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After the recent Boston Bombings, I had some discussions with a fellow blogger named sarsourraaa. I suggested that considering the number of ordinary moderate Muslims who are so quickly being turned into extremists, perhaps the Muslim community should start taking a long hard look at their community. The reason being that Muslims are humans, and all humans are capable of being persuaded into evil acts given the right conditions. The large number of suicide bombings that we have seen in the past decade by Muslims would seem to indicate that there is something about the contemporary Muslim faith that is provoking such behavior.

Of course, this observation was met with claims that I am “ignorant” and “uneducated” (Surprisingly, I don’t think I was called ‘racist’, which is a common go-to slander by people who are unwilling to be self-critical. So, I commend her for that.).

Ironically, much to sarsourraaa’s chagrin, I found an excellent article written by Muslim journalist Asra Quratulain Nomani, that echoes my sentiments!

So, will sarsourraaa come over to my side or will she abandon her tribe member?

The article was originally posted here:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/23/how-american-muslims-can-respond-to-boston.html

Here’s an alternative site:

http://criticalppp.com/archives/259863?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter


Of course there are some non-religious people who are conspiracy theorists, but it doesn’t seem like a proportionate number relative to the population. Just a hunch, I have no data to back this up 🙂 What do you think?


For all Muslims living in Western countries who think that they are being persecuted because their brethren are carrying out terrorist attacks, you clearly don’t understand what it means to be persecuted. Actually, the reverse is much more true.  Christians (and obviously Jews) are genuinely persecuted in Muslim countries Although I am not a Christian or a Jew, I sympathize with any group which is persecuted.

Meeting a random American who snubs you because you are Muslim (especially immediately after an Islamic terrorist attack) is not persecution. Sorry. You don’t get to elevate that experience to persecution or else you diminish the meaning of the word “persecute”.

Now, where’s my evidence? I will make way for Ayaan Hirsi Ali and let you read for yourself. Ironically, Muslims often complain about how their plight is not discussed in the media enough. Yet, the plight of Christians in Muslim countries is little known to the vast majority of people. Here is the article:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/02/05/ayaan-hirsi-ali-the-global-war-on-christians-in-the-muslim-world.html


…. ask me if I’m surprised. (The answer is ‘no’)


Well, I’d have to say, it could be, depending on the circumstances. If a police officer refers to me as a white male, that’s definitely not racist. However, I had a conversation with a silly blogger, zero1ghost, who attacked me by asking, “could you sound any more white?” Some might try to argue that this isn’t a slander. Well, then I would ask those people, how could you answer that question assuming it wasn’t a slander? “Oh, no, I could not sound more white.” or how about, “Oh, if you’d like, I could try to sound more white.” No. Neither of these are possible. In fact, this question is not a question at all, but a direct insult. What’s more, is it’s a racist insult, but it doesn’t seem quite so bad because it uses “white” instead of any other race. Well, this is all childish. Racism is racism. I have no need to say to someone, “what you just said is so black.” It doesn’t even make any sense to say someone sounds like an entire race. What’s more, why should someone be embarrassed about “sounding” like their race? If I told Snoop Dogg, “you sound so black,” should he take offense to this? Of course not, this is ridiculous.

I have included below our exchange. I didn’t include the original post he made that I referenced because it talked about other things that weren’t pertinent to this discussion.

And, yes, I simply took the “you sound so white” comment to be just an insult, and responded accordingly — ie., not answering his question respectfully 🙂 .

 

—–

” It’s the Enlightened, white west trying to impose it’s will on other parts of the world which has little to know [sic] understanding of the culture of the area before-hand [sic].”

So, it seems to have become a slander to refer to people as “enlightened” (this is actually a good thing), “white” (this is racism) and “west” or “western” (this is tribalism). I see this more and more these days. If someone falls into any of these categories, their opinions are automatically worthless in a discussion on world politics. This is childishness. So, can we only trust an “unenlightened” “non-white” (whatever that even means) “non-western” (whatever that really means) person to talk about world affairs?

The irony is that the people who throw out these statements (like you) are trying REALLY HARD to avoid being racist, yet the result is that they transform the world into a world of us verses them, where only “them” is allowed to have an opinion. Ridiculous.

Comment by The Great Antagonizer — April 14, 2013 @ 2:13 am | Reply

  • Wow, TGA, could you sound any more white? I mean, I don’t know if you are, but goodness you reek of white priviledge.Yes, you do have to know something about another culture or religion before you blast it. Esp. one far different from your own. There is no “doctrine of Islam” as depending on the branch/style of muslim, it’s understood and carried out differently. The style of Sufi Islam would have no qualms with western style secular democracy. Sunni, less so and definitely not if one is Shi’ite, Wahabi or Salafi. This understanding shows this post for what it is, a pile of crap. But one would have to know something of the multifaceted faith of Islam to actually see this.

    Comment by zero1ghost — April 18, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

  • I didn’t know that “white” was a slander. Now, before you start crying and saying “I didn’t say white was a slander,” wipe that tear away from you eye and listen. Yes, you did. If you replaced “could you sound any more white” with “could you sound any more black,” everyone would dismiss you as an outright racist. So what’s the difference? Do you think that it’s not racist because white people are superior? Perhaps you have some kind of white-envy. I personally don’t care about skin tone. “Racism is the arrogance of small differences.” So, once you start to view yourself as on a par with white people, maybe you will be able to calm down. What would be worse is if you are white. Then you’re a outright white racist. However, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re just a non-white person who envies white people.Oh, and to answer the rest of your statement, all kinds of Islam are based on the Koran. The Koran is a childish book. Therefore, all forms of Islam are childish.

