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Bloggingheads
05-21-2008, 10:41 AM

bjkeefe
05-21-2008, 12:45 PM
It never fails to amaze me how Jim can sound so sensible at one moment, and then like a raving paranoiac the next, and then do that over and over again. He is at times truly alarming.

otto
05-21-2008, 12:55 PM
I'm Jim Pinkerton!

Followed by the Reverend's business card summary...

ed fielding
05-21-2008, 01:13 PM
Hey! Thanks.
Pleasing to see James altering the offputting jovial bluster that was for me counterproductive in his last appearance.
Speaking, I imagine, largely for myself, this was a genuinely productive elaboration of differing but still conjunct views held in the church towards the challenges faced by all.
I find most compelling, and not ironically, those moments of silence that serve to summarize and emphasize a conclusion to which the conversation comes.
In this instance it was Chloe’s, near the end; it occurred tellingly in Jeff Sharlet’s reporting as well; a moment of sadness, of being appalled at was has been and what may come.
Again, thanks.

jh in sd
05-21-2008, 01:52 PM
'"Wow, that sounds very Episcopalian." Funny, and as an Episcopalian, I can attest to that. In the fututure, though, if BHtv want to bring on Anglican clergy, could you get a Bishop? If we have to sit and watch someone scowl, I myself would rather see it in some delightful shade of magenta.

Am I the only one who feels that Jim and Chloe are a bit too cautious with each other?

graz
05-21-2008, 02:06 PM
In the fututure, though, if BHtv want to bring on Anglican clergy, could you get a Bishop? If we have to sit and watch someone scowl, I myself would rather see it in some delightful shade of magenta.

The barometer for Chloe's scowl was her forehead.
At certain points she had it twisted and furrowed so much so that I thought it might spring off her face.
Is scowling unchristian?
It was probably due to her cautiousness, as you suggest.

Winspur
05-21-2008, 02:15 PM
As another Episcopalian, I got the impression that for all Pinkerton's talk about "the lessons of history," Rev. Breyer was better versed in Christian and Muslim history than he was.

ed fielding
05-21-2008, 02:45 PM
Merely re ‘scowl’.
Didn’t see it that way.
The deadpan is fun as Bob practices it. But Jane’s guarded but revealing expressions are not just fun but informative. Likewise Chloe’s. It clarifies what is being said either in assertion or reaction.
Seems to me one of the significant elements in the bhtv format. It clarifies the argument and the character of the heads being attended to.
Again, thanks.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-21-2008, 02:45 PM
Winspur,

Extremely important point. I've made it through 49 minutes so far but I can't go on any longer. I'm sure it's difficult to recall details and specifics when one is making an argument on the fly in a diavlog but Mr. Pinkerton has lost any right for me to give him a break with his completely odious and ridiculous views. It is simply impossible to listen to someone spouting such views without any seeming knowledge at all upon which he's basing them.

Mr. Pinkerton seems to have very little knowledge at all about the history of Christendom, of the United States and has absolutely no knowledge about Islam, it's history, or any current situations in the Muslim world as far as I can tell.

On the few occasions when Mr. Pinkerton does mention something specific from history, it's clear he's not really calling for the same policy to be followed today, but we're apparently supposed to just take the "lesson" that you have to be tough, or you have to defend yourself, or something similarly devoid of any analytical or intellectual content. Mr. Pinkerton is not even serious about Christianity, and his view of how to defend Christendom totally escapes me (Writing fantasy novels with Christian symbolism? -- They've already made Lord of the Rings and Narnia is in process Mr. Pinkerton). Apparently his favorite theologian is Constantine, and like any imperialist, Christianity to him is mainly something meant to serve the empire. I guess it's appropriate that this diavlog appeared today because May 21 is the Saint's day for Constantinos for the Greek Orthodox. (Although to be fair to Mr. Pinkerton's opposition to the Iraq War, he's the type of imperialist focused on making sure only people like him dominate the center of the empire and the unwashed barbarians are kept out with his magnificent walls. Also, occasionally we have to go kill and destroy some poor brown people to "punish" them when something bad happens to us.)

Life is too short to waste time listening to this. Reverend Breyer's heart seems to be in the right place and she tries to make some important points, but, as others have pointed out, she seems a little too cautious. She also doesn't demonstrate any knowledge of Islam other than a couple of conversations with Imam Feisal Rauf, who does speak and write on these type of issues (he doesn't really represent my views...I'll say no more, but that should be enough of an endorsement of him as a 'moderate' or 'acceptable' Muslim for some others).

I also think the way in which Judaism is always neatly folded in with Christendom for today's purposes despite the fact that in the context of the historical "lessons" Mr. Pinkerton is referring to this is quite problematic, yet it is done without any analysis or explanation. Newsflash to Mr.Pinkerton -- "Christendom" (as a political entity) has still lost Jerusalem, hasn't it? The fact that it changed hands between the Muslims and the Jews shouldn't really affect this. But I guess Israel is part of Christendom, too...or something like that.

Maybe get someone like Noah Feldman or even bring back Mr. Aslan (although he doesn't represent my views of Islam at least he always puts up a fight)...you can have whatever right winger or Islamophobe on you want but if they don't know anything about either Christianity or Islam it's not really a beneficial diavlog.

Oh, by the way Mr. Pinkerton. I have some bad news for you. There are already millions of us here (and guess what, a big percentage of those are from people whose ancestors have been here as long or longer than yours) so you can try to stop immigration of Muslims if you must (and I'm sure you feel you must) but you can't stop us from having children and you can't stop us from reaching out with the message to more people. I'm sorry for you but it's gonna get pretty expensive for that plan of yours to put cops in front of every mosque but we'll try to spread 'em around so that everyone can benefit from the enhanced security. :)

Maybe you should start listening to Rev. Breyer and start working on ways we can live together rather than simply thinking you can make the whole country into a gated community for people like yourself.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

graz
05-21-2008, 03:37 PM
Merely re ‘scowl’.
Didn’t see it that way.
The deadpan is fun as Bob practices it. But Jane’s guarded but revealing expressions are not just fun but informative. Likewise Chloe’s. It clarifies what is being said either in assertion or reaction.
Seems to me one of the significant elements in the bhtv format. It clarifies the argument and the character of the heads being attended to.
Again, thanks.

As a scowl is defined as an angry or ill-tempered expression, I take your point about her intent or the effect. She didn't seem angry to me. But I did lose myself in her contortions at the particular points when Jim was riding off the rails.

Anyuser
05-21-2008, 04:04 PM
Oh, by the way Mr. Pinkerton. I have some bad news for you. There are already millions of us here (and guess what, a big percentage of those are from people whose ancestors have been here as long or longer than yours) . . . .

Could you expand on that?

razib
05-21-2008, 04:07 PM
amen brother! they should make sure that kufar pinkerton doesn't spread his Hate speech.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-21-2008, 04:49 PM
Anyuser,

I was simply pointing out the fact that a large percentage of Muslims in America are African American. Their families have been in this country for longer than most of us who are descended from European immigrants. Accurate numbers on the Muslim community in America are not at all agreed upon, but it is generally agreed that African Americans are one third of the Muslims in this country. To think of the Muslim community as an exclusively immigrant phenomenon is therefore wrong. Islam is very well integrated into the African American community and will not be removed from this country regardless of immigration policies. Finally, just in general there is enough of a base of Muslims of many different ethnicities who have been born here that the Muslim community will surely grow in coming years based on "natural" increase and conversion, how much it will grow and what the nature and views of that community will be is, of course, impossible to predict with certainty.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com


[QUOTE=Anyuser;78108]Could you expand on that?[/QUOTE

jh in sd
05-21-2008, 05:39 PM
"but you can't stop us from having children and you can't stop us from reaching out with the message to more people."

And what exactly is that message?

