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Islam and Violence


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by resistance     💰tip   follow   2007 Sep 11, 1:35am  

Originally from http://www.faithfreedom.org/

A Call to the Muslims of the World from a Group of Freethinkers and Humanists of Muslim Origins

Dear friends,

The tragic incidents of September 11 have shocked the world. It is unthinkable that anyone could be so full of hate as to commit such heinous acts and kill so many innocent people. We people of Muslim origin are as much shaken as the rest of the world and yet we find ourselves looked upon with suspicion and distrust by our neighbours and fellow citizens. We want to cry out and tell the world that we are not terrorists, and that those who perpetrate such despicable acts are murderers and not part of us. But, in reality, because of our Muslim origins we just cannot erase the stigma of Islamic Terrorism from our identity!

What most Muslims will say:

Islam would never support the killing of innocent people. Allah of the Holy Qur'an never advocated killings. This is all the work of a few misguided individuals at the fringes of society. The real Islam is sanctified from violence. We denounce all violence. Islam means peace. Islam means tolerance.

What knowledgeable Muslims should say:

That is what most Muslims think, but is it true? Does Islam really preach peace, tolerance and non-violence? The Muslims who perpetrate these crimes think differently. They believe that what they do is Jihad (holy war). They say that killing unbelievers is mandatory for every Muslim. They do not kill because they wish to break the laws of Islam but because they think this is what true Muslims should do. Those who blow-up their own bodies to kill more innocent people do so because they think they will be rewarded in Paradise. They hope to be blessed by Allah, eat celestial food, drink pure wine and enjoy the company of divine consorts. Are they completely misguided? Where did they get this distorted idea? How did they come to believe that killing innocent people pleases God? Or is it that we are misguided? Does really Islam preach violence? Does it call upon its believers to kill non-believers? We denounce those who commit acts of violence and call them extremists. But are they really extremists or are they following what the holy book, the Qur'an tells them to do? What does the Qur'an teach? Have we read the Qur'an? Do we know what kind of teachings are there? Let us go through some of them and take a closer look at what Allah says.

What the Qur'an Teaches Us:

We have used the most widely available English text of the Qur'an and readers are welcome to verify our quotes from the holy book. Please have an open mind and read through these verses again and again. The following quotes are taken from the most trusted Yusufali's translation of the Qur'an. The Qur'an tells us: not to make friendship with Jews and Christians (5:51), kill the disbelievers wherever we find them (2:191), murder them and treat them harshly (9:123), fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (9:5). The Qur'an demands that we fight the unbelievers, and promises If there are twenty amongst you, you will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, you will vanquish a thousand of them (8:65). Allah and his messenger want us to fight the Christians and the Jews until they pay the Jizya [a penalty tax for the non-Muslims living under Islamic rules] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued (9:29). Allah and his messenger announce that it is acceptable to go back on our promises (treaties) and obligations with Pagans and make war on them whenever we find ourselves strong enough to do so (9:3). Our God tells us to fight the unbelievers and He will punish them by our hands, cover them with shame and help us (to victory) over them (9:14).

The Qur'an takes away the freedom of belief from all humanity and relegates those who disbelieve in Islam to hell (5:10), calls them najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (9:28), and orders its followers to fight the unbelievers until no other religion except Islam is left (2:193). It says that the non-believers will go to hell and will drink boiling water (14:17). It asks the Muslims to slay or crucify or cut the hands and feet of the unbelievers, that they be expelled from the land with disgrace and that they shall have a great punishment in world hereafter (5:34). And tells us that for them (the unbelievers) garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods (22:19-22) and that they not only will have disgrace in this life, but on the Day of Judgment He shall make them taste the Penalty of burning (Fire) (22:9). The Qur'an says that those who invoke a god other than Allah not only should meet punishment in this world but the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to them, and they will dwell therein in ignominy (25:68). For those who believe not in Allah and His Messenger, He has prepared, for those who reject Allah, a Blazing Fire! (48:13). Although we are asked to be compassionate amongst each other, we have to be harsh with unbelievers, our Christian, Jewish and Atheist neighbours and colleagues (48:29). As for him who does not believe in Islam, the Prophet announces with a stern command: Seize ye him, and bind ye him, And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire. Further, make him march in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! This was he that would not believe in Allah Most High. And would not encourage the feeding of the indigent! So no friend hath he here this Day. Nor hath he any food except the corruption from the washing of wounds, Which none do eat but those in sin. (69:30-37) The Qur'an prohibits a Muslim from befriending a non-believer even if that non-believer is the father or the brother of that Muslim (9:23), (3:28). Our holy book asks us to be disobedient towards the disbelievers and their governments and strive against the unbelievers with great endeavour (25:52) and be stern with them because they belong to Hell (66:9). The holy Prophet prescribes fighting for us and tells us that it is good for us even if we dislike it (2:216). Then he advises us to strike off the heads of the disbelievers; and after making a wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives (47:4). Our God has promised to instil terror into the hearts of the unbelievers and has ordered us to smite above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them (8:12). He also assures us that when we kill in his name it is not us who slay them but Allah, in order that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from Himself (8:17). He orders us to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies (8:60). He has made the Jihad mandatory and warns us that Unless we go forth, (for Jihad) He will punish us with a grievous penalty, and put others in our place (9:39). Allah speaks to our Holy Prophet and says O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern against them. Their abode is Hell - an evil refuge indeed (9:73).

He promises us that in the fight for His cause whether we slay or are slain we return to the garden of Paradise (9:111). In Paradise he will wed us with Houris (celestial virgins) pure beautiful ones (56:54), and unite us with large-eyed beautiful ones while we recline on our thrones set in lines (56:20). There we are promised to eat and drink pleasantly for what we did (56:19). He also promises boys like hidden pearls (56:24) and youth never altering in age like scattered pearls (for those who have paedophiliac inclinations) (76:19). As you see, Allah has promised all sorts or rewards, gluttony and unlimited sex to Muslim men who kill unbelievers in his name. We will be admitted to Paradise where we shall find goodly things, beautiful ones, pure ones confined to the pavilions that man has not touched them before nor jinni (56:67-71).In the West we enjoy freedom of belief but we are not supposed to give such freedom to anyone else because it is written If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good) (3:85). And He orders us to fight them on until there is no more tumult and faith in Allah is practiced everywhere (8:39). As for women the book of Allah says that they are inferior to men and their husbands have the right to scourge them if they are found disobedient (4:34). It advises to take a green branch and beat your wife, because a green branch is more flexible and hurts more. (38:44). It teaches that women will go to hell if they are disobedient to their husbands (66:10). It maintains that men have an advantage over the women (2:228). It not only denies the women's equal right to their inheritance (4:11-12), it also regards them as imbeciles and decrees that their witness is not admissible in the courts of law (2:282). This means that a woman who is raped cannot accuse her rapist unless she can produce a male witness. Our Holy Prophet allows us to marry up to four wives and he licensed us to sleep with our slave maids and as many 'captive' women as we may have (4:3) even if those women are already married. He himself did just that. This is why anytime a Muslim army subdues another nation, they call them kafir and allow themselves to rape their women. Pakistani soldiers allegedly raped up to 250,000 Bengali women in 1971 after they massacred 3,000,000 unarmed civilians when their religious leader decreed that Bangladeshis are un-Islamic. This is why the prison guards in Islamic regime of Iran rape the women that in their opinion are apostates prior to killing them, as they believe a virgin will not go to Hell.

