Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Our enemies and our future dealing with them
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, March 31, 2007

If you aren't familiar with Bernard Lewis, you ought to be. Lewis has been a scholar on the Middle East for decades, and is probably one of the most widely respected voices on that subject in the world. He's not without his critics, of course, but for the most part, his insight into the world of Islam and how it impacts the West are well worth your trouble to seek.

Lewis gave a speech recently at the American Enterprise Institute which made some interesting, and perhaps to some, startling claims. The implications of what he lays out are important and far reaching. For those who've followed this growing conflict between the West and Islam, you'll find much of what he says to validate what you've probably concluded and give a different look to what you've observed.

He begins by putting the conflict in an historical context. Lewis points out that, in fact, what is happening today between the West and Islam of the Middle East is the third attempt by Islam to spread it's faith to the West:

Show/Hide

Lewis points out some things which I've highlighted and would like to discuss.

The first is found in the very first sentence. This is and has been a 'long war", lasting, literally, for centuries. And it was a war begun by Muslims on Christians. Christianity, from its founding until the 7th century, had spread by mostly peaceful means within the area. As Lewis notes, the genesis of today's conflict began centuries ago with Muslim attacks in the then Christian areas of Syria, Palestine, Egypt and North Africa. There are arguments to this day as to whether forced conversion was a part of that conquest, but the fact remains that after the Muslim conquest of these areas the environment for Christians was much more hostile. The Muslim tide, in fact, swept as far as Spain, Italy and Portugal until, as Lewis properly notes, Christians counter-attacked and succeeded in finally driving the conquering Muslims out of Europe. But their ill-conceived and poorly executed counter-attacks in the Middle East, known as the "Crusades" failed and those lands which Christians held as holy disappeared under the domination of a foreign religion.

Lewis then notes that the second wave of assaults on the Christian West came not from Arabs, but from Turks and Tartars. They swept up to the gates of Vienna (conquering Constantinople, half of Hungary and the Balkans) and were finally driven back by Christendom's second counter-attack.

The point here is that many who seemingly excuse Islamists attempt to excuse their actions and depredations on a characterization of history which portrays the Christian West as the aggressor. In fact, it is precisely the opposite which is true. The aggressor in the first two waves of attacks on the West and Christianity in general were the Muslims. First those of the Arab peninsula (and later joined by the Moors) and secondly by those of the Turks and Tarters. In both cases the aim was to spread the faith of Islam and all that is associated by it.

Also note Lewis' discussion of "imperialism". Funny how that works, eh?

Lewis then discusses the difference between those first two waves and the third wave we're now experiencing. The difference, of course is considerable. He talks about how Osama bin Laden has calculated his strategy and why. Bin Laden is a part of the only organized strategy of this third wave, that of terror.

And it is interesting to note that bin Laden considered the USSR to be a much more formidable and dangerous enemy than he does the US. He had to feel, as he watched the USSR finally collapse, that the hard part of reaching his dream of the world-wide Caliphate was over and given his view of a weak, "pampered and effeminate" US. I'm sure he thought the remaining part of his war was be relatively easy. Thus the increasing attacks on our interests culminating in 9/11. I don't imagine he calculated an invasion of Afghanistan into that equation, and I'm sure Iraq was never a part of it. And my guess is, if he still lives, he didn't expect a US which would still be in either place at this juncture.

The other part of the third wave - the immigration portion - is a spontaneous action which is mostly driven by economic considerations. The plight of economic immigrants fleeing moribund or failing economies and establishing themselves in more hospitable economic climes is a fairly common story.

But the ramifications of this particular immigration, that of Muslims, coupled with the decline and separation of Christianity from a more dominant role in Europe has made this immigrant flow a potent weapon for the Islamist third wavers. As Lewis points out:
They have certain clear advantages. They have fervor and conviction, which in most Western countries are either weak or lacking. They are self-assured of the rightness of their cause, whereas we spend most of our time in self-denigration and self-abasement. They have loyalty and discipline, and perhaps most important of all, they have demography, the combination of natural increase and migration producing major population changes, which could lead within the foreseeable future to significant majorities in at least some European cities or even countries.
What becomes apparent when any one reviews the events surrounding the immigration issue in Europe is the difference between the two sides in terms of self-assurance and loyalty. There is no question that Muslim immigrants have their first loyalty to their faith and then their ethnicity, seeing both as superior to those found in the West. Their self-assurance is primarily driven by their religious faith, however.

Meanwhile we see Europe virtually wallowing in self-doubt and self-denial. Much of that has been a result of the abandonment of religious faith in Europe, whether they want to admit it or not. At one time, despite their squabbles, Christianity was a common thread, a sort of cultural glue, which bound them together.

Today, the actions of Europe's elite are tentative and confused. The binding glue and its base principles are no longer a significant part of everyday life. I can't help but think that they understand the problem they face but, because of the disease of "multiculturalism" which has so infected the societies in question, they can't bring themselves to declare its principles to be bankrupt and self-defeating in terms of cultural assimilation. Nor will they ever, in my estimation, admit that their abandonment of religion has had an adverse impact on the continent and has aggravated the situation in which they find themselves today. And Lewis touches on this:
What are the European responses to this situation? In Europe, as in the United States, a frequent response is what is variously known as multiculturalism and political correctness. In the Muslim world there are no such inhibitions. They are very conscious of their identity. They know who they are and what they are and what they want, a quality which we seem to have lost to a very large extent. This is a source of strength in the one, of weakness in the other.
Thus the self-assured religious Muslim communities face off with the self-doubting mostly secular European communities. As it turns out, and as it seems to be proving, that's a recipe for cultural disaster.

That brings me to a second important point made by Lewis in terms of religion:
I mentioned earlier the important difference in what one means by religion. For Muslims, it covers a whole range of different things—marriage, divorce, and inheritance are the most obvious examples. Since antiquity in the Western world, the Christian world, these have been secular matters. The distinction of church and state, spiritual and temporal, lay and ecclesiastical is a Christian distinction which has no place in Islamic history and therefore is difficult to explain to Muslims, even in the present day. Until very recently they did not even have a vocabulary to express it. They have one now.
Let me be clear here, I'm certainly not advocating a return to religious fervor nor a theocracy by any stretch. I'm discussing, instead, the role religion has played and continues to play in these three waves of attempted Islamic conquest. I believe part of the reason that there is confusion and self-doubt in Europe as to how to handle this rising tide of radical Islam which is now further radicalizing portions of the immigrant Muslim population in Europe is because it catches the West in the middle of switching religions - from Christianity to the secular religion of multiculturalism.

What the West is finding, in this first real test, is that its new religion is fraught with problems. While in theory, it may sound wonderful, in reality, it invites the takeover of the resident culture by an alien culture which refuses to play by the rules of multicultural orthodoxy.

Islam is more than a religion to be practiced weekly and on holy days. It is a way of life. It subsumes all aspects of life and directs them. It isn't a culture which recognizes other cultures as equally valid or acceptable because it is a religious culture which claims "the truth" at it's basis. Consequently it refuses the offer of multiculturalism to accept and assimilate. Radical Islam uses the religious strength of the Islamic culture to undermine other cultures in which there is a large and growing Islamic community.

When Muslims land in another culture, because of the nature of their faith, their first reaction is to reject those aspects of the culture which aren't in harmony with their beliefs. One must understand that, in the reality of their religion, nothing is negotiable. Assimilation in most Western countries then is simply out of the question.

