Monday, April 11, 2005

 

Christianity and Islam (4)


If it is not religion, what is it?

The Pseudo-Religious

In this essay of the comparison series, I will talk about two real people. I usually have an aversion to generalizing from specific incidents or anecdotes. However, I have chosen to illustrate my point this time by mentioning two cases that I think do reflect truly worrying currents… of increasing significance!

Islam Has Problems: Character A

I have met and discussed some issues with a quite a number of Muslim fundamentalist hardliners but I have not met any one of those (mostly imported) murdering fanatics. A friend of mine has.

He put a hypothetical question to that person and asked him if he came across an American soldier close to five children; would he shoot if there was a danger of killing any of those children? The man replied in the affirmative without much hesitation. His reasoning was that the American soldier, being an invader, would naturally go to hell and the children, being innocent, would go to heaven!

This person claims to believe in a religion that categorically dictates:

"… whosoever killeth a human being for other than man slaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind… “(5: 32).

Ah… manslaughter or corruption in the earth! Excellent excuses for killing those innocent children!

Christianity Has Problems too: Character B

It is only during the past two years that I was aware of the extent of the existence of strong fundamental religious currents in America. Before this awareness, I always made the assumption that the New-American-Century US empire builders were driven by cold calculations of control, global domination, power-mongering and economics; things that generally have little to do with God or religion.

Now, it seems that these people do have a power base of Christian fundamentalism that sounds very much like that of the Dark Ages. Full of dogma and hate and dreams of conquering and 'annihilating' infidel enemies!!! A thing from the past? Here is a quote from a comment that I received from a one time regular contributor on my blog sometime ago. The person who wrote these words does not live in the dark ages. He is a Christian who lives in present day America.

“Is "Christian fundamentalist" bad? The fundamentals of the teachings of Jesus Christ are the most peaceful that anybody has ever tought …

Anybody who thinks that 'taking the enemy on' is a losing cause (because we create more enemies) is sadly mistaken. These people want us dead because we give women rights, watch TV and don't pray to Allah 5 times a day. If we don't fight they'll attack us, therefore we're only left with one choice – anihilate them.

We WILL destroy them, we must - choose your side and fight by it, otherwise get out of our way. This collective pacifism will only get more of US killed. Maybe you don't understand the nature of this war, do you understand just how much MERCY we ARE showing? Would you like us to show NO mercy? Then you'd truly understand what might is - we HAVEN'T used it yet... ”

Those words don't strike me as being compatible with the teachings of the Jesus Christ that I know! I don’t think I need any quotes to prove this point!

Ah…self defense (and later, Freedom and Democracy)! Excellent excuses for killing countless innocent people! And… we are showing magnanimous mercy.

The question that bothers me is: what percentage in present-day America does this view represent? An honest answer can be truly terrifying.

Looking more closely at those two characters

Looking at character A’s stance, several aspects are noteworthy:

• This person sees himself as a Muslim.
• Many others (of various convictions) see him as a Muslim.
• He believes that he is doing something good… religiously.
• His violence is evidently out of anger.
• He believes that he is acting in self-defense.

Looking at character B’s argument, one can draw similar conclusions:

• This person sees himself as a Christian.
• Many others (of various convictions) see him as a Christian.
• He believes that he is doing something good… religiously.
• His violence is evidently out of fear.
• He believes that he is acting in self-defense.


Christianity and Islam of the Pseudo-Religious

Islam is often seen as a more ‘martial’ religion. It certainly requires its followers to fight for their faith. This has given its adversaries a lot of ‘ammunition’ for attack and much material for ‘misinformation’. One needs to examine Islam more closely and away of any propaganda to fully understand its ‘militarism’ aspects. This is not any easy task, and I have no inclination to tackle it here!

But for the purpose of this argument, let us assume that Islam as a religion gives rise to, or allows, a violent culture such as that of A.

But what about B? Christianity, as almost everybody accepts, is a religion of love (to the point of loving the enemy), forgiveness and turning the other cheek. So how come B is so criminally violent? What excuse does B have? What does it say about people coming from a loving culture who are so violent?

Some people may argue that A is a true Muslim and B is not a true Christian!! Fair enough. But that would require us also to explain (away) all those similarly violent Christians as well as all those others who existed 50, 200, 500, 1000 years ago… doesn’t it? This may prove to be a daunting task.

It is almost amusing that people who charge Islam with breeding violence (as opposed to Christianity) themselves are the loudest advocates of violent solutions. They see nothing wrong with that. They are good. Their violence is also good and is necessary for the noble causes… unlike the other side.

It is a Global Problem

Now these ‘Christian’ fundamentalist fanatics (like B) are even more dangerous than those ‘Moslem’ fundamentalist fanatics (like A). The latter are hunted almost everywhere and have to work clandestinely. The former, on the other hand, aim for, and probably have, the helm of the most powerful nation in the world.

What is worse is that these people can get the support of decent Americans in the name of fighting terrorism, patriotism and defending innocent Americans. Similarly, Al Qaeda is enjoying the sympathy of a large number of people who see it as a force fighting for faith and opposing the onslaught of enemies. For supporters on either side atrocities are almost dismissed as ‘mistakes’ or necessary and justifiable in the greater fight.

People of this kind are having increasingly louder voices in these times… and an increasing number of followers. The question is: do you discard them completely (whether they are Muslim or Christian), look at them as lunatics and fanatics… or try to find out the reasons for their burning fires?

Each type is apparently causing the other type to ‘breed’ more. These people (A and B) are poised to shape the world we are going to live in. I frankly don’t like the prospect.

Both of these types of people are already operating almost freely in my country at the moment. They have both caused more death and suffering than most people can imagine.