Dear fellow Muslims:Is this the Islam you believe in? Is this your Most Merciful, Most Compassionate Allah whom you worship daily? Could Allah incite you to kill other peoples? Please understand that there is no terrorist gene - but there could be a terrorist mindset. That mindset finds its most fertile ground in the tenets of Islam. Denying it, and presenting Islam to the lay public as a religion of peace similar to Buddhism, is to suppress the truth. The history of Islam between the 7th and 14th centuries is riddled with violence, fratricide and wars of aggression, starting right from the death of the Prophet and during the so-called 'pure' or orthodox caliphate. And Muhammad himself hoisted the standard of killing, looting, massacres and bloodshed. How can we deny the entire history? The behaviour of our Holy Prophet as recorded in authentic Islamic sources is quite questionable from a modern viewpoint. The Prophet was a charismatic man but he had few virtues. Imitating him in all aspects of life (following the Sunnah) is both impossible and dangerous in the 21st century. Why are we so helplessly in denial over this simple issue? When the Prophet was in Mecca and he was still not powerful enough he called for tolerance. He said To you be your religion, and to me my religion (109:6). This famous quote is often misused to prove that the general principle of Qur'an is tolerance. He advised his follower to speak good to their enemies (2: 83), exhorted them to be patient (20:103) and said that there is no compulsion in religion (2:256). But that all changed drastically when he came to power. Then killing and slaying unbelievers with harshness and without mercy was justified in innumerable verses. The verses quoted to prove Islam's tolerance ignore many other verses that bear no trace of tolerance or forgiveness. Where is tolerance in this well-known verse Alarzu Lillah, Walhukmu Lillah. (The Earth belongs to Allah and thus only Allah's rule should prevail all over the earth.).Is it normal that a book revealed by God should have so many serious contradictions? The Prophet himself set the example of unleashing violence by invading the Jewish settlements, breaking treaties he had signed with them and banishing some of them after confiscating their belongings, massacring others and taking their wives and children as slaves. He inspected the youngsters and massacred all those who had pubic hair along with the men. Those who were younger he kept as slaves. He distributed the women captured in his raids among his soldiers keeping the prettiest for himself (33:50). He made sexual advances on Safiyah, a Jewish girl on the same day he captured her town Kheibar and killed her father, her husband and many of her relatives. Reyhana was another Jewish girl of Bani Quriza whom he used as a sex slave after killing all her male relatives. In the last ten years of his life he accumulated two scores of wives, concubines and sex slaves including the 9 year old Ayesha. These are not stories but records from authentic Islamic history and the Hadiths. It can be argued that this kind of behaviour was not unknown or unusual for the conquerors and leaders of the mediaeval world but these are not the activities befitting of a peaceful saint and certainly not someone who claimed to be the Mercy of God for all creation. There were known assassinations of adversaries during the Prophet's time, which he had knowledge of and had supported. Among them there was a 120 year old man, Abu 'Afak whose only crime was to compose a lyric satirical of the Prophet. (by Ibn Sa'd Kitab al Tabaqat al Kabir, Volume 2, page 32) Then when a poetess, a mother of 5 small children 'Asma' Bint Marwan wrote a poetry cursing the Arabs for letting Muhammad assassinate an old man, our Holy Prophet ordered her to be assassinated too in the middle of the night while her youngest child was suckling from her breast. (Sirat Rasul Allah (A. Guillaume's translation The Life of Muhammad) page 675, 676).The Prophet did develop a 'Robin Hood' image that justified raiding merchant caravans attacking cities and towns, killing people and looting their belongings in the name of social justice. Usama Bin Laden is also trying to create the same image. But Robin Hood didn't claim to be a prophet or a pacifist nor did he care for apologist arguments. He did not massacre innocent people indiscriminately nor did he profit by reducing free people to slaves and then trading them. With the known and documented violent legacy of Islam, how can we suddenly rediscover it as a religion of peace in the free world in the 21st century? Isn't this the perpetuation of a lie by a few ambitious leaders in order to gain political control of the huge and ignorant Muslim population? They are creating a polished version of Islam by completely ignoring history. They are propagating the same old dogma for simple believing people in a crisp new modern package. Their aim: to gain political power in today's high-tension world. They want to use the confrontational power of the original Islam to catalyse new conflicts and control new circles of power.

