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On dividing the rainbow

03 May

RainbowOverPotala

That beautiful if rather obvious propaganda image comes from the International Campaign for Tibet and is linked to a story about the photograph, but that is not my main concern today. Instead I want to draw your attention to the rainbow itself. There is of course a significance tied to the Abrahamic tradition’s flood stories, but that is not so much my concern either. Look at the rainbow. Do you see continuum or division? In point of fact there is only continuum; the colours we separate and name are arbitrarily separated by language itself; anyone with even a little knowledge of a number of languages knows this is so. Mandarin, for example, renders the blue-green part of the spectrum quite differently from English.

Now of course some kind of classification/division is inevitable as we could not practise science or indeed engage in everyday life and thought without it. It could be said that without schemata of various kinds we would go quite mad. But our schemata also have the power to drive us mad, or at least to separate us from the way things really are; the more wedded we are to them the crazier, and the more dangerous, we are liable to become.

I take the rainbow to be a metaphor, if you will, of the mind of God. The implications are quite heretical in the Abrahamic tradition; Neale Donald Walsch in What God Wants is just one of the more recent advocates of the heresy. While his art of simplification and prophetic tone do tend to make me cringe, I find his heresy healthy deep down; healthier far than the traditional alternatives.

Just the latest manifestation of the alternative is in today’s Australian: Imams condemn Islamic teacher.

ANGRY Muslim groups have attacked the University of Western Sydney over an Islamic studies course they claim is too sexually explicit, promotes lesbianism and derides the Koran as misogynistic.

Students, community members and the Australian National Imams Council have complained about the content of the course, Women in Arabic and Islamic Literature, being taught at the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies. They say it gives a negative view of women in Islam.

The imams council has circulated a petition recording its “deep concern with regards to the course structure and content”, saying it involved “repeated and unjustified attacks upon Islam”.

Another group, Muslims for Peace, has branded the centre as “evil” and demanded lecturer Samar Habib be dismissed and the course abolished.

“Now that its wicked nature should be crystal clear for all to see, Muslims should fear Almighty Allah and break all connections with this diabolical centre of Kufr (non-believers),” a bulletin on the Muslims for Peace website reads.

Dr Habib has declined to comment. UWS executive dean of the College of Arts Wayne McKenna said that, although the university was yet to receive a direct complaint, it was examining the content of the course…

University of Melbourne’s Sultan of Oman professor of Arab and Islamic studies, Abdullah Saeed, said concerns about the course had been raised at the centre’s community consultative committee meeting this week.

“Everyone has a right to express their opinion and views and that is what is happening,” Professor Saeed said.

“One of the essential things is to uphold academic freedoms and intellectual freedoms of students and the staff.”

I feel for Abdullah Saeed; he is a good man. I must also observe that the “Muslims for Peace” mentioned in the report (and I have linked to it) is merely an Australian blog, and NOT this site or this site. It would have been helpful if the Australian had also noted that.

At the same time, we do see encapsulated there the problem of Abrahamic religion: it has been founded on an us/them tradition that goes way back to its origins, and it attributes that style of thought to God *himself. (*Gender there is language-generated, not a reflection of the nature of God.) Eastern religions, in the main, have not made such divisions.

A corollary of the heresy I am advocating is, inevitably, that however God may have manifested *himself, it has not been through texts that are infallible and unconditioned by history and culture. That division of texts is itself a cultural and linguistic creation at heart, and a power relationship thing as well. This is not to say that God has not manifested *himself.

We westerners get a double whammy because so much of our philosophical tradition has also been in the binary either/or mode; we have been great at dividing rainbows. Even atheist/theist is such a binary and attempts to soften that binary, while commendable, simply keep on dividing the rainbow.

In these deep waters I will leave you for now…

CLARIFICATION

In talking about that story in The Australian I did not make clear that there were levels of complaint about the UWS course from elements of the Muslim community; the blog represents the most extreme reaction; the Council of Imams and others seem to me to have been less extreme, in that they were in the “normal” range of conservative religious groups confronted by a feminist or postmodern critique of their tradition; given a different context it would not be surprising to get complaints of a similar nature from Cardinal Pell or the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney. In fact I can very clearly remember earlier Archbishops of Sydney making very similar complaints about courses at Sydney University — in the 1960s! That is not to say I would want the UWS course changed; after all, no-one actually has to do it…

UPDATE Sunday 4 May 2008

The Islam is incompatible with democracy? debate [Sydney, 15 April 2008] is now available on Radio National: Big Idea 4 May 2008.



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86 responses to “On dividing the rainbow

  1. Kevin

    May 3, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    I am continually amazed that such a forward thinking socialist as yourself can find common ground with islam. I realize that we don’t feel quite the same way about women, but are you ok with the way the koran demands that they are treated? Are you cool with beating women to teach them a lesson?

    Frankly, your laissez fairer attitude about this makes me doubt that you are truly interested in freedom. As we both know, there is very little freedom for men in islam, and there is NONE for women. Are you ok with that?

    I know that you are a woman ‘not liker’. But are you in fact a woman ‘hater’? I hope not. islam hates women and treats them as inferior. Let’s not support such an archaic belief.

     
  2. ninglun

    May 3, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Kevin, I live in a neighbourhood which has a fairly large Muslim component. Two minutes ago I just accepted rent for my carspace from an Indonesian Muslim who is as likely to be a woman hater or terrorist as he is to be Colonel Sanders or Donald Duck. In fact it was his sister — also a Muslim of course — who organised the deal; she certainly shows no signs of being oppressed, no more than the woman behind the counter in Abdul’s over the road…

    I do not see hatred of women there, no more than anywhere else. I choose not to hate and fear one quarter of the world’s population simply because they are of a different religion. To do so, frankly, is madness. At the same time, the whole point of my post is that the attitude taken by that pipsqueak site the Australian refers to sucks big time…

    Are you cool with beating kids, as Proverbs recommends? There is almost nothing in the Quran — which I have read — that is not paralleled in the Bible — which I have also read. What does need to change is the attitude of folks to these books which have much in them that is wonderful and much that it totally repulsive. Many Muslims will not appreciate my saying that, just as many Christians won’t. But I think it has to be said, and there are people on all sides who at least to some degree think much the same. That needs to be encouraged, but slandering one group for stuff that is not actually unique to them does not help. The problem is deep in ALL the Abrahamic religions which divide the world into believers and unbelievers, saved and damned, chosen and rejected.

    What people do with such beliefs varies enormously, of course. I would encourage doubting such beliefs, at the least, because I think they come from another era, but even if someone does cling to such a position, as many do, we need to encourage them to reject violence or other oppressive strategies and put their case through persuasion or evangelism or good works, to accept the right of others to differ, to point out that there must be something wrong with a God who is so impotent he needs our violence to make himself known or to withstand his “enemies”.

    Looking back, I concede that we need to encourage them to reject violence or other oppressive strategies really is rather patronising of me, because very many just do reject such means and don’t need me to tell them; the majority of the victims of Islamist terror have in fact been Muslims. And what, after all, even if we take George Bush’s position, is the religion of the governments in Iraq and Afghanistan so much life and treasure is being devoted to supporting?

    Back to our relations with Muslims, or in our case here Muslim Australians: see Don’t laugh, it’s swell being an imam surfer:

    WHEN he’s in the line-up off Sydney’s popular beaches, Haisam Farache is just another surfer waiting for a wave.

    But once he’s out of the water he swaps his wetsuit and surfboard for a robe and turban and assumes the role of an imam at Australia’s largest mosque.

    “For me it relates to how I am as an Australian and a Muslim,” he said. “When I go to the beach I feel rejuvenated. I feel like a new person and whatever stresses I have in my life are being washed away with the waves.”The 34-year-old, who began surfing at 11, said his pastime intrigued his students at the Lakemba Mosque. Most laughed, he said, when they discovered he was a surfer, and found it difficult to believe a religious leader had an interest outside teaching Islam.

    The Auburn-based lawyer said surfing was also an ice-breaker when he visited schools across the country as part of his work with the Together for Humanity Foundation.

    He recalls visiting a school on the northern beaches where many students began calling him a terrorist. Once the children discovered he was a surfer, their opinion changed and they saw him as one of “them”, he said.

    Note too this in a recent boating tragedy on Sydney Harbour, which has very much been in our news these past few days:

    Three fishermen who helped rescue those involved in Thursday’s fatal boat crash on Sydney Harbour have visited the people they saved at Royal North Shore Hospital.

    Six people died and eight others were injured when a fishing trawler collided with a runabout in the middle of the night.

    One of the fisherman, Nasa Farache says their act was not anything out of the ordinary.

    “We’re not hero’s, we’re just regular guys that happened to be probably at the right place at the right time, I suppose,” he said.

    “We just did what we think anyone else would have done in that position.”

    Muslims? Almost certainly.

    The moral: stop targeting groups and concentrate on whether or not people, whoever they are or whatever their beliefs, are part of a peaceful future or threats to that future. You will find Muslims, and others, in both camps.

     
  3. Kevin

    May 4, 2008 at 1:18 am

    I believe you are confusing muslims with islam. I’ve no problem with muslims. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of muslims who are good people. I only have a problem with islam. As you mentioned, the Bible has some pretty bad parts, including how to treat your slaves! Yet no one kills in the name of Jesus or God, no one has slaves ‘because God said we could’ and no one beats their children ‘as God commands’.

    These things are simply not true when one follows islam. Women who don’t dress properly are beaten or raped ‘because Allah commands it’ routinely in countries under the yoke of islam. People are blowing themselves up to get into paradise on a daily basis in Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Gaza, Somalia and other countries, because it’s in the koran. Killing or beating of non-believers is also routine. MURDER in the name of islam is so routine these days it often goes unreported.

    I’d be equally against Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism if they were murdering or suiciding to please their God. The simple fact is that they aren’t. Not so with islam. It’s a horrid death cult that must be removed from the planet if we are to have world peace. Just like we had to end the death-cult worship of the Japanese emperor, we have to end islam. As history shows, it did not require that we kill all the Japanese. Likewise, the current problem does not demand that we kill all muslims. But the belief system has to change or end. Soon.

    IMO

     
  4. AV

    May 4, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Two minutes ago I just accepted rent for my carspace from an Indonesian Muslim who is as likely to be a woman hater or terrorist as he is to be Colonel Sanders or Donald Duck. In fact it was his sister — also a Muslim of course — who organised the deal; she certainly shows no signs of being oppressed, no more than the woman behind the counter in Abdul’s over the road…

    Obviously since No True Muslim (TM) would behave like that, they can’t be real Muslims.

    (Freedom-hater.)

    Are you cool with beating kids, as Proverbs recommends?

    You should ask him if he sleeps in the same bed as his wife while she’s menstruating. The Holy Bible says that’s a no-no (Ezekiel 18.5). In the NT, Paul teaches us that since women were created for men, wives are to submit to their husbands, and they must keep silent in church. If, while being silent in church, their heads are not covered, they must be shaved.

    Regarding the UWS issue, I find it difficult to sympathise with the Imams’ Council and “Muslims For Peace” (even if the latter is likely to be a one-man show). Of course they have a right to whine, but in a liberal democracy such as Australia it is vital that academic freedom is guaranteed. And if one of the outcomes of that freedom I just mentioned is your (I mean “you” in the universal sense) particular religion or worldview coming under closer critical scrutiny than you would prefer: well, you’ll just have to wear it. Better still, if you disagree with the arguments, counter them with arguments of your own. Trying to silence your critics–or worse still–calling for them to be fired for their views is simply childish, authoritarian and undemocratic. In a healthy liberal democracy, it ought not to wash.

