A Philosopher's Blog

War on Religion?

Posted in Philosophy, Religion by Michael LaBossiere on December 13, 2011
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Ricky Perry recently claimed that Obama is attacking religion. Fox News is already revving up its yearly war on Christmas fantasy. However, there do seem to be actual attacks on religion. One obvious example is the attempt to convince voters that Mormonism is a cult. Another example is FFA’s movement to get advertisers to pull advertisements from All American Muslim.

America is based on a principle of religious tolerance and, as such, these sorts of things should be condemned as going against one of our core principles. Naturally, the right to free speech allows people to say such things and for companies to remove their advertisements. But there is much to be said for being civil with faiths that differ from one’s own and also in not yielding to religious bigotry when making business decisions.

While these matters are well worth considering, the United States is still a very tolerant country in regards to religion. While there have been attempts to equate Islam with terrorism and thus infringe on religious freedoms in the name of security, we have largely resisted this urge. Other countries have not been so restrained in their treatment of non-dominant faiths and this, of course, includes the very real mistreatment of Christians in certain parts of the world. This should not, of course, be taken to justify abandoning our hard earned tolerance. Rather, it should show us exactly why the Christian majority in America should treat the religious minorities as they would wish to be treated if they were the minority.

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161 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on December 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Is attacking a TV show ones does not like really an attack on religion?

    People boycott messages they don’t like all the time. Here is one example. Is this an attack on pretty girls?

    JCPenney has pulled a controversial shirt from its website that consumers declared “sexist.” The girls’ shirt reads: “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.”

    “We’ve immediately discontinued sales of that T-shirt. It was only online,” Ann Marie Bishop, a spokeswoman for JCPenney, told ABCNews.com. ”We agreed that the shirt does not deliver an appropriate message.”

    The shirt was being marketed to girls between the ages of 7 and 16, for the price of $9.99. A caption next to photos of the shirt read: “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out? She’ll love this tee that’s just as cute and sassy as she is.”

    Soon after the shirt went online, outraged customers began making noise, and the online petition website Change.org put up a notice with the message: “Stop selling clothing with sexist messages for girls.”

    As of midday, more than 1,600 people had signed a petition addressed to JCPenney Chairman and CEO Mike Ulman III: “Under the guise of being ‘cute,’ J.C. Penney is promoting merchandise that encourages girls to value looks over brains; to leave academics to the boys, and to aspire to nothing more than fawning after Justin Bieber,” it read.

    Those who signed the petition renounced the “too pretty to do homework” message and pledged not to shop at JCPenney anymore.

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/08/jcpenneys-too-pretty-to-do-homework-shirt-pulled/

    • anon said, on December 13, 2011 at 10:43 am

      The question is WHY do they not like the tv show. Is it simply because it has Muslims, does it have a “bad message” (is this because it has Muslims on it or would it apply if they were of another faith?), it it just a terrible show? People can hate a show for different reasons but some of those reasons may simply be becauses they are intolerant of the beliefs of others.

      The FFA is a(n openly) Christian organization that seems to dislike the the show because the show has Muslims on it and the show doesn’t portray them as terrible people. (FFA’s website is broken right now so I can’t link to their posting about getting Lowes to stop advertising on it)

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Not automatically, no more than disliking a person need be racism or sexism. What makes something an “ism” of this sort, an attack of religion or so on is mainly a matter of intent and motivation. If I dislike Obama because of his polices, I need not be a racist. If I think poorly of him because he is black, then that would seem to take me into the realm of racism.

      The FFA claims that the show is “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda.” That is, they are against the show because of Islam rather than a dislike of the show because it is poorly written or sexist.

      • FRE said, on December 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm

        It would appear that the FFA does not want any Muslims to be portrayed as ordinary people who live ordinary lives. Rather, it seems to want all Muslims to be portrayed as hateful terrorists and will object to anything that does not portray them as such. That’s nothing new; at one time, portraying black Americans as not much different from whites was publicly unacceptable since the public wanted them to be portrayed as inferior. Jews had similar problems. In a sense, the actions of the FFA are history repeating itself.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm

          I saw an interview with the head of the FFA. His line of reasoning appeared to be this:
          1. If people see the show and see that some Muslims are not terrorist, they might believe that all Muslims are not terrorists.
          2. It would be bad if people believed that no Muslims are terrorists.
          3. Therefore the show is harmful and needs to have its advertising pulled (presumably to get the show off the air).

          He was also concerned that the show was not showing the Muslims doing things that would scare Americans.

          This seems like a problematic line of reasoning. After all, the same could be applied to Christianity-imagine a show called American Christians that showed normal Christian Americans and someone complained that this was a bad show because this might lead people to think that all Christians are not people who molest children (as per the Catholic church scandal). Also imagine someone complaining because a show about American Christians did not show them stoning disobedient children.

      • T. J. Babson said, on December 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

        So what if they dislike the show because of Islam? Why is that worse than trying to bully girls into wearing only feminist-approved T-shirts?

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm

          They have every right to dislike the show. But the FFA seems to dislike the show on two grounds:
          1. It shows Muslims being “normal” Americans and this might lead people to think all Muslims are like that.
          2. The show does not show Muslims engaged in activities the FFA regards as being “bad” (well, other than perhaps being Muslims).

          Roughly put, the head of the FFA seems to dislike the show because it might cause some people to think that Muslim Americans are, for the most part, also normal Americans who have no desire to blow up other Americans. That is, the show might counter the stereotypes of Muslims the FFA seems to regard as defining what it is to be Muslim.

          The FFA does, of course, have the right to hold to this sort of view, much as people in racist groups have a right to hold to their views of other races.

          • FRE said, on December 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm

            Very good. That’s EXACTLY the way I see it, but you expressed it much better than I did.

  2. chamblee54 said, on December 13, 2011 at 11:48 am

    The FFA website is back up, after a fashion. It has a rather bizarre message. http://floridafamily.org/
    “The attack has been extremely mean spirited. In a country that supposedly embraces free speech, those that oppose our postion have no qualms about destroying our free speech. Yet, these same folks claim the Internet should not be restricted in any way. How the two conflicting postions can be reconciled in their minds is beyond comprehension.”
    Apparently their site has been hacked. I wonder how they know who these “same folks” are. And what their opinion about internet freedom is. Or maybe they have a clumsy webmaster. Or maybe they took down their own site, and put that message up to gain sympathy for their cause.

  3. T. J. Babson said, on December 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    In any case, exactly what is wrong with attacking religion? Why are we granting religious beliefs a special exemption from criticism that we don’t grant other beliefs?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      “Of all speculative errors, those, which regard religion, are the most excusable in compositions of genius; nor is it ever permitted to judge of the civility or wisdom of any people, or even of single persons, by the grossness or refinement of their theological principles. The same good sense, that directs men in the ordinary occurrences of life, is not hearkened to in religious matters, which are supposed to be placed altogether above the cognizance of human reason. On this account, all the absurdities of the pagan system of theology must be overlooked by every critic, who would pretend to form a just notion of ancient poetry; and our posterity, in their turn, must have the same indulgence to their forefathers.”
      -David Hume

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      That is a point well worth considering. Criticism of religion should be as acceptable as the criticism of any belief, be it a belief about dark matter or magical faeries.

      However, there seems to be a distinction between criticizing a set of beliefs and launching a negative campaign against people based on their faith. In the case of the FFA, they are accusing Americans of harboring a secret agenda based on their faith (much as Catholics were once accused). This seems to incite a distrust against these Americans on grounds that do not seem to have any solid foundation. If the FFA has concrete evidence that individuals are involved in criminal or terrorist plotting, then they need to turn that over to the authorities. Broadly accusing American Muslims of having a secret agenda really has no place in a society that prides itself on tolerance and freedom of religion.

      I’m for tolerance of religion on two main grounds. The first is epistemic: as Kant argued, God would be beyond our understanding and hence beyond our knowledge. As such, to claim certainly in matters forever uncertain would be an error. In such matters it seems wiser to be tolerant. The second is practical: tolerance of faiths can help avoid senseless religious based conflict. Naturally, religion is not a blanket defense in regards to criminal acts. As such, if a Muslim or Christian or whatever were plotting to blow people up based on his faith, then he would be justly stopped and punished.

  4. FRE said, on December 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Attacking religion fosters intolerance against people who practice that religion; that’s what the problem is.

    If we look at it objectively, we can see that many religions have a checkered history. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have all, at times, used unacceptable means to suppress people of other religions. They have also engaged in charitable operations to the benefit of others. What we need is balance and the ability to see that all religions have people of widely differing opinions many of whom object to the unacceptable behaviors of others who share the same religion.

    At one time, the Roman Catholic Church would kidnap Jewish children and raise them as Roman Catholics; that can be documented. There was one particular case that received international media coverage resulting in an outrage that ended the practice. On the other hand, many Roman Catholics themselves saw that as totally, completely, and entirely unacceptable and worked to end the practice. Obviously it would be unfair and unjust to paint all Roman Catholics with the same brush. Similarly, we know that some Muslims are terrorists. On the other hand, we know that only a minority of Muslims are terrorists and that the vast majority of Muslims strongly object to terrorism. Therefore, it is obviously unjust to use terrorism as an excuse to discriminate against Muslims. Before the Civil War, many churches supported slavery, but obviously that would not make it right to condemn all present-day Christians.

    Although it is wrong to attack religions as such, because it encourages unjust discrimination, it is not wrong to attack those who use religion as a reason or excuse to support injustice and unfair treatment of others.

  5. T. J. Babson said, on December 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Why is it OK for Islam to claim that I should roast in Hell for being an unbeliever, but it is wrong for me to say that Islam is a misogynistic, homophobic belief system that has no place in the modern world?

    • FRE said, on December 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm

      One of the problems with some religions, including some groups of Muslims and some groups of Christians, is that they think that anyone who doesn’t believe as they do will be condemned. That provides them with an excuse to use any means, with no limitations, to force others to believe as they do. It has resulted in wars (or at least excuses for wars), inquisitions, Machiavellianism, etc.

      Many Muslims are misogynistic, but not all. Among Muslims, there are very significant differences in belief. That is why it is wrong to condemn Islam, but it is not wrong to condemn the repressive actions and beliefs of some Muslims when they try to force their beliefs upon others.

      • T. J. Babson said, on December 15, 2011 at 1:12 am

        “Many Muslims are misogynistic, but not all. Among Muslims, there are very significant differences in belief. That is why it is wrong to condemn Islam, but it is not wrong to condemn the repressive actions and beliefs of some Muslims when they try to force their beliefs upon others.”

        This is exactly backwards. Many if not most Muslims are not misogynistic *despite* the teachings of Islam. It is therefore correct to attack the ideology (Islam), but wrong to stereotype individuals.

        • FRE said, on December 15, 2011 at 1:39 am

          According to St. Paul, a woman is to have no authority over men. She is to be obedient to her husband. She is not to speak in church; if she has a question, she is to wait until she gets home then ask her husband. There are also other things in the Bible that indicate that women are supposed to be subservient to men. In fact, there is even a passage in the Bible that, under certain circumstances, requires a woman to marry her rapist. Another passage instructs soldiers on enemy territory how to rape women. It makes it clear that it is adultery for a man to have sex with another man’s wife, but it is not adultery for a married man to have sex with a single woman. So, one could attack Christianity as being misogynic. However, in general, instead of attacking Christianity as being misogynic, we attack individual Christians for being misogynic. Is that backwards?

