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I am not merely an atheist, but an anti-theist.  I believe that not only are all religions inherently flawed and destructive institutions, but that the concept of a god or gods limits human progress.  Some may say that religion does some good but that is like excusing a serial killer's slayings because he volunteers at a soup kitchen.  One does not excuse the other.

As you can see I am no apologizer for religion.  However, I am also a Progressive and a secular humanist, and despite whatever ignorant beliefs a person may hold she/he should be respected as a human being.

It has become increasingly clear that famed atheist Richard Dawkins criticism of Islam has taken on a bigoted tone.  His criticism have devolved into an ignorant bigotry that is factually and scientifically deficient.  When you eschew knowledge in favor of ignorant hatred then you violate the very principles of what it means to be a secular humanist.  This is what Dawkins has done.

Islam has always been a focal point of his venom.  Islam in itself is no more evil than any other religion, but when you single out a group for hatred you risk inciting persecution.  And particularly in the west Muslims have been subjected to this kind of persecution and bigotry:

discrimination
via gallup

And what is he basing this hatred of Islam on?  Self-admitted ignorance:

Moreover, that tweet crystallizes the very nature of his bigotry.  While Dawkins like me thinks all religions are flawed, he thinks there is something about Muslims that make them inherently more evil than other religious individuals.  When you start assigning a status of inferiority to certain religious groups you necessarily subscribe to an ideology of bigotry.

One of the defining features of bigotry is ignorance.  Dawkins already admitted to this, but I would like to go into bit more depth on why Dawkins' ideology is bigoted, ignorant, and wholly out of steps with reality and the facts....

saladin photo: saladin saladin.gif
Saladin is considered by scholars to be one of the kindest and most magnanimous military leaders of all time

During the Medieval age the Islamic world was the center of science and learning.  During this time Muslims made great strides in many fields from mathematics to physics to medicine.  While it was Christendom that was the center of ignorance, superstition, and war mongering.  

Remember it was Christendom that invaded the "Holy Land", mercilessly slaughtering Muslims, Jews, and Christians of other sects.  When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem the streets literally ran red with blood from its residents.  When the forces of Saladin recaptured the city they allowed free passage for Christians and allowed all former residents, including Jews, to resettle.

Cardinal Bernard Law photo nm_bernard_law3.jpg
The Vatican has become a refuge for Cardinal Law, who fled authorities in the late hours after he was issued with subpoenas for his cover up of pedophilia.  The Church still won't hand him over to authorities in America.

And in present day you have a Christian nation like Uganda pushing a bill that would give the death sentence gays, while in Albania, a Muslim nation, you have pretty wide support for anti-discrimination legislation for the LGBT community.  Furthermore, recently we have seen the cover up of the rape and torture of children by leaders in the Catholic Church.  And this has affected far more Westerners than Islamic terrorism in the West ever has.

What this shows is that any religion is capable of being blood thirsty and ignorant.  Thus, saying Islam is the greatest force for evil is completely and hopelessly wrong.

The reason why it may seem that Christian nations are a lot more progressive than Muslim nations is because Christian nations tend to be a lot less religious!  It has nothing to do with the kind of religion you ascribe to, but how extreme you are in those beliefs.

Religious extremism is the problem.  Not necessarily Islam.  Islam is no more evil than any other religion.  And when people like Dawkins try to assert that it is it not only makes him look ignorant but bigoted.

Originally posted to Obamalover20122 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by Muslims at Daily Kos and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's a fair argument. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BoiseBlue, TomP

    Dawkins, however, has nothing to do with the Gallup discrimination chart you posted.

    My guess is that all the hate is Christian inspired.

    Which brings us full circle.



    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:40:21 PM PDT

  •  Would like to tip & rec the content, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BPARTR, raincrow, Deward Hastings

    all signs suggest something problematic with the user.

    •  ? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, Nowhere Man, alain2112, caul

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:49:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I evaluate a post (or comment) on its own merits. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn, letsgetreal

      Even people we usually disagree with or strongly dislike can make an argument that makes sense.  In this case, I think the point was strongly and clearly reasoned, with good supporting evidence, leading to a well-stated conclusion.

      One of the great things about DK is the creation of a safe space for progressive interaction, with little tolerance for hateful speech or lies, and a mechanism for enforcing this by the community members.  But I think it is very important to separate the speech from the speaker.  People can and do learn.   They can and do change their minds.  And isn't that part of what we're about?  Changing people's minds from a conservative view to a more progressive one?  So shouldn't we reward speech demonstrating our values?  Even if we have often disagreed with the source in the past?

      Socialist? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

      by Kimbeaux on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 06:36:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Clicked expecting to be ticked off by what (8+ / 0-)

    you had to say.  But you hit the nail on the head.

    "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

    by gustynpip on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:49:57 PM PDT

  •  If all you have is that tweet... (14+ / 0-)

    then you are way off base.  "Islam" is not a race, it is not an ethnicity, it isn't even a group.  It is a religious worldview.  It is no more bigoted to say Islam is evil than it is to say conservatism is evil, or Republicanism is evil.

    For far too long atheists have had to suffer the slings and arrow of a society that is, at the least, indifferent to offenses against us, but if we utter one ill word against religion, we are accused of bigotry and intolerance.  It is bad enough when theists do it.  It sickens me when it is done by a self-proclaimed atheist.

    By the way, Richard Dawkins is an author, lecturer, and evolutionary biologist, in addition to being an atheist.  I see you haven't attributed any of those other things to his supposed bigotry.  What do you suppose that makes you?

    •  Exactly (9+ / 0-)

      I argued the same thing below. The tweet was clearly denouncing ISLAM, not ISLAMISTS. The distinction is important. Now if Dawkins had gone on about "towel heads" or "camel jockey's", like so many of my right wing co-workers do, the author of this post would have a valid point. I don't see it though.

      Disclaimer: Those unfortunate slurs above are examples of speech employed by some people with whom I have to work and I don't employ or endorse them.

      "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

      by MargaretPOA on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:18:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Islam is not a religious worldview (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      K S LaVida, alain2112, caul, sturunner

      More precisely, Islam is not a religious worldview. Islam is many religious worldviews. Just as the Christianity of Pat Robertson is vastly different from the Christianity of Martin Luther King Jr., so too is there wide variation in the beliefs of Muslims. There are few general statements that apply to all Christians, or to all Muslims.

      Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

      by Nowhere Man on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:52:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nowhere Man, sturunner

        And that's even more true, given how many of them there are. Neither Muslims nor Christians nor Jews are some monolithic block who all believe and worship in precisely the same way. Believing that would be an example of prejudice and bigotry.

        "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

        by MargaretPOA on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:07:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Dawkins remark... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Skipbidder, crose

        was not about Muslims.  It was about Islam.

        •  One cannot completely distinguish the belief (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul, sturunner, Fire bad tree pretty

          from the believer, because no two people hold exactly the same religious views. (OK, maybe no two people is an exaggeration, but please don't let that distract from the point.)

          Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

          by Nowhere Man on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:03:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you have it backward. (0+ / 0-)

            The fact that no two people hold exactly the same religious beliefs us why you must distinguish the belief from the believer.  It's the reason  "what a muslim believes" and "what islam says" cannot be synonymous, and why people need to stop pretending that arguing against the official beliefs of a religion is bigotry toward the people who say they follow it.

        •  Once again (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JDsg

          Islam has many different strains. You and Dawkins are conflating all Islam with a particular and extremist strain of Islam and in my view doing that is bigotry and an amazing example of Orientalism.

          Unless you can 'objectively' demonstrate how 'Islam' is evil or the greatest evil in the world today, you and Dawkins would be advised to walk back your ridiculous comments. Dawkins may be fabulous at following scientific method in his field but he's being a propagandist when it comes to this issue.  

    •  Jesus. This comment is so far to the right (6+ / 0-)

      it makes redstate look liberal, and 11 people recommend it.

      The wilful disingenuity you're trying to employ to dissociate 'Islam is evil' from 'Muslims are evil' is hilarious, and one of the most transparent things I've ever seen.

      And as for you, you poor misunderstood atheist who nobody likes, always cowering against the slings and arrows launched at you by an oppressive society...

      Get a grip, for fuck's sake.  Your post EPITOMIZES neo-atheism (the movement that has somehow managed to give atheism, a completely reasonable mode of thinking in itself) a bad name.

      I'm done.  Go insult Islam some more.  Why don't you bash Judaism and Hinduism too, since it's fun.

    •  Seems you're the one who's "way off base" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      andalusi, JDsg, Fire bad tree pretty

      A Muslim is someone who practices the faith of Islam. Thus when Dawkins condemns Islam as the "greatest force for evil today" he condemns Muslims as the greatest evildoers.

      It's kind of a package deal, and it's bigotry.

      Is it courageous to propose tax cuts but not identify a single tax expenditure to rein in? Is it courageous to target your deepest cuts on the poorest Americans, who vote in lower numbers and provide little in campaign contributions?

      by caul on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 01:11:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Disbelief (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        billybush, SquareSailor

        All religions, pretty much by definition, argue that the greatest force for evil is disbelief in that religion. By your logic, religions condemn disbelievers as the greatest evildoers. Actually, we don't even need to use your logic; most religions, Islam in particular, pretty much condemn disbelievers as evildoers explicitly.

        But nobody calls that bigotry. Although perhaps justifiably so, because to call that bigotry, as well as to call Dawkin's claim that "Islam is today the greatest force for evil" bigotry because it implies Muslims are evildoers, dilutes the meaning of the word "bigotry." However, I might be willing to agree with you and thus conclude that religions are the greatest force of bigotry today, but perhaps I might be accused of being a bigot for thus implying that all people who are religious must therefore practice bigotry. Which they do.

        Perhaps to put it another way, Dawkins is wrong because today the greatest force for evil is still Capitalism. Now, I and many others on this board, can say this much without controversy, and definitely without being called a bigot. Never mind the fact that I could be accused of implying that those who practice and believe in Capitalism, in other words all of us, are evildoers.

        Let us avoid talking in circles by agreeing that bigotry is making statements about people which are unwarranted. Stating that Catholics believe the Catholic Church is the one true church is not an unwarranted statement to make; believing that is the definition of being a Catholic. Stating that Catholics all have 20 kids, well, that is unwarranted. But you see, bigotry is about people. You can say whatever the hell you want, pun intended, about belief systems. And it still means religions are inherently bigoted, because of what they claim about unbelievers.

        Nonetheless, I will criticize Dawkins for using hyperbolic language. Words like "evil" are silly stone-age terms that we should abandon.

  •  John Fugelsang Puts It: Religious FUNDAMENTALISM (10+ / 0-)

    is the same regardless of the religion. It's authoritarian, it claims easy certain knowledge of the will of God which it uses to justify its authority, it's misogynist, tribal, reactionary and anti-reason. Naturally this is extremism.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:09:04 PM PDT

  •  I had to stop when you claimed (6+ / 0-)

    that his tweet said Muslims are evil. It didn't, nor did he intend it to.

    There a reason we use the term "American Taliban" to describe the worst kind of Christians. Liberals have forced mainstream Christianity to the left. This will happen with Islam someday, but it hasn't yet.

    Money doesn't talk it swears.

    by Coss on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:10:36 PM PDT

  •  note the difference: (10+ / 0-)

    Dawkins tweeted: "often say Islam greatest force for evil today"

    You translated this to:

    "he thinks there is something about Muslims that make them inherently more evil than other religious individuals."

    you intentionally conflate Islam, an institution with Muslims, people.

    You then go on to say all the bad things you think Christians have done.  (Presumably, you think the Christianity is the greatest force for evil today- Does that make you bigoted? )

    As noted by another commenter, Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and ethologist who is also an atheist (as are most biologists and other scientists).  Is his athesim the cause of his "bigotry" or is it the fact that he is a scientist?

    (full disclosure: I was one of Richard's graduate students in the early 70's when he was writing the Selfish Gene.)

    As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

    by BPARTR on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:10:54 PM PDT

    •  I'll have to find the numbers another day, (0+ / 0-)

      but the last survey I saw said 40% of U.S. scientists believe in God and 60% are a-religious, agnostic, or atheist. So it's erroneous to say most biologists and other scientists are atheists.

      YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

      by raincrow on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:34:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Only 7 Percent (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Skipbidder, IreGyre, SquareSailor, BPARTR

        of members of the National Academy of Sciences, when polled in 1998, said that they believed in god. Fewer than 6% of biologists professed a belief in god.

        http://www.stephenjaygould.org/...

        Another study (conducted by Eileen Ecklund, a sociologist at Rice  Univ.), yielded results fairly similar to the survey linked above (with fewer that 8% of natural scientists stating that they had no doubts about the existence of god, and over 75%  of natural scientists professing a lack of belief in god). However she has relentlessly mined that survey in order to distort the results (at the behest of the John Templeton Foundation which provided her funding?), even going so far as to insert language that was not included in the original survey ("spirituality" etc.). Out of this, Ecklund draws conclusions that a full 65% of these same scientists are "spiritual", which she uses interchangeably with "religious".

        "The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

        by SNFinVA on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:49:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You can read more (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Skipbidder, SquareSailor

        About Ecklund's bogus methodology here if you like:

        http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/...

        It is very interesting to see that she caught herself in a lie...especially given the amount of press her 'work' has been getting in the last few years.

        "The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

        by SNFinVA on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:02:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've followed Dawkins writing for a long time (9+ / 0-)

    I don't believe Dawkins singles out Islam, anymore than he singles out Christianity. In fact, all Abrahamic religions seem to be special targets of his scorn but that's only because they have so many adherents. One tweet isn't evidence of "Islam (having) always been a focal point of his venom." That particular tweet in fact is no worse than some of the things he's said about Christianity and no more  defines him as a bigot than his contempt for Judaism defines him as anti Semitic. The tweet said that Islam is the greatest force of evil, not that Muslims are the greatest force of evil.  Dawkins says some pretty rude things at times and I don't always agree with him but I think finding bigotry in that tweet is a bit of a stretch. Being anti religion doesn't automatically mean one is bigoted against those who believe in it. You should know this. And for the record, I've been describing myself as anti theist for decades.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:11:59 PM PDT

  •  Republished to Street Prophets. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yasuragi, caul
  •  I will tell you this: (6+ / 0-)

    I have several colleagues who are Muslim and I respect them highly. I try to be opposed in bigotry in all its forms, and I would never place someone in the 'evil' category for which religion they believe

    Nonetheless

    I think it reasonable to assign a heirarchy of religions based on their own writings, worldviews etc and while I can say that I find truth in none of them, they are not the same to me. I find Islam particularly offensive, much more so than Judaism or Christianity because of its own content. But another atheist might find Christianity worse, and that doesn't make them bigoted in my eyes.

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:36:34 PM PDT

    •  a cobbled together set of texts (Christian) versus (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichiganChet

      one that primarily originated with one person... (deemed a messenger of eternal unchanging text.. and not the originator who was of course the one true deity etc.)... And that very distinction set the course for what passed for normal, moderate, corrupted and then reform eras; what underpinned or excused or drove each in both religions; what was directly allowed or ordained and what had to be added or explained away later.

      Christianity has been kind of Crowd-sourced over a long time via many writers... through a number of languages, translations, versions and two millennia of interpretations of all of that.... with multiple sects, revivals, reinventions, purging etc. again and again which in some sense averaged and smoothed content and interpretations. But however the followers and leaders try they have a reset button set of texts at the core that are about peace and do unto others WITHOUT any definite asterisks also found in the core texts about exceptions and this or that group being substandard and assigning second class status to women through several very specific pronouncements and restrictions... like the more singular origin and content of the Islamic holy book which can also drive reform but also constrains some directions and choices and grants license to do some things that might be considered anathema to other faiths.

      So in a pi$$ing contest to determine which religion is worse... taking note of what the influence of the core texts has on the nominal middle ground of a religion... its historical tendencies what leads to recurring reforms, what the ideal society is supposed to be and more importantly the MEANS allowed to achieve that end makes Islam get the nod for being more inherently damaging... But it is theory vs practice. and in terms of "Practice" it hardly means anything to try to claim a winner since measuring and comparing levels and types of harm and trying to trace it back to core beliefs quickly becomes meaningless... The harm that believers of either religions have done in the name of that religion is more to do with defective humans using the religion for their own purposes or operating within it under its allowable guidelines for their own purposes than the highest ideals and aims of either.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 08:51:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not making any grand claim to which religion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical

        is worse. I am saying what I, as a thinking person, prefer. I loathe Islam the most of all the widespread monotheistic religions, basically for what it says; just like I loathe mayonnaise much more than mustard. No amount of comparative nutritional research on either condiment will change my point of view (and, I hasten to add, I would never kick anyone out of my grilling party for reaching for the Hellman's over the Gulden's spicy brown).

        And I am sorry, but I don't quite agree with your last sentence
        I think it has everything to do with the 'highest ideals and aims' of any irrational system of belief, not as much to do with us very influenceable mortal humans. Again, that's just me. But that is also where the famous atheists like Dawkins, Harris and the late Hitchens sat.

        An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

        by MichiganChet on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 06:54:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  they all start with "Do unto others" in some form (0+ / 0-)

          but quickly these starting points are encrusted with followers and interpreters own fixations, ignorance, fears and agendas and then their own personal benefits linked to all that, large or small, take precedence  and begin to justify protecting the extended mutated and distorted construct without reasonable restraint... live and let live gets shunted aside very quickly since the same types of people are in control on both sides... and tend to sideline the more peaceable strains or trends most of the time. Keeping it simple... sticking to just the basic stuff fails every time....

          By the way, my initial comment is a very short condensed extract from a much longer comment.. which I do not expect anyone to read BUT if you are interested I am posting it under this... maybe my overall take on the topic will be clearer... or not... :)

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 10:15:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the original much longer comment (0+ / 0-)

            Christian vs Islamic core texts

            a cobbled together set of texts (Christian) versus
            one that primarily originated with one person... (deemed a messenger. of eternal unchanging text.. and not the originator who was of course the one true deity)... And that very distinction set the course for what passed for normal, moderate, corrupted and then reform eras.... what underpinned or excused or drove each in both religions. What was directly allowed or ordained and what had to be added or explained away later.

