Is religion good even if it's false?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
Post Reply
User avatar
Antone
Posts: 419
Joined: August 29th, 2010, 11:02 am

Post by Antone » October 16th, 2010, 8:43 pm

Belinda wrote:...without Christianity, Islamic societies may have developed into reformation and scientific enlightenment.
I'm not sure what motivated such a comment, or where you draw your inspiration for the thought, but frankly, it would not be possible for me to disagree more with this statement.

Presumably you've bought into the myths about the crusades being an invasion of Muslim territory by "radical" christian war mongers--or some such historical nonsense. The Crusades were a response to Muslim's conquering large portions of land by the sword. And for the most part the crusades really weren't all that successful.

It was also the Muslims who were primarily responsible for selling African slaves around the world. Yet America is condemned for buying them, while Muslims are successfully recruiting blacks to their ranks. The Pirating problem was also largely a Muslim Problem, by the way.

Without early Christian opposition to Muslim aggression, much more of the earth would be under Islamic rule.

In this modern day, Muslims use the inventions that infidels have created, they go to the schools that infidels have built... they are literally being pulled along into the modern world. For example, contrary to the myths that all suicide bombers are the poor dregs of their society, the radicals who blew up the London subway a few years back or so were DOCTORS.
Belinda wrote: I have read the Koran only partly and I must read it soon, and thoroughly.
I have not read the Bible or the Koran all the way through... but I have done some significant studying of both. One thing to keep in mind while you read the Koran is that it is a single book written by a single author. When it contains contradictory passage (much as the bible does) the Koran tells us how to deal with them. The ones written later are the ones that take precedence. This is tricky, because the Koran is often not presented in chronological order. But unbiased students of the Koran can tell you that the violent passages are the ones that were written last.

Mohommads early career was spent in more peaceful endeavors. But he didn't gain success until he became a warrior prophet and a conqueror.
Belinda wrote: I have been told that if Muslims were to read the Koran along with the history of the development of Islam they would see that the unpleasant bits of the Koran were anchored to the temporary need for Muslims to fight against infidels.
In a sense, this is true... Just as it is true that Islam is a religion of peace.

Their religion tells Muslims that they must conquer the entire earth and place it under their political jurisdiction. Only when this has been done will there be peace... so yes, they have a need to "deal with" infidels and yes, they are a religion that is striving for that Time of Peace when they rule the entire world.

Another tidbit about Islam is that, unlike Christianity, Murder and lying are only condemned when it is Muslim on Muslim... And not always even then, since you have the Honor Killings (where a father or brother kills a wife or daughter for dishonoring the family) which are culturally and religiously condoned. Muslims are encouraged to lie to the infidel. They are encouraged to act like a friend, but to hate them in their hearts.
Belinda wrote:I have been told that most Muslims are 'moderate'
Don't get me wrong, there are good Muslims, and there certainly are some who are truly moderates. But what you have to understand is that (1) any Muslim who is a true moderate is living under a death sentence from Muslims who are more extreme. (2) All moderate Muslims are violating the most fundamental principles of their own religion--which literally does not allow for moderate behavior.

There are many Moderate Muslims whom I have a great deal of respect for. They are literally risking their own lives every day, just to take a stand against the radicals. But there are also many who only pretend to be moderates. CAIR pretended to be a moderate "friendship" organization while funneling millions of dollars (donated by Americans) to terrorist organizations. And there are several dozens of similar organizations with various radical goals operating around the world. The Muslim who is building the ground zero mosque claims to be a moderate, and he is often presented that way by politicians and those in the media but he has close ties to terrorists and terrorist activity.

So I say please DO learn about Islam... Find out the truth for yourself... but make sure that at least half of the information sources you rely on are either ex-Muslim or non-Muslim information and activist groups so that you get both sides of the argument and not just getting the Muslim propaganda.

Kapra
Posts: 202
Joined: October 6th, 2010, 7:22 am

Post by Kapra » October 16th, 2010, 9:26 pm

I agree with Anton it is important to research the impartial evidence about Muslim dogma. I read a lot of anti Christian rhetoric on this forum, but none on anti Muslim theology? I doubt its because those who disagree with religion only disagree with Christianity, it is more to do with the fear of saying anything against Muslims? It is a real fear bred by orders to assassinate authors of books like Salman Rushdies for his book The Satanic Verses. In our countries we are allowed to criticise Christians with no fear of retaliations. But in Muslim countries and Muslim mosques they are ordered by their clerics to kill the infidel. Salman Rushdie was living in the U.K. when he wrote that book not in Saudi, yet because it became an international best seller, Leading clerics in Saudi ordained his assassination.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Post by Belinda » October 17th, 2010, 5:29 am

Antone wrote
Belinda wrote:
...without Christianity, Islamic societies may have developed into reformation and scientific enlightenment.

I'm not sure what motivated such a comment, or where you draw your inspiration for the thought, but frankly, it would not be possible for me to disagree more with this statement.
It was only a suggestion that the cookie may have crumbled in ways that nobody can be sure about. The fact is that Christendom became what it was and subsequent events were as they were, but that some small or large event might have changed the history of the Islamic empires to enable enlightenment. As it is Islam is medievally mired in superstition and ,for some Muslims , in violence.
As Kapra and Antone say, there is real fear of Muslim revenge if one says anything against Islam or Muslims as Muslims. PC also asks that we tread very carefully around Muslim eggshell sensibilities.
I oppose all old time dogmatic religious behaviour and belief systems, whether they are Jewish, Muslim or Christian or whatever else.

Kapra, Antone, do you think that it is fear of violent attacks from Islamists that stop 'moderate' Muslims from taking to the streets to protest against Islamist terrorism, or against Taliban dictatorship?
After all, 'Christians' may shoot abortion doctors or behave pretty badly in certain other ways but they don't shoot me for taking leave of the Christian God and I don't expect that they ever will.
Socialist

User avatar
Antone
Posts: 419
Joined: August 29th, 2010, 11:02 am

Post by Antone » October 17th, 2010, 2:20 pm

Belinda wrote:It was only a suggestion that the cookie may have crumbled in ways that nobody can be sure about. The fact is that Christendom became what it was and subsequent events were as they were, but that some small or large event might have changed the history of the Islamic empires to enable enlightenment.
While I don't disagree with you that nobody can be sure how the "cookie may have crumbled", given even small historical differences, I don't think it is very likely that Islam would have followed a radically different path without Christianity.

