No one would be saved.

  (Quote)

Hermes August 4, 2010 at 10:52 am

Márcio, I don’t understand what you’re saying in your second paragraph. As for the rest, you are somewhat correct. According to the story, the character Jesus is not happy when people don’t follow him. Yet, at the same time, he’s quite satisfied with the alternative for them — that people go to the Christian Hell if they aren’t his followers — after all he set it all up, right?

Additionally, you should remember the various parts of the Bible that talk about obedience as well as purity and what is allowed in Temple. The Christian deity and Jesus (if you don’t consider them to be the same) has a reputation for being quite strict about those issues. As such, why would it give a pass to the darkness that is supposedly in the hearts of the unbelievers?

  (Quote)

G'DIsraeli August 4, 2010 at 11:10 am

@mkandefer
Can you please save the verbose? I’m tired enough from working and studying.

-”in great detail every verse that was cancelled-out/overridden by particular verses that were written later. …out of 114 Surahs…that were not affected by this concept.”
You seem to read in those sources what your looking for, when in fact they point out the “later, better” hypothesis.

This concept meets together with the concept that all holy scriptures are right but UPDATED & more fitting (The Qur’an is the latest after the New testament and before the old testament.)

You are referring me to sites that seem very unpopular which have little relevance to Islam.
You seem to put out an incoherent argument.
You say it’s matter of how people interpret it, but then source the bible as a source as Christian violence?
I think you should elaborate on this point or change your argument.

This only proves my point further, Islam by nautre (holy books, traditions) is harder to reform then other modern religions.

  (Quote)

mkandefer August 4, 2010 at 11:50 am

G’DIsraeli,

I can see from your response that I’ve confused you as you are definitely misrepresenting what I said. What I’ve said can be boiled down to the following:

1) Identifying what individuals believe is not as simple as pointing to the holy book of the religion they self identify as and using your or other individual’s interpretations of that book to decree what they believe.

2) Regardless of religion, an economically unstable theocratic nation will tend to foster violence and crime, and permit adherence to stricter interpretations of scripture. Economically stable, secular nations see the opposite.

3) Comparisons to Christianity were not made to declare Christianity a religion of violence, but to point out the double standard being employed. It’s fine to point to violent passages in one religion’s holy text and declare that religion violent, but not to do so in another’s. This was also done to illustrate that is not a simple matter of attributing Islam’s excessive violence to the religious text alone. Other factors are in play (e.g., the society the religion is practiced in).

4) The encroachment of Sharia courts in secular nations, like England, is the response of some Muslims to having to adapt to a secular environment. An other response is reconciling their religion, what moderates do. These responses are similar to the response some Christians have in America. Some reconcile their faith with scientific findings and secular law. Some, like Mike Huckabee, wish to see a Christian America based on Biblical values. Once again, a double standard is being employed.

You said,

“This only proves my point further, Islam by nautre (holy books, traditions) is harder to reform then other modern religions.”

This is the first time you’ve raised this point, at least, clearly. It is the first time you’ve also mentioned traditions, which I take to also include the history of environments in which it has been practiced (e.g., nations ruled by Islamic law). I agree with this, the majority of Islamic practitioners will be difficult to “reform” due to the circumstances of their environments (i.e., nations ruled by Islamic law).

I also see it equally difficult to get the following nations to “reform” to more secular notions of equality for LGBT individuals due to the influence of the Christian religion (i.e., holy book and traditions):

- Uganda
- Jamaica
- United States of America

  (Quote)

al friedlander August 4, 2010 at 12:30 pm

“Jesus is not happy when a person goes to hell. Where do you get that idea from?”

If you look at the scriptures closely, you’ll notice that much of the time, whenever Jesus speaks of hell, he usually does so with a fiery gusto. It’s probably the one most flagrant issue I had with the historical Jesus as a character.

“Believing it’s the easiest way to be saved”

But it’s really not easy at all. Especially when you consider determinism, it’s all scripted to begin with. And even if you believe in some sort of free will, it’s hard to look past the issue that someone converting to your religion is just as difficult as you converting to another. The probability isn’t in your favor either, because how would you know which one to choose?

  (Quote)

G'DIsraeli August 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm

mkandefer,

2) I think your maybe confusing the cause & effect or cum hoc ergo propter hoc (Correlation does not imply causation).
Is it the reign of the catholic church which made free inquiry impossible or poverty that led to religion? is it religion that leads to poverty? or both? or none?
-Islam causes Woman to be beaten. Look in the Qur’an.
-Christians in a good western environment kill there kids not vaccinating them. Look at there books, at there clergy.

