Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sarah Lazare — Attack on Prophet Muhammad's Mosque Calls Into Question Term 'Radical Islamic Extremism'

For U.S. political and pundit classes, “radical Islamic extremism” has become a catch-all term to describe acts of mass violence committed by individuals and groups believed to be Muslim. This label has fueled the incitement against Muslims mounting during the US presidential election, which has been highlighted by Donald Trump calling for a Muslim registry and a ban on Muslims from entering the country.

But as a wave of mass killings sweeps Muslim-majority countries, staining the month of Ramadan with the blood of innocents and even targeting the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad, it should be clear that Muslim people and institutions are the primary victims of this week’s staggering violence. Given this reality, observers argue that it is time to retire the overly-broad category of “radical Islamic extremism” and instead interrogate the global factors that have set these these cycles of violence in motion.…
The Prophet's tomb in Medina is second only to the Kaaba in Mecca as a Muslim holy place. This would be comparable to "radical Christian extremes" attacking visitors to the Holy Sepulcher in the old city of Jerusalem.

This is obviously a political attack designed to show that the government does not control the country, a tactic characteristic of guerrilla insurgents. The aim is to discredit the House of Saud as the legitimate government. The objective is regime change.

AlterNet

82 comments:

Andrew Anderson said...

This would be comparable to "radical Christian extremes" attacking visitors to the Holy Sepulcher in the old city of Jerusalem. Tom Hickey

Was the mosque itself damaged? If not, then I don't see how this might not be an attack from an extreme rival Muslim sect as you suggest. (Strangely, things and places are more valuable than the lives of innocent humans in some distorted belief systems.)

Tom Hickey said...

It was an attack on visitors in the vicinity of the site. The site itself was not attacked. That would be counterproductive to the perps interests, which is to sew fear and distrust. The purpose is to engender social dysfunction so that people will look for and accept an alternative capable of keeping them safe.

Matt Franko said...

Bomb Iran....

John said...

It could be a politically motivated attack, but be in no doubt that nothing is beyond these jihadi monsters: if they've happily laid waste to whole countries, why not attack a symbol of paganism? They're not within the mainstream tradition, or indeed the minority ultra-conservative tradition, and find "paganism" wherever they look. So while nearly every single Muslim goes and pays their respects to the mosque/tomb of their prophet (technically, the "last prophet" prophesied by Jesus), the jihadis see concealed deification, or at the very least unconscious deification, of the prophet and thus diminishing, or competing with, the greatness of God. While nearly every Muslim sees nothing wrong with art, dancing, literature, philosophy, science, entertainment of any kind, including apparently even laughter, the jihadis see the work of Satan, because he is EVERYWHERE. And the less said of crucifying magicians, the better. So bombing the mosque/tomb isn't beyond them. The sooner every single one of them is killed, the better. The Saudis have created and unleashed a monster, and now it's coming home.

John said...

Matt: "Bomb Iran...."

Oh brother, don't give them any ideas! On second thoughts, the maniacs in Washington see the hand of Iran for everywhere. President email-Hillary will get round to Iran in no time. At least Trump may think twice before unleashing hell.

Kaivey said...

With the knowledge we have, it's hard to know who would vote for her. The propaganda is absolute. They think they are voting for a liberal, but what they are getting is a war hawk no different to George W Bush, and probably worse.

Kaivey said...

On holidays for two weeks now. Shall post from cafes and wherever. My roaming did not work last year.

MRW said...

Why bomb Iran? It has nothing to do with this. It wouldn’t be that stupid.

Ralph Musgrave said...

Re “the global factors that have set these these cycles of violence in motion.…”, Sunnis and Shias have been quarrelling with each other since shortly after the death of Mohammed about 1,500 years ago. Thus recent “global factors” are not the full explanation. And here is Winston Churchill on Islam:

"The religion of Islam above all others was founded upon the sword. Moreover, it provides incentives to slaughter, and in three continents has produced fighting breeds of men filled with wild and merciless fanaticism."

Kaivey said...

I doubt if any of that applies to the majority of moslems. You should have watched the 'C90 traveling through Iran' video I put out. They Iranians are considered to one of the most friendliness people you'll ever meet.

Whatever Islam's past -and the medieval christians were just as bad, and WW2 with westerners fighting each other cost 60 million lives- most Islamic countries were moving towards liberal democracies until the West started pinching their oil.

Matt Franko said...

Reads like James Comey wrote the headline...

Malmo's Ghost said...

Hitchens on the Tedious Absurdities of Islam

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uZb8wxIEJc

Matt Franko said...

Mal he would say the same type of things about the Judeo/Christian thing too...

I dont know what is going on over there but we have some big problems in Christendumb due to lack of qualified teachers getting any traction ... maybe same type of thing is going on over there...

