Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Hidden Imam & The Risen Lord

Liberals who reflexively scream and caw like a flock of startled birds at anything uttered by a conservative make the fundamental mistake of conflating Islam itself with the different cultural milieus and practices that spring from it.  We who defend Western culture should not make the same mistake.

Some bloggers in Right Blogistan have really been laying the wood to Islam, some going so far as to call it a satanic cult.  Others struggle to separate the Islamist murderers from the religion itself, while still railing against its malignant influence on Western Christendom.  While I do not criticize religious debate, I am in the latter camp.

I don't think it is any more racist to criticize black panthers or radical islamists than it is to attack white supremacists.

It is not anti-Christian to call Fred Phelps and his followers the anti-American ass-hat dingbats that they are, and it is completely legitimate to criticize Muslim extremists operating in the west who hate our western values. 

Having said that, I think Christians and conservatives do our cause more harm than good when we criticize Islam itself.  I've done it.  Usually while criticizing one of the Muslim world's multifarious abhorrent cultural practices, hydra-headed hatreds, cultural intolerance, or religious bigotry.  We can condemn an abortion clinic bomber without condemning Christianity; can we condemn a Muslim terrorist without casting aspersions upon the religion of Islam?  

How do you like it when smart-ass atheists ridicule your faith?

Sticks and stones, right?  But does it make you have a more favorable or less favorable opinion of them?  Does it make you more willing or less willing to hear what they have to say?  I found Mike Huckabee's winking anti-Mormonism repellent.  He lost my vote, and I'm not even a Mormon.

It is in our own best interests to keep our focus on the anti-Western practices of the few, rather than the religion of the many who go about their daily lives as good Americans.

My God's Better than Your God

I remember awhile back hearing Glenn Beck on the radio mocking the Shia Twelvers, calling the Hidden Imam “the boy in the well.” You’d think he'd be a little more circumspect, seeing as how his religion is based upon God coming into the world as a human baby, dying, and coming back to life after three days in the tomb, and then ascending to heaven.  To the skeptic, that's right up there with Mohammad's flying donkey.

Some Christians believe we’re all saved.  Others believe there is a preordained elect, and the rest of us will burn in hell. Catholics pray to saints, believing they are with God and can therefor plead to him on our behalf.  This leads fundamentalists to condemn the followers of the Whore of Babylon to eternal damnation. And that's just within Christianity!

My point here is not to mock anyone, but to simply point out that our different and varied beliefs are not reconcilable.  We don't have to respect the religion of others, but we must respect each others' constitutional right to freedom of worship.  None of us can scientifically prove our particular sect or belief is the right one, so why argue about it and inflame one another? As Dennis Prager once observed, every religion has elements that look downright ridiculous to outsiders.

Freedom of Conscience - Freedom from Violence

Outside of some witch trials, institutional bigotry against Jews, and a few spasmodic episodes against Catholics and Mormons, we've been blessedly free of sectarian turmoil and bug-eyed religious zealotry here.  I pray we can keep it that way.  Inshallah

33 comments:

Magpie said...

Great post (and you know we don't often agree...)

Silverfiddle said...

Thanks Magpie. I am no fan of Islam, and I think the cultural practices that come with it are horrid, but I am a great fan of the US Constitution.

We do agree that Suzi Quatro was on hot babe, remember? She's mine I tells ya!

Ducky's here said...

However, in one of your previous posts on Islam you mentioned that you tried to read the Koran (tough slog in English) and texts you found to interpret it were biased (the right wing war cry). You gave up and started reading Patai for information.

Irony central and you don't get it.
The irony is thick enough to cut.

Silverfiddle said...

i·ro·ny (r-n, r-)
n. pl. i·ro·nies
1.
a. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.

b. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.

c. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect.


I don't think you understand the meaning of irony, Ducky.

I don't think I said the texts were biased, but I did lament that non were agenda-free, and I include in that those who hate the Koran and interpret everything in the worse light possible.

You make the common mistake of conflating the Arab culture with Islam. Two different things, Grasshopper.

The Koran is an Islamic book. Patai wrote about the Arab culture.

