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Old 09-20-2012, 11:56 AM   #181
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It's my understanding that most terrorists who are recruited or volunteer are from lower socioeconomic levels. Even homegrown terrorism in the US. It is hardly just religion, there are multiple factors.
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:28 PM   #182
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Of course there are multiple causes to any situation. The root cause here and in most of the unrest in the middle east is religion.
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:35 PM   #183
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Of course there are multiple causes to any situation. The root cause here and in most of the unrest in the middle east is religion.
I would say that a major root cause of Islamic radicalism is Western imperialism.
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:57 PM   #184
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I agree, but I would argue that is because, to different degrees of course, the more reasonable people are less religious than the fundamentalists. The more you adhere to religion, the more likely your actions are unreasonable and unobjective. The violent protesters are following the word of their religion more closely than those who chose not to do anything. the further one slides to a secular lifestyle, the better
So the vast majority of Muslims then are nominal? I would agree that many are, but to say that only .01% take their faith seriously is a stretch.

I sense a bit of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy here as well, except in reverse-the implication that if only people were not religious there would be no trouble in the world. I call it the "Imagine" worldview--and while I like the song, I think the philosophy is flawed. I'll be the first that religion is a very convenient tool and is often a source of conflict, but I think that people will find a reason to hate one another. Religion might be useful in that regard, but it's not the only tool. (Of course, I concede that this belief is itself informed by my own Christian worldview--still I think an objective look at history and human nature will support my conclusion).

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Of course there are multiple causes to any situation. The root cause here and in most of the unrest in the middle east is religion.
I think you're objectivity here is hampered by your profound distaste for religion.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:23 PM   #185
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I think your objectivity here is hampered by your profound distaste for religion.
This.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:04 PM   #186
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My distaste for religion is colored by events like this. Not vice versa
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:14 PM   #187
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So the vast majority of Muslims then are nominal? I would agree that many are, but to say that only .01% take their faith seriously is a stretch.

I sense a bit of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy here as well, except in reverse-the implication that if only people were not religious there would be no trouble in the world. I call it the "Imagine" worldview--and while I like the song, I think the philosophy is flawed. I'll be the first that religion is a very convenient tool and is often a source of conflict, but I think that people will find a reason to hate one another. Religion might be useful in that regard, but it's not the only tool. (Of course, I concede that this belief is itself informed by my own Christian worldview--still I think an objective look at history and human nature will support my conclusion).

I think you're objectivity here is hampered by your profound distaste for religion.
I'm saying that the vast majority have the common sense not to take every written word in the Quran as the literal word of God. That requires a shift, however slight, toward secularism. The further the shift, the more nonsense is eliminated.
I'll concede that there is probably a point in between where the balance is right and religion ceases to be detrimental (there are several here that would appear to have struck that balance). But at the cost of having the inevitable fundamentalists, I question whether it's worth it.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:28 PM   #188
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I'm saying that the vast majority have the common sense not to take every written word in the Quran as the literal word of God. That requires a shift, however slight, toward secularism. The further the shift, the more nonsense is eliminated.
I'll concede that there is probably a point in between where the balance is right and religion ceases to be detrimental (there are several here that would appear to have struck that balance). But at the cost of having the inevitable fundamentalists, I question whether it's worth it.
The Quran is supposed to be seen as the actual word of God, so Muslims must take it literally. However, they acknowledge it is up to interpretation, for better or for worse.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:31 PM   #189
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I agree with Jive, it's religious belief that is the root of the problem.

I find it hard to believe that it's poverty, or economical situations that create this deep rooted hate for anything Western, when you look at the 9/11 hijackers, or even someone like Osama. They were not poor, or growing up in poverty and hated the infidels only because our way of life was different than theirs.

They killed themselves (and continue to do so) because of their belief system. They feel by honoring their make believe God by killing infidels, or hurting any nation's economic situation, they will be rewarded in the next life/paradise.

While that's not to say it's the only reason, as I do believe Western nations foreign policy does not help, much like making a dumbass video about their prophet doesn't help....all those things only help enrage their belief that we're evil.