Malmo's Ghost said...

Matt,

Actually he loathes all religions but has a special dislike for Islam among all others, and argues quite cogently why this is so.

From an atheistic point of view there is simply no religion as dangerous to the secular worldview as that of Islam. No contest.

Malmo's Ghost said...

...and he is in no fear of the Judeo/Christian world. He thinks they're irrational, but never feared for his life in condemning the beliefs. Islam is an entirely different animal if you value your way of life or life in general..

Matt Franko said...

Well Christendumb relies on their Hell Doctrine which is to your point a lot less dangerous to life and limb than jihad/head-cutting....

Matt Franko said...

"At least Trump may think twice before unleashing hell."

I'm interested to see how he would react if he wins and then they hold another one of their "death to America!" rallies...

Tom Hickey said...

Fascinating article.

The Telegraph, Sir Winston Churchill 's family feared he might convert to Islam

Tom Hickey said...

From an atheistic point of view there is simply no religion as dangerous to the secular worldview as that of Islam. No contest.

Normative institutional religions and especially their fundamentalists ("orthodox") sects are all sworn enemies of liberalism as the work of the devil. Choosing which is worst is a matter of perspective.

Regarding Islam's expansionary tendency, it was the so-called Christian nations that conquered the "pagan" world in the name of Christ, the British empire having been the most extensive. And the reigning British monarch is the secular head of the Church of England.

Now it is America's turn and the secular normative institutional "religion" of liberalism is the dominant institution and is bent on achieving global hegemony with force if need be. The Americans, Brits and Europeans have terrorized and killed far more people than the Muslim conquests did.

Let's get some perspective here.

One reason the Churchill admired Islam was for its martial prowess and imperialistic successes, to the extent that he said he admired the pashas and would like to be one of them. Churchill was a bit of a racist but also an Orientalist. He understood intra-group coordination and inter-group conflict with a view to dominate territory.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Tom,

No semblance of liberalism (it's good parts) will come out of Islam. At least not like we find in the West.

...I really don't get why all of a sudden Islam has become a pet cause of leftists?

Tom Hickey said...

Liberalism did not come out of Christianity either. It was the rejection of Christianity as having legal and political significance that lead to the rise of liberalism and science. This was largely in spite of normative institutional Christianity and the culture it spawned.

This followed from the Renaissance as the resurgence of classical (pagan) thought, and the Reformation, which ended Christendom as a political empire in the West. About the same time, Islamic armies conquered the Byzantine empire in the East. At that time, Islamic science and math were ahead of Western.

Moreover, evangelical Christianity is at least a zealous in propagating the faith and while Christianity did not mount armies after the Crusades, missionaries were not far to the rear of the conquering armies of Western powers.

Presently, Hindu India is a lot more concerned about Christian proselytization than Muslim, although India is affected by Muslim terrorism stemming from the Indian-Pakistani standoff, which gets the news in the West.

Andrew Anderson said...

...I really don't get why all of a sudden Islam has become a pet cause of leftists? Malmo's Ghost

Because they think Muslims will be easier to convert to leftism?

Andrew Anderson said...

Presently, Hindu India is a lot more concerned about Christian proselytization than Muslim, Tom

An implicit slight of their own beliefs since truth should not need anything more than a level playing field to prevail.

Malmo's Ghost said...

"Liberalism did not come out of Christianity either. It was the rejection of Christianity as having legal and political significance that lead to the rise of liberalism and science. This was largely in spite of normative institutional Christianity and the culture it spawned."

Baloney.

Correlation isn't causation. I get that. But one can make a reasonable prima facie case that Judaeo Christianity put in place a foundation for "classical" liberalism. To deny this is simply intellectual dishonesty at work.

Show me where liberalism in any form sprang from Islam? I won't hold my breath.

And anyway, no matter what one thinks about Judaeo Christian influences, it still doesn't explain leftists obsession with defending Islam.

Tom Hickey said...

There are over a billion Muslims in the world. An important aspect of their religion is coming to the aid of other Muslims and the Muslim community as a whole when threatened or attacked. Why anyone thinks that picking a fight with a billion people is a good idea is beyond me when most of these people just want to get on with their lives without being put upon, especially by foreigners who are there to extract resources under the subterfuge is spreading "freedom and democracy" — except in countries controlled by governments that are Western puppets regardless of how dictatorial they are.

Same with China. I was just reading a Chinese student saying he could not figure out why Americans were so obsessed with bringing democracy to China when, he said, democracy is just not a suitable way of governance for China. it's not how Chinese people think at all, which is based on relationships in the Confucian model of honor and respect for elders. Chinese people don't see individual equality even in families where birth order is important in relationship. He was not at all impressed with social relationship in America which he viewed as unstructured and chaotic, without a concept of balance and feeling for harmony, which are highly important to Chinese. Harmony in relationship is much more important to Chinese than exercise of individual freedom. Which also happens to be in accord with Christ's teaching about love as the highest value and the mark of a disciple.

