Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Religion in modern world
#11
(13-05-19, 02:03 PM)Real European Wrote:    

Real, re your discussion of religion - here is a part of my previous post (from a debate with Claire) which may interest you:

Quote:If you want to understand history of our part of the world, note that the Balkans has been the region of clashes of empires for centuries. Not just empires, but rather western and eastern worlds: Christian Europe vs Muslim Ottoman Empire.

Understanding this is important also for understanding current anti-Islamic retro-nationalistic movements in Europe, and the collective historical memory with related emotions that the demagogues are exploiting.

History is very complex, so my explanations are inevitably generalisations - but I will try to illustrate some principles.

Take for example Hungary, which has been much in the news recently. Much of Hungary was  occupied by the Turks. Due to these historical circumstances, the Hungarians (collectively as a nation) feel resentment, hatred and fear towards 'Turks, Muslims, immigrants...' - the concept of whom exactly the people should hate can be easily engineered to support the agenda of demagogues. The Hungarians had been historically humiliated by the Turks, and have historical experience with Muslims trying to crush their culture. Add to this the historical fact that during WWII Hungary was fascist (subject to collective amnesia in Hungary), and voilà, you can already understand much better what is going on in Hungary.

To see how complex it all is, just read for example the short history of Buda (now a part of Budapest) here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buda

On the other hand, for example the British (and French) historical experience with Muslims is that of occupying Muslim nations (which means regarding the Muslims as inferior), ruthlessly drawing new borders on the world map after defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI etc. Very different historical experiences to Hungary.

It is also interesting to have a look at animated history maps of Europe, for example here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY9P0QSxlnI

If you want to get an insight into the impact of Turkish invasion and the complexity of Balkan history, I recommend you read the wonderful novel

The Bridge on the Drina (Na Drini ćuprija)
by Ivo Andrić
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bridge_on_the_Drina

Andrić was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature.

http://debateuncensored.co.uk/showthread...19#pid5719

And the next post on that thread:

Quote:On 12 February 2019, there was a debate at the plenary session of the European Parliament about Bosnia and Herzegovina. Slovenian MEP Igor Šoltes (speaking on the behalf of the Greens group) recommended the The Bridge on the Drina book to the MEPs:

Video - Šoltes at 10 min 20 sec:
https://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/pl...g=en&lg=EN

By the way, you should also watch the statement following Šoltes from a British MEP. Brexit means good riddance.

Should anyone be interested in the whole EP debate about Bosnia and Herzegovina, here are all videos....

http://debateuncensored.co.uk/showthread...21#pid5721

Go to that post for links to videos. I used to live in socialist Yugoslavia, where there were Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo. I grew up believing that it is 'normal' to share your country with Muslims (where there were not very many in Slovenia). I regarded the Muslims as just another kind of all that interesting diversity in Yugoslavia. Note that socialist Yugoslavia was secular (indeed even somewhat anti-religion), with the official ideology of the Communist Party atheism (Marxist dialectical materialism).


Also, perhaps the novel Alamut (by Bartol, a Slovenian writer) may interest you. Bartol wrote the novel to describe fascist extremism (he was from western Slovenia that came under Italy after WWI) - so Slovenians were the first European nation to experience fascism, but he used Islamic extremism as a symbolic/metaphoric backdrop for his story:
http://debateuncensored.co.uk/showthread...46#pid6346
Reply
#12
(12-05-19, 06:32 PM)Real European Wrote: Then secularisation kicked in - which is a good thing. But the bad things is that nothing took its place. Instead of classes about Christianity at school, they should have taught the UN Declaration of Human Rights as a secular moral compass so that there would be a common ground . They didn't. 

I want to go back to where this debate about religion started. I found the above statement in Real's post interesting.

Namely, I am a radical atheist (Douglas Adams said in one of his essays that it is best to say 'radical' atheist to prevent people trying to convert you to whatever they believe in). I grew up in socialist Yugoslavia where all religions were sidelined (but not prohibited). In our godless family, we did however have the Bible - and three copies of it. My mother (also a radical atheist) always encouraged me to get to know Christianity - because a lot of our, European culture and art is based on it.

I understand the world through (biological) evolution. We humans (Homo sapiens and predecessors) are social animals. When our ancestors were roaming those plains or wherever they lived, each of them was very weak and vulnerable alone, but very strong together in a group.

