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Old 10-10-2005, 09:22 AM   #61
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Originally posted by bcrt2000


No they don't. I'm a Muslim and I don't hate anyone due to their faith. If you ask most people point blank if they inherently hate people of a certain faith, they'll say no. Theres a difference between hating the leadership of the Muslim world or Israel and hating the Muslim people or the Jewish people

Until WW2, Muslims and Jews lived in peace in Palestine/Israel. There have been many Muslim leaders who were friends of Christian leaders, but history doesn't point this out. The stuff that stands out in history is conflict.

Anyways, you shouldn't look at political groups (al-Qaeda, IRA, US govt., Israeli govt., Saudi govt., British govt., etc) as an example of how people who live under them/who are of the same faith act. You should actually go and meet some of these people instead. Keep it real.
I completely agree with what you are saying. Good to here those kind of words here.

Just a little note-Jews/Palestinians in Israel/Palestine didn’t get along that great even before WWII. The relations were intense most of the time and exploded (sadly, that is also literally speaking) more than once.
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Old 10-10-2005, 10:03 AM   #62
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Originally posted by sarit


I completely agree with what you are saying. Good to here those kind of words here.

Just a little note-Jews/Palestinians in Israel/Palestine didn’t get along that great even before WWII. The relations were intense most of the time and exploded (sadly, that is also literally speaking) more than once.
When I say before WWII I mean for the last 1300 years or so before the major conflicts started. Jerusalem used to be a place where there was a lot of inter-faith dialogue. Yes there were times where there was war, mostly between the Muslims and Christians during the Crusades, but again, it was the actions of the leaders which led to it. The people themselves lived amongst one another before and after those wars. There were many great Muslim thinkers in Jerusalem, and I'm sure there were great Christian and Jewish thinkers as well, over the centuries.
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Old 10-10-2005, 10:23 AM   #63
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Erm...I think perhaps you and A_W both misunderstood me then, because I would NEVER describe al-Qaeda as "freedom fighters." I referred to anti-imperialism in the context of the overall development of Islamism...which is a huge, bewilderingly diverse and complicated animal, not a simple hair-trigger fundmentalist cult. I don't appreciate culling soundbites from individual militant fanatics as "proof" that I'm some sort of naive ignoramus when it comes to the role of Islamism in present conflicts. After all, one could quote plenty of disgusting, bigoted filth from militant settler Zionists and present it as "here's what Zionism REALLY is!" too, but I would hope that's not how the world judges how to handle Israel/Palestine.
sorry -- i was not implying that you felt this way, and i apologize if that point didn't come across well. it happens on this forum from time to time -- i suppose i should start using the word "one" instead of "you." i don't for a minute think you're an ignoramus (quite the opposite!)



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Of course, the Tigers are not going to plant a nuclear bomb in their own home. I *could* see the Kashmir conflict coming to nuclear war, though, God forbid. Would this be fueled by militant fundamentalism? Depends on which party starts it; there is more than enough precedent for nationalism alone becoming the trigger. Would the result be any worse if it was a "God bomb?" No. Mass death is mass death.
perhaps this is too simplistic, but i understand much of the india/pakistan conflict as being rooted in a hindu/muslim conflict, that especially in pakistan, religion is as important a component, if not the most important component, in the formation of national identity -- i mean, isn't this what Partition was all about? the creation of a Muslim state? and isn't this why the threat of nuclear war is so immediate and scary? precisely because we have such a salient religious element?


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And I continue to find it deeply troubling that we (collectively) are so much more ready to see that potential in Islam than elsewhere. That is not prudence; that is not rationalism; that is not the way towards the desperately needed global cooperation on this issue.
i agree with you -- i would like to point out that i have, repeatedly, tried to make the point that it is the nature of *religion* itself, not any particular religion (though i now think that, as you've pointed out, religions primarily concerned with the afterlife might be a bit of a different beast than Judaism or Buddhism). i think we are simply living in a period of time where it is the religon of Islam that is having ... issues, problems, i don't quite know how to say it. and, as always, we are talking about a minority within a minority -- please, no one for a moment, and it does bother me that i have to come out and be so obvious about it, but in no way do i mean to condemn all of Islam.

perhaps i might condemn all religion -- and religion as defined as the human created set of rules and practices designed to understand that which is unknowable and infinite and perhaps devine -- but that's a whole other thread.

