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  1. #131
    Senior Member compulsiverambler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    1.) You're projecting my intentions: I consider freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and equality under the law to be high among the essential rights which make all other rights possible in the long-term. In short, I'm focusing on this because I find the issue to be extremely important, not because I'm seeking to validate some bias.
    So, you don't actually agree with my earlier statement that 'violence is violence'; violence isn't as bad depending on what changes it aims to impose. Okay, this is actually a reasonable position IMO, although it seems to contradict what you said before. Regardless, and this is a question of genuine interest and I'd like to think this debate could lose a little of its unnecessary heat , it seems that Christians are much more likely to successfully reduce freedom of religion and equality under the law in the USA than Muslims are. They don't even have to become violent to do so. Aren't the fundamentalist Christians in positions of true power and influence over legislation then more dangerous to the essential freedoms that you value than actual terrorists of any stripe are? Islamic terrorists' demands (e.g. to punish insults to Islam) have NEVER been met by the American government, to my knowledge. If you don't think violence is as serious as endangerment of essential freedoms, why do you think you seem to have been arguing (and to be honest I've lost track of what we're fundamentally arguing about) that Islam and/or Muslims is a more serious problem than Christianity/Christians?

    2.) What issues which are more likely to evoke threats or acts of violence by Christians (on an explicitly religious basis) are unlikely to evoke (proportionately)the same or greater amount of acts/threats of violence by Muslims?
    Globally, I have no idea, but we've been talking about the US and to a lesser extent European situation, and I can't think of any reported incidents against abortion doctors/patients or homosexuals perpetrated by Muslims, although I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were some, as many Islamic texts and teachers are vehemently against those as well. I suspect that it's a lower proportion of these by Muslims though, if only because they're going to be facing greater pressures to keep their heads down, stay out of trouble and try to prove how nice and non-extremist they are, possibly pushing them further away from conservative Islam even. Or perhaps you don't hear of it because perceived oppression is the chief focus for extremists at the moment. However that's just speculation.

    How much the answer to that matters depends entirely on what positions we're actually debating right now. I confess I'm not sure what your underlying message is with all the to-ing and fro-ing, so I'll define mine:

    I began posting because despite preferring that all the Abrahamic religions would just go away as soon as possible, I don't want Muslims to be treated with suspicion of their character and good intentions any more than I want people who identify with the other major religions to be, and some posts early in the thread seemed to be suggesting that such suspicion would be justified. The implications included that unlike Christians and Jews, Muslims are choosing to believe in a book which has some horrible things in it. I don't believe that is fair as I explained, because there's no reason to assume that they know what's in their book or how it's more accurately interpreted. Most religious people are extremely ignorant about their religion's history and literature. Another implication was that they can't be trusted because not enough of them condemn Islamic terrorism. I also disagree with this analysis and explained why.

    My argument was never that Islam is not a bad influence on the world, or that it's not as bad as Christianity or only as bad as Christianity (my guess is that in our time, it's probably causing more suffering than Christianity, but that's extremely difficult to quantify). My driving position is that individual Muslims are not more deserving of suspicion than individual Christians, and that therefore any kind of discrimination against someone soley because of what religion they identify with is wrong. Even if statistically Muslims are more likely to be extremists than Christians are, and again I guess that they're not, reject assertions that they clearly are, but am not certain, I don't think this would justify regarding Muslims with increased suspicion that could result in them being treated less favourably, as the others are still very regular people and not some kind of tacitly West-hating hybrid creatures, to be placed somewhere between extremism and normality, they're just plain normal. It doesn't matter how large a dangerous subset of people is, it shouldn't be allowed to contaminate people's view of the people outside of that subset.

    I suspect we actually share more common ground than we've thought.

  2. #132
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    The argument from moral equivalence was made during the cold war. And it is being made here today during the global jihad.

    And although there was no moral equivalence between the Soviets and the US, moral equivalence is a seductive argument.

    And it seduces us today during the global jihad.

  3. #133
    Senior Member Anonymous's Avatar
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    All religion is a bad influence on people, as it serves as a legitimizing myth that motivates people to maintaining a cultural status quo that is often against their self interest. Generally, religion benefits a very small group of people and uses the followers to that group's ends. For an example, look at catholicism and wealth, Confucianism and submission to authority, and Islam and cultural poverty. It also erodes critical thinking, alienates people from their personal values (you don't have any, you just have a book/religious teacher).

  4. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous View Post
    All religion is a bad influence on people, as it serves as a legitimizing myth that motivates people to maintaining a cultural status quo that is often against their self interest. Generally, religion benefits a very small group of people and uses the followers to that group's ends. For an example, look at catholicism and wealth, Confucianism and submission to authority, and Islam and cultural poverty. It also erodes critical thinking, alienates people from their personal values (you don't have any, you just have a book/religious teacher).
    In the West all religions subscribe to the separation of church and State and freedom of religion.

    Unfortunately Islam does not subscribe to the separation of mosque and State or freedom of religion.

    But worse, the jihadi are seeking to impose Islam by violence, intimidation, propaganda and demographics.

