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Old 09-04-2002, 02:15 PM   #31
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Originally posted by speedracer


Melon,

I can understand your objections to public funding of charity works related to religious organizations you disagree with, but are you really opposed to the whole concept of missionary charity work?

Jesus was certainly much more than a doctor and a caterer to large banquets.
I am highly skeptical of it. I often fear that it is mostly self-serving charity: the missionaries feel "holy" about themselves, converting and helping people all along the way. The "martyr complex" seems to be quite popular nowadays.

However, that is certainly up for debate, as I am unsure what to believe on that. Overall, though, there has been missionary work for decades now and these same nations are still mired in poverty. In Catholicism, at least, there are two concepts:

1) Corporal works of mercy
2) Social justice

The first concept is the crux of missionary work: treating people case-by-case, while working within the existing system. The latter involves broader social change, whereas help is given by changing the social structures that cause people to be in such abject poverty. This has been the forefront ideology behind "liberation theology," which is fairly prevalent in Latin America.

Personally, the former is the equivalent of throwing change at homeless people: they're still going to be homeless afterwards. I've always been more of a social activist at heart. We should be working to change the governments that cause some people to have so much and cause others to have so little. The United States, while admirably being one of the forefront nations of global charity work, is guilty of this even within domestic borders. For a nation that churns so much money, we have a crumbling infrastructure where millions are homeless, millions more have no health care, etc.

In other words, we want this perfect world, but we don't want to sacrifice. Even then, it isn't as much "sacrifice" as ending gluttony. America, itself, takes up 80% of the world's resources. How many resources do we flat out *waste,* because business isn't forced to update their technology? Go to a grocery store and look at all the trash you'll get opening up all the packaging. How much grain is thrown into the ocean every day just so we can supposedly prop up already ailing farm prices (in other words, it is economically feasible to throw away food rather than actually give it to those who actually need it)? A fucking utter shame. Missionary work is the equivalent of throwing change at the homeless, to me. It is about time we actually do something to permanently help those in abject poverty. I can guarantee that you'd want the same done for you if you were stuck in the third-world. "Do unto others..." Such a difficult concept for such a "Christian" nation.

Melon
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Old 09-04-2002, 02:18 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally posted by speedracer
I happen to know several folks who have gone on short-term missions trips, and none of them have ever (to my knowledge) done anything improper.
When I was an undergrad, I knew a group on my campus that were going to Tibet under the guise of "teaching English." They were really going there with the main purpose of converting people to fundamentalist Christianity. And, somehow, he was highly proud of himself over this, knowing full well that atheist China would despise this. Why do I find this all so disturbing?

That is why I am skeptical of most missionary work. Personally, I am for conversion by example. I believe I have converted more people to my beliefs and way of life (call it "Melonism" if you so wish ) simply by the way I live my life. I feel no need to force my beliefs down everyone's throats, because I am not about to be so arrogant as to say that "I'm right; you're wrong." What is fundmentally wonderful about living in the free world is having the right to be "wrong," as long as it doesn't infringe on anyone else's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I am not some archetypical liberal; it is under this principle, for instance, as to why I believe that abortion should be outlawed. What has utterly bothered me the most about conservatism, in general, has been its utter disdain for anyone else's beliefs but its own. Unfortunately, its "forced conversion" tactics have often turned more people off to its beliefs than actually willfully converting anyone.

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Old 09-04-2002, 04:21 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


However, that is certainly up for debate, as I am unsure what to believe on that. Overall, though, there has been missionary work for decades now and these same nations are still mired in poverty.

Sure, there is a need for a long-term solution to the problem of poverty and hunger in third-world nations. But that doesn't mean that the short-term work of helping the poor is useless or unnecessary.

If you throw some change at the homeless man, you won't solve all his problems, but you will allow him to live for one more meal, which may be time enough for someone else to solve his problems.

Quote:

When I was an undergrad, I knew a group on my campus that were going to Tibet under the guise of "teaching English." They were really going there with the main purpose of converting people to fundamentalist Christianity. And, somehow, he was highly proud of himself over this, knowing full well that atheist China would despise this. Why do I find this all so disturbing?
I don't know. Why do you find it disturbing? What if you remove the word "fundamentalist" from the above paragraph?