            Christianity has been kind of Crowd-sourced over a long time via many writers... through a number of languages, translations, versions and two millennia of interpretations of all of that.... with multiple sects, revivals, reinventions, purging etc. again and again which in some sense averaged and smoothed content and interpretations. But however the followers and leaders try they have a reset button set of texts at the core that are about peace and do unto others WITHOUT any definite asterisks also found in the core texts about exceptions and this or that group being substandard and assigning second class status to women through several very specific pronouncements and restrictions...

            And there are no New Testament allowances for cruel punishments, stoning, dismemberment and eye for an eye in general... In the Holy Book of Islam and Sharia these kinds of things are allowed even though they tend to conflict with some of the more peaceful elements of the founding texts that are about peace and tolerance but over and over in history when a choice was needed for perceived defensive or offensive actions the default choice was for the lesser jihad... war and violence over the greater Jihad the purely spiritual... and the submission to authority who rule in the name of the deity went hand in hand with that approach..... no problem with mass public prayer and other social control formats... while Christianity at least texturally recommends private prayer...

            The Islamic core texts were all oral until the "Messenger's" death. Then the community who inherited authority assembled all of these verses from the collective memories of the faithful... and had them written down in a literary form that are as beautiful in their textural composition as the King James version is to our ears. And that of course is due to those who wrote it down... from these multiple sources. Then all the other utterances and recollections were assembled into different levels of "Hadiths" or sayings that have a whole gamut of validity to "definitely" were said by the founding messenger... to less sure but still often touted right the way down to "might have", or "could have said"... and these are argued over to this very day. Some branches do without ALL of them or have firm notions on which to accept. It is comparable to the apocrypha in Christianity. Of course since the early days of Islam a huge amount of crowd sourced material collectively known as Sharia has built up to fill in, explain or elaborate as needed on all the things not included in the original texts. So in that sense it is just as crowd sourced and fragmented as Christianity.

            But the bottom line is that all the political and personal currents of the time had an influence on the writing down of the original  texts... which of course is vigorously denied by believers who much like Christian apologists for biblical inerrancy are convinced that every single word is perfect and ordained by heaven... and in fact in Islam 7th century Arabic is exactly what they speak in Heaven AND the Quran was written exactly as it is now at the beginning of time or even predated the creation... A pretty heavy book! One that is much more focused and which spells out the entire basic framework of observance and belief much more clearly than the grab bag of things said by or about Jesus which form the base of Christianity.

            So the Islamic foundational texts and dynamics have more in common with Mormonism in that the texts or the words are directly from the founding figure or via his immediate heirs and include a lot more day to day details on devotional acts and behavior beyond general do unto other stuff plus organizational structure very useful for a new start-up religion. And for any cult organizing and staying organized is paramount and will have a lasting influence on the entire later history of the religious faith that evolves and grows from that. (never mind that Islam was retro declared to have always existed and that everyone ever born throughout history is by default a Muslim but who through no fault of their own often do not get a chance to find out... and only later if they refuse to understand that they are really Muslim would it be OK to kill or enslave them or just tax them heavily)

            So when it is time for a Christian country or group to reform, to get back to the "true basis" texturally speaking... however they interpret that.. they tend to be stuck with the humility, sharing, caring, non violent tenets  .... and whatever they can still claim goes with that, but not enough re-interpretable pretexts for the opposite if they want it. On the other hand while Islam has plenty of similar positive material in the core texts they do also have plenty of foundational pretexts that help violent authoritative reformers /rulers and like minded followers to be in the drivers seat imposing the corrections... and this also underpins local social control being more easily imposed with a scriptural basis and it echoes and reinforces higher authority via direct links to religious writing. Like constitutional law all the rest of society flows from it and refers back to it.

            So the upshot is that pressing the reset button for reform in Christianity usually is after a society or church strays too far from at least reasonable lip-service to an ideal of egalitarian and peaceful ways of life and the rich and powerful and violent hold sway just a bit too much... and the religious texts provide a starting point and standard to try and uphold them... and staying true to the text means also trying to find a recipe that works to ally with some form of authority and or control that is at least somehow explained as being in harmony with the texts...

            That of course did not prevent violent, power mad or greedy people from doing all manner of evil in the name of Christianity but they still had to do it in the face of the contradiction in the texts... Moreover that kind of thing worked very well for Medieval societies Christian or Islamic but not as much for more educated, more democratic and plural more modern societies.

            The very word Islam translates as "Submission" and who decides what exactly believers should be doing to carry out this submission tends to hold the cards. They do have to use the book but that still gives the religious authorities and the temporal rulers plenty of latitude to define how the submission should be done. Submission to authority, Heavenly or earthly was how things worked in Medieval society but that very core emphasis on submission is yet another starting point that tends to heads in a coercive direction... overtly or more subtly and explain some of the differences between Christian and Islamic societies.

            So having a more literate society and Bibles in the local languages had a powerful reforming and democratic effect reminding people what the basis was supposed to be and that added at least a counter push towards being more accepting, more open and less violent is the general trend of the reform while it lasted and still remained to pull believers and societies back from extremes... Because not all reformers were of the St. Francis variety or in that general direction at least in spirit...

            Some extreme reformers of often went the other way, Savonarola types, puritans, but they were soon gotten rid of since they did not conform to the Christian ideals that people still understood. Not that Medieval Christianity was open and accepting of outsiders or the more conservative branches today but the point is that they have to work hard at explaining away the scriptures that show them to be not very good Christians. And once translations, printing and wider literacy was out of the bag that helped a bit too.

            In Islam... it would appear to be more the opposite. While for the most part stable and just societies could be found throughout Islamic history... the stable and static middle ground and the life lived by the average person was in part a compromise that traded away a certain measure of flexibility and tolerance in exchange for stability most of the time with the ever present threat of severe consequences for contravening social norms or the law. The texts which are only religiously valid in the original Arabic support a more conservative society where the members themselves can even kill apostates with partial and sometimes effectively complete impunity (and unbelievers and immoral female family members too) and selectively upholding favored core texts and sidelining the earliest mostly more tolerant texts means the norm is still generally being intolerant.

