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Tuesday, February 14, 2006
 Glory to Peaceful Islam!

Topic: Commentary

We have all heard many times, I am sure, that Islam is a peaceful religion, and that Muhammad is a man of peace and honor. We have repeatedly heard imams who have claimed that to fight and show violence is an offense against Islam, and that thus the terrorists and rioters and suicide bombers are actually desecrating Islam by going against the teachings of Muhammad.

Furthermore, they go so far as to write children's books about how loving and peaceful Muhammad was and they introduce teachings about Islam in the schools in the name of "multiculturalism". Let us reflect then, on the peaceful, tolerant, teachings of this "most humble" religion:

The Noble Qur'an

2:193: And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allah (Alone). But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)

9: 12: But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and attack your religion with disapproval and criticism then fight (you) the leaders of disbelief (chiefs of Quraish - pagans of Makkah) - for surely their oaths are nothing to them - so that they may stop (evil actions).

9: 13: Will you not fight a people who have violated their oaths (pagans of Makkah) and intended to expel the Messenger, while they did attack you first? Do you fear them? Allah has more right that you should fear Him, if you are believers.

9:14: Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people,

9:26: Then Allah did send down His Sakinah (calmness, tranquillity and reassurance, etc.) on the Messenger (Muhammad), and on the believers, and sent down forces (angels) which you saw not, and punished the disbelievers. Such is the recompense of disbelievers.

9:29: Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

47:4 So, when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah's Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives). Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without ransom), or ransom (according to what benefits Islam), until the war lays down its burden. Thus [you are ordered by Allah to continue in carrying out Jihad against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam (i.e. are saved from the punishment in the Hell-fire) or at least come under your protection], but if it had been Allah's Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost,

47:5: He will guide them and set right their state.

47: 9: But those who disbelieve (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism), for them is destruction, and (Allah) will make their deeds vain.

47:10: That is because they hate that which Allah has sent down (this Qur'an and Islamic laws, etc.), so He has made their deeds fruitless.

47:11: Have they not travelled through the earth, and seen what was the end of those before them? Allah destroyed them completely and a similar (fate awaits) the disbelievers.

 

As you can see, the reaction to the Danish cartoons has everything to do with the teachings of this religion. For those who have claimed that the reaction has nothing to do with the religion, but rather that it is purely a product of Western imperialism, it is plain to see from a reading of the Qur'an that the violent actions of Muslims around the world over the years is according to the teachings of Islam.

Why doesn't the mainstream media publish these quotes from the Qur'an when they cover stories about Islam? Why have these passages not been used as a reference to understand the reaction to the cartoons? Clearly, these passages help us to understand the reaction to the cartoons. Will the "moderate Muslims" be offended because we quote their holy book word for word?

Why do "moderate Muslims" continue to say that Islam is a religion of peace? Are they themselves misled? Have they themselves not read the Qur'an? Do they actually not understand their own religion? Are they just fooling themselves? Are some of these "moderate Muslims" just being selective and only choosing to follow the teachings that they like, or are some of these "moderate Muslims" a front for the further infiltration of secular society with a violent, bigoted, and warlike religion that demands fearful obedience and preaches hate to all that to not believe in "Allah"?

I suspect that it is a mix of all these things, but one cannot be concerned with what Muslim believers are or are not doing and why they are doing it, what non-Muslims should be concerned with is what we are doing. Continuing to give cover for this religion or to allow it to further infringe on open and secular culture is only inviting more violence, more domination, and more calls for social regulation.

Tolerance is a two way street. Islam is a religion founded on the idea of intolerance of others. There can be no tolerance of intolerance.


Posted by rationalrevolution.net at 7:21 AM EST | Post Comment | View Comments (24) | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2006 4:56 AM EST

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - 11:38 AM EST

Name: Shamveel

Hi,

I came across your site and this topic. As a Muslim perhaps I can clarify this issue for you.

Yes, Islam does contain a martial component as you correctly mentioned quoting the Quran. By now everyone knows of or at least has heard of 'Jihad'.

Your first and last sentence in the final line actually answers your query:

'Tolerance is a two way street.'
'There can be no tolerance of intolerance.'

And that is exactly what Jihad preaches. The real question which arises is - who is truly intolerant and who is truly tolerant.


The middle sentence:
'Islam is a religion founded on the idea of intolerance of others'
is a lie, presumably something that you have been indoctrinated into believing in by the mass medias anti-Islam campaign.

What is Islam founded on?
1. The belief in the One Unique God, Who is the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate.

The One Unique God:
What does this mean?
The words La Illaha IllalaH (There is no God but God)
The sentence starts with a negation 'La' ('No'), meaning that whatever you point to or whatever you see is 'La' (Not God).
This is similar to the ancient Hindu philosophers concept of God 'Neti Neti' which means 'Not this, Not this'. Again a negation. The ancient Hindus has many schools of philosophy that discussed the ultimate nature of God, and the ultimate conclusion they came to was that the one thing we could be sure of God was that He (or It if you prefer) is UNLIKE anything else we know, is truly, absolutely SINGULAR in nature. There is not another like him.

Other attributes include that he is eternal, i.e. time is His creation, and as a consequence neither was He begotten and nor does he beget (as He is Singular, Eternal, Absolutely Infinite). Nothing approaches Him or comes close to His Being.

However, other than these attributes He has others such as Mercy and Compassion.

What do the terms Mercy and Compassion mean as regards Islam?

Mercy means the Ultimate Mercy that He forgives mankind its sins after they die and admits them to His Paradise where they will have an eternal life.
So the Mercy here is referring to the mercy of the afterlife.
Of course in order to earn this Mercy there are a lot of responsibilities a person must undertake. God has not left mankind in the dark regarding the difference between right and wrong. This is the Quran which has two names Quran (the recitation) and Al-Furqan (The criterion). ie It is a recitation that is also the criterion between right and wrong, a guidance, and a mercy for mankind.

The Compassion is the compassion that He bestows on all creatures whether they are good or evil. It is that part of His Mercy that reaches all without discrimination. For example, most people in the world (particularly Muslim world) would consider Bush2 a evil tyrant and criminal. However, yet he seems blessed with health, wealth , prosperity, children, ie general earthly happiness. So God has infact been compassionate to him. However, these good things he enjoys are transitory and in the Afterlife he will weep much as he will be punished for his trangressions.

In Islam, faith in God (Allah: means 'The Supreme One') is not the same meaning as in the West. ie you can have faith in the theory of evolution for example.

In Islam it is something that all humans 'know' of deep in their hearts. ie the concept is not so much of choice but rather an instinct. That we all have an instinct, an inclination to believe in and worship (worship = 'Draw close to') God. For example when one gives charity (sincerely) it is considered an act of Worship and draws one close to God.

God has created us with this instinct, and it is a spiritual instinct, rather than a bilogical one (eat,sleep, procreate). To draw close to God is a deep seated need, because the spirit we have comes from God, for when He created man, He breathed into him some of His spirit. Hence we too have some 'godly' attributes on a smaller scale such as the ability to be merciful and compassionate.