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-21-2008, 06:09 PM
Meaning the message of Islam...that there is nothing worthy of worship except the One God that created the universe and that Muhammad is a Prophet and final Messenger of God to humanity. Beyond that, I have my own understanding of what the Message of Islam involves but there is a wide diversity of views among Muslims in America and there are people promoting all of those views both within the Muslim community and in the broader society. It seems Rev. Breyer knows enough to know that and is encouraging Christians in the U.S. to think a little bit about what attitude and actions they take and what types of attitudes among Muslims will be promoted as a reaction to that. I am not sure if Mr. Pinkerton knows anything about the Muslim community in the U.S. or has really thought out the issues at all. Perhaps I am wrong...I can only go on what I've heard him say.

I am not saying that enormous numbers of people will necessarily become Muslim but some will...I'm trying to push the issue a little for a couple of reasons, Mr. Pinkerton really bothers me as I think I've made clear and I want to challenge the notions he is advancing because as I tried to describe in my first post, what he is actually saying is very murky. I can't be sure if that's because his ideas are not really well thought out or if he is deliberately blurring his views because he realizes that baldly stated they would be considered unacceptable.

So, he mentions things like we should stop immigration from countries with Muslim populations or something like that...why doesn't he just say the country should bar any Muslims from immigrating..is that what he wants? If so, does he want to stop people from choosing to convert? Why or why not? Does he want to stop Muslims from having children? Does he want to prevent Muslims from openly preaching the religion? If is Islam that he is afraid of, then he should state that. If it something else that he, rightly or wrongly associates with Islam, then he should be more clear about what exactly he thinks is a problem and focus on that rather than the proxy of religious identification.

I hope that helps.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

Wonderment
05-21-2008, 06:19 PM
Jim is obviously under the spell of the goofball Huntington clash-of-civilizations thesis. All his ridiculous suppositions and paranoia seem to flow from that initial ideological lunacy.

Anyuser
05-21-2008, 06:22 PM
Accurate numbers on the Muslim community in America are not at all agreed upon, but it is generally agreed that African Americans are one third of the Muslims in this country.

Do you know if that includes Nation of Islam?

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-21-2008, 06:41 PM
The Nation of Islam is quite small in terms of actual membership, so I don't think it would affect such a vague estimate whether one includes it or not.

In round numbers, six million Muslims in America with 2 million being African American are okay numbers. The Nation Of Islam has at the most around 50,000 members.

The Nation of Islam obviously does have an influence in the Black community which is greatly disproportional to its membership numbers but it is unclear if that phenomenon will continue past the time when Minister Farrakhan eventually returns to the Creator. There is no successor within the Nation of Islam that would have anywhere near the profile that Farrakhan has in the wider African American community.

In any event, while the current status of precise theological doctrines which are very important to Muslims is somewhat hard to state, in many ways Minister Farrakhan has been slowly but steadily moving his community much closer to the broader Muslim community in the U.S. and especially worldwide in terms of religious practice and community feeling. As you may know, Elijah Muhammad's son, W.D. Muhammad moved the original Nation Of Islam into line with mainstream Sunni Muslim beliefs and he has far more followers than the Nation of Islam has actual members.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

Anyuser
05-21-2008, 07:19 PM
Jim is obviously under the spell of the goofball Huntington clash-of-civilizations thesis. All his ridiculous suppositions and paranoia seem to flow from that initial ideological lunacy.

What do you find lunatic about Huntington? Have you read his book?

Eastwest
05-21-2008, 07:51 PM
Pinkerton has a point.

Forget Abu Noor's self-righteous babbling about history: Conservative Islam has always been a fiercely imperialist cultural force. (Islamic generals' slaughters "for the glory of Allah" of Hindus and Buddhists throughout India and Central Asia are matters of historical record. See "Oxford History of India.")

Islam has been terribly inconsistent in its policy of merely taxing the conquered while supposedly tolerating their beliefs.

Fortunately, most followers of Islam are far more deeply spiritual and far more humane than a literal reading of their texts should justify (as with Christians). Hence we do get periods of relative sanity under Islamic rule. But one survives only at their ruler's pleasure.

The problem remains: Conservative (i.e. Salafi / Wahab) Islam is incapable of genuinely respectful and peaceful coexistence with atheists, agnostics, or non-theistic religions.

VS Naipal is no model for a spiritual life. Still, his concept of a "quarantine" against conservative Islam and its apologists may sadly become a necessity ere long, riscindable only once that religion undertakes an operating system software upgrade eliminating the hatefulness bugs whereby its followers look upon infidels (i.e. those not "of the book") as ultimately worthy only of the sword.

EW

handle
05-21-2008, 07:57 PM
I think I already read your flier...(sarcasm)
Don't look now, but your fellow paranoids are swift-boating John Mccain even as I type:

http://judicial-inc.biz/82jjohn_mccain_and_the_uss_forresta.htm

I know it's BS, but so was the original swift boat thing, and it didn't seem to matter.

Wonderment
05-21-2008, 08:12 PM
Much as I admire Rev. Breyer, would it be too much to ask that you find an actual Muslim to discuss Islam with?

Eastwest
05-21-2008, 08:14 PM
The monks I know are all rich, owning extremely valuable un-taxed plots of land. It can be about the faith; but it can also be about the power.

All the monks I know (all Buddhist) are penniless or close to it, own no land at all, and are not interested in any sort of power, except perhaps the power of faith.

EW

Eastwest
05-21-2008, 08:26 PM
Much as I admire Rev. Breyer, would it be too much to ask that you find an actual Muslim to discuss Islam with?

Actually, the discussion, at least from Pink's POV, was not about Islam per se, but rather about immigration policy toward followers of Islam (who, with only pathetically limp-wristed exceptions, consistently refuse to openly disavow violence in the name of religion).

As for debating Islam's metaphysical tenets, this is mostly "off the table." If one is not a follower of Islam and pursues such a debate with any vigor, an honest engagement on that level will only succeed in getting you killed.

In the case of followers of Islam, the attitude is more-or-less: "Why should we debate what is already perfect?"

There is no genuine respect in Islam for the actual metaphysical tenets of faiths which do not pledge allegiance to the tenets of Islam wherein a whimsically now-wrathful, now-compassionate creator god governs all. (Of course, as a Buddhist, I find this to be a rather ghastly comedy, since conservative Christianity is essentially no different in this respect. But Christians, on the whole, have more of the hatred-of-others bugs suppressed in the most recent releases of their spiritual operating system.)

So, I'm more than a little skeptical that anything very genuinely useful could come out of such a pairing, not least because real honesty or intellectual rigor would inevitably be lacking.

EW

Anyuser
05-21-2008, 08:29 PM
Cuius regio, eius religio. See here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuius_regio,_eius_religio).

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-21-2008, 08:37 PM
EW,

Since you are obviously such an expert on Islam and its history (you can say "Wahab" (what?) and quote VS Naipul (really, still?) I wish you would stop being so modest and vague in your prescriptions.

Who should operate these quaratines? To where should I report and at what date and time?

Oh, and thanks for feeling so bad about the way you may be forced to deal with such diseased vermin as myself and my family. And you can use computer programming metaphors, how very witty and modern!

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

AemJeff
05-21-2008, 08:40 PM
Diseased vermin?

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-21-2008, 08:53 PM
Why else would we have to be quarantined if we are not diseased? Why can't we coexist with human beings unless we are some type of sub-human vermin?

I welcome EastWest's clarification if this is not the intended implication of his (I assume EastWest is a he based on his mode of expression) and I certainly apologize if I have mischaracterized his comments. And I apologize in general if my rhetoric went overboard, I think such rhetoric that certain types of people cannot coexist with others and are essentially wicked and (may) have to 'quarantined' are incredibly dangerous. Normally I am actually not that sensitive to anti-Islam discourse, but I do believe this particular kind cannot be allowed to be stated unchecked if it's possible to counter it. Perhaps I have done so in the wrong way...again I am sorry. Maybe Mr. Kaus was right and I'm just a twit.

I do have to say, though EW, from one non-Christian to another, when Kidney Stones is agreeing with you you gotta get a little nervous.