    It had better not wash with the authorities at UWS.

     
  5. AV

    May 4, 2008 at 2:52 am

    I’d be equally against Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism if they were murdering or suiciding to please their God. The simple fact is that they aren’t.

    Um, yes, they are. When they’re not killing each other, as is the case with, for example, Hindu violence against low-caste Christian converts in India, they’re killing their own–think of the long years of Catholic-Protestant conflict in Northern Ireland. Or they’re killing their kids, as in the case of Madeleine Kara Neumann, practically murdered by her parents who refused to provide conventional medical treatment for her diabetes and instead tried to heal her through prayer. As in the many incidents of parents murdering their children because they believe them to be demon-possessed. And of course, we have centuries of Christian pogroms against the Jews, culminating in the mother-of-all-pogroms, the Holocaust, masterminded by the self-identified Christian Adolf Hitler, and carried out by his Christian followers.

    But the fact remains that, whether you’re talking about Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, or whatever, the fundies, nutjobs and thugs remain a very noisy and sadly often violent minority, while the majority get on with their lives. It is simply special-pleading to claim that Islam alone causes religious violence. The facts suggest otherwise.

    Just like we had to end the death-cult worship of the Japanese emperor, we have to end islam. As history shows, it did not require that we kill all the Japanese.

    Not all of them. Just 100,000 of them, virtually at a fell blow. Incidentally, I happen to live in Japan, and the last time I checked, Japan still has an emperor. The Buddhist and Shinto belief systems that fostered this emperor-worshipping death cult of which you speak: let me just check . . . hang on . . . yep, those belief systems still flourish here too. What has changed, of course, is that Japan is now a parlismentary secular liberal democracy, and the emperor’s role is atrictly ceremonial.

    Meanwhile, liberated Iraq has a constitution based on Sharia law, and honour killings and stonings are on the increase. In liberated Afghanistan, the constitution is also based on Sharia law, and apostasy is punishable by death. Why? Why does the Bush Administration hate freedom?

     
  6. Kevin

    May 4, 2008 at 3:27 am

    AV, you seem to have fallen under the spell of misinterpretation as well :(. I have said nothing bad about muslims, yet you suggest that I do in order to avoid the elephant in the room – the elephant being that horrendous things happen on a daily basis in the name of islam, while relatively little that could be construed as negatives happens because of all of the other religions combined.

    No one other than you has stated that true muslims (TM) can’t be good people.

    You should ask him if he sleeps in the same bed as his wife while she’s menstruating. The Holy Bible says that’s a no-no (Ezekiel 18.5).

    Actually, you should ask me yourself. If you did, I’d tell you that I’m not among the biggest believers in the Bible, and don’t really care what its opinion is on menstruation. But it DOES make a good point – The most heinous of its rules might lead to a man and a woman sleeping in separate beds, while the most heinous of passages in the koran leads to death that we see on a daily basis. You make my point for me!

    I’m afraid I don’t know enough about India to comment on your statements of violence there, but I’m well versed about the PLO. If you think they were murdering in the name of their God, you are sadly mistaken. They killed simply because they didn’t like the Protestants POV and wanted them out of Ireland. They never blamed it on God’s will, as strict followers of islam do. Frankly, as an Aussie, I’m amazed you didn’t know that.

     
  7. Kevin

    May 4, 2008 at 4:31 am

    I have to disagree with you, ninglun, when you say “slandering one group for stuff that is not actually unique to them does not help.” Despite your attempt at suggesting I am slandering a group of people, we all know I am not. I’m ATTACKING. I’m slandering no one. I’m attacking islam for suggesting that it is ok to kill people who disagree with you. Islam says this over and over. But what is much worse, followers of islam BELIEVE it, and act upon it. Just ask Theo Van Gogh or Salmon Rushdie if you are still in denial.

    No, this religion has GOT to disappear – just like he Aztecs had to go. There is very little difference. They were wrong in 1914. The war to end all wars has yet to come. It’s coming soon too. I hope you will be on the good side (our side) as you always have been, aussieland.

     
  8. Kevin

    May 4, 2008 at 9:32 am

    er I meant IRA, not PLO 🙂

     
  9. ninglun

    May 4, 2008 at 10:07 am

    I think I will just leave you guys to slug it out. 😉 However: this religion has GOT to disappear really will not wash very well with Muslims (not a problem), that is people who follow the religion known as Islam (a problem). That is where your problem is, Kevin. You can’t separate Islam from its practitioners, most of whom are no real danger to anyone.

    Exactly how do you propose to make Islam disappear? The Soviets tried for 70 years or so…

    That said, I agree that all the Abrahamic religions need to do careful self-examination. That was one of the points of the post, you might say, and a theme I (not to mention people like Bishop Spong) have been pursuing here for years.

    And Arthur: as we no doubt agree, in a neutral liberal democracy everyone can have their say and make their complaint. Whether university authorities take any notice probably depends on how much money the complainant has and whether that money is something the university has come to rely on. Sad, but academic freedom does tend to be for sale sometimes. I hope not in this case. I am sticking with “neutral” instead of “secular”, as the second word to me does imply an attitude to religion, while the first does not; I still think that better reflects what the Australian constitutional position is. (There was an interesting comment on those lines on your blog recently.)

     
  10. AV

    May 4, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I have said nothing bad about muslims, yet you suggest that I do in order to avoid the elephant in the room – the elephant being that horrendous things happen on a daily basis in the name of islam, while relatively little that could be construed as negatives happens because of all of the other religions combined.

    No. You seem to missing the elephant in the room: that insofar as there are phenomena that cause people to do horrendous things in the name of Islam–the mindless insistence upon the observance of dogma in preference to the use of one’s reason, the elevation of faith over reason, the nihilistic preference for the supernatural, the metaphysical, the afterlife over the real world and over human society–these phenomena can, have and do find expression in other religious traditions. (Whether you’re talking about Buddhism in wartime Japan, or the end-times theology driving support among at least some fundamentalist Christians for US aggression in the Middle East.) It is these phenomena that we ought to oppose–wherever we find them.

    No one other than you has stated that true muslims (TM) can’t be good people.

    Again, you miss the point. Ninglun provided you with examples of Muslims who falsify your “Islam causes its followers to kill people on a daily basis” hypothesis, since the Muslims he mentions obviously have an understanding of Islam that differs from yours. And I see no reason whatsoever why your understanding of Islam should trump theirs. Incidentally, your understanding of Islam happens to coincide with that of the Wahabbists, the extremists, the terrorists, though I don’t know why a good American like yourself would ever want to take the terrorists’ side in a debate over how Islam should be understood.

    But it DOES make a good point – The most heinous of its rules might lead to a man and a woman sleeping in separate beds, while the most heinous of passages in the koran leads to death that we see on a daily basis. You make my point for me!

    No, it gets much worse than that. The Holy Bible teaches us that it is OK to sacrifice your children to a sky-god (Genesis 22, Judges 11). That rape victims should be forced to marry their assailants (Deuteronomy 22). That rape victims who don’t cry for help should be put to death (Deuteronomy 22). That adulterers should be put to death (Deuteronomy 22). That the natural use of women is as sex objects for men (Romans 1: 27). That homosexuals must be put to death (Leviticus 20:13) or are worthy of death (Romans 1:31-32). That people who work on the Sabbath must be put to death (Exodus 35:2). That one should not mix with people who have different religious beliefs, nor allow them to live in one’s country (Exodus 23:32-33). That witches must be stoned to death (Leviticus 20:27). That blasphemers must be stoned to death (Leviticus 24:16, 24:23). That unruly children must be put to death (Exodus 21:15,17, Mark 7:9-10). That people with different religious beliefs must be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 17:2-7). That handicapped people must not approach the altar of God (Leviticus 21:17-20). That bastards, and their descendants to the tenth generation are equally unwelcome (Deuteronomy 23:2). That the places of worship of people of other faiths should be destroyed (Deuteronomy 7:5). That unbelievers must be shunned (2 Corinthians 6:14-17). That Jews are liars “whose mouths must be stopped” (Titus 1:10-11). That heretics should be rejected (Titus 3:10). That one should not welcome non-Christians into one’s house, nor greet them (2 John 1:10). That “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:36). That the followers of Jesus must hate their families (Luke 14:26). That uncircumcised children should be abandoned (Genesis 17:14). Etc. Etc.

    I’m afraid I don’t know enough about India to comment on your statements of violence there, but I’m well versed about the PLO. If you think they were murdering in the name of their God, you are sadly mistaken. They killed simply because they didn’t like the Protestants POV and wanted them out of Ireland. They never blamed it on God’s will, as strict followers of islam do. Frankly, as an Aussie, I’m amazed you didn’t know that.

    You’re “well versed” about the PLO–the Palestine Liberation Organisation–and yet you claim they (i.e. the Palestine Liberation Organisation) wanted the Protestants out of Ireland? I must say they don’t teach us anything like that in Australian schools.

    I’m attacking islam for suggesting that it is ok to kill people who disagree with you. Islam says this over and over. But what is much worse, followers of islam BELIEVE it, and act upon it. Just ask Theo Van Gogh or Salmon Rushdie if you are still in denial.

    And many Muslims don’t agree with your understanding (and that of the Wahabbists/extremists/terrorists) of their religion, and they certainly don’t act upon it. Just ask the Muslims Ninglun cited above if you are still in denial. Again, why do you want to give succour to the extremists in their battle with their co-religionists over how Islam should be understood?

    No, this religion has GOT to disappear – just like he Aztecs had to go. There is very little difference. They were wrong in 1914. The war to end all wars has yet to come. It’s coming soon too. I hope you will be on the good side (our side) as you always have been, aussieland.

    Spoken like a fundamentalist. You are implying that the choice lies between Islamic fundamentalism, and your fundamentalism. Fuck that: I choose neither.

     
  11. ninglun

    May 4, 2008 at 11:55 am

    The odd thing about Kevin is that he isn’t really a fundamentalist or even especially religious, though he does come from a milieu where fundamentalist ideas are familiar. I base that judgement on our earlier exchanges and his own site. He also has a wicked sense of humour, cracked and all as he is (in my view) on the subject of Islam. Kevin and I have been here before. 😉

     
  12. AV

    May 4, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    That is where your problem is, Kevin. You can’t separate Islam from its practitioners, most of whom are no real danger to anyone.

    Exactly how do you propose to make Islam disappear?

    I’m interested in an answer to this question, too. Kevin insists that he’s attacking Islam (albeit his own interpretation of Islam, which he expects us to accept as authoritative even though he has not given us good reason to), not Muslims, so he must have some idea of how it is possible–particularly in the context of this “war to end all wars” that he’s prophesying, to extract the “Islam” from the “Muslim.” Forced conversion? Aversion therapy? Re-education camps?

     
  13. AV

    May 4, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    The odd thing about Kevin is that he isn’t really a fundamentalist or even especially religious, though he does come from a milieu where fundamentalist ideas are familiar. I base that judgement on our earlier exchanges and his own site. He also has a wicked sense of humour, cracked and all as he is (in my view) on the subject of Islam. Kevin and I have been here before.