For one thing, Jews and other religions qualify as infidels... but more importantly, so do other sects of Muslims. That's why the Shiites and the Sunnis go around killing one another. The other group aren't true Muslims to the other. This means that the longed for peace, when the whole world will be a unified Muslim nation is entirely an illusion.

Second, suggesting that Muslims might have become "enlightened" if they hadn't had (Christian) opposition, seems to me a bit like saying that Hitler's Germany would have been able to reach an "enlightened" stage of social
development if there hadn't been any opposition to them killing all the Jews and other undesirable social elements. Hitler's (mistress?) Eva Braun (I believe) was known for her tremendous compassion for the suffering of non-Jewish Germans. Among this group, she was a humanitarian of Mother Teresa proportions--and yet she had no problem with knowingly loading the Jews into the trains bound for the extermination camps.

Ideologies (like people) are not cartoon caricatures. They are complex entities and can simultaneously encompass great good as well as great evil.

The real question, may be this... can an ideology that is based on such a deeply flawed perception of reality every achieve it's goals. This is the problem with socialism. If it worked, it might not be such a horrible system. But every real world experiment with it has ended in mass murder, starvation and vast reductions in the production and wealth of that society.

In the same way, ignoring the moral ramifications, we can look at Nazis Germany. Hitler claimed that the Jews were the principle cause of Germany's financial hardship. The goal was to get rid of this blight on the German society. Now, if Hitler had succeeded in killing all of the Jews, would this have solved Germany's financial problems? No, of course not. Their problems were never created by the Jews, and so when all the Jews were gone the problems would still exist. Hitler would then have had to choose a new target to villanize. This is the same strategy we see played out over and over in the Democratic party in America. Democratic policy said that everyone should be able to afford to buy a house, so they passed laws to make loans easy to get. No one had to even have a job to get any size loan they wanted. When their laws created the housing crisis, they blamed America's financial woes on the evil banks who practiced "predatory lending". In other words, the banks who followed the policies that they not only put in place, but threatened banks with legal action if they didn't follow....

Sorry. I got distracted.

The point is, Muslim enlightenment would never happen, because they are striving for an unrealistic and impossible dream.

Another reason such enlightenment could never happen is that anti-enlightenment policies are built into the Islamic DNA, so to speak. As I said earlier, Christianity flourished largely because it set a new precedence of enlightened behavior when it said that Christians were to tolerate and befriend other religious groups. The goal was to win "infidels" over through kindness and with your exemplary living--rather than trying to kill other religions off.

I'm not saying that all leaders (even christian leaders) understood Christianity in this way--but this ideology is embedded in the most fundamental of Christian teachings. Thus, after those who abused the teachings died off, the DNA of Christianity was able to reassert itself.

By contrast, there are moderates who may teach peaceable coexistence with other religions, but the fundamental DNA of Islam is that Muslims must conquer the whole world and subjugate it to an Islamic Caliphate. This includes Muslim's who aren't practicing the correct form of Islam.

In addition, here is a story that (told my a Muslim Imam) that I think illustrates many of the differences between Christianity and Islam. I'm paraphrasing, but the Imam starts by saying how the Muslim should not recruit new Muslims with violence and anger but with peace and encouragement. For instance, he says, there was a Muslim how lived next to a Jew who wasn't entirely despicable, and so the Muslim asked him why he didn't become a Muslim. The Jew replied, "I would if I wasn't an alcoholic." So the Muslim said, "Don't worry about it. Become a Muslim and just keep drinking." So the Jew say a few phrases that accept allah and Islam as his religion. Then, the Muslim says, "Okay, you are now a Muslim. If you ever drink again, you will be put to death, because it is against Islamic law. And if you become an apostate, you will also be killed." And this the Imam thought was a very nice little story to illustrate how a good Muslim should go about trying to bring in new converts to the faith.

If you don't believe me, IM me with your email and I'll send you a copy of the video.
Belinda wrote: ...do you think that it is fear of violent attacks from Islamists that stop 'moderate' Muslims from taking to the streets to protest against Islamist terrorism, or against Taliban dictatorship?
I think this is part of the reason, certainly... but only part.

Apathy is another big part. Many Muslims aren't that interested or informed. And some have no desire to be, yet they consider themselves Muslims. Others do not understand the teachings of their own religion. Just as there are a great many Christians who have only the vaguest idea about what the Bible actually says--so too there are many Muslims who are largely or entirely ignorant about what the Koran and other Muslim scripture say.

But I also strongly believe that a much larger portion of the problem than most of us would like to believe is simply that many Muslims find nothing wrong with radical Islam. Surveys often show that an alarming number of Muslims hold attitudes that are distinctly sympathetic with terrorist groups and terror as a means of exerting political and religious pressure.

For many, the definition of a moderate Muslim is one that isn't actively involved in terrorist activity. This doesn't mean that they disagree with what the terrorist are trying to accomplish... they are simply too moderate to engage in the terrorist activity themselves. Or they may think that overly violent acts are going too far, but using more subtle efforts to subvert their Enemies is perfectly acceptable. So, for instance, you have moderate organizations who are lobbying congress to allow Muslims to sue American authors and publishers in foreign courts where the laws are FAR more oppressive to free speech. This would have effectively shut down virtually all American publications that published the truth about Islam--because publishers wouldn't risk the big law suits. And if they did they would be put out of business.

This may be a covert form of Jihad, but it's still waging war on America. Because it is one more creeping step towards the Muslims being able to implement their goals.