A disbeliever in Islam is either of the two:

1. One who rejects what his own heart tells him to be true (the existence of God and the need to come close to God). And so he commits an act of Kufr and becomes a Kafir (disbeliever). (Kufr = Covering Up) The meaning of Kufr is it denotes someone who covers up what his heart is telling him, ie he denys the message from his own heart and thus corrupts his own heart and his spirit. On another level, an act of corruption (doing an evil act that is forbidden by God) is considered an act of anti-worship ie by doing so, you are distancing yourself from God, and thus corrupting the spiritual purity of your heart. It is a type of Kufr.

2. One who does not necessarily reject the God instinct in him, but whose understanding of God is so corrupted that he thinks an animal, person, or any object (even money or desire is his God) - so that he becomes completely devoted towards this object and in effect 'worships' it. This also is a form of corruption.

Other than this foundation of Islam (conviction in the One God) the second concept is that all humankind is one big family, we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and all Muslims are one big true family , as this is not just a biological connection but also includes a spiritual connection (a higher connection). So basically a Muslim is the brother of another Muslim and this is the universal brotherhood irrespective of colour, language or culture. If you want to see true tolerance go to a mosque where you will see Muslims of all colours and classes all praying to God.

The other pillars of Islam are:
1. Prayer
2. Fasting
3. Charity
4. Pilgrimmage

The Islamic Prayer is a set of 'yoga type' meditations both physical and verbal that are designed to make the person draw closer to God. The Muslim bows his head to the ground in prayer to indicate and confirm that he worships God. The only way he can do this is when his spirit controls his ego, and this is the reason why he bows his head. Man does not pray to God mainly because he has a massive ego problem.
He is arrogant. Our concept of ego resides in our forehead, which is what is required for us to put to the ground, ie only when we put our individual ego under control can we truly feel the presence of God, and only when that ego and its associated 'inner chattering monkey'is brought down, only then do we feel true inner peace. This peace is what is called tranquility, a mental peace, a sense of contentment. All muslims who pray experience this. It is worthy to note that even in the Bible (Muslims consider it s true revelation that came from God and Jesus as a true Prophet, but that the book has been changed and thus corrupted - so it contains truth and falsehood) Jesus is described as praying with his forehead bowed to the ground.

However it is important to note that the Muslim is supposed to bow, subsume his ego, but only to God. i.e he/she is not supposed to bow to any other human being or object (idol). So the act of worshipping God also denotes the freedom of the worshipper from the tyranny of others who would set themselves up as God.

If you would take up a book on Yoga, usually if it is an extensive book (I possess one) you will find the positions of Muslim prayer included. Infact the postion of bowing prayer in Yoga is called the 'postion of peace' because of its beneficial physical results including a clearing of the mind.

The word Allah itself is singular. In Arabic there is no plural form 'Gods' nor is there a feminine form 'Godess'. While God has allowed us to use the masculine form 'He' for convenience in understanding it is not the normal masculine form which denotes the existence of an opposite feminine form.

The prayer is set to 5 specific times during a day. One of the purposes also of the prayer is to extract people from the daily distraction of their lives so that they can remember their Creator and their own responsibilities and their ultimate destination.

As someone once said 'They (the disbelievers) drink to forget (God), we pray to remember (God)'.

The life of this world is considered ultimately, an illusion, but a dangerous one that can attract and trap us within it and can cause us to stray from the path to God and become distanced from Him. So the Call to Prayer (the Azan) is a call for all mankind to remember God and hearken to this path.

A modern analogy I can give is from the movie Matrix, when the group use a telephone call to pull them out of the illusionary matrix.

Likewise the call to prayer if answered, 'pulls' the person out of the illusionary world and reminds him of ultimate reality.

Another purpose of the prayer is that it unites all those who pray together, it binds them together. They stand shoulder to shoulder, foot to foot, no matter what their colour, nationality, or social class. It is a true democracy, wherein there is no elite group (like 'whites' or 'rich') but all are equal before God, Who Alone is the True Master. So the prayer is also a communal ritual that binds spiritually the people who participate in it.

So this is the prayer and its purpose.

As far as fasting, charity are concerned I won't go into them as you already understand I assume their beneficial significance.

The pilgrimmage to Mecca is also a ritual like the prayer but is the prayer on a global scale, for all mankind. And it is so, that all mankind come together to pray there to the Unseen God, to Allah.

Next to these pillars of Islam is also the responsibility of Jihad (fighting oppressors and tyrants). This is a very high responsibility for all Muslims.

If you will read the Quran completely (not just pick out verses that encourage Muslims to fight) You will find many verses that confirm that Muslims must deal kindly and justly with people who offer them the same treatment. This is of course talking about non-muslims.

The call to fight is against only those who attack Muslims, drive them out of their homes.

In the first verse you quoted the line 'But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun '
clearly explains this.

Az-Zalimun generally means Oppressors, Tyrants.

As I have said it is the duty of all Muslims to fight tyranny and especially so the tyranny which is directed against them.

Part of the rules of Jihad also include laws of retaliation (Islam is in effect the same religion of Abraham and Moses with the same laws and commandments except it is not for one particular people but for all mankind). Such as a tooth for a tooth, blood for blood, and destruction for destruction. The Quran does not change these rules and infact the Quran is a Guardian over the Bible and the Torah as mentioned in the Quran (ie it confirms what is true in these books and reject what is false -that has been added by corrupt and ignorant priests). Retaliation itself is a form of defence and is the root of justice.

As regards the Muslim anger at the cartoon drawings there are many reasons for this:

First and foremost Muslims were forbidden by the Prophet Muhammed (Allahs Peace and Blessings be upon him) to draw him or make any physical likeness of him.

The reason is historical. One of the problems in history is that God has sent Prophets to all the nations of mankind (as mentioned in the Quran) , yet Islam (which is considered the primordial religion - or the original religion of man from Adam & Eve) never took root for long.

The reasons for this are as follows:

1. People (usually the wealthy elite of a town/nation) rejected the message because of their arrogance (again the ego).

2. People did accept the teachings, but after the death of the Prophet, a few generations later they started forgetting the essence of the teachings and started confusing the message with the messenger. Then they started making statues of the prophets in order for the future generations to remember them. Hence a kind of cult formed later where people stopped acting according to the religion but instead started worshipping these statues of the saints/prophets which had been built to remind them of God and their religion. Eventually people forgot all about their religion and just followed their whims and desires and the only act what they considered as worship was to sing and pray infront of these statues. That is the origin of idol worship.

It is for this reason that Muslims were forbidden from making a likeness of the Prophet. And this is the challenge you can test it - out of all religions in the world today, only Muslims do not worship any kind of idols.

However, another reason is that people could also go to the other extreme of rejecting the religion and insulting the prophet, making a mock of him and the religion.