Most of these people just want to be left alone rather than having liberalism stuffed down their throats at the point of a bayonet, which is, of course, illiberal.

Tom Hickey said...

An implicit slight of their own beliefs since truth should not need anything more than a level playing field to prevail.

This summarizes the liberal attitude and why it is opposed in traditional countries. They see the imposition of liberalism as a ticket for the West to impose its values economically by opening markets for transnational corporations selling Western lifestyle to corrupt the youth. Traditional people are enraged about this, just as are many traditional people in liberal countries like the US. Some see it as literally the work of the devil and others as a deliberate attempt to destroy traditional cultures for economic gain. They view this as on the level of the Opium Wars in which the Brits forced China to import opium because "free markets and free trade."

Andrew Anderson said...

Most of these people just want to be left alone rather than having liberalism stuffed down their throats at the point of a bayonet, which is, of course, illiberal. Tom Hickey

Especially our brand of liberalism - debt and wage slavery to a government-subsidized usury cartel with sexual license as "compensation" for the slaves? That's liberation?

Andrew Anderson said...

with sexual license as "compensation" for the slaves? aa

And excellent and cheap consumer goods - assuming one has an income to buy them with - an increasingly large assumption given unethically financed automation.

Not that I'm for sexual repression since there too the truth only needs a level playing field AT MOST to prevail. But the last I heard sex was a private activity and should not offend anyone anyway - assuming consenting adults.

Matt Franko said...

"evangelical Christianity is at least a zealous in propagating the faith"

lol Tom these people are so zealous that they spend a good deal of their time trying to evangelize people who have already been evangelized...

I just tell them to go evangelize Saudi Arabia... if they really want to evangelize people....

Pew Foundation has 80% of US self-identifying as Christians and all these people want to do is go out and evangelize... who???

Malmo's Ghost said...

Tom,

I don't fear Islam in America. I don't fear it anywhere. I don't want to export "our way of life" elsewhere either. Now that being said, I have no desire to relocate or even visit predominantly Islamic nations. Relative to my way of life here in America Islamic culture sucks. I think the religion is loony. Thus I wont' bend over and offer an apologetic for Islam as so many leftist do. But that doesn't mean I want to invade their countries and make them America like. At the same time I don't desire hordes of Muslims relocating to America. I'm certain they'll not get to live next door to the liberal blowhards if they do come here. To go a bit further I'd have basically a complete moratorium on all immigration into the foreseeable future, no matter who they are.

Tom Hickey said...



Show me.

The opposition of normative institutional religions to science (material evidence) and liberalism (freedom to explore options) is why people like Dawson and Hitchens think that religion is anti-evolutionary.

America was founded by people leaving England owing to religious prosecution. They were Puritans, who were hardly liberal about their own views. Religious toleration was the exception in the early colonies.

Liberalism arose in the West owing to the efforts of a small number of people, the rise of capitalism and development of technology that created economic incentive capable of overcoming a mountain of tradition, and a good deal of luck.

The Judaeo party of Judaeo-Christian is ground in Torah, which is about the same as Sharia. Divine law. Jesus reportedly said, ""For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:18: (KJV). While all texts are subject to interpretation, there is no indication that the Law was abrogated in the eyes of Jesus. He simply interpreted it somewhat differently and more broadly than the teachers of his time. There are Jewish followers of Jesus today that accept both testaments and observe the Torah. They differentiate themselves from Christian followers of Jesus that are Gentiles and don't consider themselves to be "Christians," whom they regard as followers of Paul.

Some who consider themselves liberals hold that only liberalism is "true" and all other views must yield to it when there are differences. Is that actually liberal? This is a paradox of liberalism.

These are all ideologies as POVs. Moreover, they are not homogenous but are made up of many sects and schools. There is a range of views from extremely literal to extremely mystical.

Regarding Judaism, Christianity or Islam as being monolithic religions is in contradiction of the facts. Or Hinduism or Buddhism for that mater. In fact, within these religions not only is there a lot of difference but also conflict over the differences intra-group and inter-group. A 4th century Christian dispute divided groups theologically over a single iota — homo ousia and homoi ousia, that is, "same substance" or "like substances" wrt to Trinitarianism and (Arian) Unitarianism. An intra-group conflict resulted in what became an inter-group conflict after division. This is pretty characteristic. There is little tolerance for difference intra-group other than in highly flexible groups. Most groups are pretty rigid and divide over serious intra-group conflict.