Comments:

Perhaps that is why the song Imagine by John Lennon is so powerful - it imagines a world without relgious bigotry. Frankly though, I think it really all boils down to either us versus them or the attempt of tyrants to exploit people's faith for their own purposes. I also think your observations and arguments reinforce how important it is to keep religion out of government.
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
By way of an example.
When Jesus was asked by the Jews about divorce, he said that it was not God's way, but an accomodation to human nature.

19:7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?19:8 He(Jesus) saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Matthew18:7-9.

Interesting that Almighty God should accommodate man's base desires?

Fundamentalists rarely look to God's word for understanding, but disguise their real thoughts in religious language. As you point out both charaters A and B, mask their real motives of anger and revenge in the reasonable sounding, but disingenuous talk about self-defence. It seems to me that a truly religious person would be ashamed to bring in God until he was absolutely certain that his one motives were not affecting his thoughts. However few people are honest enough to admit they are motivated by their own human nature.

"Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right"--Abraham Lincoln
 
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You might enjoy reading Donald Sensing's perspective.
The Trail of Political Christianity
 
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Again the implication, or assertion, that GWB is attacking Islam, and is doing so because he is or is beholden to the Christian Right.

If you take as a simplified assumption that the US has conquored 2 Muslim nations, Afghanistan and Iraq, it would therefore follow that it should be engaged in systematic, or covert, efforts to eradicate Islam in those countries. Since that is not happening, the assumptions must be false.

Got it?
 
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Brian H,
Much of the rhetoric both from the Christian right and the secular right is decidedly anti-Islamic, and denies the possibility of a peaceful Islamic democracy or a secular democracy in a primarily Islamic nation.
I don't believe GWB himself is anti-Islamic. Nor, as far as I can tell, have American policies in either Iraq or Afghanistan been particularly anti-Islamic. However, I don't think Abu Khaleel was referring to GWB in this post.

It is unfortunate that so few of the non-anti-Islamic American right are seen (or read) speaking up against the crusading spirit of the people like Pete (quoted in Abu Khaleel's post). I have met people like 'Pete' and run across a number of posts from other fanatics, and have noticed that it's mostly the center and left-wingers who respond.

Be Well,
 
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Hello Abu Khaleel,
I would not characterize myself as a religious person but I do believe that I have a good grasp of both of these religions since I was raised as Catholic and have studied Islam.

I am most certain that all religions were created in order to
bring peace and order into people's lives. There was one very big thing that you failed to point out when you were making your comparisons of these two characters.
- Character A can look into his Holy Book (Koran) and find passages to support his convictions.

- Character B can look into his book (The New Testament) and NOT be supported but rather find that he should be forgiving and peaceful.
 
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Interesting article discussing the distinctions between extreme/super-extreme sects in Islam. What do you think of it?
 
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Lynn,
Having spent several years in a fundamentalist Calvinist church with dominianist/theonomist leanings, I have personally witnessed Character B finding all of the support he/she required in the Bible. A google search on Gary North, Greg Bahnsen, or John Rousas Rushdoony should give some good examples.
I've also seen it more recently in some of the more radical fundamentalist posts on Theologyweb.com

Be Well,
 
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:) 'Character B' here...

Good discussions on bad analysis. Oh, and I love this "They have both caused more death and suffering than most people can imagine.".

Somehow I figure that somebody that is going to deliberately twist my opinion only to come to the conclusion that I'm "even more dangerous than those ‘Moslem’ fundamentalist fanatics" is truely evil in trying to mislead others (that Islam is more peaceful than Christianity). How obvious it is that this is would be your conclusion.

Bad analysis:
"He believes that he is doing something good… religiously" - wrong, I'll fight against anybody that wants to murder thousands by ramming our own planes into our own buildings. I didn't say to murder anybody in the name of Jesus Christ, unlike those on Jihad.

"His violence is evidently out of fear." - hmm, wrong again. I have a family to protect and there are these people who read the Quran that say they must kill my family because we don't believe what they do. Sorry but 9/11 came with the Quran attached...I didn't ask for it or start it.

"He believes that he is acting in self-defense." - so you call 3000 murders of men/women/children in a day self-defense? Last time I checked I only SPONSORED children in other countries to be FED, CLOTHED AND GET AND EDUCATION - regardless of religion. I also don't teach my son to aspire to be a martyr and kill innocents in the name of Jesus Christ.

You insult the Son of God. His words are infinitely more wise than the rest of the 'false prophets'.

And Jesus never said "if you're stabbed in one eye then offer your other one" either. Our Christian culture is removing brutal regimes and replacing them with representative governments and civil rights, while losing our sons and spending billions to rebuild infrastrutures.

I wonder how many Muslims would do the same for Christians? (or even other Muslims for that matter)

So you're trying to tell me that if another group of people try and kill me, my family, my neighbors & countrymen that I'm wrong to defend myself? Ever heard of WWII? I suppose that was crazed Christians on a rampage against those "misunderstood" nazi's? Again, THEY MADE IT us or them - just like Pearl Harbor, we had 9/11. Fact, they DO want us dead because of how we live and what we believe - I don't want them to die for such reasons. If an Islamist has killed in Jihad but puts down his weapon and repents, then there should be forgiveness - but not while he's killing my family.

There is a time to fight and that is NOT contradictory to Christianity. Read Revelation, plenty of "just war" there.

BTW...I never called myself a "Christian fundamentalist" - you did, I only asked why it was a bad thing considering the fundamental teachings of Christ.

Pete - the radical, Christian fundamentalist, ultra-conservative, mega-vast-right-wing-conspiracy member.
 
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Pete,
I think I can help you out a bit.

Do you really think any Iraqis were behind 9/11? Did you know that no Iraqis were involved? Did you know that Saddam was not involved?
Why is it right to attack Iraq, is it because they are Muslims?

"I have a family to protect and there are these people who read the Quran that say they must kill my family because we don't believe what they do. Sorry but 9/11 came with the Quran attached...I didn't ask for it or start it."

Ah..This is what a great many people believe.[But you'll bloody well finish it,eh?]