          Before Mr. Mostafa’s time (PBUH), women were even worse off. What he wrote in the Koran doesn’t provide women with equality, but it provides them with more rights than they had before and more rights than they have today in many Muslim countries.

          • T. J. Babson said, on December 15, 2011 at 8:32 am

            Christianity is not tied to scripture the way Islam is. The Koran is the direct word of God, and Mohammed led a perfect life and should be emulated. Islam cannot evolve without ceasing to be Islam.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 15, 2011 at 11:32 am

              There are Christians who claim the bible is the direct word of God. Presumably Muslims could also take the moderate line and interpret the text as they see fit.

              My view is that much of what is in religious texts is not factually accurate (that is, it is either in error or make believe). So, a religion can just make up new stuff to change with the times.

            • FRE said, on December 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm

              Dr. LaBossiere,

              You are correct. In the U.S., a significant minority of Christians see the Bible as the direct and inerrant word of God, as if God had dictated it to a stenotypist. In some developing countries, Christians are more likely than in the U.S. to see the Bible as the direct and inerrant word of God. These people are throwing their weight around and making their presence known in both the U.S. and elsewhere. Even some of the Republican candidates for president have that view of the Bible. The literalists don’t seem to realize just how recent the Bible actually is and how, after considerable discussion and argument, it was decided which scriptures to include in the Bible and which to reject. Although I see much of the Bible as reflecting the wisdom of God, I certainly do not see that in the entire Bible.

              All peoples, when they write their history, are inclined to slant it to make themselves look good. In that respect, the ancient Hebrews were no different. And, the animal sacrifices provided the Levites and priests with plenty of free food which may have a bearing on the support on the OT for animal sacrifices. Some of the prophets seem to de-emphasize the importance of animal sacrifices and other rituals; instead, they seem to emphasize social justice.

              It should be noted that when Jesus was asked which is the most important law, he responded with what is often referred to as the Summary of the Law. Somewhat condensed, it is to love and respect God and one’s neighbor, with a very broad definition of neighbor. He went on to say that on that, hang all the Law and the Prophets. Many theologians see that as the ENTIRE law and everything else as commentary. So, it would seem that the main concern of Jesus was social justice.

              Although it is probably true that Muslims are more likely to see the Koran the same way as Biblical literalists see the Bible, that is not always true. For example, in Turkey, Muslims are less likely to follow everything in the Koran literally than they are in, for example, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. Also, many Muslims claim that Islam requires certain things, yet a close examination of their texts does not support those claims. And Muslims, like Christians, sometimes do things that would be contrary to their scripture, such as committing “honor” killings.

              When Mr. Mostafa (PBUH) wrote the Koran, the Arabs tended to be rather uncivilized and barbaric. Part of the Koran seems to be intended to provide a civilizing influence. I doubt that he would have approved of the militancy shown by Muslims not long after his death. He seems to have approved of fighting only to support social justice and the right of Muslims to practice their faith.

            • T. J. Babson said, on December 18, 2011 at 8:36 am

              “Presumably Muslims could also take the moderate line and interpret the text as they see fit.”

              No, they can’t. This is the problem.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm

              Why not? Will God stop them? In any case, Muslims already interpret the texts in different ways-there are, after all, different sects of Islam. If they can only interpret the text one way, there would presumably just be one Islam with no divisions.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 15, 2011 at 11:23 am

          Christianity has often been bashed for having misogynistic elements and practices as well, but there are Christians who have pushed for gender equality. This, as might be imagined, raises the usual questions about who has the true ideology. Likewise for Islam.

    • magus71 said, on December 13, 2011 at 7:27 pm

      “While there have been attempts to equate Islam with terrorism”

      Not be me. Terrorism, however, does correlate with Islam more than any other religion.

      Again, did all Nazis kill Jews? Were all Germans guilty of war crimes? No–but being a German between 1939 and 1945 was highly correlative with such deeds. To require that “all” of any demo-graph, religion or creed take part in certain actions before we can safely say that certain groups exhibit certain traits is sophistry.

      http://soldiercitizen.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/the-west-is-fooling-itself-when-it-comes-to-islam-in-the-middle-east/

      • anon said, on December 14, 2011 at 11:38 am

        Russians killed Jews, are Russians Nazis or Germans? Americans and Russians would almost certainty also be guilty of war crimes during this time period as well but they were not tried.

        If Baptists started killing people would all Christians be considered terrorists?

        • magus71 said, on December 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm

          anon,

          I’ve noticed a significant drop in the quality of debate since you arrived on scene.

          “If Baptists started killing people would all Christians be considered terrorists?”

          I will repeat this for about the 100th time. I have never said that all Muslims are terrorists. My point is that a general statement can be made that captures the truth of the matter. We can say that the Mongols were warlike and aggressive without meaning that every single Mongol sliced babies for the fun of it. But some did. Enough to categorize the Mongols during the time of Ghengis Khan as a race that I would not want to be my next door neighbor. I’m glad Ghengis Khan does not live in Quebec.

          “Russians killed Jews, are Russians Nazis or Germans? Americans and Russians would almost certainty also be guilty of war crimes during this time period as well but they were not tried.”

          thanks. You prove my point. Few people have a problems for denouncing the Germans as a nation when it comes to WWII. Yet very few Germans killed Jews. But, like most Muslims, most Germans endorsed killing Jews. Polling data and my personal experiences and study are enough to prove this to me. It is not an unjustified cliche’. Most Muslims like dead Jews better than living ones.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      It is okay for both. They can claim you will go to hell and you can assert that their belief system has no place in the modern world. What the FFA seems to be doing is pushing the idea that Muslims are a threat simply because of their faith. They do have the right to assert this, but when these assertions start harming Muslims, then it becomes a point of concern. This is analogous to racism. If someone wants to claim that whites are arrogant and have too much of a sense of privilege, then they can do that. However, if this prejudice is used to justify not hiring whites or keeping an eye on them via the police, then that becomes a problem.

  6. magus71 said, on December 13, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Mike,

    Should Naziism be outlawed in Germany? It is illegal to be a Nazi in Germany, illegal to own a copy of Mein Kampf etc. Naziism is essentially a secular religion of sorts. Is it immoral to make it illegal?

  7. magus71 said, on December 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    “Fox News is already revving up its yearly war on Christmas fantasy.”

    I’m going to pull the same shenanigans here that Mike does with Islam and liberals:

    “Everyone on Fox News, Mike?”

    • anon said, on December 14, 2011 at 11:31 am

      Fox Corp is to Islam as Fox News is to Al-Qaeda.

      • WTP said, on December 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm

        That doesn’t make any sense to me…unless what you are really trying to say is “Fox News is to Fox Corp as Al-Qaeda is to Islam”…or perhaps “Modern philosophy is to thinking what Al-Qaeda is to Islam”.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      Not everyone, of course. I can rephrase that as “some people at Fox News, in what seems to be an officially encouraged or even driven policy, are revving up the yearly war on Christmas fantasy. In particular, consider O’Reilly.”

  8. T. J. Babson said, on December 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Islam is an aggressive, supremacist religion that has historically spread through conquest. Does anyone dispute this? Is it bigotry to point out this historical record?

    • WTP said, on December 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      Of course, but we need only find a handful of instances of ANY other religion behaving badly in either the present in groups no matter how small, or in the long and glorious past no matter how irrelevant to the present and thus by the logic of purity they are ALL just as bad. All religions have sinned and fallen short of the glory of Philosophy.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm

        No, they need not all be “just as bad.” However, to define an entire group by the actions of its worst members is not exactly effective reasoning. It could be argued that Christianity now is better than Islam now, at least taken in general terms (like number of terrorists, views on human rights held by the majority of followers, etc.).

        • wtp said, on December 15, 2011 at 7:14 am

          Yes. Like your comment 2 minutes ago. Split hairs when you like.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      Christianity is also an aggressive, supremacist religion that has spread via conquest. It is now, however, in its mature stage (for the most part). Also, Christian nations, for the most part, lack the social conditions that create terrorist movements. Islamic countries are often such that they have the right economic and social conditions for these movements. Check out the True Believer for an interesting perspective on mass movements and their adherents.

      • wtp said, on December 15, 2011 at 7:13 am

        “Also, Christian nations, for the most part, lack the social conditions that create terrorist movements.” – Well as a childhood friend used to day, no shit sherlock. And why might that be?

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 15, 2011 at 11:29 am

          Christianity ran into Greek philosophy at first and then developed in the West which saw the rise of the middle class. Crudely put, the rise of the middle class and worldly concerns helped convert Christianity into the mild faith it is today. People are focused on the here rather than the hereafter. In many Muslim countries, there are repressive rulers, economic disaster, and other conditions that create fanatics. The key to “defeating” radical Islam is not through drones and missiles, but through infecting Muslims with our deadliest weapon-bourgeoisie values. The fanatics do not hate us because of our freedom, they hate us because they need something to hate and they sense that we have a system that is not very hospitable to growing fanatics. Crazies, sure. Fanatics, not so much.

          • WTP said, on December 15, 2011 at 11:42 am

            “Christianity ran into Greek philosophy at first and then developed in the West which saw the rise of the middle class. Crudely put, the rise of the middle class and worldly concerns helped convert Christianity into the mild faith it is today. ” – And you KNOW this or did you read it in a book? Amazing powers you have. You KNOW what exactly motivated the collective peoples of numerous and varied western societies of the past 2000 years? Is it impossible to believe that the rise of the middle class and worldly concerns were the RESULT of Christian philosophies in spite of their numerous flaws? Was Greek philosophy somehow perfect or superior such that it had only positive influences on Christianity? Is it not possible the Christianity improved Greek philosophy? Is this somehow “settled science” or perhaps it’s open to discussion, you know in the interest of a liberal perspective?

            • WTP said, on December 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

              Oh, and forgot this part…”convert Christianity into the mild faith it is today” – When Christianity first ran into Greek philosophy, was it really that nasty? Chrstians conquesting those poor Greeks and Romans with their radical aggressive, supremacist religion?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm

              Paul does address the Stoics and Epicureans in his writings. On one hand, he is hostile to some aspects of Greek & Roman philosophy, but has some nice things to say about the Stoics.

              At first it was the Romans being nasty to the Christians. But, Constantine claimed to have a vision and made Christianity the official religion of the Empire.

            • magus71 said, on December 15, 2011 at 2:51 pm

              “Christianity ran into Greek philosophy at first and then developed in the West which saw the rise of the middle class. Crudely put, the rise of the middle class and worldly concerns helped convert Christianity into the mild faith it is today. ”

              ROFL!!!!

              Reeeeeeallly, Mike. I think it’s the other way around. Check out Aristotle’s endorsement and exhortation of Alexander’s slaughters.

              The Greeks were peaceful before Christianity? Since when? Maybe you need to read the Illiad again, or perhaps Thucydides. Apparently the Spartans missed out on peaceful Greek philosophy.