Radicals see that as a weapon with which to eventually overwhelm the dominant and non-Islamic culture when it has the numbers. Radical Islam doesn't seem to care if the conversion is by peaceful means (such as using the dominant culture as a means for its own demise) or by less that peaceful means (as characterized by the first two waves and the terror portion of the third wave), one of the primary objects of their faith is to spread it globally.

For most Muslims, that is probably not a conscious object of their reason for immigrating. They didn't consciously seek to spread their faith, only find places which would allow them to practice it. However, given it's dominance of everyday life, it's strictures and its practices, a clash with the dominant culture is preordained.

What's interesting, as Lewis notes, is how this process is being helped along in Europe by certain European factions:
The Islamic radicals have even been able to find some allies in Europe. In describing them I shall have to use the terms left and right, terms which are becoming increasingly misleading. The seating arrangements in the first French National Assembly after the revolution are not the laws of nature, but we have become accustomed to using them. They are difficult when applied to the West nowadays. They are utter nonsense when applied to different brands of Islam. But as I say, they are what people use, so let us put it this way.

They have a left-wing appeal to the anti-U.S. elements in Europe, for whom they have so-to-speak replaced the Soviets. They have a right-wing appeal to the anti-Jewish elements in Europe, replacing the Axis. They have been able to win considerable support under both headings. For some in Europe, their hatreds apparently outweigh their loyalties.
I should again clarify myself here before going on. For the most part, I'm talking about the tactics and machinations of Islamic radicals. But there are certain characteristics of the faith of Islam which I think lend themselves to helping the cause of those radicals - such as the nature of the faith which resists assimilation within western cultures.

As Lewis points out, as seems to be our nature in the West, the radicals have been able to find support among all sides in Europe. And if you doubt his point about the appeal to the left-wing anti-US elements in Europe, you need to consider this poll from Spiegel Online:
Forty-eight percent of Germans think the United States is more dangerous than Iran, a new survey shows, with only 31 percent believing the opposite.
By the way, read that whole article from which I took the quote as it is a veritable blasting of those who hold the anti-American views in Germany by Claus Christian Malzahn.

But as can be found in most Western cultures, including our own, are those who find their own culture so abominable that they side with that culture's enemies. Yet many of those who side with that enemy would be their first targets if they were ever in a position of absolute authority. That irony always seems to be lost on them.

Anyway, I thought this would be a meaty subject on which to munch this weekend. Read the whole speech and, if so moved, put our opinion in the comment section. Lots here to talk about.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I have to suspect that with this if nothing before, Dean Esmay is considering pasting your portrait into his toilet bowl. Lewis knocks his worldview into a cocked hat.

Recognizing that Islam is compatible with the Enlightenment only when it is nothing as it has traditionally been—a barracks religion of totalitarian conquerors without unique positives and dedicated to subsuming the human world—why, such recognition is verboten.

Not PC.

[/sorrowful Erb tongue lashing]

Islam will change, globally and in an universal fashion, until Osama and his like are as alien to the ummah as an unrepentant Bakuninite, Confederate, or SS mystic are to current polite company. That or the Islam which produces him will commit suicide by cop.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
We are experiencing a centuries long war between two religions that worship the same God. Each is sure they have God on their side, and condemn the other as heretics.
Christianity, from its founding until the 7th century, had spread by mostly peaceful means within the area.
The spread of Christianity after it’s adoption by the Roman Empire was far from “peaceful” within seventy years all of Rome’s “Mystery Cults” and their temples were destroyed by the Christians. A religion which sends an army against a heretical community with the orders, “Kill them all and let God sort it out” when you can’t tell the faithful from the heretics, is not benign.
Bernard Lewis points out that, in fact, what is happening today between the West and Islam of the Middle East is the third attempt by Islam to spread it’s faith to the West:
This is to be expected when you have two aggressive religions fighting over the same turf. Christianity has tried just as hard to destroy Islam, either forcibly through the Crusades or surreptitiously through prostolization
When Muslims land in another culture, because of the nature of their faith, their first reaction is to reject those aspects of the culture which aren’t in harmony with their beliefs
As do Christians. The political activism of the Evangelical Christians in this country is a good example.
Islam is more than a religion to be practiced weekly and on holy days. It is a way of life
As was Christianity until the Enlightenment, and even that has failed to bring a secular society. Even now you still never know when to expect “The Spanish Inquisition.” just ask Jerry Falwell
But the ramifications of this immigration of muslims with the decline and separation of Christianity from a more dominant role in Europe had made this immigrant flow a potent weapon for the Islamist third wavers.
This is part of the changing battle lines in the struggle between the two. If Christianity fails, it is its own fault. A religion without any believers is no religion at all.
But as can be found in most Western cultures, including our own, are those who find their own culture so abominable that they side with that culture’s enemies
You can always find malcontents who hate their own society. The nature of freedom allows even idiots to have their own opinion.
Yet many of those who side with that enemy would be their first targets if they were ever in a position of absolute authority. That irony always seems to be lost on them.
That is the fate of all Quislings. They are a threat to those they support and must be eliminated.

The Problem is in the nature of religion itself.
“Christians, Jews, and Muslims all believe in a god which their own scriptures describe as having been the cause of tremendous suffering and evil — things which, if any human did, would cause that person to be reviled as the most evil person in history. Many of these acts are carried out by figures in religious scriptures, making them just as culpable as the deity who gives the orders” Austin Cline, How Can Moral Gods Behave Immorally?
Perhaps it’s time to relegate religion to it’s rightful place, and give up superstition once and for all.


 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Perhaps it’s time to relegate religion to it’s rightful place, and give up superstition once and for all.
And how, praytell, do you propose to do this? Relegate not only Christianity but Islam to their "rightful place"?

I say, instead, perhaps it’s time to build a magical machine that will make everyone happy and eliminate war, poverty, the need to replace the battery in your camera, and the Doodlebops. It’s just as feasible and realistic as your plan, but has the added benefit of ridding the world of the Doodlebops.
 
Written By: Jinnmabe
URL: http://
Christianity has tried just as hard to destroy Islam,
Not for at least 1000 years, and even then, it was only to destroy Islam in places that were traditionally Christian. There was never a Crusade to conquer Arabia. In addition, no where in the New Testement does Jesus call for his followers to destroy another religion. On the contrary, Mohammad continually called for the desruction of all other religions in the world, including Christianity and Judaism specifically; His last words were reported to have been, "I have been ordered to fight all men untill they say: ’There is no God but Allah.’"
The Problem is in the nature of religion itself.
You’re right. Goddamn Buddhists. Look at all the trouble they’ve caused over the centuries...Is it so hard for you to consider that some religions are inherently different than others?

Not to mention those friggin’ Doodlebops. Man, what bloodthirsty bastards.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
Europe certainly no longer has a strong Christian faith, but they are far less multicultural in their perspective than Americans. The reason France has had riots of foreigners is that they ghettoize their foreigners and barriers are strong against integration. All through Europe traditional ethnic notions of identity prevail. Many Germans consider me more German than a someone of Turkish origin whose parents came to Germany. That person may have been born in Germany, gone through German schools, speaks German better than me, and knows Turkey only as a distant land of their parents. But I am German because my grandparents came from Germany and were "true" Germans. It’s true of just about every ethnicity in Europe. Europe’s problem is that, unlike the US, they were never meant to have a separate identity than their ethnicity, and thus there are barriers. A Turk cannot become German. A Turk can become American.

