Over the last few days of the Mohammed Cartoon Controversy, I have heard Muslim leaders on the radio saying things like “Free speech should absolutely be protected, but it needs to be tempered with respect.”
If you are a Muslim and that is your view (it’s not mine, but I completely support your right to hold it) then,for consistency, you should do the following:
- Get on a bus to Birmingham, where Jerry Springer The Opera, which contains many insults to Jesus, is currently on tour, and protest outside the theatre that “Free speech needs to be tempered with respect”.
- Get on a plane to the Muslim country of Saudi Arabia (or, if lack of funds prevents that, standing outside the Saudi Embassy in London will do), where the public practice of Christianity and the promulgation of Christian ideas is illegal, and lead a demonstration saying that “Free speech should absolutely be protected”.
So you’re all in favour of, say, tabloid defamation, so long as it isn’t actually libellous? It’s not actually enough to just say you are, you have to actually demonstrate this by flying a pro-Mirror banner outside Michael Barrymore’s house. Just for fairness you realise.
This whole thing has gotten extraordinarily out of hand. Those in the West who think that because Iran’s got the Internet now it can skip the hundreds of years of hard-won progress against religious control since Gutenberg are embarrassing everyone else. I’m in favour of the Danish cartoons as a catalyst for change, but I’ve got no business telling anyone else how to feel about them.
It’s UK’s or Christian’s shame that their people are insulting Jesus, to whom the most of the community they live in show respect. (Why don’t you protest them as a Christian?) You can never see anyone in a Muslim society that insult prophets of any religion. If you were to see all images, unfortunately now shown by your media, you would see that people are protesting insults against any prophet or values of a religion.
Saudi Arabia is an extreme example. Islam is not represented by Sauidis.
If it’s not your view that “free speech should absolutely be protected, but it needs to be tempered with respect”, what your clearly say and is completely not reasonable, you cannot expect a reasonable reaction.
Whenever any Muslim individual or group does anything reprehensible, people start saying that they don’t represent Islam. Well, who does?
The problem is that the Muslims who are violently protesting the cartoons and those who sympathize with them fail to realize that while the cartoons were insulting and in poor taste, that does not justify violence. Period. I could care less who’s prophet was insulted – the violent reaction from Muslims around the world is absolutely unacceptable. People have the right to boycott Danish goods, hold peaceful protests, and condemn the authors of the cartoons. They do not have the right to burn embassies or attack NATO bases. Peaceful protests from the Muslim world would have been far more compelling to the world at large, rather than irrational violence. I can understand and respect disagreement.
It’s strangely ironic that Muslims protest ‘discrimination’ while demanding that there be zero tolerance for criticism, whether legitimate or not, of their religion.
You can never see anyone in a Muslim society that insult prophets of any religion.
The standard Muslim viewpoint concerning Jesus, namely that he was merely a human (albeit a prophet) and did not die on the cross or rise from the dead, is blasphemous and insulting (from the Christian point of view).
The standard Christian viewpoint concerning Mohammed, namely that he was not a prophet of God and did not receive a revelation from the angel Gabriel, is considered blasphemous and insulting by many (most? all?) Muslims.
So where’s the difference? In each case, the doctrine of the one religion contains or implies a denial of the other’s doctrines. So why don’t we hear of Christians rioting against Muslims expressing their views of Jesus?
I would say it’s at least partly because Christians follow someone who was hated and opposed by many of his contemporaries (and ultimately killed by some of them), and who taught his followers to expect (and even rejoice in) similar mistreatment.
It’s also partly because most Christians do not expect those who are not Christians to speak and act as if they were.
Both members of the religions should have respect on each other and on each others’ belief. Muslims should not act like barbarians as if they dont have civilization at all upon seeing the cartoon images of Mohammed (onion-skinned). They freaked out like idiots, hot-tempered human who cannot control their imotions. In the first place, Christians should not have done that (assuming the cartoonists are Christians) and I dont agree with the cartoonists’ idea of drawing Mohammed like that. But also those cartoonists are only expressing their views and opinions regarding the reality of todays happenings, that most terrorists are Muslims. And I dont like the ‘Jihad’ thing, if Im not wrong, it is their term for holy war. Is there such a thing as holy war? How can be killing a holy deed. Here in our place, Islam is the second major religion and I dont trust Muslims because they’re good in front of you but when they’re behind, they might stab you.
In the comment above written by asteko, how can you be so sure that Muslims didn’t insult Christian prophets and Jesus? Even the Holy Trinity was not even spared. The difference is Christians dont do harm on other people when their prophets got insulted by the other religion.
We are in this modern day of civilization, lets not be onion-skinned people. Dont react hastily, use your logical mind and weigh properly before acting. I guess we are not barbarians anymore of the ancient times.
Let there be peace on earth.
>The difference is Christians dont do harm on other people when their prophets got insulted by the other religion.
I’m a Christian, but I wouldn’t be so quick to say that if I were you. Most of the violent extremist Christian groups may have disappeared over the past few centuries, but they do pop up now and again.
With all due respect, it’s not as if the Christian right hasn’t done a lot of harm in the U.S. and not trying to push their dangerous agenda onto others, saying very bad things about fellow Americans in the meantime (say, I don’t know, Pat Robertson?). Douglas Adams made a very intelligent speech that you can find on the net about discussing religion in today’s world, and I agree. Religion should be discussed and criticized with the same respect AND freedom as every other personal question. How would you feel if I were to draw a cartoon of you dragging a figure of Jesus as your safety blanket?
How’d the West react if those cartoons were anti-Semitic? Did you know that the same conservative newspaper that printed the bomb had previously rejected Jesus cartoons?
Let’s criticize the newspapers for being intolerant, the governments for not taking Muslim concerns seriously and every single Muslim who commits violence in the name of their Allah. But at any time, let’s be fair.
Most of the violent extremist Christian groups may have disappeared over the past few centuries, but they do pop up now and again.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Islamic militants. They’re alive and kicking. Some people like to draw parallels from modern-day Islamic extremism to violence in the name of Christianity during the Crusades. All they’re proving is that Islam hasn’t become one bit more civilized in the last 700 years.
