History is bunk

Earlier today, I wrote a little piece about Islam, and one of the many reasons I distrust it. And, as is often the case when one singles out Islam for criticism, the detractors decided to play a little “tit for tat” and cite portions of the Bible that call for things we now consider unacceptable or reprehensible.

I don’t care for that particular tactic. For one, as Bill O’Reilly is fond of saying, “you don’t excuse bad behavior by citing other bad behavior.” (I don’t care much for the blowhard, but that particular aphorism has a hell of a lot of truth behind it.) It’s a slightly more advanced version of “you can’t punish me for slamming the door, because Billy broke a window,” and good parents quickly learn to slap down that particular evasion.

But more importantly, it doesn’t address a fundamental issue: we’re dealing with the here and now.

And in the here and now, there is only one major religion that is being used to justify and rationalize massive atrocities — and it ain’t Christianity or Judaism.

I’d like to challenge all those “Bible-thumpers” (you know, the ones who can quote scripture to suit their own ends, which is in denigrating the Bible) to cite a few concrete examples of religiously-inspired atrocities committed in the past three hundred years, atrocities committed in the name of G-d or Jesus or Yahweh or Joseph Smith or Moses or Abraham — and done with the support (tacit or explicit) of a large number of co-religionists.

And for every one they might be able to find, I’m sure I can find at least a dozen committed in the name of Allah — and I’ll even limit myself to one century.

Yes, it does seem that most religions go through aggressive, expansionist, brutal phases. But Judaism and Christianity seem to have outgrown theirs, while Islam is still in its throes.

Some people seem content to just say “they’ll get over it,” and wring their hands at the senseless carnage, while pointing fingers at the Crusades or the Inquisition. I simply can’t understand that. How many deaths are they willing to overlook until the Muslims have their own Enlightenment?

I find myself cynically wondering if the fact that the vast majority of those being killed by fanatical Muslims are, themselves, other Muslims somehow diminishes the outrage. After all, if they’re mainly they’re killing their own, why should we worry?

Well, for one, while they mainly kill each other, they still enjoy killing non-Muslims quite thoroughly. For another, if there’s ever going to be a Muslim Martin Luther, he’ll first have to survive his own nutcases.

And for a third, I would rather we actually worked on stopping the psycho fanatic Islamists who are committing merry mayhem and carnage, instead of worrying about how many people were killed by Christians or Jews centuries ago.

I guess I’m just not sophisticated and educated enough to be past that.

Update: Adam Lawson has inspired me to update my challenge. Could folks also name a few significant contributions to the world (arts, sciences, culture, etc. etc.) to come out of the Muslim world in the past couple hundred years?

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  • Peter F.

    I suppose we could count Jonestown and Waco as Christian-based atrocities. However, what’s lacking is a definitive and repetitive atrocity-driven pattern that is a near constant in Islam.

  • Except with regards to both Jonestown and Waco, Christians don’t support them and have zero problem condemning the incidents. There’s no poll saying 25% of Christians in Texas support what went down in Waco.

    Islam has downgraded. There’s all this they were supposed to have accomplished — eight hundred years ago. They haven’t advanced a whole hell of a lot since Saladin, and that’s the problem. The Christian world isn’t the same as it was during Richard II’s reign. Not even remotely. The Muslim world isn’t much different, except for the AK-47s and ways of blowing themselves up.

  • Sorry, that should be Richard I, to be more comparable to Saladin.

  • Even more ironically, Adam, are the bombs and AK-47s you mentioned a product of Islamic culture and research and progress? Or are they the tools of the infidels?

    J.

  • Justrand

    Adam Lawson, excellent summation…the only peice I can disagree with is: “Islam has downgraded.”

    I used to think they represented a case of “arrested development”…but I now believe they have actually REGRESSED!

    I’d feel sorry for them…except they want to kill me and my family. Since it is literally THEM or US…I choose US!! The day is coming when they WILL attack again on American soil, and it is coming soon! I truly fear these next attacks will be more horrific than 9/11. And I fear the reaction of Americans like myself almost as much as I fear the attack itself.

    We are not so much a “sleeping giant” as a SEDATED one! But we CAN be woken up…and the Jihadists may yet provide the wake-up call!

  • wolfwalker

    Contributions from the Muslim world in recent history? Hmmm…

    For art, there’s Persian rugs (and carpets, tapestries, etc.). Not much else. Some decent literature — Sir Richard Burton first translated The Thousand Nights and a Night about a hundred and forty years ago. But I’m not sure that qualifies since the original dates back several hundred years. Likewise for the works of Omar Khayyam and the other great Arab writers and poets.

    Arabian horses are considered the bluebloods of the equine world. Just about every modern breed of riding horse, including the racing Thoroughbreds, has Arabian studs in their ancestry.

    I suppose you could argue that the extraordinary ability back-street Egyptians show for manufacturing copies of genuine relics, to be sold to gullible tourists, indicates some level of artistic skill.

    That’s about it.

  • Brian

    How many deaths are they willing to overlook until the Muslims have their own Enlightenment?

    That’s only part of the question. The other part is, “how many deaths will result from forcing Enlightenment upon them from the outside?”

  • Jay, to answer your challenge: There were a bunch of Holocaust cartoons in Iran after the Mohammad cartoons came out. That’s sort of art, in a Piss Christ kind of way.

  • This bit from J. is from the previous thread, but I’d like to comment on it here:

    Islam is truly a univeral religion; it is not the exclusive property of any single race, sex, color, ethnicity, or age group.

    Well, maybe in theory, but I would say less so in fact. I notice that serious Moslem converts always seem to wind up studying the Koran in Arabic, taking Arabic-sounding names, adopting Arabian dress and other customs, etc.