Europeans are starting to grasp that. They are starting to realize that it’s not just Muslims, but with global warming many Africans will be moving to Europe. They have to have an immigration plan and an integration plan. I think they’ll pull it off. Bernard Lewis is a bit too caught up in the battles of the past and he extrapolates that to the future. But this is a different era, and modernization is a force that most Arabs and Muslims are adapting to as well. I think Reza Aslan is right to note that Islam is going through a reformation. We can handle it if we don’t get gripped by fear and paranoia.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
perhaps it’s time to build a magical machine that will make everyone happy and eliminate war, poverty, the need to replace the battery in your camera, and the Doodlebops.
It’s called a Bong. You too can take Bonghits 4 Jesus
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Is it so hard for you to consider that some religions are inherently different than others?
Buddhists do not worship the God of Abraham and are not evangelical. It is the religions that create their Gods in their own image, then insist everybody must worship them there are the problem. The discussion concerned Islam and Christianity so I did not explore other that those two religions.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Buddhists do not worship the God of Abraham and are not evangelical. It is the religions that create their Gods in their own image, then insist everybody must worship them there are the problem. The discussion concerned Islam and Christianity so I did not explore other that those two religions.
I think you’re right about religion, and certainly right about early Christianity. When the crusades took Jerusalem the Christians had a ’convert or die’ approach; when the Muslims took it back, they were more civilized.

Religions make Gods in their own image, but even within religions peoples’ concept of god depends more on their personality than anything else. In the south a hawkish minister says "God is not a woman," since he imagines God as a masculine warrior type. Others emphasize a loving God, others a jealous God. In Islam it’s the warrior God for the extremists, but others look at the Koran as a reformist book. People use religion to rationalize their biases as not being biases, but being "God’s truth."

Though I sometimes wonder if a "quantum deism" could work :-)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Some Buddhists do now proseltlyze. There were budhhist warrior monks in Japan. The fact is the Budhhism, just like Christianity (or Islam probably), can seem very peaceful when read in certain terms, mostly individual (turn the other cheek, jihad as internal struggle)but when applied to politics on a larger scale, they become less peaceful...You can argue these are peversions of the religions, but its seems the problem is human nature and thus not much of a perversion but a fact of life.

an interesting discussion of Buddhism and war.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Erb, it’s "when the Christians RE-TOOK Jerusalem", after being conquered and enslaved. As for the more civilized approach, how does that work? Reducing non-Muslims to effective slavery (dhimmitude)? Christianity was intimately involved in eliminating slavery; the Muslim dominated areas of the world are where the institution survives. Yep, no difference there. Moron.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Why is it then, that today, all of the religious violence in the world is done in the name of Islam, rather than any other religion? Is it possible that the Koran might have something to do with motivating terrorists? The last time there was such a violent religious movement was the Kodo sun-god cult of Imperial Japan. I doubt that the religion was borne out of peace and then hijacked by extremist sun-gods.
Buddhists do not worship the God of Abraham and are not evangelical.
When do you predict Bah’ais will start their campaign of suicide bombing? Or when do you expect Christians to follow suit and revive the violent streak, if it is so inherent in Abrahamic faiths?
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com

Erb, it’s "when the Christians RE-TOOK Jerusalem", after being conquered and enslaved. As for the more civilized approach, how does that work? Reducing non-Muslims to effective slavery (dhimmitude)? Christianity was intimately involved in eliminating slavery; the Muslim dominated areas of the world are where the institution survives. Yep, no difference there. Moron.
Jews and Christians could thrive in the Muslim world, paying a tax, but compared to the intolerance of Christianity, that was pretty good. Do you really think "convert or die" is superior "pay an extra tax and you’ll be fine?" Most Muslims do not believe in slavery either. The problem is that the Ulama established a very traditional/conservative form of Islam which did not undergo a reformation and modernization. They are starting to go through it now. Most of the violence is likely to be Muslim vs. Muslim more than Islam vs. the West. But there is no way you can look at history and deny the barbarism of the Christian world during much of that time, and how for a few hundred years before 1600 Islam was more advanced and tolerant than the Christian world. True, Islam became a rationale for war, and the Christians from Spain used it as an excuse to slaughter the "infidels" in South America (not to mention the brutality of the West’s colonialism). Both religions have good and bad aspects historically; the problem is, as Jim Fish said, with the nature of religion.

Why is it then, that today, all of the religious violence in the world is done in the name of Islam, rather than any other religion?
All? There are violent extremists of Christian, Hindu and other origins. Don’t forget northern Ireland and Serbia! Still, Islam is growing quickly (it will likely become the largest religion sometime in the not so distant future) and it is also confronting modernism. Not having gone through a reformation or a modernization that has completely transformed Christianity since 1600, it’s going to be a difficult process. The Christian church had 130 years of war during their reformation.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’m really incredulous that there are people there who believe Christianity is just as bad as Islam. I live deep in the "Bible Belt" and even here you can see lesbian couples shopping undisturbed in Wal-Mart. I’d like to see them try that in downtown Riyadh. No doubt many Christians may believe that the lesbian couple are going straight to hell...but you know what?...I’d much rather have someone believe I’m going to their mythical place called "Hell" than have my head sawed off with a dull knife for the offense. When is the last time someone here in the States had a hand and foot cut off for stealing? When is the last time little Muslim school girls were ambushed and decapitated?...never mind the fact that good Muslim girls don’t go to school. Is anyone truly afraid of drawing cartoons of Jesus? The only really violent religion these days is Islam.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
I’m really incredulous that there are people there who believe Christianity is just as bad as Islam. I live deep in the "Bible Belt" and even here you can see lesbian couples shopping undisturbed in Wal-Mart. I’d like to see them try that in downtown Riyadh.
It’s not that it’s "just as bad," but that historically it has been as bad. It changed due to modernization and the secularization of society. Christianity modernized. Islam is just starting that process. I also know many modern Muslims who are very tolerant, their daughters are going to college, and they reflect what is likely to ultimately come to the Mideast after a modernization process.

Unfortunately such a massive cultural change is usually violent and takes awhile. So it was for the Christians, so it is likely to be for the Muslims.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I live deep in the "Bible Belt" and even here you can see lesbian couples shopping undisturbed in Wal-Mart.
If it was up to the fundamentalist Christians they would be stoned for being homosexual. What keep them safe is separation of Church and State. If this were a Christian Country I would have some problems. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

In a Christian country I would have a number of other questions. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them? I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? And most importantly, Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

Really why can’t I own a Canadian?


 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
It is disingenuous to suggest that there are equivalent numbers of Christian or Hindu terrorists. There are Tamil Tigers, Farc guerillas, maoist’s in Nepal, as well as the IRA; however, these are either leftists or nationalists and do not commit such acts according to any religious protocol. Within the Islamic world there have been similar secular movements like the Arab nationalists in Egypt fighting the Ottomans in WWI (although this example was more of a conventional war).