              “The single best augury is to fight for one’s country”.~Homer, The Iliad

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm

              Mild doesn’t mean peaceful. Christianity is now a relatively tolerant faith (at least most Christians are). The early Christian thinkers had to engage the Greek and Roman philosophers which developed a very strong intellectual tradition in Christianity. Aquinas developed a very strong ethical theory based on Aristotle which can temper the extremes of the faith.

            • WTP said, on December 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm

              Oh, yeah…and Spartans! Ever heard of a Helot?

            • magus71 said, on December 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm

              WTP,

              The peaceful pre-Christianity Spartans made good sport out of hunting helots as a training protocol for young aspiring peace-nicks. It was bad to be a slave back then. Then came along the Christians and–fortunately for all the world–the Greeks taught them right from wrong.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm

              I know it, but I would not say that I KNOW it. I have a healthy sense of skepticism.

              Otherworldly Christianity was heavily shaped by Plato and the Neo-Platonists. Just check out the late ancient and Medieval religious thinkers who shaped Christian thought. Aquinas then added in strong Aristotelian elements into Christian thought (see his Summa Theologica) which made Christianity more worldly. You can read all these works yourself and trace the changes in Christian thought.

              The improved conditions in Europe and economic changes allowed a middle class to arise and also shifted concerns to the here and now-just go through the primary sources of this time as well as the art to see the shift.

              Of course it is open to discussion. I’m not a fanatic and hence always open to the possibility I could be wrong.

            • wtp said, on December 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

              OK, not sure which “reply” link to click here but…I don’t know that Constantine made Christianity THE official religion of the Empire. “A” maybe. He was quite the liberal Christian either way.

              As for your backpedaling here…you made your original statements in the context of physically violent oppression. You now want us to take your use of words like “hostile” in a purely philosophical context. Cute.

              “You can read all these works yourself and trace the changes in Christian thought.” I’m sure I could. Of course to be truly objective about it would require months, years, decades of study. Somebody’s gotta work to pay the taxes so certain philosophers can discern what they think is “the truth”. The funny thing Mike, is that I’ve studied a whole lot of ideas far more concrete than religious/philosophical and other such subjective concepts. Even these more concrete ideas shift and change in the context of their times and what is known at those times. And in all the ebbs and flows of physical and mathematical ideas, the truth and facts still suffer from the cultural and political influences of their times. The history of histories is a fascinating subject whose most amusing aspects can be readily appreciated only by the gods. What is known about entire societies from ages and ages ago should always be viewed with a significantly higher degree of skepticism than writers and publishers of text books want us to believe.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 16, 2011 at 11:23 am

              Constantine did “phase” in Christianity. At first he mainly just limited the building of pagan temples and then stepped up things. Naturally, it can be debated whether or not this made Christianity the official religion and, if so, at what point the transition from pagan to Christian empire occurred.

              How am I backpedaling? Is it that any additional explanation or clarification is hit with the dysphemism of “backpedaling” or are you claiming that I am, in fact, abandoning a position because I am under attack? If so, what do you see as the change in my position?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 16, 2011 at 11:27 am

              So, the gist of your reply is that I am wrong, but you don’t have the time to actually do the research to show I am wrong. :)

              Sure, history does shift with time. As I said, I know, but I don’t KNOW. I admitted that I have a healthy skepticism. However, it seems reasonable to go with what seems to be the best available evidence-unless we want to simply abandon history.

            • WTP said, on December 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm

              No, Mike. The gist is not that you are wrong in your conclusions, the gist is that conclusions drawn from such unsubstatiatable “facts” are not valid conclusions.

              But again, you are the best judge of your own objectivity.

        • magus71 said, on December 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm

          AND…Islam was never exposed to Greek philosophy?

          The writings of the Apostle Paul and Augustine transformed the Greek and Roman world more than Aristotle or Plato changed Christianity.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm

            Islamic scholars were exposed to Greek philosophy, but a key difference is that Christianity developed within the context of Greek and Roman thought (after all, Christianity arose and spread through the Roman empire). Islamic scholars did read the works of the Greek and Roman thinkers and their writings influenced Christian thought as well (during the Medieval period there were some top notch Islamic thinkers).

            You should read some Aquinas to see how influential Aristotle was on Christian thought. Interestingly, many Medieval Christian thinkers found so much Christian ideas in Plato and Aristotle that they claimed they were “Christians before Christ.” Not everyone bought this, though.

    • magus71 said, on December 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      It’s patently obvious to me. But the ability of some to self-deceive is quite amazing.

    • FRE said, on December 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      It comes very close to bigotry. The Koran does not support such action. In fact, the Koran, which I read a number of years ago, requires Muslims to respect Christians and Jews as “people of the book,” i.e., the Bible. To the extent that Muslims fail to respect Christians and Jews, they are failing to follow their own religion. However, it must be recognized that at one time, Christianity also tended to be very militant and use armies to spread the faith. That was when one church had a near monopoly on Christianity in Western Europe, although the Greek Orthodox Church did not always refrain from militancy either.

      It might be better to point out that certain elements of Islam are aggressive. But so far as being supremacist is concerned, the Roman Church is also supremacist. So far as I know, the official doctrine of the Roman Church, which was established centuries ago, is that the Bishop of Rome, better known as the pope, has been granted all authority, both religious and secular, by God. Of course he is in no position to exercise that “authority.” That church also teaches that the only sure way to salvation is to follow all of its doctrine. That belief also enables it to rationalize almost anything to force its beliefs onto others. At one time, it even kidnapped Jewish children and raised them as Roman Catholics; that can easily be verified via google searches. There was one particular case in the middle of the 19th century which received international attention and put a stop to that practice.

      The principal problem with Islam, which some Muslims acknowledge, is that many elements of Islam have not yet caught up with modern times.

  9. T. J. Babson said, on December 15, 2011 at 1:30 am

    So where is Pat Condell wrong?

    http://www.youtube.com/user/patcondell#p/u/12/377kKBi6anQ

    • magus71 said, on December 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm

      Excellent video. One of my favorite writers says basically the exact same things in his book, America Alone. I’ve said in blog posts that terrorism can win through the exact mechanism that Condell talks about: Cultural shift via legal conciliation. This is happening much more than is commonly reported. Condell was censored by Youtube for comments about Saudi Arabia’s mistreatment of women. Canada tried to bring Steyn before a court for speaking badly of Islam. Ironically, Canada proved Steyn’s predictions exactly correct by doing this.

      Steyn believes Europe as we know it will be done with a short time after 2020-2025. This isn’t some Youtube nut saying this; he’s an award winning writer.

    • FRE said, on December 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Although Pat Condell does make some good and valid points, he lacks balance.

      Surely laws should be enforced. Thus, those who violate laws against female genital mutilatization should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. In any case, Islam does not require fgm and Muslims I have met are horrified by it; one said, “Women are also entitled to that pleasure,” meaning the sexual pleasure which fgm would deny them. Some Christians in Africa also practice fgm. It has more to do with culture than with Islam.

      Free speech must be supported, even if it offends some Muslims. There is no right never to be offended. I would also favor strongly criticizing those countries which will not permit churches to be built or Christians to carry a Bible. It should be pointed out to them that they cannot treat Christians and people of other religions unfairly in their countries and then expect Muslims to be treated fairly in other countries. It should also be pointed out that the Koran requires Muslims to respect Christians and Jews as people of the book.

      So far as women covering their faces is concerned, let them! Of course, there should be certain reasonable restrictions, such as requiring them to uncover their faces for driver’s license photographs or being required to by a peace officer to establish their identity. Some business owners have signs posted, “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” Surely they also have a right to require that faces be exposed, especially banks and other places where robbery could be a problem. They should be required to accept those limitations. I suggested to one Muslim man that instead of having women wear veils, that men should wear blinders.

      Muslims are supposed to abstain from sex except within marriage. Thus, the rapes committed my Muslims are not permitted by Islam and those who commit rapes should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law with the sentences widely publicized to warn others that they too will be prosecuted if they commit rape.

      There is no excuse to let fear of giving offense to prevent good law enforcement.

      • Asur said, on December 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm

        Excellent points, throughout.

  10. T. J. Babson said, on December 15, 2011 at 1:37 am

    He is hard on Christianity, too:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/patcondell#p/u/18/CqfE2rZVmXE

    • FRE said, on December 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm

      At the risk of being branded heretical, I don’t see the doctrine of the trinity as an essential part of Christianity. Surely some of his criticism of Christianity is valid. However, there has been a move towards reducing the authority of clerics which is as it should be because abuse of clerical authority and prestige has been a serious problem, especially, but not only, in the Roman Church. What many religious organizations and clerics fail to understand is that their abuse of influence has caused many people to turn away from religion. That has been more true in Europe than in the U.S., probably because there was more abuse by religion in Europe than there has been in the U.S., partly because of the principal of separation of church and state in the U.S. It has been amply demonstrated by history that having religion and government too closely intertwined results in the corruption of both.

      I’ve got to the point that I’m much more concerned with how people treat each other than I am with what they believe.

      When I lived in Fiji (1994 – 2004), a Muslim woman told me that she was confident that Ghandi would be saved, even though he was a Hindu, because he was a very good man and worked for the betterment of the people. I don’t know how unusual her viewpoint towards Hindus is, but probably there are at least a few Muslims who would share her opinion. Also, there was a Muslim school principal in Fiji who was happy to let the Gideon Society distribute Bibles in the school. The way religion, including both Christianity and Islam, is expressed, is greatly influenced by culture. The interaction between religion and culture can be very complex; each influences the other in ways which are not always obvious.

  11. magus71 said, on December 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm

  12. T. J. Babson said, on December 17, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Wow.

    • magus71 said, on December 17, 2011 at 10:57 am

      Does he not make the exact point that I routinely made here: The relativism that’s presented on this blog when it comes to Islam and other religions.

      Chris Hitchens and I could have had a beer together and been totally at ease. I agree with much of what he wrote and said, and disagree with much of what he wrote and said. The people who post here regularly know which subjects I agree and disagree with. I always felt that he was the type of guy who despite vehement disagreement with someone, could still be friends with them and shake hands, much the way the atheist/agnostic David Hume was good friends with devout Christian Adam Smith.

      As with Hume and Smith, Hitchens and I would have agreed that a person’s religious beliefs are up to the individual and no religion should be state mandated. We would also agree on the fact that merely because all people are free to practice their respective religions does not mean that all religions are created equal. I totally agree that the religion of Islam is a great enabler , though not a causation for mass psychopathy.

      By the way, Hitchens’ brother is a well known writer, I believe for the Telegraph or another English paper, and has several books in print. He is a devout Christian.

      RIP Christopher Hitchens

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm

        I’m not a relativist. I hold to consistent positions:
        1. Freedom of religion (limited by criminal law)
        2. All belief are subject to criticism.
        3. Prejudice against a religion is still prejudice.
        Etc.

        • magus71 said, on December 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm

          I wish you’d see (or admit) where Islam as a whole is now and where it hopes to bring us. “Us” including secular college professors.