I too know many college students who have gone to China to teach English, with the "ulterior" motive of befriending Chinese students and introducing them to Christianity. Stuff like this is very common in Asian evangelical churches and campus groups.

How else is one supposed to introduce the gospel to China?

As long as the Chinese students are treated with respect and are taught English well, what's wrong with it?

Quote:

That is why I am skeptical of most missionary work. Personally, I am for conversion by example. I believe I have converted more people to my beliefs and way of life (call it "Melonism" if you so wish ) simply by the way I live my life. I feel no need to force my beliefs down everyone's throats, because I am not about to be so arrogant as to say that "I'm right; you're wrong."
Well, I take it for granted that we Christians are living as we should--being gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and so forth. (Well, maybe I shouldn't take it for granted, but you know what I mean.)

But how will other people know what you believe about Jesus, unless you tell them? (And I believe that it is possible to do so without forcing anything down anyone's throats.)

Personally, I don't think I've introduced a single soul to Christ either by "lifestyle evangelism" or by explicitly presenting the gospel, but I have been able to answer some folks' questions and correct some misconceptions about Christianity.
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Old 09-04-2002, 04:24 PM   #34
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Originally posted by AcrobatMan


Speedracer

Your belief is obviously wrong for the simple reason you dont know "all the other religions". And there is no point comparing any 2 religions.
No, I don't know everything there is to know about all religions (including my own), but I know enough to know where they conflict. And I think Christianity is a more accurate description of reality in those aspects.

Really, Christianity is nothing more than the belief that Jesus was God incarnate, who died to free us from our sins and was resurrected, and who wants us to follow him. No other religion I know of asserts this to be true.
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Old 09-05-2002, 09:20 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


When I was an undergrad, I knew a group on my campus that were going to Tibet under the guise of "teaching English." They were really going there with the main purpose of converting people to fundamentalist Christianity. And, somehow, he was highly proud of himself over this, knowing full well that atheist China would despise this. Why do I find this all so disturbing?

That is why I am skeptical of most missionary work. Personally, I am for conversion by example. I believe I have converted more people to my beliefs and way of life (call it "Melonism" if you so wish ) simply by the way I live my life. I feel no need to force my beliefs down everyone's throats, because I am not about to be so arrogant as to say that "I'm right; you're wrong." What is fundmentally wonderful about living in the free world is having the right to be "wrong," as long as it doesn't infringe on anyone else's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I am not some archetypical liberal; it is under this principle, for instance, as to why I believe that abortion should be outlawed. What has utterly bothered me the most about conservatism, in general, has been its utter disdain for anyone else's beliefs but its own. Unfortunately, its "forced conversion" tactics have often turned more people off to its beliefs than actually willfully converting anyone.

Melon
Woohoo! Go Melon! *Applauds* With the exception of the whole abortion thing you mentioned, I completely agree with you on everything else.

AcrobatMan, you're making some pretty good points yourself.

By the way, Melon, I get a kick out of your signature...I can't believe Bush actually said that about atheists...*sighs*.

Anywho, back on topic...

Angela
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Old 09-06-2002, 10:48 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel


By the way, Melon, I get a kick out of your signature...I can't believe Bush actually said that about atheists...*sighs*.
on the topic of melon's signature and it's 15-year old quote....

Quote:
Originally posted by melon (in another thread)

You dug up a nearly year old thread, knowing full well I use this forum to blow off steam. My thoughts are not fixed, as I thought you knew. But I see that if it fits your political agenda, you'll dig as far back as necessary, right?
hmmm...old quotes serving a political agenda?

jus messin wit chu, melon-oma.
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Old 06-10-2003, 01:58 PM   #37
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This is to ant's earlier statement on television in the ME and the Islamic matters; just to clearify something to you ant., Islam follows the same God as the other books (Torah, and Bible) do...
the people of Islam believe in the other books 2....

-Just wanted to straighten that out-

O, and it's sad, but Media reflects culture in the society... In the ME, in S.E Asia, the television is very different from Western media... Western media tends to have more sex, more dirty language, etc. etc.... This also may come across offensive...
Media can be very controversial, but media reflectst the society and culture...

