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Old 02-03-2006, 09:17 AM   #151
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I advocate not printing humiliating cartoons in newspapers

that were created solely for the purpose of agitating Muslims.
Since your stance is not based on what is regarded by sacred by a group of people, what is the basis for your stance?
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:17 AM   #152
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Originally posted by yolland

No. A world without history, identity, diversity, and culture would be a much better place.



not sure i agree, totally.

yes, you're right, and i'm not advocating the end of religion, but do you think that there are elements in religion that make it much, much different than history, identity, diversity, and culture? that religion posits access to the divine and the infinite and the almighty, and thus has the potential to drive and motivate human beings to acts of terrible irrationality in a way that these other factors simply do not (at least not in the same numbers)?

in my opinion -- and this is just an opinion, i'm not advocating any sort of political measure -- religion deserves extra scrutinty, extra skepticisim, extra caution precisely because it is a much different motivator for behavior -- whether good or bad, and there is often much good -- than anything else i can think of off-hand.

can you see any citizens of a nation-state getting as up-in-arms if an editorial cartoon had offended that particular nation-state (or at least any nation that isn't a theocracy)? further, can you see any ethnic group (not based solely on religion) reacting in a similar manner?
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:11 AM   #153
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This is getting ridiculous. A world without religeon would be a much better place.
Exactly. Who needs religon when you can talk to god personally in prayer.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:22 AM   #154
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Originally posted by Irvine511




not sure i agree, totally.

yes, you're right, and i'm not advocating the end of religion, but do you think that there are elements in religion that make it much, much different than history, identity, diversity, and culture? that religion posits access to the divine and the infinite and the almighty, and thus has the potential to drive and motivate human beings to acts of terrible irrationality in a way that these other factors simply do not (at least not in the same numbers)?

in my opinion -- and this is just an opinion, i'm not advocating any sort of political measure -- religion deserves extra scrutinty, extra skepticisim, extra caution precisely because it is a much different motivator for behavior -- whether good or bad, and there is often much good -- than anything else i can think of off-hand.
I get what you're saying, but I don't really see any way this can be done. Religion, being so personal, doesn't lend itself to mandated regulations.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:25 AM   #155
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep
Islam prohibits ALL images of Mohammed

so,

I advocate not printing humiliating cartoons in newspapers

that were created solely for the purpose of agitating Muslims.
And how exactly can you determine that something was created "solely for the purpose of agitating Muslims?" I don't see how you can stand for the regulation of something that can't be measured.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:25 AM   #156
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Originally posted by stammer476


I get what you're saying, but I don't really see any way this can be done. Religion, being so personal, doesn't lend itself to mandated regulations.


unless the barriers between church and state are broken down.

then you'll start seeing those mandated regulations.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:27 AM   #157
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Originally posted by Irvine511
unless the barriers between church and state are broken down.

then you'll start seeing those mandated regulations.
In the specifics of regulating "dangerous religious activity," what do you mean?
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:09 PM   #158
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Originally posted by stammer476


In the specifics of regulating "dangerous religious activity," what do you mean?


i'm not sure what you mean ... i suppose what i would consider to be "dangerous" would be the government endorsement and promotion of any specific religion, and the vigilance of citizens and courts to keep firmly erect the wall between religion and state.

other "dangerous religious activity" would be, of course, killing and murder in the name of God, because God wants it, etc., and this is often correlated with a fetishization of notions of the "afterlife" and the sense that the religious follower is in the world but not of it, so that traditional social rules as well as state and national laws do not apply to him/her.
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:15 PM   #159
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Originally posted by Irvine511
i'm not sure what you mean ... i suppose what i would consider to be "dangerous" would be the government endorsement and promotion of any specific religion, and the vigilance of citizens and courts to keep firmly erect the wall between religion and state.

other "dangerous religious activity" would be, of course, killing and murder in the name of God, because God wants it, etc., and this is often correlated with a fetishization of notions of the "afterlife" and the sense that the religious follower is in the world but not of it, so that traditional social rules as well as state and national laws do not apply to him/her.
I was just trying to keep the discussion in context, was all.