The root cause of (to them) of Western countries/nations being evil is not belonging to Islam.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:51 PM   #190
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My distaste for religion is colored by events like this. Not vice versa
I didn't say the events are coloring your view. I was saying that your distaste for religion is coloring your view. (I'm not sure that makes sense. . . )

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I'm saying that the vast majority have the common sense not to take every written word in the Quran as the literal word of God. That requires a shift, however slight, toward secularism. The further the shift, the more nonsense is eliminated.
I'll concede that there is probably a point in between where the balance is right and religion ceases to be detrimental (there are several here that would appear to have struck that balance). But at the cost of having the inevitable fundamentalists, I question whether it's worth it.
I agree that a certain point fundamentalism does become extremism, but up close it's never as simple as you describe. If I were to describe my theological views to you in detail, I think I'd sound more or less like a fundamentalist to you (well, maybe. . .I do believe in things like the Bible being the inspired Word of God and the literal return of Jesus and other things that would probably sound absurd to you) but I promise you I won't ever be taking to the streets to slay the unbelievers.

My father is an extremely conservative Christian who I feel is a bit of an extremist (though even he isn't advocating killing anyone), but I find with people like him that level of extremism is rife with contradictions. They are extremely zealous about certain points of the faith while completely disregarding others (especially the parts about mercy and love). Have you ever read "Under the Banner of Heaven" by John Krakauer? I think you'd enjoy it, as it is very much a critique of extreme religious faith. I read it and found it profoundly disturbing as a person of faith. However, it also illustrates quite well the disconnect I"m describing among religious fanatics.

There's a very human temptation to take the worst examples of an idea or philosophy that we believe to be wrong and say that THIS is the true and ultimate result of that idea or philosophy. It's convenient and I don't think the world is actually as nice and pat and convenient as all that. I'm sure you have resented it--and rightly so--when people have used Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany to illustrate the "ultimate bankruptcy of all true atheists."

I think those regimes are evidence not of the "bankruptcy of atheism"(though as a Christian I do happen to believe that atheists are mistaken) but of what happens when anyone-religious or not-- with a fanatical commitment to an ideal is willing to see that ideal realized by any means including force, violence, terror and intimidation.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:52 PM   #191
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Why is there such a strong correlation between religious extremism and poverty? In the Middle Ages, when Europe was an impoverished backwater and the Middle East was the economic hub of the world, the situation was more or less the opposite of what it is now.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:05 PM   #192
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Why is there such a strong correlation between religious extremism and poverty? In the Middle Ages, when Europe was an impoverished backwater and the Middle East was the economic hub of the world, the situation was more or less the opposite of what it is now.
Hope, I guess. Poverty creates despair and people want to have hope in something. Look at Ireland before the Celtic Tiger. A large part of its population went to church every Sunday until the economy started booming. After that, church attendance fell significantly. Of course, the church abuse scandals could've played a role too, but I read article where Irish people were saying they had what they wanted and didn't need to go to church anymore. At least back then, anyway.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:18 PM   #193
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belief in astrology or fortune tellers does not make people ignorate
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:45 PM   #194
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The root cause of (to them) of Western countries/nations being evil is not belonging to Islam.
I'd have to disagree strongly with this, especially considering that the US at least is still a strongly Christian nation, and Muslims view Christianity as a valid, respectable precursor to Islam. The Islamic world has seen two of its countries occupied by the US over the last decade, at least two more by the English over the last century, and a considerable amount of economic and political intervention from the west in general. I would say that the root cause of Arabian hostility to the US and the west in general is driven by resentment over imperialist activity.
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:58 PM   #195
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The root cause of (to them) of Western countries/nations being evil is not belonging to Islam.
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I'd have to disagree strongly with this, especially considering that the US at least is still a strongly Christian nation, and Muslims view Christianity as a valid, respectable precursor to Islam.
I think there is some truth to what both of you say. It depends on the Muslim, in regards to Christianity. When I was in college, some of the Muslim students didn't hide their disdain over seeing some students wearing their ashes for Ash Wednesday. There were a few who would befriend non-Muslim students in hopes of getting converts. Even recently, I was browsing Facebook when I came across an Indonesian group that railed against secularism and Christianity.

But I have met some Muslims who didn't have any hang-ups over Christianity or other religions. So I would say it is up to the individual Muslim on how they see non-Muslims.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:35 PM   #196
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The Islamic world has seen two of its countries occupied by the US over the last decade, at least two more by the English over the last century, and a considerable amount of economic and political intervention from the west in general. I would say that the root cause of Arabian hostility to the US and the west in general is driven by resentment over imperialist activity.
I'm no expert by any means but my instinct tells me this is spot on.