            And conversely, becoming more open, tolerant, liberal etc. tend to be the exception rather than the rule since they inevitably come to be seen as decadent and in need of reform to go back to taxing unbelievers, taking women from unbelievers punishing crimes harshly via sharia etc. Justice and peace are seen just as important as in Christianity but the means of achieving it have more latitude in text and in practice... ultimately it is an ends justifying the means argument and both faiths have routinely resorted to the worst of means for higher purposes... but the texts do differ on what is supposedly OK... and in the long run arguably have held back Christians from continuing to be too Medieval and allowed them to become generally more plural and tolerant overall not withstanding plenty of backward looking Medieval minded believers.

            So in a pi$$ing contest to determine which religion is worse... taking note of what the influence of the core texts has on the nominal middle ground of a religion... its historical tendencies what leads to recurring reforms, what the ideal society is supposed to be and more importantly the MEANS allowed to achieve that end makes Islam get the nod for being more inherently damaging... It is theory vs practice. The harm that believers of either religions have done in the name of that religion is more to do with defective humans using the religion for their own purposes or operating within it under its allowable guidelines for their own purposes than the highest ideals and aims of either.

            But that said there are more direct and clear strictures and rules allowing and sanctioning inhuman practice by believers and defective people have taken full advantage of them throughout the history of Islam. So how much of that is the fault of Islam and how much faulty people with in it? All religions shelter monsters within them... but some do it more easily than others from a textual basis. Some monstrous things can be more directly allowed by the very core texts of some religions compared to others which need later elaborations or reinterpretations to leave room for allowing or even demanding barbarity and inhumanity.

            In Christianity there were no core texts to base Crusades or torture on... but of course the church at the time had little trouble finding textural support for whatever they wanted to do... but it took more invention and imagination than just reading directly from unambiguous texts... Fortunately for them there was so much to pick from and so much of it was vague and open to interpretation that with some effort they could justify or explain away anything. But later scholars could expose this sort of self serving text fiddling and revert dogma and practice back to more "Christian" interpretations...

            They could not go directly to the text of the main figure and say "Slavery? OK!" (but only unbelievers!), Concubines? Yes (but again only unbelievers... just like the Founder did!) dismemberment? stoning? all fine but only if they really really deserve it... and the local heavy has the final say... or the family or the neighbors... Snipping parts of peoples genitalia? yes .... but like all these things... recommended to be moderate... not commanded... beat your wife? yes but again only after verbal coaxing to obey and then the beating is OK in moderation... snip  parts off of your daughter? yes yes but if you really really must, just the tip of it... but if you want everything chopped off... well that's up to you... local standards trump distant opinions... the faith is both immune from local drift to better or worse practices and yet also often completely helpless to change or abolish medieval customs that have become inexorably linked to the faith.

            With all the horrible things done in the name of Christianity.. how fortunate that the twisted people who did them did not have textual go-aheads for even more horrors... they had little actual basis for burning witches, throwing Jews down wells, torturing and or burning alleged heretics and apostates or being involved in wars of subjugation and conquest or the slave trade... but at least people would eventually admit these things were contrary to the teachings attributed to Christ and could not point to Christ having multiple wives and concubines and repeat old stories about him having a monumental appetite for reproduction his virility etc... and wanting to emulate these and other examples form his life.

            Neither could they point to an example of him enslaving all the people in one town who at first gave him and his followers sanctuary... No, the worst he supposedly did was shake dust off his sandals when he left an unfriendly town or maybe overturning some moneylender tables at the main temple... VERY BAD for business... (The messenger guy did the opposite... make a deal with the town  and its local shrine... if they dumped all the other "false" gods  and not only do they all get to live and or not be enslaved, they got to be the new must-visit spot for all the new believers in the future)... VERY GOOD for business...

            Just how much worse would the barbarous things done under the banner of Christianity have been had these things been in the Bible or the oral tradition about Christ? Some old writings excluded  from the Bible seem to allude to him having a wife... and for the time and place it would not have been unusual if he had a slave or two at some point in his early adulthood... who knows? But the point is that the historical Jesus is elusive and things have been pared away from the history we have to make him appear more perfect. But there was probably nothing violent or otherwise uncomfortable to edit out. That is unlike the historical Muhammad who on the one hand is firmly kept as an ordinary man and not imbued with demi-godhood - just a human chosen as a messenger but along with that his human failings are blended into the very fabric of the faith and justify things like child marriages, plural marriages, and far from being questioned are supported and even celebrated and that is not to mention that followers choose to emulate the prophet and the fact that he personally fought battles, ordered executions and severe punishment and enslavement is not great for setting an example along the lines of do as I say not so much all the stuff I do...

            Who profited if at all from their founding of a religion? Of the big 3 monotheistic ones only one has a sole founding figure who did very well indeed with the power and prerogatives that ensued from spreading the faith... A comparison with Joseph Smith is not out of order but there the untimely death of the founder was the making of the eventual success of the faith... with Islam it was already a big success at the death of the founder but the unexpected untimely demise from unknown causes on the cusp of the explosion of the expansion beyond the Arabian peninsula profited others much more that the apparently simple living prophet (who still if the traditions can be believed like to be very well manicured, coiffed and oiled) who probably ate pretty well and was kept busy with his home life quite a bit. And they needed the book written down to take with all the armies spreading the faith... along with the commandment to travel (and bring money!) on a pilgrimage to the holy city... and just when was THAT pillar added in?

            Unlike Islam which went from a small cult to an empire in a generation or two, Christianity took many decades even centuries  to really get rolling and finally begin to provide some good material incentives for at least some of the more opportunistic proponents eventually. It took converting an emperor to the faith to really ensure it would not only have legs but endure... perhaps it would have succeeded without Constantine eventually but it sure sped things up after a long build up... And in the process they also evolved organizational structures to ensure long term survival and global success. But to do it they still were somewhat hobbled and kept true to the original texts at least periodically. And the same can be said of Islam but their founding texts have things that send the reset mode into a different set and balance of remedies... things that are inherently and more easily lend themselves to abuse by imperfect people.

            Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

            by IreGyre on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 10:36:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  A more valid critique of Dakins' tweet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    is that it isn't helpful. The only way Islam will face pressure to change is if that change occurs from within. Outside attacks don't help, as they tend to rally the troops. You may hate that a family member believes stupid shit, but you don't want to hear someone from outside your family saying that.