Last time I checked I only SPONSORED children in other countries to be FED, CLOTHED AND GET AND EDUCATION - regardless of religion.
Was that a mistake? You play the victim well.

"I also don't teach my son to aspire to be a martyr and kill innocents in the name of Jesus Christ."
And yet innocent Iraqis are being killed in Iraq by Bush's occupation.


"Our Christian culture is removing brutal regimes and replacing them with representative governments and civil rights, while losing our sons and spending billions to rebuild infrastrutures."
You probably have no idea how infuriating people in other countries find your condescending 'missionary zeal'.

I wonder how many Muslims would do the same for Christians? (or even other Muslims for that matter).
Actually the Saudis/Salafists act with similar missionary zeal in the Islamic world(few Iraqis though!).

"Fact, they DO want us dead because of how we live and what we believe - I don't want them to die for such reasons."

Some of them do. So does Eric Rudolf and Tim McVey. BTW, why is capturing the chief murderer of 3000 such a low priority? Bush seems to have gotten all involved with 'the freedom revival-show' and forgotten him. Maybe because if they killed him your revenge/crusade would lose it's meaning?
"If an Islamist has killed in Jihad but puts down his weapon and repents, then there should be forgiveness - but not while he's killing my family."
Who is killing your family? You sound hysterical. Get a grip, man!

"There is a time to fight and that is NOT contradictory to Christianity. Read Revelation, plenty of "just war" there.

Yes, it is the fundamentalist's favorite part of the Bible,-something Jesus never had any part in- that pure nonsense was nearly removed by the Church fathers(big mistake!)." Too bad they got rid of the Apocrypha, I miss the Gospels of Barnabas and Andrew and the rest.
Here's a particularly meaningful section.
"And it came to pass when the twenty-seven days were fulfilled since Matthias was seized, the Lord appeared in the country where Andrew was teaching, and said to him: Rise up, and set out with thy disciples to the country of the man-eaters, and bring forth Matthias out of that place; for yet three days, and the men of the city will bring him forth and slay him for their food. And Andrew answered and said: My Lord, I shall not be able to accomplish the journey thither before the limited period of the three days; but send Thine angel quickly, that he may bring him out thence: for thou knowest, Lord, that I also am flesh, and shall not be able to go there quickly. And He says to Andrew: Obey Him who made thee, and Him who is able to say in a word, and that city shall be removed thence, and all that dwell in it. For I command the horns of the winds, and they drive it thence. But rise up early, and go down to the sea with thy disciples, and thou shalt find a boat upon the shore, and thou shalt go aboard with thy disciples. And having said this, the Saviour again said: Peace to thee, Andrew, along with those with thee! And He went into the heavens."
You can't just pick and choose yer Bible, Pete. It's all divine.

God said it..that settles it..I believe it!
 
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To both:

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Luke 6:41
 
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So you assert the following:

- Saddam had nothing to do with terrorism, al-qaeda, mass murder and was a nice guy that should have been left alone to continue his reign. Sorry but there's a mountain of evidence that proves otherwise, or did your left-wing sources "forget" to mention it to you? Get your head out of the sand.

- You don't think it is true that 9/11 came with a Quran attached. How blind are you?

- All those killed in Iraq are "innocents". I bet you believe the 100,000 number too - and those in Mosque's with bombs and bullets were just "innocents" because they're taken to hospital (after losing a battle with us) without their weapon! I'm not saying no innocents have been killed. I hate that as much as anybody, but when these cowards hide in schools, hospitals and Mosque's - what do you expect? That's not our fault.

- That our sacrifices are just "missionary zeal" and have nothing to do with improving the lives of these people. If this were true we'd just nuke the area, fewer U.S. deaths and much cheaper.

- That Saudi's have the same "missionary zeal". I thought that was condescending? Don't even dare claim that Muslem countries (combined) do anything close to the U.S. with regard to world aid etc.. Where were Muslems when Saddam was murdering Iraqi's? Oh, that's right - they were STEALING from them under the U.N. oil for food program. Way to go! We're the only ones that had the sense to do something, I'm only sorry we didn't do it sooner.

- That capturing OBL would be the end of the war on terror - so we don't want to so we can continue our "crusade". Sure...all of the terror groups and Jihadis will just "go away" when OBL is caught, riiiight - so we should have just "stopped everything" until he's caught. How dumb, he's only one (isolated) guy.

- That nobody is killing my family. Go and tell that to the families of the 9/11 victims. Go and tell THEM that nobody is threatening their existence. As an American, yes, part of my *family* died - it *could've* been me or a member of my family. You just don't get it do you?

- That we, the U.S., have no right to defend ourselves when attacked - if we do we're just the "great satan". Yeah, I suppose Jihadis beheading civilian contractors is justified "self-defense" to you.

You're comparisons are absurd. I'm ONLY talking about killing those who are on a "holy war" rampage against us. There was a time, before he moved back to Pakistan, that my best friend was Muslem. I don't hate anybody because they're Muslem, but I'm sick of hearing that it's the "religion of peace". What BS, almost ALL of the conflicts on this earth involve MUSLEMS.

How condescending do you think it is to quote the Bible to me. I bet you don't understand it, yet you quote it - and I'm sure you'll point out how I don't understand the Quran if I start quoting it. How rude and hypocritical.

If you wish I can start listing all of the passages in the Quran that talk about Jihad, jizya, infidels, killing Jews/Christians, etc. (really, the list just goes on and on - quite astonishing). It's not quite like the new Testament.

I would never kill somebody because they disagree with me, this is who you're comparing me too.

You're incredibly naive, or worse - just a Christian hater who actually wants us dead also.
 