I would call you ignorant (ignorance thick enough to cut with a knife) but your error is a common one, especially among those who spend more time talkimg about a subject than actually studying it.

Divine Theatre said...

After 9/11 I decided to buy a Qur'an and see for myself what it held. I used slips of paper to mark the places that called for violence and highlighted content. Needless to say, there were hundreds of slips of paper sticking out from that book!
When I travel I usually send my belongings ahead by FedEx so I don't have to lug them around.
I was taking a trip to California and as I was about to exit my girlfriend's car she gave me a strange look. I had my purse over my shoulder, the Qur'an (with all the violent topics highlighted) in my hand and nothing more!
I followed her advice and left the book with her!
The book is still in my library, filled to bursting with paper slips.

-FJ said...

No. Your wrong. Islam is not "just another religion". Islam has some fundamental structural problems that ARE the source of the religious extremism problem. Veleyaat al Fiqh (religious control of the state) is merely a symptom of a deeper problem, and that is shari'a itself.

This makes Islam fundementally intolerant and unable to accomodate and/or coexist with people of different faiths. There is no "separation of church and state". And until there is, religious war and medieval barbaric behaviours will reign throughout the Middle East.

-FJ said...

Christianity evolved to eliminate the "inquisition" and religious courts. Islam has not.

-FJ said...

...Islam's great strength is that when societies crumble and fall apart, Islam helps to rebuild higher level social links (ie - the infamous Islamic Courts Union in Somalia)... and Islam IS better than the anarchy of a failed state... but only barely.

But it is a TRIBAL religion, NOT a civilizationally-based one. It certainly has a time and place, but Western Europe and North America are NOT the place, nor is the 21st century, the time.

-FJ said...

ps - And just so you understand, I've no dog in the fight between Christianity and Islam. I'm a Deist.

The Constitutional Insurgent said...

As a devout agnostic, this is one the best posts I've read, here or anywhere else...on the subject of religion.

Anonymous said...

PART ONE

Good morning, SilverFiddle. I know I spent too much time here thundering away on this very subject a few days ago, so I assure you, I won't go through all that again, but please let me ask,

"How do you separate cultures from the belief system or systems that form their basis?"

I'm well aware that "Christian" is an umbrella term that covers an almost infinite number of branches, sects and denominations each of which is apt to have variations within itself and many of which are hostile to the others just as you outlined in the post.

Ethnicity seems to play an important role in defining these variations. Even though the Roman Catholic Church considers herself universal, she has branches in more places than many of us have hairs on our heads, and there are notable -- call-them "stylistic" -- differences among them.

Catholicism in Ireland, for instance, has a distinctly different flavor than Catholicism in Italy. And then too Spanish Catholicism, German Catholicism, Polish Catholicism, etc. each have unique identifying features -- at least in architecture, liturgical music and art, if not in the text of the Mass, itself, which is of course the unifying element.

The mainline Protestant denominations and all the many groups that have splintered off therefrom are certainly different from the Church of Rome, but then you find that a Presbyterian, an Episcopalian or a Methodist in New York City is a very different animal from his compatriots in places like Ashtabula, Ohio, Moline, Illinois, Bardsville, Kentucky, Austin, Texas, Santa Fe, New Mexico, San Jose, California, and Helena, Montana, etc., etc., etc.

So Christendom is hardly unified.

Neither, I freely admit, are the various forms of Islam, and no doubt those have vast differences among them depending on geographical location.

(CONTINUED)

Anonymous said...

PART TWO

HOWEVER, Christianity gave up its barbaric practices a long time ago. We don't do Crusades anymore. We don't burn heretics at the stake anymore. We don't set up Inquisitions and Star Chambers anymore, neither do we persecute suspected witches. We don't persecute other Christian sects anymore. We don't persecute Jews either, and every Christian nation I know abolished slavery more than a century ago.