There are quite many species of social animals. And indeed one of the aspects (= 'lessons') of evolution which has been a bit overlooked until recently (although already Darwin understood it) is that cooperation is a great strategy for evolutionary success (i.e. for a long-term survival of a species). Where there are very many cases of cooperation within species as well as among species (think of flowering plants and their animal pollinators, or animals that spread plant seeds when they eat fruits). So the concept of the 'struggle for survival' only within a species (which had been abused for social Darwinism) is really lack of understanding.

Before any further debate, I should explain here what 'struggle for survival' actually means in evolutionary terms. We tend to interpret this term in the human perspective, i.e. evolutionary success is if you live until old age (= if you 'survive'). Not true at all. There is only one measure of evolutionary success - the number of offspring that an individual (of any species) has. So the struggle for 'survival' is actually the struggle for 'reproduction'.

Many species of animals are social - they live in groups based on cooperation. And as far as we can tell, these animals cooperate nicely on the basis of 'instincts' - patterns of behaviour that they inherit, or else they inherit the ability to learn these behaviours at a young age from others in their group. The evolutionary drive that selects for enhanced social behaviour is that those individuals whose genes enable strong social cooperation have more offspring than those whose genes work against cooperation. Because social animals need cooperation to bring up their offspring together. Those individuals deflecting from social behaviour become more vulnerable e.g. to predators, hence overall the individuals with strong 'social' genes have more offspring and their offspring is also more likely to survive (via support of the group) to adulthood to have their own offspring than individuals with weak 'social' genes. This is how over generations, the strong social genes become more frequent in a group and a species, i.e. cooperation of social animals strengthens via a better reproductive success of individuals with strong social genes than those with weak social genes.

So for social animals, cooperation is a success story. Many times the inherited instincts and behaviours also means readiness to 'sacrifice' for the group - i.e. fighting against predators to protect more vulnerable, slower members of the group (e.g. young offspring).

Our relatives monkeys and apes inherit strong social behaviour - they are born with some 'instinctive' patterns of behaviour, whereas they also learn many social behaviours from their group when they are young - where due to genetics they have the ability to quickly learn these social behaviours when they are young (the ability to learn social behaviours is inherited via genes).

This 'ability to learn social behaviours' includes also ability to accept these behaviours (i.e. the young animals learn these behaviours without questioning them).

Now let's think about our human ancestors when they were still roaming in nature (because today we still have their genes). It was crucial for them to cooperate as a group to survive. BUT there was a problem when they acquired (via evolution) advanced intelligence (i.e. what we call intelligence - the ability to think about the past and the future, to analyse situations, to predict the likely consequences of one's actions). Now if you are an intelligent animal in a group, you may start thinking how to selfishly abuse the cooperation that others are engaged in, e.g. 'let those others go and gather food together, I will not participate but then I will eat what they collect'. So here we have an evolutionary conflict - the 'lazy' individual with 'anti-social' genes has a reproductive advantage; it can grow large quickly because it is fed by others but is not spending any energy finding food, hence there is more energy to invest into reproduction, which will be followed by lazy offspring care (i.e. letting others to also feed offspring), which means the lazy offspring who inherited the anti-social genes have again an advantage over peers in the group because they grow faster than others, are not additionally exposed to predators when searching for food etc. Which, as I am sure you figured out already, is rather disastrous in the long-run for this group of social animals. Because those individuals who use their intelligence to selfishly abuse cooperation have a reproductive advantage, the anti-social genes will eventually prevail - when everyone is selfish, there is no more group, and long-term survival of these animals and generations of their offspring is questionable.

Now the evolutionary solution to this conflict of 'intelligent selfish abuse of cooperation' vs 'cooperation with others knowing that abuse would be beneficial on individual level' seems to have been solved by selection also for the genes which make us 'bow to higher authority = social norms', i.e. apart from the genes giving us huge capability to learn social behaviour early in life, there seem to be also genes that make us accept these 'social norms' without questioning, i.e. a vast majority of humans quite easily accepts these social rules. This inherited strong ability to learn, accept and submit to social norms is in effect an (evolutionary)  'concept of god' - there is something 'greater' than us that we accept, and it is evolution = our genes that makes us accept it.