          • dhammett said, on December 17, 2011 at 5:44 pm

            “where Islam as a whole is now and where it hopes to bring us”

            How have you arrived at your conclusions? I couldn’t bring myself to “admit” that I can see into the minds of enough of the 1 1/2 billion Muslims in the world to reach such a conclusion. I can’t even imagine how I would achieve such a feat.
            ^At most^ I must admit that I can’t be certain that the religion “as a whole” and its adherents do or do not have evil intentions toward non-Muslims. I must admit that there are far too many Muslim radicals for my taste, but, then, I also have to admit that there are far too many fringe Christian fundamentalists out there for my taste. I know enough to admit that, at least for the present, the Muslim radicals represent a much more harmful presence in the world than do the fringe Christian fundamentalists.

            I realize that position may be too ‘agnostic’ for some, but I’ll stick to it

            • magus71 said, on December 17, 2011 at 7:58 pm

              “At most^ I must admit that I can’t be certain that the religion “as a whole” and its adherents do or do not have evil intentions toward non-Muslims.”

              What would it take to convince you?

              And what’s your definition of as a whole? Mine isn’t each and every Muslim. If you and Mike held any group to that standard you could hardly make a single definitive statement about a group.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm

              The question of who gets to define a group, faith, party and so on is a rather interesting question. While this is something of a philosophical question, it clearly has rather practical implications as well in terms of accountability and the attitude that can be justly held towards the group. If, for example, Islam is defined by the Muslim terrorists, then the non-terrorists would seem to either not be Muslims or failing to be “proper” Muslims. If Christianity is defined by the God Hates Fags folks, then people who do not cheer at the funerals for American soldiers would not be Christians, or would fail to be “proper” Christians. If Florida A&M University is defined by those who killed Robert Champion, then those who are against hazing would not be Rattlers or at least not “proper” Rattlers.

              I’ve written at length on this subject before, but still lack a definitive answer.

            • magus71 said, on December 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm

              Mike,

              When 75% of a nation made u p of 82,000,000 Muslims supports the 9-11 attacks (Egypt) and much the same numbers apply to Pakistan, and these beliefs are mostly for religious reasons, I’d say they got a lot more problems than the God Hates Fags people.

              Because we can all agree that holding a sign that Says God Hates Fags is more agreeable to all of us, including fags, than having a plane flown into a skyscraper. Not to mention the Fag haters don’t number in the multi-millions.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm

              In what does their support consist? Did they say that they regarded attacks on America to be acceptable or did they claim that they will provide material aid and personnel to attack America?

            • magus71 said, on December 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm

              Mike,

              FAMU is classified as a historically black college, right? Why?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 19, 2011 at 4:36 pm

              Yes (well, university). It goes back to when the “white” schools did not admit black students, so schools were created for black students. FAMU is one such school (created in 1887). Hence, it is historically a black university.

            • dhammett said, on December 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm

              magus: “And what’s your definition of as a whole? Mine isn’t each and every Muslim.”

              Neither is mine.$$ But for you to imply that that’s what I’m saying is, I believe, what you folks would call a straw man. What I actually wrote is that “I couldn’t bring myself to “admit” that I can see into the minds of enough of the 1 1/2 billion*# Muslims in the world to reach such a conclusion.” If I could see into the minds of 60% or 80% that would not, no matter how you want to represent it, be “each and every Muslim”

              Here are some interesting figures: You refer to 75% of 82,000,000 ##* in your 8:27. That would be 61.5 million. The figure I provided for the number of Muslims in the world is 1.5 Billion (give or take a few dozen :) ) Your number, which I suppose you can support, does not account for even 50% of that 1.5 billion. I wouldn’t expect a poll of each and every Muslim, but I believe a reasonable approximation of a sizeable chunk of the majority of the world’s Muslims might be helpful —if you wish to make your point. You haven’t provided such info. and, thus I don’t believe you’ve justified your generalization.

              Briefly, it would be wrong of me and of you to assume that just because 75% of one part of the Muslim population holds a certain opinion that 75% of another Muslim population holds that same opinion.
              And to generalize from there to the entire Muslim population just carries us further from reaching reasonable judgments.
              “What would it take to convince you ?” Actual reliable references would be helpful , if you hope to prove otherwise.

              Here’s a useful chart. Seems accurate. If you have a better one, at least reference it.

              http://en.reingex.com/Muslim-population-countries.asp

              \
              $$ And again we agree!

              *# This number is correct (just a tad smaller) according to the chart below and what I found in a quick wiki search.

              ##* If this chart is correct, there are 83 million people in Egypt and only 90% (about 75 million) are Muslim. Your statement in 8:27 would seem to indicate that the entire population is Muslim. If that’s so, document it. I guess I’ll only have to assume that your 75% claim is correct, otherwise we’d possibly have reason to question the info on the charts. Maybe all Egyptians are Muslims? Maybe only 65% fall into that group you refer to. . .?

            • magus71 said, on December 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

              dhammett,

              95% of people in Egypt are Muslim and it’s a quickly rising number after the wonderful Arab Spring liberals such as yourself were so excited about.

              Call it 80,000,000 Muslims. I’d say that’s quite enough.

            • dhammett said, on December 18, 2011 at 11:32 am

              magus: Here’s the problem. Even after I provided the following info—

              http://en.reingex.com/Muslim-population-countries.asp

              you persist in claiming that your conflicting figures are correct. Now, they either are or they’re not. Simply provide an up-to–date source proving your claim.

              “What would it take to convince you?” you asked.
              Accurate reliable references would be helpful. . . for starters. Did you ever find that line on the tax forms that I can fill out to give as much to the government as I wish? Both you and k claimed its existence, yet neither of you provided it. I promise, I won’t ask again, if you simply provide it.

              Finally, to convince me, you might consider dealing honestly with the meat of the rest of my post:
              “Briefly, it would be wrong of me and of you to assume that just because 75% of one part of the Muslim population holds a certain opinion that 75% of another Muslim population holds that same opinion.
              And to generalize from there to the entire Muslim population just carries us further from reaching reasonable judgments.” Thus far you’ve provided nothing to convince me that a majority of Muslims (would a majority qualify as “as a whole”?) feel as you claim they do.

            • magus71 said, on December 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

              dhammett,

              You’re a pest, which would be admirable if you were right more often.

              Pew Forum on Religion and public Life:

              http://pewforum.org/uploadedFiles/Newsletters/03feb11.htm

              “The Future of the Global Muslim Population, finds that there are an estimated 80 million Muslims in Egypt today, making up 94.7% of Egypt’s population. The report projects that Egypt’s Muslim population will rise to roughly 105 million by 2030″

              CIA World Fact Book says 90% Muslim. This is the type of thing for which you and Mike have become legends. Gratz.

            • dhammett said, on December 18, 2011 at 1:10 pm

              mag/
              And what does that make you?

              magus–12:18, 1035 am above: “95% of people in Egypt are Muslim and it’s a quickly rising number. . . .Call it 80,000,000 Muslims.

              You made a statement and provided no corroboration. I provided a chart that contradicted your assertions. The only way I got any sense of the info you are using to reach your conclusions is by ^pestering you^ for it. And where are we? You label me a pest for asking you to respect a request for corroboration. That’s not a nice thing to do. . . :(

              Your Pew source ” finds that there are an estimated 80 million Muslims in Egypt today, making up 94.7% of Egypt’s population.” The source I provided states Egypt –83,082,869 –90.0% –74,774,582. That source claims its info comes from (guess what?) the CIA 2009 World Fact Book. That you have provided apparently more up to date documentation but did not probably deserves some kind of label. What do you think your label should be? :)

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 17, 2011 at 6:28 pm

            Hard to say. Islam is no more monolithic than Christianity. Some Muslims would be happy to see us all dead. Some are quite content to just be normal Americans and do pretty much what everyone else does. Certain people who are Muslims pose a clear threat to basic rights, basic decency, and so on. But the same can be said of almost any ideology.

            • FRE said, on December 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm

              When I lived in San Diego, there was a black Muslim family that lived two houses away from me. There were no problems. When there was a block party, the Muslim family participated. Of course they were conspicuous, both because they were the only blacks in the neighborhood and because they dressed a bit differently, but it didn’t seem to matter very much.

              When I was visiting a Muslim family in Fiji, they even drove me to church on Sunday. I’ve known many Muslims and always found them to be very friendly. Of course I realize that there are considerable differences among Muslims, just as there are considerable differences among Christians. If some radical Christians had the power that some radical Muslims have, they’d cause just as many problems. At the moment, the percentage of radical and hateful people among Muslims is higher than the percentage of radical and hateful people among Christians, but there is no reason to expect that to continue.

            • magus71 said, on December 17, 2011 at 8:23 pm

              “but there is no reason to expect that to continue.”

              Why? Do you see evidence of it stopping? How do you explain the polls throughout the world, including places like Toronto Canada and London which show pretty clearly that a large portion of Muslims agree with what we call “extreme” Islam. It doesn’t take a large percentage of Muslims to approve of the tube bombings in London to make a very large number of people; there’s almost two million Muslims in England. There has been a recent drop in approval of such things in the Muslim world. Why? Because we fought back and are winning. I saw the same thing in Central Asia: Villagers wanted to be on the winning side.

              I know what extreme Islam is. For the most part it is only the people who are willing to pick up a rifle or wield a bomb against the infidel. Much of the rest are psychologically supportive, and if they thought the jihadists actually had a real chance in pulling off a real victory, they’d gladly jump on the bandwagon. Much like a small percentage of Americans actually join the military but most Americans are supportive of the US military. Even when our military is fighting in Iraq, against some people who are Iraqi, most Americans, including soldiers, treat Iraqis well. It is the same thing to many Muslims who do not actually cut heads off and blow things up: they’re not all that bothered about the infidel losing his skull.

              San Diego and Fiji are not necessarily a great measurement of global Islam. Fiji has a less than 10% Muslim population. In Egypt, around 75% of people support the 9-11 attacks. That’s a lot of people for the jihad. And Egypt may be the most important Muslim country there is because of its large number of people and peace agreement with Israel.

              Many of our founding fathers and people like Churchill who interacted with Muslims say the exact same things I do. Were they victims of too much bad press against Muslims, too? Many of the Victorian British Empire writers make almost identical observations to mine, like Arthur Conan Doyle, Kipling and also our own Teddy Roosevelt.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm

              When considering what historical figures say about Islam (or anything) it is important to ask at least two questions: 1) were they right then? and 2) Has anything changed since then?

              David Hume had some rather harsh comments on Islam, but these remarks were generous and kind compared to what he wrote about Roman Catholicism.

            • T. J. Babson said, on December 18, 2011 at 8:53 am

              “Certain people who are Muslims pose a clear threat to basic rights, basic decency, and so on. But the same can be said of almost any ideology.”

              Mike, here you are confusing actual people (Muslims) with an ideology (Islam).

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm

              “The same can be said of any almost any one associated with an ideology.”

  13. magus71 said, on December 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Here’s the thing: I’m perfectly willing to give Muslims living in San Diego the benefit of the doubt. As I said, during my time in Afghanistan, I had to hold on to my partner’s rifle while he went to pray at Mosque for Ramadan. He’d, in the past, attended medical school in Pakistan. He was also a US citizen and a former member of the US Army. So I trusted him.

    Would I extend the same trust to Muslims I met on a trek through the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of western Pakistan, or Yemen, or Egypt? Of course not. Some could make themselves feel great by believing the people in those areas are “just like us”, or the down-trodden of the world, who just need a helping hand. And those who believe such things are idiots in my opinion, able to continue living with their rose-colored glasses and wishful thinking only because some people are willing to fight and suffer for the rights of idiots everywhere.