O, and conversian is all good... If someone has a belief and they want to express it in a moderate way, then good for them, let them speak... And if one finds it interesting and enlightening, then good for them, let them convert... If they don't find it enlightening, then good for them, they can brush it off their shoulders....
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Old 06-11-2003, 10:17 PM   #38
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Media reflects culture?...not all the time



how many women here have as much sex as the women in sex and the city?


how many people here are tottaly jobless and useless yet live in a loft apartment in NYC?



let's look at ancient media amna...the bible (OT) and the koran are pretty violent and so are most ancient myths....so what are you saying...all those cultures were violent in exactly that way all the time?


Media...isn't always a reflection of culture sometimes it's a caricticature of our culture.


lets examine my spam mail for instance...according to this..I'm a man whose constantly looking for penis enlargment methods as well as low mortgage rates, relief for my gambling debts and spy cams to spy on my kids swedish nanny.


Just browse the magazine aisle...you'd think every woman has breats the size of grapefruits and size 0 waists....and that every man is tottaly obssesed with his performance in bed and does nothing more than play video games and look at cars..( ok ..some truth to that).



as for conversion.....I dont' need a bible shoved in my face going to school every day...or a koran for that matter. The one thing I respect most about jews, busshists, toaists or whatever...they leave me alone and respect my beliefs....they don't try to tell me my entire race and culture is doomed to go to hell because I didn't subscribe to the perfect line of thinking they are working so hard to sell me.



I've seen missionaries in action in india. And a lot of them do have noble intentions and are really good people. But there is a faction of them that will do anything to get people to convert.



this bill maher quote somes it up perfectly


" here's a sandwich...uh uh...whose god? whose god?"



Islam wass spread across north africa exclusivly by the sword. And if we decide to look at the history of christianity all I really have to do is point to the inquisistiion.



Seeking conversion from other people...is the action of insecure people who feel that somehow converting everyone on earth to one line of thinking will magically somehow make their faith more right.



Christians dont' ahve any better understanding to teh nature of god than muslims.....who also dont' ahve any greater understanding to the nature of god than jews, hindus, buddhists etc etc etc.



If people are curious about another religion they can inquire by themselves..you don't need to send teams of people in to convert them. If you want to have some faith in your view of god...well then wouldn't god be powerful enough to somehow expose other people to him in some way?


every culture experiences god in their own way...every person experiences god in their own way...and it's foolish to think otherwise. Any one of our lives is exponentionally different than anyone elses here....so now your saying my experience of god has to be the same? .....save the paper those bibles and korans are printed on ...save some trees....although they make lovely coasters.

I guess more or less I agree with melon on this one
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Old 06-12-2003, 10:19 AM   #39
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Interesting conversation, and it's something that I've been witnessing in my life lately.

The first answer that sprung to my mind was "lead by example," which Melon stated later in the thread.


Quote:
Originally posted by speedracer

But how will other people know what you believe about Jesus, unless you tell them? (And I believe that it is possible to do so without forcing anything down anyone's throats.)

Personally, I don't think I've introduced a single soul to Christ either by "lifestyle evangelism" or by explicitly presenting the gospel, but I have been able to answer some folks' questions and correct some misconceptions about Christianity.
I think the two are related. I've found leading by example & being true in my beliefs lead to people's curiosity in my faith. This opens up talks about questions. I (try/hope to) lead by example and it makes my faith respectable, and so when I talk about it with others no one is on the defense- it's simply a conversation in which I can clear up misconceptions about Christianity. But because they have respect for me and my faith they respect what I have to say, ponder it, and I've seen it manifested in my friends's (and my boyfriend's) lives.

Olive
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Old 06-12-2003, 02:53 PM   #40
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ummmmmmm, Arun, Media is a reflection of society and culture... I"m not saying that the picures in the media reflect what our people look like... But, media portrays the way our society runs.... How can you go wrong on this? If a countries government controls their media, then,that reflects the nature of how that country runs and vice-versa.

In this country, we say that we have free media... HOwever, our media is run by the rich, just like everything else... Arun, what does this say about our culture.... The Rich have more of the say...