And such is the case today, where Christians used to initially worship the statue of a crucified Jesus as a god, they have 'evolved' to the next level of mocking Jesus which is a common place occurence in Western society nowadays.

It is in order to avoid this, for mocking the messenger is the same as mocking the message which in turn is mocking God, that Muslims are forbidden from doing this.

However, as far as this controversy is concerned the Danish editor Flemming Rose is not an issue of 'free speech'. These cartoons were made purposely to provoke the Muslims and Rose himself has known links to American Zionists and Neo-cons.

This is actually a kind of an ongoing War on Muslims, a Psy Ops if you will to say that we can make war on you, kill your women and children, steal your wealth, and on top of that we can insult you and your religion.

It is kind of the icing on the cake, or if you will the straw that broke the camels path.

So all the protests have to be seen in context of the current chain of events and not isolated from it.

The added dimension to this problem is that Muslims who live in the West are usually given fair treatment. This is true. They can have mosques, publish their books, practise their religion (to some extent). Hence the majority of them have 'moderate' views because by and large they are tolerated.

This is because the Modern West is like the Roman Empire of old which didn't care what 'gods' you worshipped or even what colour you were as long as you were a citizen of Rome. If you were a citizen then you had the rights of every other citizen.

If you were not a citizen then you and your nation could be exploited and destroyed.

The problem for Muslims living in the West is that they are 'moderate' because they are Roman citizens and hence generally feel happy about living in the West (except those who are unskilled and are poor). The conflict comes because they have 'dual citizenship' and are both Roman citizens and citizens of Carthage (the Muslim nations) which is in conflict with Rome.

So which citizenship should take priority? This is an inner conflict and the temporary resolution they have is one not of armed conflict as they are part of the same communities. It is more like a 'real politik'.

Indeed the Wests (in particular Americas) destructive foreign policy towards the world in general and the Muslim nations in particular is a matter of fact and record. Read 'Rogue State' by William Blum and 'Behind the War on Terror' by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed for more info.

Anyway, I think thats enough from me, I have gone on far too long, I hope I did manage to convey something of the message of Islam, the rest is for you to study and research.
Accept or reject that is indeed your choice.

Allahu Akbar (God is Greater Than > all things).

May He guide you to the right path. Ameen.

Shamveel


Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - 8:12 PM EST

Name: Lloyd

Shamveel, I appreciate you taking the time to share your views and explain the basis of Islam. I hope you are able to return and explain something I find to be a contradiction. You started your post by saying:

> Tolerance is a two way street.'
> 'There can be no tolerance of intolerance.'
>
> And that is exactly what Jihad preaches.

Then you go on to divide humanity into three classes:

(1) Muslims
(2) Those who ignore their inner voice and reject the belief in God
(3) Those who hear the inner voice but do not understand it

That is not a two way street or a tolerant worldview. Tolerance means including a fourth category:

(4) Those whose inner voice tells them something different than what my inner voice tells me.

And maybe even a fifth category

(5) Those who do not have an inner voice. They are so different that I can’t even tell what they have.

When you divide the world into Muslims and people who are wrong, you don’t describe a two way street. You describe a street where all of the correct traffic goes one way and people going in another direction are going to get a ticket.

I hope you come back because there are more things that I want to ask you about, but if you only see me as a person who ignores his inner voice or someone who misunderstand his inner voice, we won’t get very far. I am a person with different beliefs than you, and I am not ignoring anything or misunderstanding anything. I am just different from you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - 9:58 PM EST

Name: rationalrevolution.net
Home Page: http://www.rationalrevolution.net

Thank you for the feedback Shamveel.

I appreciate your efforts, however there is an unbridgeable gap here.

#1 The post-modernist idea that somehow all ideas can be compatible is simply false.

When you take an issue such as this, it is impossible to claim that we can all be tolerance of each other's beliefs, because each other beliefs are in direct conflict with each other.

Islam takes the position all people who do not believe in Islam, or Allah, are "infidels", and are viable targets of aggression. Islam takes the position that it cannot coexist with other faiths or non-faiths. Islam justifies killing people who do not believe in Islam.

There isn't any way that that faith can co-exist with any other faith.

If you reject that part of your faith then you are rejecting Islam. You cannot be a true Muslim and also reject the call to kill non-believers, because your religion compels you to kill non-believers. Not to do so is to reject Islam.

Islam also states that homosexual should be killed. Homosexuals and Muslims cannot co-exist if the Muslims honor their faith, because honoring their faith requires that they kill homosexuals.

So, this idea that all things can co-exist is nonsense, they can't. We can't all tolerate everything the other believes, because part of what Islam believes is that other people have no right to exist.

Yes, we can all find nice things about different people. Hitler kissed babies, built highways, and started many charities also. Then he waged a war and tried to commit genocide.

So did Muhammad and other early Muslims. I am aware of early Muslim history and the split between the Shiites and Sunnis.

You then go on to talk about the Hindus, another repressive cult.

Before the rise of Hinduism in India there was much more freedom and progress and science.

The Hindus brought the cast system, oppression of women, opposition to science and philosophy, and subjugation of the poor. Of course, like every religious group, they talk about helping the poor, but its nonsense. You can see clearly with the Catholics, the Muslims, and the Hindus that wherever they go poverty and oppression follows. They brainwash the poor into following the lies that keep them enslaved.

You say that Islam is not intolerant of others, yet I quote passages from the Koran that tell Muslims to kill non-believers. I detect a contradiction here.

The fact is that I and billions of people on this planet don't believe in any of the things that you or other Muslims believe, at least in terms of religion, but you will find that most people believe in the same things if you take away religion.

Islam, and all other religion, are just man made lies from thousands of years ago, that our now destroying civilization.

There are so many things in the Koran that are provably false, how can you believe in that book? You can list point after point that can be proven not to be true. It's just an old book written by an old cult leader.

Okay, he said some good things, he said some bad things, so what?

Now we are destroying the world because of it!!!!

Islam is the most destructive lie on the planet today. It is a system of brainwashing people, destroying lives, harming women, and justifying murder. You can claim all you want about how great it is, but it is not.

It's just an old man made system of belief that was based on misunderstanding of life at a time people didn't understand the world, and this religion, like others, continues to prevent people from understanding the world today.

Look around. Look at the place in this world today with the most misery, it is the Islamic world. You need to make the connection. Islam plays a major role in promoting that misery.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 7:07 AM EST

Name: Shamveel
Home Page: http://--

Dear Lloyd

Remember here we are talking about the human spiritual instinct to worship God, something which is a unversal observable phenomenon.

Can you give some concrete examples regarding (4) & (5) so I can understand exactly what you mean? Because the way I see it they just seem to be sub-categories of either (2) or (3).

You said:
>When you divide the world into Muslims and people who are >wrong, you don’t describe a two way street. You describe a >street where all of the correct traffic goes one way and >people going in another direction are going to get a
>ticket.