The differences among Protestant denominations have blurred too to the point that Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians and even Baptists have a hard time recognizing any difference among themselves other than "Pastor So-and-So gives much better Sermons than Minister Such-and-Such, so I think we'll go there, Herbert." Or, "I hear they're doing folk/rock masses at St. Swilling's now. Let's leave stuffy old St. Lumbago's and go over there. I know it's a longer drive, Herbert, but I'm getting sick of hearing Bach all the time, aren't you? And maybe we can get the kids back to going to church again, if they can listen to music they can relate to."

You know -- stuff like that. Bad enough, to be sure, but hardly the kind of thing that sparks violence.

Islam on the other hand, while it may not be 100% behind Jihad, the fact remains that the vast majority of violent, religious extremists and subversive, disruptive, destructive political initiatives in the West in our time happen to be rooted in Islam, and the cultures in the Middle East are for the most part desperately unattractive to say the very least. So why would we want not to do everything possible to discourage these elements from coming to our shores?

Instead, we're bending over backward in the opposite direction.

Why?

As I said, the other day, "Islam is the new Trojan Horse." I think we should be extremely wary of it. I'm sorry to sound so insular, but I'd be willing to bet that young American-born and Europeans of native-stock who convert to Islam are NOT doing so because they've have had any kind of great "spiritual awakening."

In most of these cases -- perhaps all -- young whites from basically Christian roots are attracted to Islam, because they feel alienated, rebellious, disaffected and have pronounced anti-social tendencies -- the same things that impelled young people to become hippies, burn professor's notes, and join "protest marches" in Sick-sties. The same kind of impulses that created the Manson Family.

At any rate in a world that seems already screwed up beyond repair by perverse, inimical forces, who gamed and abused our Constitution and our legal system to gain ascendancy, the last thing we need to do is to add Islam -- the product of cultures distinctly alien to our way of life -- to the mix. It's like pouring gasoline on an already-out-of-control fire.

Sorry, but I feel it should all be a matter of using common sense. I wish we could keep legalistic thinking out of it frankly, but I certainly respect everything you've said, SilverFiddle and agree with you at least in theory if not in practice.

As my dad was fond of saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

~ FreeThinke

Finntann said...

DT: Can you do me a favor and run your little paper slip experiment on the Bible, both Old and New Testaments and let me know how that works out?

I think you will find lots in the Old Testament, such as Exodus 31:15, fewer, but still some in the New Testament such as Matthew 10:34.

Much is dependent upon context and interpretation.

1 Corinthians 11: But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

I had an elderly Aunt who would not dream of going to church with her head uncovered, yet today it is commonplace.

Today, if you go to church, many pray, few prosephy.

The document hasn't changed much, but what we focus on has.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Farmer, Fr. Gregori, and Ms. Theatre,

You all kinda beat me to the punch, but I was glad to see your remarks.

Of course, to be fair I have to say that I'd hate to see Christianity interpreted by the rest of the world in dark shadows of too many things written in our Bible -- particularly Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy where "our" God is revealed as a petty, mean-spirited, sadistic, vituperative, and tyrannical.

Judaism -- an ancient TRIBAL religion -- started out every bit as primitive, savage, bloodthirsty, paranoid, aggressive and unenlightened as any other of the surrounding Arab tribes. The great similarities between Islam and ancient Judaism really do give one pause for thought.

Unlike Christian Fundamentalists I believe that Jesus came to save us from all that insular, superstitious claptrap that as been the cause of so much grief and tragic misunderstanding, but no in has to accept my view. That's just what I have come to believe.

Needless to say, I don't want any people around me who feel they have a right or a sacred duty to imprison, torture, maim or murder me, because I don't see things their way. THAT is what the United States was founded upon.

We were never intended to be an incubator or nurturer of forces diametrically opposed to our founding principles and hostile to our Anglo-Euro-centric culture -- and that, I'm afraid, is exactly what Islam is -- HOSTILE -- dear, sweet, educated and enlightened men like Fouad Ajami notwithstanding.

~ Freethinke

Mark Adams said...

"conservatives do our cause more harm than good when we criticize Islam itself." I for one only criticize Islam itself when it does little to restraint the radicals.

Bunkerville said...

It is this Sharia law bit that seems to have a lot of folk's knickers in a knot. It just doesn't meld with the todays view of women for one thing, let alone our justice system.