    For all its world-wide proselytization efforts, Islam hasn’t strayed very far from its Arabian roots.

    Christianity, on the other hand, has a better claim for being truly universal. The Bible has been translated into hundreds of languages and churches in each country develop their own local flavor and identity. Millions of Christians have lived their entire lives without learning any koine Greek or Hebrew.

  • yo

    “… and I’ll even limit myself to one century”

    You could limit yourself to last week – might make it easier, and more timely.

    Either way, your point is still valid.

    As an aside to wolfwalker …, anything arabic prior to the mid 7th century, isn’t islamic. Let’s not give the RoP followers more credit than they deserve.

  • jpm100

    I think too much is blamed on Religion as the cause when it is actually more the excuse in many cases. Most conflicts under a religious banner have leaders that benefited in a secular way from the religious war’s outcome. In addition to that, it is the people that rally around religion and give it their conformity.

    Christianity has become compartmentalized in the West. It actually has been for some time. Not that religion doesn’t affect an individual, his values & conduct, but the ‘State’ is no longer tied to religion and visa versa.

    That can’t be said for most of the Islamic Middle East. All conflicts are religious and secular. Islam demands a tight integration and they haven’t been able to escape in 1400 years. And the current leadership has no reason to change. It’s done well for Iran’s leadership, AQ’s leadership, etc.

    This isn’t about Religion. It’s about tyrants being able to ride under a Religion’s banner and rally support in its name, all with a straight face. Allowing them to do that isn’t the tyrant’s fault. It’s the fault of those in that culture who stand idly or passively by and let it (or want it to) happen.

  • Anon Y. Mous

    The KKK considers itself to be a Christian organization. In the early 20th century, their membership numbered in the millions. And while there was considerable opposition to them, they also had the support, sometimes public, sometimes not, of many community leaders in some parts of this country.

    I don’t think, even at its height, the KKK had anything near the kind of broad-based support that jihadism enjoys today.

  • Nikolay

    It’s ironic that you mention Martin Luther, who is the father of German antisemitism and one of the biggest Hitler’s inspirations. Now, how about a religiously-motivated slaughter?

    Speaking about the violent nature of Islam, you overlook a lot of things. For example, it’s not right to say that Iraq is a proof of Islam’s violent nature. People kill each other in Iraq not because they are made violent by their religion, but because of simple political and economic reasons. Shias hate Sunnies because they were repressed for many years, Sunnies fight because with “democracy” in Iraq their minority will lose all the benefits it had and will be reduced to second-class status. Just another civil war.

    It’s just as unfair to give Sudan as another such example. There Muslims are slaughtering Muslims in Sudan, just as there were Christians slaughtering Christians in Rwanda (with tiny Muslim population doing a lot of great things to save Tutsi from Hutu). Just another civil war.

    The main problem with Muslims is the fact that they are not well adjusted to the modernity, and the ensuing poverty leads to excessive violence. Just as in other poor places where nobody cares for Islam.

    On the other hand, Middle East is just such an explosive place for many reasons (oil, Israel), and this happens to be the place where many Muslims live.

    It’s simply not true that all the terrorism nowadays is purely Islamic. In fact, suicide bombing was perfected by Tamil Tigers who are Hindus and had engaged in anti-Muslim ethnic cleansing.

    The connection between Islam and violence mostly has to do with the geographical and political particulars, but Islam itself doesn’t turn a human into into a killing machine. Just compare French Muslim riots of 2005 (roughly 0 casualties) with Los Angeles riots of 1992. And I haven’t heard much about Kurds (almost all Muslims) committing any atrocities in Iraq these days.

    Of course, there’s a question of religious extremism. But that’s just a well-known fact that people that get close to death usually turn religious. The suicide bomber kills for the political and social reasons (and probably because he lost his relatives, has nowhere to go, is psychotic etc.), but he cries “Allah Akbar” when he does this because he’s afraid. Religion (almost any religion) is great thing to mold your madness into, but it doesn’t cause madness in itself.

    Anyway, for the moment Islam is in the center of some horrible synergy of politics, geography, economics etc., but this doesn’t mean that it is the “evil” power itself.

    Here’s another comparison: there’s no doubt that ideology of atheism and “rationalism” was very much responsible for the bloodbath of French revolution, just as it was one of the causes of Stalin’s and Mao’s inhumanities. Nevertheless, it’s nonsense to say that all the atheists and materialists are dangerous. Sometimes ideology and politics just fit together to produce horrible results, but on their own they are not that bad.

    P.S. Sears Tower was constructed by a Muslim. Iranian cinema is said to be great (but that’s probably despite Islam). There’s quite a number of great musicians, most of them unknown in the West. Not that much, sure.

  • observer 5

    Of course, the current problems could have nothing to do with Western colonialism and neo-colonialism (propping up unpopular indigenous dictators who plunder the wealth of the country and hand over benefits to Western business interests.)

    During the lifetimes of people now alive, the West partitioned most of the Ottoman Empire amongst themselves (only Ataturk was able to thwart Western plans for carving up Turkey), drew lines on the map without regard to ethnic or religious boundaries (sorry, Kurds) imposed colonial regimes over all the Arab world, engineered a coup d’etat in Iran to install the megalomaniac Pahlavi Shah, and has propped up the decadent Saudis. In Iraq, the British-owned Iraqi Petroleum Company extracted oil from Iraq while paying almost nothing of its value to the Iraqis themselves. This continued into the early 1960s. The Soviets interfered in a similar nature with their proxies. Egypt’s dictators switched sides from the Soviets to the USA, in fact. Saddam played both sides off against each other, extracting aid from the Soviets, Europe, and the USA during the Iran-Iraq war. The USA and Europe green-lighted and aided Iraq’s attack against the revolutionary Iranians. Because the USA was mad about the hostages and Khomeini’s deposition of our man the Shah, it encouraged a war in which one million Iranians and Iraqis died. The USA also sold arms to the Iranians in that war.