    That’s reassuring. I just hope he comes to realise that wiping one manifestation of dogmatic irrationalism off the face of the planet is not the same thing as addressing the problem of dogmatic irrationalism itself. Kevin’s Islam Eradication Plan would treat the symptom rather than the disease.

     
  14. AV

    May 4, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    And to be fair to Kevin, I think it is quite justifiable to separate Islam as a set of ideas/beliefs from Muslims as individuals. One should be able to critique an idea without that critique being misconstrued as an attack on the person holding the idea, and as Ninglun can attest I have had my fair share of online disagreements with people who routinely confuse criticism of their ideas with personal abuse. And I think what Kevin might be claiming is that those Muslims who are good people are acting in spite of what their religion teaches. The problem with this idea, of course, is that Kevin can’t be certain–or at least he has not provided us with any evidence–that those Muslims who are good people share his understanding of what Islam teaches, and for all Kevin (or the rest of us) knows, those Muslims might indeed be acting in accordance with what they believe their religion demands. In short, the argument that Muslims whose beliefs and actions do not accord with somebody’s particular understanding of Islam are therefore acting in spite of Islam constitutes the No True Scotsman fallacy.

    Having said that, I don’t think there is much to cherish in any of the Abrahamic faiths. And I do think there is something to be said for having the ability–indeed, the courage–to reason about the world and about how one should conduct oneself in spite of (or without recourse to) one’s faith tradition.

     
  15. Kevin

    May 4, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Nin, were I alive during WWII, I would have said the same thing about the Nazis as I’m saying about Islam today. I would not have wanted to kill all Germans, I would have wanted to end Nazism. In fact, I consider the two belief systems to be quite similar, and that is very troubling.

    Again, you miss the point. Ninglun provided you with examples of Muslims who falsify your “Islam causes its followers to kill people on a daily basis” hypothesis, since the Muslims he mentions obviously have an understanding of Islam that differs from yours.

    I’m not sure what point I missed. I already agreed that “There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of muslims who are good people.” I’ve never suggested that followers of islam each kill people every day. I’ve said only that many muslims kill in the name of islam almost every day, as well as beating women, raping, assaulting non-believers, etc. All in the name of islam.

    I find it humorous that you equate Abraham’s big test as God saying it’s ok for followers of the Bible to kill their children :). Regardless, I’ll agree that some nasty things happened in the Old Testament. But, for example, have you heard of any homosexuals being killed as the Bible apparently commands lately? Or have you heard of ANY atrocities being carried out in the last decade for Jewish God or Christian God? Because I could list you a few thousand atrocities being done for Allah, including the hanging of homosexuals and the stoning of adulteresses.

    Exactly how do you propose to make Islam disappear?

    I’m not exactly sure :(. I have a few ideas, but they will be pretty bloody. Not nearly as bloody as what will happen in the next decade or so if we do nothing though. As some point, jihadis will get control of an Iranian or Pakistani nuke and set it off for Allah, either in Israel or Russia. Compared to what will happen after that, my ideas will sound downright peaceful.

    “er I meant IRA, not PLO :)” It was an error that I fixed. You don’t hear me complaining that you blamed Japan’s Bushido code on Buddhism, do you? I knew what you meant, and you should have been able to understand what I meant. Cut me some slack.

    why do you want to give succour to the extremists in their battle with their co-religionists over how Islam should be understood?

    Because there IS no battle being waged. There are no moderate muslims marching in the streets against jihadists. There are, however jihadists marching in the street every Friday after prayers. If moderate muslims were to spend their time fighting extremism in their religion instead of complaining about islamophobia, I’d wholeheartedly support them.

    Lastly, AV, you seem to support wiping ‘dogmatic irrationalism off off the face of the planet’. I agree! Let’s get to work. IMO, I think we should start with the dogmatic irrationalism that is causing the most death in the world today. Then we can move on from there. Agreed?

     
  16. ninglun

    May 4, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Kevin, what a tragic example of false analogy the Islam/Nazism one is…

     
  17. Kevin

    May 4, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    False analogy my butt. islam and Nazism are two sides of a two headed coin. Wake up.

    (If you are unwilling to back up your statements with an argument, I’m not going to bother either)

     
  18. AV

    May 4, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I’ve never suggested that followers of islam each kill people every day. I’ve said only that many muslims kill in the name of islam almost every day, as well as beating women, raping, assaulting non-believers, etc. All in the name of islam.

    And , , , you continue to miss the point, either wilfully or accidentally, that what some Muslims do “in the name of Islam” does not determine the capital t “True” capital a “Authoritative” understanding of Islam. Anymore than an abortion clinic bomber acting in the name of Christ determines the capital t “True” capital a “Authoritative” understanding of Christianity. You’re allowing the nutjob extremists to determine your understanding of Islam, and I don’t understand why you would want to do that.

    I find it humorous that you equate Abraham’s big test as God saying it’s ok for followers of the Bible to kill their children :).

    Read the list again, the Bible lists other circumstances under which one may kill one’s children. Nonetheless, the Abraham story does sanction the sacrifice of children to God, since that is precisely what Abraham was ready to do. He put obedience to God above all other moral considerations. And this religious lunatic monster is held up as a moral exemplar in three faith traditions, not because he withdrew the blade (only after God told him to), but because he was prepared to go through with the sacrifice in the first place.

    But, for example, have you heard of any homosexuals being killed as the Bible apparently commands lately? Or have you heard of ANY atrocities being carried out in the last decade for Jewish God or Christian God?

    Just off the top of my head:
    http://fivepublicopinions.wordpress.com/2008/01/21/religion-as-child-abuse-evangelical-pastors-target-child-witches-in-nigeria/
    http://fivepublicopinions.blogspot.com/2007/05/hated-to-death-gay-bashing-in-jamaica.html
    http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/Story?id=3416596&page=1
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3106491,00.html
    And you only have to go back about 13 years to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

    Granted, and fortunately, none of this is on the scale of atrocities by extremist Muslims and in theocratic/quasi-theocratic Muslim states such as Iran, Iraq, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. But your challenge implied that no violence or murder is done in the name of Judaism or Christianity (Judaism, Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic faiths and worship the same imaginary deity). You’re wrong.

    I’m not exactly sure :(. I have a few ideas, but they will be pretty bloody.

    Will they apply to moderate and extremist Muslims alike? What bloody measures do you have in mind? Death squads? Concentration camps? A Final Solution? Should their kids be killed, too?

    The methods you advocate, it is worth mentioning, have been tried already in Iraq. They only succeed in creating more extremists, more “martyrs.”

    Do you really want the terrorists to win?

    “er I meant IRA, not PLO :)” It was an error that I fixed. You don’t hear me complaining that you blamed Japan’s Bushido code on Buddhism, do you? I knew what you meant, and you should have been able to understand what I meant. Cut me some slack.

    I meant exactly what I said. And I posted before I saw your retraction.

    Because there IS no battle being waged.

    Read Ninglun’s initial post again. There you’ll see a story of a Muslim academic under pressure from other Muslim groups to change the content of her course on Women in Arabic and Islamic Literature. If your “No battle is being waged” theory held any water, that course would not exist. In other words, that conflict is all about the battle of ideas within Islam. Google Irshad Manji. Google Benazir Bhutto. Google Tariq Ramadan. Google Waleed Aly. Google Irfan Yusuf.

    I think we should start with the dogmatic irrationalism that is causing the most death in the world today. Then we can move on from there. Agreed?

    No. I believe in liberal democracy, and targeting a particular religion and/or its members, particularly using the machinery of the state, is incompatible with liberal democracy. Only an enemy of liberal democracy would support something like that. Dogmatic irrationalism has the potential to be deadly and dangerous whatever its manifestation. Two thousand years of crusades, religious wars, Inquisitions, witch-burnings and pogroms should have taught us that. Treating a symptom and ignoring the disease is an absolutely useless gesture.

     
  19. Kevin

    May 4, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Allow me to be vulgar to make my point. here. One of many beheadings in the name of Islam. Is it just my lack of information, or are no other religions currently beheading people for not believing their dogma?

    How you and AV can equate this death cult with other religions is beyond me. And I haven’t even stepped into the misogyny rife within this religion yet. In fairness though, I’m hoping I won’t have to. She’s already indirectly blaming me for all of the female genital mutilation in that part of the world. You know how women are. You can’t talk sense into them.

    Hey, is it too late for me to become gay? 🙂 Just kidding.

     
  20. AV

    May 4, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Allow me to be vulgar to make my point. here.

    Strawman (by way of appeal to emotion–congratulations, that’s two fallacies in one). I’ve never referred to Islam as a “religion of peace,” though your President has, on more than one occasion.

    One of many beheadings in the name of Islam. Is it just my lack of information, or are no other religions currently beheading people for not believing their dogma?

    I don’t know anything about the context of that video still, but it looks to me like a hostage video. What is the evidence that the victim in that picture was beheaded for “not believing in the dogma” of his captors? If the victim is Eugene Armstrong, who was killed in 2004, his captors were demanding the release of Muslim women prisoners from Iraqi jails.

    How you and AV can equate this death cult with other religions is beyond me.

    Simple. Dogmatic irrationalism kills people, or at least it has the potential to do so. Millennia of religion-inspired bloodshed are a testament to that fact. Al Qaeda did not invent religious violence. The potential for violence in dogmatic and irrational belief systems does not mean that all who subscribe to such belief systems condone or countenance such violence.

    She’s already indirectly blaming me for all of the female genital mutilation in that part of the world.

    Ethiopian Jews practice FGM, In Egypt, 97% of women, Christian and Muslim alike, have undergone FGM.

     
  21. ninglun

    May 4, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    On analogies: Absurd Analogies Won’t Stop Terrorism , and a historian:

    The far more disturbing thing for me is that this isn’t just the chattering classes, that there is a segment of the American public for whom there appear to be no conditions or events that would falsify their belief that the war in Iraq is necessary, just and winnable. More, judging not just from press reports but things I’ve overheard myself in conversations, there are people who believe that the conduct in Abu Gharaib was justified and if anything not extreme enough, and that the war has to be prosecuted with more intensity and force in every respect. There is the ordinary American man in today’s New York Times who says, “Wipe them all out”. There are those who many of us have overheard saying, “Well, if it comes to that, we have nukes”.

    There’s nothing you can really say to this kind of fairly unapologetic exterminationism. Either it’s basically insane and therefore completely barred to reason–how did “wipe them all out” become the aim of a war undertaken for humanitarian reasons?–or it is supra-rational and reveals that the war has been always at its core a New Crusade against Islam, a deliberately and intentionally exterminationist or brutalist program.

    Yes there are shared characteristics in all totalitarian movements, and there is no doubt movements of the Al Qaeda kind are totalitarian. However, Nazism was a ultranationalist movement with European roots, in that respect not dissimilar to some of the more strident anti-Muslim right wing outfits one sees in Europe and elsewhere. Islam is a religion that has existed on our planet for a millenium and a half, and its beliefs and the cultural expressions of those beliefs are as varied as the many parts of the world in which it is to be found, ranging from the Taj Mahal and the Alhambra to, sadly, the attacks on the Twin Towers. But it is not some Johnny-come-lately just recently arisen to bugger around with US global ambitions. It is a part of the world we have to come to terms with, all of us with each other. No imaginable war, not even a hundred years war, not even a nuclear war, will wipe it out. In the end it will come down to learning to live with each other.