    Money doesn't talk it swears.

    by Coss on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:15:05 PM PDT

  •  Neil deGrasse Tyson is a pea in the same pod (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul

    I applaud your criticism of Dawkins' bigotry, at the same time my eyebrow is having a moment wrt your ignorant and anti-scientific beliefs about theism.

    Humans. Hunh.

    YES WE DID -- AGAIN. FOUR MORE YEARS.

    by raincrow on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:29:33 PM PDT

  •  I disagree. (4+ / 0-)

    A few facts need to be acknowledged:

    1.  Islam is the single most politically potent religion in the world (other than capitalism, har har).

    2.  Islam plays a far greater role in the lives of those who subscribe to it, on average, than any other large religion.

    3.  Islam is the only major religion playing a direct role in global military conflicts.

    4.  Islam is the main reason for hatred of Israel.  If the exact same conflict were occurring between two Islamic peoples, there would be far less attention paid to it, and opinion in the Islamic world would be more divided on the issue.

    5.  The only despotic theocracies in the world are Islamic.  The closest things to non-Islamic theocracies are the Vatican and Tibetan Buddhism.

    6.  Non-Muslim minorities in Islamic countries face far more discrimination up to and including violent repression and mass-death terrorist attacks than Islamic minorities in non-Muslim countries.

    7.  Sectarian violence between Islamic sects and between Muslims and non-Muslims accounts for far more death and destruction than all non-Islamic religious conflicts combined.

    Islam not a constructive idea, and has proven that it's more potent at inflicting the bad things about religion on society than other religions.  It encourages liberals in the Muslim community to be silent and afraid, and conservatives to be bold and fearless and speak with authority.  Many of these countries where women now walk around covered, their grandmothers wore miniskirts.  It's the worst major religion.  There's no reason to deny that other than political correctness.

    Going faster miles an hour, with the radio on.

    by Troubadour on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:34:58 PM PDT

    •  I would point out that America (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alhambra, caul

      has spent the last century going around the world causing death and destruction on a massive scale.
      Israel stole the land of a bunch of other people and that has a lot to do with their being hated along with their continued war crimes in the occupied territory.
      No religion is is exempt from stupid followers because believing in nonsense is a requirement for all religions.
      There are no Muslims in North Korea. Nor are there any Muslims in the DR Congo.
      Most of these Muslim sectarian wars are the result of Western Imperialism at their beginnings.
      I have been in the Ghettos in several European countries and seen how horribly poor Muslims are treated.
      Islam like all revealed religions is evil and ruins countless lives on a daily basis. In my opinion it is dangerous to think any are worse or better.

      •  Not a very well thought-out response. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice
        I would point out that America...
        ...is not a religion.
        Israel stole the land of a bunch of other people and that has a lot to do with their being hated along with their continued war crimes in the occupied territory.
        Israel stole it from Muslims, and the people they mistreat today are Muslims.  That's the single, overwhelming reason they're hated in the Muslim world.  Few can even name the intra-Muslim minority groups who are treated just as badly or worse by Muslim governments, and not because they don't exist or are small in number.  
        No religion is is exempt from stupid followers because believing in nonsense is a requirement for all religions.
        And that fact is beside the point when the subject is which religious nonsense has proven the most persistently damaging to enlightened values.  
        There are no Muslims in North Korea. Nor are there any Muslims in the DR Congo.
        Neither of those places are problematic due to religious conflict.
        Most of these Muslim sectarian wars are the result of Western Imperialism at their beginnings.
        Western Imperialism touched every corner of the globe, but the region where intransigent sectarian conflicts still rage are overwhelmingly those where Islam is strong.  You don't see much religiously-motivated violence that doesn't involve Islam on one side or both.
        I have been in the Ghettos in several European countries and seen how horribly poor Muslims are treated.
        If there are no mass-casualty bombings, militia pogroms, or AK-47 massacres, they fare better than non-Muslim minorities in Islamic countries.  That doesn't excuse poor treatment of any kind, but it is the most relevant statement in a discussion about comparisons.
        Islam like all revealed religions is evil and ruins countless lives on a daily basis.  In my opinion it is dangerous to think any are worse or better.
        It is irrational to deny that any are worse or better.  Ideas are what they do.  Communism might have arisen from the noblest of motives, but in practice it was an absolute horror show.  Muslims are just like any other human beings, but they live within a religious cultural framework that is especially corrosive to enlightened values, and any among them who challenge that framework face far more extreme and pervasive repercussions than those who challenge religion in other societies.  The existence of anti-Muslim prejudice is not a justification for false equivalencies that fly in the face of the reality of what that religion produces in practice.

        Going faster miles an hour, with the radio on.

        by Troubadour on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:59:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Regarding Cardinal Law: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, IreGyre

    It's the oldest quarrel in the book. Back in the Middle Ages, the church argued that clerics and church officials accused of wrongdoing should be tried by the church. The Kings argued that they should be tried before secular courts. That quarrel is still going on today. The problem is that most church officials (of any religion) have inadequate or no legal training whatsoever so that they are not in any position to determine innocence or guilt.

  •  The tolerance of Islam 800 years ago (6+ / 0-)

    fails to impress me in 2013.

  •  Even in a Left-friendly place like Dkos... (4+ / 0-)

    ...Islamophobia runs deep.

  •  A matter of respect and deference? (0+ / 0-)

    Most religions, particularly Abrahamic religions, and Islam in particular, argue they wholly own an obvious truth that is only denied by those suffering from a deep delusion and moral failing and, as a consequence, will face some form of undesirable judgement, eternal in the case of Christianity and Islam.

    Sorry, but THAT is waaay more "bigoted" than Dawkin's opinion that currently, Islam seems to be exacerbating political conflicts around the world. Even if the point is that Dawkin implies that Muslims are evil because they believe in an evil thing, that is still less bigoted than the belief that I suffer from some sort of fundamental ignorance because I disagree with the claim that at the existence of at least one god has been proven true, and so will suffer eternally on account of this "denial."

  •  Dawkins is doing science a lot of harm now (0+ / 0-)

    I love his biological writing, but his vehement and unrelated attacks on religion are causing a lot of grief. Sections of his brilliant observations (i.e. Ancestor's Tale) now make some of my students' heads explode.