Islam is like that except Islam never had a supreme central authority or magisterium, and Muslims had their "Reformation" early on when Sunni and Shi'a separated over succession, resulting in the Battle of Karbala. Like the later Catholic-Protestant wars and conflicts, Sunni and Shi'a have been at odds ever since but it is not true that they have been at war or in actual conflict ever since.

There is no hint of liberalism in all this in normative institutional religions be it Judaism, Christianity or Islam. The Protestant Reformation made way for a subsequent rise of liberalism by undermining the doctrine of the Church's magisterium, which had become absolute. But religious liberty was not associated with political liberty at the time (cuius regio, eius religio) and certainly not with social liberalism — and especially not moral liberalism as the basis of consumer culture in which every desire is exploited commercially and "capitalized."

Tom Hickey said...

At the same time I don't desire hordes of Muslims relocating to America. I'm certain they'll not get to live next door to the liberal blowhards if they do come here. To go a bit further I'd have basically a complete moratorium on all immigration into the foreseeable future, no matter who they are.

I have a number of Muslim friends and acquaintances that are immigrants or children of recent immigrants. They are pretty much like other Americans as far as I can see. Same with Hindus and Buddhists, We have Amish and Mennonites here in Iowa, too. Many are non-believers or universalists.

Everyone gets along just fine.

Some years ago when I was in grad school in DC, I was discussing religion with a Muslim acquaintance. He said to me," I don't see how you Christians can think that God can fit into a little human body." I instantly responded, "I can't understand how you Muslims think that there is something that God can't do." We both got a good laugh over that.

Andrew Anderson said...

" I don't see how you Christians can think that God can fit into a little human body."

Well, there's the Trinity to consider and also that Christ divested much of His power to become human and also that He accomplished some of His miracles by praying to the Father first - though some were accomplished with His own power alone apparently. And that Christ's post-resurrection body is superhuman.

So his question was a good one and your reply was adequate though not very substantial, if I may say so.

Also this: The Bible is filled with information that man-made doctrines often ignore or deny* so one should not rely on what any denomination says but rather read it himself.

*Such as God does NOT know exactly how humans will behave else He would not have to "search the heart and test the mind" (Jeremiah 17:10).

Malmo's Ghost said...

Tom,

I live in a Chicago suburb. I dine regularly at a wonderful Pakistani restaurant and am served by Muslims all. I walk daily in my neighborhood and there are dozens of Muslim families within a two mile radius of my community (upper middle class, btw). A branch of my local library is generally half full with Muslim students (hijabs give identity away). I've no quarrel with any Muslim already here. Most live like the dictum "when in Rome do as the Romans do". They are a small minority in the states. I hope it stays that way too.

Like I said, I don't fear Islam in the US. I still think their religion is loony. I also think where Islam is predominate, it would not be a place I desire to frequent, and certainly not lay roots in. I will not bend over backward to defend their belief system either. You're welcome to do that if you wish. Keep in mind though that it's not a mutually exclusive premise to not embrace Islam, yet remain tolerant at the same time. Not every infidel wants to invade their countries and subjugated them.

Let me ask you this. Would you want to live in a country dominated by fundamentalist Baptists?..fundamentalist Christians of any stripe? Do you wish to live under sharia? Do you wish to live in any type theocracy? Do you draw lines anywhere?

Also, for you to claim that there is virtually no Christian influence in how the West manifest itself (America in particular) is simply erroneous. All one need is to view our country's founding documents to realize there was a strong classical liberal bent at our inception. To deny otherwise is just hardheadedness at best, or just denial.



Andrew Anderson said...

At the same time I don't desire hordes of Muslims relocating to America. Malmo's Ghost

If we can't go to the mountain then the mountain must come to US? :)

That said, some things are not negotiable such as mutilating children - our country, our rules - don't like them then don't come.

Andrew Anderson said...

Also, the Old Testament allowed non-Hebrews to join the "congregation of the Lord" but for some people or groups they might have to wait till the 3rd generation or even the 10th(!)

So there's no need to rush to give foreigners citizenship (primarily voting rights) - let them assimilate first.

Malmo's Ghost said...

btw, Calvinism by far had the greatest influence in creating a wall between church and state....

Andrew Anderson said...

But apparently not a wall between banks and state - at least one that didn't fall down. But no wonder since Calvin justified usury from fellow countrymen - as long as it was less than 5% - a number that has no Biblical warrant that I've seen.

Malmo's Ghost said...

AA,

I come from a Dutch Reform Presbyterian background. I'm not a theist, however. I'm not defending Calvinism. But the influence it exerted at America's founding was not insignificant. That's all.

ps, virtually all of my Calvinist pals from my younger days are as liberal as the ocean is wet.

Tom Hickey said...

Would you want to live in a country dominated by fundamentalist Baptists?..fundamentalist Christians of any stripe?

