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Old 05-15-2013, 09:13 AM   #211
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You keep speaking about 'fringe groups' when I'm talking about actual text in actual books.
I guess my problem with that is that you're only pretending to know the texts.
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And the questions are pretty straight forward. "Do you support x?". You're the one muddying the water.
Well I actually read over the survey break down on the original site, it's a little more nuanced than the summary you posted, but still alarming how region makes the difference in the particular question of those who abandon the faith.
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What would be the 'right' way to criticize religion? As someone who seems reluctant to do so, I'm not sure you've got the right answer. You won't even admit that anything might be wrong with it.
Know something about the religion. Don't argue that the face value is the purest form and then take the literalist's word for it. I had a hard time seeing you accuse others of intellectual dishonesty when that argument was just dripping with it.
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And please stop brushing off death for converting out of your religion - death for converting out of your religion. Just think about that for a second - as no big deal
Oh by no means am I brushing off anything, I'm just trying to straighten out what people are saying. I think it's abhorrent to have such a belief, I'm just a little skeptical of the numbers. I think pew research has gotten it completely wrong at times in the past, and when I see that they interviewed 1,798 Muslims from Egypt and Egypt has a population of 82 million; I get skeptical of how representative a survey like this really is.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:16 AM   #212
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Byzantine is a modern designation, no? As far as the Eastern Roman Empire was concerned, they were just the Roman Empire. Or did they see themselves as a distinct territory?
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:17 AM   #213
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Oh by no means am I brushing off anything, I'm just trying to straighten out what people are saying. I think it's abhorrent to have such a belief, I'm just a little skeptical of the numbers. I think pew research has gotten it completely wrong at times in the past, and when I see that they interviewed 1,798 Muslims from Egypt and Egypt has a population of 82 million; I get skeptical of how representative a survey like this really is.
I agree that surveys of any kind aren't the most reliable because you can't say 1,000 people represent the opinions of millions. But then again, it is not unusual to hear about many Muslims supporting Sharia law or death to apostates. That has been reported numerous times since 9/11. When there's smoke, there's fire.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:19 AM   #214
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Byzantine is a modern designation, no?
Right - they called themselves "Romans" all the way until 1453, and other people called them some variation of "Roman" as well.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:27 AM   #215
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These two sentences completely contradict one another. I'm not even sure what you're trying to say
No they don't. If you want to criticize the ideology then know it, and criticize it. You can't criticize a small government platform by showing samples of the party that aren't actually practicing small government.

And if you want to criticize Catholics in the U.S., then criticize them for their actions. Don't criticize the Bible for they may not be adhering to it at all, and don't criticize Opus Dei because the two will have very little in common.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:43 AM   #216
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Anything resembling totalitarianism or dictatorship = communism, you mean. That's what was drilled into their heads, which is entirely inaccurate. Still a pretty bad excuse for remaining ignorant.
Yeah, can't argue with this.

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Isn't that what the Red Scare, McCarthyism and everyone else said about communism? Granted, the USSR declared itself to be communist and look at how the people lived. I think the confusion makes sense there.
They didn't declare themselves communist, but I think they declared themselves socialist sometime in the 70s, doesn't mean shit though, a large amount of countries declare themselves as democratic even though they're obviously not. North Korea certainly isn't the democratic state it proclaims to be in its title. What the government says about itself is pretty irrelevant.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:48 AM   #217
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And as I understand, Christianity was not followed by the majority of the Roman Empire by then; it was still followed by a small percentage.
Right - roughly 2% of the population in 250 CE and 8% in 300 (that growth despite as many as 250,000 killed in persecutions). So it was growing, but certainly not a majority. The number spikes to 40 or 45% after Constantine declares toleration, but that probably has a lot to do with emulating the emperor.
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:00 AM   #218
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I agree that surveys of any kind aren't the most reliable because you can't say 1,000 people represent the opinions of millions. But then again, it is not unusual to hear about many Muslims supporting Sharia law or death to apostates. That has been reported numerous times since 9/11. When there's smoke, there's fire.
Once again, I'm not doubting that many do, I just question the number. I would be curious as to the amount of those put to death, state sanctioned vs by those taking it in their own hands.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:09 AM   #219
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Byzantine is a modern designation, no? As far as the Eastern Roman Empire was concerned, they were just the Roman Empire. Or did they see themselves as a distinct territory?
Yes, it is absolutely a modern designation. To the day the Ottoman Turks overran Constantinople they regarded themselves (and I guess, were regarded by a dwindling collection of neighbours) as the Roman Empire. As late as the mid 6th century they arguably were exactly that.