    The US fostered Islamic fundamentalism as a spear against Godless Communism, especially in Afghanistan, but also throughout the Arab world and into Soviet Central Asia. For example, the organizer of the first World Trade Center bombing, the “Blind Sheik” Omar Rahman, was given asylum in the USA as a persecuted member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood after he was flown to Pakistan by the CIA to lecture at training camps for the Afghan mujahideen. The USA encouraged the austere anti-materialistic Islamists, along with their allies in Pakistan, against the materialist Soviets. I am old enough to remember the rhetoric at the time – how the common belief in God was emphasized.

    Opposition to foreign domination, theft of resources and propping up corrupt dictators found its natural rallying point in the Islamism the USA foster to, well, oppose foreign domination and the imposition of puppet dictators.

    Now, I believe that in politics as in physics, Newton’s Third Law applies: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. You can’t rant and rave about murderous Islamists without recognizing the effects of plunder, conflict and humiliation caused by long foreign interference. In one example, Ahmedinajad is an effect of the deposition of Mossadegh.

    I have little hope that many here will be able to grasp these complexities.

  • jhow66

    Wheee!! That was alot of mumbo BS to just explain why muslims are still living in the dark ages. They have no regard for human life as far as I can tell. They treat their women like cattle and just use them for breeding stock. And as far as I can see they do nothing but run up and down the streets in mass waving their arms. Does nobody work? Oh I forgot the women do the work so all the men can go on jihad. Sheeze what a race.

  • Justrand

    observer 5, your rant is beyond senseless, as evidenced by this “crime” of the West:
    theft of resources

    THEFT?? You mean the paying of TRILLIONS of dollars for their oil was in fact…THEFT???

    Damn…my wife and I bought $48 worth of groceries at Safeway today. Does that make us criminals???

    observer 5…whatever they do to us is absolutely justified, eh? Hopefully they will butcher YOUR family first!!

  • Nikolay

    And as far as I can see they do nothing but run up and down the streets in mass waving their arms.

    Well, you can look up Iran’s results in the International Mathematical Olympiad.
    In the last 15 years they didn’t make to top 10 only four times. Israel just sucks next to them. As well as Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, Finland and Australia.
    And France. 🙂

  • observer 5

    Just to note, as an aside, that the title of this post, “History is Bunk,” is a quote from Henry Ford, actually “History is More of Less Bunk.”

    Along with that quote, Ford also expressed himself in a book, The International Jew, the World’s Foremost Problem, which kind of shows where thinking “History is Bunk” leads, doesn’t it?

    As I suggest in my post above, Americans have almost no knowledge of even recent history. Even events like arming Iran after the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah bombed the Marine barracks in 1983 are forgotten. This allows Americans to always play the victim, oblivious to the effects of past American policies.

  • observer 5

    I also have no interest in defending Islam, but saying “History is Bunk” and implying that Arab or Persian hostility to the USA just springs out of some aggressive essence of Islam is, well, bunk.

    There is plenty of recent history there: the corruption of the regimes we supported, or support, has had an adverse effect on the populations of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Trillions of dollars were socked away in Saud or Pahlavi family accounts or recycled back to US arms manufacturers to build obscenely large military establishments, often threatening each other (as in the case of Pahlavi’s Iran and Saudi Arabia).

  • jpm100

    Whoever implied Christianity had to do with antisemitism in Nazi Germany is full of ‘Bunk’. Antisemitism has become secularized by that time. Germany was economically devastated in the 20’s and 30’s. Much of that was attributed to financial manipulation by the ‘Jews in Banking’ supposedly exploiting Germany’s position. In addition to that, racial purity was also another sticking point.

    Two concepts that have more to do with pseudo economics and pseudo science than religion.

  • Actually, observer, the Henry Ford quotation was deliberate, and intended to mean that the bloody history of Christianity and Judaism is bunk when one is attempting to discuss the present state of Islam. The fact that Ford, among all his other traits, was a notorious anti-semite (who, as you mention, reprinted “The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion” and insisted they were accurate) was an irony I chose to skip because the sentiment of the quotation so effectively captured my intent.

    OK, not my best title ever (or even recently), but they all can’t be “The Donkey’s Paw” or “Sauce For The Goose Is Another Man’s Poison” or even “Schrodinger’s Caliph.” You go to print with the title you have, not the title you wish you had.

    J.

  • observer 5

    the Henry Ford quotation was deliberate, and intended to mean that the bloody history of Christianity and Judaism is bunk when one is attempting to discuss the present state of Islam.

    Yeah, JT, that’s what I understood you to mean. My point is that the bloody history of Christianity is not bunk when attempting to discuss the present state of Islam, if you include the history of the acts of Christian-majority states like the US, UK and France in the Middle East in the 20th century. We screwed the Arabs and Persians badly and repeatedly thoughout that century.

    If you ascribe all acts of Muslims to Islam, whatever their nationalistic quotient, then I guess it’s fair to ascribe all acts of the USA to Christianity.

  • jhow66

    o’5=muslim-smouch smouch.