The closest thing I can think of to equivalent Christian terrorism is that abortion-clinic bomber 10 years ago and that crazy Ugandan rebel-dude (who is more of a David-Koresh like cult leader anyway). Meanwhile, since 9/11 alone there have been over 7800 acts of terror in the name of Allah, Mohammad and the Koran.
...for a few hundred years before 1600 Islam was more advanced and tolerant than the Christian world
Not in India. But I see your point, Its stupid to debate which holocaust was worst. Every civilization sucked, lets leave it at that. Things have changed, at least in the Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish(..ect) world. The Koran and the example of Mohammad holds back that change for Islam, but I would argue that a truer interpretation of the New testement and Jesus ameliorated that change for Christianity.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
The mistake being made here is that we’re comparing the wrong things. For every crusade reference there is a reference for Communism, or to Islamic action, or other persons that can be cited for having done very wrong things. However, those groups do not always represent the philosophy or ideology of their religion. The fact remains that Christianity does not advocate anything like the kinds of actions advocated by Islam (actions currently carried out). But, the doctrines of Islam are not those of peace and tolerance. Quite the opposite. This is a great difference in the religions, and speaks volumes to the types of societies founded on them.

The discussion should not be about "these guys did this, it was bad; therefore their religion is wrong", "these guys did this, it was bad; therefore their religion is worse;" but should be about "the ideology and philosophy these people advocated lead to this bad action; therefore the religion is wrong."

Other notes so far: Those acting during the Crusades may have said they had a biblical mandate for the wars; that doesn’t make it true, they didn’t have any biblical footing.

Along the same lines, the Muslim terrorists today are acting cohesively with their religious doctrines, and have done so during this centuries long war.

Also, to Fish, Islam denounces Jesus as God. That immediately places their god as a different one than that of Christianity. What you’ve said is very misleading and uninformed.
 
Written By: Ike
URL: http://

The discussion should not be about "these guys did this, it was bad; therefore their religion is wrong", "these guys did this, it was bad; therefore their religion is worse;" but should be about "the ideology and philosophy these people advocated lead to this bad action; therefore the religion is wrong."
Actually the focus should be on the acts being bad period. Most Muslims denounce terrorism, and Mohammad said God does not like aggressors. It depends on where humans take their religion, so let’s just focus on the action.

Also, they do all worship the God of Abraham. Muslims actually hold Jesus in higher esteem than do Jews. Muslims consider him a prophet and his words holy — they just think Christians are wrong to make him a deity. Islam believes Jesus was born to a virgin, and think that Jesus will return as the prophet. Can you imagine the horror in the bible belt if that’s true. Jesus has returned! They turn to him, and he says "by the way, I’m Muslim." Anyway, to Muslims, the idea of a trinty is contrary to monotheism — God is unified and if you divide God into parts, you are essentially worshiping more than one God. So all see God as the same, but Jews and Muslims each reject the trinity.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
But as can be found in most Western cultures, including our own, are those who find their own culture so abominable that they side with that culture’s enemies.
Perhaps worst of all, they lie to themselves about it. Every recommendation they make in US foreign policy is congruent to a high degree with others who have declared themselves implacable enemies of America and Europe. Yet they don’t seem to notice it, or if they do, think it completely natural to agree philosophically with sworn enemies of their country and their culture.

And they get offended when you point out how our own enemies manipulate them.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Most Muslims denounce terrorism
I keep hearing this said but I never actually hear of Muslims doing it. Oh sure, there are a couple of lone voices in the wilderness but there is no chorus to back them up...not even here in the United States where it’s one of the safer places to be critical of Islam.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
Islam is 700 years behind Christianity. Just how civilized were the Christians is say 1300 AD. The Church had not even had the Protestant Revolution. Martin Luther would not be born for a century. The hundred years war was raging, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, the Black death was devastating Europe, and the rule of England was being decided by the War of the Roses.

There were bright spots, the Crusades were over, after nine attempts, Christians gave up, at least for the time being, trying to rule the Holy Land. Marco Polo was somewhere in China. Europe was recovering from the Dark Ages.

Of course other Crusades were underway in the Baltic, against the Tartars, the Crusade of Aragón, and who can forget the Hussite Crusade.

If you were a criminal, or a heretic, expect a short brutal life. Most crimes were punishable by death, the more gruesome the better. Hanging was for your run of the mill criminal, Nobility usually got the axe, but if you really ticked off the authorities you would be drawn and quartered. Of course before being executed, you first had to be tortured. The Rack, the Iron Lady, and the Thumbscrew ruled the day. The Dominicans were believed to be the most creative torturers in Spain.

When Christianity was at the age Islam is today, it’s leaders and their followers were even more barbaric than the most radical of today’s Muslim





 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
When Christianity was at the age Islam is today, it’s leaders and their followers were even more barbaric than the most radical of today’s Muslim
`

All of which has absolutely nothing to do with what is being discussed in the post.

Christianity isn’t the issue, radical Islam is. And the time isn’t 700 years ago it is now. The threat isn’t radical Christianity because both the moderate Christians and western governments have learned how to deal with Christianity’s radicals.

What we haven’t learned is how to deal with radical Islam or the Islamic immigrants now flooding Europe.

That is the point, and the rest this nonsense about Christian excesses of old is just background noise. It is no longer relevant to the issue at hand except to those who would use it to excuse radical Islam’s present day excesses.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Come on, James. Christianity in the Middle Ages did not have the benefit of coexisting with a technologically advanced and liberal society which had developed both a humanistic philosophy and the technology required to support it, thus greatly reducing the appeal of such savagery.

Also, "even more barbaric than the most radical of today’s Muslims?" Really? Every single one of them?

I hope you’ll forgive me if I’m not inclined to wait around several hundred years until Islam outgrows its violent expansionist phase; I don’t think they will allow themselves to be ignored, and I’d rather not consign entire populations (theirs and ours) to centuries of suffering while they slowly work it all out.
 
Written By: Piercello
URL: http://
Also, to Fish, Islam denounces Jesus as God. That immediately places their god as a different one than that of Christianity. What you’ve said is very misleading and uninformed.
Both religions worship the God of Abraham, Christians are still arguing if Jesus was God, the son of God, or some variation of the trinity. That argument divided the Roman Catholic Church from the Greek Orthodox Church for centuries. More Christian blood has been spilled by other Christians over this very issue, than any other.
Christianity isn’t the issue, radical Islam is.

Comparing Christianity today with Islam to day is like comparing a mature person with a teen-age kid. Islam has not gone through the moderating influences that Christianity has. This is not to excuse Islam, but to put it in perspective.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Ike,
In the Trinity, the Three are said to be co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power, action, and will. However, as laid out in the Athanasian Creed, only the Father is unbegotten and non-proceeding. The Son is begotten from (or "generated by") the Father. The Spirit proceeds from the Father (or from the Father and through the Son
Is Jesus God?, The son of God? Or part of some combination of God. I’ll leave it to Theologians to count those Angles on the head of a pin.
Christianity in the Middle Ages did not have the benefit of coexisting with a technologically advanced and liberal society which had developed both a humanistic philosophy and the technology required to support it, thus greatly reducing the appeal of such savagery.
Modernity is a concept of the mind. Not all of the world embraces that concept. We have to deal with those who do not accept modernity as seen in the West, however we don’t have to wait for them to catch up.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
"Most Muslims denounce terrorism,"

But of course some things we think of as terrorism are merely self-defense. Hezbollah is not a terrorist group, Mao was merely an agrarian reformer, etc.


"and Mohammad said God does not like aggressors."

So all those Islamic missionaries who got to the gates of Vienna and across the Pyrenees were doing so in a defensive way.

*********************************
"When Christianity was at the age Islam is today, it’s leaders and their followers were even more barbaric than the most radical of today’s Muslim"

I am sure that is a great consolation to today’s victims of Islamic barbarism. Kids will be kids.