    The majority–not the minority–would not mind seeing a nuke go off in NY. All the help we’ve offered has done almost nothing. The best results have come from killing bad people, not from handing out bags of rice. THe Blackwater men who were hung from the bridge in Fallujah? They were delivering FOOD. Yes, feeding the people who killed them. An entire city that hated everything about the infidel. Thus us, the infidel. 1993: Mogadishu. Same thing–feeding hungry people, until the populace sensed they had an upper hand after the first helicopter went down, then it was like a swarm of piranha smelling blood in the water. Again, an entire city filled with Muslims. In fact, as Bowden points out in Blackhawn Down, about the only thing sacred in Mogadishu was Islam, the only maintained buildings minarets and mosques.

    Some are trying to ignore what is going on. But we can’t afford to as a civilization. Pakistan alone has about 3 million military aged males who’ve attended maddrassas. This million indoctrinated to hate America–and it’s religious, Islamic doctrine. Billions of people want to see Americans dead. Whole nations, were it not for America’s undisputed military power, would be rolling over Israel and other parts of the world.

    That it is a small number of Muslims who support jihad against the West is a lie. The only thing keeping them from doing more damage than they do is that their own ideology and thinking keeps them in a barbaric dark age–for which they blame everyone else.

  14. magus71 said, on December 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    dhammett,

    I’ve written extensively about it. You just don’t like to hear it. It’s not just Egypt. It’s Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and others. I stand by my assertion that most Muslims in those countries tacitly support the jihadists and wouldn’t at all be bothered if a few more planes flew into a few more buildings Iran *MAY* be the exception–only 2% of Iranians attend Friday mosque. But Iran is possessed of the most anti-American and maniacal central government of the lot, so it’s a wash at best–until they get nukes.

    You’re seriously underestimating the rift between the cultures.

    Were these men delusional,too? And all before Fox News–Oh My!!

    “The Greeks who triumphed at Marathon and Salamis did a work without which the world would have been deprived of the social value of Plato and Aristotle, of Aeschylus, Herodotus, and Thucydides. The civilization of Europe, America, and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization, because the victories stretching through the centuries from the days of Miltiades and Themistocles to those of Charles Martel in the eighth century and those of John Sobieski in the seventeenth century.”
    “During the thousand years that included the careers of the Frankish soldier and the Polish king, the Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Moslem conquerors; and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents; and today nobody can find in them any ‘social values’ whatever, in the sense in which we use the words, so far as the sphere of Mohammedan influence. There are such ‘social values’ today in Europe, America, and Australia only because during those thousand years the Christians of Europe possessed the warlike power to do what the Christians of Asia and Africa had failed to do – that is, to beat back the Moslem invader.”~T. Roosevelt

    “The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.”~John Quincy Adams

    “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.”
    “Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science – the science against which it had vainly struggled – the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.”~Winston Churchill

    • T. J. Babson said, on December 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      magus, I am convinced that some people cannot distinguish between attacking Islam as a belief system and attacking Muslims as individuals.

      • magus71 said, on December 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm

        Yup.

      • dhammett said, on December 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm

        And there’s the problem.

        Do you truly believe that (some, any, all, none, most) people who protested against the “WTC Mosque” were making any distinctions with their expressions of hatred? Distinguishing between the “belief system” and “Muslims as individuals”?

        The phrase “Some people”, unfortunately, includes those who would carry their responses in the direction of hateful, violent, bigotry. I’m afraid that Winston, eloquent and convincing, would not convince the bigots to reverse their unspoken drive for elimination of the individuals in the religion as they openly claim their only concern is the insidious evil of Islam.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm

        Some people do fail to distinguish between criticizing ideas/theories/ideologies and individuals that hold them.

        It is, of course, worth noting that sweeping attack on a group while selectively excluding certain individuals can seem a bit problematic. To use a non-religious example, everyone has heard of someone presenting some stereotype about a group and then adding something like “but some of my best friends are part of that group.”

  15. FRE said, on December 18, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Instead of just talking about Muslims and Islam, why not solicit comments from Muslims? Don’t they deserve a right to read this blog and make posts?

  16. magus71 said, on December 18, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    This is about the only fight an Arab security force or military could ever win:

  17. FRE said, on December 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    That reminds me of the violence associated with racial integration of the South in the 1950s and the brutal lynching of blacks in the early 1900s. Presumably we’ve advanced beyond such barbaric behavior now, but with the water boarding and treatment of some prisoners at Guantanamo and elsewhere, it’s not totally clear that we have. It may be a while before some groups of Muslims catch up with us. If we set a better example, we could accelerate the process.

    • T. J. Babson said, on December 18, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      Which is exactly why it should be condemned and not in any way excused.

    • magus71 said, on December 18, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      Leave it to FRE, Asur, Mike, and dhammett to find a way to blame someone else.

      Do you feel like you live in a country that acts like Egypt?

      Admit it FRE–let me see your words typed right below mine. Repeat after me: “I live is the greatest country in the history of the world. All the women being stomped to a pulp in the video above would love to live in America and would shake their heads at my disrespect for my own country, which doesn’t kick my ass for being a woman, a Muslim or a Christian, or useful idiot on public blogs.”

  18. magus71 said, on December 18, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    And getting rid of Mubarak was utterly stupid. One more foreign policy gaff that’s been spun as a victory.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 19, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      Mubarak did not seem like a very democratic leader, but perhaps some people are to be regarded as unfit to choose their own government.

      • magus71 said, on December 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm

        I’m not for democracy at all costs.

        As Augustine said: “Peace flows from order.”

        I’m for whatever brings order.

  19. dhammett said, on December 18, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    magus:

    Allow me to coin a term. Useless idiot: One who claims that something exists (like a specific line on tax forms that one can use to give the government more than is required) but won’t do the courtesy to provide the location of that line on the tax form when asked. Do that and you can graduate to the next level–useless name-caller. Spaghetti-armed metrosexual.

    I don’t think it’s too much to ask that you cite the sources of your claims.
    Note how quickly the number of Muslims in Egypt dropped after I asked you to provide sources:

    “95% of people in Egypt are Muslim and it’s a quickly rising number” magus 10:35 am Dec. 18

    “CIA World Fact Book says 90% Muslim”—magus 11:50 am Dec 18

    In a mere hour and fifteen minutes the “quickly” growing Muslim population of Egypt grew smaller by 5%.
    Somehow you managed to ignore that 90% figure the first time around. That’s some kind of serious birth control they’re using. Perhaps they’re beating that many to death in the streets?

    • magus71 said, on December 18, 2011 at 11:30 pm

      Well, which is it? 95% or 90%? I gave you both figures so you could see that the lowest end I could find was 90%. Pew, which is a great source, says 95%, as I stated. That’s 80,000,000 Muslims in Egypt.

      Do you want me to go to Egypt and count the Muslims?

      Geez, you really got me here. This is the exact kind of nonsense you’ve become famous for. Either you have an incredibly difficult time understanding the point, or you’re being your old hyper-incorrigible self.

  20. magus71 said, on December 18, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    I know I’ve won an argument on here when dhammett starts talking math and Mike starts reminding me that well, the other side does it, too.

    • dhammett said, on December 19, 2011 at 12:23 am

      Apparently it’s 95% for certain, then it’s 90% or 95%. That’s damn confusing, wouldn’t you agree? Get out there and count heads if you’re going to claim such an approximation as a fact.

      You gave me ^both^ figures only ^after^ I asked for documentation.** Before I asked, you wrote, “95%*# of people in Egypt are Muslim and it’s a quickly rising number” as if it were a ‘fact’. As if there was no doubt. That’s not a matter of “talking math”. Can you not see the difference?

      You make your ^point^ and try to make your argument with uncertain information that you present as fact. That’s a problem. I’m comfortable with you labeling my questioning of your sources as “nonsense”. I’m sure the Central Intelligence Agency confuses fact with approximation all the time.

      I’m comfortable with my fame. Comfortable with being my “old hyper-incorrigible self”—just sitting here, twiddling my thumbs, awaiting that info about the tax form. Go ask that old spaghetti-armed metrosexual kernunos; he might be able to assist you. :)

      ** You do know that by documenting your claim the first time you would likely have avoided this entire side issue, right?
      *# Not 97% or 96%, or 94% or 93%, or . . .

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      Those are odd victory conditions.

  21. FRE said, on December 19, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Perhaps it would be better to find a constructive way to deal with Muslims instead of constantly excoriating them and those of us who are unwilling to condemn all Muslims.

    We know that there are Muslims who are perfectly reasonable people and who decry the barbaric excesses of terrorists, etc. We also know that Christianity has a checkered history. People who are unable to understand that will not be able to discuss the issues intelligently.

    It should be made very clear by reasonable governments that there is to be no discrimination based on religion. It should also be made very clear that terrorism will not be tolerated. Moreover, when people, regardless of religion, receive visas to visit or reside in other countries, they should also receive a document making it clear that they are expected to behave civilly and that they are subject to the laws of the country. They should know that they are free to practice their religion and culture provided that they don’t do anything illegal in the process. There should also be specifics to cover illegal acts that Muslims sometimes commit, without mentioning the religion. That should include the fact that violence against another person, whether that person is a man or woman, is illegal and that those committing such acts may be punished to the full extent of the law. In addition, people should be made aware that unnecessary genital surgical procedures performed on females are illegal, regardless of what country the procedures are performed in, and that anyone associated in any way with such procedures, except for the victim, may be punished to the full extent of the law. Wearing veils should be generally be permitted, with certain clearly stated exceptions.

    We should also see to it that people, regardless of their country of origin, are not discriminated against because of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc. When we become aware of such discrimination in other countries, we should voice our objection to it through appropriate channels and make it clear that other countries forfeit their right to complain how their citizens are treated when abroad unless they fairly treat visitors to their country.

    Above all, we should take care to set good examples for others which, unfortunately, we have too often failed to do. I have in mind objections to the Islamic center in New York City, the damage done to a mosque in Tennessee, the burning of Korans by a southern preacher, and the way we have treated people at Guantanamo. When such acts are not actually illegal, we may not be able to prevent them, but at least we can voice our strong objections.

    • T. J. Babson said, on December 19, 2011 at 8:44 am

      “…constantly excoriating them and those of us who are unwilling to condemn all Muslims.”

      Muslims are people, FRE, and no one is condemning them.

      Islam is a belief system that teaches intolerance and therefore should be condemned and not excused by saying Christianity did something similar 500 years ago.

      Hate the sin but love the sinner. See the idea?

      • FRE said, on December 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm

        Anyone familiar with the Old Testament of the Bible is well aware that parts of it teach intolerance towards non-Jews. Of course, modern Christians and Jews use some judgment when reading the Bible. A careful reading of the Koran indicates that at least parts of it require Muslims to respect Christians and Jews as “people of the book.” Thus, one cannot state that Islam per se teaches intolerance; it’s a matter of interpretation. The challenge is to get intolerant Muslims to use more judgment when reading the Koran.

        In the Middle Ages, the Roman Church was also intolerant and used unacceptable means to enforce its beliefs. It may be that it still would be that way if it were able to be. Some elements of Islam basically behaving the way the Roman Church did in the Middle Ages, a situation which should be corrected.