This is in essence correct. Yes because mankind has ultimately only two destinations Heaven and Hell. So either you are moving towards one direction (Heaven) or another (Hell).

For example you cannot have two contradictory truths. If two statements contradict each other, either they are both wrong or one of them is right and the other is wrong. This is rational is it not?

However, this principle does not negate communication between two people.

It is natural for people to disagree on many issues. This is because all people have different backgrounds, life experiences, and thus different perspectives.

Let me explain to you something about ideas and languages. Our ability to express ideas is limited by the language we communicate with and the 'world-view' that is held within the language itself (Wittgenstein).

I have worked with an expert on machine based translation systems whose work went into a lot of what is called Systran and what you see in for example babelfish/Google Translation. This guy is a British guy. Not a Muslim.

He told me that out of all the languages in the world Arabic is the most logical. The construction of the words (based on tri-literal roots) means that it is the easiest language to translate. It has a logical structure while most other languages in the world have arbitrary structures.

Let me give you an example:
The letters K-T-B in Arabic denote a book. So any word related to books (from publishing, authors etc) is derived from these three roots. The words are linked.

Book is K-i-T-a-B
To write is K-a-T-a-B-a

So basically, he said that the meaning of a sentence can be derived from the analysis of the tri-literal roots, whereas this is impossible for other languages (hence the machine based translation system is built on massive data dictionaries, ie it is in effect a 'dumb' system).

So the Quran itself is written in this logical structure. Let me go further, the Arabic word for Creator does not mean 'to create'. It has an exact scientific meaning. It means 'to create FROM NOTHING'. From nothing here means 'the void' or non-existance, ie it denotes the absence of all matter.

So in Arabic you cannot say 'Man is a creator' because in fact if you use the word (sorry I cannot remember the exact Arabic word) in conjunction with the word for 'man' it means 'to lie'. I hope you understand what I am getting at here. Yo can use another word in conjunction with 'man' You can say 'man is a maker'. Here 'maker' also denotes something exactly - it means to manipulate something that exists to bring forth something else. You see? So man is a maker and not a creator. He does not have the power to create.

It is only when you have such exactness that you can be truly logical and truly rational. The natural ambiguity of arbitrary based language causes much confusion and confused ideas float around in the head.

You may have heard of something in Islam called a 'Shura Council'. A Shura Council is what you would call where people get together to discuss issues.
Shura itself means 'consultation'.
However the root word for Shura which derives from S-H-R which is the word for tree. Why does the word for 'consultation' derive from the word for 'tree'?
Because it embodies the idea that we are all humankind, having roots in the same tree, but are all different branches of the same tree. In effect, we all have different perspectives and different life experiences, so we all bring something of value to the discussion.

So the very word in Arabic for consultation has a logical meaning inherent in it and its derivation.

You said:
>I am a person with different beliefs than you, and I am >not ignoring anything or misunderstanding anything. I am >just different from you.

Yes, you may indeed have different beliefs from mine because you have different experiences I assume, your parents are not Muslim , you were not brought up as one, and basically you are ignorant of Islam (other than a superficial knowledge mostly gained by a highly biased and politicised media). So I acknowledge this difference.

So in that way yes, you are different from me. However, fundamentally you are also the same as me. You are part of the family tree of mankind like me, you are a descendant of Adam & Eve like me(whether you wish to believe it or not).

You do not have two hearts beating in your chest do you? No? Well neither do I.

As far as ignoring and misunderstanding is concerned this is also a question of knowledge and ignorance. I say you are ignoring Islam and guilty of misunderstanding it. Am I right?


As far as tolerance is concerned - the basis for true tolerance, the essence of peace between two different communities is one of codified and legally binding mutual respect.
What this means is the respect of one anothers rights for security which is the essential element of civilization.

In Islam, tolerance/peace is based on TREATIES or truces.
For example, as I mentioned earlier, Islam does not negate one from dealing kindly and justly in a peaceful manner to those who likewise offer the same. In such a circumstance one must enter into a written treaty that protects both communities from infringment on each others rights. Such a treaty is called Hudna. Muslims are forbidden from attacking a non-muslim with which Muslims have a treaty.
This is a fundamental ruling in Islamic Law.

And mutually respected and just treaties are the basis of peace. Peace cannot be established without justice. Agreed?

So for example, we see the European Union, a peaceful union of European states that were at each others throats a generation ago. Something that was unthinkable in the previous generation. Indeed these states slaughtered more of humankind then in all the previous wars in history combined!

And what is the foundation of the European Union? It is The Treaty of Rome.








Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 7:30 AM EST

Name: Shamveel
Home Page: http://--

You said:

>#1 The post-modernist idea that somehow all ideas can be >compatible is simply false.

Agreed. Did I say anything to the contrary?

>When you take an issue such as this, it is impossible to >claim that we can all be tolerance of each other's >beliefs, because each other beliefs are in direct conflict >with each other.

Please refer to the other post regarding the Islamic basis of tolerance. There can be tolerance between two conflicting belief communities IF there is a mutually agreed upon truce/treaty between the two parties. This is a cornerstone of Islamic Law.

The rest of your discussion just seems to me to be a typical ignorant rant on Islam.

Do you consider yourself to have any deep knowledge on Islam? I don't.
So learn deeply before you talk. Are you aware of the Islamic ruling on Hudna ?

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West. Do you know this? And while part of this is due to immigration there are growing waves of converts to Islam.

Take a look at the documentaries on this site first.

http://www.turntoislam.com/



Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 7:39 AM EST

Name: rationalrevolution.net
Home Page: http://www.rationalrevolution.net

I just have to make a quick comment.

There is no "human spiritual instinct to worship 'God'."

This is another lie propagated by religious people which can be proven to be false.

First of all, the largest population of people for the past few thousands years has been in China, and China has historically been without a majority belief in God or any kind of worship of any gods.

China has long been dominated by philosophy, not religion.

Secondly, there are many examples of cultures in the past and present that have had no belief in any gods.

Thirdly, if you do not instruct a person to believe in God from birth, then they never develop the idea on their own, it is not instinctive.

This is why religions press so hard to begin brainwashing people as soon as possible. You have to lie to people repeatedly from birth to brain wash them into this entire system of nonsense that destroys the ability to think and reason.

Religion is in fact very "unnatural". It is a product of thousands of years of oppression and systems of slavery that have overtaken mankind.

An instinct is a behavior that an organism has automatically, and does not need to be taught.

Belief is gods is not an instinct. If you stop teaching religion then the belief will go away.

Babies have no idea of gods, they are instructed to believe that way.

Deep down all religious people know that this is true, which his why they constantly work so hard to try and begin brainwashing children so young. If belief in God was an instinct then we wouldn't even need religion!

Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 10:24 AM EST

Name: Shamveel
Home Page: http://--

>There is no "human spiritual instinct to worship 'God'."