Dear conscientious Muslims, please question yourselves. Isn't this compulsive following of a man who lived 1400 years ago leading us to doom in a changing world? Do the followers of any other religion follow one man in such an all-encompassing way? Who are we deceiving, them or ourselves? Dear brothers and sisters, see how our Umma (people) has sunk into poverty and how it lags behind the rest of the world. Isn't it because we are following a religion that is outdated and impractical? In this crucial moment of history, when a great catastrophe has befallen us and a much bigger one is lying ahead, should not we wake up from our 1400 years of slumber and see where things have gone wrong? Hatred has filled the air and the world is bracing itself for its doomsday. Should we not ask ourselves whether we have contributed, wittingly or unwittingly, to this tragedy and whether we can stop the great disaster from happening?Unfortunately the answer to the first question is yes. Yes we have contributed to the rise of fundamentalism by merely claiming Islam is a religion of peace, by simply being a Muslim and by saying our shahada (testimony that Allah is the only God and Muhammad is his messenger). By our shahada we have recognized Muhammad as a true messenger of God and his book as the words of God. But as you saw above those words are anything but from God. They call for killing, they are prescriptions for hate and they foment intolerance. And when the ignorant among us read those hate-laden verses, they act on them and the result is the infamous September 11, human bombs in Israel, massacres in East Timor and Bangladesh, kidnappings and killings in the Philippines, slavery in the Sudan, honour killings in Pakistan and Jordan, torture in Iran, stoning and maiming in Afghanistan and Iran, violence in Algeria, terrorism in Palestine and misery and death in every Islamic country. We are responsible because we endorse Islam and hail it as a religion of God. And we are as guilty as those who put into practice what the Qur'an preaches - and ironically we are the main victims too. If we are not terrorists, if we love peace, if we cried with the rest of the word for what happened in New York, then why are we supporting the Qur'an that preaches killing, that advocates holy war, that calls for the murder of non-Muslims? It is not the extremists who have misunderstood Islam. They do literally what the Qur'an asks them to do. It is we who misunderstand Islam. We are the ones who are confused. We are the ones who wrongly assume that Islam is the religion of peace. Islam is not a religion of peace. In its so-called pure form it can very well be interpreted as a doctrine of hate. Terrorists are doing just that and we the intellectual apologists of Islam are justifying it. We can stop this madness. Yes, we can avert the disaster that is hovering over our heads. Yes, we can denounce the doctrines that promote hate. Yes, we can embrace the rest of humanity with love. Yes, we can become part of a united world, members of one human family, flowers of one garden. We can dump the claim of infallibility of our Book, and the questionable legacy of our Prophet.Dear friends, there is no time to waste. Let us put an end to this lie. Let us not fool ourselves. Islam is not a religion of peace, of tolerance, of equality or of unity of humankind. Let us read the Qur'an. Let us face the truth even if it is painful. As long as we keep this lie alive, as long as we hide our head in the sands of Arabia we are feeding terrorism. As long as you and I keep calling Qur'an the unchangeable book of God, we cannot blame those who follow the teachings therein. As long as we pay our Khums and Zakat our money goes to promote Islamic expansionism and that means terrorism, Jihad and war. Islam divides the world in two. Darul Harb (land of war) and Darul Islam (land of Islam). Darul Harb is the land of the infidels, Muslims are required to infiltrate those lands, proselytise and procreate until their numbers increase and then start the war and fight and kill the people and impose the religion of Islam on them and convert that land into Darul Islam. In all fairness we denounce this betrayal. This is abuse of the trust. How can we make war in the countries that have sheltered us? How can we kill those who have befriended us? Yet willingly or unwillingly we have become pawns in this Islamic Imperialism. Let us see what great Islamic scholars have had to say in this respect.Dr. M. Khan the translator of Sahih Bukhari and the Qur'an into English wrote: Allah revealed in Sura Bara'at (Repentance, IX) the order to discard (all) obligations (covenants, etc), and commanded the Muslims to fight against all the Pagans as well as against the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizia (a tax levied on the Jews and Christians) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (as it is revealed in 9:29). So the Muslims were not permitted to abandon the fighting against them (Pagans, Jews and Christians) and to reconcile with them and to suspend hostilities against them for an unlimited period while they are strong and have the ability to fight against them. So at first the fighting was forbidden, then it was permitted, and after that it was made obligatory [Introduction to English translation of Sahih Bukhari, p.xxiv.] Dr. Sobhy as-Saleh, a contemporary Islamic academician quoted Imam Suyuti the author of Itqan Fi 'Ulum al- Qur'an who wrote: The command to fight the infidels was delayed until the Muslims become strong, but when they were weak they were commanded to endure and be patient. [ Sobhy as_Saleh, Mabaheth Fi 'Ulum al- Qur'an, Dar al-'Ilm Lel-Malayeen, Beirut, 1983, p. 269.]Dr. Sobhy, in a footnote, commends the opinion of a scholar named Zarkashi who said: Allah the most high and wise revealed to Mohammad in his weak condition what suited the situation, because of his mercy to him and his followers. For if He gave them the command to fight while they were weak it would have been embarrassing and most difficult, but when the most high made Islam victorious He commanded him with what suited the situation, that is asking the people of the Book to become Muslims or to pay the levied tax, and the infidels to become Muslims or face death. These two options, to fight or to have peace return according to the strength or the weakness of the Muslims. [ibid p. 270]Other Islamic scholars (Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi, Ga'far ar-Razi, Rabi' Ibn 'Ons, 'Abil-'Aliyah, Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Zayd Ibn 'Aslam, etc.) agree that the verse Slay the idolaters wherever you find them (9:5) cancelled those few earlier verses that called for tolerance in the Qur'an and were revealed when Islam was weak. Can you still say that Islam is the religion of peace? We propose a solution.

We know too well that it is not easy to denounce our faith because it means denouncing a part of ourselves. We are a group of freethinkers and humanists with Islamic roots. Discovering the truth and leaving the religion of our fathers and forefathers was a painful experience. But after learning what Islam stands for we had no choice but to leave it. After becoming familiar with the Qur'an the choice became clear: It is either Islam or humanity. If Islam thrives, then humanity will die. We decided to side with humanity. Culturally we are still Muslims but we no longer believe in Islam as the true religion of God. We are humanists. We love humanity. We work for the unity of humankind. We work for equality between men and women. We strive for the secularisation of Islamic countries, for democracy and freedom of thought, belief and expression. We decided to live no longer in self-deception but to embrace humanity, and to enter into the new millennium hand in hand with people of other cultures and beliefs in amity and in peace.We denounce the violence that is eulogized in the Qur'an as holy war (Jihad). We condemn killing in the name of God. We believe in the sanctity of human life, not in the inviolability of beliefs and religions. We invite you to join us and the rest of humanity and become part of the family of humankind - in love, camaraderie and peace.

Arabic translation الترجمة العربية

See http://www.centerforinquiry.net/isis and http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ for more.

Please copy this article, and distribute it as widely as possible, both online and physically. The future of humanity depends on it.

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41   resistance   2010 Jan 4, 6:46am  

We should definitely not "fight fire with fire" or "shove Westernism down their throats".

The right response, IMHO, is honest and non-violent essays exactly like the one above, written in Arabic, and distributed widely. They are human just like the rest of us, and I'm sure at some level they suspect that Islam is wrong.

The US does lots of stupid things abroad to profit certain shareholders here at home. I think those shareholders are already reaping some of the consequences of their bad karma, and US power will probably fade from the world because of that, like the English empire faded.

42   anonymous   2010 Jan 4, 7:55am  

Well,

I m muslim living in USA.

It is in my daily routine that I read holy quran and get benefited from it one way or the other. I m proud to be muslim, living & working cordially with Chritians and Jews.

I agree with Kashif313 that Quran has been intrepreted completely wrong in many occasions by the people don't have knowlege. Its like If I say 'you are allowed to kill a person' but don't say that 'when your life itself in danger with that person' will make my statement completely out of context.