  • ryan

    Jay Tea wrote:

    I’d like to challenge all those “Bible-thumpers” (you know, the ones who can quote scripture to suit their own ends, which is in denigrating the Bible) to cite a few concrete examples of religiously-inspired atrocities committed in the past three hundred years, atrocities committed in the name of G-d or Jesus or Yahweh or Joseph Smith or Moses or Abraham — and done with the support (tacit or explicit) of a large number of co-religionists.

    300 years eh? So anything after about 1705? Ok, how about these for starters, assuming that a so-called “Christian nation” counts:

    1. Native Americans, from about the 1500s to around 1900 were the victims of scores of atrocities. In 1705 things were in full swing, with no signs of slowing down, since there was so much land to be had. The Christian nations of England, France, and Spain were primarily the culprits, until the Americans entered the fray toward the end of the 1700s. Now, don’t try counting this as one example, since there are, needless to say, countless examples that I can list if you want. Off the top of my head peolpe like the Cherokee come to mind (trail of tears anyone), the Sioux, Apache, etc.

    In 1901, Indians in California were forcibly removed by agents of the US government from lands that were rightfully theirs. The story of the California Indians is about as atrocious as it gets. When it became a part of the US, Californians went haywire killing Indians in order to “settle” the lands.

    France purported to believe in Jesus and God, as did Spain, England, and of course the USA. Early colonists talked about the dead and dying indians, and believed that God killed Indians to free up the land for a people who would put it to better use (read about a dude named Winthrop to get more about that).

    2. Slavery. We can keep it simple and just talk about American slavery. Nobody would deny that whole ordeal as a serious atrocity at the behest of a large group of so-called Christians.

    3. King Leopold II and the Belgian Congo. Talk about bad. And the Belgians purported to be Catholics. Some of the worst shit ever to happen in human history.

    4. European colonialism in Africa in general…lots of Christians, lots of killing, stealing, etc. Bad news. All over the continent, numerous examples, from the above mentioned Congo, to Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Algeria, Rwanda (way before the shit hit the fan in the mid 90s), and so on.

    5. The Klan. They like to call themselves a Christian organization, to the dismay of 99.9999 percent of Christians…look what those criminals went around doing.

    6. Australia and their aboriginal peoples. More bad news: conquest, killing, segregation, racism–not nice for a Christian nation.

    If you want to go “tit for tat,” I’m game. I’m sure there are enough examples in the Native American category to keep us going for days. You could bring up an instance of Muslim terrorism in Israel, and then I could talk about the gatling guns that opened fire on Sioux women and children in the late 19th century.

    But then, it’s all beside the point and a somewhat stupid argument to me, since I wouldnt go around blaming “Christianity” for any of the above mentioned instances, anymore than I’d blame “Islam” for a group of murderers who crash planes into the World Trade Center.

    I hold people responsible, not abstractions. It wasn’t Christianity that killed those innocent Sioux people, it was the idiot who pulled the trigger. It wasn’t Christianity that reneged on treaty after treaty and completely screwed Native American people; it was specific individuals who made the choices and carried out the decisions. Is Christianity to blame for Slavery at the hands of Americans? Nope, that’s the fault of the asshole who didnt read a damn word of the New Testament, and who treated another human like an animal.

    It wasn’t Islam that crashed those planes and killed 3,000 Americans; it was 19 murderous, delusional criminals, and their supporters, who are to be held responsible. Blaming a 7th century religion for what happened on 9/11 is downright irresponsible, lazy, overly simplistic, and wrong.

    Blaming Islam for what’s going down TODAY is just as wrong as blaming Christianity for what the Spanish went around doing in the Americas in the early colonial period. People call upon all kinds of things to attempt to justify their actions, and today’s Islamic terrorists are doing just that.

    Just remember that for every evil son of a bitch who bombs a crowded market in the name of Allah, there are hundreds, thousands, of Muslims, in the USA, Europe, Indonesia, Morocco, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Ghana, and elsewhere who DON’T.

  • Kin

    Don’t get me wrong here. I essentially agree with Jay’s point. That said, as a Jew, both the 1700s and 1800s were not so nice. There were places that were calmer then others, but for the most part Europe wasn’t so wonderful. Granted…the Catholics and Protestants didn’t get along to well either, kicking each other out of their respective countries on a fairly regular basis. Anyway, certainly in the last 50 years the amount of Christian based atrocities has been pretty much negligant, which doesn’t mean it’s non-existant. Of course, in this day and age, it pales in comparison to the outrages perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam. And while ryan made a point about individuals doing the deeds, he misses the fact that they are encouraged and/or ordered to do so by their faith and religious leaders.

  • Ryan, you neglect to consider that Islam itself is not just a religion. It’s a socio-political construct. It is merely being adhered to and promoted by a few in a violent manner and far more are content to support those who would use violence to see it become a reality. That they don’t blow up the Saudi royal family or other theocratic rulers is because they are their strong men to keep religious law enforced. They hate them, but they need them to use the great power they wield to subjugate those who might not willingly fall into line.

    But more to the point, I think Jay’s trying to say “look at the here and now”. This is what we face today. Where Muslims outnumber the rest, others are faced with forced conversion or subjugation.

    Remember, Christian fanaticism was beat back in the past. And rightly so. Islam, as it is written, must also become “past tense”.

    Can we blame Islam itself? No. But a “religion” is nothing without its adherants. Just words in a book. We can blame those who adhere to its ancient laws in their purest form and use it specifically as justification. We have to say, “We must take away their justification.”

    Frankly though, I don’t remember ever reading anywhere that those who killed Indians or forced them off their land shouted “God is great!” or “Jesus commands that I do this!” while they did it. If you want to use an example, I’d say the Inquisition would have been more to the point.