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Abu Khaleel,
I am always very impressed by your vast knowledge of these subjects you introduce, and your wisdom exceeds all of us. You are a great writer, and obviously a well-educated man. You have hit the nail on the head, once again, with "pseudo-religious". Some people...many people...identify with Islam or Christianity, without the slightest inkling of true belief or understanding. In fact, for example, here in New York the Correctional Facilities are full of Afro-American felon gangsters who all claim to be Islam! I think for most of them it doesn't go beyond refusing to eat pork...
But it seems to be a prerequisite to acceptance in the gangs, and to avoid having your throat cut in jail. Laughable !! Sincerely, Om Pam (AKA Barbara)
 
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Abu Khaleel,
I am always very impressed by your vast knowledge of these subjects you introduce, and your wisdom exceeds all of us. You are a great writer, and obviously a well-educated man. You have hit the nail on the head, once again, with "pseudo-religious". Some people...many people...identify with Islam or Christianity, without the slightest inkling of true belief or understanding. In fact, for example, here in New York the Correctional Facilities are full of Afro-American felon gangsters who all claim to be Islam! I think for most of them it doesn't go beyond refusing to eat pork...
But it seems to be a prerequisite to acceptance in the gangs, and to avoid having your throat cut in jail. Laughable !! Sincerely, Om Pam (AKA Barbara)
 
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Pete,
Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with either bin Ladin or with the attacks on the US. He WAS behind an attempt to assassinate GHWBush, or so I've heard, and he was definitely an authoritarian tyrant (of the sort that so many B.H. Libs protested so much in the 1970s & 1980s).

bin Ladin is no more representative of Islam as such than the Abortion Clinic bomber is of Christianity. However, if you hang out in certain churches you'll hear people who would never bomb an abortion clinic themselves praise the man for his fervent faith.

Can one find justification in the Quran for jihad? Just as surely as one can find justification in the Bible for killing witches and rebellious children. And note--it can be said that the reason Jesus didn't deal with the judicial killing of witches or rebellious children was because he endorsed the process. (That claim has been issued as a counter-claim to the gays who say that Jesus never condemned homosexuality so it must not have been an issue for Him)

Be Well,
 
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Hello Pete,
"So you assert the following:
"Saddam had nothing to do with terrorism, al-qaeda, mass murder and was a nice guy that should have been left alone to continue his reign."
Not with AlQaeda. Saddam was closely connected with Palestinian terrorists who didn't target the US. And he did try to kill Bush's father. I am overjoyed that Saddam is in jail but that was over a year ago, why is the US there now?

"- You don't think it is true that 9/11 came with a Quran attached." And Eric Rudolf with his Holy Bible?
"I'm not saying no innocents have been killed. I hate that as much as anybody, but when these cowards hide in schools, hospitals and Mosque's - what do you expect? That's not our fault."
Is it their fault that they are resisting foreign occupiers? What do you expect? You're the egg in this chicken and egg story. The real story is the number of friendly Iraqi bloggers who personally know innocent people killed by US troops.

"- That our sacrifices are just "missionary zeal" and have nothing to do with improving the lives of these people. If this were true we'd just nuke the area, fewer U.S. deaths and much cheaper."

You brought in troops to build hospitals and schools?
It would be alot easier and more convenient for you to bomb the entire Iraqi people out of existence, Reverend. Should I assume you are sane?


"We're the only ones that had the sense to do something, I'm only sorry we didn't do it sooner."
What exactly are you doing?

Sure...all of the terror groups and Jihadis will just "go away" when OBL is caught, riiiight - so we should have just "stopped everything" until he's caught. How dumb, he's only one (isolated) guy."

Like saying there's no point in killing Hitler, he's just one guy.
Right--there is no point in capturing or killing Bin Ladin. We should just kill every Muslim--you're not making any sense.

- That nobody is killing my family. Go and tell that to the families of the 9/11 victims. Go and tell THEM that nobody is threatening their existence. As an American, yes, part of my *family* died - it *could've* been me or a member of my family. You just don't get it do you?
Nope, I'm clueless on the substance of your terrorism prevention plan.
I never said there aren't terrorist threats, that's why we pay the police,etc.. I am talking about Iraq.
- That we, the U.S., have no right to defend ourselves when attacked - if we do we're just the "great satan". Yeah, I suppose Jihadis beheading civilian contractors is justified "self-defense" to you."
No, I am anti-violence, anti-provocation.

"You're comparisons are absurd. I'm ONLY talking about killing those who are on a "holy war" rampage against us."
And he who is not with us is against us, right?

"What BS, almost ALL of the conflicts on this earth involve MUSLEMS."
This is your deranged theory.

How condescending do you think it is to quote the Bible to me. I bet you don't understand it, yet you quote it - and I'm sure you'll point out how I don't understand the Quran if I start quoting it. How rude and hypocritical."

No, if you start quoting the Quran, I would tell you that I don't understand it--the Bible I know.

"If you wish I can start listing all of the passages in the Quran that talk about Jihad, jizya, infidels, killing Jews/Christians, etc. (really, the list just goes on and on - quite astonishing)."

They reinforce your prejudices. Did your reading any of the words of the Bible that advise peace made you more 'peaceful'? Not with your fighting spirit! Maybe religious texts are not so inspiring as you think.

"I would never kill somebody because they disagree with me, this is who you're comparing me too."
I hope you wouldn't, but you say the most shocking things!
 
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Hold on guys...The New Testament says witches and homosexuals will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And the Bible says all Scripture is from God - He inspires the words and men wrote it down...so Jesus, who is God, did address these issues. He never endorsed killing rebellious children..."Spare the rod, spoil the child" it says in Proverbs.
Just in case anyone is wondering...
 
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Pete --

You are one buckled customer.

A single example that handily disproves your entire argument is to be found within your own text:

[pete] “I suppose that was crazed Christians on a rampage against those "misunderstood" nazi's?”