So early groups/species of humans who, by evolution, were inheriting both traits - intelligence and acceptance of social behaviour without much questioning were in the end evolutionary winners - these groups could take advantage of their intelligence while keeping social cohesion of the group.

In 'civilised' societies, we use this 'concept of god' (= ability to learn social behaviour and acceptance of social rules) which we gained through natural evolutionary processes (selected over many generations) in religions, where we explain our 'instinctive' (genetically inherited) need / urge to submit to shared social behaviour as 'rules given to us by god'. In atheistic world view, I see our legislation and other social structures to which most of us willingly submit as this 'higher authority' which we accept. What is probably the biggest difference between a religious world view and my atheistic is that in religion, rules handed to the people by god are generally regarded as untouchable. In my atheistic world, we humans have created the social rules, and we can also change them together as circumstances and our needs change through generations.

So in my opinion, Real pointed out something important - religious or not, we must be taught to bow to 'higher rules'. We are born with the inherited ability to accept these rules as a 'higher authority', but someone has to explain to us how this all works.

I went to school in socialist Yugoslavia. As I mentioned above, socialist Yugoslavia was very secular (no religion at school). But we did (!) have a subject at school called something like Social-moral education. Where we were taught how our society works, what the norms are, what is written in the constitution, the UN human rights charter, social aspects of sexual education (biological aspects of human reproduction were covered in Biology), bringing up a family, the role of men and women in the society, merits of international cooperation etc. In fact, I was even in an extracurricular 'United Nations club' at my school, where we looked into these principles more in detail (membership of the UN club was voluntary; we even had national competitions of school teams about the UN and similar issues). 

Looking back, I think that the most valuable thing that I learned at school (and which many people in particularly in the west - and in particular in the US and the UK? - seem to not understand) is how human rights work:

The rights of an individual are limited by the rights of others.

Which, if you look at it, is the essence of what I call the evolutionary 'concept of god'. We need to accept that each of us is a part of a community, which limits what we are 'allowed' to do.

These days, many people seem to think that 'freedoms' are unlimited, e.g. that freedom of speech means that everyone can say whatever they want. Which is NOT true. The rights of individuals to personal dignity, to live without discrimination etc. are the 'rights of others' that limit freedom of speech. So freedom of speech does not include hate speech, incitement to violence etc.
Reply
#13
Hi all
I'm guessing the many posts on the subject of religion in this Brexit thread is symptomatic of the fact that there is very little new happening on the subject of Brexit although I note that Farage seems to be inspiring religious-like fervour.
To throw my hat in the ring - I grew up within the Anglican church and as a young teenager even went through the process of being "confirmed". As I grew older I became atheist primarily through a disgust for many organised religions but I guess I'm now a convinced agnostic - meaning I don't know what I believe, I think you are entitled to believe whatever you want as long as it does not lead to you persecuting anyone else or denying other people's beliefs.
I find I can be very tolerant of people's views and I can appreciate the many good things that religious people have done inspired by their faith. But I'm still disgusted by many organised religions - be it the child abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, the money-grabbing evangelicals in the US (is "kleptotheocracy" a word? It should be), etc, etc. I guessing you are all sufficiently aware of history to think of scores of examples of religious wars and persecution perpetrated by virtually every major religion or church.
Over the years - despite my tolerance - I have found myself getting into a number of heated arguments with people I worked with or knew socially:
 - with Muslim coworkers who wanted to execute Salman Rushdie;
 - with a Jehovah's witness who shunned her daughter for getting pregnant;
- with born-again Christians who wanted to have "creationism" taught in schools;
- with Protestants who deny climate change because "God gave us dominion over the world"
Generally I find secularists much easier to deal with - and often more moral and ethical. Sorry if I've offended anyone
Reply
#14
Hi Ajda,

(13-05-19, 06:06 PM)Ajda Slovenia Wrote: Namely, I am a radical atheist (Douglas Adams said in one of his essays that it is best to say 'radical' atheist to prevent people trying to convert you to whatever they believe in).

I believe that trying to convert others is highly unethical. By what right can one claim to know "The Truth"? Everybody thinks that what he or she believes is true - nobody wakes up one day and says: I think these ideas are is wrong and from now on these ideas will be my belief. But every person has his or her truth and has a lifetime of experiences to arrive at this  personal truth.