  • Just remember that for every evil son of a bitch who bombs a crowded market in the name of Allah, there are hundreds, thousands, of Muslims, in the USA, Europe, Indonesia, Morocco, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Ghana, and elsewhere who DON’T.

    Let me fix that quote for you:

    Just remember that for every evil son of a bitch who bombs a crowded market in the name of Allah, there are hundreds, thousands, of Muslims, in the USA, Europe, Indonesia, Morocco, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Ghana, and elsewhere who cheer him on.

    There. Glad to be of help.

  • ryan

    Oyster:

    Ryan, you neglect to consider that Islam itself is not just a religion. It’s a socio-political construct.

    All religions are socio-political constructs Oyster. I definitely haven’t neglected to consider that the same is the case for Islam as well. Like I said, I don’t blame abstractions–or socio-political contructs–I blame people.

    I agree with Jay Tea that it’s important to look at the here and now…and that’s why I dont think we can blame a 7th century religion for what’s going on.

    And I definitely agree that a good portion of Islam needs to have some kind of reformation…no doubt about that. When the Middle East ceases to be a war-torn region run by terrorists, authoritarian leaders, and other screwed up repressive regimes, I have a feeling that Islam might indeed turn the corner.

    People who adhere to social laws and constructs that were created in the 7th century need to move along with the times. They don’t apply to this world, just like lots of the Old Testament stuff about the same kind of thing doesnt apply anymore. Read Leviticus and all of the guidelines there…those were not written for 21st century societies. Relgions have to evolve along with society, they can’t be static, otherwise they become irrelevant or out of step with society…that’s what I think.

    Frankly though, I don’t remember ever reading anywhere that those who killed Indians or forced them off their land shouted “God is great!” or “Jesus commands that I do this!” while they did it. If you want to use an example, I’d say the Inquisition would have been more to the point.

    Well, actually, God and Christ were invoked all across the Americas as people subdued Indians. Columbus, Cortez, Pizarro, Serra, and all the other missionary/colonialists–they all did it. Early English colonists did it all the time. American rhetoric invoked God all through the 19th century as Indians were killed, displaced, and robbed of their lands. Ever heard of Manifest Destiny? Well, the whole idea there was that westward expansion was a God-given right; Indians were just speedbumps on the way to California. So yes, that example is pretty relevant.

    Like I said though, it’s beside the point. People use all kinds of things to justify their f-ed up actions. What if Columbus killed Indians in the name of Classical Greek philosophy? Should we then go around having discussions about the evils of Greek philosophy, should we burn everything from Classical Greece? Or should we blame Columbus for shoving blades into human beings?

  • ryan

    Kin:

    And while ryan made a point about individuals doing the deeds, he misses the fact that they are encouraged and/or ordered to do so by their faith and religious leaders.

    Yes, and those leaders, who use Islam for their political means, are the ones to blame.

    Maybe it’s semantics here, but I dont blame “Nazism” for what Hitler went around doing. I blame Hitler, Himmler, etc.

    Especially when we get into situations where young people are getting brainwashed by warped people…and this is definitely happening in the Middle East. Saddam went around forcing teachers to make kids admonish his image. Muslim clerics do the same, mixing modern politics and feuds with Islam and Allah, telling people that they will get to heaven if they go kill infidels. That’s no different than all the crap that Hitler went around spewing.

  • Mitchell

    Millions were members of the KKK. Huh? That moronic statement stands out as I read this thread of apologia for the colonized Arabs.

    Very few people were members of the KKK here in the South. I don’t know anyone who was, not even my racist grandfather, and that’s because it was a group way out on the fringes of society, despite recent Hollywood revisionist history.

    As has been said before, looking for the “causes” of Islamic dysfunction is not likely to cure it. Certainly the U.S. has no history as an occupying or colonizing force in the region. Which did little for us in 2001 it might be recognized.

  • ryan

    OregonMuse:

    Hmmm. Well, you’re probably right with that one–but then so am I. Thousands of Muslims probably cheer that kind of shit on, and at the same time thousands of other Muslims deplore it.

    And blaming Islam for the violent actions of Muslims doesnt exactly explain the actions of those who DON’T engage in violence, now does it?

    Don’t get me wrong Oregon…I dont have some polyanna view of Islam, the Middle East, or any of this. I KNOW that thousands of people get behind the actions of terrorists, etc. And I dont think that it’s something that can just be explained away or dismissed–it’s a HUGE HUGE problem.

    In Nazi Germany you had a huge population, and many of them supported Hitler and all of his murderous madness. A certain portion really believed it I’m sure–I can’t pretend to know what the percentage was. But then, another segement of people were terrified, oppressed, and forced into following along. Still others, like the Hitler Youth types, were pretty much brainwashed, and didnt really have a different worldview to compare with. Also, there was a large number of people who stayed silent, didnt protest or speak out for whatever reason, and the insanity just kept rolling along.

    I think that pretty similar shit is going down in the ME today.

  • Nikolay

    Whoever implied Christianity had to do with antisemitism in Nazi Germany is full of ‘Bunk’.

    Well, Martin Luther _was_ the father of German Antisemitism. And he had _a lot_ to do with Christianity. And his writings _were_ reprinted as a justification of slaughtering Jews in Hitler’s Germany. And Christianity _is_ the historical root of all the Antisemitism. BTW, Muslims learned most of their Antisemitic rhetoric and mythology from Christians; in the Middle Ages they were much more tolerant to Jews than Christians.

    So, Christianity has a lot to do with Nazi Antisemitism, which, of course, doesn’t mean that Holocaust happened in the name of Jesus.

