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giovannimusica
Feb-09-2006, 21:52
As I see some European countries sleepwalking while the radical fanatics shriek in the streets a short recitative comes to mind:

"Who is in charge of the clattering train? The axles creak and couplings strain, And the pace is hot, and the points are near, And sleep has deadened the driver's ear; And the signals flash through the night in vain, For Death is in charge of the clattering train."

https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shake.gif

Giovanni

prokop
Feb-11-2006, 18:22
It is indeed a complicated issue - please stipulate that the radical fanatics are not screaming in our streets, but in their own streets in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia.

As a thought experiment, could you guys comment on this?

The Koran is subject to numerous interpretations, exactly like the Bible or Talmud. One could argue that a radical fanatic interpretation of other holy scriptures could be found and used with massive success.

If we then assume that it is not the Koran per se, but the interpretation that is aggresive and hateful, why do these people choose that interpretation?

Why are islamic fanatics not countered by moderate muslims or arab atheists exactly like christian fanatics are countered by atheists and moderates?

Even explanations like a history of western imperialistic repression cannot answer the why of pure aggression and lack of tolerance some of these imams and political figures demonstrates.

giovannimusica
Feb-11-2006, 20:09
We can look at the fact that millions of muslims in the middle east do not have access to a university education that will give them a decent prospect for a job. The potentates in the Middle East don't want alot of smart people running around since that might cause the potentate to be deposed.

doctortornface
Jul-02-2007, 03:18
And so it begins,Scotland had its first terrorist attack this weekend,and already I see a surge in the righteous ignorant.My favourite Take away had windows broken ....its Turkish.....and he is a Christian.
Ignorance = fear. And yet Glasgow City council and the Scottish Parliament permit Schools to be segregated by religeous type. We have had catholic and protestant pupils segregated from 5 years old,and spend the rest of their school days believing the stereotypical nonsense passed from generation to generation and not just in Scotland but In northern Ireland too.Look at the results there.Now Sotland has a strong anti religeous core,its more politically based than say Eire.So we can and do moderate.Or at least we used to,but not in the world of the politically corect.Having failed with Our core religeons we are now permitting Stand alone Islamic schools.Further alienating each other. IT'S CRAZY...OR TRAGIC....OR JUST PLAIN DANGEROUS.

JohnM
Jul-02-2007, 09:16
Having lived in Glasgow for my formative years, and having suffered from exactly the sort of hatred you describe, I must concur. Division breeds ignorance; nothing is more dangerous.

It is up to each and every one of us to declare to our brothers that hatred is wrong, and for our actions to match our words - something some of our political leaders seem to be forgetting.

Peace, all. And love. :)

Sybarite
Jul-05-2007, 14:59
Yes, even in Europe we have religious nutters.

Like the UK's very own Rt Rev Graham Dow, the Bishop of Carlisle, (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/07/01/nflood201.xml) who has decided that the recent flooding in the UK is God's punishment for the government allowing gay people rights.

Spot on Rev – they should be discriminated against at every opportunity. Indeed, why don't we go the whole hog and do what that Orthodox Jewish group did in Jerusalem last year and hand out leaflets offering a financial reward to anyone who 'kills a sodomite'?

Still, it's good to know that there are nutters everywhere (http://www.godhatesfags.com).

doctortornface
Jul-09-2007, 10:23
Yes, even in Europe we have religious nutters.

Like the UK's very own Rt Rev Graham Dow, the Bishop of Carlisle, (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/07/01/nflood201.xml) who has decided that the recent flooding in the UK is God's punishment for the government allowing gay people rights.

Spot on Rev – they should be discriminated against at every opportunity. Indeed, why don't we go the whole hog and do what that Orthodox Jewish group did in Jerusalem last year and hand out leaflets offering a financial reward to anyone who 'kills a sodomite'?

Still, it's good to know that there are nutters everywhere (http://www.godhatesfags.com).