When we see Girls with large breasts and small waists, what does that say about our culture, ummmm.. that being skinny is the "in" thing... When we see Lain Bryant models posing in bras and panties, what does that say... That being large is sexy... when we see sex on television, what does that say... It says we are less strick on the subject of sex...Western entertainment evolves more around sex, its a fact Arun...

In Pakistan and India, you rarely see people kissing on the lips... what does that say, that kissing on the lips is very sacred.... Thus, India and Pakistan's culture are more conservative when it comes to having sex or relationships out of marriage.

Btw, you are making it sound like I think its ok for people to force their book on others.... I don't think thats ok; i'm very much against it..

But, if someone wants to talk of their religion, let them.... Its like one speaking of a new discovery in science, etc... If people want to hear it, then they will... if they don't, then they can ignore it. I wouldn't mind if a Chrisitian tried to teach me of their religion... I want to know about it, it makes me more aware of how others think and what they believe in... IN OTHER WORDS, WE BECOME MORE EDUCATED ON EACHOTHER.

By the way, Prophet MOhommed did not convert all of Northern Africa with the sword... Please don't assume or generalize the whole of a continent by careless words taken from people who have not studied Islam in depth.... Get your facts straight. And please, when it comes to such direct statements, please site where u got it from.... Saves you from sounding tres ignorent....


"Arun: the bible (OT) and the koran are pretty violent"

Have you read the Bible or the Quran? They are pretty violent? listen , I have five more pages to read of the quran, and I have read it in Arabic and English, please don't try and assume that a book is violent, when you haven't even read it.... I have read it, and the words in the Quran are sacred and peaceful...

Arun, I see you have resentment against some people... Esp. Muslims; you should probably research a little more about them before you start blaming them for certain matters...

I'm sitting here, and I try my best not to offend any relgion... Arun, it seems like your so comfortable as to point fingers and generalize a certain group...
I've got news for you, it is people like you who are so quick to assume that YOU are actually aiding the reason why we have such a hard time trying to unite ourselves..



*****************************************
Many people have said that Islam says that, the people of Islam says that anyone of any other relgion will be doomed.... This in itself is false, the Quran has many conditiions of entering Heaven, but in the end, Allah (God) has the say... Their are certain characteristics that can make man, good, and if they have it in them, no matter what religion they are of, they will enter heaven...

So, I'm sorry if anyone of you have been confronted by an ignorent remark by a Muslim about the whole enterance of Heaven and Hell...
**************************************************
Arun, I see that you have little patience in trying to learn about other religions... But, if you would like to learn about how Islam was spread, through more reliable sources, please ask me....

But, if you would rather not hear how Islam was spread, throught he more reliable sources... then please refrain yourself from making such harsh statements...
Most of the Africans in NOrth Africa, had converted to Islam, because Arabic was spread. With literacy, the Arabs brought formal educational systems. In north Africa and the Sahel, these systems and institutions would produce a great flowering of African thought and science. In fact, the city of Timbuctu had perhaps the greatest university in the world.
This sudden enlightment had many convert to Islam because the spread of Arabic had many come to Islam, because it simply made sense, and it had brought order and organization to their society, which had lacked previously... Many Africans, had ties with Semetic decent (Arab decent), today in Algeria and Egypt, many people are Africans, but consider themselves more Arab... Africans and Arabs have decedent ties, which had brought them together as neighbors...

The war against pagens, was brought upon mutually.... Both groups had clashing concerns for society, and both were willing to go to war for it... The Pagens wanted to rule people and inforce their thoughts on them, and the Muslims wanted to rule a certain way... Thus,they had war...

It is true that Islam was at a time forced upon people, but the origin of true Islam and how it was spread, was by other means... It is true that people fought for Islam, but that was by defending it... Now, me being Shia, I believe that after the Prophet, irresponsible people had taken religion into their own hands and had tried to spread it through in appropriate way...

Arun, please don't try and make it sound that Islam has a violent origin, please research and be kind with your words...

I will refrain from talking about incidents where Hindus in India had masacred many Muslims for their beliefs, because I know that this is not a fair representation of Hindus.... You should probably do the same in retro-respect.
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Old 06-12-2003, 05:12 PM   #41
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Quote:
Arun, I see that you have little patience in trying to learn about other religions... But, if you would like to learn about how Islam was spread, through more reliable sources, please ask me....