I tell you what, if anyone has a beef with Islam, it's the Byzantine Empire. Damn near wiped them out. Of course it did take the Persians out of the picture, but still.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:51 PM   #220
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This is my initial response, and I'm sure I'll have a more in-depth answer later.

If someone believes in God or gods or what have you, does that automatically mean they deserve to be labeled as wackos, mentally ill, weak, stupid, etc? If they are the Fred Phelps, yes I can see why anyone would think so - because even I do. That's because what he and his family does is dangerous and based on hate and fear. They also lack empathy for everyone - gays, military families, victims of shooting sprees, etc.

But what if someone has their beliefs, yet doesn't bother anyone, lives a good life, and doesn't attack anyone for not agreeing with them - do they deserve to be labeled as stupid and mentally ill?

I know a few people who firmly believe in astrology. They read their horoscopes everyday and identify with being Aries, Capricorn, etc. They might even nudge you and say, "I think so-so is a Scorpio. Look at how she does xyz!" But that's it. I don't believe in astrology because my horoscopes never came true and my personality doesn't add up to my sign. But I don't worry about those who do. I may roll my eyes a bit, but I'm not going to rant and rave about how stupid those people are. I also wouldn't think the world is in trouble.

However - I have dealt with others who take astrology to the extreme. I once had an interview with this woman who needed a blogger for her women oriented website. She asked me what was my sign. I was baffled because that was such an odd question. When I said Gemini, you should've seen the look on her face. Not that is dangerous. She basically discriminated against me and labeled me over something that is so narrow. That is someone I'd complain about because she is actively hurting others.

Or how about vegetarians and animal rights advocates? If they were the type who weren't militant about me eating meat, I wouldn't mind their beliefs even if I disagree and wouldn't mind playfully challenging them. But if they were to start screaming at me, calling me a murderer and all, I'll just laugh and make a big show of eating chicken or ham.

My point is, there are some beliefs out there that baffle and don't add up to me. But I don't see the point in getting upset that someone sees the world differently than me - unless they actually hurt me in some way, or others too. I think it is possible to think differently than others and not lose rationale.

My reason for being upset over D'Souza and his crowd is because they are dangerous in the sense that they are spreading fear to those who are already fearful. And from what I've seen with my radically conservative family and the blogs they refer to, I think it is highly possible that a lot of terrible things can go wrong. The political polarization in this country scares me more than anything, because I don't see it getting better and knowing how blind some people are with their fears, I'm surprised blood hasn't been spilled yet (honestly).

Now yes, a lot of the political problems here are related to religion, particularly abortion, SSM, evolution, etc. I do believe in separation from church and state, because we're a diverse nation and democracy is about letting everyone think for themselves. The radical conservatives are preventing democracy by trying to enforce their beliefs on others.

My lunch break is coming up, so I'll end this quickly: if you want to criticize someone for believing in God and also aims to enforce their beliefs on others, I say go ahead. There is a mental illness there - and not because they believe there is something out there. I'd say the mental illness there is more narcissistic like - as in, everyone must believe and live like they do. Yes, it sucks that some of these people wear crosses around their necks because they give everyone else a bad name. It especially sucks that they claim to be God-fearing people yet fail to realize the Bible makes a huge emphasis on humility.

OK, I'm totally rambling here and I probably make no sense. In fact, nothing in this post makes sense and sounds fractured. All I can say is, why bow your head in shame that some people believe in God but are good people who mind their business? I don't bow my head in shame that some believe in astrology or that eating meat is wrong. But if they were militant, then I will.

As I said before, I'll get back to you later. I also probably missed your point altogether. I can't wait to see the smilies in response to this post.
I don't believe in astrology. However there was this guy who i met recently who happened to be an aquarius, and when I looked up his birth chart
online, he was the first guy I've liked ever since I've stopped believing in astrology, that I was actually astrologically compatible with. My mum is an aquarius, so if he's anything like my mum he'll be complex, unpredictable, eccentric and funny. I've known my mum for 31 years and most times I still can't figure her out. I felt a bit bummed that I don't believe in it anymore .

Anyway, to clarify, I don't believe in astrology, creationism, intelligent design, etc, but I don't feel the need to bleat on about those who do, as long as they aren't harming anyone else.

