Thursday, October 13, 2011

Live and let live is a two way street.

Published by JMB on behalf of our roving reporter Moggs Tigerpaw.

This is a “hard hat” post if ever there was one, maybe I ought to get me a flack jacket also.

So. A loaded-ish Question. Can Islam ever learn toleration and co-existence at all?

I asked myself that when I am yet again disappointed with it by reading about how Islamists have started to persecute Coptic Christians in Egypt. Fellow Egyptians, who maybe foolishly stood shoulder to shoulder with their Islamic neighbours to help depose Mubarak.

It seems Islam can only ever pretend to tolerance when it is restrained by a secular state or at least where it does not have the upper hand… and often not even then.

Other religions seem genuinely to mostly be able to tolerate each other, If there is disapproval they mostly figure the big boss in the sky will pick the bones out of it after the game and figure they are bound to come out ahead anyway because they are in the right.

I figure quite a few in Europe and the UK have come to this sort of Deist viewpoint that most religions are like mobile phone networks, they all do the same job and the price plan and handset are personal choice and what fits best with them. It makes them pretty tolerant and they can’t see why they can’t be Christian with a hint of Buddhism if they please with just a pinch of Jeddai Knight in their imaginations for coolness. ^_^. I think they often don’t trust priests and clerics to know what God wants any better than anyone else either.

In the US the constitution relies and expects all religious groups to live and let live.

Islamics tho, they seem to want to execute anyone who converts from Islam, and want to execute anyone who preaches Christian ideals to Moslems. They don’t seem quite sane to me.

They also to me seem to behave like someone who is not confident in and maybe doubts their own faith and are scared to admit it so they lash out and strut about trying to puff themselves up to pretend they are not. Like with a chip on the shoulder. Full of harsh wickedness.

I am all for toleration, but it should be a two way street. Should we all really be quite so willing to tolerate something which will not even properly tolerate our right to exist if it isn’t forced to?

It would be good if there was more sign of live and let live in Islam and less of idealising so called “Martyrs”, people wanting to kill Jews and Christians as far as I can see basically because they are Jews and Christians. To me, people like that, they only serve evil, not good.

It would be good if there was less of the dividing the whole world into "houses", either Dar al-Islam (Muslim territory) or Dar al-Harb ( or Dar al-Garb) (non-Muslim territory).

The give away about the second category is it means "house of war" or "house of the west" and is only supposed to be temporary… Till it becomes Dar al-Islam, I can only guess, through violence and coercion and killing, based on the “House of War” name.

Those ideas don't seem to come from Islam's holy books the Qur'an or Hadith as best as I can tell, so I guess they must have been made up by some wicked old man somewhere. So a reasonable, sane person ought to and ought be able to loose them surely? What is it with people?


YTSL said...

Hi jmb --

My two cents -- from the viewpoint of a non-Muslim whose country is officially Muslim (Malaysia) and who also has spent time in a territory that is 98% Muslim (Zanzibar).

Yes, Islam -- and Muslims -- can earn and co-existence with others. And many Muslims already have done so for centuries.

Something else to bear in mind is that there are many kinds of Islam: Sunni, Shite, Sufi, etc. And among the Sunni, there's a divide between what is widely perceived (in Muslim circles) as more fundamental/conservative/reactionary desert Islam and more tolerant/liberal coastal/moonsoon Islam -- the Islam of Saudi Arabia vs the Islam of places like Istanbul, Malaysia, etc. if you will.

People who live far away from Malaysia may scoff but in my family's experience, it's the fundamentalist/"born again" Christians who seem the most/more intolerant in Malaysia rather than many of the Muslims we know. The fundamentalist/"born again" Christians, it is, who push elderly people on their deathbeds to convert for fear of being eternally damned by God. The ones who require their converts to do such as burn antique Chinese furniture because they -- with their carved legs like those of lions and dragons -- are the work of the devil.

Sometimes, I really do wish the world could be more like John Lennon's "Imagine"... including the line about "imagine no religions"... but that's another story altogether, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Like YTSL, I live in Malaysia. I have seen the radical intolerant form of Islam increase within my lifetime. As a Christian I regret that YTSL feels that way about certain Christians but I think it just shows that intolerance exists in every religion and indeed in any human condition. And we shouldn't forget that "Christians" were guilty of many extreme crimes like the Inquisition. Even Nazism claims to be "Christian" in some form.

However, majority of Christians now speak out against such intolerance today. The problem is that in many Islamic countries, the culture remains very feudal and patriarchal. People listen to their leaders without question and the leaders do not speak out against the injustice and intolerance.