3)Yes, again. Most of Western religions & believers don’t take there scripture as serious, and it ain’t the same scriptures. Do the scriptures plat a rule here? I think so.
Do people beat there wife because the bible says so?
Does the bible command you to beat your wife? No.
Do the mainstream clergy preach so you will beat your wife? No.
Islam? Yes (look at the Qur’an explicitly COMMANDING) & Yes (see Dr. Muzammil Saddiqi & other mainstream).

4) Is seems again your trying to compare two different things. Islam is different then Christianity today, the US isn’t Saudi-Arabia, even tho you would wish so for the sake of your argument.

All religions are problem to an extence. Islam is a problem, and a special one. Deal with it.
People act on the Qur’an and it’s passages, I think it’s the point of this clip that you miss trying to imply that all religions are the same (Is Buddhism Islam? flase). And worst that religion is a benign idea (false).
It’s not the religions fault (false).
So many fanatics & religious people, don’t lack a ‘good’, secular & economic environment in Western countries & still act like maniacs. How many variables are left? Oh can it be there religion?
Do Buddhist monks act like peaceful people because of there religion or environment (modern day India)?

  (Quote)

Poban August 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I know there will still be islamic terrosists. But overall muslims are changing. Few of the Muslims I know are almost as liberal as non- believers I know of. Here one can see how muslims are in India.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ3oSBzO9WY&feature=related

  (Quote)

Ralph August 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm

Taqiyya?

  (Quote)

MKandefer August 4, 2010 at 3:41 pm

G’dIsraeli,

With less verbiage, since the more I write the more incomprehensible your writing gets. :)

You keep using the words “Christians” and “Islam”, I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

It’s very hard to engage you in argument since you keep trying to drag the conversation into a territory of black-and-white thinking when I’m trying to make it more refined. I don’t just casually toss around the word “Christians”, I make a distinction among Christians. I don’t just say “Islam”, as if it’s practiced one way by all people.

Let’s just get down to brass tacks here. Do you think that Islam can be practiced peacefully? If not, then what is your explanation for individuals that self-identify as Muslims and then go onto form organizations like:

http://www.reformislam.org/

  (Quote)

Baal August 4, 2010 at 5:23 pm

After MKandefer, rather than talking about Islam or Chritianity, it would be more fruitful to examine particular forms like say Wahhabi or Salafi Islam and also Roman Catholicism and Dominionist Christianity and try to understand the particular conditions that give rise to things like killing apostates, stoning women, desire for theocracy, hanging homosexuals, the molestation of children, etc.
If you come at it with the idea that at the heart of a religion there is something essentially evil and the only solution is to eradicate it then the law of unintended consequences could kick in and you end up contributing to a form that is as bad if not worse.

If you look at history of Wahhabism you see that one of the factors is how the idea of a nation state was taken up an instituted in the area that is now Saudi Arabia. Which in turn was a consequence of the power games of the empires in Europe and Turkey.
The creation of the Taliban was an unintended consequence of the power games of the Americans and the Soviet bloc.
None of these things arose in isolation from what was happening in the Western world.
Unless we can somehow break it down and come to a better more systemic understanding and use this to engage with the Muslim world I can’t see how things could improve.

  (Quote)

G'DIsraeli August 5, 2010 at 6:00 am

@MKandefer
There are problems with definitions.
Islam can be practiced peacefully, if you reform it. Till then, well lots of work and time.
No research has indicated any correlation between poverty and radicalisation. There are far more Saudis than Bangladeshis in radical Islamic movements, in fact there are almost no militant Bangladeshis.

This is a conflict between secularists on the one hand – who also exist in the Muslim community – and conservative believers on the other. Currently radical Islam is the biggest and most intolerant fundamentalist religion.

Bible, mostly stories.
Qur’an mostly commands.

  (Quote)

Kip August 7, 2010 at 6:13 am

If a person acts like Jesus, the world will be a better place. If a person acts like Muhammed, he/she would go to jail.

If everyone acted like Jesus, we’d have a lot less pigs & figs. (Mark 5:12-13; Mark 11:12-14,20-21).

How good is it to destroy someone else’s property?

  (Quote)

Leave a Comment