And to answer a question about religion from another thread, I think I may be irreligious and an agnostic, with a slight leaning in Christianity.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:53 PM   #221
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I guess my problem with that is that you're only pretending to know the texts.
I guess a couple of my problems are your argument is so unfocused and intentionally vague that there isn't really any meat to respond to, and you seem to think the Quran and Hadith are inaccessible documents that aren't available for anyone to read anytime they felt like it. You should have a look at some point. Maybe then you wouldn't have to resort to weak and baseless "you don't know what you're talking about" "arguments"

I'll respond to the rest when I'm at home
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:25 PM   #222
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I guess a couple of my problems are your argument is so unfocused and intentionally vague that there isn't really any meat to respond to, and you seem to think the Quran and Hadith are inaccessible documents that aren't available for anyone to read anytime they felt like it. You should have a look at some point. Maybe then you wouldn't have to resort to weak and baseless "you don't know what you're talking about" "arguments"

I'll respond to the rest when I'm at home
The premise of the argument was yours, therefore you have to back it up. Unless I overlooked something you have presented any text to back up your argument. Instead you relied on "fundamentalists" to do the interpretation for you.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:42 PM   #223
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I had a hard time seeing you accuse others of intellectual dishonesty when that argument was just dripping with it.
Your argument is certainly dripping with something, though I hesitate to guess what.

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Oh by no means am I brushing off anything, I'm just trying to straighten out what people are saying. I think it's abhorrent to have such a belief, I'm just a little skeptical of the numbers. I think pew research has gotten it completely wrong at times in the past, and when I see that they interviewed 1,798 Muslims from Egypt and Egypt has a population of 82 million; I get skeptical of how representative a survey like this really is.
You're skeptical of the numbers? On what basis? A hunch? great foundation for a reasonable debate. I guess the only way to really get a gauge of the religiosity of Egypt would be to have its government overthrown, then see what sort of ideology gets voted in democratically.....



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No they don't. If you want to criticize the ideology then know it, and criticize it. You can't criticize a small government platform by showing samples of the party that aren't actually practicing small government.

And if you want to criticize Catholics in the U.S., then criticize them for their actions. Don't criticize the Bible for they may not be adhering to it at all, and don't criticize Opus Dei because the two will have very little in common.
this makes next to zero sense (apart from just the horrendous sentence structure). So when I want to criticize an ideology, I can't include the people, but if I want to criticize a group of people, I can't include the ideology??? I just illustrated to Pearl an example where it was completely reasonable to criticize both the person and the bible for homophobia. We can throw in people who stone their wives for cheating (or being raped), and any number of other examples. Where do you think these people are getting these ideas from??? Do yourself a favour and imagine a society where these fraudulent holy books don't exist. Would we still have shitty people being shitty? Of course we would. But what we wouldn't have is people burying gay people up to their necks and throwing cinder-blocks at them for offending a non existent god

"Don't criticize the bible". Yep. That's pretty much the gist of your position right there.

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The premise of the argument was yours, therefore you have to back it up. Unless I overlooked something you have presented any text to back up your argument. Instead you relied on "fundamentalists" to do the interpretation for you.
I'm making claims without backing them up? well, gee, I wonder where I've heard that before... Maybe if I disappear for a couple pages I won't need to bother.
But you know, I figured a guy who's defending islam with the fervor that you've been wouldn't need me to point out any text; But here's a succinct one for you

"Whoever changes his religion, kill him"

How'd you like to interpret that? There's literally pages of aggressive and intolerant passages.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:49 PM   #224
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No, my point was more about how we can't criticize the Republican party based on Tea Party groups, just like we can't criticize Christianity based on Westboro Baptist type groups.
Just to go back to this for a second. If the republican party had a rule book that they passed out, and the tea party followed a couple of the rules that some of the other republican party members chose to ignore, who would be at fault there?
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:21 AM   #225
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Just to go back to this for a second. If the republican party had a rule book that they passed out, and the tea party followed a couple of the rules that some of the other republican party members chose to ignore, who would be at fault there?
Fault? Well what's the original crime or injustice committed?

So let's say the Republican rule book read "Those who practice big government shall be banished."

Now we can debate and criticize the ideology based on this rule book. But if some Tea Party group interpreted this to mean we banish those from the U.S. We can't criticize the ideology.

Now let's take this same rule; let's say the Tea Party interprets this as anyone who believes in income tax should be banished. Other Republicans say only new taxes constitute "big government". We can't criticize the Republican party based on the Tea Party's interpretation.
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