I am old enough to have lived in a country dominated by highly "religious" people in a normative and institutional sense. I also lived for a time in the South where the area was dominated by fundamentalists. Not a pleasant experience for me.

Do you wish to live under sharia?

This becomes an issue when some group becomes dominant. That's not likely to happen anywhere in the US other than isolated pockets in some large cities, at least for the foreseeable future, even with fairly high Muslim immigration. A nation of over 300 million can absorb even a few million immigrants without rocking the boat. There's a lot of exaggeration going on here.

I have lived in areas with a strong normative institutional religious POV dominant. Shar'ia is just a variation of that which seems extreme to us because it is not our culture, while we have greater understanding of fundamentalist Christianity. Anyway, there are different interpretations of shari'a.

Do you wish to live in any type theocracy?

Hey, I am a libertarian and place extremely high priority on freedom. I don't take kindly to normative institutional religions, which I view as misguided, if not designed to control. Present day US is far too theocratic for me. Way, way over the top.

Do you draw lines anywhere?

This is the problem of liberalism. Fro a society to function there have to be some lines, in fact quite a few lines. Where to draw the lines and still be liberal. How to do this in a way that is liberal that avoids the tyranny of the majority. The list goes on.

Tom Hickey said...

That said, some things are not negotiable such as mutilating children

Male circumcision is still legal in the US.

Tom Hickey said...

Calvinism by far had the greatest influence in creating a wall between church and state

Yes, owing to commerce.

Calvinism became the de facto state religion in the United Netherlands, but it was soon recognized that tolerance was necessary for their society to work – and for the sake of commerce. Totalitarian control on the model of Calvinist Geneva was not feasible. The ruling remained, however, that political offices could be occupied only by Calvinists, and in some cases by Jews. Jews were allowed to worship publicly. Various other religious groups were to be tolerated but not permitted to practice their religion in public. Lutherans were allowed to worship in the larger Dutch cities on the condition that they maintain Calvinist church interior styles, including an absence of crucifixes. Calvinists had been more iconoclastic than the Lutherans and viewed crucifix displays as too close to Catholicism. source

What created the push for a wall between church and state in the Wests was the recognition that rigorous conflicts were too costly and that some accommodation had to be reached. Even dominant groups were adversely affected.

This is the case in most instances that have led to greater intra and inter-group tolerance, which is the basis of liberalism.

As communications and transportation technology made intermingling more likely and more profitable, liberalism was an evolutionary trait instead of intra-group cohesion, for example. More options become available.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Circumcision is in no way comparable to FGM:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/sheryl-saperia/infant-circumcision-canada_b_1646749.html

Andrew Anderson said...

The closest male equivalent to a clitorectomy would be cutting the penis off.

I've been circumcised and it's had no adverse effect on my ability to enjoy sex, at least none that I can imagine, while the PURPOSE of female genital mutilation is to reduce sexual pleasure.

No equivalence at all.

But hey, if you want to outlaw male circumcision till a person is an adult, no objection here but I imagine the Jews will complain mightily.

Tom Hickey said...

Circumcision is in no way comparable to FGM

Circumcision is MGM. OK, granted that the objective and result are different, but it is still involuntary mutilation that is irreversible.

Is it liberal or even ethical to mutilate a child, male or female? That's a lifelong decision in which the principal plays no part other than as the victim.

Random said...

"Is it liberal or even ethical to mutilate a child, male or female? That's a lifelong decision in which the principal plays no part other than as the victim."

It is absolutely not ethical. But two wrongs don't make a right.

Tom Hickey said...

I've been circumcised and it's had no adverse effect on my ability to enjoy sex, at least none that I can imagine, while the PURPOSE of female genital mutilation is to reduce sexual pleasure.

No equivalence at all.


That may not be the case. Arguably the foreskin makes the sperm delivery system more responsive by protecting the nerve endings as the surface.

I know of at least one case where a male adult chose circumcision in order to be less responsive, that is, to prolong the duration. I never did ask how it worked out for him.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Calvin himself explicitly maintained separation of church and state, which was instituted at the national level at America's founding. Individual states were free to maintain state churches, however. It is simply disingenuous to deny the role Reformed Christians played in the very idea of a wall of separation.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Give me a break. It's as ethical as immunizations, which also carry risks, albeit small ones.

Andrew Anderson said...

I know of at least one case where a male adult chose circumcision in order to be less responsive, that is, to prolong the duration.

His choice as an adult and a wise one in my experience.

Matt Franko said...

LOL to all of this! What a mess!

Malmo's Ghost said...

Matt,

It's a mess here. Imagine how messy the world is. :)

Tom Hickey said...

Calvin himself explicitly maintained separation of church and state, which was instituted at the national level at America's founding. Individual states were free to maintain state churches, however. It is simply disingenuous to deny the role Reformed Christians played in the very idea of a wall of separation.