But, if you would rather not hear how Islam was spread, throught he more reliable sources... then please refrain yourself from making such harsh statements...
Most of the Africans in NOrth Africa, had converted to Islam, because Arabic was spread. With literacy, the Arabs brought formal educational systems. In north Africa and the Sahel, these systems and institutions would produce a great flowering of African thought and science. In fact, the city of Timbuctu had perhaps the greatest university in the world.
This sudden enlightment had many convert to Islam because the spread of Arabic had many come to Islam, because it simply made sense, and it had brought order and organization to their society, which had lacked previously... Many Africans, had ties with Semetic decent (Arab decent), today in Algeria and Egypt, many people are Africans, but consider themselves more Arab... Africans and Arabs have decedent ties, which had brought them together as neighbors...

The war against pagens, was brought upon mutually.... Both groups had clashing concerns for society, and both were willing to go to war for it... The Pagens wanted to rule people and inforce their thoughts on them, and the Muslims wanted to rule a certain way... Thus,they had war...

It is true that Islam was at a time forced upon people, but the origin of true Islam and how it was spread, was by other means... It is true that people fought for Islam, but that was by defending it... Now, me being Shia, I believe that after the Prophet, irresponsible people had taken religion into their own hands and had tried to spread it through in appropriate way...

Arun, please don't try and make it sound that Islam has a violent origin, please research and be kind with your words...

I will refrain from talking about incidents where Hindus in India had masacred many Muslims for their beliefs, because I know that this is not a fair representation of Hindus.... You should probably do the same in retro-respect. [/B]

Amna....this really shows how little you know about me. My parents lived int eh middle east for about 15 years. I have a good portion of my family in places like UAE. and I've lived in the middle east for two summers of my life which is what I'm willing to bet is more than the total time you've spent in the middle east. And in fact...I'd like to go to saudi arabia with my uncle who does diamond trading with the entire middle east sometime next year. Something I wouldn’t care to do if I didn’t have any respect for that part of the world


Both my parents speak more than fluent arabic and though mine is broken at best..Ive never attempted to read the koran in arabic though I've read at least 2 or 3 english translations...all translated by Imams..not westerners.

Amna...in the future...if you'd like to make predictions on my personality based on my posts...I'd suggest you don't.


Amna...I didn't specifically say islam had violent origins....I also directed that criticism at Christianity. And if you want to believe that Islam spread as a result of literacy in north africa...that's fine with me it's just not true. I also went after Christian missionaries...but you didn't seem to have any problem with that. I also included the old testament and ancient myths in that post…but you didn’t seem to read that either. Look at myths like Beowulf, or the Mahabharata or even the the myth of gilgemesh…they all include violence. So then by your own admission if media is a representation of culture…and these portions of media contain violence…(which they do).you would then concede that all the cultures above including islam are violent( and then yes hindus would be included in that group)? My argument reffering to the Koran was referring to your argument on the media. What am I saying...it's foolish to just judge society based on media.



So unless you are willing to stand there and say there ARE NO 0 zilch references to violence in the koran (which is pretty idiotic) because as i my not advocate violence....there are violent portions in the book

In fact amna....by being pakistani you of course realize that your ancestors at one point were hindu?...and were converted most likely when the moghuls invaded? your own existence is a testament the result of the muslim invasion of india and resulting conversion of the peoples. Most likely because if you converted to islam in that time period, you gained rights hindus didn't have.


Now I never said islam today is spread like that did I?...I did hoever say and by your admission it had been done so in the past.


