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Old 06-26-2006, 04:09 PM   #76
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Originally posted by AEON
My point is, and still is, that the Quran actually teaches extreme intolerance. Yes, Christianity does teach us to spread the Word and make disciples of all the nations, which can be seen as a form of intolerance – but nowhere in the NT are we commanded to do this violently. We are to love people to Christ, not scare them to Him. (Not a tactic everyone uses I agree, but that is a failure of Christians, not the NT)

I do agree, however, that the posts from the Quran I made are probably not productive – and perhaps my intentions were not pure.
It's not for me to judge the purity of your intentions, but I will admit I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around what exactly they were. Certainly I can understand asking--because I've done it countless times myself--"You know, I frankly found this particular passage highly unsettling; can you explain it to me as you understand it--as you might personally apply it?" But I would not expect the answer to illuminate much more for me than an ideal that person aspired to in the abstract...and perhaps a useful new perspective or two for me to incorporate into my own thinking. To assess how dangerous or intolerant or generous or broad-minded they actually were, I would have to observe their behavior. And, as already mentioned, I'd be especially wary about making predictions of (huge, staggeringly diversified) groups' behavior based on collective commitment (whatever that might look like; how would we gauge the form and extent of it, anyway?) to living out the principles of some one-size-fits-all(?) text.

You also talk about a "failure of Christians, not the NT" which, again, I don't really understand--would you likewise diagnose a success of Christians, not the NT, if you concluded that a given group of them was living the Gospels precisely as they were meant to be lived? and who gets to decide what constitutes that? and by what method would you then go about ensuring that all Christians executed this one, foolproof interpretation of that master program "successfully"--and if there really isn't one, how meaningfully can you then claim moral superiority for whichever code of conduct supposedly follows from it? By getting into employing relative measures, gradients of goodness of some kind--how? who decides? what's the measure and who takes it?

Arguing that the Bible, in and of itself, contains transcendent truths about the nature of God, or the one proper object of faith which/who grants salvation, or maybe even the ultimate purpose of life...these kinds of claims, I can understand; if one grants in principle that such things exist, it seems plausible enough that they might be adequately contained in a book. But...that it could also encode some sort of precise, infallible recipe for living that is always and everywhere guaranteed, when followed "successfully," to result in better, nobler, safer, gentler individuals and societies...that claim, I don't understand at all. To put it in an extreme way--if studying the NT can't guarantee such results, then what good is it? I am certain you didn't mean to suggest that it could. And yet, by demanding Muslims prove to you that their analogous guidelines won't result in individuals and societies that epitomize "the very essence of intolerance," that is exactly how you seem to be implying religious-text-based ethical systems work. Muhammad killed people to achieve certain aims and was OK with that, Jesus didn't and wasn't, therefore the followers of Muhammad are always and everywhere more likely to kill, and the followers of Jesus always and everywhere less so....?? Prove that every single last corrupt or bloody or cruel episode in the history and present of Christendom that we could possibly come up with was/is some sort of preventable (if we only got that interpretation right) anomaly that will never happen again...and I guarantee you, you would have the entire world brought around to your side in very short order. I sure could not prove the same for my own religion, and wouldn't even begin to try.

(I'm not expecting you to actually answer all these questions, lol. I'm pretty much just puzzling out loud at this point.)
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Old 06-26-2006, 05:21 PM   #77
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Well there are a few but their visits are sporadic, understandibly so given threads like this.
That's unfortunate...it would be huge to have a couple of Muslim versions of Melon and Irvine around here to stem the fear and hatred of Islam.

I would add more to that but now that I read that sentence again all I can think about is a certain SNL animated series...
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Old 06-26-2006, 05:25 PM   #78
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You also talk about a "failure of Christians, not the NT" which, again, I don't really understand--would you likewise diagnose a success of Christians, not the NT, if you concluded that a given group of them was living the Gospels precisely as they were meant to be lived?
During our lifetime on earth, being Christlike is a process and will not fully be realized until after death. Essentially, it is impossible for any Christian to achieve “perfection” in this lifetime. However, I would diagnose a group of Christians that have achieved a high level of Christlikeness (as defined in the NT) as a “success.” Not a complete success, but still a success. Again, this would be my personal assessment – which you asked for. So how would I know who is more Christlike? How would I make such an assessment? I think the Paul gives me that “measuring stick” – and it is called the Fruits of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”

So – if a group of Christians collectively and continuously (even if not perfectly) demonstrated these traits, then I would say these people are a “success” with the hope of even “more success” as they continue to grow into the image of Christ. Again, Christ is the standard, and He is the goal.