Don't try to misintrepret Islam, its a beautiful religion gives you the balanced life in this world, tells you the purpose of this very short life in response to the life coming next which will be forever. In the Holy Quran, God (Allah) doesn't tell you to kill non-muslims rather God tell you to be JUST with each other. If someone intends to kill you then you are allowed to kill'em as you are allowed to kill the robber in your house trying to kill you.

I strongly denounce the acts of terrorisms of 9/11, london attacks & or the one in the forthood texas. And I also denounce the killings of innocents being killed in the so-called wars of terrosim whether they are in Iraq, Afghanistan or in the Israel/Palestine as the all of the prophets taught love not war and WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER. But these war will let individual youngsters to rise and take their revenge against innocents.

Producing the article like this wouldn't shed the light on the problem at hand rather it will increase hatred amongst the people and create racism with each other. We need to educate people and ask them to read the holy books in detail and don't try to mistrepret the real meaning or the message of almight God (Allah) towards the humanity, refer the educated cleric as these are the statements of God not the person which were conveyed by His messenger and God (Allah) himself give you the challenge in the quran that His word won't never be altered.

My friends, we would never be prevailed if we promote hatred but love..

AN

43   resistance   2010 Jan 4, 8:01am  

What matters is not the educated cleric, but what you youself can clearly see the meaning is. And what the terrorists clearly see the meaning is.

I'm sure AN and Kashif313 are fine human beings, but that's because they're fine human beings to begin with and they choose to ignore the parts of the Koran and Mohammed's history that are cruel and inhuman.

As long as you keep calling Qur’an the unchangeable book of God, you cannot blame terrorists who clearly understand what is written there for all to see.

44   Â¥   2010 Jan 4, 8:20am  

Secularists are something of an endangered minority in this county, btw. Until it is safe to be an avowed atheist here in the states I don't think we have any moral basis telling them how to read their own holy book.

45   Â¥   2010 Jan 4, 8:28am  

Patrick, I think you're way out of line with that, if I may honestly express my opinion here.

People who get sucked into religion project themselves into what they read and are taught.

Mormons are nice people to a fault but their religion is screwed up in parts.

I'm no islamic scholar but I take imdrpepper's above at face value. What we call the Old Testament is full of crap teachings and somehow the Christianists here in the US work around them for the most part.

Going out of your way to insult their beliefs isn't going to improve the situation. I do it en passant because I'm tired of the bullshit from all sides, but this also probably isn't conducive.

46   scholayil   2010 Jan 4, 8:30am  

All religious are nuts accept it.

I understand Christians want to look good, the best way is to highlight people worse than the Christian 'educated'. I think those 'islamic' terrorists may need to do a lot more killings to evoke shame in Muslims, if that is what Christian media/evangelists want.

Being blessed with Jesus and love, any explanation why Christians engage in Killings to defeat godless communists and other killings for profit?
1. Millions in vietnam, cambodia, Korea, Iraq, Iran
3. Millions in colonialist times
5. Millions in Japan
6. 70 Million in WW1-2
7. Millions in Afghan - Pak -USSR _USA Mess ( Reagen commented Bin Laden and fighters are like founders of USA. Maybe some truth in that)

Do you really think Christian Communist killing is over? If over they need a new enemy for the arms industry. Religion plays well for the powerful.

47   kthomas   2010 Jan 4, 8:31am  

Patrick, you never cease to amaze me. You tackle tough subjects, but in a civilized manner. God bless you.

Anyhow, as a recent convert to Islam, I can honestly say there's a lot of bullshit in the Koran. However, there's an equal amount in the Old and New Testaments. To blindly believe is to be led off of a cliff. God wants us to question things.

Theologically, Islam is more complete than Judaism and Christianty. It speaks to many things that the Bible never really discusses. Things like taxes, the adoption of children, how to deal with thieves and criminals, what to eat and what not to eat, how to love your wife and children, it preaches racial and social equality, something Jesus was crucified for. Morever, it reaffirms many of the more ardent beliefs that make Jews jews and Christians christians, namely the belief in the One God. (The Holy Trinity concept is, franky, too confusing.) The Bible is very clear that we are all children of Noah and Abraham, so there is no difference.

These days, it's all politics and money, the latter be the Golden Cow of our time. For example, if after WW2 there were no Muslims at all in the Holy Land and only Christians, would US policy towards Israel be so one-sided? And if only Christians lived in Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, and Iran, would our petrol-driven economy had been so eager to deplete and rob our Christian brothers?

Ghandi said it best: If all Christians lived according to the teachings of the Prophet Jesus, there would be no Jews, no Hindus, no Bhuddists and no Muslims.

Why did I convert? I myself was inspired by Malcolm X. His hatred of whites was transformed into love. He inspired me greatly. He died for his change of heart, killed by his own people.

As for me, I fear only one thing: God's wrath. If I commit to evil deeds, God will know, and deal with me accordingly. Likewise, if I commit to good deeds, God will know. A healthy fear of God is all one needs to lead a good life. True, some, as you say, are good as is. But Patrick, this is not enough. I've never met an aethiest that was not in fear or paranoia. And though they be fools, I still love them as brothers and sisters. If Muhammed came down right now and told me to commit violence against innocent people, simply because they do not share my beliefs, it is Muhammed that had better worry. I will not lift a finger in violence to any, save he occasioanl criminal or violent fool that wishes me harm. In such cases, you are obligated to chatise evil.

48   resistance   2010 Jan 4, 8:34am  

I'm not insulting anyone. People can choose to be insulted, but that's their choice.

Yes, Christians (and Jews) ignore some very violent episodes in the Old Testament. Good thing! The problem here is that the terrorists are not ignoring what they read in the Koran. They understand it clearly, and they act on it.

No one needs to be a scholar here. Just read the words. They mean what they mean.

49   anonymous   2010 Jan 4, 8:42am  

I am a born again, have a personal savior and a personal relationship as real as one with a human can possibly have. I talk to god and walk with him. I am convinced, god is my neighbors tree. I would like to share him with everyone in the audience. Please repleat after me. Mr. Tree, we have sined, falling of grace, and come before you, believe you are the only true god and will come to ask you in case of a emergency which way to run, if a nuke hits the earth. We will ask the tree to strike down the ants and kill the mosquitos. Do karate with the snow and to every now and then fall on a car. If need be on a human, if pat robinson finds a reason to. God is a nice cartoon carter, who gets drunk often and is violent when he doesn't get his way, he only needs our money and doesn't care about anything else. expect we give more next week.