    Recommended sites for a bit of sanity on Islam, all by reasonable Muslims who know rather more about their religion and cultureS than we do:

    http://imuslim.wordpress.com/ — a female Muslim post-graduate science student in the UK

    http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/ — a British Muslim

    http://eteraz.wordpress.com/ — ” Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Ali Eteraz, 27, was a corporate litigator in New York, taking on multi-national corporations in corporate fraud and monopolization matters. During law school he worked on litigation on behalf of victims of torture at Abu Ghraib. He is now a contributor to Jewcy, a politics and culture magazine; the Huffington Post; and Guardian Unlimited’s Comment is Free, where he was recently commissioned to write a seven part series on Islamic reform. He is also working on a book, set in Pakistan, about freedom and fundamentalism, entitled Children of Dust.”

    http://madhabirfy.blogspot.com/ — an Australian Muslim lawyer

    And Riverbend of course, a must read. (Hope she is all right: silent since November last year.)

    Visit the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy
    1625 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 601
    Washington, D.C. 20036.

    Mind you, democracy alone is not a value: a democracy of cannibals would elect a government of cannibals. There seems to be a somewhat tendentious idea of democracy out there: a government that is susceptible to US influence. If the latter is in place, why we don’t even have to look too closely to see if it is a democracy. As in Saudi Arabia. As in several central Asian republics. Human rights issues, on the other hand, are values. Not all democracies are shining examples to the world there either, unfortunately. Freedom of expression and thought are also very desirable things, but then so are the freedoms to have food, clean water, shelter, and access to proper medical care — even more basic perhaps.

     
  22. Kevin

    May 5, 2008 at 3:33 am

    I for one am glad that you don’t agree with my President that islam is a religion of peace! It’s hardly a strawman argument though, when I’m trying to convince you that islam causes death and destruction. Rather, it’s just another example. As his head was coming off, the executioner screamed ‘Allah is great!’ So whether he wanted someone freed from jail or just extra milk for schoolchildren is immaterial. He chopped of a guys @#^& head for Allah! Ever hear of a guy chopping off heads and yelling ‘Team Jesus!” or “Yippee ki yay Yaweh!”? I’ll answer for you. No you haven’t.

    Simple. Dogmatic irrationalism kills people, or at least it has the potential to do so.

    AV we are so close to agreement it’s literally (figuratively speaking) killing me! We both agree that dogmatic irrationalism has the potential to kill. But only one version of dogmatic irrationalism has moved beyond potential, and is ACTUALLY killing today. What is stopping you from admitting this? Is it because you are a liberal? I’ve often noticed that liberals can’t admit the truth if it’s not politically correct to do so. Is this just another example of that? What gives? It’s already too late to nip it in the bud, but if we work together, we can nip it in the bloom. Break out your nippers, AV!

    Ethiopian Jews practice FGM, In Egypt, 97% of women, Christian and Muslim alike, have undergone FGM.

    Yes, that sounds horrible to me as well. But when I speak of FGM, I really mean clitordectomy, where they remove the clitoris entirely (it would be similar to slicing off the lower half of your weiner). It’s beyond horrendous, and is only practiced by muslims, primarily in Africa and Arabia.

     
  23. Kevin

    May 5, 2008 at 5:12 am

    Nin, I don’t know how to respond to your statement in a way that won’t piss you off. very few Americans thought the Iraq war was necessary, and in fact I was against it until the first shot was fired. I was aware that Saddam was terrorizing his people, that his kids were raping 12 year old girls, and that torture was a way of life in Iraq. Sure, it was a noble goal to free the Iraqis from that, but I’m just not all that noble. It was never clear to me that they would be grateful. Even today, only the Khurds are out and out grateful for our intervention. Perhaps the Shia and Sunni population will continue to increase their support for us freeing them, but perhaps not. The person you quote sounds like she doesn’t have a finger on the pulse of America, and is just projecting her own beliefs upon us.

    That said, I will ALWAYS support my country once a war has begun. In fact, I will always support Australia, UK, Israel, Canada, Germany, and probably even France if they get into a tangle with another nation. As we saw during the collapse of South Vietnam, to not do so causes millions of people to die. That’s a LOT of innocent people. I’m not ok with that. My support for all of those democratic countries’ wars borders on dogmatic irrationalism! 😉 To repair a Nazi quote: Freedom uber alles!

    I have to agree that many anti-islam groups in Europe are very similar to Nazis. But they are fairly easy to spot since they are also virulently racist. After we end supremacist islam, I’m all for tackling them!

    It’s great to read about islam as all of your links suggest that I do, but what’s better is to look at actions taken in the name of islam. You seem unwilling to do this. I suspect that this is why you supported Rudd and Keating. You choose to listen to what a person says, rather than look at what a person does. Those huggy feely links you’ve supplied are belied by murder in the name of islam, that, if I may repeat myself, happens EVERY SINGLE DAY. Who really cares if followers of islam claim it is a path to love, peace, and joy if people are dieing from it on a daily basis? If women are treated like property in the name of islam? I don’t.

    Let’s start dismantling mosques, burning korans and locking up muslim clerics who preach intolerance today. But let’s have fun with it. We could forcefully convert them to Judaism, just to be funny. C’mon, admit it. That would be hilarious :). And Jews tend not to kill for their God, so it’d be win/win!

     
  24. ninglun

    May 5, 2008 at 8:41 am

    Talking of actions: read Lie back and think of democracy and its associated comments. Look at what the USA has often done rather than what it says: the result may be very uncomfortable. Even so, I am not, repeat not, one of those who think that all the world’s problems are down to the USA. And while I have long been very sympathetic to Jews and Israel, having worked at one time in an Orthodox Jewish environment, I know that very many Israelis and Jews have severe issues with what has been done in their name too. The present problems with Palestinians do stem from the fact that the Palestinian claim to the land they lived in for hundreds of years is every bit as strong, perhaps even stronger, than that of the Jews. Some Jews do kill for God.

    If the US was so keen to get rid of Saddam Hussein, why do they go to bed with the revolting Islam Karimov?

    “I am delighted to be back in Uzbekistan. I’ve just had a long and very interesting and helpful discussion with the president … Uzbekistan is a key member of the coalition’s global war on terror. And I brought the president the good wishes of President Bush and our appreciation for their stalwart support in the war on terror … Our relationship is strong and has been growing stronger.”
    – US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in Tashkent, February 2004

    That is little short of obscene.

    As for dismantling mosques, burning korans and locking up muslim clerics who preach intolerance today, we already do the third when such clerics go too far, and that I can agree with as I agree with the prosecution of anyone guilty of inciting hatred. The first two would merely drive more people into extremism.

    We are never going to agree, Kevin, and I for one am sick to death of the pointless repetition of arguments that have already been canvassed by people who know far more about these matters than we do. Thank God that your views do not represent, so far as I can see, the views of any candidate for the next President of the United States, Republican or Democrat.

    I suggest we declare this conversation closed.

     
  25. AV

    May 5, 2008 at 8:45 am

    As his head was coming off, the executioner screamed ‘Allah is great!’ So whether he wanted someone freed from jail or just extra milk for schoolchildren is immaterial.

    No. It’s a refutation of your claim that the hostage was killed for not believing in Islam. You have not provided substantial evidence that the hostage’s conversion to Islam was what the hostage-takers were demanding. “Allahu Akbar” is a common expression in Arabic and is used in a wide variety of contexts–such as, for example, applauding a speaker–so it doesn’t count as substantial evidence.

    We both agree that dogmatic irrationalism has the potential to kill. But only one version of dogmatic irrationalism has moved beyond potential, and is ACTUALLY killing today. What is stopping you from admitting this?

    Because it’s false, and I’ve already provided examples of adherents of other religions killing people because of their faith.

    Is it because you are a liberal? I’ve often noticed that liberals can’t admit the truth if it’s not politically correct to do so. Is this just another example of that?

    That’s funny, because I’ve often noticed that conservatives are given to distorting the truth and ignoring bald facts that refute their claims about the world. It explains the creationism/ID movement, for instance. And it also explains your insistence on repeating claims that have already been falsified. The explanation for this phenomenon is simple, and can be summed up in two words: cognitive dissonance.

    Conservatives are also notorious for their disdain for logical reasoning–hence their embrace of logical fallacies such as (for instance) the hasty generalisation, the ad hominem, the fallacy of composition, the strawman. The prevalence of the last of these in conservative rhetoric is interesting, since many conservatives in the West claim to be Christian, or at least to derive their ethics from Christianity/the Ten Commandments, and there is (I believe) a Commandment against bearing false witness.

    Thirdly, on the subject of another logical fallacy conservatives are often guilty of, the nasty little secret about many conservatives is that they are actually snuff-porn fiends. You only have to consider their mania for images–big colour photographs–of dead babies and beheaded corpses. You only have to consider their snuff-eschatology: whether in the guise of “end-times theology” or “we’re all going to Hell in a handbasket.” Conservatives have a hard-on for death and destruction. It’s creepy and disturbing, but I’m sure it’s treatable. 😉

    Let’s start dismantling mosques, burning korans and locking up muslim clerics who preach intolerance today. But let’s have fun with it. We could forcefully convert them to Judaism, just to be funny. C’mon, admit it. That would be hilarious :). And Jews tend not to kill for their God, so it’d be win/win!

    Either Kevin is pulling our chains, or this demonstrates another unfortunate truth about conservatives. For all their rhetoric about loving freedom and liberal democracy, they hate freedom–especially freedom of conscience–and they hate liberal democracy. Just like their Wahabbist/Taliban counterparts, who are really just the conservatives of the Islamic world It would solve a lot of problems for all concerned if these enemies of freedom could be removed to an island somewhere and left to slug it out, while the rest of us get on with our lives.

    If only.

     
  26. AV

    May 5, 2008 at 8:47 am

    I suggest we declare this conversation closed.

    I guess this is Ninglun’s way of telling us to “Get a room!” 🙂

     
  27. ninglun

    May 5, 2008 at 10:51 am

    You’ve got it, Arthur. Kevin does have a tendency to troll, but he also has his good points, as he showed last year when my friend Malcolm was dying.

     
  28. Kevin

    May 5, 2008 at 11:00 am

    No. It’s a refutation of your claim that the hostage was killed for not believing in Islam.

    Hmm. I said no such thing. Allow me to quote myself! “One of many beheadings in the name of Islam.” True, he probably was not a follower of the death cult, but I never said as much. He was killed because that’s the kind of thing that hardcore followers of islam do. It doesn’t really matter why. It only matters that followers of no other religion on the planet today would behead someone.

    I’ve already provided examples of adherents of other religions killing people because of their faith.

    Have you? I have not seen a single one of them. Is this in the comment that got deleted because there were too many links? I will certainly exercise due diligence and go back and read it if it got included into our discussion though. I do hope it got included.

    I suggest we declare this conversation closed.

    I will say no more on the subject after this comment, but declaring a conversation over simply because your side is losing is how belief in man made global warming got started. Are you sure you want to end discussion by fiat?

    Lastly, there’s this silly statement: “For all their rhetoric about loving freedom and liberal democracy, they hate freedom–especially freedom of conscience–and they hate liberal democracy.”