It's like in relationship where a person wants his or her partner to change. If you cannot love the person for who he or she is but can only love who you want he or she to become, then why start a relationship with him or her?

I like debating, exchanging ideas, getting to know each other's way of thinking, beliefs etc. I strongly dislike any proselytising (which is not limited to religious people, some atheists do it too).

From that perspective, I can see why you are calling yourself a radical atheist. But it also reflects a basic lack of respect in society if we have come to the point where you have to call yourself radical to prevent others from trying to convert you. 


(13-05-19, 06:06 PM)Ajda Slovenia Wrote: I understand the world through (biological) evolution.

I'm an evolutionist as well. Islam is not creationsist but evolutionist. Creationism in the Muslim sphere is a recent minority viewpoint introduced via cooperation between the American Christian fundamentalists and the Turkish far right (integrists), spreading out from there. They are a very vocal, but small minority.

There is no "story of Creation" in the Quran like there is in Genesis in the Bible. And early on we had scholars, philosophers etc writing about evolution.   More than a thousand years before Darwin, Al Jahiz (781-869) wrote " Animals engage in a struggle for existence; for resources, to avoid being eaten and to breed. Environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure survival, thus transforming into new species. Animals that survive to breed can pass on their successful characteristics to offspring."

Darwin was familiar with the works of these and many other Muslim authors - several were translated in English and were available in London. Darwin also knew Arabic and had been introduced to the works of these scholars at Cambridge University.

In 1878 William   Draper,   a contemporary  of  Charles  Darwin, wrote a book called the "Mohammedan theory of evolution". In this book he said  : "Sometimes,  not  without  surprise,  we  meet  with  ideas  which  we  flatter  ourselves  have  originated  in  our  own  times.  Thus  our  modern  doctrines  of  evolution  and  development  were  taught  in  their  schools.  In  fact,  they  carried  them  much  farther  than  we  are  disposed  to  do  extending  them  even  to  inorganic  or  mineral  things”

Obviously Darwin did not just copy those ideas, he added his own insights to it. But he did not wake up one morning and invent evolution theory.

(13-05-19, 06:06 PM)Ajda Slovenia Wrote: We humans (Homo sapiens and predecessors) are social animals. When our ancestors were roaming those plains or wherever they lived, each of them was very weak and vulnerable alone, but very strong together in a group.

There are quite many species of social animals. And indeed one of the aspects (= 'lessons') of evolution which has been a bit overlooked until recently (although already Darwin understood it) is that cooperation is a great strategy for evolutionary success (i.e. for a long-term survival of a species). Where there are very many cases of cooperation within species as well as among species (think of flowering plants and their animal pollinators, or animals that spread plant seeds when they eat fruits). So the concept of the 'struggle for survival' only within a species (which had been abused for social Darwinism) is really lack of understanding.

Before any further debate, I should explain here what 'struggle for survival' actually means in evolutionary terms. We tend to interpret this term in the human perspective, i.e. evolutionary success is if you live until old age (= if you 'survive'). Not true at all. There is only one measure of evolutionary success - the number of offspring that an individual (of any species) has. So the struggle for 'survival' is actually the struggle for 'reproduction'.

Many species of animals are social - they live in groups based on cooperation. And as far as we can tell, these animals cooperate nicely on the basis of 'instincts' - patterns of behaviour that they inherit, or else they inherit the ability to learn these behaviours at a young age from others in their group.

Just as an aisde: there are two 'working theories' in evolution theory. One is the veneer theory that regards animals as driven by instincts and humans as animals with a layer of veneer on top of those instincts (like ethics and all kinds of presumed superior characteristisc that are alleged to be entirely absent in animals). The second working theory, built on thousands and thousands of observations by zoologists, says animals - at least so called higher animals starting from birds - have ethics, intellect, feelings, can engage in meta-thinking (=thinking about their own thinking) etc too. I am a proponent of the second working theory. 

(13-05-19, 06:06 PM)Ajda Slovenia Wrote: The evolutionary drive that selects for enhanced social behaviour is that those individuals whose genes enable strong social cooperation have more offspring than those whose genes work against cooperation. Because social animals need cooperation to bring up their offspring together. Those individuals deflecting from social behaviour become more vulnerable e.g. to predators, hence overall the individuals with strong 'social' genes have more offspring and their offspring is also more likely to survive (via support of the group) to adulthood to have their own offspring than individuals with weak 'social' genes. This is how over generations, the strong social genes become more frequent in a group and a species, i.e. cooperation of social animals strengthens via a better reproductive success of individuals with strong social genes than those with weak social genes.

