A Little Perspective On Religion

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion and Philosophy -(FORUM CLOSED)-' started by Barnstable, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. Barnstable

    Barnstable Supreme Fuzzler of Lakersball.com Staff Member

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    In this video Reza Aslan really breaks down some of the widely held assumptions about Islam I see regularly in US media. Not being Muslim myself, I don't really know for sure if all he says is true, but I'm very skeptical of the criticism of Islam as it's painted with such a wide brush in the US:

     
  2. TIME

    TIME Administrator Staff Member

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    He is being disingenuous and playing with statistics that suit his agenda. I literally can't stand guys like him.

    Here's the thing. Islam (and every other religion) should be evaluated, not by current statistics, but by what the originator of the religion actually taught and did, and the writings held sacred by that religion.

    For instance, the guy in the video claims that Islam is not violent, but it's only when a violent person brings their personal violence TO Islam that you see it. That's just blatantly ridiculous. A simple reading of the history of Muhammad and his leadership decisions and actions, and teachings reveals a fundamentally violent core perspective. It's only a modern revisionist reworking of his teachings by some more liberal wings of Islam that have redefined Jihad, which is at the core of Islam, to make it an internal personal struggle. It was not for Muhammad and his followers if we allow them to speak for themselves.
     
  3. Barnstable

    Barnstable Supreme Fuzzler of Lakersball.com Staff Member

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    His argument seems, from the perspective of someone looking in at both religions, similar to how Christians represent the Old Testament. Yes it is a Christian writing that represents God's will and directive for the people of this world, but it doesn't represent the way Christians feel their religions and it's people should act today.

    The only difference I can see is that Christians say they have a new directive from god that is written down in a newer text, while Islam seems to just interpret their scripture with more of an emphasis on certain teachings.
     
  4. TIME

    TIME Administrator Staff Member

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    I won't get into how and why certain teachings change from Old Testament to New Testament because while it's a fascinating topic, it has nothing directly to do with your original post and the video. The point being that the originator of Christianity is Jesus, and it should be evaluated by his leadership decisions, actions and teachings. So should Muhammad and Islam. The two originators could not be more different or more opposite in their personal behavior, leadership decisions, and instructions and commands required of their followers.

    Honestly, there is a fair amount a familiarity with Jesus in our culture, but a LOT of ignorance about Muhammad. Anyone who reads Muhammad's life story from the historical record is going to discover that there's lots of "splaining to do".
     
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  5. Barnstable

    Barnstable Supreme Fuzzler of Lakersball.com Staff Member

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    But Jesus was a part of God (for lack of a better description) before he was born on earth. So the old testament still represented the beliefs of the Christian God and Jesus at the time, correct? Christians just believe he changed this teachings correct? Why couldn't Muhammad's life story be similar in that it doesn't represent the beliefs of the Islamic God?
     
  6. TIME

    TIME Administrator Staff Member

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    There is a LOT of backstory I'm gonna leave out of this response. Here's the short and to the point of it.

    Both Christianity and Islam believe that there is ONE single spokesman, representative of God, prophet, et al; who is the FINAL word from God to humanity.

    Christianity holds that one to be Jesus. Therefore his teachings and actions are the ultimate barometer of the religion.

    Islam holds that one to be Muhammad. Same applies to him and his actions and teachings.

    There is no Christianity without Jesus, and no Islam without Muhammad. Christians have no right to a claim to true Christianity if they change or modify what Jesus did or taught. Same applies for modern Muslims and Muhammad.

    Both claim that their leader was a perfect representation of their God. In fact both leaders claimed that for themselves.
     
  7. trodgers

    trodgers Administrator Staff Member

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    I have seen the video. I think he makes an utterly reasonable point.
     
  8. TIME

    TIME Administrator Staff Member

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    He was reasonable. He was also agenda driven and wrong.
     
  9. Barnstable

    Barnstable Supreme Fuzzler of Lakersball.com Staff Member

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    But believing in a religion involves interpreting the teachings of said religions leader/God's word by it's followers and applying it to their life. If interpretation is involved, then what would be more telling in exposing the true root of a religion's teaching... the interpretations of people that don't follow said religion, and don't believe in it, or the actions of those that believe in it wholeheartedly and try to follow it's tenants?