How’d the West react if those cartoons were anti-Semitic?
There would probably be newspaper editorials and some minor hand-wringing. I am pretty sure it would not be with rioting in the streets, calls to execute the cartoonist or the publisher, with violence against Danish interests, or even with calls for the government of Denmark to apologize.
A question which is more strictly parallel is: How would the West react if Arab newspapers published anti-Semitic cartoons or articles? Or how would the West react if Arab newspapers published anti-Christian cartoons or articles?
Well, Arab newspapers publish that sort of thing on a regular basis, and I don’t see any discernible reaction in my part of the West at all.
Have you ever posted a message in haste? I wish I could remove mine now. It was biased because I have a prejudice against people who criticize a religion without doing the same to their own. I admit it’s a bias and I want to use my own blog post to represent what I feel would be a fair assessment of the situation.
1. The original publisher of the cartoons offending Muslims sounds like the Cornell Review [the campus paper I fought against, a conservative organization that published a cartoon of Native American students gambling in their program house].
2. The govt should’ve condemned the paper while reafffirming free speech and met with Muslim and Arabic groups.
3. The European newspapers probably wouldn’t have re-published anti-Semitic strips.
4. I’d like to see Muslims worked up over more often with the same fervor — over other issues.
I’d also add that I don’t take kindly to Islamists and think they’re as bad — but no worse — than “Mormons” who practice child abuse as their religion in the U.S.
How would you feel if I were to draw a cartoon of you dragging a figure of Jesus as your safety blanket?
I’d be offended, but I wouldn’t come to your house and shoot you.
>>I’d be offended, but I wouldn’t come to your house and shoot you.
-Same with me, but the difference is that Jesus taught us to be calm and to love them. Not an eye for eye and so on and so forth.
Thats the big difference.
>>Most of the violent extremist Christian groups may have disappeared over the past few centuries…
-Thats because Muslims ambush them during crusades.
>>”Mormons” who practice child abuse as their religion in the U.S.
-..child abuse as their religion.., how can a child abuse be a religion?
>>Well, Arab newspapers publish that sort of thing on a regular basis, and I don’t see any discernible reaction in my part of the West at all.
-Did you see any country protesting against that publication even it is publishe d in regular basis?
Have you ever think even once in your life, that even in our differences in our religion, if we love each other and the love of peace despite this happenings, this world will be a very nice place to live.
Have you ever think even once in your life, that even in our differences in our religion, if we love each other and the love of peace despite this happenings, this world will be a very nice place to live.
The key words here being “each other.” It needs to be mutual.
>>The key words here being “each other.” It needs to be mutual.
-Of course. So if Muslims create caricatures of our prophets and Christians dont do violence, Muslims should also dont do violence.
..we are slowly losing our grip on freedom under threat of violence…
Well, there is one thing, There were always silly or insulting cartoons about islam and the image of muslims or fundamentalists in western civilizations eye, and also in Turkey I have seen thousands of them printed in the media. I never liked them, maybe people never liked them but I dont remember anything like a worldwide riot.
But this time it is different. They deliberately did this, If you had ask any muslim about making a cartoon of the prophet before anything is printed, they would tell you this situation would arise. I mean this “is” the most intolerable insult in the eye of a muslim, maybe you wouldnt like that but it was and it still is! Everybody knew that there would be extreme reactions when they do that. You think that muslim world ever allow that kind of mockery happen in the future?
There is a big difference between making fun of muslims and making fun of the prophet. Maybe it is no different for you, nut that does not change the fact. if you throw a stone to air, everybody knows that it falls back.
Ah and there is one thing, There are 1 billion muslims around the world and I dont think any of them will never ever tells anything bad about Jesus, Moses, David, Adam, Eve, Noah, Ismael, Ishaac, Jacob, Jethro or any other prophets. They dont do that.
I hope you don’t think this comment is flippant just because it is short …
Religion (when practiced in private) is something all societies should tolerate.
Criticism (even on the front page) is something all religions should accept.
Hi, your religious post made its way to the *mozilla feedhouse* again – any chance you could fix this please (some of us are neither christain or muslim and couldn’t care less) thanks.
The cartoons basically were saying “all Muslims are terrorists”. It’s no better than writing it in plain English (or Danish). If the Danish paper had, 20 years ago, said that all Irish people were terrorists, you think there wouldn’t have been an uproar from the Irish?
Jonathan – The standard view of Jesus from the Christian point of view, namely that he was the son of God, is blasphemous from the Muslim point of view too. Indeed it violates one of the fundamental precepts of the Islamic creed (namely to believe that God could appear in human form, and thus be limited in some way, in this case for example by space and time).
And talking about ‘free speech’, you wouldn’t print images of sexual intercourse in a newspaper, because it offends the sensibilities of many people. Just because these cartoons may not offend your sensibilities, doesn’t mean it doesn’t offend the sensibilities of one fith of the worlds population.
What, just because Muslims are a minority in Denmark, who are currently out of fashion with the west due to the actions of a few extremists, you think this gives you free reign to insult them in one of the strongest ways possible?
(by ‘you’ I don’t mean you in particular Gerv, it’s a generic statement to the Media/etc)
> Get on a bus to Birmingham, where Jerry Springer The Opera,
> which contains many insults to Jesus
Muslims should protest about insults to Jesus, or anyone else they consider a prohpet. Bad example.
“Hi, your religious post made its way to the *mozilla feedhouse* again – any chance you could fix this please (some of us are neither christain or muslim and couldn’t care less) thanks.”
Hi, your off-topic post made its way to this *blog* again – any chance you could fix this please (some of us are neither ignorant or a jerk and couldn’t care less) thanks.
And again, I second not having this appear on Planet Mozilla.