Silverfiddle said...

Culture and religion are intertwined.

My bottom line is we can't punish someone for being a Muslim, but we can when one of their 7th century practices breaks the law.

Z said...

It's the lying about the violent parts of the Koran (and, of course, the lack of reformation...by the way, to address Finntann; many women in Orthodox churches still wear very small head veils or scarves in church)and the inability of all Muslims to march against terrorism in their name, and the Sharia Law in AMerica push, and the fact that, for example, before 9/11, muslim butchers DID cut pork, and muslim kids COULD study without going to special foot-washing sinks colleges are now installing, and muslim cabbies DID take alcohol and dogs in them, etc etc., that makes me curious and on guard.

My blog discourages Muslim bashing and always has, and I can't IMAGINE anybody who'd consider broadbrushing all Muslims as law breakers or terrorists ; that's ridiculous and short sighted as it gets, but I agree with FJ on a lot of what he wrote here.

Divine Theatre makes an excellent point, too.....

Excellent, provocative post, SF......we cannot condemn all of a religion for the nuts within it but we do have to be more careful than we are in this country of islamist duplicity, mosques which will NOT ALLOW our feds to listen in, etc etc. Why is it WE who must prove to them we don't dislike them? Who hated Muslims before 9/11 and CAIR started getting noisy, and the demands started,anyway? ANYBODY?

How I WISH there'd be a great organization of Muslims speaking out against terror; some have turned questionable muslims in; too bad we don't hear more about them.

Anonymous said...

Z made some very good points. She may have been one of the first to notice -- and to blog on -- how much more accommodating we have become to the aggressive insertion of Muslim practices into our society since 911 than we ever were before -- and how much more assertive the Mohammedans have become in demanding we reserve special, sacrosanct places for them in our society and put up with their anomalous customs such as having to look at women wearing burkas and hijabs in our streets in ever-increasing numbers, and Muezzins shrieking, roaring and whining over loudspeakers in American public squares.

And after being attacked and severely injured by the Swarthy Ones, we are now enjoined to become more "sensitive" to their religious practices and their folkways.

Does that compute?

I don't think so.

The failure of Muslim leaders to mount a strong, highly vocal campaign against Islamic Fundamentalism -- and their failure to apologize to the West for the grief and expense their people have caused is indicative of the mentality of the whole. Not a good sign.

SilverFiddle said:

"My bottom line is we can't punish someone for being a Muslim, but we can when one of their 7th century practices breaks the law."

I don't want to punish them, my friend, I just want to exclude them.

Your eminently fair-minded proposal is a bit too much like saying "You're going to have to tolerate scorpions, tarantulas, and a coral snake or two in your bed. After all, they're God's creatures too, so they also have a right to live. Sorry, but we can't punish them until after they've mortally wounded you."

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Islam is today's Trojan Horse.

BEWARE!

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

I am already on record favoring a ban on Muslim immigration. They are not all bad, but our government is woefully inept at sorting the good from the bad.

Once they are here, they enjoy the same rights as the rest of us.

Z said...

"I am already on record favoring a ban on Muslim immigration. They are not all bad, but our government is woefully inept at sorting the good from the bad.

Once they are here, they enjoy the same rights as the rest of us."

I agree wholeheartedly on the ban (haven't known you long enough to know that's your stand), though it almost hurts to say that, tell you the truth. It hurts even worse to know you're right about how unbelievably inept our government is.
The problem is that they help in our government's clumsiness so it almost scares me to read "..they enjoy the same rights as all of us..." of course, that's true in concept, but CAN WE trust? Who can we truly trust? Can we trust CAIR, which is here? Can we trust those in prison making muslim converts? and on and on and on......????

Z said...

SF....Check THIS OUT

this woman is the kind of Muslim we want in America. Amazingly articulate, and resolute in her belief that Americans deserve respect and sensitivity from Muslims ..the video's not long and well worth the watch.

Leticia said...