My suspicion is that a fairly high percentage of Muslims fall into this camp. And I think that historical fact supports my conclusion. Did you see the videos of Muslims around the world literally dancing in the streets after 9/11? Why do you think the Imam is trying to build a Mosque at ground zero? It has nothing at all to do generating peaceful understanding... it is a symbolic effort that has happened repeatedly around the world. Muslims invade, they tear down the temple or other dominant symbol in the region and build a mosque on the same spot.

Why do you think Muslims have such "eggshell sensibilities"? It's part of the DNA of their religion. They are taught that it is literally their religious duty to destroy other religions--so defecating on a bible or slandering Christianity in some way is a righteous thing to do. But their religion also teaches that mocking Mohammad is one of the gravest of all possible sins. (Which indicates to me that he was probably an emotional mess of a human being). So any disrespect for Mohammad or anything Muslim, is seen as an extreme offense.

This is so second nature and ingrained in the DNA of their beliefs that I truly believe many of them literally are not capable of seeing the extreme hypocrisy in their own beliefs... or if they do see it, they simply do not care, because they "know" that they are doing god's work and the Muslim god is a hypocrite. He encourage his disciples to be hypocrites, just as he encourages them to lie and to be Muslim martyrs... if it advances the Muslim cause.

I don't see how this sort of perspective could ever lead to enlightenment. Just look at the meaning of the word Martyr, for the two religions. In Christianity, a Martyr is someone who allows themselves to be killed because they won't deny their god. In Islam, a martyr is someone who kills someone else to promote their god.

Big difference.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Post by Belinda » October 18th, 2010, 6:32 am

Antone wrote
Why do you think Muslims have such "eggshell sensibilities"? It's part of the DNA of their religion. They are taught that it is literally their religious duty to destroy other religions--so defecating on a bible or slandering Christianity in some way is a righteous thing to do. But their religion also teaches that mocking Mohammad is one of the gravest of all possible sins. (Which indicates to me that he was probably an emotional mess of a human being). So any disrespect for Mohammad or anything Muslim, is seen as an extreme offense.
I think that all eggshell sensibilities are caused by fearfulness, including those of Muslims. If it were true that Muslims are so sensitive to disrespect because of some tenet of their faith the faith itself would protect them against the apparent disrespect. The Muhammad cartoons sort of protest are too tinder-dry to be rationally securely attached to faith but are much more likely to indicate insecurity of ethnicity or economic status. The historicl facts are, I understand, that western, notably British, empire building demoted Islamic societies to servile conditions.

As for Islamic societies never having undergone Enlightenment, I mean 'Enlightenment' as historical process evolving through Renaissance and religious Reformation into scientificEnlightenment. I visited a mosque as invited visitor and spoke to the nice young Muslim man whose duty was to help visitors. I did not go into the realms of philosophy, one does not do so of course in normal day to day conversations, but it was apparent that this young man was as sure of the proof of God from the design argument as any under-educated Christian.
Why do you think Muslims have such "eggshell sensibilities"? It's part of the DNA of their religion. They are taught that it is literally their religious duty to destroy other religions--so defecating on a bible or slandering Christianity in some way is a righteous thing to do. But their religion also teaches that mocking Mohammad is one of the gravest of all possible sins. (Which indicates to me that he was probably an emotional mess of a human being). So any disrespect for Mohammad or anything Muslim, is seen as an extreme offense.
Antone's point about Nazi fanaticism and its parallel with Muslim fanaticism(re Eva Braun etc paragraph) I cannot agree with, because I apply the fallacy of medieval beliefs to both Nazism and fanatical Islam. I think that Nazi fanaticism was not an Enlightenment idea at all. I think that Nazism was medieval in its tribalism. I think that what is wrong with Muslim bad behaviour can also be attributed to tribal isolationism in a global world.

Angela Merkel has given up on multiculturalism as have a majority of the German people. She calls for more integration into German society of ethnic minorities. I think she is right and that this should be happening in Britain too. Has the USA a good workable system for integrating ethnic minorities? For sure the USA has the relevant experience.
I would have thought that Americanism could be a cohesive idea.'Britishness' whatever that is, does not seem to work, as there are home grown Islamist terrorists from here and as Antone seems to me to remark 'moderate' Muslims are generally simple apathetic folk like the rest of us.
Socialist

Angelserenite
Posts: 7
Joined: March 19th, 2011, 5:32 pm

Post by Angelserenite » March 19th, 2011, 5:43 pm

I do believe that religion plays an immense role upon the lives of us humans. There are some negative consequences as well as positive benefits as the result of religion. It allows one to think deeper about the world and bring about a sense of ourselves within the world. It allows one to plan our one's life in a way that one believes will be the best and most beneficial. Also, it should be noted that it allows one to carry a set of morals and rules within the precinct of one's life. Also, religion helps one overcome the emotions of helplessness and despair as well as giving a person the will to live. It gives a greater purpose to one's life as one feels comfort and security within the proximity of religion. Also, it allows one to calmly take in death and other factors that would increase stress in a person without religion. Research shows that religion increases one's will to survive, carry hope, decrease stress, and carry a positive look towards life. However, there are some religions that lead to stagnation and such. If one looks at India and their diverse Hinduism, one is faced with religion that have evolved over time and synchronized with the culture and customs. Women are often mistreated and demoted. Yet, overall, religion indeed positively impacts one's life whether it be in the perception of the world, increased awareness of oneself and humanity, or the will to live and benefit in the present life. javascript:emoticon(':D')

Iceburg_thinker
Posts: 8
Joined: March 6th, 2011, 8:20 pm

Post by Iceburg_thinker » March 20th, 2011, 3:19 pm

DanteAzrael wrote:Religious beliefs stem from the value of death, not life. Death is the goal for religion...though it tries to contradict that with getting life after death.
Control with the fear of the unknown. Creating judgment on what right and wrong through fear of death and the lack of knowledge of why were here. There seems to be that the idea is human nature as the enemy so there is grounds for a standard that is near impossible to reach creating more fear of death and the unknown and is being used as a tool to make people do what you want.