    Yes, I WAS yanking your chain a little. But just a little. As a reader of politics, you should know that conservatives prize freedom above all else. But only when it does others no harm. We do not prize the freedom of a rapist to rape. We don’t prize the freedom to stone an adulterer to death. We don’t prize the freedom to hang gay people. So we certainly don’t prize the right to worship a god for whom all of these things are done on a daily basis.

    I’ll stop talking now, unless AV’s link riddled post is egregious, or ingenious and requires me to admit as much.

     
  29. ninglun

    May 5, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Kevin, the fact you haven’t shifted your views does not mean you have won; it may merely mean you are persistent, or it may mean you are beyond the reach of reason. There comes a point where one simply does walk away from a discussion.

     
  30. Kevin

    May 5, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Starting on all of your many links:

    Heh. *Blush*. Yes, we were fairly wrong to install Pinochet in Chile, Ninglun. But that was way back in the seventies. We were just kids! We didn’t know any better. We still had the (I believe mistaken) idea in our heads that tyrants were better than communists.

    On the other hand, imagine how different the world would be if Carter had supported the tyrant Shah of Iran instead of shoving that knife in his back… Hmm, you’ve opened a whole new can of worms with that link, nin. I’ll not bother you with my interpretations of it though, since it’s clear that you and AV have had enough. Why do you have canned worms in the first place though?

     
  31. Kevin

    May 5, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Ninglun, the fact you haven’t shifted your views does not mean you have won; it may merely mean you are persistent, or it may mean you are beyond the reach of reason. There comes a point where one simply does walk away from a discussion.

    It works both ways :).

     
  32. ninglun

    May 5, 2008 at 11:29 am

    True enough, though I should mention that US support for Islam Karimov continued as late as 2005, until it got too putrid even for the US, but the US were no longer “just kids”… In fact there’s an ongoing pattern there, when you think about it, and has been for years.

     
  33. AV

    May 5, 2008 at 11:53 am

    But only when it does others no harm. We do not prize the freedom of a rapist to rape. We don’t prize the freedom to stone an adulterer to death. We don’t prize the freedom to hang gay people. So we certainly don’t prize the right to worship a god for whom all of these things are done on a daily basis.

    Ban Christianity then, or at least the fundamentalist strain, since–as I have already shown–the Holy Bible vindicates all of these behaviours and more.

    In a liberal democracy, we certainly must proscribe those actions which constrain the rights and freedoms of others. What we don’t do is ban ideas we disagree with. We critique them where they merit critique. We attack them where they merit attacking. We ridicule them where they merit ridicule.

    Censoring ideas you don’t like, and silencing those who utter them is the height of intellectual cowardice. It simply demonstrates your lack of confidence in your own ideas and your ability to defend them. And it delivers a moral victory to your opponents.

    As a conservative who claims to prize freedom above all else, you should be able to appreciate this.

    And as a reader of politics you should know that if you were seeking a way to deliver a propaganda victory to the extremists, there can be no better strategy than to deny moderate Muslims their religious freedom.

    This is what I can’t understand about your position. You claim to be opposed to the extremists, yet you seem to be falling over yourself to help them achieve their goals. You take the extremists’ version of Islam as the “true” interpretation, and when moderate and dissenting voices are presented to you, you stick your fingers firmly in your ears. You want to vindicate the anti-Western rhetoric of the extremists by attacking the civil of rights of ordinary Muslims–simply because they are Muslim. And you want to undermine liberal democracy by flushing the right to freedom of expression and freedom of worship down the toilet.

    Whose side are you really on, Kevin?

     
  34. AV

    May 5, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Ninglun, the fact you haven’t shifted your views does not mean you have won; it may merely mean you are persistent, or it may mean you are beyond the reach of reason. There comes a point where one simply does walk away from a discussion.

    It works both ways :).

    What is it with you conservatives and your fondness for logical fallacies?

     
  35. AV

    May 5, 2008 at 11:58 am

    True enough, though I should mention that US support for Islam Karimov continued as late as 2005, until it got too putrid even for the US, but the US were no longer “just kids”… In fact there’s an ongoing pattern there, when you think about it, and has been for years.

    Add to that the fact that this so-called “adult” US has overseen the establishment of two theocratic constitutions (in Iraq and Afghanistan).

     
  36. ninglun

    May 5, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Not strictly a tu quoque, AV; as an observation it is more in the realm of a truism: perhaps I am as guilty on that count as Kevin. I was merely expressing frustration at the comparative pointlessness of the exercise we have found ourselves in here. On the other hand, I do agree entirely with your last paragraphs especially in your previous comment. That nails the freedom issues rather well.

    Oh dear I find US conservatives — many of them — very strange indeed; UK or Oz conservatives I can almost understand, and even agree with at times…

     
  37. ninglun

    May 5, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    An irony of course is that given a free vote Iraq and Afghanistan may well actually freely elect theocracies, much as we may deplore that…

     
  38. Kevin

    May 5, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Clearly, this discussion isn’t over, judging from the slew of last minute statements by nin and av. Do you want to continue, or not? I’m certainly up for it. I’ve got the bright light of freedom shining on my side of the argument. It’s hard to lose a discussion when you’ve got that.

    But I’ve seen ninglun simply shut down a thread because it was proving him wrong. Twice. Is this going to be another one of those? To be clear, I’m all for this debate. Further, I think it’s necessary to illuminate the crimes carried out in the name of islam’s god, and am willing to discuss it ad infinitum.

    But I need to know that ninglun is not just going to close the thread, aka stifle the debate. Don’t close the thread. That’s all I ask of you, ninglun. Would you promise that, ninglun? If so, I’ll continue. You’re probably too hippie to be recovered to reality, ninglun, but I bet I can sway AV, and bring him back to the fold.

    So how ’bout it? Can I get a promise that you won’t close this thread? That’s all I ask. Let me know! I’ll clean both of your clocks (but in a good way).

    I’ll check back tomorrow.

     
  39. ninglun

    May 5, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    The thread will close in a few days time. I always close threads after one or two weeks, when I remember to… And Kevin, we can find horror stories on the many anti-Islamic sites, on YouTube, and through Google just as easily as you can. What is hard is trying to keep some sort of balance in this area. See Everyone has an opinion about Islam… before proceeding.

     
  40. Kevin

    May 5, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    AV’s hatred of Christianity requires noting though, and can’t wait for tomorrow. Who CARES what you believe the Holy Bible vindicates, AV? You can read into that text whatever you want. It’s when you ACT upon your silly beliefs, as no one who reads the Bible does, that there’s a problem. Unfortunately, with islam, there are people who kill in its name! Every day! Why is the difference so hard for you to grasp? One group believes possibly silly stuff. The other group KILLS people. KILLS. PEOPLE. DAILY.

    I’m stunned that neither of you get the significance of this. There is a belief system out there that causes people to die. A LOTof people. Often. And yet you are more worried about Jesus. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?

     
  41. ninglun

    May 5, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    US bombers and missiles don’t cause people to die as well? Whose belief system launches them?

    I am aware of Arthur’s views on religion; we differ, and we both know that. And Arthur, check the address on your comment form to make sure it’s not fivepublciopinions!

     
  42. Kevin

    May 5, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    The thread will close in a few days time. I always close threads after one or two weeks, when I remember to

    Yes, you do always stifle debate :(. Don’t feel badly though, it’s an inherent part of liberalism. You can’t help it. “If you can’t monitor or control the debate, shut it down” is the liberal mantra. Nevertheless, I will do my part and continue this debate tomorrow (I have to visit a customer in the morning, but I’m here in the afternoon, GMT +6). Expect some ugly.

    Aside: Is it too late to ask for you guys to send me energy for my meeting in the morning? I know you guys are hippies, but hear me out. We take ethylene and convert it into ethylene glycol. The stuff is so solid (well, stable, not solid) that it will never convert to co2! We are close to agreeing to an additional 100,000#/day to them. Even you hippies can get behind me on this one, huh? Wish me luck!

     
  43. ninglun

    May 5, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Hippies! Spare us! 😉 No, I don’t stifle debate; I give whoever a go but when they start to rant and repeat I stop indulging them. You have your own site and your own megaphone… Good luck with your meeting nonetheless.

     
  44. Kevin

    May 6, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Hehe, I use the word hippie as a term of endearment :). I hope it bothers you as much as someone calling me a neocon bothers me (which is to say, ‘not at all’). It’s just a funny word to describe a liberal, and what I believe are their silly huggy kissy beliefs. I’ll certainly stop if it annoys you… hippie! Ok, that was the last one, I promise :).

    So, where did we leave off? Oh yeah, you guys agreed to help me stamp out islam, with the promise that once that was done and all of the murder/torture done in its name was ended, we’d have to also stamp out Christianity as well for AV because he hates the Bible and fears possible murder/torture done in the name of Christian God to be as bad as actual murder/torture done in the name of islam god.

    Ok, I’m on board. I’ll call my government today and let them know they have a new job to complete (i.e. shutting down islam). Make sure and call yours too, or America will get attacked by the media as being unilateralist. TY in advance. Just a couple of questions: Are we giving the Hindus, Jews and Buddhists a pass, or do we have to stamp them out too? Also, can we destroy the Gaia worshipping faith as well? Environmentalists are among the most non-rational of all faiths, and I would love to see their religion bite the big one.

    That said, today I signed a deal that will insure that 54,000 lbs of oil (LPG, specifically) EVERY DAY, even weekends, will never be converted into CO2, since ethylene gloycol is so stable. Who’s green now!?! Haha, I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl.

    But not too giddy to remember that islam has got to go. Now. For world peace.

     
  45. Kevin

    May 6, 2008 at 7:08 am

    ps – I’m glad that you have embraced freedom and allowed your comments to be posted unmoderated. I realize that this was a difficult decision for you, being a liberal and all. But it has brought us closer, Ninglun. Your newfound support of freedom of speech is merely the first step to you becoming a freedom-loving conservative! The sun is shining on you!

    Welcome to the fold, my ex-hippie friend. Freedom! Woohoo!

     
  46. ninglun

    May 6, 2008 at 9:03 am

    More than 10,000 killed in Burma cyclone — matters rather more than most of the stuff we have been talking about.

    Check the sidebar some time:

    1. “Genuine comments are always welcome. I reserve the right to edit, delete, or block. Links to commercial sites or other sites not relevant to the post may lead to the comment being considered spam. Comment usually closes after about two weeks.”

    2. # Climate sceptics take note

    The Great Global Warming Swindle Swindle. Go here for the real story. POST UPDATED AND EXPANDED 16 July 2007.

    See also How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic from 3 Quarks Daily.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

    Nine Lies About Climate Change (2008).

    Links in the sidebar box.

    Islam has got to go… Perhaps I should spend a few minutes at the mosque in Cleveland Street, about 200 yards from where I sit right now, and let them know your thoughts…

    Sorry, Kevin. You really don’t expect me to engage any more in this increasingly pointless exchange, do you?

    I’m glad that you have embraced freedom and allowed your comments to be posted unmoderated. I realize that this was a difficult decision for you, being a liberal and all. Try “I now have more confidence in the spam filter” as an explanation.

     
  47. AV

    May 6, 2008 at 11:19 am

    AV’s hatred of Christianity requires noting though, and can’t wait for tomorrow.

    Strawman. Where did I say that I hated Christianity, Kevin?