So I agree with you that everyone should stand together and speak out against any intolerance irrespective of any religion. It should indeed be a two way street.

YTSL said...

Hi lgsquirrel --

Like jmb knows, I don't actually currently live in Malaysia but, instead, in Hong Kong. But being Malaysian, I do know what you are saying about having "seen the radical intolerant form of Islam increase within my lifetime."

I'm old enough that I remember seeing the first woman in Malaysia wearing a tudung (head covering) -- and remember a time when the head covered women I would see were Catholic nuns rather than Muslim females. That sight of the first head-covered Muslim woman was back in 1979: in the wake of the Iranian revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini. To contextualize it within the frame of my previous comments: desert Islam over coastal Islam.

And I agree with lgsquirrel: in a lot of Islamic countries, it's the culture -- not the religion -- that is the dominant factor. Also, that it should be a two-way street when it comes to tolerance.

Moggsy said...

YTSL, I don't trust fundamentalist anythings really, but to be fair I didn't hear of any born again Christians flying airplanes into tall buildings, or sentancing imams to death for preaching (and they could almost have an excuse with the cat noises they make over loud speakers ^_^).

LGS, I think that hard cruel religious intolerance, if it comes from anywhere it does not come from God, but the opposite.

Yes there have been bad questionable Christian stuff like the inqisition, more in some places than in others, but not so much recently I think.

I thought the Nazies discouraged religion, a bit like the Communists.

I think you are right about cultural issues. The problem is these cultural things are bacially 'enforced' as part of Islam by the ignorant and intolerant. Where shopkeepers get leaned on by ignorant hard men with tatty beards about employing girls who don't wear veils.

It just seems to me that these 'desert' madras spread ignorance, misogeny and intolerance and even wickedness. About as far from holy, or tolerant as you can get.

Anonymous said...

I may be wrong but I believe that Nazi's tried to claim the legitimacy of their right to rule and basically subject everybody else because they are the rightful heirs to the Holy Roman Empire. Thereby making it look as if they were had the endorsement of the orthodox church, even if that was not true. I know Napoleon, much earlier, took the trouble to be crowned as such.

Moggsy said...

LGS, I have a feeling you might be right that they tried to use the holy Roman Empire in there somewhere, but I think I read they had this Aryan mysticism that said Christianity evolved out of Aryan religious tradition but the Jews stole it from them and twisted it.

I am prettty sure the Nazis were anti Catholic and quietly anti clerical.

They saw any religion that preached love, tolerance as a "slave religion". They believed true religion was on ethnic, (Volkisch) and militaristic lines.

Like some weird paranoid mix of paganism and Christianity. I think they just wanted to steal the “brand”

YTSL said...

Hi Moggsy --

Sorry, think you're being unfair.

"to be fair I didn't hear of any born again Christians flying airplanes into tall buildings, or sentancing imams to death for preaching (and they could almost have an excuse with the cat noises they make over loud speakers ^_^)...."

I've heard of Christians killing each other in the name of faith (Northern Ireland, to give a recent example), a Norwegian Christian responsible for a youth camp massacre on an island, etc. But I still like to think those people are exceptions to the Christian rule.

And re what you (jokingly) refer to as cat noises: I think you mean the call to prayer rather than actual preaching -- and while some can sound awful, others can be really melodic and enchanting. (Let's face it, some of the faithful are more musically inclined than others!)

Anonymous said...

I readily submit to your deeper knowledge of the subject while readily admitting that most of what I know about Nazis comes from Indiana Jones movies! :)

Say, is that pretty girl in the picture your new avatar, JMB?

Moggsy said...

YTSL, I stand by how "nails on blackboardish" that call to prayer is. I guess I missed the melodic ones, or maybe they need a better speakers?

To be honest (and even handed) I am not big on Salvation Army bands at unreasonable hours on a Sunday morning either.

Christians do kill each other all the time, mostly for reasons that have nothing to do with religion at all, The Norwegian attacks was targeted against the socialist state and socialists. Not a sectarian thing.

The Troubles in NI are strongly political as well as sectarian. But you introduced that side of things. I wasn't posting about Islamic sectarian violence, of which there seems to be an awful lot.

LGS, *smiles* TY. I have been messing with my look a bit, first with the Panther look and now this. It came out of a discussion.

James Higham said...

they all do the same job and the price plan and handset are personal choice and what fits best with them

Only one offers redemption.

Moggsy said...

James, I think all Christian sects offer that, and I guess by the back door, religions that accept karma.