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One last note, Irvine...the postmodern theory of the Holocaust is one I'm familiar with, but again feel unqualified to evaluate. I will say, though, that as a Jew, one of the lessons of it for me is that "your secularism will not protect you." Could religion have stopped it...I doubt it. [...] But God cannot force us to listen, nor control how we choose to understand the message. Nonethless, the obligation to participate in this work is there; it is inherent in the universe; and I believe that the destination it means to lead us towards is merciful and just. That is how I find meaning in the deaths of six million people. I know no other way. [/B]


very interesting paragraph, and very beautiful last few sentences. i agree with the point about secularism not being a defense against irrationality, particularly if we are to agree with the idea of the Holocaust as the ultimate irrational conclusion of modern rationalism, and it's actually made me re-evaluate the role that religion, or at best a sort of universalist spirituality that posits that we are all equal by virtue of being human and therefore from the same "source," might serve as a sort of defense against a wholly secular state. i think it's true that secularism can become another kind of religion, and that rationality can be ultimately dehumanizing, and that a state that operates on reason (though even that word might take some defining ...) alone can be as oppressive as the worst kind of fundamentalist religous state.
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Old 10-10-2005, 10:31 AM   #64
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You know, it just occurred to me that the proposed connection point of religion to apocalyptic violence has shifted in the last several posts from "access to the divine and the infinite" to something much more specific: a preoccupation with the afterlife. And here, perhaps, is another way in which my own religious background might be predisposing me to interpret things differently. As I mentioned in passing, while most Jews do hold vague notions of some type of afterlife or another, we don't collectively dwell much on this topic, nor do we generally regard it as a crucial aspect of our faith. I don't know, Irvine, if you were raised to believe in an afterlife or not, but perhaps this could be another point of divergence in our interpretive tendencies.


i think this is a good point of difference in our perspectives.

i was raised Roman Catholic, in a kind of suburban let's-just-be-nice-and-go-to-mass-when-we-can sort of way. i was baptised, confirmed, know how to act accordingly in mass, still remember most of the songs, etc.

i do remember, however, taking it very seriously when i was little -- like when i was 7,8, and 9 years old. i used to keep a rosary under my pillow and pray at night, i used to walk around and ask for Mary's help (as we Catholics do) for things like math tests and swim meets. i eventually outgrew that, but i do sincerely remember that the idea that, 1) god was everywhere and watching and metted out punishments and rewards for behavior, and 2) i'd better be careful of too many demerits lest i somehow wind up in hell. or, at the very least, i better scoot my butt to confession every month or so.

though i'm rather passionately agnostic these days, i still enjoy (like Melon) the "culture" of catholicism, and often find it similar to judaism in many ways -- that it's almost an ethnic identity as well as a religous one, but perhaps that's because i grew up in Connecticut and everyone at my church was either Irish (and had family in Boston) or Italian (and had family in New York). though my mother was Irish, and grew up in brooklyn ... but you get the idea.

the grand point is that i can't help but think that if i, a rather typical suburban Catholic, felt so acutely (and even, to a lesser degree today) the need for works in this life and a great concern with heaven, then i can only posit that a madras would turn this concern into an all-consuming obsession.

especially if, you know, you're an 19 year old male, you can't get a job, all the women are kept under lock, key, and burka, so you can't even go on a date let alone get laid, then the afterlife sounds pretty tempting when given the shite state of affairs in this world.
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Old 10-10-2005, 10:02 PM   #65
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Originally posted by bcrt2000
One of the basic teachings in Islam is if you killed one person, its like you killed all of humanity, and if you saved one person, its like you saved all of humanity.
I have read this before, but never thought of it in connection to this discussion. It is a beautiful teaching that holds well whether a conflict is inevitable or not. Thanks for sharing that.

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...This is what happens when someone is only taught "what" to do and not "why" they should do it. He also probably doesn't know that with all of the social freedoms in the West, as long as you have a strong will power, you can probably practice Islam (or any faith for that matter) better in the West than in the Muslim world. And when you practice Islam here, its truly from the heart, because a lot of the social pressures lead to assimilation of religious identity.
This resonates very much with my experiences as an observant Jew in the U.S. I suspect many of our Christian posters could relate to it also. As long as this resistance to assimilation is not valorized or misrepresented as a virtue in and of itself, then yes, freedom absolutely deepens the meaning, and IMO the value as well, of religious practice.

***************************

Thanks for the personal story, Irvine. I have always had the impession that Catholicism still retains significant overtones of an ethnic identity, not just a religious one. Very interesting, given its simultaneous universalist aspirations. I don't have time to take on the role of religion in Indo-Pak relations right now (and believe me, that's a BEHEMOTH and contradiction-riddled topic) but suffice to say the thorny "religion or ethnicity?" distinction is salient there also.

I am at last beginning to tire of this thread...but it's a good kind of tired. Thanks so much everyone for participating in broadening and deepening this discussion beyond the usual dead-end string of characterizations.


~shalom...salaam...peace.
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Old 10-12-2005, 03:06 AM   #66
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Just stopping in to wish everyone peaceful holidays and holy days. L'Shana Tovah
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