  • ryan

    Mitchell:

    As has been said before, looking for the “causes” of Islamic dysfunction is not likely to cure it.

    Right. Just like doctors looking for the “causes” of an illness are wasting their time if they want to cure it.

    What kind of logic is that?

  • ryan

    Nikolay:

    Well, Martin Luther _was_ the father of German Antisemitism. And he had _a lot_ to do with Christianity. And his writings _were_ reprinted as a justification of slaughtering Jews in Hitler’s Germany.

    That still doesnt mean that you can blame Christianity for what people did. You can’t. The Nazis may have invoked Christianity, but that doesnt mean there is some inherent flaw in the religion that we need to blame.

    And the whole Protestant/Catholic thing presents a pretty tough case for the “blame the religion” crowd. In Europe after the Reformation, Protestants and Catholics were brutalizing one another, and each side was using Christianity to justify what it was doing. Obviously, something else must have been going on there…

  • Mitchell

    It’s the same logic we used fighting Nazis–there is no reckoning with the criminally delusional.

    That is why, Ryan, you have nothing but grievances to mention. There is nothing you offer beyond that.

    You have to fight them with every resource you have, military, intelligence, financial, propaganda, until you wear them down and out.

    There is no reasoning with a 64 year old grandmother who desires to blow herself up for martyrdom.

  • Mitchell

    It’s the same logic we used fighting Nazis–there is no reckoning with the criminally delusional.

    That is why, Ryan, you have nothing but grievances to mention. There is nothing you offer beyond that.

    You have to fight them with every resource you have, military, intelligence, financial, propaganda, until you wear them down and out.

    There is no reasoning with a 64 year old grandmother who desires to blow herself up for martyrdom.

  • ryan

    Major word misuse/grammatical disaster above.

    I wrote:

    Saddam went around forcing teachers to make kids admonish his image.

    I meant to say something like: “Saddam forced teachers to make school children worship his image” or something like that.

    “Admonish” means reprimand. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I pulled that one out.

  • ryan

    Mitchell:

    It’s the same logic we used fighting Nazis–there is no reckoning with the criminally delusional.

    Then why didn’t we just nuke the entire country? And if all of Nazi Germany was criminally delusional, how is it possible that a democratic Germany exists today? We obviously did some kind of “reckoning,” since we didnt kill the entire German population for what the Nazis went around doing.

    You have to fight them with every resource you have, military, intelligence, financial, propaganda, until you wear them down and out.

    You don’t think that Bush, the State Deparment, the Defense Department, and everybody on the ground is concerned with the causes of terrorism? You think that all we’re doing is fighting and killing until the whole place is a wasteland? Then you have an incredibly oversimplified view of what’s going on over there, IMO.

    Why are our troops over in Iraq spending as much time rebuilding cities and infastructures as they are fighting? Because the whole place isn’t some evil den of madmen as you seem to think…things are a little less black and white.

    There is no reasoning with a 64 year old grandmother who desires to blow herself up for martyrdom.

    Probably not. Just like there ain’t much reasoning with Ted Bundy. But not everyone in the ME is a damn suicide bomber either.

  • Rayn, while dispassionate logic may work well when speaking to people who have even the faintest familiarity with it, it does not address the problem. You may well see it as a personal failing by those who use a religion to justify their actions, but the fact is, they ARE using religion for it and it’s as real and logical as one can imagine – to them.

    We can all stand around calmly and say, “It’s not the religion. It’s the people.” But what does that accomplish?

    What needs to happen is to take away their justification. We all act with some sort of justification no matter what we do. Take that away and the action is meaningless.

  • ryan

    Oyster:

    Ya, I get your point about the logic being real to those who suscribe to it. But still, I don’t think that sitting around talking about the inherent evils of Islam gets us anywhere with this. That doesn’t really explain the actions of Muslims who AREN’T evil, now does it?

    If Islam is evil in and of itself, then there should be no such thing as a Muslim who lives a normal life. But there are, of course, plenty of Muslims who do, so there has to be something else at work here.

    Look. By your logic someone should have tried to eliminate Christianity when atrocities were committed in its name, or by its practitioners. Like Christianity was the problem when the Americas were overrun by somewhat greedy colonialists. It wasn’t. The problem was the fact that certain people were committing crimes, and they should have been dealt with directly, instead of sitting around debating the relative merits of the 2,000 year old religion they purported to follow.

    How would you go about taking away the justification, as you put it? And I’m not baiting you.

  • Anon Y. Mous

    Millions were members of the KKK. Huh? That moronic statement stands out as I read this thread of apologia for the colonized Arabs.

    Very few people were members of the KKK here in the South. I don’t know anyone who was, not even my racist grandfather, and that’s because it was a group way out on the fringes of society, despite recent Hollywood revisionist history.

    If you care to look at some actual facts beyond the musings of your racist grandfather, here’s a good place to start.

  • MikeSC

    300 years eh? So anything after about 1705? Ok, how about these for starters, assuming that a so-called “Christian nation” counts:

    1. Native Americans, from about the 1500s to around 1900 were the victims of scores of atrocities. In 1705 things were in full swing, with no signs of slowing down, since there was so much land to be had. The Christian nations of England, France, and Spain were primarily the culprits, until the Americans entered the fray toward the end of the 1700s. Now, don’t try counting this as one example, since there are, needless to say, countless examples that I can list if you want. Off the top of my head peolpe like the Cherokee come to mind (trail of tears anyone), the Sioux, Apache, etc.

    Yes, it was truly horrible.

    However, UNLIKE the forced emigration of Jews out of the Arab states in the ME, we actually acknowledge that it was wrong.

