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Joe Katzman has a thought-provoking and depressing post on the source of Islamic terrorism.
There was supposedly an old saying in the wild West: "There ain't room in this town for the both of us." Unfortunately, there's not room on this planet for classical liberal western cultures and radical Islamism. This will be a battle to the death of one of those cultures, and Islam itself won't survive without a dramatic reformation, even if some people think that's not possible.
[Update at 9:25 AM PST]
Diane West writes about the silence that speaks volumes.Posted by Rand Simberg at January 23, 2006 08:40 AM
This might raise some controversy, but I'm asking an honest question.
That the fanatical wing of the CHristian movement, much like the fanatics of the Muslim movement, except the Chirstians don't bomb cars yet, just abortion clinics.Posted by Mac at January 23, 2006 09:27 AM
> but I'm asking an honest question.
No you're not, and you know it.
When your list of "similarities" involves ignoring the elephant and comparisons between your imaginings and reality, it isn't an honest question.
BTW - At some point folks you describe as "fundamentalists" might notice that they're the ones on the front line. (That's one problem with the broad brush.) Why exactly are they obligated to support/fund piss Christ? (Contrary to "educated" opinion, losing it wouldn't be the downfall of western civilization.)
It might be an honest question, but it's not a very appropriate or knowledgable one in this context. There is no useful comparison betweeen the intolerance of Christians and Muslims.
Many have believed in creationism, and been opposed to abortion here, but the Republic goes on just fine. To talk about how some Christian fundamentalists are opposed to "women's rights" (I don't really know what "rights" you're talking about, other than their right to abort their child) is to minimize the brutal misogyny of many Muslim societies, in which women can't drive, vote, leave the house without a man, dress as they please. In Taliban Afghanistan, a woman who painted her fingernails had them torn off. They are often executed for the "crime" of being raped.
Are you really attempting to compare that to anything that Christians do in this country?Posted by Rand Simberg at January 23, 2006 09:33 AM
Of course the whole thing is on a totally different level - I am aware of the gross human injusticies happening in many middle eastern countries, and islamic fundamentalists often have something to do with it. Many of the things described in the articles apply rather well to the clash of any two ideals. For example between he strong christians and other people, at least in the university world around here. Yet still we can somehow live together, mostly probably since the differences are small and mellow. I'll elaborate later, have to run now.Posted by meiza at January 23, 2006 09:41 AM
This is going to land me in hot water, but here goes...
the brutal misogyny of many Muslim societies, in which women can't drive, vote, leave the house without a man, dress as they please. In Taliban Afghanistan, a woman who painted her fingernails had them torn off. They are often executed for the "crime" of being raped.
Are you really attempting to compare that to anything that Christians do in this country?
This entire statement here is labelled as wrong behavior by what? Christian background and teachings maybe? I agree that what goes on there is atrocious and wrong, but how many things do we do that they find wrong based on the lenses of their religious beliefs they see through?Posted by Mac at January 23, 2006 09:50 AM
Mac, disregarding for the moment the content of your comment, it's really irritating when you quote people and mix in your own words with no indication of who said what. At least put quote marks around other people's words. Better yet, use a little HTML, like <em>this</em>, which will look like this (you need to tag each paragraph that's being quoted).Posted by Rand Simberg at January 23, 2006 09:57 AM
...and this planet is getting smaller all the time as far as religious fundamentalism is concerned.
Once you start to combine religion and war (e.g. claiming that "god is on our side") it doesn't really matter what 'flavor' of religion you pretend to practice do is it? It just amounts to window dressing.
The world is only getting smaller and the weapons more powerful. How long do you expect this situation to be sustainable for exactly?Posted by Kevin Parkin at January 23, 2006 09:58 AM
What about "classical liberal western cultures" and the modern christian fundamentalism with all this creationism, anti-abortion, no-women's-rights etc. movement lately.
Is America big enough for both? That is another question.Posted by Bill White at January 23, 2006 10:02 AM
The second link is interesting.
The Pope says that Islam can only be reformed IF they accept that Scripture (Koran) can be subject to differing interpretations like metaphor and allegory. Perhaps a kinder and softer version or moral relativism?
The Bible is absolutely true, we just can't fully figure out what it means.Posted by Bill White at January 23, 2006 10:08 AM
Your argument of moral relativism works well in philosophy class, but when we operate in the real world the difference between the US and Iran (or Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc) is stark.
The basis of our laws do come from christian context, but they go beyond that to a more liberal, even secular set of laws between men based upon a social contract. I don't think it is possible to "prove" a set of moral principles are "correct" in a mathematical or scientific sense, but the approximate set that we in the US live under, gives the individual great freedom and, as a system, works to limit interference from 3rd parties and the gov't.
Are we perfect? No far from it, but most civilizations understand that head-chopping and suicide bombing don't make for a civil society.
Islamofascism is an aberation in the modern world due to the fact that geology has left great amounts of oil in the middle east. Just as the western world prospered as communism withered, so shall Islamofascism. Unfortunately, history shows us that millions can die horribly because of failed ideologies.Posted by Fred K at January 23, 2006 10:28 AM
Rand said: it's really irritating when you quote people and mix in your own words with no indication of who said what.
I shall endeavor to correct that, sorry.
Fred K said: Your argument of moral relativism works well in philosophy class, but when we operate in the real world the difference between the US and Iran (or Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc) is stark.
Yes it is, and its also based entirely on philosophy. Your philosophy tells us that it is wrong.
Fred K said: No far from it, but most civilizations understand that head-chopping and suicide bombing don't make for a civil society.