I think the whole point is that the Christian Golden Rule should be practiced better. You know, it’s the one that says “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.” I know that Jesus preached about this topic several times, though not using the rule in verbatim, but it comes down to a form of respect. With the golden rule, it doesn not give permission to kill people or burn down an embassy. It just provides a rule for respect, which neither the cartoonists of either country, nor the terrorists or Muslim extremeists showed. Stop the cartoons, and stop the hypocracy: that’s a lesson that every one of us need to learn and use.
mdakin said: There are 1 billion muslims around the world and I dont think any of them will never ever tells anything bad about Jesus, Moses, David, Adam, Eve, Noah, Ismael, Ishaac, Jacob, Jethro or any other prophets.
This statement is entirely predicated on the following assumption: that the Muslim view of these prophets is the correct one, and that “saying something bad” about one of these prophets is judged against the standard of what Muslims believe about them.
My point is that the Muslim view of Jesus (in particular) is at its core “saying something bad” about him, when judged by the standard of what Christians believe about him.
So mdakin’s statement above is virtually meaningless. It would be like a non-Muslim saying, “I never say anything bad about Muhammed, and you will see that once you accept my assumption that he was not a prophet of God.”
Ian said: The standard view of Jesus from the Christian point of view, namely that he was the son of God, is blasphemous from the Muslim point of view too.
I don’t know if you meant that statement as support of mine, but what you are saying is exactly my point: Religions make conflicting truth claims. Some of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity are offensive or blasphemous to Muslims, and vice versa. (I am speaking here of religions, but it is also generally true of secular philosophies.)
So, given that situation, Muslims demanding that Christians worldwide abide by the Muslim definition of blasphemy amounts to a demand that Christians not be Christians.
Of course, all this doesn’t apply directly to the present situation. The Danish paper did not publish the cartoons in question because they are Christian. In fact, they are very likely not: the Scandinavian countries tend to be very secular.
You would do more indirectly. You would put embargo on the corresponding country. You would provoke war against that country and more. This’s a typical behaviour of West, who is mostly Christian, and is much worse than going and shooting the one responsible.
Jonathan, your statement is misleading. Accepting someone as prophet and showing respect to a prophet are very different.
I believe that Muhammed is God’s prophet, but I do show recpect to Jesus, Moses etc.
I strongly think that this is not my personal attitude. Look even at the extremest Muslims protesting. When they phisically had that chance, they didn’t insult Jesus, because they don’t have a problem with Jesus but with those who are disrespectful to their belief.
As a final note: Danes say that that’s their style of humour and want Muslims to tolerate it. So, when people burn their flags, they should tolerate that too, in return. This may be a kind of their style of protesting.
It most certainly is not! This is one of the most unfortunate misconceptions in the Muslim world. The Western world is, sadly, not mostly Christian.
Burning flags is fine. (Historically, the US has had a bit of a thing about this; I’m not sure why. But it’s fine with me.) Burning embassies and people is not.
This is a core issue. You think that even people who don’t accept Mohammed as a prophet should still show him respect. But free speech means that if I don’t respect Mohammed – for example, if I read the Qu’ran and decide he is not a person to whom I should show respect – then I should be allowed to say so.
One thing that people quickly forget or ignore when they claim the cartoons should not have been printed, is the context of why they where printed.
In Denmark, there was last year an issue about a childrens book about Mohammed (and I guess islam). The issue was that no artists dared to illustrate this harmless book, because they might need to draw Mohammed. They simply didn’t dare because of the fundamentelist muslim forces within and beyond Denmark, and the book was as far as I know never illustrated
Jyllands Posten (The danish newspaper) on that basis wanted to test if we in reallity have free speach or if there is some areas where we self-censor ourselved out of the fear for violence and terror.Therefor they asked 12 cartoonist to draw Mohammed as they saw him.
In my opinion the newspaper was right to print the cartoons, and the resulting violence actually clearly proved the point that self censorship exists.
Another thing we must not forget is that these cartoons were published some time last year in the septemper/october tiemframe, and it is not until now that things are boiling over.
This is because when certain extreme muslims in Denmark, didn’t get an apology from the prime minister, they choose to travel to the muslim countries and started speading lies. They claimed among other that a picture of a frenchmen with a pigsnout was some of the worst Denmark produced, while infact it was from a french farm “festival/competition”.
They also lied directly to the danish population. In danish Television they stated that they would work on ending the boycut, while on arabic television they stated that they welcomed the boycut. Apperently they forget we can also get arabic television in the west ;-)
I my opinion this borders on treason and I hope someone will put them on trial for this.
Forgot one thing:
We must not forget that muslims are not the only fanatics in this world, All religions have their share of crazy people.
Fanatical christians burn down aboortion clinics and tries to throw away science for such laughable ideas as creationism.
Religion is the root of all evil.
asteko – For a muslim, accepting Jesus as a prophet of Islam is a fundamental belief. Islam states that Jesus was a prophet, and that after he died over time people changed the teachings he brought. But muslims must believe that Jesus himself was a muslim, like all the other prophets. For someone to insults Jesus is, to a muslim, the same sort of thing as for someone to insult Mohammed.
Jonathan – Islam actually includes rules for allowing Christians/Jews to practice their beliefs in an Islamic state. Just because they are denied those rights in some so-called Islamic states (please bear in mind that there are no countries in the world today that truly follow correct Islamic law) doesn’t mean that Islam doesn’t provide them. Some people seem to be unable to separate the religion from those who follow the religion, and make human mistakes.
>>There are 1 billion muslims around the world and I dont think any of them will never ever tells anything bad about Jesus, Moses, David, Adam, Eve, Noah, Ismael, Ishaac, Jacob, Jethro or any other prophets.
-How can you be so sure that these 1B muslims didn’t tell anything bad about Jesus, Moses, David, Adam, Eve, Noah, Ismael, Ishaac, Jacob, Jethro or any other prophets. Actually its already reducing to 999,999,999 muslims already coz I know for sure that there is 1 I know who speak against Jesus especially.
mdakin just tell for sure that there’s less than 0.01% of the 1B muslims mentioned that who dont speak against Jesus and others or maybe less.
Of course it is. And not beeing part of the Muslim world, I second asteko’s statement.
>>Fanatical christians burn down aboortion clinics and tries to throw away science for such laughable ideas as creationism.