Pinkerton makes me crazy...perhaps I should just leave this discussion alone.
Sorry for the selfrighteous rants (by the way EW I think you completely misunderstood what I was saying about Mr. Pinkerton's historical knowledge of Christianity, but I know I did not go into detail so that's probably my fault.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

jh in sd
05-21-2008, 09:11 PM
Abu Noor, You really are ranting. I believe if you read Jim's piece, you will know that the only Muslims he has a problem with are the radical, militant terrorists who want to destroy the West.

Anyuser
05-21-2008, 10:00 PM
What do you find lunatic about Huntington? Have you read his book?

The title, perhaps?

graz
05-21-2008, 10:09 PM
Abu Noor, You really are ranting. I believe if you read Jim's piece, you will know that the only Muslims he has a problem with are the radical, militant terrorists who want to destroy the West.

jh: Are you unaware of Jim's comments in a diavlog with David Corn in which he proposes putting a policeman in front of every U.S. Mosque?
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/401?&in=00:30:39&out=00:47:00

Anyuser
05-21-2008, 11:00 PM
Is it immoral (substitute "unAmerican," if you like) for a country to make a collective assessment as to what it is, or what it aspires to, as a culture, and to promote such cultural values through immigration policies? The Japanese do. So do the Saudis. The US did until 1965.

Alternatively, does morality (presumably Christian morality) compel us to allow in pretty much whomever our resources can handle, and what culture we end up with is a matter of chance?

I hear JP urging the former and Padre Breyer urging the latter. I side largely with JP (but not necessarily with everything he says). I reject a moral code that prohibits a person or a culture from having preferences, from making judgments and choices. I don't think it's immoral to prefer immigrants more likely to become traditional post-Enlightenment Americans.

Incidentally, the US was founded and dominated for centuries by WASPs. I'm not advocating turning the clock back, but it's a myth that the US was populated my a multitude of cultures that melted into one. It is not true that the US has been diverse from the get-go. Until the immigration reforms of the '60s, the US forced WASP culture on immigrants. I'm not saying this was right, just the way it was. Immigration since the '60s is taking us into uncharted territory. See here (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/foreign/divers.htm).

bkjazfan
05-21-2008, 11:13 PM
The more I watch diavlogs on religion the less I like it. How about this book "What's Right About Islam." Sorry, that is not a must read for me.

As a lapsed catholic I had to watch the meltdown there with regards to the clergy and their sexual crimes. Then, in California where I live there has always been every kind of kooky cult, sect, religion or whatever they are called known to man. In the 70's the born again movement was very big here and continues to be. Journalist Steve Emerson has done an expose on the seditious activities of Muslim mosques. Oh, can't forget about that raving rants of Reverend Wright. What is any sane person suppose to make of this spectacle of lunacy?

As I said before, no I don't get it.

John

jh in sd
05-21-2008, 11:51 PM
Graz, I am aware of Jim's comment, and I will still stand by my statement. From reading some of Jim's writings, I have come to the conclusion that he feels that a better alternative to going into the Islamic countries of the Middle East and trying to change them to our way of life is to let them live the way they want to live, but to keep them away from us if they want to change our way of life (democracy as opposed to facist theocracy). Jim, I apologize if I am misrepresenting your point of view.

graz
05-22-2008, 12:12 AM
Graz, I am aware of Jim's comment, and I will still stand by my statement. From reading some of Jim's writings, I have come to the conclusion that he feels that a better alternative to going into the Islamic countries of the Middle East and trying to change them to our way of life is to let them live the way they want to live, but to keep them away from us if they want to change our way of life (democracy as opposed to facist theocracy). Jim, I apologize if I am misrepresenting your point of view.

Fair enough. I think you characterize his wishes correctly. But as to "they" wanting to change our way of life - that's a pretty broad brush. I am in agreement with the principle. Not so fearful of the threat.

jh in sd
05-22-2008, 12:15 AM
bj, Where are you? What is the atheist perspective on this diavlog? Be brave and throw political correctness to the wind.

Eastwest
05-22-2008, 12:46 AM
EW,

Since you are obviously such an expert ...

ANA:

Actually I have no proposals . The easiest solution would be for the what, (maybe 15%?) of the Islamic faith who don't mind killing innocents in the name of God to be restrained by their own so that the family of world religions could proceed on harmoniously.

(I would also wish a similar "reformation" among Jewish West-Bank fundamentalists and the few remaining nutty "crusaders" in the stranger enclaves of the Christian church.)

All faiths are obligated to upgrade their scriptural software and orations until we can all just get along. Endless carnage isn't acceptable.

Please just meditate on it. Arguing about this won't be particularly productive. You'll just end up hating me and I'll be forced to wonder about your dedication to truth. No point.

As for your characterization of my analysis as implicitly labeling all members of your faith with a term I never implied, please refer back to my actual comment:

"Fortunately, most followers of Islam are far more deeply spiritual and far more humane than a literal reading of their texts should justify (as with Christians). "

Peace, (Really.)
EW

Eastwest
05-22-2008, 12:51 AM
I'm based in Japan and the monks I know are Buddhist, too. It's a great business. Our kids went to a fantastic Buddhist kindergarten, wonderfully spacious with a strong emphasis on teaching self-discovery even to younger people. Very little kant.

Where are your impoverished monks?

Actually, being married, Japanese monks are some sort of "priest," and are certainly not "monks."

This is a purely Japanese innovation which the Buddha never would have permitted as he quite explicity required celibacy for monks.

Allow me to refer you to the majority of Theravadin (Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, etc.) or Chinese monks for more traditional emblems of what the Buddha articulated on this matter.

EW

Eastwest
05-22-2008, 12:54 AM
I do have to say, though EW, from one non-Christian to another, when Kidney Stones is agreeing with you you gotta get a little nervous.


Your right on that. I was shocked and immediately assumed I should stop posting altogether. I was greatly comforted to get up from my nap and find that he really wasn't agreeing all that whole-heartedly after all.

Whewww!

Best,
EW

graz
05-22-2008, 01:04 AM
Your right on that. I was shocked and immediately assumed I should stop posting altogether. I was greatly comforted to get up from my nap and find that he really wasn't agreeing all that whole-heartedly after all.

Whewww!

Best,
EW
That's a winner

Wonderment
05-22-2008, 01:44 AM
I hear JP urging the former and Padre Breyer urging the latter.

"Padre" means "father."


don't think it's immoral to prefer immigrants more likely to become traditional post-Enlightenment Americans.

Quite white of you.

It is not true that the US has been diverse from the get-go.

Not if you ignore the existence of Native Americans, African slaves and Hispanics.

Incompetence Dodger
05-22-2008, 01:46 AM
Incidentally, the US was founded and dominated for centuries by WASPs. I'm not advocating turning the clock back, but it's a myth that the US was populated my a multitude of cultures that melted into one. It is not true that the US has been diverse from the get-go. Until the immigration reforms of the '60s, the US forced WASP culture on immigrants. I'm not saying this was right, just the way it was. Immigration since the '60s is taking us into uncharted territory. See here (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/foreign/divers.htm).

Which WASPs are you referring to, the Irish? The Italians? The Jews?

As for Atlantic Monthly links, two can play at that game (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200604u/immigration-flashback). Note in particular how eerily similar the "concerns" of the anti-immigration forces were.

look
05-22-2008, 01:54 AM
I didn't post at the time, but I thought Chloe and Peter's talk was excellent. Very thoughtful and timely, and a sweet Christmas gift from Bob.

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/7656

Eastwest
05-22-2008, 05:11 AM
EW,
...quarantines?

By "quarantine," Naipal meant "confinement to country-of-origin those determined to destroy you."

Pinkerton never used the "Q" word, just "immigration restriction."

Rather than belittling my analogy, contemplate more deeply "belief systems" as analogous to operating-system software and supremacist ideas encouraging domination or elimination of other faiths to "bugs" making the system vulnerable to self-destruction. It's especially apt for Islam, but more-or-less applicable to aspects of Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism as well. (The Old Testament provides a fascinating entomological tour.)