>First of all, the largest population of people for the >past few thousands years has been in China, and China has >historically been without a majority belief in God or any >kind of worship of any gods.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_folk_religion

Check first when you speak about something...

Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 5:50 PM EST

Name: Lloyd
Home Page: http://-

Thanks for your reply. Your post really made me think about the concept of tolerance. The word has quite a range. When someone says “I tolerate the traffic on the morning commute” he uses the word “tolerate” to mean something he endures but would change if he had the opportunity. This type of tolerance was not what I meant when I talked about tolerance of other religions. As you requested, I will give you some concrete examples.

I am not a Christian and I work with closely with a man who is a devout Baptist. I know that Baptists go to church on Wednesday evenings and out of respect for his religion I avoid scheduling events that will require him to be away from home on Wednesdays. If there is no way to avoid the during the week travel, I will make sure that his Wednesday nights are free and that he has a car so he can go to church. I also do not talk or disturb him when he prays before eating. These are minor adjustments for me and I am happy to make them to accommodate him.

As I said earlier, I am not Baptist so it would not be correct to say that I “accept” Baptism. I am tolerant of my associate’s religious beliefs, but not like someone tolerating traffic. I do not want to change him at all. I like him the way he is, in fact there are good things for me about his devotion to his faith. He is scrupulously honest. When he tells me something, I know that he has not slanted it even slightly. This may not be true for all Baptists, but it is true for this one.

The tolerance I describe is not limited to nontheists accepting the faithful. My Baptist associate tolerates me just as much as I tolerate him. He is not waiting for the opportunity to change my beliefs and he accepts me the way I am. He probably believes that I am going to hell because I have not accepted Christ, but he keeps this belief to himself and does not let it interfere with the relationship.

I have also experienced this type of tolerance (as opposed to the “I put up with it but I hate it” tolerance) from Muslims in Pakistan, Malaysia and Singapore. I worked on a project in Karachi for three weeks and I was the only non-Muslim there. I had no problem making friends and being accepted. In Kuala Lampur, I worked through Ramadan in a predominately Muslim environment. I spent Hari Raya with a friend and his family in the Muslim village of Telik Bahang on Panang island. This is why I know that there are Muslims who can accept people of different beliefs.

I am not Muslim but I appreciate Muslim art and have some calligraphy in my office. During Ramadan, I will not eat or drink in the presence of people who are fasting (even though they insist it is alright) so in KL I fasted at the office. Regarding the cartoon of Mohammed, I support the newspaper’s right to question anything via cartoon, but I would stop buying a newspaper if it did something that offensive. This may sound paradoxical, but it is it is a matter of balance. The freedom of speech we give up through respectful self-censorship is very tiny and the offense the drawing causes is very large. I believe the newspaper’s act was an angry response to the murder of Theo Van Gough in Holland. This makes it understandable, but not justified. I would still boycott the paper. Notice, however, that you get no “pbuh” from me after I type Mohammed. I am not Muslim; just someone who is tolerant of the religious beliefs of others.

I hope I haven’t forced you to endure too many personal vignettes, but I want to show concrete examples of the type of tolerance that that I ask. I do not want you to think of me as misguided or ignorant because I am not Muslim. I want you accept that I have different beliefs than you, and that I am entitled to live under my beliefs just like you are under yours.

I have not given you the examples of the different inner voice that you asked for earlier, but I think this discussion was more important. If you want to hear from someone with a different inner voice, listen to the radio anywhere on the East Coast of the USA. Scan five stations in any one direction and you will find someone telling you that the only way to Heaven is to accept the son of God as your savior. The Radio preacher’s inner voice is as loud as your, yet tells him something very different. Don’t even think about posting that he is misguided- I will defend his faith as vigorously as I defend yours.

Friday, February 17, 2006 - 7:41 PM EST

Name: Shamveel
Home Page: http://--

Dear Lloyd

Yes some very good examples of mutual respect, basic humanitarian behaviour, good etiquette, generosity. These are great qualities and I congratulate your mother first and your father second.

Islam is only meant to perfect these noble qualities.

>I do not want you to think of me as misguided or ignorant >because I am not Muslim. I want you accept that I have >different beliefs than you, and that I am entitled to >live under my beliefs just like you are under yours.

The question is what are your beliefs? I don't know...
You said you are not a Christian but didn't mention your faith.

Of course you are entitled to believe in whatever you want to believe. I do not deny this basic right - this is a God given right - He has given man the choice, had God wished He could have not given this choice to man, but then we would be angels who are beings who never disobey God.

Islam does have the concept of 'live and let live' which you describe. This is further legally codified and protected on the community level.

>The Radio preacher’s inner voice is as loud as your, yet >tells him something very different. Don’t even think >about posting that he is misguided- I will defend his >faith as vigorously as I defend yours.

Yes but if I understand correctly you are defending his right (and my right) to believe in what we choose to believe. Am I correct?

Let me give you an example for arguments sake:

I believe the earth is round, and the Radio preacher believes the earth is flat. We both have our own theories and models on which our belief is based.

So what you are defending is my right to believe the earth is round and his right to believe the earth is flat.

So what you are talking about is rights.
You are not concerned with the Truth (ie IS the earth round or flat?).

Am I correct in my understanding of your position?

You cannnot defend two contrary theories right? It isn't rational.

So when you say 'I will defend his faith as vigorously as I defend yours. '

Actually you are saying 'I will defend his right to believe in his faith as vigorously as I defend your right to believe in your faith. '

Different issues at stake here.
I was not talking about Rights, but about Truth.

What do you believe in?





Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 5:45 PM EST

Name: rationalrevolution.net
Home Page: http://www.rationalrevolution.net

First of all, even the link that you posted states that many of the Chinese folk religions don't worship gods, they worship people, such as ancestors.

Second of all, there has never been one unified set of religious beliefs in China. As I said the MAJORITY of Chinese have not worshiped "gods" or "God".

There are many different Chinese folk religions, not everyone in China over the past 4,000+ has followed these religions. Not all of these religion even say anything about "gods" or "God", many are just philosophies that have become ritualistic, and they discuss things like nature, etc., not gods.

In addition to all of that, there are many other cultures, especially "more privative" cultures, such as natives of the Americas and Africa, who had no religion at all until religion was brought to them by missionaries.

During the 1600s-1800s many people who traveled the world noted different cultures who didn't even have words for things like "god" or religion, the whole idea of god or religion was completely absent to them.

Religion and belief in "gods" is obviously not "instinctive", its obviously a social construct that has been developed mostly by State authorities in more developed civilizations as a means of controlling behavior.

Monday, February 20, 2006 - 8:26 AM EST

Name: Shamveel
Home Page: http://--

Hold on here. You are shifting your argument.

After initially stating the following:
'First of all, the largest population of people for the past few thousands years has been in China, and China has historically been without a majority belief in God or any kind of worship of any gods.'

You are now saying:
'...not everyone in China over the past 4,000+ has followed these religions'

Well there is something wrong here.
From stating 'without a majority belief in God or any kind of worship of any gods.' to 'not everyone' is a big shift in your claims.