– Abortion itself is human killing. Its is very comprehensible that killing is against the will and teachings of God. Why tolerate it henrik?
>>Religion is the root of all evil.
-Human hard-headedness is the root of all evil and not the religion itself.
Jonathan, you miss the point. Western civilizations may think that insulting Jesus should be tolerated (and it is). But in muslim world we do not insult prophets. that was the point.
Eds.. No true muslim never ever insults a Prophet. Believing and respecting prophets is one of the 6 foundations of Islamic faith. Thats why I am sure of it.
How is this discussion any more legitimate than Trekkies and Star Wars fans seriously debating the ramifications of a GIF depicting Luke pleasuring Vader?
To the other Danish Henrik:
I agree the context needs to be considered, but it is a contested one. Your version is the version advocated by the paper, and it is not necessarily the correct one. (The book on Muhammed was eventually illustrated – though anonymously – and is obviously selling huge due to the whole controversy – whether it is “innocent” is debatable since it is critical towards Muhammad and Islam.) E.g. none of the scared illustrators have stepped forward to explain their decision. They may have turned down the asignment because they didn’t like the script or out of respect for Islam – who knows?
I find the very harsh debate on immigration a much more meaningful context. The paper explicitly stated, that it wanted to teach muslims to accept “scorn and ridicule” – like the rest of us – and the provocation engendered the desired outrage among conservative islamic scholars in Denmark. (What was unforeseen was not the outrage, but the global outrage.) The newspaper obviously had the right to print these cartoons with this intention. Some of them might be illegal because they spread hatred, but that must be up to the courts to decide, and interestingly enough a complaint was never filed to the board monitoring press ethics. That is not to hard to explain either: The result might have been criticism of the bomb-cartoon and the one with Muhammed holding a knife with to scared women looking on, but never a general ban on illustrations of Muhammed. That has been the goal of the most outspoken Danish critics, but introducing such a ban because it exists in Islam would be at least as unacceptable to Danes as a law explicitly allowing such cartoons would be in Saudi-Arabia.
Having the right to insult other people does not mean it should be used, and I think it will be exercised more carefully in the future.
In my opinion it is the parents choice. Followers of ANY fictional persona should not be able to dictate otherwise..
The majority of conflicts and problems in todays world are caused by peoples’ religions.
Religion is the belief in something which cannot be proved, and it thus in its core irational. Religion is also by default exclusive, either you are with us or you are against us. One noteable exception is scientology.
Or by people’s ambition to dominate, enrich, …
But anyway, religions are only one type of ideology. And as all ideologies, religions can be “evil” when adopted too narrow-minded.
Dao: The majority of the Western world is classified as Christian often. E.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_by_country
If you add the figures in Europe and North America you end up with about 80% Christian.
However, a fairly large majority of those are not practicing or believing Christians. They probably wouldn’t claim that their actions correspond to Christianity.
Western thinking nowadays tends to be more dominated by secular philosophy than by Christian faith.
There is an underlying assumption in that statement that all religions are equal and comparable. It is clear to most observers (although not people of the Bahai faith) that either one religion is true or none of them are. If none of them are, the above statement is meaningful; if one is, the statement is not meaningful.
It is also incorrect upon its face. The fact is that the largest mass murders and wars of the 20th century were instigated by people or groups who were explicitly atheistic in their worldview (Nazism, Stalin, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Mao in China).
That makes no sense to me. Let us hypothesise that one religion is “true”. Unless the truth of that religion can be determined in some experimental (i.e. scientific) way, it’s impossible to demonstrate the truth of said religion and hence there is nothing to stop people holding other religious beliefs. These other beliefs will be held with the same fervour as those who believe the “true” religion (otherwise we would have a way of measuring which religion was “true”). Therefore religion can still be a cause of conflict in the world, since there will be multiple groups of people inclined believe that they alone believe the correct things on questions of social policy, ethics, metaphysics, and so on, and Henrik’s statement can still hold true.
Note that this argument is independent of the actual truth of Henrik’s statement (I would contest that it’s very hard to measure what causes the “majority of conflicts and problems” but easy to see that religious differences often create problems and exacerbate existing differences).
See, for example A Google Answers Question relating to the percentage of the UK population that are actually practising Christian (i.e. attend church). The cited source suggests that the number is about 7% or roughly 1/10 of the “Christian” population as determined by a census. To me this strongly suggests that 63% of people in the UK don’t have a strong religious view and instead vaugely identify with the default national religion.
The world would be so much better without religion.
I think you are confused about Nazism and atheism. Probably because the Nazis were too: http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mhitlerchristian.html
To me what’s most interesting is that Hitler created a new quasi-religion of Nazism.
> The world would be so much better without religion.
Perhaps, ‘The world world would be so much better without _organized_ religion.
I think everyone has somewhat forgotten one important difference between CURRENT christianity [not including cults] and islam. Christianity has alot more tolerance about these kind of insults that are thrown in our face daily. It does not mean we are any less devout that muslims if we do not start rioting and going crazy about it. Muslims on the other hand, while I admire them for their whole hearted devoutness.. aren’t tolerant at all. They really need to learn how to take and give a little..
What your link shows unambiguously is that Hitler said whatever people wanted him to hear. His actions show that he was clearly not a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word.
But perhaps you misunderstand my argument. My argument is not “Hitler was an atheist; Hitler was bad; therefore atheism is bad”. That would be faulty logic. As the article says, Hitler was also a vegetarian.
My argument is: Atheism is capable of being the philosophical foundation of a worldview (such as Hitler’s or Stalin’s) which says one particular race is superior, and those who do not fit the pattern (Jews, gypsies, homosexuals) must be eliminated. (If there is no God, then it is perfectly reasonable to invent ones own moral law, and no other atheist can object, because they are doing the same thing.) It’s not possible to hold such a worldview based on Christianity, because Jesus taught that all humanity is made in God’s image and precious to him. In other words, those dictators were atheists, and their genocide was entirely consistent with that.
Stalinism didn’t say that.
History proves you wrong.