    You're saying Islam is a violent religion because you believe Muhammad was a violent leader (I wouldn't know either way on that one), but logically, if it were, most of it's followers would be violent. To that point, what Reza is saying above is that the great majority of the billions of Muslim people aren't violent, and don't believe in oppressing women, or Shiria Law. That is a statement backed by all of the predominately Muslim countries that are, for the most part peaceful, and don't really participate in Islamic Extremist activities much.

    Look at this list of all the predominately Muslim countries :

    Rank[​IMG]Country[​IMG]Population[​IMG]Muslim %[​IMG]Main sect[​IMG]Religion and (state= sharia)[​IMG]Type of government[​IMG]Military power (active troops)[​IMG]GDP (PPP) per capita(US$)[​IMG]
    123123123123
    1[​IMG] Indonesia228,582,00086.1%[3]SunniNonePresidential republic316,000[4]3,725
    2[​IMG] Pakistan172,800,000[5]97%[6]Sunni/Shi’aIslamic state[7]Parliamentary democracy528,000[8]2,592
    3[​IMG] Bangladesh162,221,000[9]89%[10]SunniSecular [11]Parliamentary democracy120,000[12]1,378
    4[​IMG] Nigeria154,279,000[13]50%[14]SunniNonePresidential Federal Republic78,500[15]2,035
    5[​IMG] Egypt77,100,000[16]90%[17]SunniState religion[18]Semi-presidential republic450,000[19]5,491
    6[​IMG] Turkey71,517,100[20]99.8%[21]SunniSecular[22]Parliamentary democracy514,850[23]12,888
    7[​IMG] Iran70,495,782[24]98%[25]Shi’aIslamic state[26]Presidential republic andTheocracy545,000[27]10,624
    8[​IMG] Sudan39,379,35870%[28]SunniNoneAuthoritarian republic104,500[29]2,172
    9[​IMG] Algeria33,769,669[30]99%[31]SunniState religion[32]Presidential republic127,500[33]6,538
    10[​IMG] Afghanistan32,738,376[34]99%[35]SunniIslamic state[36]Presidential republic70,000[37]724
    11[​IMG] Morocco33,723,41899%[38]SunniState religion[39]Constitutional monarchy196,300[40]4,076
    12[​IMG] Iraq31,234,000[41]97%[42]Shi’a/SunniState religionParliamentary democracy254,418[43]3,600
    13[​IMG] Malaysia27,730,000[44]60.4%[45]SunniState religion[46]Parliamentary democracy and EM110,000[47]13,315
    14[​IMG] Saudi Arabia27,601,038[48]100%[6][49]SunniWahhabiIslamic state[50]Absolute monarchy199,500[51]23,243
    15[​IMG] Uzbekistan27,372,00088%[52]SunniSecularPresidential republic53,000[53]2,344
    16[​IMG] Yemen23,013,37699%[54]Sunni/Shi’aIslamic state[55]Presidential republic65,000[56]2,335
    17[​IMG] Syria19,405,00090%[57]SunniNone[58]Authoritarian republic296,000[59]4,448
    18[​IMG] Kazakhstan15,217,711[60]57%[61]SunniSecular[62]Presidential republic65,800[63]11,086
    19[​IMG] Niger13,272,67990%[64]SunniSecular[65]Parliamentary democracy5,300[66]666
    20[​IMG] Burkina Faso13,228,00050%[67]SunniSecularSemi-presidential republic6,000[68]1,253
    21[​IMG] Mali11,995,40290%[69]SunniSecularSemi-presidential republic7,350[70]1,031
    22[​IMG] Senegal11,658,00094%[71]SunniSecularSemi-presidential republic9,400[72]1,685
    23[​IMG] Tunisia10,383,57798%[73]SunniState religion[74]Presidential republic35,000[75]7,473
    24[​IMG] Guinea10,211,43785%[76]SunniSecularMilitary junta9,700[77]1,074
    25[​IMG] Somalia9,558,66699.9%[78]SunniState religionCoalition government10,000600
    26[​IMG] Azerbaijan8,676,000[79]93.4%[80]Shi’aSecular[81]Presidential republic95,0007,656
    27[​IMG] Tajikistan7,215,70097%[82]SunniSecular[83]Presidential republic6,000[84]1,841
    28[​IMG] Sierra Leone6,294,774[85]60%[86]SunniNonePresidential republic13,000[87]692
    29[​IMG] Libya6,173,579[88]97%[89]SunniState religion[90]JamahiriyaRevolution76,000[91]12,277
    30[​IMG] Jordan5,568,56595%[92]Sunnistate religionConstitutional monarchy100,700[93]4,886
    31[​IMG] United Arab Emirates5,432,746[94]76%[95]SunniState religion[96]Federal constitutional monarchy50,500[97]37,293
    32[​IMG] Kyrgyzstan5,356,86975%[98]SunniSecular[99]Semi-presidential republic12,500[100]-
    33[​IMG] Turkmenistan5,110,02389%[101]SunniSecular[102]Parliamentary republic26,000[103]5,154
    34[​IMG] Chad5,041,69054%[104]SunniSecularPresidential republic30,350[105]1,675
    35[​IMG] Lebanon4,196,45360%[106]Shi’a/SunniNoneParliamentary democracy72,100[107]11,270
    36[​IMG] Kuwait3,399,637[108]85%[109]Sunni/Shi’aState religion[110]Constitutional monarchy15,500[111]39,305
    37[​IMG] Albania3,170,048[112]70%[113]SunniNoneParliamentary republic9,500[114]6,897[115]
    38[​IMG] Mauritania3,124,000[116]99.99%[117]SunniIslamic state[118]Military junta15,750[119]2,008
    39[​IMG] Oman2,577,000[120]93%[121]IbadiState religion[122]Absolute monarchy41,700[123]23,967
    40[​IMG] Kosovo[a]2,100,000[124]90%[125]SunniSecular[126]Parliamentary republic-1,800[127]
    41[​IMG] The Gambia1,700,00090%[128]SunniSecularPresidential republic800[129]1,326
    42[​IMG] Bahrain1,046,81481%[130]Shi’aState religion[131]Constitutional monarchy11,200[132]32,604
    43[​IMG] Comoros798,00098%[133]SunniState religionFederal republic-1,125
    44[​IMG] Qatar744,029[134]77.5%[135]SunniState religion[136]Absolute monarchy12,400[137]80,870
    45[​IMG] Djibouti496,37494%[138]SunniSecularSemi-presidential republic9,850[139]2,271
    46[​IMG] Brunei381,371[140]67%[141]SunniState religionAbsolute monarchy7,000[142]51,005
    47[​IMG] Maldives350,000[143]100% [144]SunniState relig