        • magus71 said, on December 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm

          My job as an intelligence analyst is not to figure out the real tenets of Islam. It is to see clearly how the people claiming to be of the Islamic faith and desiring to harm America or its Constitution see Islam and how it motivates them and enables the recruitment of jihadists.

          • dhammett said, on December 22, 2011 at 12:06 am

            It may not be your job ” to figure out the real tenets of Islam”, but someone should do it. Until someone sifts through the theological rhetoric of the Quranic scholars , you can’t differentiate between the good Muslims and the dangerous Muslims. If Terry Jones spreads a message of his view of Christianity that you don’t want to be associated with, it’s not too hard to imagine there are mullahs out there spreading views of Islam that many many Muslims don’t want any part of. You wrote a letter to a newspaper about Jones. How many other Christians did that?

            There surely must be a wide, identifiable chasm between true Muslims–assuming the intelligence community knows what a true Muslim is– and “the people ^claiming^ to be of the Islamic faith and desiring to harm America or its Constitution”, and , intelligence analyst or not, it’s probably pretty important that you should respect the position of Muslims who don’t desire “to harm America or its Constitution” . That goes back to the Rand study that I (perhaps under one of my previous identities) referenced at length in a discussion with you and TJ on the subject of Islamophobia.

            Would we not want Muslims to respect the differences between those who “claim” to be of the Christian faith and those who conduct themselves as true Christians. Of course to do that, they’d have to make it their job to ‘figure out the real tenets of’ Christianity.

            • FRE said, on December 22, 2011 at 12:36 am

              There isn’t even total agreement on the real tenets of Christianity. Neither are the Koranic scholars are in total agreement on all the real tenets of Islam, except for the four (or five?) pillars of Islam. And, the pillars of Islam do not necessarily result in actions which non-Muslims would find disturbing even if they find some of the actions a bit odd, which is inmaterial.

              Certainly it is true that there are mullahs views of which many many Muslims don’t want any part. In general, religion tends to become more moderate as average educational achievement and prosperity advance which, however, does not mean that all well-educated and prosperous people have moderate religious viewpoints. Probably Islam will follow the trend and become more moderate also.

              I myself would see the real tenets of Christianity as the Summary of the Law as given by Jesus when he quoted from the OT. Basically, much condensed, it is to love and respect God and to love and respect one’s neighbors, with the definition of neighbor being very broad.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

              The fact that there are so many sects of Christianity would tend to indicate that there is a very real problem is determining what is the real Christianity.

              When I discuss religion in my classes, I always ask “who has the one true faith?” My answer is always “Well, I do. And so do you. Or so we think. We all think ‘I am right, the other guy is wrong.’ But remember, to the other guy each of us is the other guy.”

            • dhammett said, on December 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

              The rest of the Ten Commandments. Those last five or so that don’t involve praising and respecting God, in their more specific form, provide some of the general underpinnings of our rule of law.

              Unfortunately, “Love and respect one’s neighbors, with the definition of neighbor being very broad” can open up huge areas of contention among believers and non-believers. Even the much more specific “Thou shalt not kill” has created a bloody moral and legal battleground where some feel it’s moral and proper to kill doctors who perform legal abortions and others think it’s proper to kill a viable fetus in the last trimester “just because” (although I don’t think that happens as often as some might contend) and some think it’s right and proper to force a girl to carry the product of rape or incest to term.

            • magus71 said, on December 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm

              “until someone sifts through the theological rhetoric of the Quranic scholars , you can’t differentiate between the good Muslims and the dangerous Muslims. If Terry Jones spreads a message of his view of Christianity that you don’t want to be associated with, it’s not too hard to imagine there are mullahs out there spreading views of Islam that many many Muslims don’t want any part of. You wrote a letter to a newspaper about Jones. How many other Christians did that?”

              My letter was not written merely because I thought Jones was being hateful, though he was. But also because I knew Islam enough to realize what would happen: Muslims would go on a mad rampage and start killing innocent people.

              In my letter, I don’t only focus on Jones. And I also make it clear that what the Muslims did in response was worse. A lot worse.

            • magus71 said, on December 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm

              Mike, you said:

              “would tend to indicate that there is a very real problem is determining what is the real…”

              Isn’t this the case with everything? America is the richest country in history and we still have massive arguments about economics, as if we don’t even know how we got here.

            • dhammett said, on December 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm

              Might I suggest, then, that you should have focused more on Jones and his crackpot views. Perhaps enough sensible Christians could have convinced him of his folly. . .Then again, probably not. It would have been worth a shot.

              Allow me to phrase my 12:06 post post another way. What are the tenets of Islam? How do you manage to distinguish the real Muslims from the ones who are misusing real Islam for their own evil goals unless you know what the real tenets are? How can that not be part of your job?

            • magus71 said, on December 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

              dhammet,

              A frequently overlooked aspect of Islam is the doctrine of abrogation. With abrogation, the later verses supersede older verses. This is not only an un-conscience practice in Islam–it is doctrine. Major Hassan wrote of abrogation in Islam. Later parts of the Quran espouse more violence than earlier writings of Muhammad. As Peters states, it appears that Mohammed suffered from mood swings.

              Abrogation is also a Christian doctrine, in that parts of the New Testament supersede the Old Testament. Paul speaks extensively of this. It is a key issue in both Christianity and Islam, but the results are different because the new messages in the Quran are very different from the messages in the New Testament.

              Sunni Islam highlights abrogation and the more violent endorsements of Muhammed in his later preaching. It (abrogation) is a very important aspect of al-Qaeda’s message. Essentially, in order to be a “moderate Muslim” one must ignore abrogation or at least .refuse to obey the most recent writings of Muhammed. I cannot state which verses, new or old, are most valid or are genuinely from Allah. I can only tell you what Sunni Muslims believe (most of them).

              I am not a trained theologian or philosopher. In those areas, I am an autodidact, but one who takes this position seriously.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm

          The history of heresy and religious persecution between Christians provides an insight into the tolerance of some Christians back in the day. Islam, as you noted, had an “official” policy of tolerance towards Jews and Christians. In some ways, the practice of Islam in some places and by some people can be seen as Medieval in character (that is, more in tune with the 100s and early 1000s rather than the 2000s)).

    • magus71 said, on December 19, 2011 at 9:30 am

      “unwilling to condemn all Muslims.”

      I lose count of the number of strawmen I must burn through. I never said all Muslims. Ever.

      Everyone will at some point come to face the fact that an ever increasing number of Muslims find power and fulfillment in riding the jihad–millions (at least) sympathize with it. If I really thought what you think (or write) I do, I’d advocate nuking Mecca during the Hajj. But I don’t, do I?

      We’re in for a very long war. I’ve had conversations with Naval Intel people who assured me we weren’t at war with Muslims, per se. First, he argued that war is a legal term–the great semantic escape in a losing argument–then he took the “only a small percentage of Muslims are fighting with us,” stance.

      I pointed out that when we interviewed Taliban fighters at Bagram Airfield’s prison facility, they assured us all they were at war with us.

      Secondly, it’s clear that in any war, only a small percentage of the population actually does the fighting. The way to win wars in most cases is not to excuse the enemy fighters by comparing them with their peaceful citizenry, but to kill the enemy fighters until they quit fighting. Essentially, we must let all Muslim mothers know that letting their sons grow up to be jihadists in an unprofitable business. Remember, in WWII Germany, being a German soldier was a very respectable position. It offered a great deal of security, with pensions and wages and so forth, and it also offered social status; The Soldier was considered the most important thing in German society because very little of what was considered German could exist without him. Without him, someone would come and take all your stuff and burn your beer houses down. The only way to break Germany’s militarism was to kill as many German soldiers as we could. Then, suddenly, the people didn’t think it was all such a great idea.

      The big problem is that many Muslims consider death a promotion. And who is giving them this idea? The mullahs. The Religion of Peace’s messengers are telling them to fight and die. In every area I went in Afghanistan, the mullahs were preaching this. They were Taliban and respected members of each village. They held great sway. They were the font of Islam and they poisoned all Afghans who drank from them–which was virtually all Afghans.

      Where are the Islamic mullahs who aggressively condemn the jihadist agenda? If the mullahs consistently told the people that jihadists who detonate bombs in mosques, routinely kill other Muslims, and whom intentionally attack civilians around the world were going to an especially warm place in hell, we’d cut our problem in half. But instead, the Mullahs, the root of Islam, is the root of the problem.

      • dhammett said, on December 19, 2011 at 10:22 am

        :) “the fact that an ever increasing number of Muslims”

        Is that, in ^fact^ ‘ever increasing’ or ‘ever decreasing’– depending on the source we’re using at the time? :)

        See my 12:23 above–
        “Apparently it’s 95% for certain, then it’s 90% or 95%. That’s damn confusing, wouldn’t you agree? Get out there and count heads if you’re going to claim such an approximation as a fact.You gave me ^both^ figures only ^after^ I asked for documentation.** Before I asked, you wrote, “95%*# of people in Egypt are Muslim and it’s a quickly rising number” as if it were a ‘fact’. As if there was no doubt. That’s not a matter of “talking math”. Can you not see the difference? ”
        and
        “*# Not 97% or 96%, or 94% or 93%, or . . ”

        Wiki provides this in its article on Muslim population growth:
        “Muslim population growth refers to the topic of population growth of the global Muslim community. In 2006, countries with a Muslim majority had an average population growth rate of 1.8% per year (when weighted by percentage Muslim and population size).[1] This compares with a world population growth rate of 1.12% per year.[2] As of 2011, it is predicted that the world’s Muslim population will grow twice as fast as non-Muslims over the next 20 years. By 2030, Muslims will make up more than a quarter of the global population.”

        It almost sounds like the real source of fear here (given the ‘fact’ that we’re scientifically superior and capable of blowing them all to smithereens) is not so much Islamic radicalism but the growth of the Muslim population itself. “Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiles the Vatican’s yearbook, said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano that ‘For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us’. :(

      • FRE said, on December 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm

        Magus, your statement, “Essentially, we must let all Muslim mothers know that letting their sons grow up to be jihadists in an unprofitable business,” could use a bit of expansion or elaboration.

        Some years ago, I saw a TV interview of a father in Palestine. He had an incredibly large family and considered his sons to be weapons. Parents (both fathers and mothers) who encourage their children to dedicate their lives to the destruction of others are just as guilty as the solders and others who engage in warfare and other violent acts. And, as you imply, the mullahs who preach violence are also guilty of the resulting violence. Thus, many “innocent” civilians are not really innocent.

        It seems to me that the propaganda war is an integral part of the physical war. From here in the U.S., it is difficult to know what we are doing to counter the mulla’s propaganda, but I doubt that we are putting sufficient effort into it. Perhaps we should be funding the reasonable Muslims because propaganda from them would probably be more effective. In any case, it appears that we cannot succeed simply by spending more on weapons and sending more soldiers to their deaths.