This is something that often comes up in these discussions but it seems to contradict all empirical evidence. The assumption seems to be that a particular set of religious beliefs provides an absolute set of morals that everyone can agree on. Yet a cursory glance at the world will confirm that many people of the same religion have entirely different moral standards. For example many Christians believe that it is sinful to be homosexual whilst others advocate gay marriage. Some Christians believe that it’s acceptable to persecute those who work at abortion clinics whilst others believe that abortion is acceptable. A subset of Muslims, it apears, think that violence is an ethical response to a percieved insult to their faith. Many others disagree.
In the real world, I entirely fail to see this single set of God-given morals among any religious grou that you claim ought to exist. Of course you can say that some subset of people (presumably those with views different to your own) are misinterpreting the doctrine or are not True Believers or somesuch, but I would exect those people to say exactly the same of you, leaving me with no way to distinguish the “true” morals from the “false” ones.
I would contest that morality and ethics come from three main sources (though I haven’t done any real research on this so maybe I am wrong):
Our biology provides the most fundamental sense of right and wrong that is largely agreed on by even those with very different beliefs. For example, murder is considered criminal almost everywhere on the planet. This, I contest, is the direct result of homo-sapiens being a social animal and killing having a detrimental effect on the group dynamics. I believe this point can be supported by studies of other primates which show behavior we would identify as a (perhaps less developed) sense of ethics.
It is also obvious that culture affects what people believe to be acceptable behavior. Today, for example, homosexuality is considered immoral by fewer people than it was in 1950 and slavery is considered immoral by more people than in 1800. This allows for the drift in “moral law” over time that can be observed but not in explained in any God-based model of morality.
On top of these two things are layered intellectual beliefs, caused by people sitting down and thinking about how the world ought to work. These aspects of a person’s morality are the least likely to be agreed upon by others but, if they gain acceptance, the most likely to drive change at the cultural level.
Re genocide, you say:
I agree with you that a strong personal morality such as the one you describe is uncorruptable, and could not be used to justify genocide. However, in an organisation (such as a religion), people adopt ideas and beliefs not only through strong conviction, but also through persuasion or the charisma of the organisation’s leaders. Many religions encourage the adoption of their beliefs in these way. Under such circumstances, corrupt leaders can facilitate the spread of bad ideas amongst good people. And so, terrible things can be done in the name of an apparently tolerant religion.
In my opinion, the only defence against this to for everyone to read, learn and think about moral issues for themselves. Some religions encourage this, others encourage blind faith. It’s the blind faith that worries me.
You always have a way to distinguish – read what God says about the matter in the Bible, and pray and ask him to teach you his will on the issue.
I do not assert that all who claim the name “Christian” agree on all moral issues. Usually, the large divisions can be boiled down to particular people’s attitude towards the Bible. Those who treat the whole of it as the revealed word of God tend to be reasonably of one mind on moral issues.
Except when the USA is bombing Iraq. Or when one is doing abortions. Or euthanising people. Or giving criminals the death penalty. Or one has insulted the prophet Mohammed. All of these, in at least some countries, lead to non-criminal murders.
Again, your post seems to lump all religions together, which makes it rather hard to say anything meaningful.
Speaking from my own experience: there should be only a single way that a Christian can acquire strong conviction on an issue. That is by reading the Bible and being convicted of what it says. It may be that leaders point people to particular issues they need to consider – that’s part of the function of a leader – and explain what they think the Bible teaches on a topic. This is right and proper. But a Christian needs to study the scriptures and make up their own mind. So that far, I agree with you.
Sure, you go ahead and do so. In your own country.
You see, putting a country under pressure with other means than executing people on a roll, say by sanctioning export to that country, is a bi-product of this thing called “civilization”. You should definately try it out, it works. And “the West” won’t hate you quite as much if you behave while living in our Christian countries, see?
I would also like to pitch in that some of us do not need excuses like the Bible or your God to make morally defendable decisions, like not killing the next door neighbour or burning down embassies because someone draws a cartoon. Some of us are just, you know, decent people. No smoke screens. No scriptures. No relevations. No “I did this because God told me to, really.” or “I didn’t do this because the scripture says it’s bad.” Just the good old “I did it because I felt it was right.”
You know, taking responsibility and all that stuff. You’re like 2006 years late with that now, right? With the collective heritage of guilt from dicking around with Jesus back in the days it surely Sucks To Be You. Who, me? I feel no guilt. Mainly because I don’t beleive Jesus ever existed. If he did, and that stuff went down like in Gibson’s movie, then that guy had it coming with all his wacko answers. There’s something called “self-preservation”, often used by people wanting to stay alive, and it often requires you to adapt to the actual situation of your surroundings. Clearly he had no interest in that, so off he went. Geez, this fella basically commits suicide and you feel guilty? And you follow him?
Sorry for ranting on but I’m just trying to make a blunt point. I realize now how sad it is that this problem, which is clearly a problem with religion as a whole and no specific religion, is being discussed in one extremely biased blog. You are defending your religion while he is defending his religion, for most of us (non-religous/non-fundamentalists) it sounds like two murderers both trying to get away by proving that the other guy has a bigger gun. Yawn.
He also wasn’t a true Scotsman. Le sigh to this whole thread.
Right. And Stalin murdered millions of Russians because he felt it was right. He “took responsibility, and all that stuff”. Do you feel that’s wrong? But who are you to criticise him? You are both making moral decisions on exactly the same basis.
But people who do these things seem to come to striking different conclusions. That’s exactly the problem with your assertation that morals provided by religion are (in any useful sense*) absolute. Given that evidence, it’s pretty clear that repeating the same process won’t make the problem go away.
So this is basically the “well everyone who disagrees with me is misinterpreting the doctrine” argument I mentioned.
It seems to me that describing religious morals as “absolute” in an attempt to contrast them with the supposedly indefensible position of non-believers is intellectually dishonest. You have no means of proving that your statement is true, and there exists considerable evidence that it is false. In fact, it aears that religious people hold (almost?) as wide a range of moral beliefs as non-religious people but don’t feel the need to back up their views with reasoned argument, citing instead their absolute confidence that they have made the correct interpretation of the relevant doctrine.