True, but we wern't discussing civil society. We were discussing what one religion may see about what another culture does as being wrong. Granted that head-chopping and homicide-bombing are not cornerstones of a civil society, but what if there is a grain of truth to a religious belief that a certain bomber may have? A true zealot with the belief he is doing the right thing by blowing himself up is still labelled as doing the wrong thing by our standards, which usually come from the religious background of where you were raised, whether you were a regular church goer or not.
Fred K said: Unfortunately, history shows us that millions can die horribly because of failed ideologies.
Again, a sad agreement, but that ever so wise statment...Those who do not learn from the past...Posted by Mac at January 23, 2006 10:47 AM
Is America big enough for both?
It has been throughout its history, Bill, going all the way back to 1620. I see no reason to think that that won't continue.Posted by Rand Simberg at January 23, 2006 10:50 AM
Number of murders at abortion clinics since the beginning of the 43rd Presidential Administration: 0 (not counting the abortions)
yep, 10 abortion clinic bombings in 5 years. That's far down from what they use to be, and nothing compared to the bombings in Israel. (Note the numbers are for US and Canada... try scaling this in comparison to size and population of Middle East).
After you get past the first 2 columns, I wonder what the tally would be if those numbers were compared to anti-war protests. Rand, how many hate mails (or harrasing emails) do you receive (not counting comments from Bill White)?Posted by Leland at January 23, 2006 12:34 PM
Rand, how many hate mails (or harrasing emails) do you receive (not counting comments from Bill White)?
Remarkably few (to first order, none). And I don't consider Bill's comments harrassing--just occasionally annoying.Posted by Rand Simberg at January 23, 2006 12:38 PM
It would be interesting to compare the number of violent acts related to abortion clinics over the last decade to the number of violent acts associated with animal research facilities et. al.
My guess would be that the abortion clinic incidents would take second place.
Would that mean we should ask questions re: whether America is big enough for the Left and the rest of us?Posted by Joe Katzman at January 23, 2006 01:38 PM
Mac, your question boils down to "what is the basis of morality", which you have begged by inserting an answer: "religion". Having begged the question, you have formed a wonderful basis for simply believing that there is no conceptual difference between Christians, who "don't bomb cars yet, just abortion clinics", and the terrorists. After all, they are both religious, and everyone knows (I assume you to believe) that all religious people are dangerous.
OK, you're more than welcome to that point of view, but I find it a nearly worthless point of view. What that view does is erase the difference between moral and immoral behavior, such that if there is no way to have a definition that all agree upon, then no definition is correct, and thus no behavior is immoral. As an excuse for irresponsibility and bohemianism, it's first rate. As a guide to judgement it falls well short.
This makes me conclude that you are really just trolling. Or childish. Maybe both.
Unfortunately, if things keep going the way that they are, we will be at war with Iran before the end of this year.Posted by anon anonymous at January 23, 2006 05:48 PM
Jeff says: Mac, your question boils down to "what is the basis of morality", which you have begged by inserting an answer: "religion". Having begged the question, you have formed a wonderful basis for simply believing that there is no conceptual difference between Christians, who "don't bomb cars yet, just abortion clinics", and the terrorists.
No I have not. I am surmising that there are differences between religious cultures in what's right and wrong. Getting back to the treatment of women. Women are the intellectual equal of men, which scares some men. Those men who gave birth to the rituals of early religion found a way to suppress the women and n-ullify their fear of them. Once accomplished, their newfound religion tells them this is the right thing to do. Is it such a great step to surmise that their might be terrorists that actually believe what they are doing is the right thing?
Jeff says: After all, they are both religious, and everyone knows (I assume you to believe) that all religious people are dangerous.
I have no disagreement there. I personally believe that a very few terrorists actually believe the religious hype around their jihad. I think their "holy war" is more a violent power grab to stave off change. I'm only pointing out that there might be a few that truly believe.
Feel free to to so, but that's not my point of view. It's a supposition.
Jeff says: What that view does is erase the difference between moral and immoral behavior,
Therin lies the crux of my point...how do you define moral or immoral? What is the basis of your definition? Where did your guidelines come from? Religion has a core in our society, dictating what is right and wrong. I'm wondering if other societies, under different religious values may believe differently about what's right and wrong.
such that if there is no way to have a definition that all agree upon, then no definition is correct, and thus no behavior is immoral.
That's a cop-out. The definitions of morality are existent within every society. Those definitions accepted by the majority are deemed "right" Besides, by you statement, since the God of every religion cannot be exactly defined, they must not exist. Behavior is deemed immoral by the morality measuring stick of the society.
Jeff says: As an excuse for irresponsibility and bohemianism, it's first rate. As a guide to judgement it falls well short.
Its not an excuse, its a supposition. My thought was never intended to be a guide to judgement. However, apparently you believe that everyone on the face of the earth has the same moral code. There's a blueprint for judgement.
Jeff says: This makes me conclude that you are really just trolling. Or childish. Maybe both.
By adding the last barbs there, you are moving closer to showing yourself as childish or trolling. I'm supposing that morality is dictated by the religious beliefs of the society. I'm supposing that even with terrorists, whose aims are death and destruction, might have within their ranks those that truly believe they are doing the right thing. I'm offering the supposition that what you intrinsically know as right or wrong, may have come from your society's religious beliefs and you never question it, because its so ingrained you believe it without thinking.
Had to do some interesting spelling for filter.Posted by Mac at January 24, 2006 05:47 AM
Yep, Mac's a trollPosted by Leland at January 24, 2006 07:38 AM
> Once you start to combine religion and war
"Start"? What planet did you come from?
The fact that an idea may be new to you does not make it new.
Leland says: Yep, Mac's a troll
Yeah, I regenerate unless burned. Can't figure out a way yet to deal with the smell, but I'm working on it.Posted by Mac at January 24, 2006 09:02 AM
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