User avatar
Antone
Posts: 419
Joined: August 29th, 2010, 11:02 am

Post by Antone » March 21st, 2011, 9:30 pm

Belinda wrote:If it were true that Muslims are so sensitive to disrespect because of some tenet of their faith the faith itself would protect them against the apparent disrespect.
I'm not sure what this means, because it seems clear to me that if it meant what it sounds like it should mean then you wouldn't have made the statement--unless you are rather unfamiliar with Islam.
Why?
Because Islam is an extremely intolerant religion that clearly does "protect" itself "against ... disrespect". In fact, I'm not sure what more Islam could possibly do in this regard. This is clearly documented through history and goes all the way back to the life of Muhammad himself.
http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/ ... speech.htm
Muhammad laid down severe restrictions on such free speech. He assassinated many who insulted him. In the Quran, he promises death and eternal damnation if anyone deviates in words and action from Allah and his messenger. In the hadith (Muhammad’s words and deeds outside of the Quran), we read that he kills dissenters and insulters. Later legal rulings, rooted in the Quran and hadith, follow his lead and decree that hard-hitting speech must be stifled. Indeed, the dissenters must die, if they cross the line.

--Typical, hateful crowd signs at a Muslim demonstration.
http://www.snopes.com/photos/politics/muslimprotest.asp
As I said, this intolerance is built into the DNA of the religion virtually from it's very inception. Not only did Muhammad proceed in this manner, but it is an apparently important part of the fundamental teachings of Islam. And that is why this intolerance has clearly passed down through the years to many of Today's Islamic followers.

In addition, (even if this sort of teaching weren't explicitly part of Islamic scripture) there is an Islamic teaching that suggests that Muhammad is the "perfect man" and that he should be immulated by all followers of Islam.
http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... 60f694623a
Another thing about his life is that it is most comprehensive and perfect and can serve as an ideal for men and women of all ages, working in all professions and trades.
This, of course, is not to say that there aren't Muslims who do not agree with these archaic and barbaric notions... but the problem is that they are generally seen as the apostates. The TERRORISTS are the fundamentalists they are the ones who are practicing Islam as it was meant to be practiced--according to Muhammad's own words and actions.

More importantly, Islam is not even tolerant of Islam. Various factions of Islam will work together to destroy those they hate even worse, such as Christians and Jews... but (generally speaking) after they've destroyed us, they fully intend to eradicate the other (apostate) sects of Islam too.
Stories like this tend to be extremely under reported--as are the stories about terrorism and the brutalization of Christians and Jews in Islamic countries--but in truth they are rather common.
Belinda wrote:The Muhammad cartoons sort of protest are too tinder-dry to be rationally securely attached to faith but are much more likely to indicate insecurity of ethnicity or economic status.
I agree that the cartoon riots were not rational... beyond that, I do not believe the facts support your conclusion.

The original cartoons were extremely mild in nature. Hardly worth being called derogatory of Islam or Muhammad at all.
http://www.yoism.org/?q=node/176
Three additional cartoons--which are much worse in nature--were added by MUSLIM (imams?) who then republished the cartoons for the expressed purpose of getting Muslims riled up and causing social unrest--which is exactly what happened.
Site gives several examples of cases where Muslims have been caught lying and intentionally trying to inflame Muslim sentiment--including the Danish Cartoons, which were doctored by Muslim artists before being republished, for the expressed purpose of creating Muslim resentment and unrest. Another example has a Muslim woman complaining about a cop mistreating her--but video proved she was lying. These sorts of incidents are very common.
http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Muslims_caugh ... _Deception
What you have to keep in mind is that Islam is the only religion that does not think that ALL lying is a sin. When a Muslim lies to another Muslim it is a sin, but if a Muslim can further Jihadist goals by lying to an infidel (i.e. non-Muslim), it is not only not a sin, but it is God's work, for which the Muslim will be rewarded in heaven.
Belinda wrote:The historicl facts are, I understand, that western, notably British, empire building demoted Islamic societies to servile conditions.
I'm not sure what you're referring to here, so I can't categorically deny it. I will say, however, that Muslims have absolutely no room for complaining about anything that anyone does or has done to them... because, historically they are responsible for more of this sort of behavior than just about any other group in history.

For example, the US has received the majority of the negative press when it comes to slavery (not entirely unjustified, since the US constitution is based on the equality of all US citizens)... but compare the US slave trade to the Muslim slave trade, and American slavery seems rather benign by comparison.
http://www.christianaction.org.za/artic ... lavery.htm
Not only are the total numbers much larger for the Muslims, but the treatment was much harsher. And the Muslims were also involved at the selling end as well as the buying end... and their slavery continues to this day--in certain countries.

Piracy is another area where Muslims played a dominant role.
http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2009/ ... world.html
“Muslim religious law could not countenance the formal conclusion of any sort of permanent peace with the infidel.” ... when the Islamic forces were in a position of strength, almost all contact between them and the outside world was warlike. And this was not war as is waged between two kingdoms, empires, or dynasties: This was total war, war that did not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, and war that did not end. In this spirit, Islamic generals launched attack after attack against the southern shores of Europe during the seventh and eighth centuries; and these “official” actions were supplemented by hundreds, even thousands, of lesser raids, carried out by minor Muslim commanders and even by private individuals: For it was considered legitimate that the Muslim faithful should live off the infidel world. Whatever spoils could be taken, were divinely sanctioned.
The crusades are another area of misunderstanding. The typical liberal story-line is that those evil Christian's invaded Muslim lands trying to convert them to Christianity, but historically this is a blatant lie.

Muhammad began Islam as a peaceful religion... but it failed miserably during that phase. Outraged with his lack of success, Muhammad took up the sword and became a warrior prophet. And from that point on, Islam was primarily spread by the sword. Muhammad was a ruthless and immoral man who spread his religion by force. And after his death this continued. The Muslim empire spread to become the largest empire in history--almost all of it accomplished by warfare.

The crusades were a series of largely unsuccessful counter-offensives that were a response to this Islamic, aggression--or Jihad (Holy War... spreading Islam on the tip of a blade.)