    For decades I've pushed the idea that religion and science are two totally different ways of knowing the world. I've worked hard to get college students to lend me their scientific brains in class. If I ridiculed their other ways of knowing the world, they'd turn off.

    And that's what Dawkins is doing. I spoke to someone who knows him well just a couple weeks ago. His take: Dawkins has taken so much abuse over the years he's giving it back. But extremism works both ways.

    For what it's worth, the reason there is so much religious extremism in SOME Islamic countries has nothing to do with the religion. It's the huge gap between the rich and the desperately poor. And if you follow that logic, where do you see the worst religious extremism in this country? Where folks are poor and can't get ahead! It has nothing to do with the religion (except that religious "leaders" use people's grief to their advantage.)

    •  Compartmentalization (0+ / 0-)

      Reality doesn't much care about one's preferred method of "knowing the world." Some things are true and others are false. Whatever true statements religion concludes about reality, it is by mere happenstance that it arrives at them. The Scientific Method is thus far the best way to determine which statements are true.

      I don't believe in compartmentalization, that there are separate spheres in which religion and science, broadly defined, live. Nope, there is only reality, all statements about reality are either true or false, and we can get to them either by flipping coins, which is essentially religion, or by deductive reasoning together with evidence and investigation. I agree this is a bitter pill to swallow, but someone of prominence has to be there to say it. Thank Dawkins for doing so.

      For example, we could test your claim about religion having nothing to do with the extremism found in some Islamic countries by finding a highly stratified and extremist society where the people believed in a religion which taught rational skepticism and the scientific method. No such society has or ever existed. Your point and mine are of course the same, all of the ills of humanity are ultimately caused by societies believing in things which are not true and implementing policies according to these false beliefs. Now we come to our disagreement, religion has at least something to do with it, since it so clearly has an effect on how people and societies come to determine what is true and what is false.

    •  Not to get into metaphysics & epistemology, but in (0+ / 0-)

      what way is religion a way of "knowing" the world except in the sense that it's a window into psychology and anthropology?  In fact, modern theology, following Kierkegaard, even posits that the value of faith is that it is NOT knowledge -- I.e., that it requires Kierkegaard's famous "leap." One might argue that making that leap opens oneself up to knowledge unavailable to those who refuse to make it; but that contention is contradicted by the behavior and  experience of many non-theistic Buddhists who appear to be at least as "enlightened" as most believers.  

              As for the central question of this thread, it's not true that all believers in a particular Abrahamic monotheism believe that non-adherents of other sects will go to hell.  That certainly WAS true in the past, but has been far from universally true in our Ecumenical age. (E.g., I was taught the opposite by nuns & priests in the 1950's -- I.e., even before Vatican II.)

              However, it is probably true that the vast majority of "fundamentalists" of each faith believe in exclusivity of salvation and the evil of non-believers.  Such fundamentalism does seem to be an inherent risk in any ideology (see Nazism, Communism, free-market fundamentalism), much less religion.  Hell, there was even a self-identified Buddhist political movement committing political murders in the news recently, to which, as a Buddhist convert, I can only say, WTF?  

              So maybe the question about Islam might be, "Does it intrinsically lend itself to fundamentalism more than other faiths?" I'd say the historical record suggests otherwise.  A somewhat different question might be whether it is currently more likely to produce fundamentalists?  To which I would respond, "What is the percentage of fundamentalists among American Christians?" and "What is the percentage of fundamentalists among the right in Israel and the West Bank settlers?" and "What is the percentage of fundamentalists among the voters for the right-wing, nationalist Hindu governments of India, the inheritors of the ideology of Ghandhi's assassin?"

             Bottom line:  It's an empirical question whether Islam is currently giving rise to a greater percentage of aggressively intolerant fundamentists than all the other major religions.  Making a judgment about that question without good systematic research seems to me to be, especially in a great scientist, to fit the definition of prejudice precisely.

      "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

      by Oliver St John Gogarty on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 07:36:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDsg

        While your thoughtful comment (almost a diary in itself) was so interesting to read, I truly believe that the "militia" bigots in my Northern Michigan community who stockpile automatic weapons because they want to be ready to fight off FEMA and the government--and the UN--are at least as much terrorists as the poor young men who wander around the Middle East. And the guy who shot Dr. TIller? Terrorist!

  •  Let me sum up: (0+ / 0-)

    From Dawkin's tweet:

    But often say Islam greatest force for evil today
    To Obamalover20122's conclusion:
    Religious extremism is the problem.  Not necessarily Islam.  Islam is no more evil than any other religion.  And when people like Dawkins try to assert that it is it not only makes him look ignorant but bigoted.
    Now me, I'm forced to agree that religious extremism is the problem.  Christian and Jewish extremists kill and oppress people who don't ascribe to their views just as Islamic extremists do.  The scope of the damage caused by extremists varies directly with the amount of power they have in society:  people with more power have the ability to do more damage, and extremists are more willing to do that damage than believers who think human rights are more important than imposing a particular viewpoint on everyone around them.

    The scientific argument against religion is this:  you have a hypothesis that a god or gods exist, but you have failed to provide sufficient evidence to support that hypothesis.  Therefore your hypothesis should be considered untrue in the light of the evidence we have so far.  If new evidence arises to support your hypothesis, it should be duly considered.  So when Dawkins states that Islam is untrue, he is stating the conclusion of that argument.

    However, in the tweet, he states that Islam, not Islamic extremism, nor Islamic extremists in power, is the greatest force for evil today, I don't think he's made the case for that.  He has also discussed it in a video:  

    "There is a belief that every word of the Koran is literally true, and there's a kind of close mindedness which is, I think, less present in the former Christendom, perhaps because we've had long - I don't know quite why - but there's more of a historical tradition of questioning.  There are people in the Islamic world who simply say, 'Islam is right, and we are going to impose our will.' There's an asymmetry. I think in a way we are being too nice. I think that it's possible to be naively overoptimistic, and if you reach out to people who have absolutely no intention of reaching back to you, then you may be disillusioned."
     Note that it is equally true that there are people in the Christian world who simply say, 'Christianity is right, and we are going to impose our will.'  The only difference here is the access to power and in secular restraints to that power.