You DO realize that your Nazis WERE CHRISTIANS, right? That they actually had “Gott mit uns” on the belts of their soldiers? By your very own logic, you would justify the atheist Communists in wiping out all those goddamned warmongering Christians. Because, of course, the Germans invaded Russia with their Bibles in hand? Naturally you are justifying the Soviets waging war on those Christian Americans, British and so forth – because, hey, all Christians are alike, and they ALL necessarily derive the same message from their Bibles.

Now, back in reality, real Christians don’t necessarily agree that the actions of the Nazis are in accordance with what Christianity ought to stand for. Similarly, real Muslims do not necessarily agree that bin Laden and his crew are in accordance with the Koran when they kill innocents in its name.

You, on the other hand, seem to think that they do.

Very nice, your one-size-fits-all approach to things.

Tell me, Pete, I assume you agree that the shooting down of an Iranian airliner by the USS Vicennes constitutes an attack by a predominantly Christian country on a Muslim one, and that this might well (BY YOUR LOGIC, not mine) excuse violence against Christians by Muslims in self defence?

Don’t misunderstand me: I agree that those responsible for 9-11 ought to be punished. And similar atrocities committed by others.

But, I ask you, in what way does attacking Iraq, traditionally a country opposed to that sort of religious radicalism, constitute an advancement of the agenda to punish those radicals.

Reality: It does not. In fact, it has probably made a large segment of Iraqis wonder if bin Laden wasn’t right after all, not to mention the rest of the Muslims in the world. Is that really what you want?

A Christian-Muslim war?

It sounds like it.
 
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Bruno,
You say: "But, I ask you, in what way does attacking Iraq, traditionally a country opposed to that sort of religious radicalism, constitute an advancement of the agenda to punish those radicals."

I don't think that you are thinking right. Everyone agrees that Sadaam was a bad man and needed to be taken out. He made himself an enemy of the WORLD not just the US. He spouted hate filled threats and made the world think that he had WMD so that the world would fear him. He invaded sovereign nations killing innocents, he killed his own citizens (and family)if they spoke against him. The Iraqi people did not have the power to take him out the ones who tried were slaughtered and cried that we were not there for them when they needed us. We are reminded of the Nazis and how they were able to kill so many and the rest of the world did nothing, Rwanda happened and no one did anything to help those people, the people of Sudan are being slaughtered and no one is helping them. People need to make up their minds. Do they want to stop the terror or do they want to complain after the fact that no one did anything to stop it? Maybe there was another way, a more peaceful way that he could have been stopped? Maybe the U.N. could have done something? Maybe just speak rationally to the man, tell him that he needs to allow people to think and live freely and if he doesn't maybe they could put sanctions on him to make life a little more difficult for him. Oh but they did try that didn't they? And who came out looking like the bad guy there? Some people just have no feelings for anyone but themselves and then there are those that are willing to risk their lives to try to make life better for complete strangers.

"it has probably made a large segment of Iraqis wonder if bin Laden wasn’t right after all."

So Bruno, what you are saying is that a large segment of Iraqis do not have the intelligence to see that these terrorists are the ones causing the devastation in their country? Bruno, what do you think would be a good way to stop terrorism? It takes EVERY country in this world to stand up and say We are not going to stand for this, it takes every Muslim to stand up and say NO! Not in the name of OUR religion! And it is going to take every peace loving Iraqi to stand up and say NO! We don't want your terrorist help and we don't want our country to turn into another Taleban run Afghanistan. As soon as the Iraqis have the ability to control their country and the terrorists that are trying to take it over then the MNF can leave. If they leave before then it would be irresponsible.
 
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Apparently being able to read, without distorting things, is beyond your ability.

I'm also amazed at the lack of knowledge displayed in many comments.

First - YES WITH AL-QAEDA. There's LOADS of evidendce. Large payments in 1998 to the Taliban, an offer of asylum to OBL in 1999, the training of "foreigners" on plane hijacking. Supporting Zarqawi BEFORE and AFTER we went into Iraq, etc., etc., etc.. I can provide links.

You lot must be the most naive people on the planet to believe that, with a person like Saddam, the line is drawn when it comes to Al-Qaeda. Saddam was the Lord of Chaos. Remember, he gassed his own people, murdered them by the 100's of thousands, went to war with neighboring countries and had aggressively persued other WMD's.

...but he'd *never* help Al-Qaeda right? ...you know those that have declared war on America, the #1 enemy of Iraq under Saddam! Noooo, history isn't riddled with examples of "the enemny of my enemy is my friend". It's just beyond belief eh!

Saddam was producing WMD's in the mid-90's, only exposed by his son-in-laws when they defected. This was the only way we knew where to look, so Saddam subsequently had them killed once he had convinced them to return. After that he promptly kicked out the U.N. - how nice. Now we should just trust him to be a good dictator right :)

Also the U.S. is still currently in Iraq because anybody with a brain knows what would happen if we left right now. Apparently this is beyond you, even if the Iraqi's and their government fully understand why. Oh, and what was that I heard in Afghanistan? They're asking us to stay?

"You brought in troops to build hospitals and schools?
It would be alot easier and more convenient for you to bomb the entire Iraqi people out of existence, Reverend. Should I assume you are sane?" - apparently you can't read. Do you have ANY IDEA how many schools, hosipitals, sewers, water projects, clinics, etc. have been repaired or built with OUR troops and OUR money? Oh the humanity! Again, what did Saddam do other than throw the entire country into dispair and disrepair?

"We should just kill every Muslim--you're not making any sense." - again you can't read. I'd just stated in my previous post that I don't hate Muslims - seems like you only hear what you want to hear. I also never said we didn't need to catch OBL, only that the entire war on terror shouldn't come to a grinding halt to catch him. Is that so hard for you to understand?

"I never said there aren't terrorist threats, that's why we pay the police..." - oh dear, now you really don't get it. Do you really think the Police are the answer to combating terrorism? They can ONLY be reactionary.