Paul also gives me a way to know if I am “floundering” in my walk, that is, acting out of the sinful nature, not the Christlike nature. It is not a judgment of my salvation, but it does point out where I am at in the process of the Christian walk. This is from a passage just before he describes the fruit of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:19-21 “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”

So, if a group of Christians lived like this, despite their claims of Christianity, would not be adhering to the NT principles successfully – in my opinion.

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Originally posted by yolland
To put it in an extreme way--if studying the NT can't guarantee such results, then what good is it?
No, studying the NT cannot guarantee the results in this lifetime, but that is only a small part of the story. Again, Christ is the goal. (In other words, perfection so that we may have access to God and Heaven is the goal) Because we cannot achieve the goal “in this lifetime” does not negate the goal.

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Originally posted by yolland
and who gets to decide what constitutes that?
Only God truly has the final answer on this. But he does grant us the opportunity to minister to each other and correct each other. As long as the goal is to build up into Christlikeness.


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Originally posted by yolland
and by what method would you then go about ensuring that all Christians executed this one, foolproof interpretation of that master program "successfully"--and if there really isn't one, how meaningfully can you then claim moral superiority for whichever code of conduct supposedly follows from it?
It is impossible to ensure that all Christians are fully Christlike at any given point in time. It is a process and each individual is at a different state in their own walk. Again the “code” is there in the Galatians passages. The claim that it is morally superior is not mine, but God’s as written by Paul.


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Originally posted by yolland
By getting into employing relative measures, gradients of goodness of some kind--how? who decides? what's the measure and who takes it?
I hope I already answered this above regarding Galatians.


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Originally posted by yolland

And yet, by demanding Muslims prove to you that their analogous guidelines won't result in individuals and societies that epitomize "the very essence of intolerance," that is exactly how you seem to be implying religious-text-based ethical systems work. Muhammad killed people to achieve certain aims and was OK with that, Jesus didn't and wasn't, therefore the followers of Muhammad are always and everywhere more likely to kill, and the followers of Jesus always and everywhere less so....??

My argument remains. If, in theory, EVERY person in a society fully and perpetually demonstrated Chrislikeness (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) – then you would have a loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlling society.

However, if, in theory, EVERY person in a society fully and perpetually demonstrated the example of Mohammed…well, you will get a society that acts and behaves as Mohammed did.


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Originally posted by yolland

Prove that every single last corrupt or bloody or cruel episode in the history and present of Christendom that we could possibly come up with was/is some sort of preventable (if we only got that interpretation right) anomaly that will never happen again...
In theory, if every Christian modeled Christ 100% - there never would have been any atrocities committed in the name of Christ, nor would it ever happen again. The fact that this does happen is an indictment of people, not of the New Testament or Jesus Christ. It is the NON-APPLICATION of Christianity that is the problem, not the application of it.

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Originally posted by yolland
and I guarantee you, you would have the entire world brought around to your side in very short order.
Well, I do hope it is the “Message of Christ” that does spread throughout the whole world, not “Christendom.”

Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

(I'm not expecting you to actually answer all these questions, lol. I'm pretty much just puzzling out loud at this point.)
I gave it a shot
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:23 AM   #79
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ANY time we start saying that a particular group of people, a particular belief system, MUST be stopped at all costs we are treading on very, very dangerous ground.
Just for the record - I called on fighting this on a spiritual and intellectual level. I do not necessarily equate that to "at all costs." Nor do I see anyone else advocating an "at all costs" solution
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Old 06-27-2006, 08:52 AM   #80
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Nor do I see anyone else advocating an "at all costs" solution
No, I haven't seen many an "at all costs", but I have seen many "Christians" that call this a holy war and advocate it 100%.
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:15 AM   #81
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No, I haven't seen many an "at all costs", but I have seen many "Christians" that call this a holy war and advocate it 100%.
I actually was referring to posts in this forum. However, I would like to point out that the concept of a Christian Holy War is not taught in the NT. Any "Christian" claiming and supporting this is not doing so based on Scripture.