I normally post about the atrocities of Muslim radicals. But I must say, that there are many already here who behave in a militant fashion. Even those who claim to be peaceful tend to demand special accommodations at schools, and are offended if they see Christmas trees, nativity scenes, etc. They fail to realize this is still a Christian nation, regardless of what Obama says.

I do believe that there is only ONE true and living God, Yahweh, and I will die professing that He alone is the Creator and Finisher of life.

I have been ridiculed by many, mostly liberals and atheists, who have called me nasty names for believing in Jesus Christ and professing He is Lord over all. Doesn't I have to be ugly in return.

It's all about the approach.

Jersey McJones said...

Leticia, we are not a "Christian nation." We are a Constitutional Republic. You do understand that, right? All our rights and responsibilities are enumerated in our founding documents, and when we find they should be added or changed, we can adapt and amend. You get that too, right?

It doesn't matter where our rights come from, it doesn't matter what we temporally think of them, the only thing that matters is that we adhere to the social contract that is our Constitution. That's what makes us Americans.

JMJ

Anonymous said...

I think the crux of the whole issue, Leticia, is that we should all be able to think and believe any way we want -- as long as our beliefs don't interfere with or trample the rights of others.

I'm sure you agree, am I right?

_________________________________

As for me, I am very sensitive to sound, therefore, I feel I should have the right not to have to listen to a gd Muezzin calling prayers over a loudspeaker anywhere near me. Churchbells are another matter. I like those, and they are a long-established part of American Tradition.

It's not just because i want to discriminate against Muslims I feel the same way about boomboxes in passing cars, in parks, on beaches, on street corners and on public transportation, fighting in public places, and drunks in restaurants who talk so loud and laugh so hard I can't converse with my dinner partner. And on and on ...

All I'm saying is not one of us should have the right to impose his or her personal preferences on others. It's fine with me if you want to have sex with a monitor lizard, but please do it in private where no one can see or hear you.

By the same token Eavesdroppers, Peeping Toms and Busybodies are first cousins to Blackmailers, and ought at least to be shunned if not shot dead. ;-)

No one should have the right to mind anyone's business but his own.

I think that's a central tenet of American life by constitutional implication. And that's why I loathe and despise Marxism, Fascism, Statism, Liberalism, Socialism, Islamism, Corporatism, what-some-now-want-to-call Christo-Fascism, and personal Control-Freaks.

In a freedom loving society WE CANNOT TOLERATE INTOLERANCE.

Liberty trumps everything else, except the liberty to restrict the liberty of others, if that makes any sense.

~ FreeThinke

Finntann said...

Yes Jersey, we are a Constitutional Republic, of which 76% of the population identifies as Christian.

Judaism 1.2%
Islam 0.6%
Buddhist 0.5%
Hindu 0.4%
Unaffiliated 15%

We are not a theocracy, but are a nation of Christians and with a Christian heritage, albiet one founded on principles of religious tolerance.

The question is, as intolerant as many liberals are towards Christianity, why are you so accomodating of Islam? Assign any of the cultural or religious aspects of Islam to Christianity and you'd be screaming bloody murder.

I'd be the first to defend the building of a mosque in my town or neighborhood provided it is in accordance with all applicable zoning requirements.

Many imply we are intolerant, yet there are 100 mosques in Manhattan, 0 churches in Saudi Arabia. The Mosque of Rome can accomodate 12,000 worshipers... how many can be seated in the Cathedral of Mecca? Keep in mind there are roughly two million Christians in Saudia Arabia.

Institutionally, Islam is one of the most intolerant religions I have been exposed to and I have been exposed to a lot.

What I always find particularly entertaining when being lectured by atheists on the evils of Christianiny as they defend Islam. Is that all the ammunition that gets dredged up regarding the evils of Christianity are pretty much ancient history, and while Christianity has come a long way in the last 400 years, Islam is pretty much where we left it at the end of the last crusade.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Just to bolster Finntann's last post a bit I'd like to put it on record that I said this on July 19 at WH:

When Islamic countries stop persecuting Christians and Jews -- when they permit Christian churches to be built -- when they permit visitors to bring copies of The Holy Bible into their countries without fear of reprisal -- when they welcome Christian Missionaries to enter their Sheikdoms with open arms -- when they sponsor ECUMENICAL INITIATIVES on THEIR SOIL, then -- maybe -- they should be permitted "the free exercise" of their religion here. But for that ever to happen, they would have to change the nature of their "faith" to the point where it would be virtually unrecognizable.