"This is your deranged theory." - no JUST FACT. Go check it out instead of remaining ignorant. Tell me of two (real) DEMOCRATIC countries that are at war with each other, you can't because there isn't. Now go and look at the conflicts that involve Muslems.

"...Quran, I would tell you that I don't understand it" - but you KNOW that Christians are more dangerous than Muslems! Obviously you don't know much then.

"They reinforce your prejudices." - again, sorry but those issues are facts. I didn't have any "prejudice" until planes were flying into buildings and I came to understand the things written in Islam...it seems you need to go read the Quran, as you stated before you don't know it.

Bruno:

You seem to be no better educated. The Nazi's were the National Socialist Party and had far more to do with the occult and dark religion than anything to do with Christianity (the History Channel just did a number on this). How on earth do you reconcile the murder of Jews with what the Bible says (protect them)?

If you can't understand the difference between people screaming "Allahu Akbar" before they deliberately fly planes into buildings and an incident that can be *easily* explained (airliner) then you lack the ability to reason. They're not even close to the same.

It seems I have to shout louder "I'm talking about Muslems that are hell-bent on dominating the earth with their version of Islam". Not the good Muslims in Iraq or anywhere, the only people inferring that we're in a war on Islam are you. You're trying to peg me into a stereotype, it seems you see a "one glove fits all" when it comes to Christians. I DO have concerns that Islam can be dangerous because it, too easily, allows one to justify its spread by force (as written in the Quran). However, I understand that 90+% are very peaceful, decent human beings - but with billions of Muslems that still leaves millions of radicals.

"And similar atrocities committed by others." - like what? I don't agree with your comparison.

"In fact, it has probably made a large segment of Iraqis wonder if bin Laden wasn’t right after all..." - sigh, Al-Qaeda is public enemy #1 in Iraq. You listen to too much liberal disinformation.

Iraq is at the center of the M.E. - it was a cancer, it was corrupting everything surrounding it (plus the U.N.), it had a history of violence and aggression against its neighbors, it had used WMD's on its people and neighbors - after 9/11 the situation was not tolerable. Even if Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, 9/11 had everything to do with keeping the status quo with Iraq - we couldn't keep it. It was pivotal in the war on "terror" (replace with "dictators"). Many understand the link between oppression, dictators and radicalism. I truely believe that a better Iraq leads to a safer U.S. - you can disagree. You may not see it but plenty do.

Answer this - how many innocents in Iraq have been killed by Muslims on Jihad? We're not the ones causing devastation. Also, how many would have been killed, raped, tortured by Saddam and thugs in the last 2 years?

The hate isn't coming from me, it's coming AT ME. Many Christian hating liberals here apparently...

To you, is there such a thing as just "Christian" or are there only "fundamentalist, radical, right-wing, conservative Christians"?

It seems I'm being attacked because of the word "annihilate" - well, with regard to the evil in radical Islam yes, we must because they want to kill us all (as they state). Are you trying to tell me that there are no "evil radical Muslems" - only "misunderstood" ones?

Pete
 
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Hello Pete,
1. WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One member of the commission investigating the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks says "a number of urban myths about 9/11" will be dispelled on Thursday, the last scheduled hearing for the panel...
No al Qaeda, Iraq cooperation
The panel said it found "no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

The Bush administration has said the terrorist network and Iraq were linked.

Pete,you believe in 'urban legends'. Educate yourself or remain a fool.
-There are no Iraqi WMDs according to the US government, so what are you talking about, the ones destroyed by the UN?
-According to our host, Iraqis can cooperate without having a civil war, so what are you talking about?
- 'but you KNOW that Christians are more dangerous than Muslems!' What about Bosnia or Kosovo? Christian serbs killing Muslims-you must have forgot.
-"Tell me of two (real) DEMOCRATIC countries that are at war with each other, you can't because there isn't." Most democratic countries hate war except the USA. Too bad you can't attack France. The US subverts other democracies like Greece and Chile, as it is cheaper than a war.
Seems you have a very big mouth and a very small brain.
"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than open one's mouth and remove all doubt."
 
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Abu Khaleel:

Even among fundamentalists one must draw some distinctions, e.g., I know several right wing, fundamentalists, each varies in their enthusiasm for the use of violence, ranging from near pacifists to fervent believers in all things military.

I also know several Muslims, but none that are "fundamentalists" as they are neither very common here, nor would they likely advertise such a thing in this country. However, I suspect that there is a similar range of views on violence among them.

There does seem to be one cultural difference between the Islamic and Christian fundies since none of the Christian fundies, which I have run into, would open fire on an "Islamic terrorist" surrounded by children, unless doing so would prevent the "terrorist" from exploding a bomb strapped to his back in a larger crowd of children. The idea that, violence can be justified by the assurance that any "truly innocent" victims will go to heaven, just does not have much resonance in this culture. I have read that such a rationale is frequently used by Islamic militants. It therefore must have more resonance among them than it does here with their Christian counterparts.

As to those in power in this country, there are precious few that would claim to be "Christian Warriors" in some battle with Islam. General Earl Boykins is the only one that I can think of off the top of my head that comments along those lines. In my view, the Christian fundie "meme" has been blown out of all proportion by the leftist segments of the domestic and international press. Also, I am sure that you are aware that some of the lead members of the PNAC are neo-cons of the Jewish faith, not the Christian faith. In my experience, those that have great zeal for military violence in this country usually ground their advocacy on political, military or economic themes, rather than religious ones.

When those in power here begin to advocate a global "religious war" aimed explicitly at Islam, as Al Qaeda has done against the Christian west and the Jews, then your attempt to draw parallels between the Bush administration and Al Qaeda will make a lot more sense. As it stands, your correlation between the two is a big stretch. To further illustrate the point, just perform this simple thought experiment, what would the Islamic militant in your post (or Bin Laden) do if he controlled the world’s largest nuclear arsenal? Forced conversion? Nuclear annihilation of any that refused? Please think about this the next time someone compares Bush to Bin laden. This is not to say that Bush is a “doe eyed” innocent, but the comparison hardly seems fair.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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"There does seem to be one cultural difference between the Islamic and Christian fundies since none of the Christian fundies, which I have run into, would open fire on an "Islamic terrorist" surrounded by children, unless doing so would prevent the "terrorist" from exploding a bomb strapped to his back in a larger crowd of children."