The only thing which even closely resembles thic concept is "Judgement Day, End of days, Apocalypse" stuff - which is not for us to carry out but God's.
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:41 AM   #82
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I actually was referring to posts in this forum. However, I would like to point out that the concept of a Christian Holy War is not taught in the NT. Any "Christian" claiming and supporting this is not doing so based on Scripture.

The only thing which even closely resembles thic concept is "Judgement Day, End of days, Apocalypse" stuff - which is not for us to carry out but God's.
Well I agree there is no scripture basis. But there have been a handful of people preaching it from the pulpit Fallwell, Robertson, Hagee, and they've all used scripture. I don't have time to look it up, but my point is that these people have big followings and as an outsider looking in, these pieces of scripture and preachings can be percieved just as "the very essence of intolerance" as you percieve the Muslim religion.
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Old 06-27-2006, 11:47 AM   #83
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In my opinion, it seems the political left should be doing everything in its power to stop the spread of this religion and way of thinking.
I believe this was the statement that prompted my comment about "at any cost." Apparently that is not what you meant, but that was what seemed to be implied. That and the comment about Nazism (which was defeated through military means) and the part about Religion X landing on our shores. All seemed to imply that this is a religion that must be "stopped." That was the concern I had.

I tend to try to read between the lines, and granted I sometimes get it wrong.
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Old 06-27-2006, 11:50 AM   #84
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This phrase "Islam is the essence of intolerance" disturbs me, too. I was in Turkey with a Muslim tour guide who knew more about St. Paul than some Christians do. We were going some places in Paul's very footsteps. He was born in what is now Turkey, in fact.
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Old 06-27-2006, 12:55 PM   #85
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I believe this was the statement that prompted my comment about "at any cost." Apparently that is not what you meant, but that was what seemed to be implied. That and the comment about Nazism (which was defeated through military means) and the part about Religion X landing on our shores. All seemed to imply that this is a religion that must be "stopped." That was the concern I had.

I tend to try to read between the lines, and granted I sometimes get it wrong.
The comment about the political left was an attempt to point out what I perceive to be hypocrisy - that is, the political left seems to not be critical of Islam even though they are, in my opinion, less tolerant of classic liberal causes than Christians.

The Nazi comparison was to demonstrate the logic behind defending against those with a "convert or die" attitude. A weak comparison is some regards. The essential point I was trying to posit was this - if any group of people with a "convert or die" religion, whatever religion it was, actually swept across this country forcing people to either convert or die – should that be stopped? My answer is yes, although nobody else seemed to want to tackle this issue.

Currently, there are no Muslims (or any other group) sweeping across this country with a “convert or die” military campaign. My fight with Islam is no different than a secular humanists fight with Christianity – as a secular humanist points out the perceived flaws in the Christian religion, I am pointing out the perceived flaws I find in the Muslim religion. I believe in freedom; and I believe that men and women should be free to choose Muslim, Judaism, Christianity, Secular Humanism, Hinduism…etc, as their personal religion. Is the enemy of such freedom not the very essence of intolerance?
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:33 PM   #86
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...I believe in freedom; and I believe that men and women should be free to choose Muslim, Judaism, Christianity, Secular Humanism, Hinduism…etc, as their personal religion. Is the enemy of such freedom not the very essence of intolerance?
Total religious freedom is possible in Islam. It's all dependent upon how progressive the religion's leaders and Muslim countries' governments become and how progressively they interpret the Koran (and if they can stay away from Sharia Law, which seems to keep evolving through strict/fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic traditions). Sadly, you don't see too many examples of world-wide change, but it's never a hopeless situation.

I think everyone should read this article below. Provides some good context, looking at the positives and negatives of Islam's approach to "religious freedom." [Though it doesn't explain why, historically, Dhimmis (non-Muslims) in Muslim countries were levied a poll-tax. Muslims have to pay zakat (10% of annual income to go toward charity or the poor). The poll tax, I believe, was to ensure all the Muslim countries' populations contributed equally to the poor.]


http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=227
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:48 PM   #87
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The comment about the political left was an attempt to point out what I perceive to be hypocrisy - that is, the political left seems to not be critical of Islam even though they are, in my opinion, less tolerant of classic liberal causes than Christians.
Maybe people are less willing to jump on a general purpose Muslim bashing bandwagon about a religion and lifestyle they know little about and for the most part has little impact on their daily lives. Particularly when all they are exposed to revolves around fundamentalist fear-mongering bullshit that really only serves the political agendas of those who wish to manipulate the masses...from both sides.