My point is that I don't see how religions can be regulated wherein they don't violate national laws (i.e. murder in the name of God). There are many proofs that religious fervor is dangerous, and I understand the desire to pre-empt that danger, but I just don't see a reasonable way of regulating religious practice without violating rights.
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:19 PM   #160
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Quote:
Originally posted by stammer476


I was just trying to keep the discussion in context, was all.

My point is that I don't see how religions can be regulated wherein they don't violate national laws (i.e. murder in the name of God). There are many proofs that religious fervor is dangerous, and I understand the desire to pre-empt that danger, but I just don't see a reasonable way of regulating religious practice without violating rights.


oh, i agree. it is not for the state to say what should and should not be in a religion, up to the point that the contents of particular religion violates the laws of the secular state.

not only do we need to protect the state from religion, but we need to protect religion from the state.

secularism is the best way i know to protect the robust practice of a religion.
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:23 PM   #161
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Originally posted by Irvine511
oh, i agree. it is not for the state to say what should and should not be in a religion, up to the point that the contents of particular religion violates the laws of the secular state.

not only do we need to protect the state from religion, but we need to protect religion from the state.

secularism is the best way i know to protect the robust practice of a religion.
For the most part, we agree. But I imagine we'd have some disagreements on the particulars.

What frightens me is the backlash against religions based on the work of these extremists. The easist (and laziest) solution is to eradicate religion in general, and there's a part of me that wonders how long it will be before that solution gains momentum.

Secularism has many great things to offer, but can be taken to an equally dangerous extreme.
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:53 PM   #162
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Originally posted by stammer476


For the most part, we agree. But I imagine we'd have some disagreements on the particulars.

What frightens me is the backlash against religions based on the work of these extremists. The easist (and laziest) solution is to eradicate religion in general, and there's a part of me that wonders how long it will be before that solution gains momentum.

Secularism has many great things to offer, but can be taken to an equally dangerous extreme.

true, we probably would, but that's why we're lucky to live in a country where we can disagree, and hopefully the dialogue produced when two people disagree will ultimately lead one to a better understanding of the other.

hmmm ... i have the opposite viewpoint. when i see extremists blowing up cafes or flying airplanes into buildings, or the less violent but equally hateful home-grown Fred Phelps people and the groups who are at every single anti-war march in DC and who tell everyone protesting that they are going to burn for eternity in a Lake of Fire, i find them easy to dismiss.

idiots. fools. crazies. maniacs. etc.

it's when mainstream-ish people want to take their biblically influenced beliefs and translate them into laws, or when a secular society's failure to fully endorse and affirm their religious beliefs is translated into something tantamount to religious discrimination, or when someone demands that their subjectively biblically-justified intolerance be tolerated ... that's when i get nervous and anti-religion.

i'm curious as to how you might view an extreme example of secularism. beyond a few isolated examples of, say, a teacher refusing to allow a child to write an essay on Jesus that get blown out of proportion on Fox, what evidence do you see of this?
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:06 PM   #163
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
but do you think that there are elements in religion that make it much, much different than history, identity, diversity, and culture?

in my opinion -- and this is just an opinion, i'm not advocating any sort of political measure -- religion deserves extra scrutinty, extra skepticisim, extra caution precisely because it is a much different motivator for behavior -- whether good or bad, and there is often much good -- than anything else i can think of off-hand.
My point was more that any given religion is so inextricably intertwined with these other factors, and so pervaded by them in its character and tone (as well as the vice versa, of course), that you might just as (un)reasonably aim to eliminate all five at once. Religion is not some abstract, freestanding intellectual construct that can be conveniently pried apart from the rest--as melon is wont to observe, for example, the cultural world we live in is pervasively influenced by Christianity, and this profoundly shapes all of our worldviews, whether we individually consider ourselves "Christians" (and meet the formal litmus test of personal faith in Christ) or not. By the same token though, this doesn't mean Eastern Orthodox, Malabar Rite Catholic, or Palestinian "Christians" can be assumed to share our worldviews to any substantial degree. There are too many intersecting vagaries of time and place bound up in each particular tradition's understanding.