I'm yet to encounter a theistic religion without "bugs." The most common: Insistence on sole possession of spiritual truth. Paradoxically, this is the most monstrous of lies, especially where it endorses, either directly or through inference, the slaughter of "infidels."

Islam possesses rudimentarily correct understanding of basic virtue and ethics, but it's Neanderthal and discriminatory on other concepts such as "compassion," which for the most part is something reserved for the faithful while being only sparingly dispensed to infidels.

This actually isn't compassion at all (which to genuinely qualify as such, must be universal in scope). It is actually just "in-group self-love" not qualitatively different from self-adulatory ego-centric behavior.

Think about it.

EW

bjkeefe
05-22-2008, 05:59 AM
bj, Where are you? What is the atheist perspective on this diavlog? Be brave and throw political correctness to the wind.

Heh. Thanks for the challenge, but apart from my initial response -- that Jim seemed to oscillate between being sensible and paranoid -- I didn't get much out of this diavlog.

I did have one other initial reaction that I should have said in my first comment: Chloe struck me as a fine representative of Christianity as I was brought up to understand it. I could wish she acted from a different set of motivations, but if all religious people were like her, I would have almost no problems with religion.

I am, of course, strongly against Jim's wish to build walls. On the other hand, I do have a little bit of irritation with some Muslims who move to Western countries and either sequester themselves and refuse to assimilate, or demand excessive considerations for their faith and culture that go against the way of life in the country to which they chose to move. Some of this is easily excused by realizing that all recent immigrants tend to stick with their own for a generation or two and that it takes time to adapt. Some more is excused by acknowledging that there is a particular hostility directed to them by others.

Still, I do sometimes wonder if there isn't something to the complaints about their standoffishness. This impression comes from, among other sources, reading about problems in Europe, from debating on Abu Noor's blog (e.g. (http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com/2008/03/27/new-york-times-many-muslims-turn-to-home-schooling/)), and from conversations with my mother, who was an active participant in an interfaith group, and reported utter failure at trying to get Muslims to join (long before 9/11).

On the other hand, I have had Muslim friends, a couple of whom were quite devout, and I've never heard them say anything that suggests a problem of getting along in Western society. On the gripping hand, these are, by definition, examples of those who are willing to move outside the bounds of their own community.

The long and short of it is that I don't know if Muslim resistance to participation in Western society is a real problem, since I only have anecdotal evidence for either side of the argument. It's also fair to say that there are plenty of Christians and Jews who are equally insular, hostile to Western social mores, and insistent on their own special privileges.

The more I think about it, the more I think I don't have a particular problem with someone choosing not to embrace every aspect of a society. Given dictatorial powers, I, for example, would be tempted to do away with 98% of what's shown on TV, and the checkout line at the grocery store might look a lot different. As with all religions, the main problem for me is less people living their lives the way they want to, and more when they try to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of a pluralistic society. Here in the US, at least, I am far more worried about fundamentalist Christians than fundamentalist Muslims in this regard. In any case, the danger from the two groups is identical -- intolerance of others, an attitude of prudery, and a rejection of science and rational thinking in general -- so I care less about which book they revere than I do about their goals.

The only other problem, as I see it, is determining whether a dedication to Islam inherently provokes more violence than a dedication to other belief systems. Here, I am inclined to think most of what I see in the news has to do with a reaction to being invaded or subjugated, and almost all the rest comes from a few zealous outliers. It's easy to think of examples of the latter from any group, from radical students in the 1960s to abortion clinic bombers to Yigal Amir (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yigal_Amir). I don't think all of this tendency can be explained away thusly, given stories one hears about horrors like, say, honor killings and Saudi mutaween police (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1874471.stm). In the end, though, I think the notion that such attitudes are inherent to Muslims, particularly those who choose to emigrate, is greatly exaggerated for political reasons, and what remains, while not trivial, is a problem that can be managed through a combination of standard police work and outreach by the rest of society. No group of people is intrinsically free of individuals who cause problems.

All of this has been a ridiculously long way of saying that I wish religion would just go away. Since that's not a realistic hope, I reject Jim's views that it would be a good thing for different groups to shun each other. We're going to have to learn how to get along -- there is no other choice -- and the best way to do this is with more interaction, not less.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-22-2008, 11:56 AM
Brendan,

Your argument gets a little better as the post goes along, but really, these kind of nativist why don't "they" "assimilate" to "our" "culture" or "way of life" in the "West" are really beneath your intelligence.

What is this "American way of life" that everyone has to adopt? Who gets to decide it? Surely you know that America has changed greatly over the centuries because of ideas and struggles of people who lived here. They sometimes chose to participate to change things, they sometimes chose to separate themselves from parts of the culture they didn't agree with. All of these things resulted in changes. Saying that everyone should "assimilate" to the way "America" is would just mean that everyone has to adopt whatever the most powerful group says "America" means at the time.

This is ridiculous. American culture is by any understanding deeply religious. You choose to be downright anti-religious at times. Does this mean I should accuse you of refusing to "assimilate" into America?

I'm a big fan of different kinds of people interacting with each other and sharing different points of view. Obviously, if I didn't I wouldn't be sharing my views on a consistent basis and a variety of topics on a discussion board with a bunch of people where less than five Muslims have probably posted in the entire history of the site as far as I can tell. Still, there could be a variety of reasons why Muslims are not active in certain parts of American society..it could just be apathy, it could be that they are focused on other things (most non-Muslim Americans are not involved in interfaith groups either) or in some cases it could be because they have a different idea of the way things should be done. Maybe they or we are right, maybe we're wrong. We should never be afraid of the mere fact that people don't "assimilate" with the herd. People who refuse to "assimilate" into what the mainstream are doing are the source of all the good positive change that has happened to human societies in history.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-22-2008, 12:05 PM
EW,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I'm ignoring any arguments by V.S. Naipul. Sorry if I'm missing something, I just am. Basically the same is true in the future for Mr. Pinkerton.

I think you have a deeply distorted view of Islam. Whether its based some knowledge of what some Muslims have done in the past or the present, doesn't change the fact that it's deeply distorted. Your comments also reflect that you have not actually studied Islamic teachings yourself. That's okay, I haven't studied Buddhism either, but therefore I do not comment on it as if I am an authority.

God says in the Qur'an that the Prophet(saw) was sent as nothing else but a mercy (source of compassion) to all of creation...there is nothing in Islamic teachings which suggest that compassion can only be limited to Muslims.

Of course, Islam is not pacifist and it does believe in fighting certain people in certain situations. Also, Islam is a universal religion which believes that it communicates certain truths which are valid for all people in different places or times. I do not see that as a "bug." Islam and Muslims recognize that there is spiritual and revealed truth present in every culture and people on earth, however, based on the fact that there is only one God and He has sent Prophets to every people. So, it does not in fact suggest that any group has sole possession of spiritual truth.

Still, I will continue to think about what you've said and I hope you will consider my suggestions as well.

Peace.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-22-2008, 12:13 PM
jh,

I didn't read the piece but Mr. Pinkerton was clear in the diavlog that he wanted to stop immigration from Muslim countries. If he's just saying we should not import fundamentalist, radical Muslims who want to kill innocents, I'm in total agreement although I'm not sure who is calling for importing such people. On the other hand, I'm sure Mr. Pinkerton would like to label my views as being fundamentalist and/or radical although I've never been involved with perpetrating any type of violence and certainly have become much more gentle in nature with everyone since I've been Muslim. So what would he do with me? Is the issue violence or some kind of real threat or is the issue trying to preserve some imaginary notion of what "America" is supposed to believe in as the leader of "Christendom"...that is what I want him to be more clear about.

Thanks for checking me on the ranting, though. When my Irish temper gets going, forbearance is not my strong suit. People should probably fear that more than anything I've learned from Islam.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-22-2008, 12:17 PM
Anyuser,

Yes we know that America was founded and dominated for many years by WASPs. Actually it was by WASP landowning males.

