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Source: (consider it) Thread: The origin of Islamic extremism
quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Anyway, I don't understand the process whereby the 'ultimate cause' is ascertained in relation to historical stuff, except by saying 'because I say it is'.

Maybe so.

I guess it is just opinions based on observation, which of course may be way off.

Well, it also matches with fashion and prejudice.

Here are three statements:

"the ultimate cause of the French revolution was the clash between monarchy and the rising bourgeois."

"the ultimate cause of the French revolution was the Enlightenment, which had begun to desacralize the monarchy and the church."

"the ultimate cause of the FR was the deregulation of the grain market, leading to starvation."

Find the lady!

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Well, it also matches with fashion and prejudice.

Here are three statements:

"the ultimate cause of the French revolution was the clash between monarchy and the rising bourgeois."

"the ultimate cause of the French revolution was the Enlightenment, which had begun to desacralize the monarchy and the church."

"the ultimate cause of the FR was the deregulation of the grain market, leading to starvation."

I think that is a great observation.

Clearly, no one can speak of "ultimate causes" with much accuracy. The progression of society as it took specific form in 18th century France, and why it led to the revolution, can be described in too many ways to authoritatively pinpoint.

People do it anyway.

I don't think that it is wrong to take stabs at this kind of thing. It is surely useful to try to make sense of what is happening in the world.

The particular irritation that caused me to start this thread is what I see as my country's lack of understanding of "Islamic rage." This lack of understanding, as I see it, leads us to consistently do the wrong thing because of our inability to empathize with the Islamic point of view.

I wish that our news sources would display more sensitivity to the ways in which our culture ruffles the feathers of people in other parts of the world.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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quetzalcoatl
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Good points, Freddy. I don't think that Steve Langton's approach will help much either, as it seems highly tendentious.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Callan
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Macaulay, when discussing the French Revolution and the various reasons given for it said something like it was a bit like arguing as to whether gunpowder or matches were responsible for blowing up the mills at Hounslow. The point being that either on their own would be insufficient but together... BOOM!

Something similar could be said about the Islamic world. On the one hand you have the various precedents in the life of Mohammed for smiting people, on the other hand you have the political and social conditions which support the rise of Islamism. I think that if the latter held, and not the former, then some other kind of justifying ideology would be found, either a secular one or a Muslim Bossuet or Pope Urban would emerge finding some hitherto unexplored reasons for Muslims to resort to violence to resolve the various perceived injustices that Islamists are upset about.

It's a bit like the whole "was Martin Luther's anti-semitism and support for Princely rule part of the dynamic that led to the rise of Nazism". Luther was indeed anti-semitic and he was, indeed, in favour of absolutism. As indeed were the Nazis. But Denmark was Lutheranist too and there was no popular support for Nazi ideology and the Danes managed to save pretty much all of their Jews from the Holocaust.

So, I think the whole "if we go back to the original texts we can see where everything went wrong" is wrong, because it isn't inevitable. When societies go off the rails, as it were, they then chose to prioritise certain texts.

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Steve Langton
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by Callan;
quote:
So, I think the whole "if we go back to the original texts we can see where everything went wrong" is wrong, because it isn't inevitable. When societies go off the rails, as it were, they then chose to prioritise certain texts.

If only it was that simple; but
1) As I see it there were certainly several causes/reasons for Islam itself and why Muhammad came up with what he did. But
2) there is only one cause/reason for the violent extremism, which is that choice to set up an Islamic state, and to fight a war to do it.
3) Once you've done that, the only way to really hope to get back to a peaceable option is to provide a positive theology for doing so - not just an aspiration or hope, a concrete reason to do peace. Christianity 'upgrades' Judaism with a positive policy to spread the Kingdom of God in a new way under a new covenant with a new Messianic king. Unfortunately in Islam that option was either ignored, rejected or possibly just not known to Muhammad, and the conflicted position between practical war and aspirational peace just drags on to Muhammad's death and the conflict remains unresolved - but simply by existing, the war option kind of counts more....

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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Callan;
quote:
So, I think the whole "if we go back to the original texts we can see where everything went wrong" is wrong, because it isn't inevitable. When societies go off the rails, as it were, they then chose to prioritise certain texts.

If only it was that simple; but
1) As I see it there were certainly several causes/reasons for Islam itself and why Muhammad came up with what he did. But
2) there is only one cause/reason for the violent extremism, which is that choice to set up an Islamic state, and to fight a war to do it.
3) Once you've done that, the only way to really hope to get back to a peaceable option is to provide a positive theology for doing so - not just an aspiration or hope, a concrete reason to do peace. Christianity 'upgrades' Judaism with a positive policy to spread the Kingdom of God in a new way under a new covenant with a new Messianic king. Unfortunately in Islam that option was either ignored, rejected or possibly just not known to Muhammad, and the conflicted position between practical war and aspirational peace just drags on to Muhammad's death and the conflict remains unresolved - but simply by existing, the war option kind of counts more....

