October 01, 2006

Further analysis of Islam vs Other religions

For one thing, Muhammed brought his religion into existence during the age of Empires. Uniting the Arabs, taking control of Persia, and out dominating Zoroastrian as the primary religion of the day and area. It also pitted Muhammed's Empire against the Syrian holdings of the Christian Eastern Roman polity.

This is contrasted with the Jewish and Christian religions, which were setup during a time of stability and city-states. Christianity did not come into power because of conquests. one of the most notable incidents was that the Pope of Rome went to Atilla to sue for peace, and then Atilla died after refusing the Pope. The full might of the Western Roman Empire could not defeat Atilla, only slow him down. Yet this one man, the Pope of Rome, magically and divinely killed the Scourge of God. The fall of the Western Roman Empire created a power vacuum that was filled by the Christian Catholic Church, the dominant belief system. They filled the niches of power of Rome, not by conquest or unification, but by defense and diplomatic reasoning. They were the shield to protect the people against the barbarian scourges and raids.

Moses, when he left Egypt with his clan in tow, also lived in a time of city-states. He was not building an Empire, the religion he followed was useful in explaining many of his actions, but even then he did not use it to attempt to build an empire. Merely to carve out a small place for his people.

Both the Christian and Jewish origins are totally different from Mohammed's origins. Mohammed forcefully united the Arabs and took control of Persia, which is a huge area not just geographically, but tribally as well. In order to force the Arabs to work together, he had to use some brutal and ruthless tactics. In those times, religion, the military, and government were not separate. Since Muhammed had a lot to say about what went into the Koran and what was Islam, he founded it after all, the facts of his life has a lot to do with influencing the religion that was to come.

Using historical analogies of Christian vs Islamic treatment of Jews is not really telling anything. For one thing, because it is what happens now that matters, not what happened in the past. A person can tolerate persecution in the past, if it has stopped in today's time. That is not true for Islam. On a time scale, Islam is not all that much younger than Christianity and Judaism. If Christianity has changed, then the logical question is, why has Islam not changed?

The second thing is that religions took power and were created for a reason. All the dogma, the disciples, and the disciplines were there for a reason, their existence mattered if only because they had a purpose and a goal. What was the purpose of the Catholic Church? To preserve the Roman Empire and its citizens from the barbarians and pagans. The purpose of Judaism? Carve out a place to live. The purpose of Islam? Empire building and unification of disparate lands and peoples.

There are two ways of looking at things as they are. The inductive approach, otherwise known as scientific scholarship concerning divinely inspired holy books like the Koran. Or the deductive approach. Just because people who use the deductive approach come up with different conclusions than those who seek the empirical path concerning divinely inspired prophets and works, does not mean anything that is unscholarly is automatically wrong. You don't need things spelled out by a lawyer, to know what is true or untrue, what is right or wrong. Deductive reason should be enough, and if it isn't, then there is always scholarship to rely upon.

Second comment

Maybe the reason why Islam still treats people the way Christians did in the past, is because Christians changed their ways through debating what is or is not true concerning their religion.

You do not "debate" with what their own faith teaches.

The lack of debate has after all, prevented Islam from reforming. So long as what it teaches is what it teaches, and people can't argue either way or non-Muslims can't argue with Muslims about it, then things will keep being the way they are. There's no reason for people to change what their faith teaches, when they are the ones that decide.

A religion that takes nothing from other religions, peoples, and cultures, is a religion soon to become fanatic, inflexible, and downright horrible.

They don't have to be liars to be mistaken. While calling them liars is wrong, saying that they are mistaken is not necessarily calling them liars. If the law is not on their side, if Islamic law is not on their side, it does not matter whether they are right or wrong. Those who are right, but without power, are infinitely inferior to those who are wrong, but with power. In terms of what is true or not, without power, they cannot make things true, regardless of how ideally correct they are in theory. Truth has to do with reality, if they cannot effect a real solution, then their right ideas become the wrong reality.

It would only be tu quoque, if the Inquisition was accepted as an integral part of Christianity. In dealing with reform, one must destroy integral parts of one's own religion before the reform takes. Immuno-suppression in other words.

The truth is that if someone calls an argument tu quoque, as with the things Bernstein said, then it has to mean that they are arguing against the bad of Islam by presenting the bad of Christianity. Bernstein says neither is bad, neither is integral. Tu quoque would be the accussation that you are saying both is bad, and that the bad of Christianity makes the bad of Islam understandable. If the problem with jihadwatch is that they are saying it is tu quoque, then that would make bernstein's arguments, irrevelant. Since Bernstein doesn't believe the bad is integral to Christianity, while JihadWatch is perfectly willingly to accept the bad in Christianity if only because Christians removed the bad while Islam has not.

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