Obviously, I wasn't saying every single individual in China was a non-atheist. Just disproving your earlier claim.

Chinese Folk religion is like the Hindu folk religion with plenty of gods and rituals. Folk religion is exactly that -the religion of the masses (ie the majority of people).

Yes there are indeed Indo-Chinese philosophies - Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.

Generally, the scope of these philosophical elements was to teach ethics and moral living to the people. However, they didn't teach that God doesn't exist. Infact both Buddhism and Taoism do have mystical elements in their teachings. If you study these philosophies on a deeper level you will realize this.

As far as worshipping ancestors is concerned, this is further evidence of the instinct to worship God as the ancestors replace God in this instance, but it is a case where the understanding of God has been corrupted.

Some basic info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Buddhism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism

Furthermore you said:

In addition to all of that, there are many other cultures, especially "more privative" cultures, such as natives of the Americas and Africa, who had no religion at all until religion was brought to them by missionaries.

During the 1600s-1800s many people who traveled the world noted different cultures who didn't even have words for things like "god" or religion, the whole idea of god or religion was completely absent to them.

So, prove this. What are your sources?
Can you show me any language on earth that doesn't have a concept of A God? Give me a concrete example.

I assume the missionaries who 'brought' Christianity to the 'savages' are not very reliable recorders and eye witnesses of other cultures - bigoted and ignorant as they were. After all, didn't they destroy all the religious scriptures of the Aztecs & Mayan civilizations so that there would be no evidence?


Monday, February 20, 2006 - 7:37 PM EST

Name: rationalrevolution.net
Home Page: http://www.rationalrevolution.net

What I said is consistent. Historically, less than 50% of the population of China has believed in a God or gods. This is the same thing that I said the first time.

A folk religion, or folk anything, does not mean that it is a "majority" religion or majority anything. It means that its something that is developed independently by uneducated common people, but folk religions or folk anything can be very small groups.

More important, however, is the fact that Confusionism, Taoism, and Buddhism are all "religions"/philosophies that don't include belief in gods. They are "non-god" religions/philosophies.

There is also a major distinction between "spirits" and "Gods". Most Chinese religions and other "privative" religions recognize "spirits", but not "gods".

Spirits are just a concept for supernatural things that do stuff on earth. They are not creators, law givers, all powerful, all knowing, important, etc.

Gods, on the other hand are generally beings that people think have power over the universe, give laws, have created life, give meaning to life, perform justice, etc.

It is a fact of anthropology that not every group of people does, or ever did, believe in gods. Not even all people believed in spirits.

Today, now that missionaries have been all over the world, virtually everyone has been exposed to the idea of gods, but this was by no means extinctive or originally found among many native peoples.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 7:54 AM EST

Name: Shamveel
Home Page: http://--

Look you are making statistics (eg 50% etc) without any real proof to back it up. I disagree with you about this issue, however lets move on.

Look lets go back to the basics of my argument here, because I think you are going off on a tangent.

I do not deny that there are philosophies such as Buddhism that talk of ethics, morality, cause & effect. Islam particularly has a great branch of learning in this area.

What I am saying is from the Islamic point of view, man was created to worship God, and that the need to worship God is a deep spiritual instinct in man.

Sometimes this need is
1.CORRUPTED (due to lack of comprehension on the nature of God - so the person does fulfil his need to worship but ends up worshipping objects that are not God, this can be anything from prophets as in the case of Jesus or spirits or idols or ancestors or money etc)

or

2.REJECTED (in this case the person rejects the need of his own heart to worship God and indeed rejects God Himself - in effect what you would call an atheist). In most of these cases - the person then by default is led by his own ego and follows his whims and desires and in effect HIS EGO/SELF becomes his God.

So I never denied that there is any thing such as atheism (the rejection of God), however what I was pointing out is the idea of God exists universally in humankind (in whatever corrupted form you take it) - this is an undeniable fact.

Even in Chinese society that you mentioned we can see the existence of the idea of God and worship in whatever forms from a Heavenly Being to corrupted form of ancestor-spirit worship.

For example, look at this link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_China

Particularly this section:

'Heaven worship
The "official" orthodox faith system ascribed to by most dynasties of China until the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty is a worship of "Heaven" as an omnipotent force. This faith system pre-dated the development of Taoism or the introduction of Buddhism and Islam. It has features of a primitive monotheism in that Heaven is seen as an omnipotent entity, endowed with personality but no corporeal form. "Heaven" as a supernatural force was variously referred to as Shang Di (literally Emperor Above) or Huang Tian Shang Di (Sagely Heaven, Emperor Above). Worship of Heaven includes the erection of shrines, the last and greatest being the Altar of Heaven in Beijing, and the offering of prayers. Manifestation of the powers of Heaven include the weather and natural disasters. Especially evil people were believed to be killed by Heaven through lightning, with their crimes inscribed on their (burnt) spines.'

So the belief in an omnipotent heavenly God pre-dates all the Buddhist-Taoist philosophies in Chinese civilization.

So as I say I am not saying 100% of people in all societies believed in A Heavenly God/Being, but that all societies do possess some tradition of A God , whether it is followed or not, or only remains in some sort of corrupted form is another matter. It does exist, and it is a universally observed phenomenon.

Do you understand the point I am trying to make? All cultures have some kind of rituals or form of worship - sometimes only traces of these rituals may remain.

Coming back to ethical philosophies, Islam (as mostly all religions) too has the concept of Good Deeds, ie it is not enough to worship God in rituals but the true worship of God entails the doing of deeds.
If the worship of God is maintained but the Good deeds are not done as well, then it becomes a kind of incomplete worship.

At the time of the Buddha people were devoted to worshipping God in many forms, but their devotion did not give them peace. Their suffering was due to the fact that they had left the path of doing good deeds (karma/dharma). Because the rule of dharma is you sow as you reap.
So he who does evil has evil in return.
This law is also in the Quran.
Islam holds the door open for redemption which is simple, sincere repentance (that is asking God for forgiveness and avoiding to repeat doing the evil)

So Buddha was preaching to a God believing society. Not to an atheist society. His teaching (and every teacher) has to be seen in the context of the society in which he was teaching. Usually every great teacher brings forward a solution to a problem that the society of his time faced.

His silence on God does not mean that he didn't accept the existence of God or that he was an atheist. But even if he was it doesn't negate the argument.

Anyway, I think I will close my argument on this:

All people fall into either of these categories (according to Islam):

1. Those who worship God (as he ought to be worshipped)
2. Those who worship God (but their worship is corrupted due to lack of understanding)
3. Those who reject the worship of God (and in effect make themselves - their selfs/egos as Gods as a result - 'supermen'')






Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 4:29 AM EST

Name: Shamveel
Home Page: http://--

Hi,

I have noticed that there is a logo/link on the site called:
'support Denmark - support freedom of speech'.