50   scholayil   2010 Jan 4, 8:48am  

Well said!

Abdul Muthalib does it influenced by a Yemeni Mulla wearing dirty turban using underwear bombs

Reagen/Bush and his kind of folk do it under influence from evangelists wearing clean cut suits using neat bombs and UAV's.

while vast majority of humans hope they both stop.

51   pacman   2010 Jan 4, 10:18am  

Erickk Hoogenbaum: "Too bad. Scientism is a religion in itself–in that it is a systematic worldview. Science doesn’t give us much of an ought. Science only tells us how the world is. Read Scottish philosopher David Hume’s Essay on the is/ought problem. Once we find out the truth statements, we still have to decide to do with the data. Only philosophy, ethics, religion and CONVICTIONS can tell us this."

It is true that Science alone has no opinion on human behavior. But logic and science can help form and maintain a rational belief system of philosophy and ethics.
At the core of any belief system (including philosophy, ethics, and religion), are some unprovable assumptions. I reason that the fewer assumptions the better, that assumptions should not contradict logic, and that superstition cannot help clarify beliefs in any meaningful way.

A common sense belief assumption may be: We should treat others with kindness as we wish to be treated, and we likely be treated the same.
If "and God said so" is added, it does not clarify the reasoning behind the belief.
Religious beliefs were at one time based on a persons reasoning. That reasoning may or may not be valid now (according to current society or knowledge).

For example, perhaps rules against eating pork or shellfish can be eliminated because of refrigeration, or perhaps the list of animals not to eat should be expanded/changed to help with sustainability of the animals, or our environment. The logic behind religious beliefs should be reevaluated occasionally.

52   Â¥   2010 Jan 4, 11:18am  

No one needs to be a scholar here. Just read the words. They mean what they mean.

That is bullpucky, rhetorical fundamentalism to slag on the religion. (edit: everything controversial has a critical context, and at any rate religionists are very adept at mentally firewalling the crap that causes difficulties for them)

Unlike kthomas above I don't look to musty books for any sort of received morality or ways to live my life, but I understand that BILLIONS of people are either conditioned to do so or find the nihilism and uber-rationality of secular reason to be too much for their monkey brains, and sink back into the warm comfort of faith in a creator or otherwise superior force in the Universe.

IMHO slagging on their religion and the central figure of it as you do is just going to repulse them, as if I walked on the campus of BYU and started slagging on about all the BS surrounding Joseph Smith's life.

Attacking a religion head on like this is a mug's game. You're just playing into their defense mechanisms. The only way to beat back the tide of religion is to live a better life without it and let that be your argument.

53   anonymous   2010 Jan 4, 11:19am  

There has been many jesus, but not one has really existed, just one story that evolved into another one. In the evolutin of god, author didn't want to say god didn't exist, but he put all the info in the book, not very well. Osirus story was not included per politial reasons. you dont want to piss off your audience. Religino is only a need to believe in something, to strengthen your self to fight. There where only a few religions with saviors, which today we believe in. We still have the charlatons, who sell magic. We dont consider them jesus freaks, yet now you know mark is the only book in the bible that could be read, the rest where made up from mark, even mark was made up from other similar stories like jesus. Osirus was killed and he resurected and came back for his people. why did they need him, it's a story, just like today we need jesus. sounds great. writen very well, and evolved, they changed the story many times until it fits perfect today. as soon as you get ride of the middle class and get the poor working like dogs, you get rid of all the problems. NO more fanatics, hell is on earth as heaven is for the rich. when you don't have time, you don't start problems. Our consumer society has to end, a new one of hard work and little pay will begin, probably it will get closer next 20 years. When they blame all our problems on us and make us pay for them, no retirement, and less good jobs. Work in the fields if you want to eat, or move to another country and work in the fields for less. Welcome to the real world, the internet economy, information economy, where techology goes faster than a speeding bullet and we are out of the picture. No pie for you.

54   monkframe   2010 Jan 4, 1:43pm  

So if we're worried about how many people die as a result of, what, religious belief? Hands down in the last ten years, it's Christians running the show and killing massive numbers of people.
George W. Bush, in response to 9/11 (3,000 dead), starts two wars, killing at least some thousands in Afghanistan intially, and then topping that by invading Iraq and killing (by some estimates) hundreds of thousands of people in that country.
Now forget about religion for a second and imagine, in your comfortable existence here in the seat of empire, that we were invaded and got the shit bombed of us. Carpet bombing, not a one-time hit on a prominent target. Whoa, time to take the war to the enemy, no matter the cost, eh?
That's what I find missing from discussions about Islam or any other religion somehow being a worse book of old myths than another book of old myths--the question WHY? Why do they hate us? as one moron asked in recent years.
Figure it out.

55   Mr pre-modernist   2010 Jan 4, 5:10pm  

Pacman's Response: "But logic and science can help form and maintain a rational belief system of philosophy and ethics."

Rational is logical. We have to make a distinction between syllogistic reasoning and enthymematic reasoning. Syllogistic reasoning is science. Enthymeme is qualitative. Ethics, philosophy, the reasons why we do or not do something, these are all qualitative. Religion lies in the realm of the reasonable--conviction. Science lies in the realm of the logical. People need to learn to make distinctions between scientific fact, conviction, and opinion. Think of a glass jar, a box, and a tie. The jar contains items that can be seen and knowable--this is science. The box contains items that we speculate about--philosophy and religion. The tie is a matter of taste--opinion.

In response to scholayil: "All religious are nuts accept it." Ok. Accept this: All people are religious. Everyone has a system of beliefs. Some contain more fact than myth, others contain more myth than fact.

"I understand Christians want to look good, the best way is to highlight people worse than the Christian ‘educated’. I think those ‘islamic’ terrorists may need to do a lot more killings to evoke shame in Muslims, if that is what Christian media/evangelists want."

I didn't know anyone actually believed the television evangelists. They're charlatans and hypocrites.

"Being blessed with Jesus and love, any explanation why Christians engage in Killings to defeat godless communists and other killings for profit?
1. Millions in vietnam, cambodia, Korea, Iraq, Iran
3. Millions in colonialist times
5. Millions in Japan
6. 70 Million in WW1-2
7. Millions in Afghan - Pak -USSR _USA Mess ( Reagen commented Bin Laden and fighters are like founders of USA. Maybe some truth in that)."

Ask yourself one question: Who makes money on war? It's not the Christians. It's the defense contractors and investment banks. Many of them happen to be Zionist. Examples: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, the BIS and the IMF--there is a big list.