Crushed said...

I just wanted to say Goodbye to you- for now- Miss Moggs.

You seem to be doing well for yourself, which is good.

You have a good heart but don't let unscrupulous people exploit that.

And watch out for the Christian Fundamentalists you allude to here.

There is NO redemption for them.

Any man who thinks a woman's sexual behaviour is more important than whether she is NICE to people understands only the words Jesus is reported to have said, but doesn't understand the loving spirit behind the man who spoke them.

Evil is Evil and it is to be found as much in right wing 'Christian' bloggers as it is in Islamic Fundamentalists.

The Universal Brotherhood of Man is the TRUTH that is taught in ALL religion that is worth anything.

After all, I have heard of 'Christian' bloggers who call homosexuality 'deviant' and than go round lecturing other people on how to be 'Christian'.

I don't think these people would be redeemed if there is a God.

What do YOU think, Moggsy? :)

Moggsy said...

Good luck, I do hope you take no harm from the world and give none. Safe paths to you.

I agree that evil and error sneak in where they can and can be found most everywhere, often all dressed up nice and all wrapped up in the best intentions, religious and secular.

As for thinking twice about judging women's behaviour let's remember Mary Magdalene.

But here's the thing, I always understood there is alllways redemption, right up to the very last, for any and all who truly repent. The parables of the "lost sheep", "lost coin", and "prodigal son" explain that... and as a caution against any of us being too self righteous there is Matthew 18:21-35

You mention homosexuality. if it is exclusive, edits that person's genes out of the gene pool and they will never get to father or give birth to children. That to me is sad. So it goes against that drive. But that same outcome happens to heterosexual people, and I guess nuns and priests also.

That’s what I think. I don’t think you, or me, or any of us, get to say people can’t have redemption..

Crushed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Moggsy said...

I don't normally do this, but I removed a comment at October 31, 2011 12:27 PM that I felt was just a bit too far off topic.

Crushed said...

I think we can, however, get behind the metaphor of redemption.

In reality, we know there is no life after death. This poses us with a quandry; does it make morality irrelevant? After all, in truth you do not get damned for being Evil any more than you go to Heaven for being good.

Ah, but you have to live with yourself.

I think that is the truth behind the metaphor of damnation; you damn yourself by putting yourself apart from God's love- God being within you as she is in all of us.

Jesus was God's son only in the sense that YOU, Moggs, are God's daughter.

That central; UNITY with God, that is the Metaphor behind salvation; are you working with the Universe or against it?

Christ inveighed against the Pharasees, those who pervert the LITERAL texts of religion to turn Love into RELIGIONS of Hate.

So yes, we CAN say who is and isn't redeemed.

Ian Paisley, No. John Lennon, Yes.

We can just use our logic and say that those who live by 'Make Love, Not war' are redeemed. Those who live by possession, envy and fighting are enemies of God and their Universe.

I don't really see that that is SUCH a hard point to grasp.

So by that reckoning most Fundies live here and now in a Hell of their own making :)

Moggsy said...

In reality of course we do not, and can not, know that there is no such thing as life after death. It is a false argument to claim that.

In reality it is a matter of belief either way.

You were just stating your particular belief as if it were established fact. It seems to me you are begging the question.

Whatever the case there is a good argument that to behave in a generally moral and altruistic way can be justified on the basis of game theory alone. But I think I read altruism also provides an evolutionary advantage to a person’s genes. Plus it is a nice-to-have to be able to look your reflection in the eye.

So whatever a person believes, unlike you, I am not seeing any real quandary.

Also in the context it does not matter if you think JC was the Son of God, or more like the Buddha. If you follow him in any sense at all then you must follow his advice and what he said and his example.

The simple fact is that in the best record we have of his views on redemption is the new testament and his parables. Like I already said (with examples) there can be no doubt that JC thought redemption should be there for anyone, right up to the last.

No disqualification because they were not in on the ground floor. You get to catch that bus if you were sitting on it waiting for half an hour, or you just scraped on as the doors were closing for it to leave. Sorry if you don’t like that but he was pretty clear on it.

So you can say what you like about who gets redeemed. It - makes - no – difference, because *you* don’t get to decide. By your own logic it is God, or the person themselves decides, depending on belief.

Unless you think your are God, and if you do, then good luck with that, maybe you could work something out with Bono.

I do agree that some people make their own misery, their own hell and get to live in it and they don’t all even necessarily deserve it, and some also make others lives hell and they don’t necessarily deserve it either, but that is kind of a side issue.