There are extremists in every religion. They bear the responsibility for how they warp their religions for their own purposes.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:47 PM   #197
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There's a very human temptation to take the worst examples of an idea or philosophy that we believe to be wrong and say that THIS is the true and ultimate result of that idea or philosophy. It's convenient and I don't think the world is actually as nice and pat and convenient as all that
I think that's one of the smartest things ever posted here.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:51 PM   #198
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I didn't say the events are coloring your view. I was saying that your distaste for religion is coloring your view. (I'm not sure that makes sense. . . )
Oh, I know what you meant. I was actually saying if anything, the opposite is true. I think I might've simplified too much though, so it was confusing. My distaste for religion doesn't come from whether or not I think it's all made up. If it were a benign belief system that didn't affect anyone uninterested, it would probably be something I said little about. It isn't my distaste for religion that brings about my thoughts on events like the ones of the past couple weeks. But rather events like the ones of the last couple weeks that have moved my views from being indifferent to an outright disdain. There was a time when I was younger that I was indifferent and maybe a part of me still believed in some of it. But as I've grown older and more aware, the uglier and deceitful nature of religion has become so apparent to me. That said, it's religion itself that I dislike so much, not the majority of the people who practice it (though I wish the world would get to a place where we didn't need or want it anymore).

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I agree that a certain point fundamentalism does become extremism, but up close it's never as simple as you describe. If I were to describe my theological views to you in detail, I think I'd sound more or less like a fundamentalist to you (well, maybe. . .I do believe in things like the Bible being the inspired Word of God and the literal return of Jesus and other things that would probably sound absurd to you) but I promise you I won't ever be taking to the streets to slay the unbelievers.

My father is an extremely conservative Christian who I feel is a bit of an extremist (though even he isn't advocating killing anyone), but I find with people like him that level of extremism is rife with contradictions. They are extremely zealous about certain points of the faith while completely disregarding others (especially the parts about mercy and love). Have you ever read "Under the Banner of Heaven" by John Krakauer? I think you'd enjoy it, as it is very much a critique of extreme religious faith. I read it and found it profoundly disturbing as a person of faith. However, it also illustrates quite well the disconnect I"m describing among religious fanatics.
Would you agree then that you're slightly more secular than your father? That's sort of the idea I'm getting at. Whereas your father might read passages from the bible and live his life in strict adherence, you afford yourself the freedom to interpret and possibly even omit (I'm guessing here) certain parts. And maybe I am oversimplifying, but my argument would be that if your slide toward secularism, however slight it may be, has made you a more reasonable person, does it then follow that the further the slide, the more reasonable the man? Or at the very least, the more likely one may be to come to one's own conclusions rather than having them coloured by passages in the bible, sometimes to their detriment.

I have not read that book, but I'll read it after the one I currently am. Thanks for the recommendation!

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There's a very human temptation to take the worst examples of an idea or philosophy that we believe to be wrong and say that THIS is the true and ultimate result of that idea or philosophy. It's convenient and I don't think the world is actually as nice and pat and convenient as all that. I'm sure you have resented it--and rightly so--when people have used Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany to illustrate the "ultimate bankruptcy of all true atheists."

I think those regimes are evidence not of the "bankruptcy of atheism"(though as a Christian I do happen to believe that atheists are mistaken) but of what happens when anyone-religious or not-- with a fanatical commitment to an ideal is willing to see that ideal realized by any means including force, violence, terror and intimidation.
I'd be hard pressed not to agree with this (though Hitler was far from an atheist). But I would also make a point that nobody has ever done anything in the name of atheism, whereas atrocities are committed in the name of religion now and throughout history. You're right, the vast majority of religious people are good, caring, reasonable people. But the idea of religion has made some people and some societies do terrible things. I just don't think the good is worth the bad. Sure, we'll find reasons to fight anyway, but why lump a huge log on that fire? (Obviously this is coming from someone who doesn't believe in any of it, so easy for me to say).

Great conversation guys! Nice to see iYup joining in too
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:57 PM   #199
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Why is there such a strong correlation between religious extremism and poverty? In the Middle Ages, when Europe was an impoverished backwater and the Middle East was the economic hub of the world, the situation was more or less the opposite of what it is now.
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Hope, I guess. Poverty creates despair and people want to have hope in something.
Pearl has it right. I see it as a bit more predatory and manipulative though. Promise paradise to people who live in shit and you'll have yourself a life long believer. It's easy pickings

Not saying the believers here live in shit Obviously there are lots of reasons to believe
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:01 PM   #200
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belief in astrology or fortune tellers does not make people ignorate
correct. It's the ignorant people that believe in astrology and fortune tellers

A little aside: I work in an industry that for some reason, seems to be full of people that believe in astrology and talk about it all the time. My tongue is close to falling off from biting it so much
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