    Who CARES what you believe the Holy Bible vindicates, AV? You can read into that text whatever you want.

    The Holy Bible says what it says, Kevin, and if you don’t want to take my word for it you can follow the references I provided.

    Most Christians are not Biblical literalists, though. And most Biblical literalists are happy to cherry-pick when it comes to the nastier and more absurd verses. What I believe the Holy Bible vindicates does not matter, of course.

    Nor does it matter what either of us believes the Koran vindicates.

    I’m stunned that neither of you get the significance of this. There is a belief system out there that causes people to die. A LOTof people. Often.

    If we apply this logic consistently–your claim that belief in Islam causes people to die–then it has to be applied to believers in Islam everywhere. There are about 450, 000 believers in Islam in Australia. That’s 450, 000 people who should be, right now, according to your logic, killing people in accordance with the dictates of their belief system. The fact is, they’re not. How do you explain this contradiction? You can either accuse these Muslims of not being “true” believers in Islam (the No True Scotsman fallacy), or you can admit that these Muslims have a different understanding of what Islam teaches than yours or the extremists, and that it would therefore be unjust to remove their religious freedom–to punish them for what the extremists do on the other side of the world.

    And yet you are more worried about Jesus. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?

    Again, strawman. Where did I say that I was worried about Jesus? I don’t know that there is sufficient evidence that such a person existed in the first place, and as n atheist I don’t believe in his divinity. If he ever existed, he died millennia ago and no longer exists, so why would I be worried about him? I’m worried about preserving the separation of church and state. I’m worried about the influence of magical thinking and unreason upon government, the education system, and society in general. I’m worried about people whose rights are denied when religious dogma and religious bigotry is enshrined in public policy. I’m worried about preserving liberal democracy in the face of its common enemies, among which are included religious fundamentalists/extremists, and authoritarian conservatives like yourself. I make no apologies for this.

    If I pay more attention to issues relating to Christianity than other religions, that is simply because I live (well, not right now) in a Christian-dominated country. I make no apologies for that, either. Killing in the name of Islam (or any other religion) is not a problem here, and in Australia Muslims are more likely to be the victims of religious bigotry–something which, I am certain, you wholeheartedly approve.

     
  48. ninglun

    May 6, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Um, AV: I just had to edit your URL again… 😉

     
  49. AV

    May 6, 2008 at 11:44 am

    (Sorry)

     
  50. Kevin

    May 6, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Sorry, Kevin. You really don’t expect me to engage any more in this increasingly pointless exchange, do you?

    Hehe, no, I think we’re done here. But it was fun! At least for one of us. Hopefully three of us!

    Sorry AV, but as I repeatedly explained why I hate islam, you repeatedly said how Christianity is just as bad, so I put two and two together and assumed you disliked the belief system. Was I wrong? And what’s up with your infatuation with men made of straw?

    There are about 450, 000 believers in Islam in Australia. That’s 450, 000 people who should be, right now, according to your logic, killing people in accordance with the dictates of their belief system.

    Strawpuppy. I never said that Islam makes people kill. I said it gives them justification to do so. You could follow islam for your whole life and never kill or harm an innocent person. Is it not clear to you that I believe this? I think it is. You are just making strawcheeseburgers.

    Again, strawman. Where did I say that I was worried about Jesus?

    More strawgrapes. No, strawBERRIES! You devoted two entire comments to how you thought Christianity was just as bad or worse than islam. I despise islam for being so evil, so how could I believe you thought otherwise about Christianity when you worked so hard to say it was just as bad?

    And even now, you waste two more paragraphs disrespecting Christianity! You have to admit, that’s kind of funny :). After all, I’ve already agreed to help you stamp it out once we fix the islam thing.

    Killing in the name of Islam (or any other religion) is not a problem here…

    STRAWPONY! I don’t understand. You don’t live on planet Earth? Killing in the name of islam is MOST CERTAINLY a problem here. It’s currently the number one cause of murder on the planet. How can that not be a problem to you? Overwhelmed by disbelief of Jesus or something?

    Anyway, does this mean that once we eradicated islam, we DON’T have to destroy Christianity? That is good news indeed. I’ve got a couple of friends who totally dig that religion and am happy not to have to piss them off.

    Oh well, I’m off to make myself a strawsandwich.

     
  51. ninglun

    May 6, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    And that was comment #50! As I noted on the Entry and Index this morning:

    On dividing the rainbow has now had 150 individual views. I hope people have taken the trouble to read the post, as the comments have veered off into the unwinnable and unbelievable, a conflict of entrenched views perhaps… It happens… 😉

     
  52. Kevin

    May 6, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    (My next rant will be about how liberals misunderstand the logical fallacy known as the ‘strawman argument’. It’s in your logic 101 book. And I know you’ve got one because you HAD to take the class to graduate. Look it up!)

     
  53. Kevin

    May 6, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I don’t understand what you are saying Ninglun. But I’m merely a stupid American, so you should forgive me. I don’t know any better!

    What the heck is ‘Entry and Index’? And secondly, the comments have dealt with a MUCH bigger problem for the world than the actual post. We were making progress! Once I convinced AV that Jesusloving was not really that bad, and we overcame his hatred of straw, things were going to get better! Haven’t you heard the phrase, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”? Well, it’s almost dawn! A dawn without straw in it!

    I fully admit that you are too far gone to be saved from socialistic idealism, but AV is not! Let me save him! Don’t close this thread just because 150 people have viewed it (or more likely 3 people have viewed it 50 times each). AV can still become a useful member of planet Earth. Don’t rob him of that possibility. He’s so close!

    In Jesus’ name, Amen. (sorry, couldn’t help it. I’m in too good of a mood not to poke fun)

     
  54. AV

    May 6, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    (My next rant will be about how liberals misunderstand the logical fallacy known as the ’strawman argument’. It’s in your logic 101 book. And I know you’ve got one because you HAD to take the class to graduate. Look it up!)

    How have I misunderstood it? You’re attributing me arguments that I have not made, then knocking down those arguments and claiming to have scored some kind of point against me in our debate. That’s what a strawman argument is. Look it up.

    I never said that Islam makes people kill. I said it gives them justification to do so.

    According to the same logic, the Holy Bible doesn’t make people kill: it just gives them justification for doing so.

    I did also acknowledge the following, which you have ignored, either maliciously or accidentally: “Most Christians are not Biblical literalists, though. And most Biblical literalists are happy to cherry-pick when it comes to the nastier and more absurd verses.”

    Sorry AV, but as I repeatedly explained why I hate islam, you repeatedly said how Christianity is just as bad, so I put two and two together and assumed you disliked the belief system.

    Correction: you’re making assertions about what Islam teaches–although you have yet to justify why Ninglun, me or anyone else should accept you as an authority on what the “true” interpretation of Islam is–and I’m simply pointing out that the Holy Bible, as it is written, is just as bad or even worse. That’s just a bald fact about the Bible, regardless of how you personally feel about it.

    And what’s up with your infatuation with men made of straw?

    Evidently you don’t like it when, having lied about or misrepresented your opponent’s position, you’re called on it. Tough.

    You could follow islam for your whole life and never kill or harm an innocent person. Is it not clear to you that I believe this?

    And yet you want to quash the religious freedom of those who follow Islam their whole lives and never kill or harm an innocent person. This is not a strawman: you said above that you don’t respect the right to freedom of worship when it comes to Islam.

    I despise islam for being so evil

    If Islam is so evil, how could it be the case that you could follow Islam for your whole life and never kill or harm an innocent person? Surely what is “evil” about Islam, ultimately, is precisely what is wrong with any belief system: the (at least potential) elevation of slavish obedience to dogma over all other rational or ethical considerations. Islamic extremists and terrorists are among the most terrible manifestations of this phenomenon, but–as history demonstrates (pogroms, the burning of heretics, the Crusades, the Albigensian genocide, the Inquisition, witch-burning, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, etc.)–under the right conditions any religion is susceptible to this. Why does that seem so controversial to you? It’s just plain common sense. Needless to say, most religious believers, and certainly most Muslims, don’t take it this far.

    And even now, you waste two more paragraphs disrespecting Christianity!

    OH NOES!! I disrespected Christianity. (How?) I’m sorry about that. Would you like a tissue?

    Killing in the name of islam is MOST CERTAINLY a problem here.

    In Australia?

     
  55. ninglun

    May 6, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    I think the Kevin tongue is just a bit in the cheek in some of that. Kevin, no-one in their right mind is going to read all this once it gets over a certain length. I know I rarely bother with endless comment threads. Also, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life on this originally rather humble post… (BTW — make that two people, as WordPress doesn’t count my views.)

    My most serious issue with your approach to Islam is that it is counterproductive. Any Muslim reading such stuff is more likely to swallow the extremist view that THEY (or WE) are at war with Islam. Thanks a lot for helping to add to the number of extremists in the world.

    A number of things have shaped my views, including:

    1. The Bali bombings. See Islam has about 1.3 billion followers worldwide.

    4. Colleague and friend Russell Darnley was in Bali at the time of the terrorist attack there.

    “I want to write about the overwhelming manifestation of selfless human love and care I have experienced.”

    It’s obvious that the tragedy in Bali has brought great grief to the lives of many Australian families. For those of us that have been intimately involved in the tasks of ministering to the needs of the injured, attempting a body count and counselling the grieved friends and families of the missing it has been a demanding task.

    This has been a task made more bearable by the massive upsurge of goodwill and the magnificent cooperation that has emerged in the face of this tragedy.

    There has been little time to reflect on the intentions of the perpetrators. Our energy has been elsewhere. With the evacuations complete and the forensic process now underway there is time to write.

    My first task was to survey a network of private hospitals surrounding the Sanglah public hospital for walking wounded. There were none. What first confronted me was the youth of the patients. Sure there were people of my own age but many were Rugby and AFL players from Australia. As a Rugby coach I found an immediate affinity with lots of the young guys that were lying, not always gravely injured, but bewildered about the whereabouts of missing teammates. I could only ask them to have hope and if the inclination took them, to pray for their friends

    My subsequent experiences in the ICU were far more tragic and the morgue a movie that still plays in my mind.

    But I don’t want to write about this or the individual cases that I have seen.

    I want to write about the overwhelming manifestation of selfless human love and care I have experienced. I want to write about the cooperation I have seen. I want to tell you about the way the Indonesian people have responded to the challenge posed by this tragedy. I also want to tell you about the implications of this tragedy for my many Indonesian friends.

    Many thousands of people have assisted in the relief effort. Their care of the sick and dying and the respect they have shown for the dead have filled me with great hope.

    The overwhelming majority of Indonesia’s 230 million people I am sure are deeply appalled by the wanton violence. Bali in particular is now confronting the prospect of a significant economic downturn if tourism is no longer seen as safe and viable.

    I can only conclude with the words of the Denpasar (Badung) Fire Brigade Crew that I happened to talk with yesterday as a walked back to Sanglah Hospital from the Garuda office.

    “Tell the Australians that Bali is safe. We can guarantee this. We will protect them. Tell them that we want them to come.”