Steve, you're basically claiming that the rise of ISIS is entirely attributable to the fact that Mohammed resorted to violence in setting up the Ummah just under a millennium and a half previously. Palpable nonsense is the kindest description of your position. Religions and societies simply do not work as you think they do.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

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mousethief

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There have been vast stretches of time in which peaceable Islamic kingdoms/empires have sat around cheek and jowl with Christian (Orthodox), Zoroastrian, and other nearby empires. It wasn't until crusaders from the west brought the idea of Holy War to the Levant that the idea of jihad was repurposed to mean a holy war against the Christian West. Even then, after Saladin and Richard the Lionheart inked their treaty, the Arab world somnolesced again. Saladin's successors would have been happy to sink back into their dogmatic slumbers were it not for sword-happy nutjobs from western Europe.

Islam is clearly and obviously capable of creating long-lived peace, high culture, and great civilization. It is capable of being usurped into creating chaos and havoc, as the Berbers did in Spain. But once they buggered off, Andalusia settled down again, many of the Jews returned, and things went back to a sleepy status quo.

If you really want to discover the ORIGIN of Islamic extremism, you're barking up the wrong tree. Don't look to Mohammed. Look to the crusading Popes.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
If you really want to discover the ORIGIN of Islamic extremism, you're barking up the wrong tree. Don't look to Mohammed. Look to the crusading Popes.

That's how I see it too.

Except that I would broaden it to make invasiveness an inherent quality of Western culture.

Of course the response of Islamic extremism does not help, but it is just that - a response.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
If you really want to discover the ORIGIN of Islamic extremism, you're barking up the wrong tree. Don't look to Mohammed. Look to the crusading Popes.

That's how I see it too.

Except that I would broaden it to make invasiveness an inherent quality of Western culture.

Vikings all.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Golden Key
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Yes. Though in slight defense of my (probable) Viking ancestors, they didn't invent it, AFAIK.
[Biased]

--------------------
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--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Yes. Though in slight defense of my (probable) Viking ancestors, they didn't invent it, AFAIK. [Biased]

Fellow Viking! We have something to be proud of. [Two face]

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Golden Key
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Yup. Lots of explorers. Though maybe not so proud of the lutefisk!
[Biased]

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Steve Langton
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by Callan;
quote:
Steve, you're basically claiming that the rise of ISIS is entirely attributable to the fact that Mohammed resorted to violence in setting up the Ummah just under a millennium and a half previously. Palpable nonsense is the kindest description of your position. Religions and societies simply do not work as you think they do.
No, not entirely - but yes, ultimately....

And Mousethief is very right that the Christians ('Christians'??) like the Crusading Popes have a lot to answer for in this as well - but then they were crusading against - er - Islamic states.... and doing so from the position of - er - Christian states.... And without that idea on both sides, how would they have a religious war? Other kinds of war, maybe - but religious????

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Callan;
quote:
Steve, you're basically claiming that the rise of ISIS is entirely attributable to the fact that Mohammed resorted to violence in setting up the Ummah just under a millennium and a half previously. Palpable nonsense is the kindest description of your position. Religions and societies simply do not work as you think they do.
No, not entirely - but yes, ultimately....

And Mousethief is very right that the Christians ('Christians'??) like the Crusading Popes have a lot to answer for in this as well - but then they were crusading against - er - Islamic states.... and doing so from the position of - er - Christian states.... And without that idea on both sides, how would they have a religious war? Other kinds of war, maybe - but religious????

Quite irrelevant. What was the state of Islam before the Crusades? Peaceful, high-culture, promoting learning, etc. This was destroyed by the Crusades, and especially the concept of jihad as a fight against personal sinfulness, transforming it into a fight against the Christian West, which meaning it's held pretty much ever since. Your whole "this state that state" thing misses the point by a country mile. It's just a return to your one-note opera. But put aside your one-note opera for a second and look at the historical facts. What "radicalized" the Muslims? Christians.

--------------------
“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Yes. Though in slight defense of my (probable) Viking ancestors, they didn't invent it, AFAIK. [Biased]

Fellow Viking! We have something to be proud of. [Two face]
Rape, pillage, plunder, and little butter cookies in a tin.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Golden Key
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mt--

Just the butter cookies, please. The world's had far too much of the rest.

--------------------
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--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
mt--

Just the butter cookies, please. The world's had far too much of the rest.

Just making the point that the Vikings were not admirable people. They were nasty rapists and murderers.

[ 11. October 2016, 03:40: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Golden Key
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mt--

I'm well aware of that. And it was horrible and wrong. (And I did say, earlier, that I was only *slightly* defending them, with a [Biased] .)

I've got a variety of UK and Scandinavian ancestry. Lots of that going on. And--shock!--in most of the rest of the world, too, at most times in history. Including the US.

But that's not all that they were. Any of them.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:


But that's not all that they were. Any of them.

So what else where they, these Vikings?

They've left a few campfire sagas, some stories about how they "found" America, some tall-and-blonde descendents, some interesting sounding minority languages.. and not a lot else.

Scandinavians have built some admirable social security systems in the last 100 years, but it is quite hard to associate this with Vikings from 1000 years ago.

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arse

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Golden Key
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mr cheesy--

Actually, I made a point of including most of the world, and not just the Vikings--and that includes the "that's not all that they were".

IMHO, if we start comparing, in this context, ancestral cultures, who did what, "minority languages", long-term effects of the cultures, etc., things could get pretty heated, pretty quickly. So I'm going to opt out.

I would think that someone from Wales, whose people have been hassled so much by outsiders, would understand that.
[Angel]

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
mr cheesy--

Actually, I made a point of including most of the world, and not just the Vikings--and that includes the "that's not all that they were".

IMHO, if we start comparing, in this context, ancestral cultures, who did what, "minority languages", long-term effects of the cultures, etc., things could get pretty heated, pretty quickly. So I'm going to opt out.


Classical Islamic scholars were led by their so-called war-loving state religion to amazing heights in astronomy, philosophy, mathematics etc.

The Viking religion really was one of glorifying violence and they didn't have any scholars, didn't make any intellectual advances and didn't leave anything substantive.

Thus it seems to me that there really isn't much to look at approvingly from Viking culture (other than their cool beards, their boat burning habits, fish and shouting) whereas there is much to admire about the early Islamic cultures.

quote:
I would think that someone from Wales, whose people have been hassled so much by outsiders, would understand that.
[Angel]

I am not "from" Wales, I live here. And you know where you can go with your lazy stereotype.

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arse

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Alan Cresswell

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Some Vikings sailed across the North Sea and raided Britain and Ireland, with the rape and murder and pillaging. Other Vikings sailed to Iceland, Greenland and onto North America without any of the rape and murder. Others sailed through the Mediterranean trading in a large range of goods. Others peacefully settled islands off the Scottish and Irish coast, and areas of the mainland of northern Britain, living side by side with the natives - in some places the settlers assimilated to the local culture (eg: Norsemen settling in parts of France becoming Normans, largely indistinguishable from the rest of the local French culture). Many just stayed and farmed, fished and raised their families in Scandinavia.

There was a relatively small minority who were extremists, committing violent crimes against others. And, what has happened? The whole Viking people have become seen as synonymous with the extreme minority. Sounds familiar ...

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All I want for Christmas is EU

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Some Vikings sailed across the North Sea and raided Britain and Ireland, with the rape and murder and pillaging. Other Vikings sailed to Iceland, Greenland and onto North America without any of the rape and murder. Others sailed through the Mediterranean trading in a large range of goods. Others peacefully settled islands off the Scottish and Irish coast, and areas of the mainland of northern Britain, living side by side with the natives - in some places the settlers assimilated to the local culture (eg: Norsemen settling in parts of France becoming Normans, largely indistinguishable from the rest of the local French culture). Many just stayed and farmed, fished and raised their families in Scandinavia.

I think you'll find the raping-and-pillaging was a pretty fundamental part of being a Viking and that it only didn't happen in some parts because there was nobody there to rape and pillage.

It is probably true that in time they eventually grew out of it - possibly associated with the growth of Christianity amongst those groups.

quote:
There was a relatively small minority who were extremists, committing violent crimes against others. And, what has happened? The whole Viking people have become seen as synonymous with the extreme minority. Sounds familiar ...
I don't know that this is fair either. They were always a smallish group, they really did have a religion which glorified violence and striking out into new territory. I think it is an unproven rhetorical point that only a minority were into rape-and-pillage - if that was true, they'd never have been able to invade any new land.

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arse

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Eutychus
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hosting/

From the origins of Islamic extremism to Vikings (via Anabaptists)...

Kindly take this tangent elsewhere, y'all. And try to avoid sweeping generalisations about entire people groups whether current or historic while you're at it.

/hosting

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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mr cheesy--

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

quote:
I would think that someone from Wales, whose people have been hassled so much by outsiders, would understand that.
[Angel]

I am not "from" Wales, I live here. And you know where you can go with your lazy stereotype.
??? No stereotype intended. My understanding-- from comments I've heard over the years, including on the Ship and even in nursery rhymes--is that the Welsh have been looked down on a lot, *wrongfully*, forbidden to speak their language for a long time, etc. And I was surprised that someone from a country with that experience would make seemingly-disparaging comments about "minority languages" and how a particular culture never produced anything positive.

I'm puzzled by what you said about not being from Wales. It could mean that you're not ethnically Welsh; that you live there but weren't born there; think of yourself more as a citizen of the UK or Europe, etc. I'm not going to ask. But it's confusing to me that, if you don't relate closely to Welshness, you make a point of using a Welsh-language sig, and have a pro-Welsh-language joke.

Not looking for a fight. As I said, I'm opting out from comparing heritages in this context.

Pax.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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Eutychus--

Sorry. Didn't see your host post until after I posted.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Callan;
quote:
Steve, you're basically claiming that the rise of ISIS is entirely attributable to the fact that Mohammed resorted to violence in setting up the Ummah just under a millennium and a half previously. Palpable nonsense is the kindest description of your position. Religions and societies simply do not work as you think they do.
No, not entirely - but yes, ultimately....

And Mousethief is very right that the Christians ('Christians'??) like the Crusading Popes have a lot to answer for in this as well - but then they were crusading against - er - Islamic states.... and doing so from the position of - er - Christian states.... And without that idea on both sides, how would they have a religious war? Other kinds of war, maybe - but religious????

Quite irrelevant. What was the state of Islam before the Crusades? Peaceful, high-culture, promoting learning, etc. This was destroyed by the Crusades, and especially the concept of jihad as a fight against personal sinfulness, transforming it into a fight against the Christian West, which meaning it's held pretty much ever since. Your whole "this state that state" thing misses the point by a country mile. It's just a return to your one-note opera. But put aside your one-note opera for a second and look at the historical facts. What "radicalized" the Muslims? Christians.
I think you are over-egging the pudding here, to put it politely. Prior to the Crusades Mohammed unified Arabia, under Muslim rule, which involved a certain amount of fighting, and his successors then conquered the territories of what are now Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Israel (and the occupied territories), Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, parts of Spain and Portugal and Sicily. Muslim armies penetrated southern France and raided Italy as far north as Rome, as well as besieging Constantinople. The express justification of this was to impose expand the frontiers of 'The House of Islam' and contract those of 'The House of War'.

Apart from Charlemagne's wars against the Saxons there isn't anything comparable on the Christian side of the ledger prior to the Crusades (unless you count Justinian's reconquest of Italy and North Africa as an anti-arian crusade, which most historians don't). If anything the radicalisation went in the opposite direction with the Crusades as a response to Islamic conquest.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
If anything the radicalisation went in the opposite direction with the Crusades as a response to Islamic conquest.

Excellent point.

I think that this shows how powerfully perceived threats work on the human psyche.

Exactly how legitimate the threat of Islam was at that time is beside the point.

My OP is about the view that Islamic extremism is a radical response to a threat from the West that is widely perceived in that part of the world.

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Steve Langton
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by mr cheesy;
quote:
Classical Islamic scholars were led by their so-called war-loving state religion to amazing heights in astronomy, philosophy, mathematics etc.
I have NOT been denying that. Obviously where a stable state has been established and is no longer a war zone, more civilised pursuits can prevail. The UK didn't do too badly in those areas even during and after the upheavals of the ECW, on through the 1688 Revolution, and considerable involvement in European wars....

It remains a simple fact that Muhammad, an intensely revered prophet, set a bad precedent, and precisely because he is so revered, that precedent still affects things today - yes, Callan, even 1500 years later....


Mousethief, I'm not sure that post-1000CE crusading can be blamed for the Muslim conquests of North Africa and Spain, of large parts of India and other Eastern nations, and of much of the Middle East and Eastern Europe - in some ways the Crusades to the Holy Land were a response to that, following on from the Reconquista in Spain. And back pre-1000CE wasn't it the Byzantine Orthodox doing much of the fighting against Islam?

Of course the current extremism is to a significant extent a 'reaction' against the acts of the West - and you've surely noticed I'm far from uncritical of said West - but the fact still remains that without that initial teaching/example to establish a religious state by warfare, as opposed to the different form of religious conquest taught by Jesus, there wouldn't even be war on behalf of Islam, let alone extremism. Muhammad crossed a crucial line there, and this book I'm now reading makes clear it's not easy to get back from it....

Likewise the Crusades were only possible because there was a (nominally) Christian state - created in a bit of a muddle over a century, but then upheld partly by a tradition that could ignore the NT teaching because it had faithlessly persuaded itself that 'Sola Scriptura' was not enough....

(BTW, AIUI, the original Reformation concept of 'Sola Scriptura' was not a narrow view; more just an assertion of that St Vincent's principle about, in Mousethief's delicate phrasing, "not letting the new shit contradict the old shit", especially when the 'old shit' is the word of the Son of God and his appointed apostles).

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Muhammad crossed a crucial line there, and this book I'm now reading makes clear it's not easy to get back from it....

It is interesting to think about the line that Muhammad crossed.

A Christian version of Sharia law is not a good philosophical fit in the West precisely because Jesus never crossed that line. Instead He made a demarcation between church and state - a line that has sometimes been blurred in European history.

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Callan
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Originally posted Steve Langton:

quote:
Likewise the Crusades were only possible because there was a (nominally) Christian state - created in a bit of a muddle over a century, but then upheld partly by a tradition that could ignore the NT teaching because it had faithlessly persuaded itself that 'Sola Scriptura' was not enough....
Actually, this is not quite right. The problem of European politics during this time was that 'states' (for want of a better word) were comparatively weak and there was a long standing problem of feudal rulers settling disputes themselves without recourse to the centre. So, if you are a French Count and another French Count is giving you jip, rather than go to the King, who is in no position to help you out, you summon your vassals and get medieval on his arse. (Apologies to any proper medievalists who read this paragraph).

The initial response of the Church was to solve this by promoting various local truces under the auspices of something called 'The Peace of God'. It had some limited successes but the official theology of the church was basically Augustinian and it was rather hard selling the concept of a universal human vocation towards peace to warrior aristocrats who were, civilisationally, one step up from Hagar the Horrible. Meanwhile, in the East, the Seljuk Turks are busy slapping around the Byzantine Empire and making it impossible for pilgrims to visit the Holy Land. So Pope Urban had a brilliant idea. Why not export all those feudal warlords to the Middle East where they can reconquer the Holy Land and shore up the Byzantine Empire. According to the High Papalism of the era the Pope's ability to forgive sins empowered him to offer a quid pro quo for those who set out for the east in the form of a free ticket to heaven.

Initially the idea was wildly successful. Jerusalem was conquered and Crusader states were set up in the Middle East. But unfortunately they comparative weakness of Muslim states from which the First Crusade had profited did not last and gradually they retook the territories that had been lost to them. Meanwhile, back in Western Europe, something beginning to resemble to modern state is slowly coming into existence. And the various Kings have got problems of their own and don't really want their vassals buggering off to the Middle East. When the Papal Legate turned up in England, for example, to preach the Second Crusade Henry II, one of the great centralisers of the day, sent polite regrets. He had other fish to fry.

This was considered comparatively shocking. Richard I's decision to go on the Third Crusade can probably be put down to his daddy issues among other factors but the fact that he, Philip Augustus of France and the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa all went demonstrates that state-building monarchs saw no particular conflict between going on Crusade and maintaining a centralised state but the condition of England, when Richard got back, may have suggested to thoughtful observers that this was not entirely the case. Frederick II did negotiate a Christian presence in Jerusalem but it was short lived and was done to get his Crusading obligations out of the way so he could, unsuccessfully, try to consolidate his control over Germany and Italy.

So, I would suggest that the Crusades were born out of the weakness of the Christian state and as rulers became more powerful they, and their vassals, became more and more reluctant to spend time and energy sorting out the Middle East, as it were. The successful Crusades were the Reconquest of Spain and the Albigensian Crusade, which had the Spanish and French monarchies behind them and the Northern Crusade which laid the foundations of the Kingdom of Prussia. The symbolic death of the crusades was probably administered by Philip IV of France who violently laid hands on the Pope and even more violently suppressed the Knights Templars, ostensibly for heresy but really because they had pots of money and maintaining a centralised state isn't cheap.

The point of this lengthy disquisition is not to say that the Crusades were a good thing. It's to say that like most historical phenomena they were complicated. A simple reductive attempt to boil everything down to illustrating the badness of the Constantinian State or a simple tale of innocent Muslims chopped to pieces by nasty Christians is to reduce history to propaganda. People in the past had their own concerns - strange and often barbaric as they seem to us now - and using them as lay figures in theological disputes inhibits understanding of the past and the present and is probably bad theology as well.

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Freddy
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Thanks, Callan. I loved reading that. So interesting. This is what I enjoy about the Ship. [Paranoid]

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Steve Langton
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by Callan;
quote:
The point of this lengthy disquisition is not to say that the Crusades were a good thing. It's to say that like most historical phenomena they were complicated.
And for the umpteen-millionth time, I'm not denying the complications, stop assuming that I am [brick wall]

It still remains a basic one-side-of-the-line-or-the-other thing that if you follow the NT instructions on how to conquer the world for the faith, 'not with fleshly weapons', then you won't be fighting wars for your faith. And that means accepting that you don't conflate religion and state!

If you do try to have a religious state, as some Christians centuries after Jesus unwisely( [Eek!] ) tried, and as Muhammad clearly did, then the dynamics will be that certain kinds of external and/or civil war for/against the state religion will be inevitable, and/or discrimination/persecution within the state which may provoke violence, and more extreme forms will be all-too-likely, given that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God".

If the faith actually teaches the 'religious state' option, the situation is simply screwed - obeying God will mean engaging in the necessary wars, etc. If the faith doesn't teach that but, as in Christianity, teaches an alternative in which you don't seek to be a religious state in the first place, then the dynamics are completely different.

Christianity in the NT teaches not to do Jesus' kingdom via the religious state tactic - result, so long as Jesus is trusted, no war by or on behalf of the faith (though possibly persecution of it).

Islam/Muhammad does teach the Islamic state and sets the example of doing it by war.... This means that in and for Islam there simply will be (and have been) various kinds of war and there will also be extremism from time to time when the relevant further circumstances arise....

To say this is not to 'over-simplify'; it is to draw attention to a key point at which a choice one way or other makes a massive and important difference....

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Doc Tor
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Steve, the problem - and I think it's the problem, is not the conflation of Church and State, but the lack of theology as to what happens when someone in the Church becomes someone in the State.

You don't have any answer to this except that no Christian should ever hold secular authority. And there's a billion degrees of nuance between that position, and the Divine Right of Kings.

I've asked you before, and never received a cogent answer, about what happens when Anabaptists find themselves in a majority in a population. Leaving it to the minority to run the State apparatus isn't tenable, or justifiable, but as far as I can tell, that's what you'd argue for.

[edited to add}

So, Islam has developed (again, AFAICT) a sophisticated and nuanced theology of secularism. Muslims serve in all tiers of the State, whether the State is fully secular, nominally Christian, nominally Muslim, or a theocracy. Not every Muslim magistrate or school governor wants to declare violent jihad just because they exercise secular power, and that's simply because they have a theology that's says that public service is a common, divinely-sanctioned, Good. Like very many Christians.

[ 11. October 2016, 15:00: Message edited by: Doc Tor ]

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mr cheesy
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I guess we just need the "right kind" of Muslims in public service: those who believe in decency but not so much in their own religion that they're going to use positions of authority to bring about violent jihad and usher in Sharia.

Which amounts to that we're tolerant of Muslims as long as they don't actually try believing in Islam.

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mr cheesy
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And presumably the same for those nasty Roman Catholics: they're allowed to have their own churches and practices, just be sure not to actually undermine our society with that crazy belief in the Pope.

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Callan
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Originally posted by Steve Langton:

quote:
by Callan;
quote:

The point of this lengthy disquisition is not to say that the Crusades were a good thing. It's to say that like most historical phenomena they were complicated.

And for the umpteen-millionth time, I'm not denying the complications, stop assuming that I am [brick wall]

It still remains a basic one-side-of-the-line-or-the-other thing that

m8, if you think that everything boils down to your Anabaptists/ Jesus, good - everyone else, bad dichotomy you can't complain when people think you are oversimplifying everything a tad.

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Steve Langton
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by Callan;
quote:
m8, if you think that everything boils down to your Anabaptists/ Jesus, good - everyone else, bad dichotomy you can't complain when people think you are oversimplifying everything a tad.
Again, not what I'm saying. Much much more to Christianity, just not directly relevant to this topic.

And clear thinking please - I'm not detecting that more than a very few Shipmates actually support the 'religious state' idea. You probably see the problems I do, especially those which have been shown up by the 1600 years of supposedly 'Christian' states in defiance of Jesus. And the equivalents to those problems in other religions which operate as state religions....

So why all the stuff chucked at me over the issue? When I first stuck my toe in the water of the Ship's forums I thought most people would be broadly in line with me. I'm bewildered by the unexpected inconsistency....

In the current debate - you're rather ducking the point, aren't you? The 'religious state' issue is essentially 'binary' - it is the case where one simple choice makes vast difference, and the origins of Christianity in the NT, and Islam in Muhammad and the Quran, are clearly on opposite sides of the line....

I'm not oversimplifying, you and others appear to be kicking up something of a fog or smokescreen around it.

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Steve Langton
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by Doc Tor;
quote:
I've asked you before, and never received a cogent answer, about what happens when Anabaptists find themselves in a majority in a population. Leaving it to the minority to run the State apparatus isn't tenable, or justifiable, but as far as I can tell, that's what you'd argue for.
And I'm afraid you're not going to get the full answer on this thread either, as I'm trying to explain my position on Islam deliberately without "going the whole Anabaptist hog". For purposes of this thread a much less thorough separation of Church and State will do.

But may I remind you of my point to Croesos earlier. The Anabaptist objection is not to 'the state'; how we relate will depend on the individual state itself, and states vary enormously. The BIG objection is to the attempt to run a 'Christian state' in defiance of Jesus' instruction to do his Kingdom a different way.

Also by Doc Tor;
quote:
So, Islam has developed (again, AFAICT) a sophisticated and nuanced theology of secularism. Muslims serve in all tiers of the State, whether the State is fully secular, nominally Christian, nominally Muslim, or a theocracy. Not every Muslim magistrate or school governor wants to declare violent jihad just because they exercise secular power, and that's simply because they have a theology that's says that public service is a common, divinely-sanctioned, Good. Like very many Christians.
Not arguing; but with serious reservations that when the temptations to extremism do arise, as they clearly have in many parts of the world right now, I'm not sure that the arguments for the peaceable approach are either strong enough in their Islamic basis, or simple and comprehensible enough, to win over the disaffected who are likely to be extremists.

And I can see how a lot of Muslims could look at those arguments and see them as not really Islamic at all, but 'liberal Western' or some such - as alien in their eyes as the 'Christian state' looks to me compared to the NT teaching. Convoluted 'heavy weather' arguments, such as I'm finding in that book mr cheesy suggested, may easily be rejected for the very much more obvious conclusions to be drawn from the fact of Muhammad setting up an Islamic state (in every way that matters, even if it wasn't quite like a modern state).

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Golden Key
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Steve--

This isn't the kind of thing where you can explain, over and over, permanently convince people of your argument, and win.

You said you'd assumed that most Shipmates would be broadly in line with you. IME, it's rare to have most Shipmates (Christian or otherwise) agree on something--whether it's salvation, tithing, politics, or the rhyming scheme of a limerick.

Even people of goodwill can wildly disagree on seemingly-obvious issues. Your posts seem like you're pushing all your possible points at us with a bulldozer; and when we don't agree (or complain about getting buried), you load up the bulldozer and try again.

IMHO, you seem to think that you've found something that could fix the world--particularly, stop violent jihadists--if only... And it seems like your bottom line is that Muslims should become Christians; and if they'd just follow Jesus' teachings (particularly the non-violent ones that Anabaptists like), things would be mostly ok.

But life isn't that simple. Trying to convert jihadi terrorists would be disastrous. Telling peaceful Muslims that they're at fault, because the Prophet was at fault, and they need to accept Isa as their savior, would be mean. And Christians have done horrible, evil things, too. And still do.

If I may suggest, maybe you could take a break from arguing, and just listen and try to understand why other people see things differently than you do. Ask an occasional question, if you need to.

Give yourself a break from [brick wall] , ok?

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Steve Langton
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by mr cheesy;
quote:
I guess we just need the "right kind" of Muslims in public service: those who believe in decency but not so much in their own religion that they're going to use positions of authority to bring about violent jihad and usher in Sharia.

Which amounts to that we're tolerant of Muslims as long as they don't actually try believing in Islam.

Also by mr cheesy;
quote:
And presumably the same for those nasty Roman Catholics: they're allowed to have their own churches and practices, just be sure not to actually undermine our society with that crazy belief in the Pope.
Of course being separate from the state, I won't be making that decision; but you sum it up rather well - how pluralist can you afford to be with a religion that has jihad as physical warfare and the setting up of a religious state as major components? And how sure are you of the stability and solid foundation (not to mention comprehensibility to non-academic Muslims) of the version of Islam that won't fight a war to set up an Islamic state?

As regards the RCC - again not my decision; but while I don't agree with the place they give the Pope, they're welcome to believe it within the state as a variant form of Christianity. Again the catch will be if they want to make the UK legally an RCC state, as has been the doctrine back to the 4th century even before the split with the Eastern churches.

Fortunately indications there are that - albeit slowly because of the need to explain away the earlier error of an 'infallible' Magisterium - the RCC is gradually coming into line with the NT itself, and before long will effectively become quasi-Anabaptist. As with the CofE, the institution seems at times a bit behind a lot of its members on that one....

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Doc Tor
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# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Not arguing; but with serious reservations that when the temptations to extremism do arise, as they clearly have in many parts of the world right now, I'm not sure that the arguments for the peaceable approach are either strong enough in their Islamic basis, or simple and comprehensible enough, to win over the disaffected who are likely to be extremists.

Steve, your argument boils down to "Despite all the evidence that Muslims can and do support serving a secular state without tying themselves up in theological knots, I don't believe it."

That's fine. You can believe what you like. But you're demonstrably wrong. It's your theology, not theirs, that isn't strong enough, or simple or comprehensible enough. It's not fit for purpose - that purpose being living in a modern secular state. Islam has found an accommodation with that, while Anabaptism has singularly failed.

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Steve Langton
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by Doc Tor;
quote:
"Despite all the evidence that Muslims can and do support serving a secular state without tying themselves up in theological knots, I don't believe it."
I've mentioned that book by a Muslim that I'm reading - he is very much "tying himself up in theological knots"... and that has seemed the case with others I've come across.

The Biblical view is fine for living in a secular state or any other. But as I said, not answering that in full here; hoping to start a suitable thread eventually.

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mousethief

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We're the popes who preached the holy crusades really interested in Christian states? Or in destroying the Muslim state?

It's most disingenuous to posit the Muslim conquests as the origin of the Crusades. It was 300-something years later, and the rhetoric of the popes was centered on access to the holy places, not ancient history. The Arab Muslims were in fact not radicalized. The meaning of jihad had changed to an internal struggle against sinful impulses.

Your red-eyed axe-wielding fanatic had laid down his arms and gone back to herding sheep. Whatever you guys dredge up to justify the crusades, you need to come to grips with this fact.

quote:
Originally posted by Callan
People in the past had their own concerns - strange and often barbaric as they seem to us now - and using them as lay figures in theological disputes inhibits understanding of the past and the present and is probably bad theology as well.

Then we might as well close this thread, because we can't really find the origins of a phenomenon without looking at historical precedent and drawing conclusions from it based on what we can gleam about conditions and motivations of times past.

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I guess we just need the "right kind" of Muslims in public service: those who believe in decency but not so much in their own religion that they're going to use positions of authority to bring about violent jihad and usher in Sharia.

Which amounts to that we're tolerant of Muslims as long as they don't actually try believing in Islam.

Or at least Steve's Version of Islam. Because, you know, these guys' version might just not include imposing Sharia on Great Britain or the U.S. But Allah forbid we let the dirty stinking Muslims define their own religion. It's our job to tell them what they need to believe in order to be members in good standing of their own religion.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'm not detecting that more than a very few Shipmates actually support the 'religious state' idea.

You may be right about that, depending of course on how "the 'religious state' idea" is actually defined.
quote:
You probably see the problems I do, especially those which have been shown up by the 1600 years of supposedly 'Christian' states in defiance of Jesus.
Probably not a safe assumption at all. There are not only a variety of positions Christians hold on the church-state relationship, there are a variety reasons they hold those positions. Some of those reasons have more to do with politics than with theology. But the fact that you have met with disagreement over and over here about this topic is likely a good sign that many others do not see the same problems you do, because they do not understand Jesus' teaching the way you do.
quote:
And the equivalents to those problems in other religions which operate as state religions....
Again, probably not a safe assumption.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I've mentioned that book by a Muslim that I'm reading - he is very much "tying himself up in theological knots"... and that has seemed the case with others I've come across.

I'm going to translate that as "I disagree with him".

The fact - indisputable fact - is that a great many Muslims, along with their Christian and Jewish and Hindu and Sikh colleagues, help run schools, serve as magistrates and councillors and police officers and civil servants and MPs. You might dispute the theological basis for their willingness to serve the state in a formal capacity, but that they have one, even if it is tainted by a degree of pragmatic fudging, is undeniable.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
even if it is tainted by a degree of pragmatic fudging, is undeniable.

I still don't accept that those from outside of the religion are really able to identify what is or isn't "pragmatic fudging".

Rather than believing that Muslims are aware that their religion really demands that they work to establish Islamic states and then fudging this to become useful contributing members of a secular society (which would appear to me to paint them as fundamentally dishonest), it seems far easier to believe that those people don't actually believe that.

I'm sure that there are a massive spectrum of beliefs - and insisting that the end inhabited by the extremists is the "real deal" still seems like an effort to oversimplify a complex reality.

And I'm not even sure that belief in an idealised "Islamic state" is always a prelude to undermining secular society. I'm not sure how she does it, but I am aware of at least one very open Muslim politician - who I met once talking to a primarily Christian audience about the difference between "allowing" Muslim women to make a choice about wearing a burka and standing against the misogynist societies that force women to wear Burkas - who says that she believes it would be best for societies to be run on Islamic lines. I'm not sure how she squares that circle, but I've seen no evidence that believing in this leads to any kind of excess. If anything, the reverse - she is one of the most engaged and engaging people that I've ever met.

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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
even if it is tainted by a degree of pragmatic fudging, is undeniable.

I still don't accept that those from outside of the religion are really able to identify what is or isn't "pragmatic fudging".
Well, likewise. But I was offering some nuance to Steve.

What's also undeniable is that Islamist extremists would see those Muslims who do hold office in a secular state as hopelessly compromised. I don't think it helps those Muslims for Christians like Steve to also see them as hopelessly compromised.

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Forward the New Republic

Posts: 8924 | From: Ultima Thule | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
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# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
We[']re the popes who preached the holy crusades really interested in Christian states? Or in destroying the Muslim state?

It's most disingenuous to posit the Muslim conquests as the origin of the Crusades. It was 300-something years later, and the rhetoric of the popes was centered on access to the holy places, not ancient history. The Arab Muslims were in fact not radicalized. The meaning of jihad had changed to an internal struggle against sinful impulses.

Your red-eyed axe-wielding fanatic had laid down his arms and gone back to herding sheep. Whatever you guys dredge up to justify the crusades, you need to come to grips with this fact.

quote:
Originally posted by Callan
People in the past had their own concerns - strange and often barbaric as they seem to us now - and using them as lay figures in theological disputes inhibits understanding of the past and the present and is probably bad theology as well.

Then we might as well close this thread, because we can't really find the origins of a phenomenon without looking at historical precedent and drawing conclusions from it based on what we can gleam about conditions and motivations of times past.

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I guess we just need the "right kind" of Muslims in public service: those who believe in decency but not so much in their own religion that they're going to use positions of authority to bring about violent jihad and usher in Sharia.

Which amounts to that we're tolerant of Muslims as long as they don't actually try believing in Islam.

Or at least Steve's Version of Islam. Because, you know, these guys' version might just not include imposing Sharia on Great Britain or the U.S. But Allah forbid we let the dirty stinking Muslims define their own religion. It's our job to tell them what they need to believe in order to be members in good standing of their own religion.
There was a very good analysis, possibly by the great Oxford historian Terry Jones, on the telly 15-20 years ago that showed that one of the Pope's motives, in the light of his fundamentalist chilialism, was to unite the chivalrous knights - constantly warring barons - of Europe to make Jerusalem ready for Christ's return. To fulfil the apocalypse. A thread that ran through Victorian to WWI England to say the least: Balfour was an anti-Semitic Anglo-Israelite. Just the other side of the same coin as SCIS.

[ 12. October 2016, 09:30: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

Posts: 17009 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Callan
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# 525

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Originally posted by Mousethief:

quote:
It's most disingenuous to posit the Muslim conquests as the origin of the Crusades. It was 300-something years later, and the rhetoric of the popes was centered on access to the holy places, not ancient history. The Arab Muslims were in fact not radicalized. The meaning of jihad had changed to an internal struggle against sinful impulses.
The primary reason Christians did not have access to the Holy Places at this period was because of the Seljuk Turks who had conquered Anatolia (which had hitherto been part of the Byzantine Empire) and then pushed south to control Jerusalem. So to talk as if the 'Muslim conquests' were something that had happened "300 years ago" is a little bit unhistoric. Incidentally, the first two books immediately to hand - Tom Holland's 'In The Shadow Of The Sword' and Christopher Tyerman's 'God's War' disagree with you about Jihad being a purely spiritual matter. It was both the war between the believer and himself and the believer and the non-believer.

In any event, a Christian doctrine of 'Holy War' as opposed to 'just war' was not postulated until after the Islamic conquests. Coincidence? Or learning from example?

quote:
Your red-eyed axe-wielding fanatic had laid down his arms and gone back to herding sheep. Whatever you guys dredge up to justify the crusades, you need to come to grips with this fact.
I'm not trying to justify the Crusades. I'm merely pointing out that from the point of view of Christians of this period your picture of a peaceable Islamic civilisation minding its own business would have seemed a little bit starry eyed and that, to a large extent, the historical facts are on their side.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

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