----------------------------------------
Don't get me wrong... I'm not saying all Muslims are bad people... But frankly, that's not the point. As a percentage, the number of radical extremists may be relatively small--according to a number of polls, only about 1 in 10 Muslims believe killing civilian targets is justifiable--but that's still 10 million Muslims who condone terrorism in Indonesia alone. And (according to recent polls) the number of U.S. Muslims who justify violence are about the same. In many other countries, the numbers are much, much higher.
Belinda wrote:Angela Merkel has given up on multiculturalism as have a majority of the German people. She calls for more integration into German society of ethnic minorities. I think she is right and that this should be happening in Britain too.
I have long believed that Political Correctness (including multiculturalism) is one of the greatest evils the world has ever know. Not because it is so bad in-and-of-itself, but rather because it has a highly negative impact on so many different areas and because it allows evil to flourish.

I agree that most Muslims are good and decent people. And, in fact, they have a great need to be protected from the murdering Islamic radicals as the rest of us do. The best way to do that is to ensure that no radicals are allowed into our country. And to vigorously and aggressively root those radicals out that we do find. This starts by not permitting Muslims to practice their archaic Muslim "religious" beliefs--not when those beliefs conflict with the country's established norms. The attitude should be, "If you come to our country, you will conform to our standards... PERIOD. Any deviation from this should be dealt with severely--but by following established law.

One of the best things that has happened on the world stage in the past few decades is that many countries are getting fed up with Muslims trying to take over and subvert the countries that they immigrate into. And I say it is long past due--and needs to go a lot further in that direction before any real progress will be made.
Belinda wrote:Has the USA a good workable system for integrating ethnic minorities? For sure the USA has the relevant experience. I would have thought that Americanism could be a cohesive idea.
Traditionally, the USA has had a very good system for integrating ethnic minorities. It involves the government treating them the same as everyone else--and expecting EVERYONE to live by one set of laws. Everyone gets an equal opportunity. Everyone faces the same consequences for violating community standards. It involved providing a free market economy with very few regulations, so that anyone (even the poorest immigrant) could start a business and become filthy rich. This made immigrants want to come to America... and when they got here they wanted badly to fit in, so they could get busy earning their slice of the American Dream. That's why they called it the Great American Melting Pot. That's why France sent us a monument to the greatness of America's vision, with a poem on it that celebrated the principles of American Exceptionalism. That poem challenged other countries to send America their unwanted, poor and destitute... because here in America, those dregs of society in other countries would instantly join the elite among the worlds
richest people--as even the poorest in America are (even today--despite how far we've fallen from our prime) rich by comparison to the standards of most other countries.

Unfortunately, in recent years, radical liberals have undermined the American system--destroying virtually everything that made America great.
Instead of treating all people equal under the law, we've instituted Affirmative Action, which affords special treatment to certain groups.

Instead of expecting people to come and obey our laws, we've allowed illegal aliens to flood across our borders and then rewarded them with amnesty citizenship.

We've blocked our economy with high taxes and massive regulations that prevent all but the largest corporations from doing business--and those have increasingly moved their production factories to other countries.

Every possible thing we could do wrong, we have. And that includes turning a blind PC eye to the infiltration of our country by radical Islam.

Dewey
Contributor
Posts: 819
Joined: October 28th, 2007, 1:45 pm
Location: California

Post by Dewey » March 22nd, 2011, 4:15 am

Is religion good even if it's false? I couldn't even begin to figure out even how to begin to answer this question. It's too broad. It's too unclear. What the heck is a false religion? How good must "good" be? These questions must be answered before we can tackle the OP's question -- and they are huge questions in themselves. They, too, should be preceded by underlying questions.

A lot has to happen in this world to equip humanity with the judgement need to cope with questions like this. -- things like a universal moral code, compatible cultures, and compatible religions.

Well, ok, philoreaderguy did not get the answer he asked for. However, I also think that, for the most part, these would-be (and often rambling) answers gave him a lot of beneficial food for thought about morality and religion in general.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Post by Belinda » March 22nd, 2011, 5:42 am

Dewey says 'what the heck is a false religion?'There is no false religion but there are relatively bad religions and relatively good religions.Relatively bad religions are geared to tribal benefit as opposed to universal benefit.

What Antone writes about Islam and Muslims if true and I thionk it is true as far as it goes is descriptive of Islam as a tribal religion. If Islam were to metamorphose, as has Christianity, into a religion that aims to benefit everyone and everything then it would be a good religion. Christianity was at one time authoritarian and tribal and still is among some Christian believers.

What caused Christianity to metamorphose into the liberal and universal religion it can be is historical events in the Western world that led to scientific enlightenment. Islam never had a scientific enlightenment that directly affected the beliefs and practice of Islam.

Now, it is necessary for Islam and the people of Islam to adapt to the post-enlightenment modern world.The connection between enlightenment science and a modernised religion is in the universalistic and democratic ethic that a modernised religion can display, and which science uses as its binding ethic.

The Islam that Antone describes is worrying and undoubtedly exists and maybe I am too optimistic, but I do think that increased democracy and freedom among the subservient Muslims will almost automatically reform Islam and haul it into the modern world of science and universal ethics.
Socialist

User avatar
Antone
Posts: 419
Joined: August 29th, 2010, 11:02 am

Post by Antone » March 22nd, 2011, 9:22 pm

Belinda wrote:...If Islam were to metamorphose, as has Christianity, into a religion that aims to benefit everyone and everything then it would be a good religion. Christianity was at one time authoritarian and tribal and still is among some Christian believers.
I'm not sure what you mean by "tribal".

Here's my guess. Before Christianity, virtually all religions were ethnocentric. For instance, the Greek cities often warred among one another over perceived insults to the God of their city--even thou in some cases the Gods originated from the same source. For example, both Gods might be "sun gods" based on nearly identical personas, but that wasn't enough to unify the cities and prevent them from warring.