Needless to say I don’t consider this a good thing :-)
*For example, you could argume that an absolute moral code exists but we have no way of knowing what that code is. It’s a much harder statement to argue with but ultimatley a useless one.
Somewhat similar, perhaps. But if two people are arguing starting from a different basis and system of authority, it’s not unlikely that they will come to different conclusions. I’m just pointing out that the situation is not “everyone starts at the same place but reaches different conclusions”, it’s “people start in different places and reach different conclusions”.
I would also point out that it’s not unreasonable for me to assert that there are some people who claim to be Christians but are not – given that Jesus said specifically that there would be such people. Perhaps they might say the same about me. I would then again draw them back to the Bible and ask whose position was most consistent with it. I’m always willing to change my mind on an issue if I find that my view is inconsistent with it.
Again I make the point: lumping all religions together makes any reasoned argument impossible. I am not going to defend the moral framework of Islam.
Lets humour the audience by showing that we know there’s more to history than Hitler and Stalin, shall we? But since you seem stuck on humping the dead horse, allow me to clear some things up for you. Stalin was a totalitarian dictator, which effectively means he had more in common with Christian dictators and warlords who carried out atrocities in the name of their religion. And as you no doubt know, Heinrich Himmler (who authored “the final solution” during World War 2) was catholic, and Nazi Germany was predominantly Christian.
But I suppose that as long as Hitler never said “Sieg Heil and God Bless the Third Reich”, Nazi Germany will never be “Christian” in the Christians point of view. Too much responsibility!
Wrong. Lumping all religions together is very reasonable, since they all fall back on the same no-brain argument you do. I’m right because my book says I’m right. I don’t beleive in your book, and my phone line to God seems to be severed since He ain’t telling me shit, so how are you going to prove me wrong now?
As I said earlier, this is a problem with religion as a whole, but unfortunately the issue cannot be discussed with fundamentalists of either side since they tend to end up with rediculous arguments like “ask God”, which basically makes them “right” no matter what.
You’ve dodged the question. Do you accept that you and Stalin (or the atheistic genocidal dictator of your choice) are making decisions on the same moral basis – that of “I did it because I felt it was right”?
That is not the root of my argument. The root is: Christianity is true because Jesus rose from the dead, thereby validating his claim to be the Son of God. The Bible describes his life, actions and words, provides evidence for this historical event, and records the dealings of God with mankind over thousands of years. Jesus endorsed the Old Testament as accurate, and promised that the Holy Spirit would inspire the apostles to correctly record everything in the New Testament.
So the death and resurrection of Jesus is the root of Christianity’s truth claims. If they happened, all else flows from there. I would encourage you to investigate the evidence for that event – because if it did happen, it has profound consequences for your life.
Yes. And in my opinion, that is infinitely more defendable than blaming a religion, God or scripture. I can be held responsible for my own actions. You claim to be above man because you beleive in whatever.
Right, and who told you Jesus rose from the dead? Oh, it’s that book again right? So that book is the root of your argument after all? Or do you have actual, physical proof that Jesus rose from the dead? Oh right, Christians don’t beleive in the various scientific methods of determining these things. Pretty handy coincident, wouldn’t you say?
There is no evidence for that event, other than what your books says. There’s been “evidence”, altough questionable, that the fellow described as “Jesus” did indeed walk the earth during that specified time. Of course, during that time we had a whole bunch of bearded men claiming to be the son and prophet of this and that.
Apart from that I would claim that things like oceans splitting in half and people coming back from the dead would be recorded in at least ONE more historical scripture beyond your Bible, and it isn’t.
I hope you don’t take this incident of the cartoon controversy as a ‘christian’ vs ‘muslium’ fight. It’s not. It’s about people having the freedom to disagree, something that is fundamental to the Western (post-enlighentment) ethic. I understand that the comic is offesive to muslims but that doesn’t give them the right to censor the media. An Inquisition style book-burning will get us no where besides more hostility and hatred.
Btw, muslimgauze, listen to Gerv. There’s a lot more to those books than I think you know. The Gospels have been suject to more literary and historical critisism than any other piece of literature. And as far as the scientific method goes, we invented it. However, it only works for things that can be observed. History is past, all you have is the evidence we have recieved.
But I’ve specifically been talking about people starting from the same place (or rather, the same religion) and reaching different conclusions. It’s that observable fact (which I believe to be independent of the particular belief system we examine) that undermines your position that the “true” religion provides an absolute set of morals for its followers to adhere to.
It appears to me that religious or not, one has to be able to defend one’s morals to one’s peers, with religious people (usually) arguing based on the interpretation of a particular text and the others usually arguing on grounds of biology, anthropology, social sciences, psycology, and so on. You argue that Stalin was wrong because he violated “thou shalt not kill”, I argue he was wrong because by acting in that way he created a society I would not want to live in, not just because of the chance that I would be one of his victims but because of the suffering it caused to those who were left behind. I also believe (because Science has produced evidence for it) that disliking killing is a normal trait among humans because having such a dislike is useful for the survival by fostering a cooperative group-based society.
Personally I find my viewpoint more appealing because it’s more honest – I’m willing to confront the reasons for my views, even if they appear selfish (I also tend to believe that it’s less arrogant because religion tends to promote an entirely homo-sapien centric view of the universe, denying other species the possibility of anything like morality).
The conversation here is long and heated. I’ve rea about a half of it and already I’ve sen a pattern emerge:
* Christiands and people with strong cultural affiliation to christianity here seem to justify the cartoons by condemning those muslims that have taken offense in these cartoons by rioting and turinig violent.
Sorry if it sounds harsh, but I think it’s just shallow and smells a lot like hypocrisy to me.
Free speach does not mean You should allow yourself to deliberately and repeatedly insult other people just to spite another. Just as freedom in general does not mean that you can go to a crowded place, take out your gun and start shooting people just to see them die.
You can not do these things and expect everybody just walk by and say nothing. There are bound to be people who take offence of that and thay might react in a weirdest ways … like taking a shot at you for an example.