    Just as I have known practicing Christians who don't want to determine reproductive health care for other women, to deny civil rights to non-heterosexuals or to oppress blasphemers, I have known practicing Muslims who don't want to force women into the burqa or to kill homosexuals or blasphemers.  Richard Dawkins demonstrates in one of his videos that there are anti-science Muslims who don't believe that salt water and fresh will mix because of the Quaran, but we are all familiar with YECs.

    The literature of all the Abrahamic religions preaches homicidal intolerance of other religious beliefs, so it's pretty difficult to make the argument that Islam is the greatest force for evil based on the basis of religious writings.  

    So I think Dawkins is biased against Islam, but I would only use the term bigoted for someone who is biased against people, rather than beliefs.  I am not aware of any statements he has made that support a case of his bigotry against Muslim people.  Similarly, I think a Presbyterian who thinks that it's better to Episcopalian than atheist is biased, but one who says that atheists are immoral is bigoted.  That's the only disagreement I have with this well-written, well-reasoned post.

    Socialist? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    by Kimbeaux on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 09:51:00 AM PDT

  •  Why Dawkins single outs Islam (0+ / 0-)

    is that the religious authorities of Islam have stayed in the past, in fact, have gone backward from their great heights.
    In your diary you pointed out

    During the Medieval age the Islamic world was the center of science and learning.  During this time Muslims made great strides in many fields from mathematics to physics to medicine.
    What happened?  How many nobel prize winners from Muslim dominated countries in the last 100 years?

    Dawkins is really reacting to this.

    "Attempting to debate with a person who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine

    by liberalconservative on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 12:15:26 PM PDT

    •  I would say the West has been far more affected (0+ / 0-)

      by pedophile priests and their protectors than Islamic terrorists.

      How many civilians have been killed by Islamic terrorists as opposed to children raped and tortured by priests?  It's not even close.

      The only reason why Islam seems more backward than Christianity is because there are a lot less Christians in Christian countries.

      If you had as many religious Christians living in Christian countries in the West as religious Muslims in the Middle East you would would have Uganda type governments populating the Western world.

      Islam is not any more backwards than any other religion.

      •  That's just silly (0+ / 0-)

        Have tens of thousands been killed by pedophile priests?  Really?

        And consider this:  Catholics around the globe have made it known loud and clear that this will not be tolerated.  It is considered a shameful and disgusting part of recent church history, and approximately 100% of Catholics loathe and condemn it very publicly.

        Now how does that stack up against the reaction in the Muslim world when children are murdered in the name of Allah?  Sure, there are a few voices of protest.  But...

        •  So raping children is no big whoop? (0+ / 0-)

          Are you saying murder is really that much more serious than raping and torturing children?  That is a bizarre distinction to make.

          Furthermore, most Catholics are not religious, and the ones that are defend the Church tooth and nail.

          Whereas a much greater percentage of Muslims happen to be religious, so like religious Catholics they will defend their extremists tooth and nail.

          Now why are there more religious Muslims than Catholics?  Because a far greater percentage of of Muslims live in the third world and are therefore less educated.  If Muslims were just as rich and educated as Westerners they would be far less religious.

          •  Too bizarre for a response.....bye bye...eom (0+ / 0-)
          •  Wishful thinking on your part. (0+ / 0-)
            If Muslims were just as rich and educated as Westerners they would be far less religious.
            Not in my experience.  Wealth and education don't reduce piety among Muslims.

            Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

            by JDsg on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 07:28:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Anecdotal evidence is not convincing (0+ / 0-)
              •  Regardless... (0+ / 0-)

                ...it is correct.

                Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

                by JDsg on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 08:17:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                  •  Prove it. (0+ / 0-)

                    Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

                    by JDsg on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:43:58 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                      •  The first link... (0+ / 0-)

                        ...has nothing to do with the topic at hand.  The second link, which does, is somewhat weak.  I assume that the green points are Muslim countries.  But the one green point near the Western Europe cluster (who is it?) is obviously in line with the non-Muslim trend.  If that country is Turkey, well, Muslims in general find Turkish piety to be an outlier in general.

                        Considering how few Muslim countries are represented in the graph, it's difficult to take the results as seriously than if more or most Muslim countries were presented.  What I would expect to see would be more countries like Kuwait and the green cluster on the left, where all of these countries are high on the y-axis. This is what you see among Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries (eg, US, Switzerland, Singapore, to name three countries I have personal knowledge of). These communities are both wealthy (especially as opposed to the poor Muslim countries) and religious. They don't follow the non-Muslim patterns presented in the graph.  This is why you hear story after story of mosques bursting at the seams throughout the US and western/eastern Europe, new mosques needing to be built, people praying in the streets, snow, etc.  That is the reality, which corresponds much more strongly with the Kuwait model.  Non-Muslims may lose their faith the wealthier they get; Muslims, not very much.

                        Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

                        by JDsg on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 06:09:40 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  That's too bad (0+ / 0-)

                          So what might work then?

                          •  I'm not sure what you mean. (0+ / 0-)

                            "So what might work then," what? For Muslims to lose their faith like non-Muslims do?

                            If that's what you're asking, that's the great news, not bad news.  It is a point stressed over and over in the Qur'an, that believers are those who continue to remember Allah (swt) through prayer and the other pillars of Islam in good times and in bad.  Those who lose their faith due to increasing wealth (or increasing belief in science, to use the other link) are those who are ungrateful to Allah (swt), who provides all sustenance to mankind despite the ingratitude. That you can find countries like Kuwait, with its relative wealth and high level of piety, is a much better model to follow than those other countries that have lost their faith with their increasing wealth.

                            Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

                            by JDsg on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 07:17:15 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  By and large... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fire bad tree pretty
          Now how does that stack up against the reaction in the Muslim world when children are murdered in the name of Allah?
          ...Muslim children aren't murdered in the name of Allah (swt).  So-called honor killings don't fall under this category, and the killing of innocent children among bystanders of, say, a bombing is something that will upset a community, even if it is unreported.  Now, innocent Muslim children being killed by American drones, that's another story.

          Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

          by JDsg on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 07:36:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  BS (0+ / 0-)

    yeah...sure, you're an atheist. Go away.

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