Some of us are the descendants of the people who struggled to overturn that domination and improve the society we live in for the interest of everybody and apparently some of us are descendants of those WASPs or for some other strange reason long to see a return to that time of domination of a certain minority over everyone else.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

bjkeefe
05-22-2008, 12:39 PM
Brendan,

Your argument gets a little better as the post goes along, but really, these kind of nativist why don't "they" "assimilate" to "our" "culture" or "way of life" in the "West" are really beneath your intelligence.

What is this "American way of life" that everyone has to adopt? Who gets to decide it? Surely you know that America has changed greatly over the centuries because of ideas and struggles of people who lived here.

Taken to an extreme, I agree -- an insistence upon conformity is unreasonable. I also agree that what defines America changes over time.

However, I do think the people in place have some rights in asking that new arrivals make some adjustments, too. This goes for Europe as well as the US. When I hear condemnation of the West's more relaxed attitudes about sex, for example, that troubles me. So does the subjugation of women. So do notions that a community's system of law trumps a nation's system of law. In general, the American (Western) way of life values plurality and individuality, and I often sense a reluctance to accept that when listening to Muslim spokesmen.

As I said in my earlier post, I am not afraid of people who want to keep some part of themselves separate from larger society, but I think this can be carried too far, as well.

I don't agree with your assertion:

American culture is by any understanding deeply religious.

It depends what you're measuring against, of course, but the US has no official church, it does not let religious beliefs dominate its legal system, and most of the people who claim to be religious in this country are comparatively "cafeteria Catholic" about it. We were founded by people who wanted to move away from religious oppression, and despite what some Christianists would have you believe, most people have no interest in being told what to do by central religious authorities. Over time, we have seen the growth in percentage of people who identify as atheist, agnostic, or unaffiliated, and there has been a steady doing-away with things like blue laws. Granted, we have a ways to go before we catch up to some of the European countries, and we do have a core of committed people who wish the US were a Christian version of Saudi Arabia, but overall, I don't at all agree that American culture is deeply religious.

ImmRefDotCom
05-22-2008, 01:13 PM
That Atlantic article is one long logical fallacy (http://immref.com/spin/immigration-of-yesteryear/) considering that it fails - until the very end - to note that conditions have changed. And, at the very end, it fails to note Kennedy's warning relating to something like Quebec forming in the southwest.

And, relating to Breyer's "concern" for our strawberries, see this (http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/199511/guest-workers).

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-22-2008, 01:27 PM
Brendan,

American society is deeply religious...I didn't say American government or the American legal system. I think your views on this are colored by the company you may choose to keep.

(Now, is most people's religion not really based on deep religious knowledge, often hypocritical, and usually used to justify rather than challenge attitudes and practices people might hold otherwise...it sure seems like it to me)

Brendan, I think you're saying that if there are parts of American culture you agree with or think are good, then you'd like people to adopt those parts. As to the parts of American culture you don't like, you're fine with people challenging them. That makes a lot of sense, but I can't see why you want to frame your argument in the terms of people should "assimilate" in some vague general way. Just address the substance of the issue. I don't agree with "subjugation of women" either but we might disagree about what constitutes "subjugation." American attitudes on sex were much different 100 years ago and believe me, there are plenty of people besides Muslim immigrants who think current views especially in the mainstream media are pretty objectionable. So should immigrants in the 19th century have assimilated to the views prevalent then? If not, why should immigrants today 'assimilate' to today's views.

I guess you are pretty happy with current day Western or American mainstream culture, so you want people to assimilate to it. I just think you should be more clear that you want people to adopt those views because you think they are positively good rather than appear to be just arguing that if people want to come to "our" country they should be happy to think and act like "we" do. Because this argument raises obvious questions about who constitutes "we" and "our" and in the end is just really not defensible on moral or intellectual grounds.

I know I'm seemingly belaboring this issue, but I think that the type of discourse about if "they" want to come here, "they" have to be like "us" has a lot of negative effects to the extent it's widely accepted, which it pretty much is in America especially on the right. The right is working hard to make sure it is adopted by the left as well, especially with regard to Muslims and Islam, and I really hope that that doesn't happen.

Oh, and I know that discussions about cultural values and morality can be very different to have because people sometime bring different frameworks to the discussion and speak past each other. It's easier to avoid such a problem by just saying, I know you may have your culture, but this is the way we do things here. Again, this argument only makes any sense at all if you really believe the way we do things here is necessarily right and doesn't need to be constantly examined and challenged. Such societal "discussions" take place over generations. In the meantime, I would invite you to be a little more accepting of people "opting out" of the mainstream culture in certain ways and creating vibrant subcultures. This is the way in which diverse people can still live together while "agreeing to disagree" about some important issues of worldview and values. The alternative is simply forcing people to submit to things they find deeply offensive without convincing them of why they should do so. They may do it because they came here for economic opportunity and they've already shown a willingness to sacrifice everything for that opportunity, but in the end what's lost is more than what's gained in such a bargain.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

bjkeefe
05-22-2008, 01:37 PM
Abu Noor:

Noted. I don't really have much more to say on this. I may be projecting a little bit, but I think you are, too.

Essentially, the main problem I have with some Muslims, whether immigrants, converts, or born and raised here, is the same problem I have with some Christians: they want to tell other people how to live, including on matters that are wholly private, they view others who don't share their faith as inferior, and they let their religious views color their stances on secular issues excessively. Not all, but some.

Of course, I such people as inferior, too. So I guess we're a little stuck.

I guess we'll also have to agree to disagree on how religious the American people are. I take most people's self-identification as religious with a large grain of salt. Just as an example: As Hitchens has noted, there aren't anywhere near enough churches to hold the number of people who claim to attend church regularly. It is also my experience that most people who do attend services regularly show no other signs of religiosity the other 167 hours per week. Unless you insult their religion, of course.

However, if you're defining what it means to be religious more broadly, I guess I could go along with your claim; e.g., if by religious you mean most people agree with the statement, "I believe in God."

Anyuser
05-22-2008, 02:25 PM
Anyuser,

Yes we know that America was founded and dominated for many years by WASPs. Actually it was by WASP landowning males.

Some of us are the descendants of the people who struggled to overturn that domination and improve the society we live in for the interest of everybody and apparently some of us are descendants of those WASPs or for some other strange reason long to see a return to that time of domination of a certain minority over everyone else.

Hmmmm. I didn't mean to suggest a longing for domination of a certain minority over everyone else. I think to phrase the issue that way ignores the dynamic of acculturation. My point isn't that WASPs dominated the southern and eastern Europeans that immigrated 100 years ago, at least not over the long term. What happened is that the Poles and Italians and Jews became absorbed into the prevailing WASP culture; they became WASPs. The WASPs didn't become Mediterranean or eastern European; they just got new restaurants. For me, it's impossible to tell the ancestry or religion of pretty much all Americans (skin color is a special issue), and that's the way it should be.

Our immigration laws up until reform in the '60s were blatantly racist, and needed to be changed. Even so, I don't think it's immoral to question whether the consequent Hispanicization of the US is desirable, whether it can or should be influenced or even controlled.

You are I are just going to have to agree to disagree on the value of assimilation, and moral people can differ on the topic. You've deliberately parted with your WASPy background and adopted an exotic religion and an exotic name, allied yourself with exotic foreigners, and no doubt right this minute you're wearing exotic clothes (Padre Chloe goes for groovy blue vestments). Good on ya! Believe it or not, on a personal level I'm way live-and-let-live, and I love living in a part of the country where we ride that ethos until it crashes. It must be big fun to provoke reaction from your fellow lawyers. I lived in Portland when Multnomah County Courthouse was crawling with lawyers for the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and they all wore purple suits (incidentally, I believed then and believe now that the claims for land use violation brought against the Bhagwan were a proxy for religious bigotry; he should have settled in California instead of Oregon). Having said that, I don't think immigration policies that prefer assimilation over exoticism are immoral. I think it's a statement of the obvious that immigration policy affects culture, and that it's appropriate, as I attributed to your nemesis JP, for a country to make a collective assessment as to what it is, or what it aspires to, as a culture, and to promote such cultural values through immigration policies.