    I count maybe 9 out of the 47 countries that I wouldn't want to visit because they are too extremist or hostile, but I would remind people that it is a very recent turn of events that a country like Egypt and even Saudi Arabia became hostile towards the US and extremist's took power.

    I would argue that every religion has it's own personal journey towards peace and that journey doesn't have to look exactly the same as other religions in order for it to arrive at a peaceful existence. Christianity turned the corner in some ways from it's violent past, why can't Islam?
     
  10. John3:16

    John3:16 Moderator Staff Member

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    In countries where Muslims are a minority, they fight hard for minority rights.
    In Muslim countries, minorities have no rights.

    Do I believe the majority of Muslims are violent or extremist? Nope. I do believe the number falls somewhere in the 10 to 25% range though. And I'll say this: America is a big reason for this large number. Every time we drop a bomb, more extremist are born. The US needs to close it's borders and fix from within instead of playing world police. Let the Muslims fix the Muslim world. The counter-argument to this is: "America caused the problem." While I agree to a large extent, our answer to "fixing the Muslim world" isn't what the Muslim world wants, so we need to mind our own business. We have enough problems in the US to deal with.

    /rant
     
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  11. trodgers

    trodgers Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't mind if people have agendas. In fact, I don't know anyone who doesn't have an agenda. So if you're happy to call him reasonable and wrong, that's fine by me. I feel the same way about my best Christian friends.
     
  12. Barnstable

    Barnstable Supreme Fuzzler of Lakersball.com Staff Member

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    I wholeheartedly agree with the majority of this, but I'm not sure minorities have as few rights in Muslim countries as you believe. I think that's true in the extremist countries, but not most of the others as far as I can tell.
     