Great site! the Americans always have a great selection of ANTI'S,pretty much anti anything....I used to spend time just finding the very latest fruitbat. However, it's getting serious now,with the Christian right getting more and more bold, because of the percieved strength of Islamic fundamentalists. It's that time when every religeous nutter can smell power...it comes from fear......

Sybarite
Jul-09-2007, 17:06
Great site! the Americans always have a great selection of ANTI'S,pretty much anti anything....I used to spend time just finding the very latest fruitbat. However, it's getting serious now,with the Christian right getting more and more bold, because of the percieved strength of Islamic fundamentalists. It's that time when every religeous nutter can smell power...it comes from fear......

I have a little theoryette, that, much of the Western world having 'killed God', as Nietzsche described it, what has happened is that the religious middle ground has been greatly cleared, allowing space for the fundamentalists to swarm in.

Though it's worth pointing out that at least the fundamentalists have more honesty about their religions than many of those who have tried to accomodate reason and rational thinking and science and the weath of experience that history provides by quietly pushing to one side those parts of their particular theologies that would be embarassing in our modern world.

zlya
Jul-10-2007, 03:54
Though it's worth pointing out that at least the fundamentalists have more honesty about their religions than many of those who have tried to accomodate reason and rational thinking and science and the weath of experience that history provides by quietly pushing to one side those parts of their particular theologies that would be embarassing in our modern world.

Is it dishonest to view a religious text as a parable rather than a literal, factual account? Is it dishonest to take a personal view of religion rather than blindly following orthodoxy? Is it dishonest for religious beliefs to change in details but maintain the fundamental ideas of love and peace and generosity?

I know many people of various religions who manage to quietly, peacefully, maintain their personal faiths, while pursuing a career in science, or a homosexual relationship. What is wrong with that? Calling their harmless, private religions "dishonest" is an act of intolerance, exactly the same as those condemnations of gays and heretics perpetrated by the "honest fundamentalists".

Sybarite
Jul-11-2007, 14:08
The trouble is, Zyla, that if one views the whole of, say, the Bible as a parable, then what is it about? How can one be a Christian, for example, without believing in the literal truth of the crucifixion and resurrection – at the very least? Because without those things, there's no redemption, no eternal life – and no point to Christianity at all.

And even if someone managed to believe that most of the Bible was just a parable, then presumably they must still believe that it was a divinely-inspired parable, inspired by a divine being – a god (again, without this belief, there is no point).

If that god inspired that book, then which mere mortal can pick and choose which bits they accept and which bits they don't?

One could suggest that this is one of the central problems facing Muslims today – how to admit that their holy book, the Koran, is not the straightforward word of Allah that does not require any interpretation, and that interpretation can either be for good or for bad. Once you acknowledge interpretation in theology, then you acknowledge a plurality of views. And in so doing, you automatically question the all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful nature of any of the Abrahmic versions of god.

I'm not actually having a go at individuals who have a faith – I'm simply attempting to point out that religion has become, for many, a pick-and-mix affair these days: 'oh, I like that, but that's a bit out-of-date so I'll ignore it, but I'll take a bit of this'.

Fundamentalism of any variety has a certain honesty attached to it, in that it accepts pretty much every thing about the religious text in question. It could be said, then, to show just how irrational and dangerous religion really is.

zlya
Jul-13-2007, 02:54
The trouble is, Zyla, that if one views the whole of, say, the Bible as a parable, then what is it about? How can one be a Christian, for example, without believing in the literal truth of the crucifixion and resurrection – at the very least? Because without those things, there's no redemption, no eternal life – and no point to Christianity at all.


Why? Is there no point in believing in love and forgiveness and self-sacrifice? There's a story told by Buddhists about a young man who gave his body to a starving eagle, so that the eagle could feed its young. I think very few people believe this story is literally true, but that does not mean they don't believe in the IDEAS of the story--love of others above oneself. Isn't THAT the point of most religions? The rest is details.