    So Islam is a religion, but not as we know it Jim, rather Islam is a political religion.

  5. #135
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spin-1/2-nuclei View Post
    Nice attempt to side step my point.
    Nice attempt to at a "false accusation in the mirror."

  6. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    In the West all religions subscribe to the separation of church and State and freedom of religion.
    Unfortunately I don't think this is true. They may claim to subscribe to it and some people may convince themselves that this is true, but there are many religiously motivated laws in the west that serve no other purpose than to advance the religious beliefs of a specific religion.

    In my opinion it would be nice if people could learn how to exist and let others exist without having to resort to confrontation. Sadly many people feel as though their particular religious beliefs need to be legislated and forced upon the masses.

    Religion has been responsible for many wars and countless wrong doings because some people are fundamentally flawed when placed in large groups. It's almost like a wave of sickness that takes over a certain subset of the population, and once the groupthink starts people can really justify anything to themselves.

    I can't understand why if you're christian, muslim, or [insert any other religion here] you can't just worry about your own adherence to your own god's laws and stop being so concerned with what other people are doing. A great majority of the problems that plague mankind come from attempting to force the will of one subset of the population onto another.

    No system can ever be perfect, but I fail to see why the USA and many other countries in the west are so intent on legislating issues like wearing burqas in class, gay marriage, morning after pills, minaret bans, stem cell research, stamping out evolution, polygamy, prayer in public schools and the list goes on. If something is based in religion at the core and not violating the basic human rights of anybody else then it belongs in your own private living room not in a public school or a court house or the capital building or in the laws that govern society. I wish we lived in a world where some guy could feel free to make a cartoon mocking mohammed without getting death threats from muslim fundamentalist and a evolutionary biologist could give his lecture without getting death threats from christian fundamentalists, but apparently we don't and after reading some of the comments in this thread it becomes easier to see why.

  7. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Nice attempt to at a "false accusation in the mirror."
    whatever you say man. I'm wrong you're right... christian fundamentalists in the USA are cool, calm, collected and lining up at the gates of the white house in support of the rights and freedoms of all people even those that don't believe what they do. Their bombs are made of love, flowers, and candy. Their threats consist of prayers for the souls of the weak. They'd never ever consider forcing their will upon another through violence or force and legislating their bible is out of the question.

    What a pretty circle we've drawn here...

  8. #138
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by compulsiverambler View Post
    So, you don't actually agree with my earlier statement that 'violence is violence'; violence isn't as bad depending on what changes it aims to impose.

    it seems that Christians are much more likely to successfully reduce freedom of religion and equality under the law in the USA than Muslims are.

    If you don't think violence is as serious as endangerment of essential freedoms, why do you think you seem to have been arguing (and to be honest I've lost track of what we're fundamentally arguing about) that Islam and/or Muslims is a more serious problem than Christianity/Christians?
    1.) While I think that's true to some extent, that wasn't really my point; I think a substantially smaller percentage of Christians threaten or carry out violence for religious reasons than Muslims, altogether, but that my primary issues of concern are the fundamental freedoms necessary for liberal democracies to function (those being freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and equality under the law).

    2.) In terms of equality under the law you are correct (mostly due to the sheer numbers involved in combination with Christian opposition to modern issues such as same-sex marriage, though I consider that particular example as a violation of the spirit rather than the letter of equality under the law), but I actually consider secular left-wing groups (in the United States) to be a far greater threat than Christian groups to free speech and religious freedom. I don't really consider Christian groups to be a threat to free religion or free speech, particularly not within the United States, due to a lack of basic opposition to the concept. A large percentage of Muslims, however, desire laws against blasphemy, apostasy, and proselytism-which is effectively the same as opposing free speech and religious freedom.

    3.) Because moderate Islamists, seeking the implementation of Shariah law through peaceful means, represent a greater threat than the militant Islamists to essential freedoms (though the two groups effectively reinforce the other). Also, I majored in International Relations and Comparative Politics, and so by habituation I'm predisposed to view this issue through an international perspective, while others view this issue through a national perspective. Finally, I'm lazy and kind of weary of rehashing multiple other threads that have come and gone, so attempts on my part to be succinct probably have a negative impact on clarity.
    Last edited by lowtech redneck; 05-17-2010 at 10:31 PM. Reason: grammer

  9. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    I majored in International Relations and Comparative Politics, and so by habituation I'm predisposed to view this issue through an international perspective, while others view this issue through a national perspective.
    Yes, you do seem to have more than a parochial perspective. And this is very welcome on this international site.

  10. #140
    What is, is. Arthur Schopenhauer's Avatar
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    How did I miss this thread? Lame.
    INTJ | 5w4 - Sp/Sx/So | 5-4-(9/1) | RLoEI | Melancholic-Choleric | Johari & Nohari

    This will not end well...
    But it will at least be poetic, I suppose...

    Hmm... But what if it does end well?
    Then I suppose it will be a different sort of poetry, a preferable sort...
    A sort I could become accustomed to...



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