So for social animals, cooperation is a success story. Many times the inherited instincts and behaviours also means readiness to 'sacrifice' for the group - i.e. fighting against predators to protect more vulnerable, slower members of the group (e.g. young offspring).

Our relatives monkeys and apes inherit strong social behaviour - they are born with some 'instinctive' patterns of behaviour, whereas they also learn many social behaviours from their group when they are young - where due to genetics they have the ability to quickly learn these social behaviours when they are young (the ability to learn social behaviours is inherited via genes).

This 'ability to learn social behaviours' includes also ability to accept these behaviours (i.e. the young animals learn these behaviours without questioning them).

Now let's think about our human ancestors when they were still roaming in nature (because today we still have their genes). It was crucial for them to cooperate as a group to survive. BUT there was a problem when they acquired (via evolution) advanced intelligence (i.e. what we call intelligence - the ability to think about the past and the future, to analyse situations, to predict the likely consequences of one's actions).Now if you are an intelligent animal in a group, you may start thinking how to selfishly abuse the cooperation that others are engaged in, e.g. 'let those others go and gather food together, I will not participate but then I will eat what they collect'. So here we have an evolutionary conflict - the 'lazy' individual with 'anti-social' genes has a reproductive advantage; it can grow large quickly because it is fed by others but is not spending any energy finding food, hence there is more energy to invest into reproduction, which will be followed by lazy offspring care (i.e. letting others to also feed offspring), which means the lazy offspring who inherited the anti-social genes have again an advantage over peers in the group because they grow faster than others, are not additionally exposed to predators when searching for food etc. Which, as I am sure you figured out already, is rather disastrous in the long-run for this group of social animals. Because those individuals who use their intelligence to selfishly abuse cooperation have a reproductive advantage, the anti-social genes will eventually prevail - when everyone is selfish, there is no more group, and long-term survival of these animals and generations of their offspring is questionable.

Now the evolutionary solution to this conflict of 'intelligent selfish abuse of cooperation' vs 'cooperation with others knowing that abuse would be beneficial on individual level' seems to have been solved by selection also for the genes which make us 'bow to higher authority = social norms', i.e. apart from the genes giving us huge capability to learn social behaviour early in life, there seem to be also genes that make us accept these 'social norms' without questioning, i.e. a vast majority of humans quite easily accepts these social rules. This inherited strong ability to learn, accept and submit to social norms is in effect an (evolutionary)  'concept of god' - there is something 'greater' than us that we accept, and it is evolution = our genes that makes us accept it.

So early groups/species of humans who, by evolution, were inheriting both traits - intelligence and acceptance of social behaviour without much questioning were in the end evolutionary winners - these groups could take advantage of their intelligence while keeping social cohesion of the group.

In 'civilised' societies, we use this 'concept of god' (= ability to learn social behaviour and acceptance of social rules) which we gained through natural evolutionary processes (selected over many generations) in religions, where we explain our 'instinctive' (genetically inherited) need / urge to submit to shared social behaviour as 'rules given to us by god'. In atheistic world view, I see our legislation and other social structures to which most of us willingly submit as this 'higher authority' which we accept.

Interesting. Thanks for explaining.

What happens when there is an epidemic of (pathological) narcissism - like some argue is what is currently happening - and the narcissists are the ones who are more successful?


(13-05-19, 06:06 PM)Ajda Slovenia Wrote: What is probably the biggest difference between a religious world view and my atheistic is that in religion, rules handed to the people by god are generally regarded as untouchable. In my atheistic world, we humans have created the social rules, and we can also change them together as circumstances and our needs change through generations.

I am not sure I understand your point about social rules. Would you care to explain with an example?  

(13-05-19, 06:06 PM)Ajda Slovenia Wrote: So in my opinion, Real pointed out something important - religious or not, we must be taught to bow to 'higher rules'. We are born with the inherited ability to accept these rules as a 'higher authority', but someone has to explain to us how this all works.

I agree yes, there is a higher good (the needs of society and of future generations) to serve in addition to your own personal needs. Ideally you can advance both at the same time.