        It is easy to find passages in the Koran that oppose violence and require Muslims to respect Christians and Jews as “people of the book.” Also, the Koran condemns all sex outside of marriage, so those Muslims who rape and otherwise sexually abuse women are clearly in violation of the Koran. We should, as part of the propaganda war, be quoting such passages over and over again. We should also be careful to avoid, to the extent possible, doing things which provide mullahs and jihadists with material that they can use to recruit more terrorists. When we water board and otherwise mistreat prisoners, we are helping them to recruit more terrorists.

  22. magus71 said, on December 19, 2011 at 7:49 am

    The only way we’d get real outrage from the left against Islam is if al-Qaeda caused an oil spill. Then there’d be hell to pay.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      Actually, folks on the left are often rather upset by the fundamentals who abuse women, kill people and so on. Most people in the world are against Al-Qaeda, including American leftists. However, people who argue that we should actually follow our principles regarding freedom of religion and religious tolerance are occasionally bashed for having such views.

      In my own case, the fact that I think American Muslims should have the same freedoms and rights as all other Americans does not entail that I am not appalled at what some radical Muslims do. Likewise, the fact that I think that Catholic Americans should get all the same rights and freedoms as everyone else does not entail that I am not appalled by the sex scandals in the church.

      • WTP said, on December 19, 2011 at 3:49 pm

        I’ll pay you $10 for every Catholic you can find who supports the sex scandals in the church. You pay me $5 for every Muslim that I can find who approves of oppressing women and killing Jews. Deal?

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm

          And this be proves what?

          • WTP said, on December 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm

            That you know better than to put your money where your mouth is. Either that or you do not believe that oppression of women and killing of Jews is more endemic and acceptable to Islam than sex abuse is to Catholicism, but you just don’t like the idea making money on 2:1 odds.

            • FRE said, on December 20, 2011 at 4:30 am

              All kinds of oppression, killing, and abuse are unacceptable. Finding them unacceptable is not limited to people of only one political persuasion. However, in opposing such unacceptable behavior, we must be very careful not to lower our standards and sink to the level of the people who commit such acts; doing so would compromise our moral authority, a fact that certain people seem to overlook. We must make it clear that oppression, etc., are totally, completely, and entirely unacceptable, do all we can within our own country to prevent them and impose appropriate legal punishments, and strongly object when they occur in other countries. Moreover, when Muslims engage in abusive behavior, we should not be shy in quoting passages from the Koran that prohibit such behavior wherever and whenever it occurs. It is easy to find passages in the Koran that require Muslims to respect Christians and Jews as “people of the book” and to find passages that condemn rape and support the rights of women. Granted we can easily find things in the Koran that we don’t like, as all of us who have taken the trouble to read it know, but there are also passages that support social justice.

              The evidence makes it clear that at this time, some forms of unacceptable behavior are acceptable to a higher percentage of Christians than to members of the church of Rome; probably few will argue about that. But, exactly what does that have to do with how we should respond? Surely we should not make law abiding and reasonable Muslims suffer for the sins of other Muslims, but too many people seem to advocate doing exactly that thereby increasing enmity between Muslims and non-Muslims and making the situation worse.

            • WTP said, on December 20, 2011 at 9:32 am

              “Surely we should not make law abiding and reasonable Muslims suffer for the sins of other Muslims, but too many people seem to advocate doing exactly that thereby increasing enmity between Muslims and non-Muslims and making the situation worse.”

              Who here advocates making abiding and reasonable Muslims suffer for the sins of other Muslims? Are you not tainting those who recognize that such violent and oppressive behavior is more prevalent in Muslim societies than most others with the same sin as the bigots? You’re playing the same game as those you seem to be accusing, just with a different slant.

              Simple question, do you agree or disagree: Violence against Jews and oppression of women is far more prevalent and accepted in Muslim societies than sex abuse is in the Catholic church?

  23. magus71 said, on December 19, 2011 at 8:06 am

    8 articles with the tag: “BP” on this blog. One can imagine the angle taken in those articles. Now, try to find an article on Islamic terrorism on here that doesn’t say: “Sure, terrorists are bad, but…”

    BP has a “truly horrifying record” (real quote from this blog). What’s Islam’s record like?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      I live in Florida, so the BP blow up was rather close to home. I also have written a great deal on terrorism and my consistent position has been that terrorism is morally wicked.

      Islam, unlike BP, is not a corporation with a clear and single chain of command. Speaking of the record of Islam would be like speaking of the record of Christianity or Judaism-it would be rather broad. So, when speaking about the record of Christianity, do we focus on the Vatican’s cozy relationship with the Nazis or on the Christians who helped Jews escape from the Nazis? When speaking of Islam, do we focus on the terrorists or everyday American Muslims?

  24. dhammett said, on December 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

    magus: Your third sentence” “Now, try to find an article on Islamic terrorism on here that doesn’t say: ‘Sure, terrorists are bad, but…'”
    Your final sentence: “What’s Islam’s record look like?”
    I’d prefer the following: “What’s Islamo-terrorism’s record look like”, but that’s just me.

    So, are we talking Islam or radical Islam? Islam and radical Islam? Islam/radical Islam?
    Since you did not write “What’s Islamo-fascism’s record look like?” or “What does Islamo-terrorism’s record look like?”, I’m ‘assuming’ the terms (‘Islam’, ‘Islamo-fascism’, ‘Islamo-terrorism’ ‘radical Islam’) are synonymous in your lexicon. You make no distinction between the religion and its evil aspects here.

    TJ writes “Hate the sin, but love the sinner”. Supposedly he hates the religion but loves the believer.

    You’ll find a lot of pieces like this on the web:

    http://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner/

    “He [Jesus]never condoned the sin, but He never condemned the sinner. His goal in dealing with them was always reconciliation.”

    Yet on here I find an adequate amount of condemnation of the sin (the belief) and the sinners (those would be the Islamo-fascists, right? Or just Muslilms in general? What the hey. They’re all sinners by some definition. Just lump’em all together and shovel them into a hole).
    And precious little talk of reconciliation.

    • T. J. Babson said, on December 19, 2011 at 10:52 am

      “You make no distinction between the religion and its evil aspects here.”

      Most of the “radical” Imams believe their version of Islam is closest to what Mohammed had in mind, and I suspect they are right.

      dhammett, do you disagree?

      dhammett, do you also agree that Islam teaches Mohammed was the “perfect man”?

      This is pretty interesting:

      Early Muslims saw Muhammad as an exemplary human but by no means a perfect one. Indeed, they dared not. The Qur’an itself refers to Muhammad as “erring” (93:7) and includes much information that reveals his foibles. Perhaps the most damning concerns the Satanic verses episode when, for evidently political reasons, Muhammad recognized the validity of pagan Meccan gods (53:19-21), thereby temporarily making Islam into a polytheistic religion (and appeasing his Quraysh critics). Internal evidence suggests to Muhammad’s leading modern Western biographer, Montgomery Watt, that the Satanic verses incident must be true: “It seems impossible that any Muslim could have invented this story.”

      Then, over the centuries, Muhammad’s blemishes faded. That is because, as Annemarie Schimmel explains in her study of the prophet’s place in the Islamic faith, “the personality of Muhammad is indeed, besides the Koran, the center of the Muslims’ life.” The jurists, the mystics, and the pious turned Muhammad into a paragon of virtue, explaining away his apparent faults. Fundamentalists took this process a step further; in their eyes, Muhammad has acquired a Jesus-like perfection. As concerns the Satanic verses episode, for example, an influential Egyptian intellectual simply dismissed information about it as “fabricated (even though it is in the Qur’an itself),” indeed, he calls it nothing less than “a fable and a detestable lie.”

      This Muslim attitude of protectiveness toward Muhammad also breeds deep resentment of Western Christians, who have never been shy about expressing their own, rather less elevated, views of Islam’s prophet. To get the flavor of these it may suffice to note that one of Muhammad’s medieval names, Mahound, is defined in The Oxford English Dictionary, as meaning the false prophet Muhammad, any false god, a monster, or the devil. In modern times too, disagreement on matter of Muhammad remains widespread and intense. On occasion, it even has direct political consequences. Encountering the Christian hatred of Muhammad made the European imperialist venture that much more unacceptable to Muslims; for example, Schimmel argues that this “is one of the reasons for the aversion of at least the Indian Muslims to the British.”

      http://www.danielpipes.org/316/al-hudaybiya-and-lessons-from-the-prophet-muhammads

  25. dhammett said, on December 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I agree!!—as long as you continue to use the term ^’radical Imams’^. Don’t slip and write ‘Imams’ without that very important ‘radical’ qualifier.

    I don’t agree with “I suspect they are right.” Here’s why TJ:
    Look at the wide, wide range of the interpretations available in the Christian community of what God and Jesus said as reported by their representatives here on earth. According to wikipedia there are 38000 (give or take) denominations of Christianity. Chances are that number is, as magus would say, ‘ever increasing’ since churches break off to establish other churches due to, among other things, differences in opinion about interpretations of God’s and/or Jesus’ word.

    Just because hell-fire-and brimstone fundamentalists interpret the Word in their way, I’m not necessary convinced they’re right. Are you?

    “Do you also agree that Islam teaches Mohammed was the “perfect man”? ”

    Do you agree that Christianity presents God as the only God? John writes that Jesus said “. . .you—the only true God.” And, in addition, he is all-knowing, all-powerful, and eternal. He is the ‘perfect God’.

    “This Muslim attitude of protectiveness toward Muhammad also breeds deep resentment of Western Christians, who have never been shy about expressing their own, rather less elevated, views of Islam’s prophet.”
    I doubt if I am the only one who senses a great “attitude of protectiveness” toward God among Christians.

    I find this line interesting: “Fundamentalists [fundamentalist Muslims, I assume] took this process a step further; in their eyes, Muhammad has acquired a Jesus-like perfection.” “Jesus-like perfection”

    Some ugly similarilties between the religions

  26. magus71 said, on December 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm

  27. magus71 said, on December 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm

  28. FRE said, on December 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Here is a post that I found on another site; I shall follow it with the link:

    *******************

    Susan, your very powerful post got buried as a reply to Tootsie, so I decided to repost it as a lead topic:

    “Tootsie, you really need to wake up. I live in Kuwait and I wear western clothing and am blonde – there is no one here trying to hurt me and I am treated with both kindness and respect. Isn’t it a shame that the same can’t be said for people who are different in Grand Rapids.

    I am an American teacher and I teach at an international school here and not only are the people here “tolerant” of Westerners, they are more than kind to us. For example, on my way to work day before yesterday, I accidentally clipped the mirror of a car that belonged to man who was dressed in complete Arab garb – dishdasha, sandals, beard – the works. As I got out to speak with him, I realized he was out at 6:30 in the morning handing out bread to people who had less than he did. I gave him my number, and, because he spoke limited English, I also had an Arabic teacher call him to assure him I would pay for the damage to his car. He told my friend that he had been blessed in his life and that I shouldn’t worry about it and he would cover it. Now, you tell me: Would that happen in the US? He was in his native garb and I was the foreigner – as western woman in western dress – and he treated me with kindness and respect.

    My guess is that the majority of people writing here have never even met a Muslim. Your statements are made from a place of ignorance and fear. You need to meet Muslims and quit thinking that every Muslim is a terrorist or is out to cause you harm – because they are not. Just as every white male is not a Jeffrey Dahlmer, and every white male didn’t blow up the Oklahoma Federal Building, every Muslim is NOT a terrorist nor are they out to hurt non-Muslim Americans. And before you go off on me about being a Muslim lover, I will tell you that, yes, I love Muslims – just as I love Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus. I believe that loving everyone – no matter their ethnicity, religion or skin color – is a more peaceful and intelligent way to live in this world.