In fact if you read the book "millenium" by Fellipe Fernandes Armesto an oxford historian he essentially backs my veiw on islam in north africa ...that's a "reliable source"

this is an excerpt from another source...an online handout we were given that condenses armesto's thoughts a

Quote:
Islam entered Africa shortly after its inception in the seventh century AD. After the death of Muhammad, the rasul, or "messenger," and prophet of Islam, in 632, the first caliph ("deputy of the prophet") of Islam, Abu Bakr, ambitiously undertook a series of military conquests to spread the new faith across the world. Although he died two years later, his nephew, Umar, continued the ambitious program. In 636, the Muslims occupied Jerusalem, Damascus, and Antioch; in 651, they had conquered all of Persia. But they also moved west into Africa, for Arabic culture saw itself as continuous not only with Middle Eastern culture, but with northern African culture as well. In 646, the Muslims conquered Egypt and quickly spread across northern Africa. From northern Africa, they invaded Spain in 711. Look at the dates: Islam is founded in 610 when Muhammed has the first of his revelations in the caves above the city of Qumran. In 711, one hundred years later, the Muslims conquered the Middle East, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, northern Africa, and had just entered Europe. The initial spread of Islam is the single most dramatic cultural change in the history of the world,and it loomed large in the subsequent history of African civilizations.

So long story short….you argue my points..and yet concede them yourself?...interesting strategy.

My statements were directed at ALL religions that proselythize(sp?)....If you don't have a perfect life....you cant' possibly tell me your religion is goign to solve all my problems. ( and once again amna this statement is not specifically directed at muslims)


And also


Amna...Almost every incident of hindu violence against muslims (which is never right) falls under two categories


1.) retaliation.....just like the incident in gujurat which was retalitaion for a train that was firebombed full of protestors who wanted a sacred hindu site back upon which a mosque was built..to humiliate hindus under the moghul regime


2.) strain caused by separatists around the time of separation when muslims threatened civil war agains tthe hindus if they didn't get their own state...and considering most muslims chose and still choose to live in india...comparing hindu muslim violence in india...is more like comparing to hate crimes in the US rather than to generalized mass campaigns to convert people If you'd like to discuss hindu muslim violence...start another thread.

Whenever there are two ethnic groups living in one area..there are going to be clashes. But how many muslim or christian countries have hindus invaded and converted?
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Old 06-12-2003, 11:02 PM   #42
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YOu said that Islam was spread in NOrth Africa by a sword.... That in itself is not correct, and I was correcting you. If someone else was to read that, this would only build the image of Islam with the sword... Which is, again, incorrect...

Arun, what you might not understand is my sensitivity with how you portray Islam or Christianity, or any other religion, b/c all to often, I hear people critisizing a religion (Islam), because there are extremists... Extremists are the result of a conflict risen in society, and relgion is the last resort for acceptance for some of these people... Yet they abuse it, WHICH IS WRONG... But, that is wehre most people mis-interpret where the fault lies.... It doesn't lie in the religion, but amongst ourselves.. and how we deal with eachother...

We keep on drawing lines amongst ourselves, and this causes problems.... what you are doing is trying to point faults with the religions.... Yet, you don't take into consideration the external forces that forces abuse on the religion itself...

Violence in Koran? If you are talking about the scriptures on Hell... Fine, consider that violent, but that is the fact about the Ahul Kitabs (People of the Book) and what they believe in as one of the paths of destruction....

Arun, I don't want to start a thread on India and Pakistan; only because I don't think that much can be done with what has happend... All i can say, is that it has its positives and negatives...


By the way, my ancestors were from Russia and Iran... Not of Hindu decent...

Looks like your trying to jump on trying to tell me who i am...
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Old 06-12-2003, 11:40 PM   #43
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1. Media reflecting culture is false - at least in countries with freedom of the press.

America does not have a homogenous culture. Does media reflect the fact that about 40% of the US consider themselves evangelical or 'born-again' (ie President Bush)?

The notion that "western" media portrays a lot of sex, dirty language, and female stereotypes is also incorrect. Free media makes these accessible, and also markets them. But because they are present does not lead to the conclusion that such stereotypes are the norm.

Sure, American media does have more of these things, and whether you consider them in a negative or positive manner is a value judgment. However, going back to the idea that American culture is heterogeneous - media is a reflection what people buy. It is not necessarily what everyone believes.

Wal-Mart made a decision to stop selling Maxim and Stuff magazines. Why? Because conservative shoppers, who make up a large percentage of Wal-Mart's buyers, lodged a protest. It was a financial decision, not a value judgment.