And even if someone managed to believe that most of the Bible was just a parable, then presumably they must still believe that it was a divinely-inspired parable, inspired by a divine being – a god (again, without this belief, there is no point).

If that god inspired that book, then which mere mortal can pick and choose which bits they accept and which bits they don't?


There's a difference between a god INSPIRING the book and a god WRITING the book. Some Christians believe that God wrote it himself, others believe that mere mortals wrote it, INSPIRED by their faith. Interpreting the bible, or any holy book, is not about picking and choosing, it's about looking to see the meaning beneath the details.



One could suggest that this is one of the central problems facing Muslims today – how to admit that their holy book, the Koran, is not the straightforward word of Allah that does not require any interpretation, and that interpretation can either be for good or for bad. Once you acknowledge interpretation in theology, then you acknowledge a plurality of views. And in so doing, you automatically question the all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful nature of any of the Abrahmic versions of god.


Interpretation is fundamental to theology, and has been for centuries. Theological debate, a plurality of views, is the essence of the study of religion. I don't see how it conflicts with an all-knowing god. Just because their god knows everything doesn't mean the followers know everything as well.



I'm not actually having a go at individuals who have a faith – I'm simply attempting to point out that religion has become, for many, a pick-and-mix affair these days: 'oh, I like that, but that's a bit out-of-date so I'll ignore it, but I'll take a bit of this'.

Fundamentalism of any variety has a certain honesty attached to it, in that it accepts pretty much every thing about the religious text in question. It could be said, then, to show just how irrational and dangerous religion really is.

Why is it better, why is it more honest, to blindly accept a text than to try to interpret it?

Sybarite
Jul-13-2007, 15:45
Why? Is there no point in believing in love and forgiveness and self-sacrifice? There's a story told by Buddhists about a young man who gave his body to a starving eagle, so that the eagle could feed its young. I think very few people believe this story is literally true, but that does not mean they don't believe in the IDEAS of the story--love of others above oneself. Isn't THAT the point of most religions? The rest is details...

There's a story told by JRR Tolkien that covers lots of ideas of good v evil, of self-sacrifice etc. One desn't need religion to read such stories and one doesn't need to turn such stories into religion in order to appreciate them and let them enrich one's life. Although, of course, some people do feel the need to try to have Jedi recognised as a religion because Star Wars inspired them so greatly, but I'd suggest that they're just daft geeks. ;)

I would, however, disagree about the 'point' of religions. The 'point' of most religions – in other words, the aim – is to fit oneself for the hereafter; to please one's maker. The Bible, for instance, says that: "by grace are ye saved through faith" – not by being good and doing good works (Paul makes this clear) but by believing that Christ died for your sins and that, in believing in that and in repenting for those sins, you get eternal life in Heaven. I assume that simply being nice to others isn't actually the major criteria for a heavenly future for Jews or Muslims either, although it is at least part of religions that believe in reincarnation.


There's a difference between a god INSPIRING the book and a god WRITING the book. Some Christians believe that God wrote it himself, others believe that mere mortals wrote it, INSPIRED by their faith. Interpreting the bible, or any holy book, is not about picking and choosing, it's about looking to see the meaning beneath the details.

There is a difference, indeed. But how does one judge which bits are divinely inspired and which not? In Leviticus, for instance, it says that women who are menstruating are unclean, and that at the end of their period, they're to take two pigeons to their priest so that he will sacrifice the birds to make the woman clean again. Attitudes change. No-one with half a ounce of education would call a menstruating woman 'unclean' today, let alone expect her to sacrifice birds to 'cleanse' herself afterward. Who decided that that change had occurred? And why? Because, as we became more civilised we realised that that was not civilised or rational behaviour?


Interpretation is fundamental to theology, and has been for centuries. Theological debate, a plurality of views, is the essence of the study of religion. I don't see how it conflicts with an all-knowing god. Just because their god knows everything doesn't mean the followers know everything as well.