The Jews were ethnocentric as well, and since Christianity arose from a Jewish tradition, the very earliest Christians tended to be ethnocentists as well. I'm not a biblical scholar (or historian) but as I recall, evidence suggests that this changed when Saul (a gentile) converted to Chrisianity and took the name Paul. He was extremely influential in developing the direction of early Chistianity so that it began to actively court the gentile--instead of being restricted to the Jews. Largely because of Paul's efforts Christianity became the first religion in history to accept the outsider as a full fledged member, equal in every respect.

This was a radical advancement for religion, and was largely responsible for the rapid and wide spread of Christianity. Early Christians were persecuted mercilessly, but because of their unshakable faith, a few key figures in leadership roles were converted and the rest is history. In many countries, the Christian church soon became even more powerful than the king. But this power came directly from the faith and fervor of the people themselves. Any king who went against the church risked being deposed by his own people, as the people would rise up in revolt.

Another religious innovation that help make Christianity so successful was that it introduced the concept of Hell and damnation. Other religions had preached about an afterlife, and many contained a somewhat unpleasant underworld for those who didn't live a good life. But Christianity raised that afterlife to an existence of eternal torment--and that was a strong motivating force among believers.

Islam is also a non-tribal religion (in this sense)--since they allow anyone to convert to Islam and then enjoy all the advantages of being a full-fledged Muslim. Unlike Christianity, however, they believed in gaining converts at the point of a sword--and those who refused to convert were either killed, enslaved or heavily taxed. Anyone who became a Muslim, (or was born Muslim) was under a penalty of death if they became apostates--and failed to follow Islam. The addition of a heaven where suicide bombers are rewarded with forty virgins to torture and rape to their heart's content is an added incentive. And, for those men who manage to amass great wealth, real life is not that different--for harems, sexual slavery, mutilation of female genitalia, child brides and other atrocities are not all that uncommon in some Muslim cultures, even today.

Islam is also highly political in nature. Muhammad was not just the spiritual leader of his people, he was the political leader of his people--and that attitude has become dogma. So (in a sense) Islam is not so much a religion as it is a theocracy--a political system based on rule by religion--the Islam religion.

Strictly as a self-perpetuating religious meme... (a religious idea that spreads by itself) Islam takes most of what was advantageous (i.e. self-promoting) about Christianity and combines it with the advantages of the aggressive, war-like attitudes of pre-Christian religions... making Islam a very aggressive and persistent meme indeed.

Thus, Islam is not likely to go away any time soon. Nor do I think it is likely to evolve and become a more enlightened religion. Think about it. Because Islam teaches that Muhammad is the perfect man--who should be immulated, it is necessarily designed to reinforce its most primitive tenants--for all eternity. This unenlightened state is ensured by those fanatics who are perfectly willing to kill any Muslim who dares try to raise Islam out of it's own barbarity.

This is, in fact, what makes Islam so extremely dangerous. For if America and the rest of the world falls to Islamic Jihad, the stagnant nature of Islam will be extremely difficult to overcome--and it could well be a thousand years of darkness before humanity finally becomes enlightened enough again to throws off the bonds of its Muslim masters.

Don't get me wrong... there are a few outspoken Muslims who are trying to bring about the enlightenment of which you speak--and I have a tremendous respect for these great men. But my personal opinion is that these efforts are a doomed from the start. Even if it were somehow successful, (which is itself exceedingly unlikely) it is unlikely to be a permanent transformation because the seeds of violence are (as I've said) part of the religion's DNA. Anyone who can read the Koran can interpret the words in the way that will return the religion to it's violent and destructive roots. In fact, that's exactly what happened when the Ayatollah Komaini came to power a few decades back. At that time, Muslims were relatively docile and caused relatively little trouble for the rest of us. But this new leader came in and preached a return to the fundamentals of Jihad--and a few decades later here we are.

But just because Islam is an effective MEME doesn't mean that it is a positive force in the world. If you disregard their oil (which the west discovered and developed for them) what have the Arab countries exported to the world other than suicide bombers and terrorism?
But let's put aside evil people like bin Laden and Saddam Hussein; lets forget the atrocities of honor killings, and husbands who treat their wives like property, etc.

Lets look simply at what the Islamic culture has produced that we in the West hold as having some value.

Consider some of these facts:
--The scientific research and technological development produced by all the Arab countries combined is less than 1% of the world's total.
--Approximately 330 books are translated into Arabic each year. By contrast, Greece translates 1,500 books into Greek and Spain translates about 100,000 into Spanish.
--In 1998 only 3 technology patents were granted in the entire Arab world. By contrast, the Republic of Korea (who?) received 779 technology patents that year.
--Between 1980 and 2000, the numbers were 370 Arab patents to 16,000 patents in South Korea alone.
--Desite their massive oil wealth, the gross domestic product of ALL 22 Arab countries COMBINED (including their oil income) was less than half that of Italy--even though Italy is 1/6th the size.

These sorts of statistics are not just coincidence--they are deeply seated in cultural values. And, like those raised in poverty, it is very difficult to break the social conditioning that leads to this generational stagnation.
Belinda wrote:... I think that increased democracy and freedom among the subservient Muslims will almost automatically reform Islam and haul it into the modern world of science and universal ethics.
I'm sorry, but I don't think this is realistic.

First, democracy is a form of evil (from the Islamic perspective). So few Muslims are likely to embrace it. In those countries where Muslims are overthrowing their vile dictatorial leaders, there will perhaps be democratic elections--but I'd bet that most (if not all) of them will elect terrorist organizations like the Muslim brotherhood, Hamas, etc. to come in and be their new leaders... exchanging one evil for another (arguably) greater one.

The fundamentalist think that it is evil to give the people the right to choose whether they want to be Muslim. The penalty for not being Muslim ENOUGH is death. Not being Muslim at all is not an acceptable option--unless those people are slaves or pay oppressive (jizya) tax on infidels.

Another thing that most people fail to realize is that people (generally) are motivated more by the promise of prestige than they are by wealth. Women who are starving over in Africa will pass up a meal in favor of a tube of lipstick. Why? The food is much more critical to their immediate survival, but the lipstick gives them something the food can't. Prestige!