What about David Koreish and the BranchDividians killing all those children in Waco.

Seriously, I'm not trying to pick on you, just open your eyes a bit more:).
 
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...and you've proven yourself a fool.

The Bush admin NEVER said Saddam/Iraq was responsible for 9/11 - only you are - and there IS/WAS a link between Iraq and terror organizations, this is known and is a fact and is NOT disputed.

The 9/11 commission reported that they could find no *evidence* of a link between Saddam and *9/11*. First, that isn't the same as proving he didn't - only we couldn't find a hard link. Yes, I'm asking you to take a leap of faith here - that somebody that is so ruthless may be involved in things (gasp) that we DON'T know about. What a concept.

Second, nobody claimed that 9/11 or WMD's were the only reason for our action. Remember the title of the conflict "Operation Iraqi *Freedom*" - not "Operation Iraqi WMD Destruction". You seem to be unable to "put it all together".

You also seem to, conveniently, disregard the REST of the 9/11 commission findings that were alarming. That Saddam could've reinstated the WMD programs in months (as planned), tie this together with the obvious failure of the U.N. oil for food scandal that was only hurting the population and it was going to be ONLY an ever growing problem. Bad now worse later.

Also, how do you explain the illegal rockets with chemical mixing warheads? What about the sarin filled shells that spin & mix that didn't exist (in Iraq's inventory) in the late '80's? What about the other illegall weapons that were NEVER EVER declared even when the U.N. WAS inspecting? Have you EVER read what Saddam's brother-in-laws had to say? Have you EVER read the pre-war U.N. report on the state of Saddam's WMD's? What about every intelligence agency on the planet saying the same thing? That HE HAD THEM! The list goes on and the blame shouldn't be put at the feet of people who believed he had them, it should be put at the feet of Saddam for doing an excellent job of making everybody fear he had them, for good reason considering his past.

You can't see the forest through the trees.

Yes Iraqi's can cooperate but the security forces are still maturing, so why do you think the ELECTED government hasn't asked the U.S. to leave? Think about it, I know it hurts.

"Seems you have a very big mouth and a very small brain." - :) yeah, that's really, really intelligent. You must be one of these "open minded" liberals...should we compare IQ's scores? Really, lets.

And about Kosovo and Bosnia, as you brought it up, I suppose that was U.S. oppression too eh? And Kuwait? Again I didn't see the Muslim nations too eager to do anything. Let us not forget the *deeper* history in Bosnia as well...do you really want to discuss past the point you reference? Go read.

"Most democratic countries hate war except the USA. Too bad you can't attack France." - :) again, the stereotyping! Real open-minded. Have you ever been to/lived/worked in France? Do you have French friends? I do.

Nothing but Christian haters here and nobody is denying it. I've referenced no "urban myth", everything I've said is verifyable. The difference is I actually read (and read) reports and have a longer memory than most (it seems most conveniently forget facts that don't aid their opinion), while most of you just repeat simple-minded, non-coherent, left-wing propoganda. You want "urban myths" and conspiracy theories? ...go and talk to a liberal.

Do you think I've not heard EVERY single argument here before? You're like lemmings...

Pete
 
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What about David Koreish and the BranchDividians killing all those children in Waco?

That was not even close to comparable. They were a cult of wackos living there. They killed themselves and their own children. They did not threaten or endanger the lives of innocent children of innocent, unknown, people. The killing of their children was not for any kind of political gain. It was more like "you aren't going to take us alive!"
 
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Hello Pete,
"The Bush admin NEVER said Saddam/Iraq was responsible for 9/11 - only you are [not true]- and there IS/WAS a link between Iraq and terror organizations, this is known and is a fact and is NOT disputed."
Like I said Palestinian anti-Israel terrorists..Big deal...the US has previously backed the Mujehadeen Khalq terrorists against Iran, right-wing Lebanese Christian terrorists, and the boomerang Mujahedeen Jihad in Afghanistan(Bin Ladin). Isn't the issue anti-US terrorists? There are plenty of JDL terrorists in Israel, do something about that.

"The 9/11 commission reported that they could find no *evidence* of a link between Saddam and *9/11*. First, that isn't the same as proving he didn't - only we couldn't find a hard link. Yes, I'm asking you to take a leap of faith here - that somebody that is so ruthless may be involved in things (gasp) that we DON'T know about. What a concept."
Look BEFORE you leap, Pete! This is nonsense-without evidence you're just another nut like the UFO people.

'Second, nobody claimed that 9/11 or WMD's were the only reason for our action. Remember the title of the conflict "Operation Iraqi *Freedom*" - not "Operation Iraqi WMD Destruction". You seem to be unable to "put it all together".'
'Freedom does not equal occupation' ask the Lebanese, who asked Syria to withdraw which they are doing. BTW, whatever happened to the '45 minutes to WMD attack' claim?--Ask Bolton.

"You also seem to, conveniently, disregard the REST of the 9/11 commission findings that were alarming. That Saddam could've reinstated the WMD programs in months (as planned), tie this together with the obvious failure of the U.N. oil for food scandal that was only hurting the population and it was going to be ONLY an ever growing problem. Bad now worse later."
You seem to think you can just keep making hypothetical statements. Well..the US filmed the moonlandings in Hollywood!!!

'Also, how do you explain the illegal rockets with chemical mixing warheads?-Empty warheads,right!