AemJeff
05-22-2008, 03:19 PM
You've deliberately parted with your WASPy background ...
Call an Irishman a WASP at your own peril Anyuser!. You might get away with it in Belfast, but...

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-22-2008, 04:13 PM
Thanks for the catch AemJeff...indeed it would be hard to imagine for countless reasons a bigger insult than calling me or by background WASPy. But I know that Anyuser did not mean it that way and in fact I guess AnyUser you think that American culture, at least up to the 1960s was pretty much WASP culture.

I have to disagree with that. Any culture is a mix of different sources and produced by the interaction among them and the choices people make. Of course this is affected by which groups are powerful and the drive of other groups to imitate the powerful in order to "advance" in social standing, but it is also driven by the spirit of many groups to resist the powerful by sustaining cultural difference. Also, one cannot avoid the fact that dominant groups are always being influenced by minority groups or powerless groups in the society.

Of course the history of Ireland itself is a great example of this. No one can doubt that centuries of English tyranny resulted in considerable cultural influence (often but not always by force) upon the Irish but what is more remarkable is the extent to which Irish culture in many ways could not be crushed and in fact was strengthened (although also altered) by being part of resistance to foreign rule. Despite English and Protestant dominance, there was of course also a long history of English settlers coming to Ireland and basically becoming culturally Irish.

So in any situation when one discusses culture the actual historical reality is quite complex. Simplistic statements like one group "adopted" the other group's culture as if culture could ever even be some static thing that one can just adopt don't hold much water as attempts to understand what really happened but are more often cover for some kind of political or other agenda. Which may or may not be a good thing. The question with any agenda is who is it serving and to what end. Or something like that.

I think one would be hardpressed to look any part of modern day American life and culture from religion to politics to art to music to dress to morality, etc. etc. and say that the current reality is basically about WASPs and people who've learned to act like WASPs. But I'm no expert or anything so I could be wrong. And as you alluded to, to the extent that is the case I'm working as hard as I can to change it. Much closer to the truth would be to say that a global materialist marketing driven pop culture that tries to appropriate symbols from a wide variety of cultures without including much substance of any kind is beginning to dominate not just in the U.S. but everywhere in the world that is "developed." Again, I could be wrong but those are my perceptions.

And it's never too late to try to reclaim what is lost, nor is it ever a bad idea to try to mix in whatever it is you might like that you find good and meaningful. There's no "right answer" with culture of course, but it's the EFFORT, however problematic, to honor and respect one's own ancestors enough to try to understand them and to follow what is good from that tradition, without worshipping them or thinking they were infallible or that one can't learn from others' history as well.

I hope that makes some sense...thanks for trying to clarify what you were saying Anyuser.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

Eastwest
05-22-2008, 05:19 PM
EW,
you haven't studied Islamic teachings yourself.

Actually, I've read extensively in both Koran and Hadith. My positions are based on both historical and textual research.

Skip the denial: Islam speaks eloquently for itself by actions of followers as it engages other religions and states. People judge Islam on actions, not mere selective quotations of pious words.

Absent changes in concrete outward expressions of religious zeal (murders over cartoons, shot-up Korans, suicide bombers, etc), these actions shall evoke predictable responses: Quarantining and worse. Other cultures and religions less peaceful than Buddhism won't put up with this, period.

The World would have no problem with Islam's beliefs (however irrational) if it didn't insist on forced conversions (its primary historical means of spread), murder of apostates, conquest of other countries, suppression of other faiths, etc, all behind insistence only their religion is true.

It is one thing to have a set of beliefs, quite another to inflict them on everyone else. Militant Islam can and will be stopped. Unfortunately, countless peace-loving believers will be hurt in the process. It's only a matter of time and, absent change from within, it won't be pretty. (Understatement of the year.)

EW

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
05-22-2008, 05:48 PM
EW,

Just when I was gaining more respect for you, you disappoint me with some predictable drivel. If you had actually studied Islamic texts you would never have made such a silly statement as Islam only believes in compassion towards fellow Muslims.

Look, history is something else. I'm well aware of the violent imperialistic history of Christian people and I may refer to it in a discussion of Christianity but I wouldn't make nonsensical statements like Christianity (meaning the teachings in its texts) have nothing to do with peace or mercy. i'm also aware that throughout most of history rulers regardless of religion have had much more in common with other rulers in terms of their behavior than they've had with great spiritual teachers. I don't learn my religion from political rulers, nor from history.

I think that's about the limit of my discussions with you EW. If I ever want to get your perspective in the future I can just go straight to LGF or JihadWatch. It's good to see that they have Buddhist readers as well over there, maybe you can try to teach them a thing or two about peace and compassion. I don't think they're too open to listening to Muslims on the subject, and obviously, neither are you. While you're there maybe you can tell them about how all theistic religions are defective and self-destructive, it's all so very original and deep.


http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

AemJeff
05-22-2008, 06:36 PM
Abu Noor, speaking both as a Western liberal and an atheist I have to say I fear Islam. I'm uncomfortable with expressions of Christian morality embedded in the legal codes of secular nations. I'm terrified of Sharia. Islam's insistence that private belief is only a part an individual's relationship with it, that the religion itself must be codified within and, as I understand it, actually identical to the legal system leaves me fearful. I have no wish to force you to accept my skeptical views, or to modify your behavior to be consistent with my beliefs. Religions generally, and Islam particularly, do not seem to embody a belief that they owe me the same courtesy.

Is my impression mistaken?

Eastwest
05-22-2008, 06:38 PM
EW,

You disappoint with drivel... [Had you read,] you would never have made such a silly statement as Islam only believes in compassion towards fellow Muslims.

Of course anyone can selectively quote Islamic texts to produce testimony encouraging pseudo-compassion (or killing of the faithless).

Selectively-applied kindness is not genuine compassion, but rather self-serving favoritism bereft of any great spiritual meaning.

I don't refer to mere quoting of pious words, but rather to brutal actions in the here and now easily observed throughout the world.

Your are in deep denial and, like many of your brethren, you refuse to confront the hermeneutic failings in your church's beliefs and world-view, choosing instead to deflect, rationalize, and retreat into sophistry-laden apologetics.

This amounts to spiritual and intellectual dishonesty blindly refusing to admit that, collectively speaking, followers of Islam refuse to develop a creative interpretive apparatus through which they might cease looking down on and treating as defective anyone not subscribing to theistic faith models.

I'm not surprised you flee conversation. Why? You're scared of the inevitable conclusions of rational discourse and the inherent responsibility it would impose on you to work for positive corrective change in your own religion.

EW

bjkeefe
05-22-2008, 06:49 PM
EW:

FWIW, it seems to me that if you really want to have a debate with Abu Noor about this, you might put in a disclaimer or two that you don't think all Muslims are covered by your descriptions. As tiresome as having to repeat disclaimers can be, this is a sensitive subject, and it might be worth the extra effort.

I can agree with most of what you have said in this thread, as applied to some Muslims, but I would say it's unfair to paint them all with the same brush.

Or, maybe you said what you really believe. But if not, that's my two cents.

Eastwest
05-22-2008, 07:43 PM
EW:

...you might put in a disclaimer or two....

BJ,

I appreciate your input on that and, yes, I'm conscious of the sensitivity.

FWIW:

1) I maxxed out my estimation of militant islam and sympathizers combined representing perhaps 15%;

2) I noted that the inevitable backlash would involve the hurting of the majority who are largely peace-loving and innocent;

3) I pointed out that the vast majority of Islamic faithful are far more deeply spiritual and humane than the texts should theoretically justify;

4) I noted that the problem of incindiary texts is common to the other theistic faiths (though non-Islamic traditions have done better at creating hermeneutics of mutual tolerance and respect);

5) I pointed out that the solution needs to come from the inside whereby genuine restraint is inculcated within the Islamic church, if for no other reason than to prevent the ghastly suffering certain to occur in the event of full-scale backlash.