Yes – if You have a freedom, you ceartainly can freely say and do as you will. But you should also be mindful of the fact that anything you do or say has concequences. And as a free man You should be responsible for those concequences – not somebody else. Even if this “somebody” has an inadequate reaction. Even if they riot and atack NATO bases, it’s You who caused it.
Of course muslims should take that with more dignity, but if they don’t know any other way to react on this sort of blasphemy, how can they react otherwise – You ought to be smarter than that – being a free man and all…
That sounds suspiciously like a threat. “Oh no sir, you don’t want to be saying things like that. Nasty things sometimes happen to people who say things like that.” This sort of intimidation is absolutely unacceptable in a free society.
NO. If someone riots and attacks anything, the responsibility for those actions lies solely with the rioter. Not with anyone else. To say otherwise is like arguing “if you do something I don’t like and I kill you, it’s your fault for doing what you did”. Which is rubbish.
(Grr… I wrote a response to this and then closed the window by accident.)
But this is precisely my point – your parenthesis is not the same thing as your primary clause ;-) People starting from “the same religion” are often starting from very different points. One might see the Bible as the written Word of God; another might see it as a human book which therefore can be ignored when it doesn’t suit their point of view.
In which case, surely you’ve given up your right to criticise Stalin for his actions, as you have accepted that your actions and his are founded on the same moral basis? After all, for you to say what he did was “bad”, that implies a definition of “bad” which is outside of both of your moral frameworks.
The Bible is a historical record; approached in that light (as one might approach any historical record), I believe it provides compelling evidence for the reality of the events it relates.
Worth also considering as supporting evidence (if not clinching) that, despite happening at a time when Jesus (and later on, Christianity) was so deeply despised by so many people (in powerful positions too), there is no credible evidence or testimony that Jesus do everything recorded in the Bible (i.e. a body/bones, witnesses to a cover-up etc.) despite a strong incentive to do so. With all the negative fuss around Jesus at that time someone would have said “I was there, Guv’ and Jesus didn’t do any of those things”.
Organized Christianity as we know it today (which did not arise for some time after the fact) would not have been in a powerful enough position (even at its most popular) to eradicate such claims if they existed nor is there any evidence that it even tried to do so or would have if it could.
If one looks at the incredible growth of Christianity in the 1st century AD (read about it) and considers the circumstances of its beginnings it would at least be consistent with Jesus appearing to 500 people after his resurrection and the Apostles performing the same kinds of miracles ascribed to Jesus as described in the Book of Acts. (I appreciate the atheistic world-view would not be prepared to entertain this possibility)
Nor is there evidence of the so-called “corruption” of the Biblical texts over the 2000 years hence which is popularly claimed by detractors of the Christian faith. The many thousands of widely-disseminated manuscripts and the temporal proximity to the events of some of these manuscripts provide evidence of the general consistency and accuracy of the copies we have in our possession today. Even sceptics of Christianity (those who understand the principles of textual criticism) mostly agree on that.
If one tries to be unbiased one can at least admit this is something worth thinking about.
Meant to type: “there is no credible evidence or testimony that Jesus did not do everything recorded in the Bible” in the opening paragraph
I’m not at all sure I see your point anymore… It seems to me that that argument supports my position that the religious cannot claim that their morality is the absolute product of messages from some higher being but is also influenced by biology, society and human intellect – i.e the things which affect one’s “starting point” when interpreting religious texts.
On the positive side, I suppose this means that people of differing religious views should give some credence to each others’ moral views since their morals are not entirely based on a doctrine with which they disagree. There remains the difficulty of dientangling that which comes entirely from the doctorine with that which has some other basis of course…
jgraham: My point is that God’s moral law is not ambiguous; it’s just that people vary in the amount of attention they actually pay to what God says.
As I understand it, you were saying the “Different Christians (again, I’m not going to let you say ‘religious people’, for reasons that I’ve explained) look at what God says and come up with widely differing moral positions; therefore, morality cannot be something absolute from God.” My reply is that many of them are not (and will admit as much) looking at what God says.
For example, Jesus’s teaching on divorce is pretty clear. “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9). Yet there are Christian churches which say divorce is fine, and remarry unrepentant divorced people. Does this show that morality cannot be a God-given absolute?
Nobody can yet verify whether god/s from any religion exist or have ever existed in the past. And the big bang theory (always thought that was such a technical name for it haha) keeps changing from day to day.
In a few 1000 years when we finally figure out how we all work and are able to create our own universe, then things like religion are going to get turned upside down.
So for now, while the jury is still out on all these things, why not just save your strong opinions and willingness to die for direct threats to you, your families and your country (the last is only necessary when the former 2 options are being threatened in the case of an invasion.. in simple terms, don’t fight somebody else’s war)
Look religion is great if it makes u a better person. Don’t use it to excuse or forgive your bad behaviour.
I have all but abandoned religion to illustrate the point to myself that I and I alone am responsible for all my actions. If I kill a man, then I am responsible, I take the blame and accept the consequences from the laws that I am forced to abide by. The same goes for little things like being rude to people because I’m impatient or in a hurry.
I am fully in control of my destiny and rely on no out-worldly big brother/father/mother/whatever u see it figure to protect me or save me from my own stupidity and weaknesses.
Religion these days is a gross perversion of what it was originally designed for. And it is so simple to illustrate this point. Examine the core fundamental values from each religion (back to when it first begun) and then read a few chapters on and start to see all the little “additions” that help to work as “excuses” that go directly against what the core beliefs originally were.
“It’s ok to kill a man if your fighting a “holy war” and “It’s ok to become a Martyr when fighting a holy war” HAHAHAHAHAHA
This particular perversion doesn’t just apply to Muslims; the Christians were the first to invent this one during the crusades. The kings, pope, generals etc types realised that their men would fight harder if they truly believed what they were fighting for and were prepared to die for their beliefs. So in this particular instance it is very likely that those in power and with the power to influence religion re-wrote parts of their religion to suit the goals they wanted to achieve.