" Christians are still arguing if Jesus was God, the son of God, or some variation of the trinity."

But without, you may have noticed, car bombs or decapitations.


I am sure that all this comparison of states-of-development would be useful if we were actually dealing with religion as an entity. We are, however, dealing with human beings, none of whom is over the age of 150, so the historical comparisons are pointless. I will freely admit that my great-great-great-great- granddaddy was probably more evil than yours. So what?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
If OBL thinks Americans are effeminate he obviously hasn’t seen Rosie O’Donnell.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
It’s very illustrative that a thread on the problems of Islam degenerates almost immediately to a debate on Christianity.
Meanwhile we see Europe virtually wallowing in self-doubt and self-denial
It’s the West in general. America less so, thanks to those awful religious yahoos in Jeebus land, but getting there. Point illustrated by this thread.
Today, the actions of Europe’s elite are tentative and confused
.

As well as America. Illustrated by this thread.
I can’t help but think that they understand the problem they face but, because of the disease of "multiculturalism" which has so infected the societies in question, they can’t bring themselves to declare its principles to be bankrupt and self-defeating in terms of cultural assimilation. Nor will they ever, in my estimation, admit that their abandonment of religion has had an adverse impact on the continent and has aggravated the situation in which they find themselves today
Point illustrated by this thread.
In Europe, as in the United States, a frequent response is what is variously known as multiculturalism and political correctness
Point illustrated by this thread.
But as can be found in most Western cultures, including our own, are those who find their own culture so abominable that they side with that culture’s enemies
.

Not illustrated here so much yet, but since Erb is here, I’ll take that point being illustrated here sooner or later as a given.


Erb, Fish....thanks for making the man’s point so well.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
It’s very illustrative that a thread on the problems of Islam degenerates almost immediately to a debate on Christianity
.
Debating Islam without Christianity is like Debating Bill Clinton without Monica. The two are inextricably intertwined. You can’t understand Islam with out understanding it’s relationship to Christianity. Radicals in both religions are looking for conflict in the hope of instigating Armageddon.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://faroutfishfiles.blogspot.com/
Debating Islam without Christianity
James - I don’t think McQ is saying we can not consider Christianity while debating Islam, but rather he is saying ’let’s keep it current’. Whether or not Islam is like Christianity in 1300 is moot. Times have changed. Technology has advanced. Travel and education are possible. So whether Islam is a ’teenager’ or not is irrelevant. Even teens need to be held responsible for their actions.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Islam has not gone through the moderating influences that Christianity has.
And one of Islam’s biggest problems is it has no mechanism similar to what Christianity went thorough to moderate itself.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Movable type and a giant civil war?
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
In this thread, we’ve been told that in 1600 Islam was more advanced than Christianity. And we’ve been told that in just 500 years, Islam is now 800 years behind Christianity.

I guess the conclusion is that Islam regresses 1.6 years for every year in existence. If we just wait around a bit, maybe it will regress beyond its inception. Or maybe Christianty advances 2.6 years for every year of its existence, I am not sure.

(Tongue in cheek, but just illustrating the inconsistency of statements here.)
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
And one of Islam’s biggest problems is it has no mechanism similar to what Christianity went thorough to moderate itself.
The Christian mechanism was over a century of internal warfare. There are numerous theological disputes in Islam, and the conservative/traditional interpretation made by the Ulama is increasingly questioned. The Koran can be interpreted in different ways (it even gets translated to have extremely different meanings, most passages do not have one clear meaning). The Ulama now put great weight on the Hadiths, or the Sunna of the prophet. Modern Muslims tend to see the Hadith as flawed, with those who followed Muhammad inserting ideas that harken back to Arab customs Muhammad wished to overthrow (esp. in the treatment of women).

So we have different beliefs about what Islam should mean (and vast differences between Shi’ite and Sunni, the Shi’ites have a very different set of theological beliefs), and an emerging modernist interpretation. Hopefully the mechanism they find won’t take as long or be as violent as that used by the Christians.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, on what basis do you place your hope, given human nature and the history of violent conflict in the region? Should we just stand back and _hope_ they don’t resolve the existence of different interpretations by slaughtering one another? You know, they might just attribute the evident disparity in wealth to our malice rather than their endemic cultural and religious practices—an easier source of the problem to contemplate—and take it out on outsiders.

Wait—that’s already happening.

Even if you assume a perfect structural and functional equivalence with Islam, Christianity did not go through this in the midst of a vastly more liberal and humanistic global technological society, and the comparison is still invalid. Let it go.

Modern civilization is vulnerable to systemic shock in ways that are incompletely understood, and hope is simply not an effective safeguard. We can quibble about the merits of any particular course of action, but inaction is not going to cut it here. What do you suggest we do?

James- the Christian radicals are not driving the bus. They are stuck in the back, throwing spitballs, and have a lot less control over the collective inertia. I am not in danger of being run over by them, nor will I be in the near future. I’d really rather hear your thoughts on the current situation.
 
Written By: Piercello
URL: http://
The Problem is in the nature of religion itself.

You can add to that the Church of Atheism.
 
Written By: Khepri
URL: http://
....when the Muslims took it back, they were more civilized.

There’s a slogan for you...

Dhimmitude, because it’s more civilized.
 
Written By: Khepri
URL: http://
"It is the religions that create their Gods in their own image, then insist everybody must worship them there are the problem."

And you are doing what exactly with this statement of belief?

You are as guilty as those you criticize and therefore your points are as easily dismissed.
 
Written By: Khepri
URL: http://
James E. Fish wrote:
We are experiencing a centuries long war between two religions that worship the same God.
Not possibly true, as Moslem society has not orgnized itself fight as a body and the Christians aren’t even showing up as such. If you really believe what you wrote, you’re a fool.
Each is sure they have God on their side, and condemn the other as heretics.
Again, not a view that is consistent with reality. Oh sure the Moslems view us as unbelievers, and critical mass of them think that’s a capital crime, but we don’t care that they’re Moslems, we care that they are blowing up our interests, our cities, our troops, and—oh, yeah—they’ll nuke us if they can.
Christianity, from its founding until the 7th century, had spread by mostly peaceful means within the area.
This quote is true, and not something Islam can claim.
The spread of Christianity after it’s adoption by the Roman Empire
Is a different issue from it’s spread before it was adopted. Nice attempt at conflating the two periods. It fails.
their temples were destroyed by the Christians
Destroyed by the Romans, you mean—with a wink and nod given by the authorities, if not usually the legions. Islam has no parallel to a period when the secular authorities were secular or only weakly or contrarily religious—unless of course, you regard the whole of it’s history when it was making war on or between and building up to a war on a bordering non-Islamic authority.
A religion which sends an army against a heretical community with the orders, “Kill them all and let God sort it out” when you can’t tell the faithful from the heretics, is not benign.
And the rarity of such orders and the sucessful divergence between religious and secular authority shows the untruth you told in the first quote I make from you in this post.
Bernard Lewis points out that, in fact, what is happening today between the West and Islam of the Middle East is the third attempt by Islam to spread it’s faith to the West:

This is to be expected when you have two aggressive religions fighting over the same turf. Christianity has tried just as hard to destroy Islam, either forcibly through the Crusades or surreptitiously through prostolization[sic]
No, Christianity has never attempted to destroy Islam, and even in the event that prosyletization by Christians converts the last Moslem the enlightenment is ahead of the game. Peaceful persuasion is not destructive. Christians have in the past attempted to reverse by force of arms the aggressive expansion of Islam into formerly Christian areas—this was penultimately defensive warfare.
When Muslims land in another culture, because of the nature of their faith, their first reaction is to reject those aspects of the culture which aren’t in harmony with their beliefs

As do Christians. The political activism of the Evangelical Christians in this country is a good example.
1) The evangical Christians didn’t land here asking to be let into a society, they grew here, on territory their ancestors killed the Indians for fair and square.