    2. Slavery. We can keep it simple and just talk about American slavery. Nobody would deny that whole ordeal as a serious atrocity at the behest of a large group of so-called Christians.

    Christians were also the ONLY group to end it. We ALSO made others end it (Islam STILL practice it in certain areas). We spent our money and resources to FORCE most of the world to stop it. The U.S and Europe literally sailed the world and dealt HARSHLY with slave trading vessels.

    4. European colonialism in Africa in general…lots of Christians, lots of killing, stealing, etc. Bad news. All over the continent, numerous examples, from the above mentioned Congo, to Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Algeria, Rwanda (way before the shit hit the fan in the mid 90s), and so on.

    You seem to believe that the violence started with the Christians and wasn’t, in fact, in full swing long before anybody got there.

    5. The Klan. They like to call themselves a Christian organization, to the dismay of 99.9999 percent of Christians…look what those criminals went around doing.

    Notice that 99.99% of Christians OPPOSE them?

    Notice that far smaller percentages of Muslims oppose Muslim terrorist groups?

    If you want to go “tit for tat,” I’m game. I’m sure there are enough examples in the Native American category to keep us going for days. You could bring up an instance of Muslim terrorism in Israel, and then I could talk about the gatling guns that opened fire on Sioux women and children in the late 19th century.

    I could then mention Egypt’s brutal suppression of the Copts. Or Iran’s lovely treatment of its native Christian and Jewish population. Or Indian Muslims treatment of the Hindus. Or the sheer barbarism of Muslims towards other Muslims.

    Trust me — this isn’t a fight you have a prayer of winning.

    There is a KEY difference — Christians ACKNOWLEDGE that what they did was wrong. Muslims, to this day, deny that they did anything wrong.

    But then, it’s all beside the point and a somewhat stupid argument to me, since I wouldnt go around blaming “Christianity” for any of the above mentioned instances, anymore than I’d blame “Islam” for a group of murderers who crash planes into the World Trade Center.

    The Islamic culture is a major problem.

    It wasn’t Islam that crashed those planes and killed 3,000 Americans; it was 19 murderous, delusional criminals, and their supporters, who are to be held responsible. Blaming a 7th century religion for what happened on 9/11 is downright irresponsible, lazy, overly simplistic, and wrong.

    How about for death sentences for people who leave the faith? That has ALWAYS been the case in Islam.

    Just remember that for every evil son of a bitch who bombs a crowded market in the name of Allah, there are hundreds, thousands, of Muslims, in the USA, Europe, Indonesia, Morocco, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Ghana, and elsewhere who DON’T.

    Christianity changed for the better in its history.

    Islam has yet to do so.
    -=Mike

  • ryan

    Hey Mike:

    However, UNLIKE the forced emigration of Jews out of the Arab states in the ME, we actually acknowledge that it was wrong.

    Well, we seem to be on a better track as far as that goes these days, and it’s a good thing. Remember, this wasnt a comparison of Islam vs. Christianity…Jay Tea asked for people to bring up instances where Christians, Jews, etc. engaged in violent acts while invoking God or Jesus.

    In the Middle East, there are plenty of people, nations, and leaders who need to own up to their past crimes. No argument there.

    Christians were also the ONLY group to end it. We ALSO made others end it (Islam STILL practice it in certain areas). We spent our money and resources to FORCE most of the world to stop it. The U.S and Europe literally sailed the world and dealt HARSHLY with slave trading vessels.

    Very true. Again, Jay asked people to come up with examples from the last 300 years, and slavery is another example. The US and Britain did wake up and change their ways regarding slavery.

    You seem to believe that the violence started with the Christians and wasn’t, in fact, in full swing long before anybody got there.

    Never said that. Just another example that I cited, where Christians engaged in atrocities. There was plenty of intertribal warfare going down all over Africa. The Ashanti in west Africa were doing a pretty good job of thrashing on other people before any Europeans showed up, for example.

    My point was that the Christians jumped right in and weren’t any better than anyone else in those regards. Humans have a pretty violent track record overall, regardless of culture or geographic origin.

    Notice that 99.99% of Christians OPPOSE them?

    Yep. But it’s not like I’ve ever seen some massive anti-klan parade. Or read about one. Guess I’ve always just assumed that most Christians are disgusted by it.

    Notice that far smaller percentages of Muslims oppose Muslim terrorist groups?

    I know what you’re saying. But I wont pretend to know how much support Muslim terrorists really have from Muslims as a whole. I could guess, but it would be complete conjecture. If you have some hard stats feel free to share them with me. I do know that the anti-terrorist outcry isnt exactly booming (understatement). But I also think that many Muslims have mixed feelings about the USA, which muddies everything a lot.

    Trust me — this isn’t a fight you have a prayer of winning.

    I’m not trying to win. And I know that there’s plenty of Muslim violence to cite. But I have no doubt in my mind that I can keep pace with you in bringing up examples of Judeo-Christian brutalities in the past 300 years. We could sit here and go through every single Native American tribe for starters. There were lots of them, you know.

    But again, it’s all beside the point. We can agree to disagree on this one if you want.

    The Islamic culture is a major problem.

    Pretty broad statement there, Mike. Who are you talking about? All people who are a part of Islamic culture? Every single Indonesian farmer who calls himself a Muslim is a problem? Every Ghanaian Muslim is a major problem? Every single Muslim in Iraq today is a problem–then why are we working with a good number of them? Or are you talking about a more specific group (or groups)???

    How about for death sentences for people who leave the faith? That has ALWAYS been the case in Islam.