Granting that, what has it his to do with Christianity other than that some people who were Christians were more tolerant than others who were also Christians.

Was it for religious reasons? I don't see a connection. What did religion have to do with it? Are there Biblical citations?

Looks to me like making space for commerce.

Tom Hickey said...

Give me a break. It's as ethical as immunizations, which also carry risks, albeit small ones.

Have you noticed that involuntary immunization often with state sanctions is a raging political debate in the US.

Tom Hickey said...

LOL to all of this! What a mess!

Another demo of the paradoxes of liberalism.

Andrew Anderson said...

Are there Biblical citations? Tom

Yes, eg. All that matters is faith working through love Galatians 5:6 and numerous other passages urging tolerance and patience among believers when possible and toward outsiders.

Still I agree commerce probably had a lot to do with it as well.

Bob said...

I hope no one is suggesting that Sharia Law is being introduced as amendments to the Criminal Code. Sharia is limited to civil law matters and is voluntary.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Looks to me like making space for commerce.

Absolutely false. The history of oppression and persecution of religion by the state is what moved the needle here. The free exercise of religion is thus born. Commerce had zero to do with the genesis.

Tom Hickey said...

All that matters is faith working through love Galatians 5:6

As I have been saying, for liberalism to work the level of collective consciousness needs to be raised.

Did the advent of Jesus and the spread of his teaching of love do that. Absolutely. But often in spite of those who professed to follow this teaching.

The same is true of other religions and wisdom traditions.

Spirituality is the friend of liberalism and normative institutional religions have generally been enemies of liberalism, maintaining that the ocean of truth is exclusively in their bucket.

The kernel of the religions and wisdom traditions is spirituality as universality. Love is the great unifier. The husk is the normative institutions that eventually conceal the kernel rather than protecting and transmitting it as seed.

The foundation of liberalism is that all persons are equal as persons. This is derived in the West from the Genesis creation myth in which God breathes His own life into Adam, which gave rise to the concept of person as "soul." 18th century liberalism secularized this idea as equality of persons, but the kernel is there in the Declaration, "All men are created equal." The problem then was that the creation story demoted women and the biology and anthropology of the time did not accept other races as fully human.

The religious narrative is even more universal in the East, where existence is understood as one, so that all difference is only phenomenal and not real.

This is the mystical view of the Abrahamic religions (Qabalah*, Christian mysticism and Western occultism, Sufism) expressed in the Shema: YHVH our God [is] One. Deuteronomy 6:4. It is followed by, And you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength. De. 6:5. (Complete Jewish Bible)

To this Jesus added:

The second is this: You are to love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other mitzvah greater than these. Mark 12:30-31 (CJB).

In the Shema, "one" (Hb. – echad) is not understood as one god (monotheism), but rather as one existence. God is One, but not in number, says the Zohar.

The prophet Elijah, of blessed memory, opened, and said:
Eternal Hidden Master of the worlds! You are He whose Unity is infinite and absolute, and therefore indivisible. You are He [the First Cause], transcendent beyond all that is above, and concealed behind all that is concealed. No thought whatsoever can grasp You.…
Patach Eliyahu, Chabad The "Patach Eliyahu" is excerpted from the Tikunei Zohar, Second Introduction, 17a

This is similar to Rig Veda, 1.164.46, The Existent is one, the sages express it variously. (Skt. – ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti )

Love is "the knowledge of the heart." As it increases, love leads to greater and greater appreciation of the universality of real existence as one.

*Qabalah is a transliteration of the Hebrew. Often this is romanized as Kabbalah, sometimes as Cabala.

Malmo's Ghost said...

Tom,

You'd make a great friend and neighbor. If the whole world thought as you do it would be close to utopia. You likely are in the mid 140's or even above IQ wise. Not sure how that explains your relative optimism. I wish I had even one tenth of that optimism, however.

Tom Hickey said...

Absolutely false. The history of oppression and persecution of religion by the state is what moved the needle here. The free exercise of religion is thus born. Commerce had zero to do with the genesis.

Dutch Calvinism did not leave other sects of Protestantism free, and certainly not Catholicism. Geneva was stricter. See the quote above. Liberal? No way.

While it is advertised that America was founded by those leaving Europe for religious freedom, it was freedom from persecution of their own sects and they were not much tolerant of others in the places they controlled. The only American colony with what we would not call freedom of religion and religious tolerance was Quaker Pennsylvania. The Society of Friends was borderline religious in the normative institutional sense. And many mainstream Christians considered Quakers borderline Christians if Christians at all. But they considered themselves the only true Christians in the sense of following the teaching of Jesus through the guidance of the Holy Spirit rather than doctrine and theology made up by others. Scripture is a guide in this rather than the authority.