What about the sarin filled shells that spin & mix that didn't exist (in Iraq's inventory) in the late '80's? The only gas shells found were old forgotten ones with mustard gas in them-technology circa 1917 and a couple of artillery shells with Sarin.
'What about the other illegall weapons that were NEVER EVER declared even when the U.N. WAS inspecting?' Calm down and slowly tell me the details of these exciting new illegal weapons, please!
Have you EVER read what Saddam's brother-in-laws had to say? Have you EVER read the pre-war U.N. report on the state of Saddam's WMD's? What about every intelligence agency on the planet saying the same thing? That HE HAD THEM! The list goes on and the blame shouldn't be put at the feet of people who believed he had them, it should be put at the feet of Saddam for doing an excellent job of making everybody fear he had them, for good reason considering his past.-Yawn, Where are these weapons now?

You can't see the forest through the trees.
Yes, and Bush can't find any WMD weapons.

Yes Iraqi's can cooperate but the security forces are still maturing, so why do you think the ELECTED government hasn't asked the U.S. to leave? Think about it, I know it hurts.
Well, to be honest...most of the big politicans are 'exiles', considered traitors and foreign agents by a hell of a lot of mad Iraqis. This may be an unfair slam, but they do need a lot of personal protection, a few divisions at least.
"Seems you have a very big mouth and a very small brain." - :) yeah, that's really, really intelligent. You must be one of these "open minded" liberals...should we compare IQ's scores? Really, lets.

Yeah, genius, you tell me yours I'll tell you mine. Duh-oh!

'And about Kosovo and Bosnia, as you brought it up, I suppose that was U.S. oppression too eh?-er...no, an example of 'peaceful' christians exterminating muslims.
'Again I didn't see the Muslim nations too eager to do anything.'
[Turkey was threating to get involved.] Let us not forget the *deeper* history in Bosnia as well...do you really want to discuss past the point you reference? Go read.
Here you lost me completely, as you intended.

"Most democratic countries hate war except the USA. Too bad you can't attack France." - :) again, the stereotyping! Real open-minded. Have you ever been to/lived/worked in France? Do you have French friends? I do."
I find it hard to believe you have any friends, French, Pakistani or otherwise.


"Nothing but Christian haters here and nobody is denying it. I've referenced no "urban myth", everything I've said is verifyable."
Then verify it.
'The difference is I actually read (and read) reports and have a longer memory than most (it seems most conveniently forget facts that don't aid their opinion), while most of you just repeat simple-minded, non-coherent, left-wing propoganda. You want "urban myths" and conspiracy theories? ...go and talk to a liberal.'

You and Ann Coulter(a real b*tch).

'Do you think I've not heard EVERY single argument here before?

And yet you still have no idea how to make a coherent argument!
 
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Hi Pete,

Don't take it personally - As fathom once warned me long ago - its like banging your head on a brick wall in here sometimes...

Just be proud that Bush didn't give in, the troops are doing well, and that the Iraqi's are making progress.

"Oh but did you see another insurgent blew up 10 Iraqis - you call that progress?"

"Oh - sure - its all about the oil."

"Your brave soldiers shot a journalist"

Did I miss any Bruno?
 
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Pete and Repeat...
 
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Anonymous 11:11:

First, please use a “name” as it is confusing to have multiple "anonymous" postings in a string that are written by multiple authors.

Second, I do not intend to pick on you, but you missed my point completely. Your mind may be more "open" than mine, but apparently "opening" of this type can cause, at least temporarily (I hope, for your sake, its only temporary), diminished reading comprehension skills.

Please re-read my post and it will become crystal clear that my point was about "resonance" within the fundie religious communities of a particular rationalization for the deaths of innocents during attacks on perceived enemies. I did not state that "no Christian would or has ever killed a child in a terrorist attack." That would be an absurd statement. More specifically, my point was that Christian fundies, in general, are not likely to support violent acts where children are likely to be victims.

My perception and Abu Khaleel’s specific example support a theory that, among Islamic fundies, tolerance for such "collateral deaths" is higher since they are able to justify their actions due to their belief that the "truly innocent" are better off in heaven. While there may be some Christian fundies that share similar beliefs (Eric Rudolph, springs immediately to mind), that kind of dogma seems to resonate more with Islamic fundies.

Abu Khaleel:
Do you believe such an attitudinal difference exists between the two groups of fundies? If so, what might be the reasons for it? Is it based on nuances in religious values or is it instead attributable to differences in the political, military and economic situations of those groups. I would be interested in your thoughts.

Mark-In-Chi-Town
 
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Mark-in-Chi-Town,

Traditionally, in this corner of the world, it is religiously forbidden (haram) to commit suicide. Unlike the Japanese culture for example, there are no exceptions. Socially the act usually brings disgrace.

On the other hand (and like most other societies, including yours) it is a glorious act to be killed in combat for a just cause.

This new trend is something else. In addition to the willingness to face certain death, these people almost dismiss the moral weight of killing innocents in the process… and try to find justifications for it.

I have not heard such words from “your” side… but I have heard things like “Let’s take the fight to them” and “Iraq is now a front in the war against terrorism”. These have led to many more children killed than the criminal actions of “our fundies”.

There were many more children killed by bombs and direct fire opened on locations having “suspected” terrorists, but “certain” to have children. Some of these actions involved dropping bombs that weighed 2000 lbs. Children were many times killed when there were no terrorists around.

So, perhaps “your fundies” are sophisticated enough not to say the words. But they are equally (perhaps sometimes even more) criminal. Also, perhaps they don’t believe equally strongly in heaven ;)
 
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I was going to post an incendiary reply to certain half wits that posted here ... but given that the tone of the blog has taken an unexpected turn for the better, I'll stay my hand.

Thanks Mark, Abu Khaleel...
 
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sir looking at one's actions might lead you to thier true identity just because someone says that they are christian dosent make them a follower of christs teachings and just because someone says they are a muslum dosent mean they follow islam
 
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