    And, I’m proud that I took myself out of my comfortable situation back home in the US and took the risk to experience life so I could broaden my ability to both understand that which I didn’t know and learn that most people in this world are basically good. Now, you tell me, what are you doing to learn and give more in your life?

    In my mind, it’s you who is asking for trouble – not the Muslims.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/missing-missouri-student-left-troubling-voicemail-sister-disappearance-222343518.html

    • magus71 said, on December 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm

      Kuwait? You mean the country that we defended by destroying Iraq’s Army in 1993? Yes, Kuwaitis love us. They begged us to intervene on their behalf in 1993 while liberals begged us not to.

      But it’s still a very different culture. When I went to Kuwait, we were told not to look out the windows of the bus which were covered with curtains, because someone may get offended. Not sure why.

      I’d dare say I’ve met as many Muslims as this woman. Who do you think my interpreters were in Afghanistan? I know there are Muslims who are decent people. I also know that even though many are decent, they have entirely different views on how society should proceed. A Muslim that I graduated from basic training told me that if he found out his wife cheated on him while he was gone (he was from Afghanistan and had fought against the Taliban) he would kill her. He was very serious and said that his country provided him the right to kill his wife in such an instance. Other than that, he was a fine chap and I’d have gone to battle with him any day. He had more combat experience than anyone else; a deep scar on his leg from an AK-47 round was proof enough.

      You do realize that the Kuwaiti government is as autocratic as any other Arab nation’s government, right (with the possible exception of Syria)?

      Kuwait is about as good an example of the Muslim world as Beverly Hills is of the American world.

      “In my mind, it’s you who is asking for trouble – not the Muslims.”~That’s a bunch of clap-trap.

      • FRE said, on December 20, 2011 at 6:03 pm

        I never stated that I agreed with EVERYTHING in the post. Moreover, reading the post is like listening to only one side of a telephone conversation so in fact, the last sentence of the post may have been less inappropriate than it seems to be. However, the writer did make it clear that Muslims are not all bad and that many are good, kind, and decent people in many respects. As for a Muslim’s saying that he’d kill his wife if she committed adultery, obviously that is wrong, but it definitely is not an attitude held only by Muslims; probably it is not held by all Muslims. That attitude was also held by the ancient Hebrews, as evidenced by some portions of the Bible. These people have to learn that in advanced civilized countries, there are laws which must be obeyed. In my view, adultery should be treated as a civil offense and the injured party should be able to sue for breach of contract. Even in the last half of the 20th century, there were large numbers of Americans who strongly believed that those engaging in same-sex encounters should receive very long prison sentences, so we are not as much ahead of some Muslims as many of us would like to believe.

        Quite honestly, I don’t care whether those who opposed intervening on the behalf of Kuwait were liberals or conservatives; it is irrelevant. The fact is that if we had not intervened, Iraq could have continued on to Saudi Arabia and interrupted much of the world’s oil supply. Had that happened and those who opposed intervention experienced the results, almost certainly they’d have done a quick about face and the war would have been far bigger and more damaging.

        I am well aware that too many Muslims are excessively hot-headed and support violence in situations which do not justify violence. The following is a video, upon which Pat Robertson has commented:

        Mr. Robertson himself has greatly over-reacted; unlike Mr. Robertson, I found the video amusing and took no offense. But he is right that Muslims would be far less tolerant of a similar video staring Mr. Mustofa (PBUH).

        • dhammett said, on December 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm

          Those SNL writers must have crystal balls :).
          JC did have something else to do this past Sunday.

          • magus71 said, on December 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm

            And I bet you were over-joyed.

            • dhammett said, on December 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm

              . . .only at the opportunity to again employ that “crystal balls” reference that you’re probably familiar with by now. . .:)

            • magus71 said, on December 21, 2011 at 6:24 am

              Well, it was just a day of rest for JC. You’d be tired, too. After all, Tim Tebow has 2 national titles at Florida, a Heisman Trophy, and had won 6 straight games with the Broncos.

            • dhammett said, on December 21, 2011 at 9:54 am

              Rest for JC or TT? We’re not confusing the Two here are we?

              Were JC and TT “resting” :) on the 18th and Oct. 30?

              I’ve seen TT play often enough to get an idea of how great he could be. I’ve also seen Tom Brady play. One thing I’ve noticed is that even a great quarterback has problems when there are weaknesses in his offensive line or he has poor receivers. The defense plays a role, too. And the coaching staff.

        • magus71 said, on December 20, 2011 at 8:00 pm

          Greatly over-reacted? Did he cut any heads off or blow up any schools?

  29. magus71 said, on December 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm

  30. dhammett said, on December 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    “a scapegoat minority” Who would that be? It wouldn’t be, say, the Muslims? Or the Hispanics?

    “Posters, radio, press, all tell you the same lies.”
    In this country? The radio? Seriously? The press? Washington Times? The National Review? The WSJ ? Or the New York Times? The Washington Post?

    “The least educated. . .” Now here’s a steep and winding road to serfdom, if that’s a good word choice here. As the gap between the wealthy and the poor widens, the distance between the educational opportunities available to each also widens. The poor are swirling down the drain and the climb back would seem to be getting more and more difficult. And before anyone brings it up, all problems with education simply cannot be placed at the feet of educators. One cannot ignore parents. Or taxpayers who say they expect good education then grab for their wallets when expected to pay for it. Or lack of a serious effort on everyone’s part to define how a good educator should teach in real-life situations (crowded classrooms, outdated textbooks, etc.).

    “there is no room for differences of opinion. . .” Hmm. Are you ******** me?

    Seems the cartoonist somehow set one ideological foot onto a slippery slope and lost control here. This is no more than an animated bumper sticker.

    • magus71 said, on December 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm

      Well, this was supposed to be a different video; this one was supposed to go on Mike’s post about taxes and add to the central planning conversation.

      “Posters, radio, press, all tell you the same lies.”
      In this country? The radio? Seriously? The press? Washington Times? The National Review? The WSJ ? Or the New York Times? The Washington Post?”

      Never said we’re at the end stage in this country. Hayek warns us about the road and what the scenery looks like.

      • dhammett said, on December 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm

        If those quotations were about the road, they’re presented as if we’ve already made major steps in that direction. And that’s just so much ideological hooey.
        Unless he had crystal balls, he should have talked about “what the scenery MAY look like.” And he should tailor his description to the country that has the oldest and best functioning constitution in the world. We’ve both agreed on here that the US is currently, and has been for some time, the greatest country in the world. And that’s due,in large part to that document.
        How do you feel about Newt’s feelings toward the courts (including SCOTUS)?What he’s saying seems to deviate more than a tad from the clear language of the Constitution.

        • magus71 said, on December 21, 2011 at 7:36 pm

          Not sure if you know that the video is a very condensed version of the thesis presented in the book by FA Hayek, “The Road to Ruin.”

          Here is the man whose ideas you have a problem with: (If my HTML copy worked….)

          • magus71 said, on December 21, 2011 at 7:37 pm

            Excuse me: “The Road to Serfdom”

          • dhammett said, on December 22, 2011 at 12:21 am

            And this deals ‘how’ with the issues I raised in my 7:25pm? How does the success or failure of socialism as Hayek explains it take us past the protections of the Constitution to the point where we’re sociaists?
            Specifically, has there ever been a constitutional republic based on a representative democracy that has eventually become a socialist state?

            And what is it with Newt?

  31. magus71 said, on December 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    And everyone should remember that I’ve spoken out against those who state their views only to taunt Islam and not edify. This is more than I can say for SNL.

    http://www.gainesville.com/article/20110406/NEWS/110409713

  32. dhammett said, on December 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Doug, I know Terry Jones was not out to edify. And I’m reasonably certain his only goal was not to taunt Islam. I believe (that is, it’s my opinion) his goal was the spotlight. Self-aggrandizement. Some might say there’s a thin line separating Jones and Robertson. I wouldn’t.

    SNL doesn’t aspire to edification.

    http://www.askmen.com/top_10/entertainment/top-10-saturday-night-live-sketches_1.html

    Do you feel edified by #6? Note the reactions on the left side of your screen. A mere 6% of those who view the article say it made them ^think^ (Only God knows what it made them think about. . .).
    SNL is humor. Slapstick. Parody. Grossout. Offensive to those easily offended. Funny to those who aren’t.

    .

    • magus71 said, on December 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      The only thing I find offensive about SNL’s piece is that they won’t do it to Muslims. TRhey’re scared, just as the Comedy Channel was scared of South Park’s rendering of Muhammad and pulled the episode–until the show’s creators made Muhammad a fuzzy cloud that walked around talking to people.

      That’s the kind of thing that is downright wrong and exactly the kind of thing subversive Sharia types (and they are around) love to see. The media is scared of Muslims.

      As I stated, my complaint against Jones was not only that he was being mean-spirited, but he was trying to get the response he got: Dead people, to prove Islamic tendencies. Being in Afghanistan and working beside Afghan soldiers and interpreters, I had no desire to give them more reason to want to kill me or my fellow soldiers. While I was there, there were several instances of an Afghan soldier being trained by US forces spinning around and hosing down our or a NATO country’s troops. The Taliban use cases like Jones as propaganda. In an enlightened society it would not have the effect it does in Afghanistan. But we were in Afghanistan.

      I would not have bothered to write a letter to the paper if someone was going to publicly burn a Bible. I wouldn’t worry that anyone would die because of that. Additionally, it probably wouldn’t even make national news. Definitely not on the level Jones did.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm

        On the one hand, Christians (in general) do not have any theological rules against images of Jesus while Muslims do generally hold to their being a strict prohibition against images of Mohammad. So, showing images of Jesus in a cartoon might annoy some Christians, but it would not be as offensive as showing an image of Mohammad would be to Muslims.

        On the other hand, if a show like South Park is allowed to brutally parody various faiths but Islam is given special treatment by Comedy Central it seems reasonable to consider why. It, one might suspect, cannot be a mere matter of not wanting to offend (after all, think of how the show portrayed Catholic priests or Scientologists).

        • magus71 said, on December 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm

          But we do not treat all religious doctrine with such kid gloves. Consider the sexuality on TV or in movies for instance. Christians could find doctrine against this activity. But it is not Christian doctrine to kill people for these transgressions. God will judge them more justly than any man could. The New Testament may say that libertines deserve death but it does not say Christians should kill them. Islam on the other hand orders Muslims to slay the unbeliever, or at least enslave him.

          The Comedy Channel’s (there are others) response would seem to show that terrorism and violence work quite well. Though I wonder: If we started getting the same responses from Christians would the media concede?

          I truly do believe that media outlets are afraid of Islam. They will not admit this. Not only this, but they are afraid of being called bigots or hatemongers, or Islamophobes. They don’t get the same backlash from Christians. In fact, even the slightest protest (verbal) as with Pat Robertson, brings accusations of “extreme response from the Christian Right.” If only Islam were so extreme.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm

      SNL is still on the air?


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