It is a well known fact that the reason pork and seafood was outlawed in Islam was because in the hot desert that meat would spoil too quickly and become poisonous. Now that was law, that somehow, turned into religion. So when the good old refrigerator was invented, revoking that law was too late, because it had become religious law.
Another interesting point on the power of religion is relating to one of the worlds greatest generals, Genghis Khan. He found that it was so much easier to come in and conquer a town/city/country if he actively embraced those people�s religions and didn’t try to change them to suit his religion.
While he was one of the most brutal warlords ever in the history of the world HE HAD A FUCKEN BRAIN!
I don’t care whatever your belief is, your race, sexual preference etc etc
If your a good person, and you don’t intentionally harm other people or living organisms, and you know that when it comes to the crunch, YES, you have the power to take another�s life or to damage them in some way, but that you also know that you have the power to protect that life and to not interfere.
So if you really need faith and belief in your life, then that�s fine, just ignore all of the bullshit that comes after the core beliefs of the common religions (this doesn’t apply if your religion is satanic or something similar).
Religion is not worth dying for, fighting for or killing for. Religion is supposed to be a peaceful endeavour.
If someone wants to hurt you because of your religion, you don’t need to hurt them back, just pity them as they are weak of spirit and are wasting their time on this earth.
How many more people have to die for something that we cannot prove to be true?
I know one thing, and it’s about the only thing that I know. I am a human, I will live on this earth for maybe 70-80 years if I�m lucky, I want to be a good person and if I can help it, I don’t want to affect another person�s stay on this planet in such a way as to cause harm or torment them for any length of time.
We are merely guests on this planet and we should all try to enjoy our stay for as long as possible and we shouldn�t interfere with the other guests.
All religions are for the weak-minded. They have no place in a society that wishes to progress or evolve. Do the rest of us a favour and remove yourselves from the gene pool … And take the worlds suffering with you.
Hurray! Wacko Christian attacks ideology of wacko Muslim! Now if only the two of you would cancel each other out and vanish.
“You can never see anyone in a Muslim society that insult prophets of any religion.” … “There are 1 billion muslims around the world and I dont think any of them will never ever tells anything bad about Jesus, Moses, David, Adam, Eve, Noah, Ismael, Ishaac, Jacob, Jethro or any other prophets. They dont do that.”
What happened to the Buddhas of Bamiyan? The 2,000 year old statues, which had seen cultures and religions come and go along the Silk Road, were blown up by Muslims. If that’s not insulting to my religion’s founder, what is?
I am offended by videos of beheadings – killing is against Buddhist teachings.
I am offended by Sunnis and Shiites killing each other – I don’t care if they are both claiming to be better Muslims than the other side, it’s OFFENSIVE!
Why are Muslims offending me like this, when they expect me to do everything possible to avoid offending their religious sensibilities? If the imams expect me to cover my face when I visit a mosque, to avoid offending them, why do they not do more to stop the violence that offends me?
Hold on, religion has a bunch of germane things to say to us in this context. A couple of choice quotes come to mind:
In the Dhammapada, the Buddha observes that: “Not by hatred is hatred overcome.”
In the holy Koran, we are reminded that: “whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.”
Or, in the words of Jesus, “Do good unto them that hate you.”
While I don’t think it’s kind to insult other people’s religious (or other) beliefs, it does seems to me it’d be pretty hard for anyone to really understand these sublime teachings and then go call for people to be killed because of a perceived insult. Perhaps we all just need to study and pray more, so we don’t get so fired up about his sort of stuff.
The Buddha also teaches that “Better than a thousand useless words is one single word that gives peace.”, so with that, may peace be upon you all.
Everyone commenting here seems to have missed the irony that in no muslim country besides maybe Singapore can you openly practice Christianity without either breaking a law or being threatened with physical violence. Unless the muslims complaining live in the West, they need to clean up shop before they sling around terms like “respect”. I have a friend who was a missionary with a group in one of the more liberal countries, Turkey for 5 years, and they were frequently threatened and regularly harassed by the police.
BTW, Muslims certainly have openly blasphemed Jesus, in the crusades it was common for them to desecrate the cross, both by common soldiers and by spritual/political leaders (one leader captured a relic piece of the “true” cross and had it mounted in the steps of one of his mosques so that it would be stamped on every time anyone entered or exited.) Urinating on the cross was common.
Do the Arabs that some people call them “Towel-Heads?” or “those rag-heads…”
Towel-Head seems a lot more respectable.
Look folks, when I was growing up, people made fun of EVERYTHING and EVER-Y-BODY.
And it was fun. Ill humor to the gills. Kiddy stuff. Mad Magazine. Early recordings of .. whatzzit: Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner when they were young and fresh. Jews making fun of Jews, on and on, elephant jokes, political jokes, any kind of jokes you could think of for a good belly laugh. There was even an affectionate song we all loved called “Ahab the Arab, the sheik of the burning sands.”
Today what the towel-heads are missing is that SATIRE is intellectually valuable. There is a message in SATIRE. SATIRE has been prosecuted in British court in the 1800’s due to the, I forget the name, a series of political engravings. Even numb-nuts Rudy Juliani, like a modern day towel-head, got real upset when the NY Post took out a SATIRE ad about him. He too does not understand the intellectual value, justification, and history of SATIRE.
What is happening with the Cartoon Riots is that is being used as a general steam-valve because the Moslems are PISSED-OFF about a number of things. BOMB them from THE SKY. Well, yes, I suppose ANGER is appropriate?
Therefore, SATIRE has a new use, a general steam-release-pressure-cooker-valve. Though it has little to do with the satirical cartoons.
AND I read some of Salmon Rushdie’s SATANIC VERSES book. A dull family story. I heard him speak. A COCKY NIT-WIT, quite narcissistic, but very intelligent. What was that about?
have fun kids. remember: Good fences make good neighbors and private property is the very negation of communism. And you don’t want communism because it is DIRTY. Literally. Love, Poof!-y nh
what can you say about the recent happenings? please visit the link below.
how can you describe the muslims?