56   Â¥   2010 Jan 4, 5:43pm  

^ ooh, he went there :)

FWIW, I think there's enough overlap among the AEI/PNAC/Hudson/Heritage axis and the Old Money East Coast Establishment not to need to find more scapegoats.

War has always been good for business, as MG Smedley Butler wrote about in the 30s. United Fruit in Guatemala is the general model. Pay off the government and the Company can move in to rape the land with profitable cash crops and mining operations that enrich the locals little if at all. If the Establishment was really serious about this you'd think they'd actually have the CIA operate as business intelligence joint venture with cats paws private equity corporations on the order of Carlyle Group as its public face.

There's all kinds of weirdness associated with the Blackwater Group. That's not Zionist per se, but Christian Fundamentalist, though the Fundies do seem intent on stirring up the shit to bring the End Times in our lifetimes, or what's left of them before the islamic world really starts fighting fire with fire.

57   scholayil   2010 Jan 4, 11:38pm  

The war leaders are most likely not very religious themselves in private, but will generally have a 'guru' for public consumption or will make religious statements to appease constituency, all for their personal advantage. Religion may not be directly responsible for the killings, but without it, like Bush's "crusade in Iraq" statement and an Anthrax scare from Fed labs, he cannot get people over his side to do what he wants, kill his fathers would be killer. He was open enough to admit that once the war started.

The thing troubling me is that a Giant Power ( power = demonstrated willingness to hurt) like USA /EU has millions with belief that Muslims or Hindus or Jews or Communists are not good humans and are going to hell anyway. I am better than you, my nonsense belief is better than yours. For Muslims christians are infidels. You just need a small prod to start a genocide.

The book War of the World claims that WW1-2 were essentially racial conflicts started by humans by first demonizing "others" and then making it a hobby to kill 'Aliens'. In this century, AHKmed is 'it' as Carlos Mancia explains. None of the muslim nations or even terrorist organizations are powerful enough to really hurt US/EU. To put it in a sick context, road accident kills 4000 and Flu kills 30K Americans annually, but you do not see war on roads as roads cannot be made 'Aliens' as easily as the 'other' religion.

58   anonymous   2010 Jan 5, 1:52am  

Islam is a religion which encourages violence,and no other religion is like it.
They all teach compassion and peace. That explains it.

59   bob2356   2010 Jan 5, 1:56am  

War is about money and power. Always was, always will be. Religion is an excuse not a reason.

60   scholayil   2010 Jan 5, 2:22am  

I am forced to ask some questions that make me uncomfortable.

If Islam encourages violence, why does 'islamic violence' pale in comparison with 'christian violence' and 'christian colonialism' and 'christian missonarism'? 1000,000 Iraqis and 20,000 Afghans in American retribution against 3000 Americans .Even 'christian' retribution is horrible. Islam only called for an eye for an eye in pre-historic times.

Why does white Christians carry so much hate against other religions and communists? because muslims do not do gods work like goldman ceo / palin / bush / many Texans ??

'Missionarism' is itself a crime against humanity. Stop it now.

61   Honest   2010 Jan 5, 3:08am  

alexgeorgev says

Islam is a religion which encourages violence,and no other religion is like it.
They all teach compassion and peace. That explains it.

Mr. Alex, you don't know anything about Islam, you are like a door-step kid talking and trying to ignite the fire using the absurd statement. Be grow and civilized as per se.

Here is a excerpt from Al-Quran - Chapter 24 for the one who is a true believer.

"The Messenger's duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way (i.e. to preach in a plain way)." (54) Allâh has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the land, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islâm). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me."

AN

62   Mr pre-modernist   2010 Jan 5, 3:13am  

Response to Troy: "FWIW, I think there’s enough overlap among the AEI/PNAC/Hudson/Heritage axis and the Old Money East Coast Establishment not to need to find more scapegoats."

I disagree. Four words: Council on Foreign Relations.

"There’s all kinds of weirdness associated with the Blackwater Group. That’s not Zionist per se, but Christian Fundamentalist, though the Fundies do seem intent on stirring up the shit to bring the End Times in our lifetimes, or what’s left of them before the islamic world really starts fighting fire with fire."

The End Times is all myth. People will bring it about because it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Christian Fundamentalists are insane--or fanatics rather. You cannot reason with those people. They don't know the limitations of their religion. View skepticism and fanaticism on a continuum. The fundamentalists, and not all of them, are closer to the fanatic category.

I'm a Christian Skeptic. I sort of take the difference between Judaism and Christianity and split the difference. It doesn't make me very popular, but it makes for damn good argument--and a lot of irritated people. Hopefully I'll live long enough to accomplish something with my life. =P I view religion as a discussion. In order for me to discuss it, its helpful if I'm religious myself. Am I agnostic? Yes. Am I atheist? No. Primarily because there is no way to validate a theist or atheist assumption. Agnostic is the most scientific viewpoint, because it has the option of being proven wrong.

In response to scholayil: "Why does white Christians carry so much hate against other religions and communists? because muslims do not do gods work like goldman ceo / palin / bush / many Texans ??"

Christianity in (some forms can be) extremely socialistic. Actually, Marx got some of his ideas from the Christians. You can read that in the book of Acts. The early church pooled all of their resources together to survive. Not all Christians hate the communists. They just think it's a flawed system. So do I. The Russians implemented a similar system, and the bureaucrats who ran it exploited their citizens. They drove around in Mercedes while the people starved to death and traded goods on the black market. Many people forget that many of the Russians starved to death while its government implemented its system. Read Ayn Rand's books. She came out of such a system and saw its flaws. But she was short on solutions. Ultimately, I believe in the maximum dissemination of power because people cannot be trusted with it. Oh yeah, and Marx had a Jewish father if I remember right. Religion can be the opium of the masses. I view it more as a positive stimulant. It becomes opium when you suspend your ability to think.

"because muslims do not do gods work like goldman ceo / palin / bush / many Texans"

Lloyd Blankfein is a Jew. I don't know what his version of God's work is. Palin is a fundamentalist, but she was raised catholic. Bush just converted to Methodist so he could win votes among the Fundamentalist Christians. Once again, the people in power care about power and maintaining their family dynasty.

I think what may help people think more clearly is not to overgeneralize and put all religious people in one category. What you really need to look at is human motivations. Most people in the world are motivated by power, fame, money, and pleasure. If they were motivated truly by their religion, they wouldn't seek these things.

63   Honest   2010 Jan 5, 3:55am  

Erickk Hoogenbaum says

In response to scholayil: “Why does white Christians carry so much hate against other religions and communists? because muslims do not do gods work like goldman ceo / palin / bush / many Texans ??”