"Acts of terrible irrationality"--how do you sharply narrow a list of what external factors might provoke that without getting into circular definitions? Is it helpful from a preventive standpoint to say that Pol Pot was "less irrational" than Osama bin Laden because at least he had nice solid empirical Maoist principles underpinning his strategies to turn children against parents and massacre intellectuals and exterminate people wearing glasses, rather than apocalyptic fantasies about 71 virgins and fiery victory over the infidels? Hutu nationalists were able to motivate themselves to slaughter 800,000 Tutsis in 100 days in 1994 without recourse to imagined special access to the divine, how did they do that? Wasn't a kind of sick faith in Enlightenment dreams of "perfecting" mankind through "scientific" selective breeding, as crucial a motivator behind the Nazis' mass murder of homosexuals as the (undeniable) enabling impact of centuries of Christian revulsion at "sodomy"? There are all kinds of ways humans can convince ourselves that the destiny we serve is so noble (and our rights to its rewards so richly deserved) as to justify any and every action against other human beings. Even without a "fetishistic belief in an afterlife"--though you're right, that does introduce its own set of dangers (which I'm really no more qualified than you to speak from experience on, mine being very much a religion of this world).

I don't deny for a minute that religion is guilty of providing a ready conduit for these kinds of impulses. And no, I can't think of another contemporary group that I'd predict might get this unbalanced over a cartoon per se--I suppose the figure (ha!) of Mohammed has become fetishized into a shorthand for all Muslims' dignity, sense of shared hallowed legacy, and collective pride in a way that's not quite analogous to the status accorded any other icon, certainly not Jesus who symbolizes quite another sort of aspiration entirely. I do think this is very different from Osama's apocalyptic sensibilities, though--the reactions provoked may look similar on the surface, but I suspect the psychic buttons being pushed are quite different.

I wish I knew of a reliable litmus test for when religious faith, or any other ideology for that matter, has crossed over into serving as a handmaiden for catastrophically destructive fantasies of domination, humiliation and control. I don't. But even if I did, where would I go from there? Hope against hope that 1.2 billion people will achieve the unprecedented feat of shaking off the only worldview (or subvariant of it) they've ever known in exchange for...what? In this one regard Osama is both a more dangerous, yet also a more potentially redeemable figure than Pol Pot--because at the end of the day, he is just one drop drawn from one ocean of possible (as proven by history, and doubtless to be reproven in the future) alternative imaginings of Islam. And yes, Islam is a much, much bigger, stronger and more highly evolved animal than any one state, clan or ethnic group could ever manage to be...*because*...back to the inextricable intertwining of religion with history, identity, diversity and culture again. On a scale of possibilities which my own demographically puny religion can only begin to imagine.

I am in practice nowhere near as optimistic about religion--mine included--as this probably all sounds. And I think you already know that I share your belief in the wisdom of separating church and state 100%. Nonethless, anti-religious reductionism in political analysis is one of the most pervasive and dangerous mistakes of our time--I am certain of it. So for better or for worse, I expect to keep playing the same broken record on this issue.

I do appreciate that you're at least giving us the benefit of the doubt where our potential for good is concerned, though.
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:12 PM   #164
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Quote:
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i'm curious as to how you might view an extreme example of secularism. beyond a few isolated examples of, say, a teacher refusing to allow a child to write an essay on Jesus that get blown out of proportion on Fox, what evidence do you see of this?
A lot of that type of thing. The usual ACLU crap that makes the headlines and is defiantley anti-religious. And the casual remarks of "A world without religeon [sic] would be a much better place". It's like all erred social structures, it's a good idea that was taken too far.

I guess I'm just trying to look a step ahead. With the religious problems we're having in our world, the natural reaction is to blame religion itself and take measures of protection, and I can understand how some decent and reasonable people would assume that taking away religious rights would be the best way to do that. A brave, new world.
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:14 PM   #165
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yolland, it could not have been said any better.
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