(13-05-19, 06:06 PM)Ajda Slovenia Wrote: I went to school in socialist Yugoslavia. As I mentioned above, socialist Yugoslavia was very secular (no religion at school). But we did (!) have a subject at school called something like Social-moral education. Where we were taught how our society works, what the norms are, what is written in the constitution, the UN human rights charter, social aspects of sexual education (biological aspects of human reproduction were covered in Biology), bringing up a family, the role of men and women in the society, merits of international cooperation etc. In fact, I was even in an extracurricular 'United Nations club' at my school, where we looked into these principles more in detail (membership of the UN club was voluntary; we even had national competitions of school teams about the UN and similar issues).

Sounds like an excellent approach of the school curriculum.

(13-05-19, 06:06 PM)Ajda Slovenia Wrote: Looking back, I think that the most valuable thing that I learned at school (and which many people in particularly in the west - and in particular in the US and the UK? - seem to not understand) is how human rights work:

The rights of an individual are limited by the rights of others.

Which, if you look at it, is the essence of what I call the evolutionary 'concept of god'. We need to accept that each of us is a part of a community, which limits what we are 'allowed' to do.

These days, many people seem to think that 'freedoms' are unlimited, e.g. that freedom of speech means that everyone can say whatever they want. Which is NOT true. The rights of individuals to personal dignity, to live without discrimination etc. are the 'rights of others' that limit freedom of speech. So freedom of speech does not include hate speech, incitement to violence etc.

Fully agreed. And as is explained in Articles 29 and 30 of the UNDHR :

Article 29.

  1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 30.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
Reply
#15
Hi Carol,

As a general observation, with the way in which we express ourselves, we define the margin within which the other person can reply.

You write:

(13-05-19, 03:44 PM)CaroleG Wrote: Would you not admit that The Recital (Al-Qur'an) is actually one of the most incoherent books of all time?

Your question starts from the premise that you are right, the others are wrong, and the only options you give the others is to either admit that or not.

I see no virtue in this style of debating. 

I can find ample space in my faith to treat atheists with respect. I am sorry yours does not allow you to do the same for the faithful.

I also find it rather remarkable that you refer to non-Muslim writers as source of your information about Islam. Is it based on such sources that you make statements about what "1.5 billion Muslims believe"? Personally, if I want to learn something about what atheists believe, I'm going to read books about atheism written by atheists, not books about atheism written by Jews, Christians or Muslims.

I am going to leave it at this - it's nothing personal but I do not engage in debates that are aimed at trying to convert others and that are not a conversation between equals to try to understand each other better based on mutual respect.
Reply
#16
(13-05-19, 10:10 PM)Blackbeard's Ghost Wrote: Hi all
I'm guessing the many posts on the subject of religion in this Brexit thread is symptomatic of the fact that there is very little new happening on the subject of Brexit although I note that Farage seems to be inspiring religious-like fervour.
To throw my hat in the ring - I grew up within the Anglican church and as a young teenager even went through the process of being "confirmed". As I grew older I became atheist primarily through a disgust for many organised religions but I guess I'm now a convinced agnostic - meaning I don't know what I believe, I think you are entitled to believe whatever you want as long as it does not lead to you persecuting anyone else or denying other people's beliefs.
I find I can be very tolerant of people's views and I can appreciate the many good things that religious people have done inspired by their faith. But I'm still disgusted by many organised religions - be it the child abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, the money-grabbing evangelicals in the US (is "kleptotheocracy" a word? It should be), etc, etc. I guessing you are all sufficiently aware of history to think of scores of examples of religious wars and persecution perpetrated by virtually every major religion or church.
Over the years - despite my tolerance - I have found myself getting into a number of heated arguments with people I worked with or knew socially:
 - with Muslim coworkers who wanted to execute Salman Rushdie;
 - with a Jehovah's witness who shunned her daughter for getting pregnant;
- with born-again Christians who wanted to have "creationism" taught in schools;
- with Protestants who deny climate change because "God gave us dominion over the world"
Generally I find secularists much easier to deal with - and often more moral and ethical. Sorry if I've offended anyone


May I ask if your Muslim coworkers who wanted to execute Salman Rushie were Shi'ites? Because the fatwa was a Shi'ite fatwa, fiercely criticised by Sunni Muslims.
Reply
#17
(14-05-19, 03:30 AM)Real European Wrote: May I ask if your Muslim coworkers who wanted to execute Salman Rushie were Shi'ites? Because the fatwa was a Shi'ite fatwa, fiercely criticised by Sunni Muslims.