    Russell

    LATER: “Russell Darnley, Sydney-based director of Asian Field Study Centres, heard the blast from 26 kilometres away. For his tireless work, using his language skills to help around the hospitals, locating the wounded and assisting in the morgue, he receives the OAM.” [Order of Australia Medal]

    When someone suggested bombing Mecca as an appropriate response to Bali, Russell jumped down the guy’s throat very rapidly on such grounds as: 1) he showed complete ignorance of Islam in general and Indonesian Islam in particular; 2) it is a fact that Muslim charitable organisations and Muslim individuals were second-to-none in trying to help the victims of the atrocity; 3) adopting the mindset of terrorists ourselves is pure tragic folly. I base all that on quite a few talks I had with Russell.

    2. Especially in the light of that and the London bombings, working with young Muslims at the school I was teaching in: this entry, for example.

    3. Cronulla 2005.

    Kevin, you may be annoying, but I have never said you are stupid.

     
  56. AV

    May 6, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Once I convinced AV that Jesusloving was not really that bad, and we overcame his hatred of straw, things were going to get better!

    I for one hope to convince Kevin, once he’s improved his reading skills, that the logical fallacies that pepper his rhetoric–strawmen, appeals to emotion, ad hominems, fallacies of composition, tu quoque, and so on and so forth–don’t make his arguments any more convincing. They only serve to make his position seem all the more irrational.

     
  57. AV

    May 6, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    My most serious issue with your approach to Islam is that it is counterproductive. Any Muslim reading such stuff is more likely to swallow the extremist view that THEY (or WE) are at war with Islam. Thanks a lot for helping to add to the number of extremists in the world.

    Ninglun, don’t you think that’s a tad unfair to the average Muslim? Certainly it applies to those Muslim readers who are prone to take offence at what Kevin has had to say, and thence to make the illogical leap to the conclusion that Kevin speaks for all of us, and therefore we are all at war with Islam. But surely many would be as able to see through the irrational and reality-deprived nature of his polemic as we are?

     
  58. ninglun

    May 6, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Not at all, Arthur. Muslims are very sensitive to attacks on their religion, and the perception that Islam has been humiliated by the west for a century or two has some justification. Many of the Muslims I have spoken to share that view to one degree or another; some will be attracted to some of the extreme versions of that view, especially young intelligent Muslims, like this one. That is why organisations like Hizb ut-Tahrir have an appeal. (I have, briefly, met Wassim Doureihi. See this post.) I have spoken to a young follower of Tablighi Jamaat — here; in fact he was referred to me by his English teacher who was concerned about him. I am not suggesting all, even any, of the boys I have spoken with, at considerable length at times, will be terrorists, but from similar circles the “third wave” of Islamist terror does come, according to rather well informed commentary. This has been at times for me just a little more than an armchair exercise.

    Take my word for it; Kevin (and people with similar views) is not helping. See also this on Foreign Policy Magazine: Ask the Author: Marc Sageman: “In his March/April feature article “The Next Generation of Terror,” Marc Sageman profiles the young, self-recruited wannabes who constitute the latest wave of global jihad… Now, he answers your questions.”

    The Kashmiri Nomad is a good case in point and a pretty fair indicator of what many young Muslims think: bright and confronting at times, but explicitly against terror, he would nonetheless fall into the category of people Kevin would want liquidated. I think we should attend to what the Nomad says carefully, if critically.

     
  59. AV

    May 6, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Not at all, Arthur.

    If that is the case, it doesn’t speak very highly of them, IMHO.

     
  60. ninglun

    May 6, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    There are times we need to lay aside some of our own cultural conditioning; this is more than an intellectual argument. I used not to attempt to argue my students out of their religion; rather I was genuinely interested in getting them to enlighten me about what they actually thought. I was quite a welcome guest on many occasions at meetings of the school’s Islamic Students’ Association, in fact. But I also gently, I hope, steered them towards considering sites like The Wahid Institute.

     
  61. Kevin

    May 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    How have I misunderstood it? You’re attributing me arguments that I have not made…

    Strawcheesecake with straw ice cream! The strawman argument has nothing to do with what your argument is. It has to do with what your protagonist’s argument is. It requires me to make unbelievable claims and not back them. Sadly, I’m only saying that islam kills a lot of people and either one of us can back up those claims. It’s a deadly belief system.

    You, as most liberals do, are referring to the Red Herring logical fallacy when you claim the strawman fallacy. In fairness, I do use the red herring a lot! But the victims of islam are still dead. Are you ok with that?

    I’ll further smite your arguments and slam Ninglun for calling AV ‘arthur’, tomorrow, but I’m too befuddled to continue. this nasty Pino Noir seems to have some alcoholic content. Stilll, 54,000 lbs!!! You hippies should be WORSHIPPING me!

     
  62. ninglun

    May 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Pinot Noir is good; so is Pinot Gris. 🙂

     
  63. AV

    May 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    The strawman argument has nothing to do with what your argument is. It has to do with what your protagonist’s argument is. It requires me to make unbelievable claims and not back them.

    It involves you misrepresenting your opponents’ position/argument. Did you not read the link?

    But the victims of islam are still dead. Are you ok with that?

    Where did I say that I was?

     
  64. AV

    May 6, 2008 at 2:46 pm

     
  65. ninglun

    May 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I fear my contributions lately have been pissing against the wind, but no matter; it has been good to articulate them. I seriously believe Kevin’s views on Islam are very dangerous and that he needs to do a lot of rethinking, but I don’t expect that any time soon.

    And if you want to compare death cults, see List of wars and disasters by death toll. You can safely ignore the pedantic plea there for citations… And there is this:

    In the 29 OECD countries for which comparable data were available, the annual average death rate from road injury was approximately 390 times that from international terrorism. The ratio of annual road to international terrorism deaths (averaged over 10 years) was lowest for the United States at 142 times. In 2001, road crash deaths in the US were equal to those from a September 11 attack every 26 days.

     
  66. AV

    May 6, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    I fear my contributions lately have been pissing against the wind, but no matter; it has been good to articulate them.

    Indeed. It would be good, I think, if this discussion had a Muslim participant, too.

     
  67. ninglun

    May 6, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    The thread will be open another week. It would be nice if by chance some of the people I have referred to in my entries got into the act. It may happen. I am sure that there is no single “Muslim view” — in fact we all know that’s the case already! But it would be nice to hear from an “insider”.

     
  68. Kevin

    May 6, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Bale of straw! I’m sorry that you think my position is dangerous, Ninglun. The only reason I hold it is that I believe it will result in less deaths than NOT holding the position. As you noted, there are a lot of things that cause death in the world today. But the number one cause of murder is still islam. You don’t believe all of those car crashes are instances of murder, do you?

    Apologies, AV. You were fairly accurate in your use of the phrase ‘strawman argument’. I’m not sure what part of it I was misinterpreting, but judging from the massive headache I’m currently sporting, I blame wine. Please accept my straw-laden apology. Where’s the damned Aspirin?

    You can close her up and stifle the debate whenever you are ready, Ninglun. You’ll get no argument from me. I won’t be back to bug you for a couple of weeks in any event. I’m just happy that AV has agreed that we don’t have to end Christianity after we destroy islam. That’s a pretty big get!

    Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oy Oy Oy! Your country is pretty cool. See ya. I’ve GOT to find some aspirin.

     
  69. ninglun

    May 6, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    The only reason I hold it is that I believe it will result in less deaths than NOT holding the position. Sadly, I think Kevin’s position would likely lead to more deaths, not least because he fails to make even elementary discriminations or to acknowledge the variety within Islam. And here I may be reading between the lines, but I do have a feeling that some of what AV and I said did have an effect. 🙂 For example, I think is hard to refute a person like Russell Darnley who has actually seen what we were merely talking about.

    You don’t believe all of those car crashes are instances of murder, do you? No, but the fact I may have more to fear from a Toyota than from Osama bin Laden does tend to put the whole thing in some kind of perspective.

     
  70. arthurvandelay

    May 6, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    I’m just happy that AV has agreed that we don’t have to end Christianity after we destroy islam. That’s a pretty big get!

    This requires clarification on your part, and since I’m not entirely sure where I said I agree to what you claim I am agreeing to, you seem to be venturing into strawman territory again.

    Ninglun would disagree with me, I think, but I would like to see us (the general “us”) moving away from magical and dogmatic modes of thinking, especially when it comes to policy formation and ethics, and embracing skeptical, critical and reflective modes of thinking. If Islam and Christianity happen to be among the casualties of this shift, so much the better.

    If what Ninglun says is true, there are probably some Muslims who would find what I have just said equally as inflammatory as your remarks.

    What I do not support, however, is the use of coercion to “destroy” a religious belief. One reason is that, as Ninglun has emphasised, it won’t work, and is more likely to achieve the opposite effect–like trying to douse an electrical fire with water. If anything is fertile soil for revolutionary, extremist activity, it is political oppression. That alone ought to convince a conservative not to favour totalitarian measures against a belief system. There are limits to religious freedom, of course, and where religious activities harm others or infringe upon their rights and liberties, those activities should be proscribed. (Female genital mutilation or FLDS-style polygamy are cases in point.) But there should be no such thing as a “thoughtcrime” in a liberal democracy.

     
  71. ninglun

    May 6, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    I would like to see us (the general “us” 😉 moving away from magical and dogmatic modes of thinking, especially when it comes to policy formation and ethics, and embracing skeptical, critical and reflective modes of thinking. If Islam and Christianity happen to be among the casualties of this shift, so much the better.

    I suspect you won’t live to see it, AV. I don’t say that triumphally, as I would like to see religion partaking more of the spirit of Bishop Spong and others who adopt a similar critical religious stance. So we have a degree of convergence.

    If what Ninglun says is true, there are probably some Muslims who would find what I have just said equally as inflammatory as your remarks.

    There certainly would be some, even many, AV! In fact, strictly speaking, all Muslims, if they are more than just cultural Muslims, would be pissed off. Atheism isn’t big among Muslims… What I say (quite often) about holy books would also be inflammatory — very much so in many instances. Perhaps most instances. Check out Miracles of the Qu’ran; it is rather interesting.

     
  72. AV

    May 7, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Check out Miracles of the Qu’ran; it is rather interesting.

    LOL! Interesting, yes, in the same sense that Nostradamus, Mother Shipton and Bible Code are interesting.

    I won’t link to it out of fear of the spam filter, but in the Talk Origins Index to Creationist Claims there is an entry (CH110) on Bible prophecy that is pertinent to your link. The entry lists several “mundane” ways in which a prediction of the future can be fulfilled. The one that is most applicable in the case of “Miracles of the Qu’ran” is vagueness: as the Index to Creationist Claims explains, “The prophecy can be worded in such a way that people can interpret any outcome as a fulfillment. Nostradamus’s prophecies are all of this type. Vagueness works particularly well when people are religiously motivated to believe the prophecies.”

    A bit of background about the author of that page (Harun Yahya), and the phenomenon of Islamic creationism in general, is available here.

     
  73. AV

    May 7, 2008 at 1:03 am

    You should also track down a Salon.com interview with Turkish-American physicist Taner Edis titled “The Religious State of Islamic Science.” (Again, not linked to out of fear of Akismet.)

     
  74. Kevin

    May 7, 2008 at 2:14 am

    *sigh* You keep pulling me back in!

    Firstly, I’d be honored if you’d refer to me in the first person. It’s too easy to dismiss someone’s opinions offhand when referring to them as Kevin, Ninglun, or AV, or Arthur Vandelay of Vandelay Industries. Can we get a little more ‘you’, ‘me’ and ‘I’? We’re not writing a paper here.