Take a look at the top 10 magazines in the US:
http://newslink.org/mtopus.html

Top 20 TV shows:
http://www.wchstv.com/newsroom/nielsen.shtml

These do not reflect your definition of Western media.

Anyway, this is off-topic.

2. "Conversion is all good"

This is a horrific statement. You should be more specific. I have no problem with people changing religions on the basis of self-realization. But there should be no pressures, whether they be social, political, physical or economic. And, the fact of the matter is that most conversions occur due to third party interventions and some sort of pressures. Forcible conversion is not only due to the threat of violence.

I do not want to single out christianity or islam, but let's face it: it is these two religions which have converted people throughout time, and even today, are expending exorbitant resources to continue the practice. Also, these religions also are mostly intolerant, believing that salvation can only happen in their way of life.

For example, examine the persecution of Christians in Egypt.
http://www.jubileecampaign.co.uk/world/egy13.htm

I do not vouch for the validity of this site, but I can assure you that the main idea is true. (My friend's family was driven out of Egypt for being Christian, with many members of his family killed in the process - this was in the 70's and 80's)

In terms of North Africa, I highlight a passage from http://www.bartleby.com/67/285.html

"The Arabs brought with them their newly founded faith of Islam. While they did not force conversion on the conquered population—mostly Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians—the Muslims made the adoption of the new faith socially and economically advantageous. By the mid-10th century a sizable part of the population had converted, and while the region was not yet predominantly Muslim, mass conversion was well advanced, to be completed in the following three centuries or so."

This is still forcible conversion, and almost as morally wrong as forcing people via violence.

Also, the idea that Northern Africa was not developed prior to the arrival of Islam is false. The ancient Romans and Greeks were in contact with civilization in Northern Africa (ie Carthage, Hannibal
-haha 5 years of studying latin comes in handy sometimes). The Roman and Byzantine empire did include parts of North Africa. There was a point in an earlier post made that the Arabs brought civilization; this is a value judgment that is not historically correct. This is like the colonizers of Australia trying to civilize the Aboriginals through Western thoughts and Christianity - civilization was already present; it just didn't fit the European model of civilization. Extending to modern times, it is possible to say that much of the Middle East is not civilized because of the dehumanization in law and culture towards women. My point is that growth is very weakly correlated to religion, to the point of insignificance, and it is civilization is a value judgment.

Although the idea whether Northern Africa was converted by the sword is controversial (and more evidence points toward the affirmative), there is no doubt Islam does convert forcibly. One need only look at the genocide that occurred in Armenia by the Turks. Armenians were a thriving culture, which had freedom of religion. I recommend the following reading to those who are interested:

http://www.umd.umich.edu/dept/armeni...n/armenia.html

But I digress...

I did some research on Timbuktu, and agree with the idea that is was a great Islamic scholarly place.

However, I don't think it compares to those of Alexandria, Babylon, Persia, India, Rome, or Greece. Why? Becuase the scholarly work that happened only related to Islam, and not much else. Also, there is so little written about Sankore University that is not different from the mosque of the same name.

And in terms of holy books - there are so many different interpretations which people call upon to substantiate their beliefts that it is not credible to cite particular translations. However, the general idea that is portrayed in the Bible and Koran is that non-believers are to be treated differently and persuaded to convert. Though this is not violence per se, it is intolerance.

Personally, I'm appalled at the number of dollars spent on conversion, and the manpower. I think these resources could be put to better use actually bettering humanity ( ie AIDS research, helping Africa develop, etc ). Also, shouldn't these proselytizing religions focus on bringing back non-practicing members into the fold, rather than concentrate on non-believers?
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Old 06-13-2003, 12:18 AM   #44
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Arun, if i make corrections on you, its mainly on the topic of Islam, only because i am a practicing Muslim, and I have a better grip on what it is all about... though i am not the best Muslim, and I'm not an angel...
You tend to sound so confident in your remarks towards Islam, you don't even ask me to re assure if you may be right in your answers... Instead, you come off sounded rather offensive to me... Your FEW remarks on the holy scriptures and the spread of Islam were rather harsh... you might not think so, but you sound like your speaking from a History book made by Joe shmoe...

I have no problem with your views on Religious extreminism, but you don't have your facts straight about Islam...