And Pharoahs in Egypt also did the work like gods and pro-claimed/acted to be gods. Where are these gods ? under the mud or in the British museum !!.. History always repeats itself and you know the end.

64   scholayil   2010 Jan 5, 4:06am  

Erickk. I hope most people in the world are not over zealous and do not over generalize.

65   Mr pre-modernist   2010 Jan 5, 4:44am  

Zealous is past fanatic. I'd hope not.

67   coolvyakti   2010 Jan 8, 6:21am  

This post has brought out what is written in the Koran. Instead of saying "other people don't understand the context" or "do not know how to interpret it" - the first question is what are these statements doing in a so called "holy book"? The second question is - if the interpretation is so difficult that people who have good understanding of english and comprehension, have difficulty in getting it right - how is it assumed that a semi literate people will somehow interpret this as a "call for peaceful existence" with other folks who aren't muslims?
History should not be doctored to suit ones needs - there is nothing to refute that islam was born out of bloodshed, slavery, torture, plunder, rape etc - whereas no other "messenger of God" is known to have participated in any such act - and if they did, they would not be looked upon as role models to follow. Islam also got followers initially by coersion - following the doctrine that has been put into words (above) - and it continues to do the same all over the world, even as we speak.
If islam is for peace, why is it that lands where muslims existed in peace (till Wahabi influence reached them) are suddenly erupting in a frenzy of violence? Why is islam so fragile, that its followers panic at the slightest provocation? Read : http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100108/ap_on_re_as/as_malaysia_allah_ban
How come moderate muslims are not taking out protest marches to show their tolerance and respect for christians in Malaysia? How come moderate muslims never take out any protest marches, against Saudi Arabia's despicable treatment of people of other faiths going on for the past 50 years? Whereas if a burka is banned in France - we see worldwide protests.
I am glad that atleast some muslims are trying to think rationally and doing an introspection of their own self. That is the only way for them to try and reach the glorious age which they left behind in 1000 AD, when they were at their peak of knowledge and had a more open conversation and interchange of ideas with the rest of the world.

68   Â¥   2010 Jan 8, 6:25am  

coolvyakti, I can just say that asking "How come you suck?" isn't really constructive.

69   simchaland   2010 Jan 8, 8:31am  

FWIW all children of the One God have blood on their hands. The Christians aren't innocent. There were the Cruscades of the Middle Ages and today via America to the Muslim world. If you believe anything in the Hebrew Bible we Jews have blood on our hands every time we've come into power in Israel, including modern times. The muslims have spread their religion by the points of swords and continue to do so through intimidation and governmental control.

I am a Jew, for what it's worth. I'm highly disappointed in how the Children of the One God (three of the four communities (the Bahai's have yet to spill blood)) have conducted themselves. More people have died in the name of this One God at the hands of Jews, Christians, and Muslims than have died for the sake or in the name of any other Deity.

Religion as a whole, even when considering religions that aren't related to the worship of The One God, has a bad track record when it comes to violence and blood spilling.

What it really comes down to is money and control. Religions are systems that allow people who use them to control vast masses of people and to control vast volumes of wealth. Sometimes religions run governments. Sometimes members of certain religions use their religions to run governments and persecute others. Sometimes governments use religion to divide a populace to retain control over their people. This had been especially true in Europe where Jews were often separated and persecuted so that the majority Christian peoples of Europe could unite against a common "enemy."

This is the dark side of all religions. No religion is entirely exempt from causing some harm (psychological, spiritual, physical, emotional).

There are positive aspects of religion too. Unity and connection with others and the Divine is a good thing. Even Islam does this at its most basic level. When you look at basic Islam "The Five Pillars" you see that at its heart, Islam is a religion that is at its core, good.

Shahadah: Profession of faith: "[I profess that] There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his Prophet"

Salah: Prayers: Five times per day.

Zakat: Alms giving: Helping out the least among us.

Sawm: Fasting: In order to make a spiritual journey and to get closer to Allah

Hajj: Pilgrimage: To make the pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime if you can afford it. The believer should be self-aware and examine their intentions in performing the pilgrimage. This should lead to constant striving for self-improvement.

This is the core of Islam. Nowhere in these does it say anything about committing acts of violence against anyone.

All Children of the One God are Children of The Books: The Hebrew Bible (Christian "Old Testament"), The Christian "New Testament," and the Koran. All of these have violence in them. All of these call for violent acts to be committed somewhere in them.

It is incumbent on all Children of the One God to make choices on how to live faith. Most followers choose to follow the positive and peaceful precepts of their religions. The Zealots and Fundamentalists choose differently.

Let's not bash an entire religious system because some of the people in a religious system make choices that hurt others. That is crude and ignorant. Let's take a look at how the majority of people claiming to be adherents of a religion choose to live their lives.

Using scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, anyone can show that there is a violent subtext running through the scriptures. Anyone can quote examples in English, out of context, without proper translation, and without proper interpretation from any of the scriptures of any of the religions of the Children of the One God to "prove" that any of these religions is violent. The key to understanding these texts is in the interpretation, understanding the context, understanding the meaning in the original language of the text (including the idioms), and how one chooses to live what is learned in the scriptures.

None of these texts were written to be taken literally in English as too many believe who have written above. Middle Eastern thought isn't western thought. The New Testament crosses the line into Western thinking often but it still reaches back to Middle Eastern logic patterns and ways of thinking. English is a poor language to use in which to understand these texts fully. And using a "Western Platonic/Descartes/Hegel/Heiddegar/Kant/etc." thought paradigm won't yield true understanding of texts that were written not just in a different tongue, but also with a different thought paradigm unrelated to western thought.

Most Muslims, Christians, and Jews are peace loving and decent people who treat each other with some level of respect and kindness. All three religions have examples of extremism where violence erupts. Let's encourage those who embrace the positive aspects of these three religions while making the attempt to reach out to the extremists of all three religions. The extremists are a loud minority in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. It's time for the morally upstanding people in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism unite to transform the extremists and appeal to their hearts to end the violence.

This thread is dangerously condemning of an entire religion based on the behaviors of minority extremists. This doesn't help the dialogue because it isn't respectful of those in the majority who embrace Islam and are peaceful and God-loving people.

70   Â¥   2010 Jan 8, 8:46am  

^ パチパチ (Japanese for 'polite clapping')

While I disagree that there aren't major doctrinal and dogmatic issues within Islam, I think it's up to them to figure it out and outsiders ragging on Islam in general just strengthens the argument of the extremists.