2) They are politically active, generally not violent, and others who have views diametrically opposed to theirs are attempting to destroy their way of life by the political process—do you suggest they should unilaterally disarm? If they did, would the militant secularists here leave them alone or persue them with warrants and a distressingly militaristic police force?
Islam is more than a religion to be practiced weekly and on holy days. It is a way of life

As was Christianity until the Enlightenment, and even that has failed to bring a secular society. Even now you still never know when to expect “The Spanish Inquisition.” just ask Jerry Falwell
And the Enlightenment has happened, it happened centuries ago. A society whose "secularism" is enforced by government is not enlightened, it is endarkened. I see only the forces of commanded secularism and socialism as the only real internal threats opposing the Enlightenment’s fruits.

As for Falwell, how many legions has he? None, not one, and not a company, not even a squad.

What you dream you oppose is a phantasm springing from your own brain.
But the ramifications of this immigration of muslims with the decline and separation of Christianity from a more dominant role in Europe had made this immigrant flow a potent weapon for the Islamist third wavers.

This is part of the changing battle lines in the struggle between the two. If Christianity fails, it is its own fault. A religion without any believers is no religion at all.
Christianity has failed in Europe, as a socio-political force, it is not there—further illuminating the untruth you told when you wrote:
We are experiencing a centuries long war between two religions that worship the same God.
Europe is not Christian, yet the Islamists assail them. Why? Because the Islamists want the whole world to be the ummah, and Europe is a soft target, and it makes itself a softer target than it has to be.
But as can be found in most Western cultures, including our own, are those who find their own culture so abominable that they side with that culture’s enemies

You can always find malcontents who hate their own society. The nature of freedom allows even idiots to have their own opinion.
Never truer words have you written.
Yet many of those who side with that enemy would be their first targets if they were ever in a position of absolute authority. That irony always seems to be lost on them.

That is the fate of all Quislings. They are a threat to those they support and must be eliminated.
Oh, by what means do you envision that. That was a facile, foolish thing to write.
The Problem is in the nature of religion itself.
That was also a foolish thing to write, the problem is in human nature, religion is an aspect of it, not a cause.
“Christians, Jews, and Muslims all believe in a god which their own scriptures describe as having been the cause of tremendous suffering and evil — things which, if any human did, would cause that person to be reviled as the most evil person in history. Many of these acts are carried out by figures in religious scriptures, making them just as culpable as the deity who gives the orders” Austin Cline, How Can Moral Gods Behave Immorally?

Perhaps it’s time to relegate religion to it’s rightful place, and give up superstition once and for all.
A statement that’s really beside the point, since the problem here is not the Christian religion, but the Moslem one. Falwell didn’t arrange for an airliner to crash into the Kabbah, after all.
Written By: James E. Fish


And regarding the profundity of your idiocy, I am appalled you have the poor self-perception to lay claim to your post with what I presume is your real name.

You don’t have the first clue.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Though I sometimes wonder if a "quantum deism" could work :-)

I find it odd that you would condone this, and yet be at odds with the deists that founded the US....who saw fit to accomodate *all* religion.

Odd that you agree with an atheist that calls for the destruction of all religion, and in nearly the same breath propose a new religion?

And tell me, what are the different religions with their Gods if not cultural personifications of your "quantum deism"?

How do you explain imposing atheism or "quantum deism" as being in harmony with personal liberty?

Just asking...

 
Written By: Khepri
URL: http://
Jews and Christians could thrive in the Muslim world, paying a tax, but compared to the intolerance of Christianity, that was pretty good. Do you really think "convert or die" is superior "pay an extra tax and you’ll be fine?"

LMAO....this is so dishonest!

Try this...pay an extra tax and you’ll be fine until I decide to kill you.

That is much more accurate imho.
 
Written By: Khepri
URL: http://
True, Islam became a rationale for war....

Became? Became!? It was BORN that way!

"Fight them all until"....Isn’t that what Mohammed said from the beginning...Became...ha!

And this;

All? There are violent extremists of Christian, Hindu and other origins.

This is engaging in a bit of semantics isn’t it? Are you going to pretend that the overwhelming majority of violence today is committed by Muslims is not actually happening....which was the point I believe...

Are you suggesting that while these peace-loving tolerant Muslims that are committing the majority of violence on the planet TODAY are going through their growing pangs while they comfront modernity they we just "suffer them"?

If not, then what? What is your final solution to the problem?

Frankly, from what I’ve read so far of your opnions I’m disturbed that you might be actually teaching anyone anything...judging by the URL...

 
Written By: Khepri
URL: http://

And tell me, what are the different religions with their Gods if not cultural personifications of your "quantum deism"?
Plotinus calls it "the one." BTW, you did see the :-) by that comment. Whoops, kids are calling, gotta run...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And tell me, what are the different religions with their Gods if not cultural personifications of your "quantum deism"?
Eris rules of course, her hand is up Bob’s back.

Which isn’t where the dirty little genii wants it of course.

fnord

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Try this...pay an extra tax and you’ll be fine until I decide to kill you.
It was better than the Christians’ "convert or die" (or with the Jews, be ghettoized and ultimately suffer a holocaust). Islamophobia is irrational; concern about Islamic extremism and its confrontation with modernism is very rational. Don’t let the latter devolve into the former.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, on what basis do you place your hope, given human nature and the history of violent conflict in the region? Should we just stand back and _hope_ they don’t resolve the existence of different interpretations by slaughtering one another? You know, they might just attribute the evident disparity in wealth to our malice rather than their endemic cultural and religious practices—an easier source of the problem to contemplate—and take it out on outsiders.
We can’t defeat them by war, and we are going to have increasing interactions. So it’s not an easy issue. The formula that would work best is: a) don’t take actions to appear we are anti-Islam, rather, we are anti-terrorist; b) get as energy independent was we can while oil is still relatively cheap; c) especially Europe has to become better at integrating Muslim populations; and d) develop an international counter-terrorism policy that coordinates information and collaborates as much as posssible.

We also have to recognize this is a very dangerous situation — the West is vulnerable, the new style of warfare — terror and economic war — is something our current military capacity is insufficient to counter, and the extremists are ruthless and clever. On the other hand, the enemy is not Islam — most Muslims aren’t pre-disposed to extremism, and we have the potential to gain many friends if we avoid turning this into a series of real wars.

Even if you assume a perfect structural and functional equivalence with Islam, Christianity did not go through this in the midst of a vastly more liberal and humanistic global technological society, and the comparison is still invalid. Let it go.
The problem is that the liberal and humanistic society is also a glutton for oil and has proven very adept at violently intervening in the region, propping up authoritarian regimes, and getting involved most recently in a so far disastrous war in Iraq. This kind of intervention helps the jihadists and extremists because it emotionalizes the situation, stretching the US military thin, splits the American public, splits the US from its allies (anti-Americanism in Europe is at a level I’ve never experienced; I thought the early eighties were bad!), and makes our oil-dependent economy ever more vulnerable.