If i was to talk about Hindus, I would ask you on referal about some facts, even though I would research it before asking...

Arun, My arguement about conversion has to do with the level that is ok for people to preach their ideas.... Its a philosophy rather then the specific way i lead my life... I may have problems, but my faith might be totally interesting.... and would it be a crime to talk about it???? NO.. I'm not hurting anyone, i just would like to see if they see interest in what I see????

But, if i were to have a gun in my hand saying for you to convert... OF COURSE IT WOULD BE WRONG.... and this is my point i've been trying to express.

--- It's a very simple point--------------------


My other points were to clearify things earlier said by other people refering to media and the Ahul Kitab (people of the book)...

You had made a few counter arguments saying that Islam , and Christianity have been forceably used in converting people to their religion, where as Judaism and Hindus and Buddhists, have not...

I was making the counter argument that you were (from my understanding of Islam) making a few harsh statements on Islam... and yes, Christianity... But more over, you were critisizing the religion(s) itself.... you were talking of the scriptures and saying how they talk of violence... Thus, going on to say that the scriptures reflect how the religion was spread....


I THOUGHT about what you said about Hindus invading other courntries and trying to convert them... ARUN, PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG, Hindus stayed dedicated to India for more nationalistic reasons (correct me if I'm wrong)... Where as, Muslims, the people who were exposed to Islam, were from different regions... the Prophet and his family were married to people all around different regions; thus this had spread Islam more so, around the world...

I was correcting you in saying that you are critisizing the wrong source OF PROBLEM... The critisism should not be on the religions, but on the people who abuse them... and people abuse them b/c of their lack in finding a resort to political or social opression... wherever they maybe, whether it be in the Gaza Strip, or in an apartment on Times Square..

I"m trying to tell you, like I've been saying in other threads, that instead of trying to draw a line and say, Hindus are more patient then Muslims, etc. etc. , then try and look at the dynamics of the various conflicts.... Most of them don't have much to do with religion (as media portrays it), yet they have to do with social and political opression, and religions only role is the feeling of "acceptance" .

Arun, try and understand what i am saying... I am not competing, I am trying to make you realize that you can't try and compete religions with other religions and say one is more peaceful then the other..... And then jump to say, that the fault with many religions, has to do with their origins and scriptures...


I feel like I'm not getting through to you, Arun.... This might have to do with my short time, and that is only b/c i'm typing 50words per a minute, and I'm on break from my job....
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Old 06-13-2003, 09:45 AM   #45
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Amna....my reference to the koran only was in the context of of media. And I can only go by what I read by respected sources. I don't Not like islam. Some of my best friends are muslim. And no hindus aren't innocent historically either..I never deny that. But what I am saying is not Just directed at islam. And believe it or not I do appreciate what you have to say it's just that I dont' always agree with it.


I also know there is a line in the koran that says " let their be no compulsion in religion" It's just that in religious fervor people tend to negelct these things. Christians have done it in the past as well.


Maybe I'm not so disturbed by conversion as I am by the fact that certain religions. Seem to try to "own" god and it's very disturbing.

One of my professors in college once told us that historically the most intolerant people are probably christians.. Now this wasnt' a statement on every christian but on the history of people and nations that associated themselves with christianity.Now islam may not have violent origins...but the koran does contain violent references/imagery. As do most religous texts.

Amna..instead of having muslims hand me korans all day at school or have christian students hand me bibles and tell me I'm going to hell. I'd rather they had seminars or open forums where people could go in and learn on their own. Jehovah's witnesses come to my door at least 4 times a year trying to get me to convert and it's very annoying.


I've even said on this forum that it's not fair to sy islam and terrorism are linked because for years the IRa raised funds on US soil and no one lifted a finger to stop them . the Issue isn't whether islam is conducive to violence it's whether violence has occured in the context of religious conversion and under religions that proselytihze(sp)....it tends to be far greater that that sort of thign happens.




Ramu....you stated yoru points really well. I'm goign to let you handle this because I dont' want to have my points consistently misconstrued.





Amna tw..I find your heritage interesting...you shoudl post more about that...I ahven't heard much of muslims from other parts of the world that emigrated to palkistan.
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