71   Mr pre-modernist   2010 Jan 8, 11:22am  

Simchaland:

I wanted to genuinely complement your essay. I've been trying to communicate a similar point but failed. By all standards, I am a heretic. I have Jewish roots on my mother's side, but I was baptized a Christian. I have many Muslim friends. I'd just like to see all of the fighting stop. The people who rule the world don't really care about religion--at least I don't think so. I think it's more of a money and power game as you said. It's class warfare. Human motivations haven't changed much over the centuries. If people only learn one thing, it's that principles are important. They do matter--and they do exist. Don't see anyone as other.

For the Atheists and nihilists: Please be more respectful of religious people. Consider it a blessing that you get to learn from our mistakes. The standard is now higher for you, since your get to learn from our blunders and not commit them. I would become a devout Atheist if I thought that it was possible to live a more virtuous life. I haven't met an Atheist who was yet able to convince me.

I have a question: If we were to have no religion(s), would we still have violence and bloodshed?

I'd like to share something personal from Yahoo answers (I posted a question).

Relationship Between Heretical Christian and Muslim?
I know everyone will probably hate me, because I've just pinned myself between every group. I realize this question might be explosive. Please be very respectful. What is the Muslim view of this? I am not a typical Christian. My family has Jewish ties on my mother's side. I was baptized a Christian. I believe that the Christian scriptures were changed. My theological convictions are closest to Essene or Ebionite, because I have a problem with the divinity of Christ. I won't convert to Judaism because I am not zionist and I believe the Palestinians were pushed out of their land. I won't convert to Islam because of some of the more violent elements on the fringe. And I have a problem with the Christian Fundamentalists because I don't believe in sola-scriptura. I don't take the Catholic or Orthodox view to Christianity because I grew up in a Protestant Tradition and I have a problem venerating icons and statues. I also have a problem with the place Mary has in some Christian traditions. Basically, I believe in following the laws of Moses and the teachings of Yeshua. What does that make me? I've probably offended everyone, but please try to understand this from my own viewpoint. I'm not trying be troublesome, just live out my own convictions truthfully and peacefully.

Does it come down to love? Or will family politics cause me many problems? =( I really admire and respect the virtue in this woman. Most of my immediate family is Christian, so they wouldn't understand. I expect hers wouldn't either.

Here is once of the responses I got:

"Firstly, I am a Palestinan Muslim and thank you very much for believing that the Palestinians were pushed out of their land. Many people believe differently.

Back to the topic, I don't think that you should rule out all the possibilities yet. What is it about Islam that you find violent? It really is a great religion if you take the time to understand it. You should read parts of the Quran and understand the meaning. There are many translations out there."

72   Â¥   2010 Jan 8, 1:00pm  

Inner Strife says

I would become a devout Atheist if I thought that it was possible to live a more virtuous life

? atheism or religion is independent of virtue. Virtue comes from within, from the decisions we make every moment.

AFAICT, at the end of the day the only virtue we can be judged on is have we made the world a better place for others. To the extent we have succeeded with that overarching mission we have been 'virtuous'. The be virtuous is to be a Man, not an animal. That is the word's Latin root, where we get 'virile', too.

People who succeed at this with no expectation of eternal reward for their efforts are, we should agree, quite admirable.

73   Â¥   2010 Jan 8, 1:07pm  

Inner Strife says

What is it about Islam that you find violent?

All the violence? Seems the more Musilm a person is the more violence emanates from them.

'course, one would hope all those protests were inflitrated by false-flag Israeli agents. If not, the Mossad is off their game.

74   chanakya4774   2010 Jan 9, 4:02am  

You cannot be RATIONAL and religious !!

billions of christians believe that jesus is the GOD
billions of muslims believe that allah is the GOD.
one of them have to wrong then !!
so billions are wrong ....and if billions are already wrong , whats the probability that the other billions cannot be wrong about an invisible man

75   Mr pre-modernist   2010 Jan 9, 4:42am  

In response to Troy:

"atheism or religion is independent of virtue. Virtue comes from within, from the decisions we make every moment."

Nope. Virtue comes from understanding principles and putting them into practice. Religious people seem to do a better job at it. Particularly in the area of practicing temperance (in areas such as alcohol consumption, food, sexual habits, etc).

"AFAICT, at the end of the day the only virtue we can be judged on is have we made the world a better place for others. To the extent we have succeeded with that overarching mission we have been ‘virtuous’. The be virtuous is to be a Man, not an animal.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Except I believe to be virtuous is to acquire and put into practice eternal principles.

"You cannot be RATIONAL and religious !!"

Very well said--since religion has nothing to do with rationality. Rationing is a product of mathematics--science. Religion is a product of reason. Practicing religion is different than practicing science.

Response to chanakya:

That was a cheap analysis.

"billions of christians believe that jesus is the GOD
billions of muslims believe that allah is the GOD.
one of them have to wrong then !!"

Clearly you don't understand the issue. We believe in the same God. Allah is the name of God in Arabic. Many of the early Christians didn't believe Jesus was God.

It'll be interesting to see if devout atheists end up pursuing the same errors that religious people have. If I understand human nature properly, I'd think yes. Particularly in the area of tolerance.

76   Mr pre-modernist   2010 Jan 9, 4:49am  

Additionally I do agree that religion and atheism is independent of virtue.

77   Â¥   2010 Jan 9, 5:04am  

Inner Strife says

Particularly in the area of practicing temperance (in areas such as alcohol consumption, food, sexual habits, etc

That sort of virtue, with no actual real-world impact, is entirely subjective if not meaningless.

I mean, really, are the dietary laws against eating lobster tails producing virtue? I think not. Just because a religion spells out explicit rituals, behaviorial requirements, and dietary restriction doesn't result in a virtuous life in the global, interpersonal sense of the word.

A religious tradition may by scattershot find some useful rules to dogmatize, but even then these are often half-baked or honored in the breach, like the islamic injunctions against interest.

A lot of these rules retard Sharia economies, though I do admit I like the general idea of Musharaka al-Mutanaqisa (diminishing partnership in a holding vehicle). It aligns well with how I think residential lending should work.

78   Â¥   2010 Jan 9, 5:08am  

chanakya says

illions of christians believe that jesus is the GOD
billions of muslims believe that allah is the GOD.

"... and I believe [Christians and Muslims] worship the same god" -- George Bush, 2003.

tee hee hee

79   RayAmerica   2010 Jan 9, 5:27am  

“… and I believe [Christians and Muslims] worship the same god” — George Bush, 2003.

Proof George Bush is an even lousier theologian than he was a president.

80   Â¥   2010 Jan 9, 7:53am  

. . . that's still debatable (smile)

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