I did notice Abu Noor just wasn't up to this debate and so had to simply call a spade a spade, leaving him and his brethren with yet another instance of the feedback they're surely getting from all sides by now.

Peace,
EW

bjkeefe
05-22-2008, 07:55 PM
EW:

Upon rereading: so you did. My bad.

Maybe it says something to observe that if I -- anything but a Muslim -- didn't retain the earlier qualifications, then maybe Abu Noor didn't either. If so, then maybe it's the case that if you want to deliver harsh words, and want the debate to continue, you have to add the qualifiers every time. Ideally, you shouldn't have to, but given that most people who participate in these forums tend to do so intermittently, while spending the rest of the time doing and thinking about other things, maybe a little brain scatter is to be expected.

I probably should leave it there, though, seeing as how I've pissed off two other people already, and that's just today.

Eastwest
05-22-2008, 08:02 PM
EW:

Upon rereading: so you did. My bad....

I probably should leave it there, though, seeing as how I've pissed off two other people already, and that's just today.

This sort of digital dance is good for developing suppleness of mind. I don't think anybody stays too cranky too long here anyway (or at least I hope not).

I noticed the front-page comments get cut off at 200 words, always limit myself to that (using Word's word-count tool) and so am stuck when it comes to repeating disclaimers every time. (I think close readers would find them tedious in any case.)

Cheers,
EW

bjkeefe
05-22-2008, 08:57 PM
EW:

I noticed the front-page comments get cut off at 200 words, always limit myself to that ...

An interesting hang-up. I myself fully embrace longwindedness. ;^)

Actually, I used to think, when I composed a long post, about punching up the introduction for those who read the comments on the video page. I've sort of let that go, I guess. Given the automatic "more" link appended as necessary, I figure that anyone who can't be bothered to click it is probably not interested anyway.

Besides, I think people should come to the forums directly, so as to preserve the threaded structure when replying to someone else's comment. That's my hang-up.

In all seriousness, though, I can't really argue against your point about repeating the same qualifiers, word limit or not. I try to include them whenever I feel myself making sweeping critical statements, but I probably drop the ball more times than I'd like to think.

bkjazfan
05-22-2008, 09:27 PM
I wonder if discussions on religion are too hot for some to handle. Some people are touchy when it comes to this topic - they take it personally.

I am just not very conversant in Judao-Christianity and am clueless about others. The only time I attended church was a Catholic one due to my ex-wife being of that faith. Learning about their apologetics and the like was job in itself. One that I don't desire to repeat.

Anyhow, I noticed that Pinkerton has a piece today for "Reason" magazine entitled "Libertarianism 2058." Some may find it interesting.

John

rgajria
05-22-2008, 10:29 PM
"Of course, Islam is not pacifist and it does believe in fighting certain people in certain situations. Also, Islam is a universal religion which believes that it communicates certain truths which are valid for all people in different places or times."

Sorry Abu, I see huge bugs in that. Islam is a religion that can be universally imposed.
With regards to the American way of life, I think an acceptance of pluralism and tolerance of other beliefs or lack of would be a great starting point.

Eastwest
05-22-2008, 10:39 PM
"Of course, Islam is not pacifist and it does believe in fighting certain people in certain situations. Also, Islam is a universal religion which believes that it communicates certain truths which are valid for all people in different places or times."

Sorry Abu, I see huge bugs in that. Islam is a religion that can be universally imposed.
With regards to the American way of life, I think an acceptance of pluralism and tolerance of other beliefs or lack of would be a great starting point.

Glad you caught that and brought it into the foreground as it is THE achilles heel with Islam and a blind spot the size of Texas in Abu Noor's rhetoric.

I was going to go to town on the implications of that quote earlier, but figured it was like shooting fish in a barrel and that, with Abu Noor already in a defensive posture, figured there was no point in making him cry.

EW

graz
05-22-2008, 10:41 PM
Anyhow, I noticed that Pinkerton has a piece today for "Reason" magazine entitled "Libertarianism 2058." Some may find it interesting.

John

Thanks John. Here is the link http://www.reason.com/news/show/126564.html

Pinkerton is already on that space flight. I wish him well on that Planet Rand.

graz
05-22-2008, 10:50 PM
Glad you caught that and brought it into the foreground as it is THE achilles heel with Islam and a blind spot the size of Texas in Abu Noor's rhetoric.
EW

I hope Abu Noor Al-Irlandee recognizes that he does have a welcoming forum here. I think that some reasonable questions have been raised that he could address pointedly. It may seem a challenge, but could be a bridge.

rgajria
05-22-2008, 10:55 PM
there is nothing worthy of worship except the One God (Allah) that created the universe and that Muhammad is a Prophet and final Messenger of God to humanity

Now Abu, I have issues with this.

"Conservative Islam has always been a fiercely imperialist cultural force."

Yup

kufar pinkerton mentioned by Razib

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafir

rgajria
05-23-2008, 03:51 AM
An Imam of a larger sect such as the Sunnis can offer his services to any muslim, regardless of the nationality. In fact, traditional/fundamentalist Islamic clerics preaching Islam (example Dr. Israr Ahmed of Pakistan) do not regard geographic boundaries. They consider the entire mass of humanity of Muslims as an Ummat or as one.
So this wasn't an impressive example of American-ess being demonstrated by this bloke.

bkjazfan
05-23-2008, 08:59 AM
Graz,

About 6 months ago, Mark Skousen, a conservative/libertarian financial type
did a fairly adequate job on dissecting the ethics of objectivism (her philosophy). He did have some objections. Sorry, I can't remember where I saw it. I'm sure you can google it.

John

graz
05-23-2008, 11:14 AM
Thanks again John.

I was taking a shot at Jim more than commenting on Rand. I will check out your suggestion..

graz
05-23-2008, 11:53 AM
Thread: Bloggingheads 911: Miami View Single Post
#26
Today, 08:38 AM
graz


I hope you don't mind that I want to use your quote to open up a larger question to razib.
Timing as in telling a joke, also plays a part in forum exchanges.
I missed razib by just a moment last night when the iron was hot but I really hope to connect with others on this point also.
Maybe we could agree that Dan's comment was an attempt at humor.
But what I "heard" razib say was that the subject should be taboo.

I happen to think that this ties in with the Islam and Christianity thread that razib and Abu were participating in. Does Unrepentant Islam proscribe by law the freedom to express such questionable "jokes?

Or would the concept of taboo, be a goal that believers would hope to enact as law? With the goal in mind of censoring speech or behavior?

And clarification on "kufar" Pinkerton would be appreciated as well.

I carried this over from the Miami 911 thread.

bkjazfan
05-23-2008, 03:09 PM
Graz,

Yes, Pinkerton was kind of far out on the "Reason" interview or whatever you want to call it. The only place for future Randians will be outer space according to Jim. I had a difficult time following his line of thinking there.

John

artoad
05-24-2008, 06:23 AM
I'll grant that Chloe and Jim are sincere, earnest and engaged Christians. I just wonder if that's enough in any confrontation with radical Islam. Let's face it. JESUS, SWEET JESUS was not mentioned by either of them in the 40 minutes or so I watched. Any successful defence of Christendom in the past was a combination of fervent religiosity and a don't tread on me paganism that is difficult to synthesize in the modern world. When I see Western Christians toing and froing, all I feel like doing is joining Vladmir Putin's Church of the Third Rome.

bjkeefe
05-24-2008, 09:18 AM
I'll grant that Chloe and Jim are sincere, earnest and engaged Christians. I just wonder if that's enough in any confrontation with radical Islam.

Are you saying one has to be equally fundamentalist in another sect to oppose radical Islam? Seems to me that when one is dealing with a problem caused by irrationality, it's better not to be driven by the same sort of irrationalities.