To be honest, at the time (late 80's) I was completely ignorant of the difference between Shia and Sunni. They were of Pakistani origin.
Reply
#18
(14-05-19, 03:21 AM)Real European Wrote: Hi Carol,

As a general observation, with the way in which we express ourselves, we define the margin within which the other person can reply.

You write:


Your question starts from the premise that you are right, the others are wrong, and the only options you give the others is to either admit that or not.

I see no virtue in this style of debating. 

I can find ample space in my faith to treat atheists with respect. I am sorry yours does not allow you to do the same for the faithful.

I also find it rather remarkable that you refer to non-Muslim writers as source of your information about Islam. Is it based on such sources that you make statements about what "1.5 billion Muslims believe"? Personally, if I want to learn something about what atheists believe, I'm going to read books about atheism written by atheists, not books about atheism written by Jews, Christians or Muslims.

I am going to leave it at this - it's nothing personal but I do not engage in debates that are aimed at trying to convert others and that are not a conversation between equals to try to understand each other better based on mutual respect.

The ignorance about Islam, its history, its interpretation and philosophical thinking is considerable. As all religions, Islam has gone through many debates and trends. There is a Muslim secularism. For people who understand French, I refer you to the excellent programme "Questions d'Islam" on France-Culture channel, proposed by the very wise and knowledgeable scholar  Ghaleb Bencheikh

I'm an uncompromising secularist and I'm not religious in spite or because of having been brought up in a Catholic school Big Grin . But the religious side of human beings is an anthropological fact. We cannot understand our societies without any knowledge of what believers believe in, without mentioning the great input in our collective thinking of the various religions. We live now in multicultural societies, but that is not as recent as people would like us to think. Europe has been formed by a predominantly Christian majority but, for instance, there is no Aristotle without Averroes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averroes in the times of the great Almohad Caliphate, who was influential in the Western thinking. Let us not forget either the great Hebraic component of our cultures.

I refer you too to the enlightning programme Talmudiques by Marc-Alain Ouaknin on the same channel.

Let me mention a hero of mine, the great emir Abd-el-Kader. A great soldier who fought bravely against the French colonial army. A great thinker and poet and a great statesman.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emir_Abdelkader
and one of our great Muslim intellectual https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdelwahab_Meddeb

France Culture podcasts:

https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/questions-dislam

https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/t...01-07-2019
Reply
#19
(14-05-19, 07:05 AM)Blackbeard's Ghost Wrote: To be honest, at the time (late 80's) I was completely ignorant of the difference between Shia and Sunni. They were of Pakistani origin.

It is so funny as to what we observe in Bharath -  the converts behave more fierce and fundamentalist than the original faith people. Many westerners who visit Bharath have no qualms what so ever to visit a temple, participate and even eat the prasad i.e food offered but never the locals who got converted. Maybe there is a covert / overt threat and control of their free will and thinking & actions from their religious heads and places of worship. And worse, the atheists there will never visit a hindu temple but have no qualms visiting a church or a mosque. Maybe the converts and the atheists really believe that the hindu god really lives there in a temple and that is why they shun it. 

And the menace of conversion via inducement and sly methods on the innocent that we see and the aggravation and abusive denouncement they do to hurt the locals of their indigenous faith with the training they receive in the headquarters of their religion and the support of their world religious leaders of highest order who otherwise preach love, peace and tolerance and other measures of high standards of probity reeks hypocrisy. These are the same religious leaders of highest order who pray and condemn when their places of worship and followers are massacred who turn a blind eye when the local faith, followers and places of worship are attacked.
Reply
#20
And the amount of destruction the other faiths have done and doing to priceless works of art, literature and science of indigenous people of Bharath and the worst hypocrisy of the self proclaimed most evolved western govts that stop illegal people, drugs and arms coming into their country but find most intelligent ways to accept smuggled works of art into their museums and claim legality is simply mind boggling. 

And, the worst sight to see is the abusive use of western innocent children as young as 10 years to be sent to Bharath to do social service and with the consent of their parents to the sly intent of using them for the conversion of locals.
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)