The first amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion in the clause, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof was initially understood to be about prohibiting the federal government from establishing a state religion and preventing others from practicing other religions.

Liberalism arose in the US Constitution as a reaction to the tight control that the British and European governments exercised at the time. Its was a limit on the power of the Federal government demanded by those representing some of the states before ratification was agreed to.

Greg said...

"Also this: The Bible is filled with information that man-made doctrines often ignore or deny* so one should not rely on what any denomination says but rather read it himself."

AA-

You say this as if the Bible itself isn't a man made doctrine!? Surely you know that "men" decided how to translate the original documents. The council of Nicea wasn't a group of guys just trying to "get it right", they weren't trying to divine the true words of God/Christ... they were composing a document with political intent. The books and translations they chose were useful for THEIR purpose..... to increase the political power of Rome.

Tom Hickey said...

I hope no one is suggesting that Sharia Law is being introduced as amendments to the Criminal Code. Sharia is limited to civil law matters and is voluntary.

I think that some people at least are afraid of that, or represent they are.

Andrew Anderson said...

Here's another one:

Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Proverbs 3:3

and

What is desired in a man is his kindness and it's better to be a poor man than a liar. Proverbs 19:22

So I have hope for anyone who is kind and truthful of whatever or no religious belief.

Tom Hickey said...

Not sure how that explains your relative optimism.

I am relatively optimistic in that I think there is almost surely going to be a painful phase transition and possibly a culling on the way. There's a whole lot of drag in the system that needs to be overcome.

How humanity approaches it will determine the outcome to a great degree, but there are also potential shocks beyond our ability to get a handle on. It's not possible to turn a deep draft vessel on a dime.

They turn slowly, while those on the bridge watch the inevitable collision unfolding, unable to do anything more about it.

Andrew Anderson said...

The council of Nicea wasn't a group of guys just trying to "get it right", they weren't trying to divine the true words of God/Christ... they were composing a document with political intent. Greg

That objection cannot possibly apply to the Old Testament which was entrusted to the Jews and finished 400+ BC.

Anyway, I find the 66 books of the Bible that are generally accepted by all Christians to be VERY consistent with each other, Old and New Testament alike, so whatever their motives those who chose the canon of Scripture chose well, imo.

Jeff65 said...

How can this discussion have gotten to this far without someone pointing out that western interests have supported, funded and armed radical Islam for decades. Without this support it is unclear that these radical groups would have any relevance today.

If you are worried about radical Islam and your first act is not to call for all of this support to end, you are not advancing a serious argument.

Random said...

BTW coming back to this -

"It's as ethical as immunizations, which also carry risks, albeit small ones."

"Have you noticed that involuntary immunization often with state sanctions is a raging political debate in the US."

Misses the obvious point that immunization has significant benefits.

Andrew Anderson said...

Misses the obvious point that immunization has significant benefits.

Well, you'd have to get ban on MC till adulthood past the Jews since Christians should have no objection - not if that is the price to pay to prevent girls from being mutilated.

Still, it's a ridiculous equivalence. It's like the practice (FGM) is a demonic mockery of Judaism.

Tom Hickey said...

Misses the obvious point that immunization has significant benefits.

But if people think that it has significant side effects, and many do, rightly or wrongly, should the State have the power to force them (or their children) to take the vaccinations against their will?

Is that liberal or authoritarian? How and where to draw the line?

Tom Hickey said...

I am not arguing for one side or the other on most of these issues, just pointing out paradoxes in applying liberal principles.

A lot of the issues are deeply infected with cognitive and cultural biases that look a bit flaky when subject to the scrutiny of reason and evidence.

Tobacco and alcohol, which are known to be dangerous drugs are legal, while cannabis, which is known not to be a dangerous drug by comparison, is illegal. With all of the consequences that affect people lives. Is this liberal?

Tom Hickey said...

BTW, the criteria in liberalism are reason (logic) and evidence. Math is a quantitative branch of logic (set theory).

The issues generally arise wrt to values (quality) and norms (rules) involving behavior.

Greg said...

"Anyway, I find the 66 books of the Bible that are generally accepted by all Christians to be VERY consistent with each other, Old and New Testament alike, so whatever their motives those who chose the canon of Scripture chose well, imo."

Thats fine...... but beside my point that you were making a distinction where one doesn't exist.

Being consistent with each other is probably evidence that those who chose/translated them were trying to tell a story/ create a narrative, which is perfectly fine. And as far as religious stories go, the one which many westerners have chosen to follow as a guidepost to give their life meanings is probably the most palatable, but there are still very toxic versions of it that I wish would go away for ever.

Im of the belief that the only thing keeping our Christian version of ISIS suppressed is our secular economy which has kept most people wealthy (relative to the rest of the world anyway). The risk we have from rising inequalities and loss of economic opportunities is a rise of "Christian warriors"...... and they might make ISIS look tame by comparison, only because of the technology they could get access to.