If being an atheist is not an option, it seems to me that the kind of Christianity embodied by Chloe is far more helpful in relating to people who aren't completely lost in the most twisted forms of Islam. One key to dealing with such extremists is removing the network of support or at least acquiescence offered by the larger community. Emphasizing things like community service and outreach -- loving thy neighbor, to coin a phrase -- defuses worries among moderate Muslims that the US is about to embark on Crusades III.

artoad
05-24-2008, 04:06 PM
[QUOTE=bjkeefe;78529]Are you saying one has to be equally fundamentalist in another sect to oppose radical Islam? Seems to me that when one is dealing with a problem caused by irrationality, it's better not to be driven by the same sort of irrationalities.

I guess my last post was a betrayal of the rationality/irrationality that makes up my solipsistic personality that is indicated in my choice of nom de bhtv. When I hear the hope for reform in Islam lays in the USA I just feel we're going down the Archbishop of Canterbury acceptance of sharia road. Sometimes I feel that the rationalism that Chloe displays is the ultimate form of irrationality when dealing with something as difficult as radical Islam. I know it's not responsible citizenship, but when confronted with the multiform problems of the modern world I just want retreat into a Simone Weil, violent bear the kingdom of heaven away mysticism.

bjkeefe
05-24-2008, 04:48 PM
artoad:

... my choice of nom de bhtv.

From WitW?

When I hear the hope for reform in Islam lays in the USA I just feel we're going down the Archbishop of Canterbury acceptance of sharia road.

I don't support that notion, as I think I've made clear elsewhere, in my insistence that immigrants make an effort to assimilate and not demand excessive amounts of special privilege.

I have enough confidence in our way of life, though, to believe that most people, when given the opportunity to participate in it, tend to move out of their medieval mindsets. Or, at least, most of their kids do.

Sometimes I feel that the rationalism that Chloe displays is the ultimate form of irrationality when dealing with something as difficult as radical Islam.

I would also say that I think of people like Chloe, along with others not necessarily religious, as not dealing directly with radical Islam, but with Muslims who might be tempted to go that route if they find themselves feeling estranged from society. Assimilation for me is a two-way street.

The true radicals are for the most part probably not amenable to a welcoming, "hearts and minds" approach. The key is to create circumstances that make it less easy for them to increase their ranks. In any case, though, the only thing I can say to this ...

I know it's not responsible citizenship, but when confronted with the multiform problems of the modern world I just want retreat into a Simone Weil, violent bear the kingdom of heaven away mysticism.

... is: you're right. It's not responsible citizenship. I do understand the temptation, though.

Wonderment
05-24-2008, 05:21 PM
Brendan,

I haven't been following all the comments in this section, but I'd be interested in your fleshing out what you mean by assimilation:


I don't support that notion, as I think I've made clear elsewhere, in my insistence that immigrants make an effort to assimilate and not demand excessive amounts of special privilege.

What would you say an immigrant should do to assimilate? What's wrong with not assimilating?

Hassidic Jews, for example, maintain their own schools, languages (Yiddish and Hebrew) and segregated communities. They ban all intermarriage and discourage any non-essential contact with outsiders. They generally prosper, pay taxes and obey the laws. How are they not good citizens?

bjkeefe
05-24-2008, 06:23 PM
Wonderment:

I can't lay down a specific set of requirements that would define an acceptable effort at assimilation. I have also said elsewhere that I do not have a problem with a group keeping largely to itself, and when I said that, certainly one of the groups I was thinking of was the Hasidim.

However, as you point out, they do and have assimilated to some degree, by paying taxes and obeying the law in general. They also do not, as far as I am aware, spend much time or effort trying to compel others to live like them, or to make excessive accommodations for them, and I have never heard of any movements within their communities to promote violence.

So, to oversimplify -- they don't make trouble, so I have no trouble with them.

Wonderment
05-24-2008, 08:32 PM
However, as you point out, they do and have assimilated to some degree, by paying taxes and obeying the law in general.

I think that is a good standard for acceptance and participation, although I would not call it assimilation. Assimilation suggests to me a greater degree of conformity. That may, however, just be an issue of semantics.

They also do not, as far as I am aware, spend much time or effort trying to compel others to live like them, or to make excessive accommodations for them, and I have never heard of any movements within their communities to promote violence.

Well, of course, compelling people to live like oneself is out of the question in a democratic society, and "promoting violence" is certainly the most extreme form of compelling people to live like oneself.

But accommodations are a different story. The question of how far to grant people special rights on religious or ethnic grounds is tricky.

Jews, for example, are accommodated on circumcision of infants by members of their community who have no (or minimal) medical training. If you, however, tried to amputate your child's little toe as a rite of passage into your family or clan, you would lose custody of your child and go to prison.

(Not surprisingly, we have a double standard for Muslim and non-Muslim so-called female circumcision, aka genital mutillation and/or clitorectomies. )

Native American "churches" have Peyote accommodations, and can indulge in psychotropic drug use (and trafficking?) for which you could be sent to prison.

I believe both Christians and Jews had alcohol use accommodations during Prohibition.

I would expect the issue of accommodation to require much compromise and common sense solutions for the foreseeable future. The more multicultural and pluralistic a society is, the more need for some flexibility, compassion and tolerance. I definitely draw the line at clitorectomies, however.

bjkeefe
05-24-2008, 09:29 PM
Wonderment:

Assimilation suggests to me a greater degree of conformity. That may, however, just be an issue of semantics.

Yeah. The truth is, I kind of boxed myself in by using the term. I like precision in language, and I take the same sense from assimilate. I wish I had used a different word to begin with. Good call on your part.

I definitely draw the line at clitorectomies, however.

We can certainly agree on that!

The rest of your examples are quite good, as far as illustrating what I would call reasonable accommodations made by a society to a specific group. This is what I meant by "assimilation" being a two-way street. (I should have just stuck with accommodation.)

At the risk of belaboring one of the examples: I know that there is a periodic resurgence among some to declare male circumcision an abomination, which is one of about 47,935,723 "issues" that provokes involuntary eye-rolling on my part. Your point about this being performed as a ritual by someone with "no (or minimal) medical training" made me say "hmmm...," but ultimately, I don't buy it. It's just not that big a deal, and I'm sure the rabbis get sufficient instruction. And yes, de-toe-ification of one child would probably bring down the wrath of Child Protective Services, but (a) were we suddenly to get a group of immigrants who had been doing this for centuries, I'm pretty sure it would be tolerated and (b) speaking as someone who was snipped as a baby and who has also had a broken toe, the two amputations don't compare.

pod2
05-29-2008, 03:00 AM
Much as I admire Rev. Breyer, would it be too much to ask that you find an actual Muslim to discuss Islam with?

Well played, sir. Well played.

Is it possible to object to such a bald piece of sensible rhetoric? Is there anywhere in the world that we would consider a substantive discussion of Christian imperialism could be useful without the contribution of an actual Christian?

Chloe was wonderful, don't get me wrong.

Ronald Vrooman
10-14-2010, 08:20 PM
There is only one religion that wants to kill me because I do not believe in their prophet. There is no place for Muslims in our country. One must pledge to be a citizen to uphold the Constitution of the USA. A Muslim can not do that and uphold the Sharia law called out in the Koran (sp). If they do swear to uphold the Constitution then they are applying Taqiyya a principle from the Koran that states it is OK to lie , cheat and steal from non-believers even kill them. WTF!

nikkibong
10-15-2010, 12:15 PM
There is only one religion that wants to kill me because I do not believe in their prophet. There is no place for Muslims in our country. One must pledge to be a citizen to uphold the Constitution of the USA. A Muslim can not do that and uphold the Sharia law called out in the Koran (sp). If they do swear to uphold the Constitution then they are applying Taqiyya a principle from the Koran that states it is OK to lie , cheat and steal from non-believers even kill them. WTF!

hmmm. has bhtv now begun banning people for simply expressing unpopular opinions?

operative
10-15-2010, 04:01 PM
hmmm. has bhtv now begun banning people for simply expressing unpopular opinions?

I think RV was just copying and pasting arguments from elsewhere.