To be fair and balanced regarding the principle of free speech how about adding an additional banner next to it:

'support David Irving - support freedom of speech'.

Just an idea to prove that you truly believe in the principle of free speech and are not being hypocritical and politically biased.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 5:35 AM EST

Name: rationalrevolution.net
Home Page: http://www.rationalrevolution.net

I disagree with the sentencing of David Irving as well. It's ridiculous that anyone should go to jail for holding beliefs or giving a speech about what they believe is true, even if what they say is provably false.

However, there are big differenced between the issues.

In David Irving's case he knew ahead of time that there was a law in Austria against Holocaust denial and he chose to go there and break the law.

I think that the law was understandable and necessary during the period immediately after World War II, but it is ridiculous that it still exists today. I can even understand that it was still on the books in the 1980s because it was still during the Cold War, but that era is behind us now and that law should go away.

David Irving, however, was clearly distorting history in a way that intended to give support to pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic followers. What he was saying can be proven to be false.

On the other hand, the Danish cartoons are not factual statements, they are just images of someone. A few of them portrayed Mohammed negatively, but most did not. Even the "worst" of them were nothing more than expressions of opinion of how people feel intimidated by Islam.

These are completely valid means of expression.

Lastly, David Irving's case demonstrates nothing more than the poor use of a law in the home country of Hitler that was designed to prevent the resurrection of affection for Hitler. Its not an issue of "Western Civilization", for there are no such laws in any other country except maybe Germany and Israel. You can say whatever you want about the Holocaust in America, and no one is rioting over it and killing people and calling for cartoonists to be killed, etc.

I think that the laws in Germany and Austria against the denial of the Holocaust and against the display of the swastika are old and out dated and should be removed. They do more harm than good, and only give more ammunition to the neo-Nazis. However, these are plainly laws that arose out of a particular crisis that these countries wished to put behind them.

It's not the same type of issue as free speech regarding religion or political expression that makes a commentary on how followers of a religion behave.

Lastly, you are clealry fishing, because the case was just reported yesterday (or the day before, I forget) and for all you know I could have been planning to make a comment about it. I was actually planning to post and entry about it, but I had other work to do and didn't have a chance to do anything on-line.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 6:13 AM EST

Name: Shamveel
Home Page: http://--

>Lastly, you are clealry fishing, because the case was just >reported yesterday

Actually I just saw the logo and the idea came to me - take it rather as a suggestion. I don't know what you mean by 'fishing'... do you mean testing (ie as in testing your political opinion)?

Besides this is not a new issue for me - He has been in prison for several months now (I think he was arrested in Nov last year - so I was aware of the issue then).

But this is not an isolated case. The French communist philosopher scholar Roger Garaudy was also condemned to pay a $50,000 fine (or go to prison) for expressing doubts about the Holocaust as well.

However your point of there being a difference between the two expressions is not so clear:

You say (and that is your belief) that Irvings opinion was intended to give support to neo-nazis and anti-semites.
ie basically you are saying that his opinion has political motivations. Whether it is true or false is matter of a debate that has not been allowed in the open arena of historical analysis.

However when you mention the Danish case you make it sound as if it is just an oh so innocent freedom of expression.

Whereas the Danish editor Rose had known links to American Zionists and Neo-cons (Daniel Pipes for example) who are hell bent on generating an Islamophobic (I consider this as actual anti-semitism as Arabs are true semites) environment in Europe in order to garner European support for the War on Terror Phase 3: Bombing Iran.
The Danish Govt itself is a right-wing one which supports the Invasion of Iraq and has troops there when most European nations refused.

These cartoons were politically motivated and meant to provoke and increase tensions between the two communities, ie there is a political intent that is obvious for all who can see it.

In Irvings case I doubt he thought he would be arrested and put on trial for something he said in a lecture 17 years ago.

So anyway, since you disagree with the sentencing of Irving (something we both agree on at last! ) perhaps you will put up a little banner for him next to the 'support freedom of speech'.

Will you rise to the challenge of supporting the principle of free speech or fail to do so?




Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 10:20 AM EST

Name: Shamveel
Home Page: http://--

Dear Lloyd,

This ones for you:

http://www.backtoislam.com/?p=3

Interview with Michael Wolfe

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - 10:29 AM EST

Name: Shamveel
Home Page: http://--

As you can see from this article written in 2001, David Irving is not a man who is afraid to ask Ugly questions, especially the type which no one wants to ask, let alone answer.

http://english.pravda.ru/main/2001/10/22/18828.html

Friday, February 24, 2006 - 8:50 AM EST

Name: C.B.

I believe in the ghost on the "Boo-Berry" cereal box.

Friday, February 24, 2006 - 10:52 AM EST

Name: C.B.

I believe in the ghost on the "Boo-Berry" cereal box.

All those who do not believe will Burn in Hell.

His existence is proveable, and my belief in the "Boo-Berry" Ghost is both factual and spiritual.

In fact... it's instinctual. Yeah, why not. It is inside all of us. Prove it isn't.

The beginning, "Boo", which comes from the communal expression of disapproval, is a word which means an expression of scorn. This is a negation. The second ending word "-Berry", which symbolizes the fruit, the berry comes from a single ovary, this represents Life in the Garden as well as the Life Energy instilled in all of us by Him, it is a word representing His Miracles (the world, life).

When praying, the prefix "Boo" also represents the informal expression used on a person to arouse shock or surprise, which in the context of prayer is invoked in order to take one's own self off of its balance and routine and disrupt and rejuvenate the spiritual senses, this enables one to see things more clearly and with a fresh eye and thus brings one closer to the ghost on the front of the "Boo-Berry" cereal box.

The instictual belief in Him which we all have, including you, pre-dates everything and every other thought ever. This is a fact which has been proven so many times I don't even want to get into it.



The Arabic "Boo-Berry":
‏(فعل) صفر مستنكرا (الاسم) صفير استنكار (نداء) صوت للتخويف أو الاستنك
العربيه



It is clearly apparent to those who are honest with themselves that no other belief is logical, rational, or indeed, acceptable.

According to the Holy Words of the Ghost Writer Puzzle Card (which was included in the box of Boo-Berry cereal which had an expiration date printed under the box of 020905, the Holiest of Dates), the people of this world can be broken down into three different categories:

1. Those who know the truth and worship the one true cereal Ghost, all Praise be Unto Him.
2. Those who do not understand the "Boo-Berry" Ghost's true meaning and place in this world or His singular importance in their lives, but they do eat the cereal now and then.
3. Non-believing infidels who reject the "Boo-Berry" Ghost, choosing instead to rail against what they know to be true inside, like ignorant naive children disobeying their parents' commands to believe the truth.

(And of course, like children who are naive or disobedient, #3s will go straight to Hell.)