Andrew Anderson said...

The risk we have from rising inequalities and loss of economic opportunities is a rise of "Christian warriors"...... and they might make ISIS look tame by comparison, only because of the technology they could get access to. Greg

There's no doubt that the Great Depression was a major cause of WWII if only because of the "war is good for business" thesis.

As for gross economic inequalities, I contend those are a result of ignoring or nullifying the Bible, especially the Old Testament, wrt usury from fellow countrymen, debt forgiveness, limits on land ownership, oppression of the poor, that profit is good but profit taking isn't, what fiat is ("Render to Caesar ..."), etc.

Whoever (multiple authors over 1000 years or so starting around 1450BC, is the story) wrote the Old Testament had an uncanny understanding of economics, money, social justice and even science. It's no wonder then that Jews have been among the most talented and successful people in history. So I'm not at all ashamed* to reverence the Old Testament as well as the New.

Anyway, I don't expect nonbelievers to share my reverence but there's still quite a few purported Christians who SHOULD and it'd make a huge difference wrt social justice and thus peace if they did.

*With only a few exceptions but even there there's this from the Old Testament: I [God] also gave them statutes that were not good [!] and ordinances by which they could not live; Ezekiel 20:25. So God is admitting that He gave some statues that were not good! At least not good for the Hebrews. Whether intentionally or not I've not yet decided. And which not good statues He is referring to I can only imagine so far.

Kaivey said...

I'm all for freedom of the individual but the libertarian belief in the 'I' without any concern for the collective, i.e,. society is an ego run amok.

Kaivey said...

The Muslims are noted for their hospitality to strangers. It's part of their culture. It's a shame I'm in holiday, I could really participate here. The problem is fundamentalist Islam, the majority remain peaceful. We need to build on that, not bomb them back to the stone age. Like Medusa, cut off one head of Islam and 5 more sprout up. Toy see, revenge is big in the West and the Middle East, we turn revengers into heroes: Rambo. But the Chinese teach that revenge is bad, and it is taught to children, like the way being greedy used to be taught to Western children was very bad. I think the Chinese have superior culture to ours.

Kaivey said...

I have a great article on this when I get home from holiday on two weeks time. The Catholic and were at war for hundreds of years too. Now we live in peaceful. Considering that the majority of Muslims are peaceful, were can obtain peace with them too. The neoliberals and Conservatives are paranoid, xenophobic.

Tom Hickey said...

I'm all for freedom of the individual but the libertarian belief in the 'I' without any concern for the collective, i.e,. society is an ego run amok.

That is the view of libertarians of the left. Libertarians of the right deny the collective.

Margaret Thatcher: "There is no such thing as society."

The difference is "Every man for himself" versus "We are all in this together."

Liberalism as the harmony of social, political and economic liberalism seeks to reconcile the paradoxes arising among liberty, egality, and solidarity or community.

Tom Hickey said...

I think the Chinese have superior culture to ours.

They have a lot longer record of experience to work with, and have learned many lessons. They look at us as newbies flailing around, knocking things down and breaking them.

Tom Hickey said...

BTW, talk about flailing around, both Putin and XI are saying to Obama, Are you fucking crazy? Are you trying to start a nuclear war because that's where this is going.

Xi as typically Chinese is being polite about it.

Putin has said loudly for the second or third time publicly, depending on how you count: WTF? Don't you realize where this is headed?

Kaivey said...

I agree on that one, and it is banned in the West.

I'm and arch liberal, sort of, I also have a very high morality. But one day I was listening to a Radio 4 program and it was about Muslim men in the Uk who have more than one wife, which is illegal in the UK. The reporters spoke to muslin men who had taken many wives and had got married in secret at their mosques. They did not consult their wives first, but just told them. Their wives were distraught. One Muslim man said be was very fair, he would have one wife sleep with him one night and the other the next.

So I'm a liberal and I start thinking, hey, why do we have just one wife anyway, why don't we have as many wives as we want in the West. Then my world started turning up-side -down and I hated the idea. So why don't we just allow men to have as many wives as he wants, I thought. But then relief came as I realised that in such a society women should be allowed to have as many husbands as they like too.

Then I realised there is no law stopping men from having as many girlfriends as they liked. So the reason we don't have more wives is because our women won't stand for it. And neither would I stand for a wife who wanted another husband.

So I thought if it is okay for a Muslim men to have many wives, then it is okay for their wives to have lots of husbands if they want them. I'm a liberal, so fairs fair.

Having multiple spouses doesn't sound so great now. I'm a liberal, are Muslim men up for their wives having multiple husbands? He, he.


Bob said...

Well, if you're a swinger, you can't be a conservative :o