  13. Jjigga3000

    Jjigga3000 - Rookie -

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    Here's some truth don't take my Word for it, do the study yourself. First let me preface that I am a Born Again Spiritually speaking and Believe that Yeshua (Jesus) Is the Son of God. With that being said Islam is much like any other religion it has different doctrines. However the truth of the matter if you do a little digging for yourself is that you'll find that Mohomed is only mentioned in the Koran 4x. Jesus however is mentions 25x. He's mentioned in the Koran as The Word, The Christ, and I believe The Messiah.

    Problem with most folks and religion is they take mans word and not study The Word for themselves.
     
  14. ZenMaster

    ZenMaster - Lakers Starter -

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    Religion doesn't matter. It's what you do with it that does.

    It doesn't even matter whether the religion is "true" or "fiction". If someone who measures him/herself by teachings of Harry Potter goes
    on and dedicates his/her life to fight oppression or world hunger in the name of Harry - I am cool with it.

    Then again - I am a true agnostic, so...
     
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  15. TIME

    TIME Administrator Staff Member

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    Very "Zen" like response. ;)
     
  16. FreeThePeople

    FreeThePeople - Rookie -

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    I disagree when you say religion doesn't matter.

    Yes, ultimately what you do is how you are decided to be a good person or not.

    However, I think that religion leads people to improper or irrational aspects of faith. For example, I think it is false to say that the Messiah has come or that there is a final prophet. To say that the Messiah has come, to me, means that the world has reached peace. I think of it more as a Messianic Era rather than a Messiah prophet having the most important teachings. Everyone is a prophet; everyone teaches - some more than others. There is no final prophet until we have finally achieved all that we can in life/solved the mystery of mysteries/transcended/stopped the suffering.

    In addition, religions give people irrational promises. Some people believe that since they believe in Christ, they are the ones that will be saved or whatever. Some people also believe that belief in Christ alone is what makes them a good person. I think the idea of a Buddhist "attaining enlightenment" makes no sense, like what does enlightenment even mean? Every day and every life lesson is enlightening, I don't think there is one state of mind that is truly "enlightened" - that is, until the potential Messianic Era. The whole thing with Muslims getting 72 virgins in heaven is completely irrational and puts women in an uncomfortable place (which is my next point): women can't be virgins if our specie is supposed to survive, yet getting a ridiculous amount of virgin women is the thing you get in heaven, and heaven is supposed to be the ultimate pleasure.

    Finally, I believe that religion can be a very oppressive tool, especially in its placement of women. It is no mystery as to why this happens, either, since all/most modern religions were written hundreds of years ago during much more patriarchal times.

    I'm 19, and a large majority of my friends/contemporaries are quite fed up with their religions. Why? People are seeing through the BS and have grown out of them. I'm no different. There's no religion that I like these days; they all suck. Again, the most important thing is what you do with your religious background, not the religious background that you have itself. My point is that religion/faith is a very powerful tool and to say that it doesn't matter seems ignorant.
     
  17. lakerswiz

    lakerswiz Guest

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    Is it too late for that though? And hasn't it been for a while now? Since before some of us were alive? All of that resentment has been there and has been building for quite some time. Can we really just stop and let them fix themselves at this point?
     
  18. Kingsama

    Kingsama - Rookie -

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    this is a great discussion, can't wait to get on a keyboard,not phone, and jump in.
     
  19. trodgers

    trodgers Administrator Staff Member

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    If people spent half the time trying to understand other human beings and get along with them as they did vehemently defending "isms" imagine what an awesome world this would be.
     
  20. FreeThePeople

    FreeThePeople - Rookie -

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    Instead of attempting to justify generalizations, let's look at the straight up FACTS of Islam to give us some perspective. TIME is right, let's see what Muhammad said.

    http://quran.com/4/34 :

    "Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand."

    http://quran.com/2/191

    "And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers."

    http://quran.com/2/216

    "Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not."

    http://quran.com/4/95

    "Not equal are those believers remaining [at home] - other than the disabled - and the mujahideen, [who strive and fight] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred the mujahideen through their wealth and their lives over those who remain [behind], by degrees. And to both Allah has promised the best [reward]. But Allah has preferred the mujahideen over those who remain [behind] with a great reward"

    How is that for perspective? How can someone honestly debate that Islam is a peaceful religion? The Muslim world will never "fix itself" when this and countless other verses in the holy scriptures promote violence. All it takes is a simple Google search.
     

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