Sure we could sit here and pick apart the Quran and condemn the conservative Muslim lifestyle from our own little myopic, superior western Christian viewpoints...but without a counterpoint what would be the purpose? It would just end up a discussion that perpetuates fear and loathing...NOT understanding.

Is that hypocritical?
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Old 06-27-2006, 03:38 PM   #88
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The Nazi comparison was to demonstrate the logic behind defending against those with a "convert or die" attitude. A weak comparison is some regards. The essential point I was trying to posit was this - if any group of people with a "convert or die" religion, whatever religion it was, actually swept across this country forcing people to either convert or die – should that be stopped? My answer is yes, although nobody else seemed to want to tackle this issue.

Currently, there are no Muslims (or any other group) sweeping across this country with a “convert or die” military campaign. My fight with Islam is no different than a secular humanists fight with Christianity – as a secular humanist points out the perceived flaws in the Christian religion, I am pointing out the perceived flaws I find in the Muslim religion. I believe in freedom; and I believe that men and women should be free to choose Muslim, Judaism, Christianity, Secular Humanism, Hinduism…etc, as their personal religion. Is the enemy of such freedom not the very essence of intolerance?
Now I am probably beginning to sound like a broken record--but, from my POV, here you are once again distinguishing between "religion" as abstract set of ideals (i.e. sacred texts) and religion as sociocultural and historic phenomenon in ways that I just can't see as legitimate. If I understand you correctly, you are basically describing imperialism here. But of course BOTH Islam and Christianity became the global religions they are today through precisely that--regardless of what the Koran and the Bible might or might not seem to endorse about it. Christianity was established in Europe via Roman imperialism, then much later, in the Americas via European imperialism. That's not to say every last pagan convert did so at swordpoint...but then the same is true about the spread of Islam. In view of that it seems meaningless to me to argue that Islam is, in some ultimate and irrevocable way, in fact any more of a "convert or die" religion than Christianity is. You can only get so much mileage out of that "But they weren't true Christians" argument...and really, why would you want to? Would you actually prefer it if Christianity was still essentially a small Mediterranean sect?

Perhaps a deeper problem running beneath all this is that, if you believe one particular religion to possess the one correct truth about the afterlife, ultimately you are not really going to judge it by the same yardsticks you use to judge others. So that one religion is not ultimately expected to answer for how its followers behave in this world, even when these things contradict its own scriptures, because its "true ends" can safely be said to lie elsewhere...while meanwhile the scriptures of another religion (even one which also understands its "true ends" to lie elsewhere) are assumed to in fact dictate quite precisely how its followers can be expected to behave, as if no other outcome were imaginable--an assumption not made, or at the very least resisted, in the first case.
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Old 06-27-2006, 04:13 PM   #89
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I think everyone should read this article below. Provides some good context, looking at the positives and negatives of Islam's approach to "religious freedom." [Though it doesn't explain why, historically, Dhimmis (non-Muslims) in Muslim countries were levied a poll-tax. Muslims have to pay zakat (10% of annual income to go toward charity or the poor). The poll tax, I believe, was to ensure all the Muslim countries' populations contributed equally to the poor.]
Great info, thanks.

Zakat sounds like it might well be a cognate for the Hebrew tzedaka, which stipulates precisely the same thing. Do you happen to know if zakat has the dual meaning in Arabic, as tzedaka does in Hebrew, of "justice"?
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Old 06-27-2006, 04:30 PM   #90
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The comment about the political left was an attempt to point out what I perceive to be hypocrisy - that is, the political left seems to not be critical of Islam even though they are, in my opinion, less tolerant of classic liberal causes than Christians.

The Nazi comparison was to demonstrate the logic behind defending against those with a "convert or die" attitude. A weak comparison is some regards. The essential point I was trying to posit was this - if any group of people with a "convert or die" religion, whatever religion it was, actually swept across this country forcing people to either convert or die – should that be stopped? My answer is yes, although nobody else seemed to want to tackle this issue.

But here's the hypocricy and irony that you aren't grasping. Here in America Muslims aren't trying to force their beliefs into the political arena, guess who is? Guess who's closest to the convert of die religion here in the states?

But let's look at this from a worldwide view, how many Muslims approach their religion with this "convert or die" mentality? Small percentage.

Your posts come off as incredibly bad generalizations.
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