    Sadly, I think Kevin’s position would likely lead to more deaths, not least because he fails to make even elementary discriminations or to acknowledge the variety within Islam.

    You’re right, I don’t. And I never will. Variety doesn’t play a part here. You’re trying to say that since some worshipers of the God of Death don’t actually kill anyone, we should allow people the freedom to worship death. I emphatically disagree. I’d be with you if some of them only tried to kill themselves, but that’s not the case. They prefer to kill innocent people! Just to make their death god happy and maybe secure them a place in paradise after they themselves are snuffed.

    Why on Earth do you want to allow such a horrid religion to continue? Even in your crazy liberal mind you must know that as some point a nuclear explosion is going to occur in that evil god’s name, right? Maybe I’m wrong about you. Can you honestly say that you don’t believe followers of islam will get hold of a nuke and set it off in the next decade or so for the glory of the evil god mentioned repeatedly in the koran? I’d love to hear you sound off on that, Ninglun.

    I’m sad that you equate the accidental death by Toyota to the purposeful murder by jihadis, Ninglun. It’s particularly sad that you can’t see that one can’t be helped, but the other can. But I understand the liberal rule that you can’t hate anything other than Christianity or America. So I forgive you.

    And who’s Russel Darnley?

    This requires clarification on your part, and since I’m not entirely sure where I said I agree to what you claim I am agreeing to, you seem to be venturing into strawman territory again.

    Bah. House made of mostly straw! You’ve got to make up your mind, AV. After we end the tyranny that is islam, do you want to destroy Christianity or not?! I’ve already capitulated and agreed to do so once islam is ended simply because you consider it evil. I agreed to it solely for you! If you don’t want to end Christianity after we destroy islam, please let me know. I’ve got some friends who totally dig Jesus, and would enjoy giving them the good news.

    AV said ‘islamic Science’! Haha, what an oxymoron THAT is. I went to see a display on islamic Science at a museum in NJ (Northeast USA for you Aussies) once. Lemme see if I can find a picture, because it was hilarious.

    Darn, no, I can’t. Anyway, it was an entire floor of the museum dedicated to all of the science learned under islam. Here’s what they accomplished: Some muslim guy got his recipes for poultices and herbal remedies published in 10 languages in Europe in the 1300s, and the phrase ‘arithmetic’ was coined by a muslim, describing a mathematical system derived in 300BC by the greeks. in 1,500 years. islamic science. Hah! Good one, AV 🙂

     
  75. Kevin

    May 7, 2008 at 2:27 am

    I do have a feeling that some of what AV and I said did have an effect. 🙂

    No doubt it did. Hope mine did too, even if it causes you chagrin.

     
  76. Kevin

    May 7, 2008 at 2:57 am

    $277,340.

    Holy shit! We’re f*cking rich! This is the best part about the internet. No one believes you or cares. You can brag to your heart’s content! i LOVE ETHYLENE GLYCOL!!!

    Also, death to islam.

     
  77. Kevin

    May 7, 2008 at 3:05 am

    Where’s the donation page so I can send some money to my favorite gay hippie?

    Wow, I really dropped the ball on not calling liberals hippies, huh? Apologies. Still, where’s the link?

    Also, I DO love ethylene glycol and wish for a quick death for islam.

     
  78. AV

    May 7, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Variety doesn’t play a part here.

    Actually, it does.

    You’re trying to say that since some worshipers of the God of Death don’t actually kill anyone, we should allow people the freedom to worship death.

    The same God of Death is worshipped by Christians and Jews. And a nasty god he is, too. Sorry. According to your logic, if we disallow freedom of religion to Muslims, we should disallow it to Jews and Christians also.

    Why on Earth do you want to allow such a horrid religion to continue?

    I don’t want any horrid religion to continue (Christianity included), but I do know that a surefire way to guarantee the survival of a religion is to persecute, punish or kill people simply for believing it.

    Can you honestly say that you don’t believe followers of islam will get hold of a nuke and set it off in the next decade or so for the glory of the evil god mentioned repeatedly in the koran?

    There’s a danger that extremists may do so, perhaps. But you have not provided a skerrick of evidence that we are in such danger from moderates.

    You’ve got to make up your mind, AV.

    Not at all. You just need to improve your comprehension skills. Here’s what I said:

    “Ninglun would disagree with me, I think, but I would like to see us (the general “us”) moving away from magical and dogmatic modes of thinking, especially when it comes to policy formation and ethics, and embracing skeptical, critical and reflective modes of thinking. If Islam and Christianity happen to be among the casualties of this shift, so much the better.

    If what Ninglun says is true, there are probably some Muslims who would find what I have just said equally as inflammatory as your remarks.”

    Read it s-l-o-w-l-y this time.

    AV said ‘islamic Science’! Haha, what an oxymoron THAT is.

    I heartily agree, as you would have seen had you actually to bothered to read the article I was referring to.

     
  79. AV

    May 7, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Also, I DO love ethylene glycol

    Evidently. 🙂

     
  80. Kevin

    May 7, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Morning, sleepyaustralianheads. Sorry AV, I almost never click on links, believing that they merely agree with the linker. But now that I’m aware of your love for ethylene glycol,l things are gonna be different!

    The same God of Death is worshipped by Christians and Jews.

    You MUST know that this is not true, AV. Seriously, this is a silly statement even for a liberal. You should be embarrassed for suggesting it. Hell, I’m embarrassed enough for you. Same god my ass. Wake the hell up, AV!

    ‘C”s and ‘J”s just want to make the world a better place, and worshipers of ‘I’ just want to blow shit up for their version of god. You should be ashamed, AV, for giving equivalence of such a hateful religion to ANY other religion in existence.

     
  81. ninglun

    May 7, 2008 at 10:12 am

    and worshipers of ‘I’ just want to blow shit up for their version of god

    Total and absolute bunkum. Kevin, when you have something worth saying, come back. I have no desire to be the roosting place for that sort of generalised hokum which even George Bush would reject.

    Russell Darnley is a friend of mine who unlike you, Kevin, has experienced terrorism first hand in an Islamic country, and came to very different conclusions. If you bother to backtrack you will see what he said.

     
  82. Kevin

    May 7, 2008 at 10:17 am

    If you buy into the monotheistic religion, you MUST realize that islam is worshipping the devil, right? Sheesh. Who else would command you to kill a nonbeliever? Or kill ANYONE for that matter? Or beat on a woman?

    Ok, I get that liberals have to lie and claim that they don’t understand how things really are, but all three of us know you get it. both of you.

    Plus, $277,340! OMG I’m starting to believe in Jesus, and his inevitable Dominus Ominus. Remember his prayer on the mount when he said:

    John 42:7 Kevin shall receive $277,340,and chicks will dig him![8] AV will receive the sae rewards if only he worships me![9] Also, forget all of that crap I said about homosexuality. I’m cool with it! ‘Ninglun is welcome into the fold, if he’ll forgive me’, said God through Jesus.

    I’m still waiting for the chicks to start digging me, but whatever. It’s GOING to happen. I trust him. But you guys should seriously look into those end chapters of the Bib… Eh, whatever. I’m done.

    Also, death to islam.

     
  83. ninglun

    May 7, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Kevin, you really are turning into a bit of a troll, sorry to say.

    BTW, I hate neither Christianity nor America, but I do hate the stupid rhetoric around the word “liberal” (which became a euphemism for “communist” and still tends to carry all that paranoia) that poisons American political conversation and is a cultural phenomenon the rest of us can only gawk at and then treat with the scorn it merits. It has virtually no relevance to our thought processes here, I can tell you, a few wingnuts excepted, even among conservatives.

    Given that there are so many people out there saying far more sensible things about Islam, your pet hobbyhorse, and you have said AND said AND said, I think we’ve had enough. I am, I might add, far from blind to the perils of Islam, or to the challenge a faith-based book religion like that presents. I just do not believe in revamping medieval crusades in the 21st century, and I know there are far more Muslims out there than the ones that worry us so who interpret jihad (struggle) in a far more spiritual, less confronting way than the advocates of violence. The time for dialogue and understanding has never been more urgent, and that is what I want here, not further one-sided repetitions of stuff even the Republicans no longer espouse.

    REMINDER from an earlier comment:

    See Everyone has an opinion about Islam… before proceeding. I was especially referring to this part:

    Somewhere between total advocacy and Islamophobia is a range of sane views about Islam, the religion and world-view of around a quarter of the world’s population who quite clearly are not all setting out to blow the rest of us to kingdom come. There have been other candidates too in that dishonourable pursuit through the past hundred years or so… Most of us, Muslim or not, just want to get on with our lives….

    …see Thinking about the think tank (31 July 2007) and another item there which I again recycle, because it is so good:

    I am a conservative Republican. I am a freelance writer for several local media outlets. I also have journalistic experience. Therefore, today I am going to blend my regard for the complexities of Islamic culture with my experience as a journalist and provide friends, pundits, and fellow members of the Rightosphere with my Guide to Sensible Islam Posting. It is my hope that they are used to enhance productive discussion of Islam, its practitioners, and Americans of Muslim faith in our domain.

    Let me start by stating why I feel it has time to set forth some rules. One word: BACKLASH.

    When all you ever read about an entire group of people goes against your experiences with actual members of that population, you are inclined to disregard the author’s views. All of the author’s views. On all subjects. And this is beginning to happen to pundits failing to distinguish between Islamic terror-lovers and law-abiding, freedom-desiring Muslims who are supportive of the Global War on Terror…

    1) Learn to distinguish a news-worthy entry from the “Daily-Muslim-Outrage” (DMO) post…

    2) Give Humanist Muslims their due…

    3) Find new sources of information about the Muslim Community – especially in the United States…

    4) Avoid the use of derogatory terms when discussing Islam, Mohammed and Muslims…

    5) Reading Robert Spencer’s latest book or citing “the Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam” does not make you an Islamic scholar…

    6) Consider that ex-Muslims do not offer completely untainted views of their religion…

    That is as sensible in 2008 as it was in 2006 when Isis wrote it.

     
  84. AV

    May 7, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Total and absolute bunkum. Kevin, when you have something worth saying, come back. I have no desire to be the roosting place for that sort of generalised hokum which even George Bush would reject.

    Kevin reminds me of SB, who is equally as mischievous–though SB is also (in his better moments) far more reasonable and coherent. I don’t think we need to take anything Kevin says to heart, but in deference to you I’ll withdraw from this discussion so as not to encourage him further. “Arguing with a fool is like wrestling a pig in the mud . . .” & c. &c. 😉

     
  85. ninglun

    May 7, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    http://www.sbs.com.au/salamcafe/

    Compulsory viewing! 🙂

    See also my post on the show: Salam Cafe on SBS Wednesdays at 10 pm.

    Kevin can even watch it in Louisiana. 🙂

    And you are right, AV; Kevin is often tongue in cheek, as his site shows, and my past experience of him, but he is serious in those views about Islam. Nonetheless, he is likeable… And in many ways he is clearly not a fool.

    UPDATE

    Kevin read all this about 20 minutes after this comment went up. Hope he did give Salam Cafe a look…

     
  86. ninglun

    May 8, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Kevin: sorry, but your comments got caught by the Akismet spam trap — and then I pressed the wrong button… Akismet tends to block comments with links in them. Not intentional.

    Kevin replied: …I’ll leave you alone for a month or so until you forget how annoying I can be :).

     
 
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