It isn't poverty that motivates Muslims to engage in acts of terrorism--it's the fact that they sense that they are THIRD WORLD NATIONS... and so they are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to the pecking order of the world's nations. In other words, they have no prestige.

Another misunderstanding is that you gain the support of Muslims by giving them foreign aid. But again, this myth discounts the importance that (all creatures--including humans) place on prestige. Being so poor that you can't take care of yourself is disgraceful to most people--particularly proud people. In some cultures, giving gifts to inferior tribes was seen as a means of humiliating them. This is particularly true of cultures that practice fundamentalist Muslim values, since this universal human characteristic is exaggerated by the fact that their religion demands that they MUST dominate the world--using any means necessary to do so. When we give aid to these Muslim countries, (some do feel gratitude) but many others are offended; and even more motivated to retaliate against us.

Islamic scholars often declare that Islam is a religion of peace. And in a twisted sense, this is true. Supposedly, when there is a one-world caliphate, and everyone is dominated by Sharia law, the world will be at peace. (Yeah, fat chance). But until then, devout (fundamentalists) MUST wage war against the infidel at all times and in every way possible. If another Muslim preaches truly enlightened moderation--they are a valid target for termination, just like the rest of us infidels.

When all of this is taken into consideration, I see virtually no possibility for a spontaneous enlightenment of the Muslim people. This, of course, does not mean that it is a completely lost cause.

Much of the power of Islam comes directly from it's oil wealth. If that collapses, so will their power base. Of course, the Muslim terrorists are clever enough to realize this is a weakness as well. They've been building financial structures to support their cause for decades, using the laws of democratic countries (and their PC attitudes) against those same democratic countries. For example, there are dozens of Muslim "charities" (like CAIR) that claim to do good works and promote unity between the races; and they collect millions of dollars
... but CAIR (for instance) was founded by men with ties to terrorism, and they've been caught funneling the "charity money" to terrorist groups. They also actively promote things that will further jihadist goals. For instance, when the flying imams fiasco went down, CAIR defended the imams. They've also instituted sharia financing, where a portion of the credit transations goes (like a tithe) to Muslim organizations--who then funnel that money to terrorist groups.

Still, when the oil runs out, so will much of the Islamic threat. Thus, one of the best defenses against Islamic jihad is energy independence.

But reall, to render Islamic terrorists virtually impotent, all we have to do is reject the PC stupidity that has given them power. If we keep radicals out of the country, and enact very strict laws that prevent them from spreading their radical jihadist view, then the radical elements will begin to whither. When the radical minority who are extremists are no longer given safe haven in American mosques (where they have a platform to preach hate) then they will no longer be able to indoctrinate new zelots for their cause, and they will not be able to threaten the safety of the true moderates. When children feel that they will be protected from the parents or siblings who might try to kill them for being too American, then true assimilation will begin. After all, most Muslims come to America to get away from the oppressive Muslim regimes in their old countries. And when the rules make it harder for the trouble makers to make trouble--fewer will make the attempt.

As successive generations become Americanized, many will choose to become Christian, or atheists, and most of the rest will become enlightened Muslims. Those few who continue to harbor jihadist thoughts will be virtually impotent and unable to do much serious damage--as long as we do not become complacent and return to our foolishly PC, multicultural ways.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Post by Belinda » March 23rd, 2011, 4:48 am

Antone wrote:
Anyone who can read the Koran can interpret the words in the way that will return the religion to it's violent and destructive roots
True. But a Western-educated person, be he Muslim or infidel, who reads the Koran can understand that Muhammad wrote differently at different times according to social needs. Thus Muhammad wrote warlike words when Muslims perceived themselves to need to go to war against infidels. Koranic literalism is like Biblical literalism; all literalistic interpretations of texts are false because there is no knowledge of the intentions and sociocultural background of the originators but those intentions and backgrounds are necessary to proper interpretation.
*****************

By opposing 'tribal' and 'universal' I am looking to the saying of Jesus 'Who is my neighbour?',(Good Samaritan story) which is universalising. 'Who is my neighbour?' accords with the liberal Pharisee tradition of the time which was opposed to the conservative and ritualistic official Synagogue.
The conservative and ritualistic institution is often a tribal institution, by which I mean inward-looking and defensive.
Antone mentions St Paul as a universalising influence, and yes, I'd say that is the great strength of St Paul.

Most Muslim countries have authoritarian regimes which repress the freedom of ordinary people to acquire the knowledge that would tend to set them free.

If there is any sense to be made of the phrase 'true and false religions' it means that liberal religions such as Unitarianism, The Society of Friends, Scientific Pantheism, and Buddhism are truer than authoritarian Islam and Roman Catholicism.
Socialist

User avatar
Antone
Posts: 419
Joined: August 29th, 2010, 11:02 am

Post by Antone » March 24th, 2011, 6:25 pm

Belinda wrote:Muhammad wrote differently at different times according to social needs. Thus Muhammad wrote warlike words when Muslims perceived themselves to need to go to war against infidels. Koranic literalism is like Biblical literalism; all literalistic interpretations of texts are false because there is no knowledge of the intentions and sociocultural background of the originators but those intentions and backgrounds are necessary to proper interpretation.

*****************

By opposing 'tribal' and 'universal' I am looking to the saying of Jesus 'Who is my neighbour?',(Good Samaritan story) which is universalising. 'Who is my neighbour?' accords with the liberal Pharisee tradition of the time which was opposed to the conservative and ritualistic official Synagogue.
The conservative and ritualistic institution is often a tribal institution, by which I mean inward-looking and defensive.
Antone mentions St Paul as a universalising influence, and yes, I'd say that is the great strength of St Paul.

Most Muslim countries have authoritarian regimes which repress the freedom of ordinary people to acquire the knowledge that would tend to set them free.

If there is any sense to be made of the phrase 'true and false religions' it means that liberal religions such as Unitarianism, The Society of Friends, Scientific Pantheism, and Buddhism are truer than authoritarian Islam and Roman Catholicism.