Modern civilization is vulnerable to systemic shock in ways that are incompletely understood, and hope is simply not an effective safeguard. We can quibble about the merits of any particular course of action, but inaction is not going to cut it here. What do you suggest we do?
My suggestion is above. There is no easy answer, unfortuantely. We’re heading to an interesting phase of world history. If we let fear drive us, or think we can simply wipe out the extremists militarily, then we’ll be heading into an abyss. There are no clear answers.

James- the Christian radicals are not driving the bus. They are stuck in the back, throwing spitballs, and have a lot less control over the collective inertia. I am not in danger of being run over by them, nor will I be in the near future. I’d really rather hear your thoughts on the current situation.
I hope so — though Chris Hedges new book American Fascists: the Christian Right and the War on America is intriguing.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It was better than the Christians’ "convert or die" (or with the Jews, be ghettoized and ultimately suffer a holocaust).
Islam ghettoized all non-beleivers, they lived apart and had their own laws (those laws were of course subordinate to the need of Islam). The holocaust came from a society which rejected the Enlightenment in favor of socialism and nature worship. It had very little, in fact just shy of nothing, do with Christianity.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
"Islam is more than a religion to be practiced weekly and on holy days. It is a way of life"

So is Christianity, and Judaism, and Buddhism, and... Just ask them.l

"or with the Jews, be ghettoized and ultimately suffer a holocaust"

The holocaust was done by Christianity?? The Right Reverend Hitler, I presume. Or was it father Adolph?


" especially Europe has to become better at integrating Muslim populations;"

Any suggestions on how to integrate people who do not want to integrate, people who think that Europeans are, at best, decadent, immoral, and depraved?

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Islam ghettoized all non-beleivers, they lived apart and had their own laws (those laws were of course subordinate to the need of Islam). The holocaust came from a society which rejected the Enlightenment in favor of socialism and nature worship. It had very little, in fact just shy of nothing, do with Christianity.
Europe has a Christian culture, even if the religion itself is no longer the core belief system. The way capitalism developed, the way the enlightenment developed — it’s core values and goals — are an outgrowth of that, a kind of ’secularized Christianity.’ The holocaust harkened back to the anti-semitism of the middle ages, and cannot be seen as purely separate from Europe’s Christian heritage.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
" and cannot be seen as purely separate from Europe’s Christian heritage"

Of course not, since such things never happen in non-Christian cultures.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Europe certainly no longer has a strong Christian faith, but they are far less multicultural in their perspective than Americans. The reason France has had riots of foreigners is that they ghettoize their foreigners and barriers are strong against integration.
So, Scott doesn’t know what multiculturalism is.

The American assimilation approach is not multicultural, Scott.
I think Reza Aslan is right to note that Islam is going through a reformation.
You are just going with the source that says what you want to hear.

Oh, and by the way, old Mo married Aisha at 6 or 6 and consummated the marriage at 9. You didn’t even get that right.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I meant "6 or 7", not "6 or 6" in my last post.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Most Muslims denounce terrorism,
It is true that most Muslims are not terrorists, but to claim that most denounce terrorism is a lie.
and Mohammad said God does not like aggressors.
So he was saying that God didn’t like him?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Jews and Christians could thrive in the Muslim world, paying a tax, but compared to the intolerance of Christianity, that was pretty good. Do you really think "convert or die" is superior "pay an extra tax and you’ll be fine?"
Jews and Christians did not always thrive in the Muslim world . . . sometimes they were murdered.

On the other hand, Christians didn’t always apply "convert or die"; you do realize that the European Jews the Christians periodicaly tormented spent more time not being murdered than being murdered?

The Muslim tax is different in that it is a Muslim mechanism for "handling" non-Muslim "people of the book". It didn’t mean that the Muslims would not apply "convert or die!", or simply "die!", it was just an established method of asserting dominance.
But there is no way you can look at history and deny the barbarism of the Christian world during much of that time, and how for a few hundred years before 1600 Islam was more advanced and tolerant than the Christian world.
It is dubious to claim that Islam was more advanced. The claim is based upon cherry picked data; for example, in Spain after the Muslim conquest, Jews had a brief "Golden period", however their situation deteriated and they experienced another "Golden period" during the Christian reconquest (which also deteriated — the Jews did best when the Muslims and Christians were busy killing each other). Also, the Jewish "Golden period" under Islam is probably exagerrated. The underlying fact seems to be that "back in the day", the Muslims and Christians were more or less equal in their behaviour.
Modern Muslims tend to see the Hadith as flawed, with those who followed Muhammad inserting ideas that harken back to Arab customs Muhammad wished to overthrow (esp. in the treatment of women).
Mo raped the women of the men he murdered. Actions speak louder than words, perhaps.
Chris Hedges new book American Fascists: the Christian Right and the War on America is intriguing.
Oh, that scary Christian Right!

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
It is dubious to claim that Islam was more advanced. The claim is based upon cherry picked data; for example, in Spain after the Muslim conquest, Jews had a brief "Golden period", however their situation deteriated and they experienced another "Golden period" during the Christian reconquest (which also deteriated — the Jews did best when the Muslims and Christians were busy killing each other). Also, the Jewish "Golden period" under Islam is probably exagerrated. The underlying fact seems to be that "back in the day", the Muslims and Christians were more or less equal in their behaviour.
Are you kidding? Before Europe modernized the study of philosophy, technology, and general civilization was far better in most of the Muslim world than in Europe. If you had to live on the planet at that time, you’d choose China or the Islamic world if you wanted civilization. It was Muslim scholars whose work led Aquinas to introduce Aristotle to the Catholic Church. There were also times when rationalists held sway in Islam (deminishing the status of the Koran and allowing for interpretation and the use of reason to apply to contexts), and a lot of vibrance. Ultimately the current view of the Ulama embracing tradition and the questionable Hadiths won out, which the Ottomans used to their advantage.
Mo raped the women of the men he murdered. Actions speak louder than words, perhaps.
That’s like saying Jesus was involved in homosexual orgies with his 12 partners. Such personal attacks on the founder of a religion are pointless. The fact is Islam is not going to go away, nor will it be defeated. Attacking it or giving in to Islamophobia is pointless. The key is to support modernist Muslims. Even the Grand Mosque in Paris is promoting a modern version, and the growing (despite some pockets of discontented jihadist) modernism of European Muslims suggest that they may be a force to help push forward a reformation and spread those views to the Mideast and beyond. Islam isn’t going away; you have to deal with that.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Before Europe modernized the study of philosophy, technology, and general civilization was far better in most of the Muslim world than in Europe.
Bullsh!t. It was minimally better in a very few areas. One guy who knew better math no one in Europe knew yet—to pick one example—does not make for a better life for the bulk of the people.

In fact, it only makes life better for the descendants of the people who actually developed a dynamic, open enough to change culture that they made use of those mathematics—Europeans.
The holocaust harkened back to the anti-semitism of the middle ages, and cannot be seen as purely separate from Europe’s Christian heritage.
It benefitted from that anti-semitism, but would not have happened if not for the socialists who worshipped the bent cross—not the Christian one. In fact there is no trace of evidence that a Christian Germany would have undertaken the Holocaust or anything like it absent the Nazi Party. The holocaust happened because of Nazism, not Christianity.
That’s like saying Jesus was involved in homosexual orgies with his 12 partners.
Except that there’s documentary evidence that Mohammed raped the child and not even the slightest hint in either the mythological or historical record that Christ was frisky with the Apostles.