On Censorship


[WARNING: I HAVE ATTACHED A GORY IMAGE NEAR THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST]

 

In times past, the general public could only witness what they say directly or what media outlets produced on their shows. If something was deemed to risqué or too grotesque or too profane, most of us would never see it. This has all changed with the advent of the Internet.

While there are definite downsides, I believe that this change has been a great advance for global civilization. It might seem counter-intuitive how showing, for example, grotesque images could be good for civilization, but not if you take some time to consider it.

Take for instance, the recent Boston Marathon bombing. Two relatively small explosives set off in a busy area. Imagine this situation without the aid of photos from the bombing site. I don’t know about you, but to be honest, for me, it wouldn’t feel — feel being the key word here — extremely terrible if I didn’t see any images related to the attack. Even if you told me the death count and a list of terrible injuries, it wouldn’t feel as terrible as it truly is. I perhaps wouldn’t say this in order to not offend anyone, but if I’m honest with myself, I would just think, well, that’s terrible, but there have been much more terrible terrorist acts in order to justify the lack of sadness or horror I’d experience. This kind of erroneous thinking can only happen when someone is “spared” the genuinely horrific images of such a scene.

However, after seeing the grotesque image below, the abominable nature of this incident suddenly flowed over me.

Of course I know every bombing that has injuries that are terrible. However, it doesn’t matter how great of a writer you are, you will never create the same impact with words that this picture can create.

 Image

As much as we may like to think otherwise, we are visual creatures. Words can only say so much. Perhaps other people are more sensitive than me and can imagine the gruesomeness of a bombing much better and therefore feel empathy much more easily. That’s great for them; they don’t have to look at these images. I’m not arguing that anyone should be forced to see such images. I don’t have this skill, unfortunately and I don’t believe that I’m the only person who needs to see these kinds of pictures to get a greater understanding of the tragedy. And if I’m right about that, then it logically follows that we all should have access to any such images.

So, why do grotesque images make civilization better? Because they have the ability to instantly create a connection between the viewer and the victim — that is, empathy for the victims. Caring for strangers is one of the greatest achievements that modern civilization has achieved over our base instincts: many of us accept as our own people who may have very different DNA. There is one more step toward a empathetic global civilization: we need to expand this empathy beyond those who we personally encounter to all humans around the globe. This can only be fully achieved if we are allowed to see the great achievements and terrible sorrows of all people in some visual form. A decision to censor images or video of human suffering is therefore a decision to block empathy. Freedom from censorship is, in this way, the most humane decision.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali at her best!

 


Cover of "Letters to a Young Contrarian"

I find something repulsive in the idea of vicarious redemption. I would not throw my numberless sins onto a scapegoat and expect them to pass from me; we rightly sneer at the barbaric societies that practice this unpleasantness in its literal form. There’s no moral value in the vicarious gesture anyway. As Thomas Pain pointed out, you may if you wish take on another man’s debt, or even offer to take his place in prison. That would be self-sacrificing. But you may not assume his actual crimes as if they were your own; for one thing you did not commit them and might have died rather than do so; for another this impossible action would rob him of individual responsibility. So the whole apparatus of absolution and forgiveness strikes me as positively immoral, while the concept of revealed truth degrades the whole concept of the free intelligence by purportedly relieving us of the hard task of working out ethical principles ourselves.

– Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian, p34


This argument occurred to me last night and it isn’t well fleshed out — it’s merely a skeleton of an idea. It is a reason why religion doesn’t make sense which I have never heard — though, no doubt, someone has come up with this idea or something very similar.

So, this is where you come in. Since this idea is not completely formed, I’d like some criticism or additions to the idea to make it more understandable and sensible. Or, reassurance that it already makes sense 🙂

So here it is:

I’ve often heard the same response from a believer, when someone says, “Isn’t it a coincidence that most people believe in the same God as their parents?” The response: “You don’t realize that a lot of people actually change their religions as they come to understand the world better.”

Ok, leaving aside the questionable reference to “a lot of people,” this statement still seems to actually be evidence against God, not for God.

Why? Because if there were an absolutely correct religion, why would finding that religion be up to the capricious nature of humans?

There are many much less important things in the world that are not left to capricious thinking. We all know that humans normally have two arms. We all know that eating certain things can kill us. There is no wiggle room on these mundane things. If someone isn’t born with two arms we consider that a genetic or developmental error. If someone thinks that eating cyanide is healthy, that is a judgement error.

Yet, if someone changes their mind from believing that Christianity is the one true religion to believing that Hinduism is the one true religion — or, more importantly vice versa, which thereby nullifies the possibility of either change being correct — it is not considered an error.

Again, I’m not sure if this is a fully formed argument or if I’m just restating an argument made by someone else in different words. Any criticism appreciated 🙂


It seems to me there are a number of problems with the concept of omniscience.

The most glaring problem is that God has an enemy (how anthropomorphic is that?): the Devil. If God possessed omniscience, this would render any opponent impotent, wouldn’t it?

If God knows everything, he would know every possible way to avoid any attack by the Devil. He would also know every counterattack against and vulnerability of the Devil. Moreover, he would also know every plan the Devil would or could conceive of. Just thinking about how to destroy God would be a fruitless and incriminating task. This doesn’t seem like a fair fight.

So, either God is not omniscient or the Devil doesn’t exist. Or of course, it’s all nonsense.

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