User avatar
Antone
Posts: 419
Joined: August 29th, 2010, 11:02 am

Post by Antone » March 24th, 2011, 7:50 pm

Belinda wrote:Muhammad wrote warlike words when Muslims perceived themselves to need to go to war against infidels. Koranic literalism is like Biblical literalism; all literalistic interpretations of texts are false because there is no knowledge of the intentions and sociocultural background of the originators but those intentions and backgrounds are necessary to proper interpretation.
I couldn't disagree more.

The Bible is a totally different type of book from the Koran in a number of very critical ways.
1) The bible is a collection of books written by an number of different (human) authors, over a period of several hundred years. This is true even of the NEW TESTAMENT--and the first gospel was probably not written until about fifty years after Jesus's death, with the other gospels appearing over the next several decades. So even the so-called quotes of Jesus, cannot be considered to be actual quotes. That's one reason why the bible is so inconsistent--each author brought his own perspective, understanding, and focus of interest to his own writing. In addition, the Jewish literary tradition is such that many (if not most of the books) are heavily redacted - which means that later authors repeatedly edited certain books, piecing together sections from various previous books to create new books and so forth. Each author overlaying their own perspective on the old perspectives.

The Koran, by contrast is a single book, written by a single author. According to Islamic tradition, it is the exact words of God as spoken to Muhammad. Unlike the bible, the Koran has not been redacted... and apparently not a single word has been changed over the centuries.

2) The books of the bible have a wide range of writing styles and literary intent. Many of the Psalms (for instance) are love poems, which refer to women's body parts as mountains and sheep fleece, etc. Other biblical passage (like Revelations) use allegorical references that are so abstract that it's nearly impossible to guess what the author is even talking about.

By contrast, (I understand) the Koran is written in a single literary voice, and there is no reason to suppose that it was not intended to be taken entirely literal. There are no other (non-violent) references which demonstrate an allegorical flair, or any other fanciful literary devices. Given this, it seems to me that any attempt to suggest that the Koran means something less than exactly what it says is an exercise in PC rationalization.
Many Christians believe that the books of the bible were inspired by God. But only a few who are ignorant of the facts claim them to be the "exact words of God". The words are generally held to be the sentiments of God "filtered through the human fraility of the authors and those who redacted the books." Most Christians even realize that there are many books that could easily have been included in the bible but were not. In fact, the leaders of various Christian sects have voted on which books they wanted to include in their biblical CANNON.

This is a completely different perspective.

Moreover, the bible is fundamentally a peaceful book. Very little is known about the life of Jesus, other than the fables (some contradictory) that are reported in the gospels and other non-cannonical books. But for the most part, the life of Jesus is typified by attitudes and stories like "the good Sameritan" and "turn the other cheek"... There are a few instances (like chasing the Money lenders from the temple) where Jesus portrayed a less than peaceful demeanor--but even in these cases it is a justifiably righteous anger.

By contrast, The Hadith is a detailed (almost day-to-day) account of the life of Muhammad, (the perfect man, who is to be emulated by all faithful Muslims) and in the Hadith, many of Muhammad's flaws are exposed for anyone who can read.

The facts are that:
--when Muslims take child brides and Mutilate female genitals, they are emulating Muhammad.
--When terrorists wage Jihad, in an effort to spread their religion, they are emulating Muhammad.
--When Osama bin Laden killed innocent non-combatants he was emulating Muhammad.
--When Muslims behead civilian hostages in Iraq, they were emulating Muhammad.
--When Muslims demand the death of all those who insult Islam, they are emulating Muhammad.
--When Muslims stone a woman to death because she was forcibly raped, they are emulating the attitudes of Muhammad.


Lets Compare
--the Bible teaches its believers to give their lives if necessary to demonstrate their faith.
--The Koran teaches its believers to take the lives of others to demonstrate their faith. (Koran 98:6 Those who reject Islam are "the vilest of creatures"... this is, in fact, the only crime that makes Jews and Christians the primary targets of terrorism.)
--The Bible teaches its faithful to give freely of what they have--even to strangers and non-believers.
--The Koran teaches is believers to give freely of what they have BUT ONLY TO OTHER MUSLIMS. They are commanded to subjugate non-Muslims (if they are in a position of strength) and to lie to them, and work their efforts of Jihad covertly (if they are in a position of weakness).
--The Bible teaches that there are laws that are universal and should be followed by all believers at all times.
--The Koran teaches that NOTHING IS GOOD EXCEPT THAT WHICH IS ADVANTAGEOUS TO ISLAM, AND NOTHING IS EVIL EXCEPT THAT WHICH HINDERS IT.


The bottom line is that the fundamental principles of Christianity never needed to undergo a process of enlightenment. Christianity was the enlightenment that revolutionized many of the other (violent and ethnocentric) religions.

By contrast, at the most fundamental (scriptural) levels, Islam is a rejection of that enlightenment. Islam can undergo a surface enlightenment, but unless the Koran itself is destroyed, the fundamental nature of the religion will remain, waiting (like the Ebola virus) to break out again.

Christianity has endured historical moments when it was perverted and used to do things that were not enlightened--but the words of the bible remain, and those who read it can throw off those perverted traditions and restore it to its fundamentally enlightened nature.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Post by Belinda » March 25th, 2011, 4:16 am

Reply to Antone: any text of any sort cannot be interpreted as truly as it possibky can be unless the interpreter, i.e. you and me and everybody else, has knowledge of the times and places in which the texts were conceived.

This principle also covers immediate interpretation of other, living, people who speak to us and interact with us. We cannot understand them properly and as they deserve to be understood unless we understand where they are coming from. For instance every diplomat knows this, that he needs a thorough knowledge of the country and its people with whom he is interacting.Another instance is that knowledge of your wife's background is necessary before you can really understand her and forgive her faults and appreciate her strengths.

If Antone can produce a theory or evidence that any text is true for any interpreter at any time and place in history it would be interesting to hear about it. But I do not believe that such a text exists.
Socialist

Post Reply