I did not know, Finn, that there were two-million Christians in Saudi Arabia. That's fascinating. I thought the practice of Christianity was outlawed in Muslim countries, just as the Communists tried to outlaw it in Soviet Russia after calling it "the opiate of the people."

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

This item just came in by email from a net friend of longstanding. I thought it well written, and it provides an important slant on the topic we've discussed on this thread, albeit from a very different angle:


Norway joins the rest of the West in the eclipsing of its once-Christian society

How does someone come to the conclusion that the best way to combat an ideology that produces terrorists is to become one yourself?

That's what the Norwegian man who killed over 90 people at a "liberal" camp, and some government officials in another killing in downtown Oslo, seems to have been thinking. He says he wants to "change Norwegian society." He opposes the liberal immigration policies that have allowed the Muslim subpopulation to grow, he opposes multiculturalism and the Cultural Marxism that brought it about, he opposes the jihadic policies of Islam and wants them recognized and restricted by Norwegian society. How is that going to happen by murdering people?

It seems the only way he might change Norwegian society is by making it more paranoid and less free.

Norway has been known for its freedoms, for instance that its highest officials felt free to walk around in town or ride public transportation without the need for protection. Now that may change. How will that serve the killer's objectives?

They regard their liberal immigration policies and their open door to Muslims as part of their superior notions of freedom. If they do change in reaction to this murderous event they are only going to batten down more behind such policies and enforce them with restrictions on their freedoms.

You know what's REALLY sad about all this? The freedom they are so proud of GOES BACK TO THEIR CHRISTIAN PAST. They no longer understand this and now mistakenly attribute it to their liberal policies, the policies that are allowing Islam a voice to such an extent that it may rise up and challenge whatever is left of Norway's Christian past -- because Islam is committed to taking the world for Allah and Islam is NOT a religion that promotes such freedoms as Norway has enjoyed for centuries. In nation after nation liberalism has become the handmaiden to the murderous aims of Islam.

Apparently the killer knows this and wants to bring it to the attention of the society in general. It isn't going to happen, it's only going to get worse. You don't return to a Christian society by murdering people.

The degeneration into liberalism AND the growth of Islamic influence in the West are BOTH DUE TO THE DETERIORATION OF CHRISTIANITY.

The solution is God-wrought revival. Certainly not murder."


This article may be found at:

http://watchpraystand.blogspot.com/2011/07/norway-joins-rest-of-west-in-eclipsing.html

Submitted by FreeThinke

Trestin said...

While I disagree with Islamic doctrines, the same could be said of any religion that differs from my own. My real problem is the violence.

However, you make a good point about disappointing the crazy act of a few too all. I can also understand why some would hate the West with all our degeneracy and perversion. I just wish Muslims would be as active in their opposition to the crazy in their own faith, as they are against the West.

Anonymous said...

"I just wish Muslims would be as active in their opposition to the crazy in their own faith, as they are against the West."

That's exactly IT, of course. Trestin, say no more. You hit the nail squarely on the head and drove it home.

~ FreeThinke

Finntann said...

FT: They are a little over five million "non-national" workers in the Kingdom of Saud, roughly two million are Christian, mostly Filipino and Indonesians.

This is kind of funny...

The highway that runs through Mecca has a "Christian Bypass".

Anonymous said...

"Christian Bypass," eh?

That is funny.

I guess it's all right to be infidel there, if you are performing useful services to the Ayrabs -- as long as you "know - and keep - your place."

Sort of a resident underclass, isn't it?

~ FreeThinke

jez said...

Trestin: "I just wish Muslims would be as active in their opposition to the crazy in their own faith, as they are against the West."

Expect self-criticism within the Muslim community to be under-reported: it isn't as sensational as anti-Western sentiment, so the media is less interested in it.