Not that I am saying you are intolerable, no. I accept you just as you are, flaws and all. I understand that you probably grew up in an entirely different environment from me, and probably have an entirely different set of life experiences, and thus are ignorant to the ways of Boo-Berry and the Boo-Berry Ghost pbuh. It is merely because you have not experienced His divine awareness that you do not yet fully understand what is inside of you. Perhaps your parents fed you Fruit Brute.

In any case, make the effort to read and study and spend time learning more about the one true cereal Ghost before you speak out in such hateful and bigoted ways. Here is a good place to start:

http://www.generalmills.com/corporate/company/history.aspx



It is clearly stated that any and all who worship false Gods (Muhammed, Jesus, Buddha, Frankenberry, Count Chocula, Ishvara) are to be considered enemies of the one true nutritional breakfast Prophet, and that their insult to God must not be allowed to stand, that it is the duty of the true believer to summon his inner passion for corn syrup and marshmallows and peanut flour and corn meal, and use that passion to mete out Holy Justice. It is clearly stated that they (all non-believers) must be punished at any price.

That said, it is important to note that Boo-Berry is a cereal of peace.

Boo-Berry is a cereal which preaches tolerance of all the peoples. I tolerate you and your wonderful, naive ignorant bigoted soul. I am simply saying it will burn in Hell. Is that so wrong?

I look forward to an honest and open dialogue about this subject, as I am obviously a very open-minded individual who welcomes new ideas and is very likely to re-think old ones if presented with good reason.

And of course, I am not someone who will defend my beliefs in turn by simply dismissing you as ignorant, or by asking you to prove a negative.

May you find your way to His All-Knowing Marshmallowy-Sugary Truth.

C.B.

Sunday, May 6, 2007 - 11:07 PM EDT

Name: "Tawsif Chowdhury"

Do not judge anything so fast, because you must look into other perspectives and ideas before your speak. The translation which you have posted are only from specific sources. Everybody translates thigns differently. You must read nad understand the Qu'raan in your own way, someone else can't tell you about it even though peopel try. You will notcie how translatiosn are always slightly different (sometimes very different). Read more, learn more, understand that there are many sides to everything,  then express.

Monday, February 18, 2008 - 10:40 AM EST

Name: "anonymous"

Frankly speaking, as an agnostic - in the broadest possible sense, I wouldn't have a bloody clue as to whether or not the cosmos is attributable to some divine authority, or for that matter whether spooks, hobgoblins or whatever exist (I just consider their existence or lack thereof irrelevent until someone proves otherwise), I find your argument that moderate Muslims are merely ignorant of the teachings of their own religion to be generalistic at best.

Most, if not all religious people are "selective" about the teachings of their faith, be they moderate or fundamentalist. Indeed neither term, whether applied to Christians, Muslims or Jews, accurately reflects the way that believers of a "moderate" or "fundamentalist" religion actually operate in reality.

The old testement and the gospels both contain similarly bloodthirsty appeals to smite unbelievers, the character Jesus is attributed as saying that he has "come not to send peace, but a sword." and the old testement justifies all manner of slavery, rapine and genocide.

ALL Abrhamic religions contain at their core a belief that their faith is the only "true" one combined with an equally strong belief that anyone outside of their faith is "worthy of death." Not all adherents of these religions have chosen to go about smiting infidels, burning witches or stoning adulterers.

How strongly adherents of these religions have chosen to follow the letter of their own edicts has depended entirely on the historical context of the time.

Muslims have depicted the Prophet in art during various times in their history, Christian fundamentalists eat pork in defiance of the laws of the prophets they hold to be infallible, and (as far as I know) Orthodox Jews do not own slaves, these days anyway, whether from neigboring countries or not. At various points in their history Muslims, Chirstians and Jews have also supported free inquiry and refrained from attacking their neighbors. To judge any of these examples as being not "true" adherents to their religion sounds suspiciously like the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.

As I interpret it, "fundamentalism" and the "moderate" variations of the worlds religion are a recent phenomenon, understood as reactions to modern technological society. Religious mania has to be understood in this context, Europe was a mess between the 10th and 15th centuryies, prone to barbarism and religious fanaticism, the Muslim world by contrast was experiencing a renaissance in art, philosophy and science at the same time.

Different times, different contexts, both religions contain plenty that is anti-rational and bloodthirsty. I'm not saying that Muslims cannot be bloodthirst or irrational, merely that they are not any more or less prone to this behavior than adherants either of the other two major Abrhamic religions, or any religion for that matter.

I think relgious intolerance should be battled wherever it rears its ugly head for the same reason I believe that multiculturalism should be defended. Multiculturalism encourages a plurality of beliefs, essential to a healthy society.

Intolerance dumbs down the human condition and oppresses healthy debate, you can't fight intolerance by removing multiculturalism, but you can aid religious fanatics within your society. 

As a very-lapsed (actually terminally lapsed) Catholic I'm truly appreciative of your brilliant deconstruction of the "new" Testament and your support of humanism and rationalism in general. I can't say I agree with the conclusions you have reached in this article. Still like your work though. 

 

Sunday, July 19, 2009 - 6:11 PM EDT

Name: "The Cloudwalking Owl"
Home Page: http://urbanecohermit.blogspot.com/

What a wonderful website and blog!

 I came across this post at the same time that I have been thinking about a issue of relevance.

 I was asked a couple years ago to take part in a interfaith group that met once a month to talk and share a meal.  I, like you, am someone who is very interested in religious issues---to the point of doing a lot of scholarly reading on the subject.  I was flabbergasted, therefore, to find out how little any of the other people knew about their own religions.  

 I've done a lot of thinking on the subject and come to the following conclusion.  There are always several different "religious traditions" in any given faith.  There is the actual book and teachings, the institutional structure, and the lived experience of those who follow it.  These different groups often have very little to do with each other.  

I think, therefore, that when people say that "Islam is a religion of peace" they really do mean it.  The people that they meet in their mosque community really are peaceful.  But the experience they have is not really based on the Koran, but rather on a long, cultural evolution that ended up where they are.   Other people, those who were rioting about the Danish cartoons and who support Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban, are part of another cultural evolutionary track.  And, I think it can be argued, in both cases the Koran is a sort of Rorshach blot that these two groups have projected their ideals onto.  

 Of course, the text does have some impact on what the followers believe.  But a lot less than people might think.  And the value of your website is that people can use your deconstruction of the text to re-examine the ideas that they have gained from their cultural milieu.  

But I would suggest a little more tolerance of the people who protest that Islam is a "religion of peace".   I respond to them with a question that asks them to explain how and why a religion of "peace" could have inspired people to fly airplanes into buildings and splash acid into the faces of school girls---and how it is in some sense "the same" as their experience.  

Saturday, June 5, 2010 - 1:56 AM EDT

Name: "The Dude"

I don't recall who said it, but he said that in essence, religion is a Rorscahct Test. You see this in Islam, and you see this in Christianity. It isn't what's in the text that matters, but people's perceptions. Islam is the face for people's own moral beliefs. This is what makes religious values such a subjective concept.  

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