Vital indeed – and it changes according to progress and civilisation. Women's rights, for instance, are hardly well served in the Bible and it hasn't been a history of organised religion campaigning for such that have secured them (at least in theory) in the West at least.

If any holy book is open to interpretation because of the suspect nature of those who wrote it, then how can one any better trust those who interpret it? What's to say that their interpretation and understanding is not as flawed as the original writers?

And if god is genuinely divine, genuinely all-powerful, all-knowing and all-seeing, then wouldn't it be a rather bad joke to sit in Heaven and watch as people struggle to interpret his word and possibly do the wrong thing because they listened to someone intpret the holy book wrongly? If god is that all-powerful, all-knowing and all-seeing, then why not just make it perfectly clear to everyone what he means? Otherwise, one might conclude that this god simply enjoys watching people trip up in their efforts to be good and faithful followers.


Why is it better, why is it more honest, to blindly accept a text than to try to interpret it?

I didn't say that it was better. I was merely attempting to point out that, if one believes in a god and one believes that that god inspired a divine book and that book is holy, then if one picks and chooses what bits of said holy book one abides by, it suggests that one thinks that god is actually not really perfect and didn't really know what he was doing at the time.

Or one could assume that it was relative – that instructions in Leviticus, for instance, don't all need to be followed now because times have changed and they were only really relevant for the days when the book was written. For instance, are all boys born to Christian parents circumcised now? I doubt it – there'd be no medical point, but hygiene when the Bible was written might have made it sensible.

As a slight aside, if god is so clever, why create man with a foreskin and them immediately order the parents to lop it off? It doesn't say much for rational thinking, does it?

zlya
Jul-16-2007, 04:39
The Bible, for instance, says that: "by grace are ye saved through faith" – not by being good and doing good works (Paul makes this clear) but by believing that Christ died for your sins and that, in believing in that and in repenting for those sins, you get eternal life in Heaven.


Well, that's one of the big questions, isn't it? Seem to remember a bit of a schism over that very detail. However, if you look closely you'll see that Christ himself just keeps harping on about peace and love and caring. Getting into heaven seems an awfully selfish reason to do anything. On the other hand, following a role model who preached love and kindness, well that seems downright decent.

By "the point of religion" I didn't mean what someone has to do to get into heaven. I meant the reason that this thing called religion exists in society. I think there are many hygienic and legal factors as well as social factors. In many societies today, hygiene and law are no longer the domain of religion, but one of the major social factors still relevant today is the need to help people get along and keep them from killing each other too much. I.E., peace, love, and understanding. From a sociological perspective, that is the point of religion. And I think the world still needs a bit of peace love and understanding, whether people get it from religion or Tolkien.



In Leviticus, for instance, it says that women who are menstruating are unclean, and that at the end of their period, they're to take two pigeons to their priest so that he will sacrifice the birds to make the woman clean again.

Women's rights, for instance, are hardly well served in the Bible and it hasn't been a history of organised religion campaigning for such that have secured them (at least in theory) in the West at least.


I agree completely. The bible is full of such sometimes shocking tidbits. I believe there's a whole section of Deuteronomy dealing with slaves and selling daughters into prostitution. Moreover the bible is incredibly inconsistent: two different and conflicting creation stories in the first two pages! If one were to pay attention to all the details, even the fundamentalists would have to pick and choose and tactfully ignore parts. (There may be a reason that the Church was strongest in Europe when most of the population was illiterate).

It's also true that one doesn't need religious parables to live a good life and have good morals. I'm sure I gained most of my morals from watching Star Trek (talk about morality plays!).



how can one any better trust those who interpret it? What's to say that their interpretation and understanding is not as flawed as the original writers?


That's the problem with fundamentalism, isn't it? Blindly following someone else's interpretation. I think anyone who is going to devote their life to something should at least take the time to work out their own interpretations and beliefs.

I guess the difference between us is I don't see anything dishonest in a person interpreting a text, and basing a belief system on that interpretation. I think every human has the right to make an individual decision regarding what they do or do not believe without being criticized by anyone.