So saying Mohammed was a child rapist is like saying the truth and saying Christ was gay is like saying a lie.

Not that I expect you can tell the difference when it isn’t politically correct.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Are you kidding? Before Europe modernized the study of philosophy, technology, and general civilization was far better in most of the Muslim world than in Europe. If you had to live on the planet at that time, you’d choose China or the Islamic world if you wanted civilization.
There was little difference in the level of Arab and European civilization back in the day, and that difference may not favor Arabs.

You need to drop the myths.
It was Muslim scholars whose work led Aquinas to introduce Aristotle to the Catholic Church.
Right, the Arabs were a conduit; they happened to conquer lands containing works of Aristotle. That doesn’t imply great civilization on their part. Just like "Damascus steel" and "Arabic numerials" both of which originated in India, not in Arab culture.
That’s like saying Jesus was involved in homosexual orgies with his 12 partners. Such personal attacks on the founder of a religion are pointless.
Tell that to Rayhana bint Amr ibn Khunafa, who became one of Mo’s "wifes" after Mo’s boys murdered her people.

Mo was a rapist. Is telling the truth pointless?
The fact is Islam is not going to go away, nor will it be defeated.
Having trouble staying on topic?

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Except that there’s documentary evidence that Mohammed raped the child and not even the slightest hint in either the mythological or historical record that Christ was frisky with the Apostles.

So saying Mohammed was a child rapist is like saying the truth and saying Christ was gay is like saying a lie.
IIRC, some gospels (that have not been accepted by the Church and are not officially part of the Bible) indicate that Jesus married a prostitute and had children. But nothing indicates homosexual behaviour or rape.

Mo had many wifes, and female slaves, and sexual relations that would clearly be rape in modern society (if you accept the idea that slaves are OK, then I suppose you might also accept the idea that they have no right to say "no", hence nailing ’em ain’t rape even if they don’t want it). I suppose Scott is being a good moral relativist, and he’s judging Mo by Mo’s standards. But it is clear that Mo didn’t just nail a 9 year old; he also nailed women who’s families he murdered.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The fact is Islam is not going to go away, nor will it be defeated.

Having trouble staying on topic?
I am. What do you gain by attacking Mohammad in ways that are seen as disrespectful to the faith? Personal attacks on someone dead for over a thousand years are pointless. Should one talk about Judaism (or Christianity) by talking about how King David was an adulterer, who did things like send a man into battle to certain death because he wanted his wife? Should I talk about Israel by pointing out the war crimes and mass killings of innocents done in the Old Testament? Stories about Mohammad’s life are irrelevant and unprovable anyway. Why try to insult and offend an entire faith? It does no good, and can only inflame a situation that should not be inflammed.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"That’s like saying Jesus was involved in homosexual orgies with his 12 partners.:

And of course if you were to say the same about Mohammed, the more "civilized" Muslim world would cut your tongue out, as opposed to those dangerous right-wing fundamentalist Christians.

At any rate, if I were living 500+ years ago, I might care. I live today, and as of today, they are barbarians.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I am. What do you gain by attacking Mohammad in ways that are seen as disrespectful to the faith? Personal attacks on someone dead for over a thousand years are pointless.
Given that Muslims riot over Mohammad cartoons, it is hardly pointless . . .

In any case, my point on this is not to attack Mohammad for the sake of attacking Mohammad, but to flesh out why modern Muslims are particularly violent.
Should one talk about Judaism (or Christianity) by talking about how King David was an adulterer, who did things like send a man into battle to certain death because he wanted his wife?
Ah, but King David sinned when he did this. God did not approve. The contrast of King David and Mohammad shows a significant difference in morality.

Also (and besides the point), I don’t think David was an adulterer (I could be wrong, meaning of "is" and all that), he was guilty of coveting the man’s wife and (essentially) murder to obtain her.
Should I talk about Israel by pointing out the war crimes and mass killings of innocents done in the Old Testament?
Oh, how do you know they were innocent? God doesn’t agree with you on that.

In any case, in the Old Testament, God directed the killing (or did the deed) against specific groups of sinners. The Koran provides an open season on all nonbelievers.
Stories about Mohammad’s life are irrelevant and unprovable anyway. Why try to insult and offend an entire faith? It does no good, and can only inflame a situation that should not be inflammed.
But Mo’s history was recorded by Muslims. It’s in the hadith that Aisha was 6 or 7 at marriage and 9 when it was consummated. Perhaps it isn’t true, but the real point is that Muslims (in this case, Aisha herself, it seems) recorded this back in the day, and many believe it. And it is a very resonable interpretation.

Instead of whitewashing this, it is worth bringing it out in the open. If Muslims can’t handle it, we might as well work on resolving that issue now.

Amazing how everyone is so quick to piss on Jesus or put dung on Mary, but don’t dare say a cross thing about Mo . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Stories about Mohammad’s life are irrelevant and unprovable anyway. Why try to insult and offend an entire faith?
Sorry, I’m gonna beat on this some more . . .

So, Erb, what you are saying is that your arguments that Mo was progressive and a reformer are . . . . "irrelevant and unprovable anyway". That argument cuts both ways.

I think you are pushing a certain outlook that’s positive and makes you feel good, and it’s the argument you want Muslims to believe . . . but is it real, and do real Muslims believe it?

I’m concearned with reality and facts. While Mo himself is somewhat irrelevent, what Muslims think of him isn’t. And a lot of them think he nailed a 9 year old, and that makes such activities alright . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
So, Erb, what you are saying is that your arguments that Mo was progressive and a reformer are . . . . "irrelevant and unprovable anyway". That argument cuts both ways.
No, they are historically clear from the Koran. And recognition of this fact aids reconciliation between people of various cultures, and can play a positive role in Islam’s modernization. And your perverse obsession with his sex life and trying to judge old Arab customs by modern standards is not only irrelevant, but risks devolving into bigotry and Islamophobia. That makes you as much of the problem as Islamic extremists who hate the West. Your type of thinking is something I dedicate myself to working against in whatever way I can.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
No, they are historically clear from the Koran.


What is clear from the Koran is that it started out non-violent (Mecca) then later endorsed warfare and finally violent conquest. The later violent suras abrogate the early non-violent ones.

Juan Cole et al can lie all they want; Mo’s religion became increasingly violent as violence became an increasingly viable means toward his ends.
And your perverse obsession with his sex life and trying to judge old Arab customs by modern standards
He murders a woman’s family and rapes her. That’s a clear indication of his behaviour, and even in that period it was barbaric; the Crusaders point out that when they killed women they did not rape them. Not so Mo.
And recognition of this fact aids reconciliation between people of various cultures, and can play a positive role in Islam’s modernization.

. . .

That makes you as much of the problem as Islamic extremists who hate the West. Your type of thinking is something I dedicate myself to working against in whatever way I can.
The problem isn’t what I think or say. It is what Muslims do.

We don’t need "reconciliation between people of various cultures", we need the Muslims to stop killing people.

And your idea that Islam is in a reformation is a delusion.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"and trying to judge old Arab customs by modern standards"

Sort of like what is involved in the process of "modernizing" Islam and "reconciling" with other cultures with more modern standards. Sounds relevant to me. If the custom is acceptable, why change("modernize") it?


"That makes you as much of the problem as Islamic extremists who hate the West."

That is just too stupid to comment on.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider