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Source: (consider it) Thread: Islam and violence
Anglican't
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
My husband is given an orange folder and a second interview, often very unpleasant in tone, every time he goes to the US (at least 3 times a year)

Why? His name is John Smith and he has long hair [Roll Eyes]

For those of us who haven't been through US customs, could you explain what the orange folder is all about?
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Eutychus
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If your summary interview at US Border Control doesn't produce satisfactory results, you get escorted off to an interview room to undergo a more thorough interrogation by a guard clutching one of these folders.

I learned this arriving at Miami once behind an unfortunate man missing a couple of fingers, thus making him unable to undergo the biometric scan. He was marched off thus and I've always wondered what happened to him since (except that his folder was red [Ultra confused] )

Now that anecdote's told, maybe it's time for this thread to get back on topic or have this major tangent removed to Heaven, with or without hostly orange folders...

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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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Martin60
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mdijon. Now that we are less polarized, in another place it was mentioned that my contribution here was a wisdom free 'stuck-record whine about Islamic violence, all our violence and avoiding discussion'. I accept that as perception is all, so even though I'd like you to analyse that perception - and I don't mean justify it, it doesn't have to be justified: the failure is mine - how can I go forward in form and content without repudiating the content of what I've said? Or is there no content once the form is dispensed with? Was I just saying 'Islam is violent as we all are'? Seriously, did I not ask, where do we go from here?

My premiss is that there must be a radical, positive, respectful, pacifist Christian response to foundational violence. That we can't engage with foundationally violent culture by criticising it, but by acknowledging and embracing it and transcending it. I said that above and I'm probably failing to communicate it again. It's that that I do want to discuss.

Eutychus engagement with the realities is certainly going forward.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Barnabas62
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Martin60

I think I would rather say that the tendency to violence is a problem for all humanity, rather than seek to identify it with particular religious or political beliefs.

The temptation to identify scapegoats outside of our particular group is always with us. "They are that way because they believe this stuff". I don't think that kind of partial generalisation actually helps.

Personally, I do think that becoming more Christlike involves a more peaceful, more other-directed approach to living. The Romans 12 guidance about love in action has always struck me as the right way to go and it is prefaced by the warning not to be conformed to the patterns of this world. Those patterns do often seem to me to involve finger-pointing, demonisation of other groups. I think that's destructive and we do well to avoid getting sucked into that.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Martin60
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I completely agree Barnabas62 and nothing I have said was meant otherwise. Your perception appears to be otherwise. Again, that is my fault, my failure. I utterly repudiate that another group is to be blamed for the way I and we are or that 'they' are beyond the pale, to blame for ANYTHING. My thinking DID change along the thread as I differentiated between Islam and Christianity on the basis of foundational violence, I now see that that is virtually impossible to sustain and meaningless for most Christians any way. It is only imputable to a particular view of Christ.

A superior one, mousethief, of course [Smile] Which makes me considerably righteouser than yow.

And yes, it's Fridee ni' an' I 'ave bin darn the only Axe and Square in the world (although I'm certain there is only one Fox And Vivian and Hark To Bounty too).

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Steve Langton
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by Barnabas 62;
quote:
I think I would rather say that the tendency to violence is a problem for all humanity....
YES....

B62;
quote:
….rather than seek to identify it with particular religious or political beliefs. 
And somewhere in there you made a slip in the logic. This part of your sentence just doesn't follow from the first part. Part of the trouble, as I pointed out above when Eutychus said summat similar, is that a general human tendency to violence is also so vague and universal an 'explanation' as to be no practical use. As I said, it's a bit like blaming air crashes just on 'gravity' and ignoring factors like human error, weather, mechanical failure, sabotage, etc. It is the 'particular' that causes the actual, real-world, non-academic air crash, and it is the 'particular', religious or political, which causes/excuses/justifies the 'particular' violent action, while other 'particular' beliefs can limit violence.

B62;
quote:
The temptation to identify scapegoats outside of our particular group is always with us.
Yes; so what? This is kind of the wrong question here....

B62;
quote:
"They are that way because they believe this stuff".
If there is a logical connection between “this stuff” that they believe, and “that way” that they are, then understanding that connection is not 'scapegoating' but valid analysis, and potentially helpful.

B62;
quote:
I don't think that kind of partial generalisation actually helps.
What I just said.... Plus, as Christians don't we actually have an obligation to have far more than 'partial generalisation'?

Actually the more I've thought about this, the less happy I am with this Eutychus/Barnabas line of argument. Being dismissive of people's beliefs, and so of their conscious reasons for their actions, their own understanding of why they act as they do, seems very strange and a denial of the most personal and rational part of their conduct.

Referring instead to the general “tendency to violence (which) is a problem for all humanity....” is indeed an unhelpful 'partial generalisation'; but it's kind of deliberately so, deliberately downgrading the important 'particular' of the situation in favour of something which is neither a proper explanation, nor helpful or useful to understanding what is going on. This seems to me to be profoundly dehumanising....

Being concerned with the beliefs, and what those beliefs might imply for actions, and whether those actions are good or bad, and whether the beliefs are true or false – that it seems to me is treating the people involved as people, as rational beings with meaningful ideas and intentions. And on that I'm more than happy to 'stick to my guns' and if Hosts don't find it acceptable, so much the worse for the Ship.

Oh, Martin 60; I am for some strange reason under the impression that Christians do not believe in the 'myth' of redemptive violence, but in the FACT of redemptive suffering for others - a very different matter....

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Barnabas62
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I'm actually making a more general point, Steve Langton. It skirts the issue of inerrancy and indeed it may end up being continued there.

Holy books give evidence in their content of the human tendency to violence. They contain texts which eschew violence and they also contain texts within which violence is justified to serve some greater purpose. They may therefore be used today by some groups, indeed are so used, as authoritative support for violent actions. That is a problem for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

So, pointing the finger at one of the three "people of the Book" religions simply ends up with fingers pointing back at ourselves. We need rather to encourage exegetical and hermeneutical approaches to interpretation which avoid perpetuating cycles of violence, which recognise the problem in the Books themselves. And it is a good idea not to be partial about that. "My Holy Book is less violent than your Holy Book" doesn't exactly help any dialogues intended to promote greater peace and better mutual understanding.

I appreciate this may offend your own understanding of how Christian scripture is inspired (and how the Qu'ran is not inspired) and that kind of issue can certainly be discussed separately (possibly under the DH inerracy heading?), but that is really where I'm coming from in this part of the discussion.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Actually the more I've thought about this, the less happy I am with this Eutychus/Barnabas line of argument. Being dismissive of people's beliefs, and so of their conscious reasons for their actions, their own understanding of why they act as they do, seems very strange and a denial of the most personal and rational part of their conduct.

But this is precisely what you appear to do.

I talk to quite a few Muslims, most of them in prison. They appear genuinely upset that Islam is being used as a vehicle for violence today. I talked to a Christian convert from Islam last week who agreed that some Muslims in prison seek to radicalise others, but (despite his conversion to Christianity) also agreed that violence was not what Islam was essentially all about.

I find reports of your interactions with Muslims singularly lacking. It seems to me that your position is based on your intellectual problems with state-based religions and not on any actual conversations with Muslims; you certainly haven't mentioned any. Can you?

The stuff that suicide terrorists believe appears to be a DIY smorgasbord of beliefs with Islam being a convenient hook on which to hang them. One of the sources of that convenience, I believe, is the marginalisation of traditionally Islamic peoples (especially in France) and their demonisation in the media.

I'm increasingly convinced that the media has little or no bearing on reality, certainly not on individual realities that count.

I think many future terrorists are attracted to Islam not because it's inherently violent, but because a certain media-fuelled stereotype of violent Islam embodies a vent for the kind of violent alienation they feel.

Another time, another place, and Christianity could (and has been) a similarly convenient hook.

The investigation should not be into whether this or that religion is inherently violent but into the sources of this sense of alienation.

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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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Gamaliel
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Steve, I can see where you are coming from but - forgive me for my bluntness - I'm not sure it's an adequate position.

I'd go further.

Rather than respecting the humanity of those who take a contrary position, I would contend that if we take your stand-point to its logical conclusion - and probably further than you would be prepared to go, I must say - we actually end up doing the opposite. We dehumanise them.

By all means stick to your guns, but in doing so be aware that they aren't the only artillery pieces (to borrow your military metaphor) at our disposal ...

I'm not a Host but I did flinch when I read your challenge, 'if Hosts don't find it acceptable, so much the worse for the Ship.'

Why?

In what sense would your sticking to your guns make it any better or any worse for the Ship?

The Ship can cope with all manner of views, it seems to me - yours included.

I agree with you on the need to focus on the 'particular' - rather than the general. But we move from the general to the specific.

In terms of this discussion, the general and the 'common' is the tendency towards violence that human beings - and societies indeed - can and do display.

In the instance of particular religions - Islam, Judaism and Christianity - we can find examples of that tendency - and the way to deal with that is to acknowledge it and work towards alleviating those tendencies ... both within ourselves and with those around us.

In terms of your particular concerns - then yes, I think we are all agreed that close Church/State relationships can and do lead to all manner of problems - including violence. I don't see anyone denying such a thing.

Equally, with more 'voluntarist' or 'separatist' forms of church there are equal and opposite problems - not a lack of problems, just a different set of problems ...

That's the nature of it. That's the world we live in and we are all going to have to get used to ideals remaining unfulfilled to some extent or other this side of the Parousia.

I really don't see what can be gained by claiming that this, that or the other religion or sacred text is somehow intrinsically violent compared to our own. What does that achieve?

As Christians our aim should be to let the light of Christ shine and illuminate this present darkness ... not to go around picking holes in anyone else's world-view or approach.

How we do that on a practical level is where the hard bit starts.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Steve Langton
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Gamaliel;
my 'sticking to my guns' comment was effectively quoting something B62 had said earlier; no literal guns or other weapons involved, just that I preferred to continue with a line of argument that gave people credit for their expressed specific beliefs/reasons for their actions rather than an explanation which seemed more abstract and a lot less personal in its implications.

I had a distinct impression that I was being told that "You can't say that..." for reasons which didn't seem to be about the truth or logic of the situation; and I don't think it is in the Ship's interests that such attitudes should replace arguments about the truth of things, or 'partial generalisations' replace more useful specifics.

I'm not arguing about that underlying human tendency to violence - in my circles it tends to be called 'original sin' or 'all have sinned and come short of the glory of God' - but I'm also saying that is too general an explanation to be useful here. What people believe does affect their actions, and those beliefs can be usefully analysed/discussed/challenged etc in a way that can help in dealing with situations.

by Gamaliel;
quote:
In the instance of particular religions - Islam, Judaism and Christianity - we can find examples of that tendency - and the way to deal with that is to acknowledge it and work towards alleviating those tendencies ... both within ourselves and with those around us.
I thought that was what I was doing....

I'll go back a bit and post some stuff I prepared earlier - this will involve a bit of repetition but I think justified because it shows my thinking being worked out, and it also in passing partly answers one of Eutychus' questions. I started by commenting on Quetzalcoatl...

quote:
By quetzalcoatl;
It leads one to think that there is no such thing as Islam, but a number of different Islams, as with Christianities. To say that one is 'true Islam' seems to lead to a No True Scotsman (informal) fallacy.

I guess it is arguable that there are two Islams, and a bit of a period of development between them. In early days an optimistic Muhammad seems to have thought everyone would gladly voluntarily accept Islam, not only his own Arab peoples but Christians and Jews also.

Naturally it didn't work out that way, and Muhammad didn't have a strong theology of forgiveness/turning-the-other-cheek/etc such as exists in Christianity based on the cross. If there is one thing clear in the Quran and in Muslims I talk to, it's that they really don't get the cross. By the way he (mis)interpreted Jesus Muhammad ruled out the application of Christian ideas like 'turning the other cheek'. I discussed this with a Muslim I know, and his response about Muhammad's warfare was on the lines of “...and if he had a chance to get his own back....”

So on the one hand Islam is contradictory and divided about peace; unfortunately the final version both in terms of the Quran and in terms of Muhammad's conduct is the violent version which cannot therefore be claimed to be a later false development but is an integral part of Islam. QED....

'Christianities' – as regards the 'peaceableness' thing, there is only one Christianity, found in the NT; the later violent version is centuries later and massively contradicts the original.... And BTW, before we go any further down the road to Glasgow than some have already tried to take us above, I've commented before on the point that when one is discussing the development of religious ideas, and what constitutes legitimate and illegitimate development, the last thing the argument needs is some supercilious superficial twerp raising the 'no true Scotsman' spectre. Religious beliefs do develop, some developments are legitimate, some not, that can and should be discussed as an issue on its merits – the Scotsman fallacy is a completely different chain of logic and absolutely not needed on this voyage.

[back to a 'here and now' comment - the Muslim I mention would love to convince me of Islam's peaceableness - but he clearly doesn't have a good answer about Muhammad's own warfare]

I moved on to Barnabas62
quote:
And, to repeat. I don't think Islam, Judaism or Christianity are intrinsically violent. They reflect to some extent the violent tendencies to be found in human behaviour. Particularly when we perceive we are threatened.
Putting the last first as usual, 'the violent tendencies to be found in human behaviour' are indeed part of the issue. The trouble, as I pointed out above when Eutychus said summat similar, is that it's also so vague and universal an 'explanation' as to be no practical use. As I said, it's a bit like blaming air crashes just on 'gravity' and ignoring factors like human error, weather, mechanical failure, sabotage, etc. In asking about the implications of a religious state or the attempt to have such a thing, I'm raising that more useful kind of explanation. Because it is not just a 'mantra' as Eutychus put it, to say that religious states are bad; the idea of such a thing creates really problematic very real-world dynamics which are clearly likely to result in violence eventually, either by said religious state (or would-be religious state), or in reaction by those who have been provoked thereby.

B62 again;
quote:
“I don't think Islam, Judaism or Christianity are intrinsically violent”.
The relationship here is complex. But essentially Judaism and Christianity as its 'fulfilment' or completion follow a trajectory which leads from normal human ways of thinking about these things to a 'new covenant' which brings in radical new ideas. Where this starts is humanly intrinsically violent; where it ends under divine leading is decidedly not so at least for those who trust God and follow the NT teaching. Of course there are still those who don't get it, but it's there in the NT for all who care....

Islam breaks from that trajectory; it rejects the Cross (remember that in Islam Jesus doesn't even get crucified, he's supposed to be too holy), and it goes backwards from Jesus' insight and instruction that his kingdom is 'not of this world' to set up an Islamic kingdom which is very much 'of this world' and which, in the real world inevitably leads to violence despite Muhammad's own aspiration to the contrary. Also note very emphatically that by that retrograde movement Islam declares itself clearly a false religion.

by Eutychus;
quote:
by Eutychus;
Once again you are insistent on locking contemporary Islam, and by extension all contemporary Muslims, into what you see as its core historical roots, and essentially repeating your mantra that state religion is bad.

Once again you're insisting on shooting the messenger instead of the guy who's really responsible. You did this on another thread when I drew attention to the implications of 'Christendom' states treating their kings as 'second Davids' and anomalously anointing them to become in real terms 'rival Messiahs' or 'antiChrists'. You had a real go at me over that, but I didn't make that anomaly, it was made by 'Christendom'; I just analysed it. For a detailed version look on my blog. (stevesfreechurchblog)

Likewise here; I didn't set up Islam as it is, I'm just logically analysing. Despite initial aspirations of peace, Muhammad established his faith by warfare and that stands as the example his followers now go with. He created an inherently violent religion because the kind of religious state he set up can only be done violently. It is likely Muhammad would be appalled by some of what IS and other modern Muslims are doing; he didn't understand what he was setting up.

by Eutychus
quote:
By Eutychus
What are you going to say to a family like this? "Haha, told you so, I've been right all along. It's only to be expected, you're the ones who are inconsistent, why waste your time trying to practice peaceable Islam in the UK, Islam is fundamentally violent so it's normal your girl has run off to Syria"?

And;
It seems to me that retorting that this just reveals the true colours of Islam and enjoining the family to recant of their moderate Islam is not going to be helpful.

I don't recall any bit where I retorted thus, and if I were dealing with such a case 'Haha, told you so...' would certainly not be my opening gambit. Nevertheless, Islam is not a divinely given religion, it is a human invention, and a falsehood – not to mention 'inconsistent'. It needs to be recanted of. Because of the origin in Muhammad's own warfare, and in the flawed idea of a religious state, a 'peaceable' Islam can never be a stable proposition. Islam doesn't have a sound theology of peace because it rejects the Cross; at best it has an aspiration to peace which is contradicted by other aspects of the religion. In the end, for other families not to suffer as the families of those runaway girls, it is necessary to defeat and eradicate Islam; and the only legitimate way for Christians to defeat Islam is by following Jesus' instructions and eschewing warfare in favour of peaceable persuasion. That also means preaching the peaceable NT version of Christianity, and against the (Islam-like) inconsistency and anomaly of 'Christendom'.

Back to today; as I said, do bear in mind the above is a bit unpolished and was actually composed prior to my recent response to B62. And I've deliberately NOT altered/updated it. After so long a post I'll back off to let you digest it, before coming back with some answers to the more recent posts....

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Islam is not a divinely given religion, it is a human invention, and a falsehood – not to mention 'inconsistent'. It needs to be recanted of.

So how do you suggest going about this, practically? Are you going to "compel them to enter"...?
quote:
bear in mind the above is a bit unpolished and was actually composed prior to my recent response to B62. And I've deliberately NOT altered/updated it.
If you're treating this thread as a medium in which to publish pre-written installments of your pontifications, it might go some way to explaining why this feels so little like a discussion; and discussion is the vocation of this board.

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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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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Religious beliefs do develop, some developments are legitimate, some not, that can and should be discussed as an issue on its merits

And it seems to me that you are setting yourself up as the arbiter of what is and isn't a "legitimate development" of Islam, viewing it through your approach to the Christian scriptures.
quote:
I didn't set up Islam as it is, I'm just logically analysing.(...) In the end, for other families not to suffer as the families of those runaway girls, it is necessary to defeat and eradicate Islam
This problem won't get solved by sheer cerebral logic, especially not sheer logic that uses vocabulary like "eradicate" in the name of non-violence. The problem with your approach, which your response doesn't mitigate in the slightest, is that you appear to overlook the human element entirely.

People - even the most radicalised - are not just sets of ideological beliefs that they can simply be argued out of or made to "recant". They are individuals with emotions and histories and families; they are flesh and blood. Like you, they may well be seeking to be God-fearing. I don't get any feel for any of that at all in your approach.

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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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Alex Cockell

Ship’s penguin
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"People - even the most radicalised - are not just sets of ideological beliefs that they can simply be argued out of or made to "recant". They are individuals with emotions and histories and families; they are flesh and blood. Like you, they may well be seeking to be God-fearing. I don't get any feel for any of that at all in your approach."

Yes - except that ISIS is waging total war. They want to KILL US!

They have already massacred Christian and other civilians minding their own business, and they want to overthrow other states violently.

It could be argued that if they want total war - that a proportionate response that they WOULD understand would be to send in the B52s, and in the words of some commenters out there - "carpet-bomb the fuck out of them".

It continues...
They want to take on the full force of NATO and ex-WARPAC...

Give it to them. in spades. Rolling Thunder, MOABs...

For the record, ISIS declared war on EVERYONE else.

Follow up with humanitarian efforts - but deal with the military threat first. but F/A-18s nibbling away at the edges may not help.

OK - I'm thinking conventional military... but Jordan seem to be doing a pretty good job at the mo.

ISIS also take Surah 9 as a standing order. Basically "force people to conver or blow the fuck out of them".

Sometimes hitting a foe hard is needed. Roosevelt had it with "speak softly and carry a big stick".

Some threats cannot be appeased... of course there's the fact that Jesus WILL be laying an almighty smackdown when He returns....

[ 09. March 2015, 07:47: Message edited by: Alex Cockell ]

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Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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Firstly, ISIS is an organisation, not an individual.

Secondly, much as chunks of the media and the political spectrum would like you to believe it, ISIS is not representative of the whole of Islam, which is what this thread is about.

Thirdly, I think I can safely claim to have met and interacted with more killers, torturers, and psychopaths than most Shipmates, and I reiterate my claim that they are still flesh-and-blood individuals with emotions, relatives, and so on.

To consider even the Jihadi Johns of this world as somehow of a different, inhuman species to us is to negate our own inherent human propensity for evil and violence (or original sin if you prefer) and believe we are of a superior moral race. I think this runs entirely counter to the New Testament and ultimately results in the worst forms of atrocity against other humans.

Of course it is much easier to demonize the "enemy" than engage with them.

The point of this thread as far as I'm concerned is to discuss how I as a Christian can or should engage with Muslims on an individual basis and with Islam in general.

I am not a theologian, still less a scholar of Muslim theology, so I have little chance of contributing to the debate on that level. I do a) have some ideas about the Kingdom of God and the role of the Christian in society, and b) opportunities for personal interaction with Muslims.

The upshot of this is that a) I am using the opportunities I have to encourage the inclusion of Islam in the public sphere here in France, because I believe that the inclusion of all religions in the public sphere is fundamental to protestant-inspired secularity (laïcité) and the relationship of Church and State, and one way of combating Islamic radicalisation b) I am attempting to love my Muslim neighbour as an individual, not see them as a potential threat.

I personally don't rule out military intervention against ISIS, but I think it will take more than that to quash violence in the name of Islam. I'm not very interested in discussing the military aspects simply because there's not much I can do about them. I will be interested to see whether Steve Langton interacts with you on that issue though...

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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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Good post, Eutychus. (The one just above this.)

One thing that the (American) media has gotten right is consistently referring to ISIS as "the self-proclaimed Islamic state". IE, they're on their own power trip, and do not speak for Islam nor most Muslims.

Now, if we could just figure out how to stop ISIS in its plans to bring forth the End Times.

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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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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Alex Cockell:

It continues...
They want to take on the full force of NATO and ex-WARPAC...

Give it to them. in spades. Rolling Thunder, MOABs...

WTF do you suggest these be targeted at? ISIS is a regime of a few people terrorising the majority of the population - even in their heartland.
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quetzalcoatl
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Yes, why not bomb some of the Sunni tribes - what possible harm could it do? Save us from armchair warriors.

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Gamaliel
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@Steve Langton ...

I'm entirely sure you've understood the point I was trying to make but that's more likely to be my fault rather than yours ...

However, just as a matter of historical record, there wasn't ever just 'one Christianity' - you can see hints of variations even within the pages of the NT.

What eventually emerged was a consensus on what was orthodox and what wasn't - and the NT scriptures played a key role in that, of course - but they weren't the only means used. If you read the Fathers they are forever protesting that the schismatics and Gnostics are the ones who quote the scriptures - and who quote them out of context ... the context of the tradition (small t or Big T) out of which the scriptures emerged.

It's one of those both/and things ...

As for Islam, there are more than 'two' varieties of it ... and, as within Judaism and within Christianity, a wide range of varying views.

I will agree with you on the cross aspect - a key aspect that Islam has overlooked ... alongside the Trinity too, of course.

You can't isolate the cross from the entirety of the 'Christ-event' - the whole thing is 'of a piece'. But you knew that already.

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Steve Langton
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by Eutychus;
quote:
So how do you suggest going about this, practically? Are you going to "compel them to enter"...?
No, any compelling is up to God, not me. Although my arguments/reasoning should be as 'compelling' as possible in a non-violent way. To be 'compelling', the arguments need to be consistent with the 'New Covenant' so that they can carry their full weight and divine power. Therefore they need to be arguments which reject the 'religious state' idea for Christians as well as Muslims, and advocate instead Jesus' 'kingdom not of this world'.

by Eutychus;

quote:
If you're treating this thread as a medium in which to publish pre-written installments of your pontifications, it might go some way to explaining why this feels so little like a discussion; and discussion is the vocation of this board.

No, I'm not, and I hope that what I did above will remain a one-off. I had a backlog of things I'd been preparing as discussion responses and been delayed in putting out - they seemed to answer some of the points you'd raised and it seemed useful in making some of my points to post them as they were rather than do an up-to-date summary. OK, yes, I'm sometimes going off-line to prepare responses in an effort to avoid some of my aspergic communication problems, which tend to show more in more instant responses - it's a bit of a compromise and I suppose does take away some of the immediacy of discussion, but hopefully reduces misunderstandings.

by Eutychus;
quote:
And it seems to me that you are setting yourself up as the arbiter of what is and isn't a "legitimate development" of Islam, viewing it through your approach to the Christian scriptures.
In the comment you're responding to there, I'm simply trying to ensure we do get discussion on a proper basis without the irrelevant and inappropriate 'Scotsman fallacy'. That is, I made the point that religions do develop in various ways and some are good and consistent developments, some are bad and ultimately inconsistent with the original. Such developments should. for the benefit of everyone involved, be discussed on their merits and the discussion not derailed by glib references to the completely different 'logic' of the Scotsman fallacy.

No, I'm not the 'arbiter' - I'm just saying how things look to me and you're welcome to discuss it. Accusing me of 'setting up as an arbiter' is NOT a discussion of the issue. In this case 'how things look to me' is that Muhammad had indeed an aspiration to peace but also built into Islam the contradictory idea of an Islamic state which metaphorically and literally fights against that aspiration to peace. I've only had time for a quick scan, but Alex Cockell seems to be making a fair point in quoting Surah 9....

by Eutychus;
quote:
This problem won't get solved by sheer cerebral logic, especially not sheer logic that uses vocabulary like "eradicate" in the name of non-violence. The problem with your approach, which your response doesn't mitigate in the slightest, is that you appear to overlook the human element entirely.

People - even the most radicalised - are not just sets of ideological beliefs that they can simply be argued out of or made to "recant". They are individuals with emotions and histories and families; they are flesh and blood. Like you, they may well be seeking to be God-fearing. I don't get any feel for any of that at all in your approach.

The only reason you're not feeling that is because I'm basically assuming it - and tackling the problem, which is the 'sets of ideological beliefs' that fight against the humanity; and by their nature need to be defeated in argument as well as countered in other ways. The point you seemed to be missing is that rounded humanity in this case involves the rational as well as the sentimental etc.

('vocabulary like "eradicate"' - You must have problems with Jesus and Paul as well, as they also use 'violent' language yet about the peaceable - e.g., 'the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God')

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Steve Langton
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by Gamaliel;
quote:
I'm entirely sure you've understood the point I was trying to make but that's more likely to be my fault rather than yours ...
I have the impression that you've missed a 'not' there!

by Gamaliel;
quote:
However, just as a matter of historical record, there wasn't ever just 'one Christianity' - you can see hints of variations even within the pages of the NT.
Christianity is certainly not narrow; but there are limits. My comment on 'Christianities' concerned the point that for the issue on this thread, there is effectively only one 'Christianity', the peaceable version; that the non-peaceable 'Christendom' version is clearly a late development with at least a very,very strong argument that it is an illegitimate development. I contrasted this with Islam where the physical this-worldly warfare goes right back to the beginning and it is hard to convincingly argue that it's an illegitimate development.
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Barnabas62
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Steve Langton

You appear to have ignored this post in which I make a quite specific (not vague) connection between the human tendency to violence and the extent to which Holy Books may sometimes reflect that, as well as resisting that.

Your repeated dismissal of the value of acknowledging the universal human tendencies towards violence (too vague to be of any use) seems to ignore the more general problem of Holy Books, their contents and the use and abuse of them, in favour of a critique of one of the "people of the Book" religions. I think that's partial, ignores the more general root problem, ignores the need for both self-criticism and better inter-faith understanding.

Rather like Eutychus, I come from the nonconformist, renewed, evangelical wing of the church, so I think we both have a high view of the inspiration of scripture. It may be a puzzle to you that our views diverge radically from yours. I think we're both trying to explain that divergence as best we can.

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Steve Langton
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by Barnabas62;
quote:
You appear to have ignored this post in which I make a quite specific (not vague) connection between the human tendency to violence and the extent to which Holy Books may sometimes reflect that, as well as resisting that.
Not ignoring, still pondering. Some partial answers in my earlier long post....
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Steve Langton
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PS:
@B62;
Note this from my long post above;
quote:
The relationship here is complex. But essentially Judaism and Christianity as its 'fulfilment' or completion follow a trajectory which leads from normal human ways of thinking about these things to a 'new covenant' which brings in radical new ideas. Where this starts is humanly intrinsically violent; where it ends under divine leading is decidedly not so at least for those who trust God and follow the NT teaching. Of course there are still those who don't get it, but it's there in the NT for all who care....

Islam breaks from that trajectory; it rejects the Cross (remember that in Islam Jesus doesn't even get crucified, he's supposed to be too holy), and it goes backwards from Jesus' insight and instruction that his kingdom is 'not of this world' to set up an Islamic kingdom which is very much 'of this world' and which, in the real world inevitably leads to violence despite Muhammad's own aspiration to the contrary. Also note very emphatically that by that retrograde movement Islam declares itself clearly a false religion.


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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Islam breaks from that trajectory; it rejects the Cross


So what.

You can just as easily say 'Christianity rejects Islam.

[code]

[ 09. March 2015, 15:48: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Gamaliel
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Well spotted Steve Langton ... I had missed out a 'not' ... it should have been 'not entirely sure' ...

[Hot and Hormonal]

I think Barnabas62 is making a similar point to the one I was struggling to make.

You appear to be applying your own standard for assessing scriptural texts to the Islamic approach - which might not be comparing like with like.

What Christianity, Islam and Judaism have in common - as the three 'Abrahamic' faiths - is a commitment to particular sacred texts - 'People of the Book'.

That doesn't mean that each approaches those texts in the same way. I'm certainly not qualified in any way to comment on Judaism but I've read sufficiently and met enough Jewish people to come to realise that they don't necessarily approach the scriptures in the same way as Christians do.

I would imagine that it would be the same with the way different traditions within Islam approach their texts.

What you appear unable to appreciate is that your particular 'take' on the NT is just that - a particular 'take' ...

Not everyone takes the view that it was all lovely and wonderful in the 1st century then it all went horribly wrong so by the time we get to the 4th century things have become horrendous.

Ok - I know that's a very condensed and unnuanced summary of your actual position but essentially that's what you're saying.

Not only that, you're turning it into a lens through which to view Islam. They don't have a 'Turn the other cheek', Sermon on the Mount /Beatitudes heritage so therefore they are inherently violent ...

I don't see how that follows.

Of course, as a fully Trinitarian Christian with a high view of the scriptures and the historic creeds, I'm going to say that Islam is 'deficient' in a way that Christianity isn't - Christianity has the fullness of the Truth as it is in Jesus.

That doesn't mean that I have to conclude that there is no truth in it whatsoever nor that it is inherently violent as a belief system.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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quetzalcoatl
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It's also reifying Islam to a prodigious degree. Surely, there is no Islam, but Islams, yes. My oldest friend was a Sufi, non-violent, loving, God-intoxicated. Ah, maybe he was No True Muslim!

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Eutychus
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I find myself agreeing with Gamaliel.

As a protestant I find I'm still getting to grips with how Catholics and Orthodox approach the Christian scriptures, let alone understand how other faiths view theirs.

That said, I'm really not convinced that to be internally coherent, Islam has to tie everything back to verses in the Koran in the way an evangelical systematic theology would seek to for the Bible.

Plenty of Muslims argue that Islam is not inherently violent. Let's give them the space to try and prove it is my wager.

(And while Jesus and Paul may talk about swords, I think words like "eradicate" and "recant" are in another league).

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Steve Langton
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by leo;
quote:
quote:

Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Islam breaks from that trajectory; it rejects the Cross

So what.

You can just as easily say 'Christianity rejects Islam'.

No, not 'just as easily' because Christianity and Islam are 'asymmetric' with each other (or something very similar). Christianity (and Judaism) comes first, Islam is effectively dependent on its forerunners. Christianity is initially simply 'there', and had been for centuries, when Islam comes along and rejects a whole string of Christian beliefs. After Islam has done that, Christians may reasonably look at Islam's claims and say that they don't accept that Islamic rejection, and therefore, reasonably, that they reject Islam itself as not a legitimate extension/development of the Christian tradition.

Fact; Christianity includes Jesus dying on the Cross, and many things which flow from that, including the Trinity, the 'New Covenant' and the resulting 'kingdom not of this world'.

Fact; Islam denies that and most of the other implications of the Cross including the Trinity, a coherent theology of divine forgiveness, and also denies the 'kingdom not of this world' in favour of a 'this-world' Islamic state.

Where is your sense of historic perspective?

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Steve Langton
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by Gamaliel;
quote:
That doesn't mean that I have to conclude that there is no truth in it whatsoever nor that it is inherently violent as a belief system.
I'm not concluding there is 'no truth in it whatsoever'. Clearly there is quite a lot of truth; truth is truth wherever it comes from. BUT once Muhammad led his community in war, it gets a bit difficult to claim 'inherent peaceableness'.
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Eutychus
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Granted. But "inherently violent / inherently peaceable" would be a rather binary way of classifying what is an obviously much more complex reality.

And while the message of Christianity might, arguably, be "inherently peaceable", the same cannot be said of Christianity as practised.

[ 09. March 2015, 19:20: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Steve Langton
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by Eutychus;
quote:
Granted. But "inherently violent / inherently peaceable" would be a rather binary way of classifying what is an obviously much more complex reality.

And while the message of Christianity might, arguably, be "inherently peaceable", the same cannot be said of Christianity as practised.

If you read back I think you will find I'm not being simplistically binary; I'm seeing the reality in terms of aspiration of peace brought down by the contradictory aspiration of setting up an Islamic state. Quite a complex situation....

'Christianity as practiced' Yes, Christianity has been wrongly practiced - but isn't that rather the point? Christianity is indeed inherently peaceable, precisely because Christianity rejects the religious state approach. Just because someone comes along later (3-4 centuries later) and distorts it does not alter that basic fact. Sorting that out involves comparing and going back to the original, which can be straightforwardly done via the NT. (And note that the tension between original Christianity and distorted 'Christendom' has in fact significantly corrected the distortion over the years anyway, making most modern Christianity very different to the medieval version)

How do you sort it out with Islam, where the original prophet supplies both the peaceable teaching AND the example of warfare, and the 'Holy Book' contains both aspects totally interlaced?

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Eutychus
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It is because you keep posting stuff like this:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Christianity is indeed inherently peaceable, precisely because Christianity rejects the religious state approach.

that I end up taking stuff like this
quote:
Islam, where the original prophet supplies both the peaceable teaching AND the example of warfare, and the 'Holy Book' contains both aspects totally interlaced?
as not being a serious challenge.

You are arguing (again) as if the only thing that has ever made Christianity violent is a religious state approach, and ignoring (again) those Muslims who seem to manage to extract a peaceable religion out of their Book and subsequent teachings, or dismissing them as inconsistent.

And besides, the same charge applies to your Holy Book, however much you seek to emphasise the NT or contextualise the OT - unless you want to redefine the canon.

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
'Christianity as practiced' Yes, Christianity has been wrongly practiced - but isn't that rather the point? Christianity is indeed inherently peaceable, precisely because Christianity rejects the religious state approach. Just because someone comes along later (3-4 centuries later) and distorts it does not alter that basic fact. Sorting that out involves comparing and going back to the original, which can be straightforwardly done via the NT. (And note that the tension between original Christianity and distorted 'Christendom' has in fact significantly corrected the distortion over the years anyway, making most modern Christianity very different to the medieval version)

Steve, allow me to remind you of the gentle warning given here.

The Ship's Ten Commandments includes Commandment 8:

quote:
8. Don't crusade

Don't use these boards to promote personal crusades. This space is not here for people to pursue specific agendas and win converts.

Very often, that's not a commandment that is broken by one specific post. It's broken if the same agenda is raised by the same poster, on several threads, even if they are only tangentally related to that agenda.

There are threads where a repeated insistence that this-or-that interpretation of Christianity is the only true version and the others are distortions, but this is a thread specifically about Islam and violence, not Christianity and nationality/politics. Obviously comparisions between other religions and Islam are on-topic, but the continued diversion of the thread away from the main point and onto the “What is true Christianity?” question is beginning to make it look as if you are using the Islam angle as a peg on which to hang your usual colours.

There's nothing to stop you from starting a thread on the true nature of Christianity and its relation to national statehood, and if you can find takers for that discussion, you can discuss all your points there. Please do not divert this or any other thread on a different topic for that purpose. To do so risks being seen as crusading.

If you do not understand this warning, or disagree with it, please raise that issue in the Styx.


Eliab
Purgatory Host

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Steve Langton
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by Eutychus;
quote:
You are arguing (again) as if the only thing that has ever made Christianity violent is a religious state approach, and ignoring (again) those Muslims who seem to manage to extract a peaceable religion out of their Book and subsequent teachings, or dismissing them as inconsistent.

And besides, the same charge applies to your Holy Book, however much you seek to emphasise the NT or contextualise the OT - unless you want to redefine the canon.

Individual Christians and occasionally churches have sometimes shown violence without the idea of a religious state being involved; as you say yourself, this is general human sinfulness. It remains true that the vast bulk of Christian violence has involved the religious state idea and such events as Crusades and the Inquisition are pretty much impossible except on such a basis. And it remains true that if you analyse the idea it clearly has that potential in multiple ways, including that the 'Christian state' idea provides excuses/justifications for nominally peaceable Christians to behave violently and believe it to be God's will.

Islam presents similar problems and for similar reasons. The difference is that in Christianity there are reasons in the faith to be peaceable, there is a positive theology of peace going back to the NT and even to OT promises and prophecies. In Islam all the distinctive reasons that exist in Christianity have been rejected and violence exists from square one with Muhammad's own warfare.

No, the same does not apply to my Holy Book (which I thought was also yours) precisely because over that long history there is development which leads to that 'New Covenant' and a different view of how people can be "God's holy nation" in the world. I have no need at all to change the 'canon' to come to my conclusions. But when another religion comes along claiming to be related to Christianity but demonstrably going retrograde on this key point, I draw the rather obvious conclusions....

I wish I could believe the peaceable Muslims would win the argument; the trouble is that when faced with alienation, the violent option is simply there and will be taken up. There is no counter-theology as opposed to mere aspiration.

Having said that, Eliab, I give up pro tem. I don't think I can realistically avoid the problems you're worried about precisely because the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition is thoroughly intertwined and it's hard to discuss any of it in isolation as you seem to be requiring. Right now there is no likelihood I could sustain a thread dealing directly with the church/state issues as such; I've been struggling a bit to keep up on this one.

It's a pity the 'crusading' rules are so strict, given the life-and-death nature of this particular issue; but as I say. pro tem I yield.

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Gamaliel
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To an extent, I think Steve Langton is right insofar that - on the surface at least - it appears to be more difficult for Islam to extricate itself from a 'caliphate' mentality - to whatever extent that is held - without compromising or doing damage to what appear to be its intentions ...

I've not expressed that very well ... but I think you'll get my gist.

From what I have gleaned about Islam, the focus is on living out one's faith in the public sphere - although I accept that there are more mystical or 'interiorised' forms of Islamic spirituality - such as Sufism.

Whether this necessitates some kind of caliphate or 'Islamic state' run on apparently Islamic principles - such as sharia law etc - is a moot point. My own view - which is one in which I'm open to correction - is that over the centuries Islam will indeed become rather more 'interiorised' and 'personal'/individualistic than it generally is now ... and I think that's a pattern you can see across all major religions - including Christianity.

At the risk of pontificating/diagnosing what's going on here on this thread - I would suggest that it is equally as difficult for Steve Langton to stop 'crusading' as it would be for certain types of Islam to abandon the idea of a caliphate ...

Why do I say that?

Because it seems to me that the dichotomy between what Steve sees as 'true Christianity' and 'Christendom' is part and parcel of his spiritual make-up. On one level, he cannot but 'campaign' and 'crusade' ... it's part of who he is and how he defines himself in spiritual terms.

To that extent, I'd agree with him that there are analogies to be drawn between the kind of religious violence demonstrated during the Crusades and so on and the kind of jihadi violence we've seen within Islam.

There are parallels and analogies, certainly - but that's about as far as I'd go. All analogies are by their nature incomplete attempts to 'nail' something and with the Christianity = good / Islam = bad or not so good dichotomy I'm not sure we're always comparing like with like.

Steve also believes that any church/state or religion/state connection is a matter of 'life and death' because such connections can and do lead to persecution of unbelievers/heretics or religious violence a la the Crusades of jihadist campaigns.

Well ... sure, but it's equally true that arrangements of this kind can have a positive effect ... the whole thing is a mixed economy.

Anyhow, that's matter for another thread rather than this one - although I can understand how the two aspects are entwined in Steve Langton's 'take' on things.

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quetzalcoatl
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I also think it's likely that Islam will become more secularized; and maybe this is already happening. I can't remember the stats, but in France, mosque attendance is quite low, and also in Iran. Some Arab countries had a long period of secular government, so I don't see why this should not happen again. The events in Egypt showed that many people are unhappy with Islamist government.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
To an extent, I think Steve Langton is right insofar that - on the surface at least - it appears to be more difficult for Islam to extricate itself from a 'caliphate' mentality - to whatever extent that is held - without compromising or doing damage to what appear to be its intentions ...

The issue I have with Steve's thought is that he is trying to map the trajectory of Islam on that of Christianity.

It's like those who say that 'Islam needs a Reformation'; to which the answers are "yes it does", "no it doesn't" or "it's already had one" (if by Reformation you mean 'ad fontes' then you could argue that Qutb and his fellow travellers have done just that - or you could argue that they've taken a modernist/literalist angle on the whole thing that owes more to John Henry Darby than Luther - if you mean something like a wholesale embracing of Higher Criticism followed by a retrenchment then you may be waiting a while, and one could also argue fairly convincingly that these things were only possible in Western Europe because Christianity was in a position of strength, Strauss came from within a Christianized nation after all).

I'd argue that Steve ignores (no surprise) tradition, and the role Islamic tradition plays in the formation of the Islam. After all, it's not as if the Quran exists in a vacuum. We have hundreds of years of Islamic thought alongside the Quran itself, which has tried to wrestle with the various perspectives one can get out of the Quran, and the teachings that are particular to the various periods in Mohammed's life.

On a simplistic level, people are generally fairly ingenious at finding reasonings in their religion for living the quiet life - especially if it means prosperity, order and a better life for their children.

The problem at the moment, is that a lot of the ways in which the debate is handled is almost calculated to polarise opinion amongst muslims and push them in the direction of trying to defend the indefensible. Playing the role of bringing civilisation to the savages is rarely likely to endear people to you.

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Christianity (and Judaism) comes first, Islam is effectively dependent on its forerunners. Christianity is initially simply 'there', and had been for centuries, when Islam comes along and rejects a whole string of Christian beliefs. After Islam has done that, Christians may reasonably look at Islam's claims and say that they don't accept that Islamic rejection, and therefore, reasonably, that they reject Islam itself as not a legitimate extension/development of the Christian tradition.

You're showing a medieval view - that islam is some sort of Christian heresy in its own right.

You may as well say that Christianity is a Jewish heresy.

Muslims believe that the gospels are full of errors because they disagree with each other and were written down a long time after the events they describe.

You are judging someone else's religion from your own perspective. Muslims judge other religions by THEIR own perspective and by the belief that the final revelation to Muhammad (pbuh) corrected the mistakes in Christianity.

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Posts: 23198 | From: Bristol | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Alex Cockell

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One fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity can be seen in their final standing orders...

Christianity -
The Great Commission

16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [e]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [f]always, even to the end of the age.”

Islam according to the Koran

Context
http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/swordverse.htm


THE QURAN 9:1-8

Chapter (sura) 9 has a couple of different names (and transliterations). Usually it is called "Repentance", in Arabic (Al-Tawbah), or "The Ultimatum" or "Release" (Bara’ah). Below is Chapter 9, verses 1-8, from Dawood’s7 English translation of the Quran. For a Quran comparison, I’ll list these verses in a couple of different translations in appendix 1.

9:1 A declaration of immunity from God and His apostle to the idolaters with whom you have made agreements:

9:2 For four months you shall go unmolested in the land. But know that you shall not escape God’s judgement, and that God will humble the unbelievers.

9:3 A proclamation to the people from God and His apostle on the day of the greater pilgrimage:

God and His apostle are under no obligation to the idolaters. If you repent, it shall be well with you; but if you give no heed, know that you shall not be immune from God’s judgement.

Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers,

9:4 except to those idolaters who have honoured their treaties with you in every detail and aided none against you. With these keep faith, until their treaties have run their term. God loves the righteous.

9:5 When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful.

9:6 If an idolater seeks asylum with you, give him protection so that he may hear the Word of God, and then convey him to safety. For the idolaters are ignorant men.

9:7 God and His apostle repose no trust in idolaters, save those with whom you have made treaties at the Sacred Mosque. So long as they keep faith with you, keep faith with them. God loves the righteous.

9:8 How can you trust them? If they prevail against you they will respect neither agreements nor ties of kindred. They flatter you with their tongues, but their hearts reject you. Most of them are evil doers.



It would appear that while there are periods of warfare in JudeoChristian history - a lot of these were timelocked, and presented as history. Not a standing order.

It would appear, however, that a literal reading of Surah 9:5 does NOT allow that interpretation - thai it is a standing order for religio-military action.

ISIS claim to be "true Muslims"; they claimed that Mecca was "idolatrous" when they declared war on Saudi (I saw that tweet go out).

They declare themselves to be a nation-state - they almost seem to declare themselves as the Westboro Baptist Church of Islam...

Only they're not justa bunch of wingnuts picketing funerals - they are actually killing people.

The question does arise - they are a military threat to everyone else... they're public with trying to recreate a Caliphate... do we talk them down? Or do we (the rest of the world) take them at their word and call back to CS Lewis Muscular Christianity (Praise the Lord and pass the ammo)?

Do we teach them not to bring AKs when their declared enemies have strategic bombers and Tomahawk missiles?

Hard call to make.

Posts: 2146 | From: Reading, Berkshire UK | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Alex Cockell

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Apologies for missing the edit window - but in the words of Badger in Wind In The Willows when he, Toad , Ratty etc took back Toad Hall...

Do we "teach" ISIS, or do we "learn" them?

Google Groups discussion over Badger "learning" the Weasels through percussive correction.
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/wittrs/KRErNAdP4y8

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Eutychus
From the edge
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quote:
Originally posted by Alex Cockell:
It would appear, however, that a literal reading of Surah 9:5 does NOT allow that interpretation - thai it is a standing order for religio-military action.

Why are you apparently insistent on arguing that "true" Muslims must interpret it literally?

It seems to me you're stipulating how Muslims should interpret their Holy Book in order to have a good excuse to indiscriminately attack with disproportionate violence.

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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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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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I like the use of 'time-locked' to refer to the use of violence by Christians; well, they managed to burn people for about 1000 years. Some time-lock!

It sounds rather like the rationale used by the jihadists!

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Alex Cockell:

It would appear, however, that a literal reading of Surah 9:5 does NOT allow that interpretation - thai it is a standing order for religio-military action.

Do you believe that verses in the Bible can be taken in isolation, or do you believe you have to understand them in their context? Why do you assume that the Quran is any different.

Not to mention that Islam tends to have had more of an interpretative tradition (in the 'Talmudic' sense) than Christianity does.

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quetzalcoatl
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But surely, some Christians have a deep insight into Islamic thinking? After all, they have made a thorough study of Islamic writings, including the hadith, and have studied at the feet of eminent scholars. How could they be mistaken?

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
To an extent, I think Steve Langton is right insofar that - on the surface at least - it appears to be more difficult for Islam to extricate itself from a 'caliphate' mentality - to whatever extent that is held - without compromising or doing damage to what appear to be its intentions ...

I've not expressed that very well ... but I think you'll get my gist.

From what I have gleaned about Islam, the focus is on living out one's faith in the public sphere - although I accept that there are more mystical or 'interiorised' forms of Islamic spirituality - such as Sufism.

Whether this necessitates some kind of caliphate or 'Islamic state' run on apparently Islamic principles - such as sharia law etc - is a moot point. My own view - which is one in which I'm open to correction - is that over the centuries Islam will indeed become rather more 'interiorised' and 'personal'/individualistic than it generally is now ... and I think that's a pattern you can see across all major religions - including Christianity.

At the risk of pontificating/diagnosing what's going on here on this thread - I would suggest that it is equally as difficult for Steve Langton to stop 'crusading' as it would be for certain types of Islam to abandon the idea of a caliphate ...

Why do I say that?

Because it seems to me that the dichotomy between what Steve sees as 'true Christianity' and 'Christendom' is part and parcel of his spiritual make-up. On one level, he cannot but 'campaign' and 'crusade' ... it's part of who he is and how he defines himself in spiritual terms.

To that extent, I'd agree with him that there are analogies to be drawn between the kind of religious violence demonstrated during the Crusades and so on and the kind of jihadi violence we've seen within Islam.

There are parallels and analogies, certainly - but that's about as far as I'd go. All analogies are by their nature incomplete attempts to 'nail' something and with the Christianity = good / Islam = bad or not so good dichotomy I'm not sure we're always comparing like with like.

Steve also believes that any church/state or religion/state connection is a matter of 'life and death' because such connections can and do lead to persecution of unbelievers/heretics or religious violence a la the Crusades of jihadist campaigns.

Well ... sure, but it's equally true that arrangements of this kind can have a positive effect ... the whole thing is a mixed economy.

Anyhow, that's matter for another thread rather than this one - although I can understand how the two aspects are entwined in Steve Langton's 'take' on things.

Steve Langton is prefectly capable of telling the Ship what he thinks without your help. Stop putting words into other poster's mouths. It's irritating and makes you look like a jerk. [ETA: Focus on telling the Ship what you think]

Tubbs
Member Admin

[ 10. March 2015, 20:30: Message edited by: Tubbs ]

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

Posts: 12701 | From: Someplace strange | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Steve Langton
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# 17601

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Er, thanks, Tubbs....

Sorry, Eliab, leo has rather forced my hand with this....

by leo
quote:
Islam is some sort of Christian heresy in its own right.
I don't see how it can be realistically claimed that Islam is a 'stand-alone' religion independent of the Judeo-Christian roots to which the Quran constantly refers. Therefore either we accept its claim to 'correct' Christianity (and Judaism), or we regard its differences as 'heresy' subverting Christian teaching. Muhammad himself doesn't seem to have intended us to have other options. My view here is not 'medieval' but commonsense.

by leo
quote:
You may as well say that Christianity is a Jewish heresy.
I assume that Jewish people think it is! That's a different argument. But note that if Christianity is not a legitimate development of Judaism, Islam which incorporates Christianity must be regarded as even less legitimate a development thereof.

Also note that the argument I'm making is that Christianity develops from Judaism in one very particular way which is of direct relevance to the 'Islamic violence' discussions. That is, by 'going global' beyond the Jewish nation, but as a 'kingdom not of this world', Christianity introduced a new and inherently peaceable way to be the people of God in the world, extensively expounded in the NT. While I'm not going to expound the point at length here (Eliab is probably already unhappy with what I'm saying here!), I regard that as a legitimate development of things foreshadowed/foretold/prophesied in Judaism. But if so, then what Muhammad subsequently does in setting up an Islamic state as the way to be God's people in the world, is clearly a massive retrograde step, the effects of which are reverberating right down to here/now. That is not just 'heresy' it is contradiction and outright denial of Christian teaching.

by leo;
quote:
Muslims believe that the gospels are full of errors because they disagree with each other and were written down a long time after the events they describe.
Muslims mostly appear to have a different view of the concept of 'inspiration'. If anything what you are saying here emphasises my point on the difficulty for Islam in 'getting round' the Quranic texts which teach the ideas of the Islamic State (not to be totally identified with the current organisation claiming that title!). Christian belief regarded the Gospels as 'Word of God' despite those 'disagreements' and despite the time between the events and the production of the Gospels; Islam is clearly much more 'literalist' in its approach to both the Judeo-Christian tradition and its own scriptures.

by leo;
quote:
You are judging someone else's religion from your own perspective. Muslims judge other religions by THEIR own perspective and by the belief that the final revelation to Muhammad (pbuh) corrected the mistakes in Christianity.
'pbuh' is 'peace be upon him' isn't it? Black irony in the context of this discussion, I feel....

Of course I'm looking at Islam 'from my own perspective' – and equally, being aware of that, trying very hard to step outside that perspective if I can. But saying that is not an objective argument – on the contrary, it runs the risk of relegating everything to just subjective opinion. Where's your objective refutation of what I'm saying?? Or your objective comment on the Islamic perspective???

And I suspect at serious risk of the wrath of Eliab...

by quetzalcoatl;
quote:
It sounds rather like the rationale used by the jihadists!

Christianity didn't burn people; a distortion called 'Christendom' came along centuries later and did that. 'Christendom' thought this was OK because, in contradiction of the NT , 'Christendom' set up a 'Christian state'. The rationale used by 'Christendom' and by 'the jihadists' are therefore not 'rather like' one another - they are identical. Except, as I've been saying, 'Christendom' was doing something deeply contradictory of the original teaching of Christianity; 'the jihadists', as far as I can see, are doing things very much in line with the original teaching of their religion and the specific example of their prophet.
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Eutychus
From the edge
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Islam is clearly much more 'literalist' in its approach to both the Judeo-Christian tradition and its own scriptures.

That is precisely what I think you are failing to demonstrate. It suits your argument, but you haven't provided any third-party evidence at all.
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
Islam tends to have had more of an interpretative tradition (in the 'Talmudic' sense) than Christianity does.

I think that's much nearer the mark.

(And posting not in my hostly capacity, you are very definitely pushing your luck with your last paragraph)

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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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Gamaliel
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# 812

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Fair enough Tubbs, I made myself look a jerk. I wasn't trying to do Steve's job for him .
. but I can see how it came across that way. Apologies to Steve and other Shipmates.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15997 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Steve Langton
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by Eutychus;
quote:
It suits your argument, but you haven't provided any third-party evidence at all.
My comment here was in the context of leo's statements on Muslim ideas about the gospels.

My overall position remains as was; Islam contains a deep inconsistency between the aspiration of peace and the indisputable setting up by Muhammad of an Islamic 'kingdom of this world' state, which necessarily conflicts with the peaceable aspiration. Oh, and see my quote in that long post from a Muslim I'm having conversations with....

Thanks for your warning; but I wasn't going to let quetzalcoatl get away with
quote:
I like the use of 'time-locked' to refer to the use of violence by Christians; well, they managed to burn people for about 1000 years. Some time-lock!

It sounds rather like the rationale used by the jihadists!

and I somehow don't think anyone else was going to challenge him. If his comment was justified on the thread, I believe my riposte was also.
Posts: 2245 | From: Stockport UK | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Eutychus;
quote:
It suits your argument, but you haven't provided any third-party evidence at all.
My comment here was in the context of leo's statements on Muslim ideas about the gospels.

My overall position remains as was; Islam contains a deep inconsistency between the aspiration of peace and the indisputable setting up by Muhammad of an Islamic 'kingdom of this world' state, which necessarily conflicts with the peaceable aspiration. Oh, and see my quote in that long post from a Muslim I'm having conversations with....

Thanks for your warning; but I wasn't going to let quetzalcoatl get away with
quote:
I like the use of 'time-locked' to refer to the use of violence by Christians; well, they managed to burn people for about 1000 years. Some time-lock!

It sounds rather like the rationale used by the jihadists!

and I somehow don't think anyone else was going to challenge him. If his comment was justified on the thread, I believe my riposte was also.

It's striking that you seem to be agreeing with the militants' view of Islam. They would also say that they preach (and practise) authentic Islam, and the peaceful Muslims are apostates.

If the West starts to hold that view, we are in big trouble- it'll be war and war redoubled.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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