    That’s brutal, insane, and medieval. But I’m pretty sure that not ALL Muslims handle things that way. They sure can’t do that here in the US. So there’s a difference, apparently, in the practice of Islam.

    Christianity changed for the better in its history.

    Well, if you read through the Sermon on the Mount, it becomes apparent that Christianity was doing pretty well from the start. I mean, Jesus was a pretty smart fellow, and pretty humane.

    There’s still some wacky stuff in the New Testament, but most of it seems to be crammed in that last interesting chapter. That’s just an opinion though.

    I think it would be more accurate to say that nations which are predominantly Christian have come a long way in their understanding of universal human rights.

    Islam has yet to do so.

    And yes, predominantly Islamic nations are lagging behind in the whole human rights category, big time.

  • ryan

    crap, the last lines should look like this:

    Islam has yet to do so.

    And yes, predominantly Islamic nations are lagging behind in the whole human rights category, big time.

  • Mac Lorry

    In the west, Christianity was hijacked in the 4th century by the Holy Roman Empire. After Rome fell, it’s state religion became a nation in itself. It was the translation and publication of the Bible that finally restored Christianity to it’s true nature. I don’t consider the atrocities of the Holy Roman Empire or it’s church to be related to Christianity. Remember also that Spain was under control of Muslims for hundreds of years and the Spanish had to adopt the brutal tactics of Islam to defeat Islam and expel the invaders. Unfortunately, the Spanish brought those brutal tactics with them to the new world in their lust for Gold. How is that a Christian teaching?

    The Spanish and English didn’t bring war and slavery to the new world, as it was already here. Various tribes of both north and center America practiced wars of genocide not seen in the old world for centuries. The Spanish were greatly disturbed by the ready practice of human sacrifice they found in the new world, something not seen in old world for millennia. The greatest killer of the natives of central America was disease. Even if the Spanish had come in peace, they would have unleashed these pandemics, and without understanding the native populations had no immunity to them, the Spanish considered the speed and lethality of these pandemics to be a judgement of God against those who practiced human sacrifice. What other conclusion could be expected?

    If Europeans had waited until the space age to migrate to the new world, then they may have been enlightened enough to bring only peace and prosperity with them. That of course is an absurd notion, that Europeans would fly over and sail around the Americas realizing they were not wise enough yet to settle in those lands. Such wisdom follows technology, not leads it. It was inevitable that the first isolated population to develop the technology to cross the ocean would find and invade the territory of the other isolated population. Blaming Christianity for the demise of native populations in the Americas is like blaming native Americans for all the death and disease caused by their gift of tobacco to Europeans. In that case, it’s the Europeans who suffered the most.

  • Beeblebrox

    Despite the rationalizations of Ryan and Observer above, the bottom line is that the more fundamentalist a Christian is (i.e. following the fundamental teachings of Christ and the other writers of the New Testament) the more justice and peace he will seek. This is because Christian teaching is all about love, peace, justice, truth, and sharing of the Good News by word and deed. When “Christian” nations wander from their Christian roots they also wander from Christ’s teaching.

    On the other hand, the more fundamentalist a Muslim is (i.e. the more closely he follows the Quran) the more likely he will be a racist, homophobe, anti-intellectual, chauvinist, suicide bomber, and a converter by the sword. When Islamic nations wander from THEIR roots (i.e. ignore the Quran), they are more likely to be able to coexist with other nations, believe in justice, rule of international law, etc.

    Bottom line, Christ’s teachings are 180 degrees from Mohammed’s and given this, it should not surprise us that, when Islamic countries becomes more fundamentalist, they more closely mirror the violence of 7th century Arabia.

    On a side note, it is an egregious mis-statement of the facts to claim that Christian-founded countries who committed so-called atrocities did so based upon commands from Scripture. I defy ANYONE to produce a passage (Old Testament or New) that commands Christians to wage war as a method of spreading their faith. Meanwhile, it is easy to come up with passages from the Quran that command Muslims to convert by the sword or kill those who don’t convert. Poverty, colonialism, Haliburton, support of the Shah, yadda, yadda, yadda, have NOTHING to do with this basic reality.

  • observer 5

    I kind of agree with MacLorry, I’ve put it to others: how many Indians would be left if the Japanese or Chinese came to the Americas first?

    It does not change the fact that converting the heathens and savages to Christianity or killing them to eliminate their sinful ways was an expressed rationale for the murders and enslavement which took place under European colonialism, though.

    People have many layers of identity: family, tribe, ethnicity, nation, language, religion, sports team, etc. All of these inform a person’s actions and are used to justify them. You can’t separate them out.

    So just as European conquest was motivated and justified in the sign of the Cross, Arab conquest was by Islam.

    Christianity really took off after Emperor Constantine adopted it and used the Cross as a military symbol – In Hoc Signo Vinces – in the sign of the Cross you will conquer. The cross has remained a military symbol, e.g. the Iron Cross and the Portuguese Cross, the Navy Cross, the Cross of St. George, etc.

    Now the people who mostly want to kick us and our decadent, consumerist, vulgar and spiritually void ways out of their lands are motivated in part by religion. They are also Arab or Persian nationalists.

  • Martin Luther also said some really horrible things about Catholics. His worst anti-semetic rants were apparently in response to Jews who were trying to get Christians to convert. In Luther’s mind hell and eternal torment were very, very real, and taking someone away from salvation was far FAR more terrible than anything that could have been done to their bodies in this world. People during the reformation cared much more for their souls than their lives which was why people allowed themselves to be burned alive rather than recant.

    (Usery really ought to be identified as a separate issue… the anti-Jew quotes from our founding fathers, at least that I’ve seen, are talking about the evil of lending money for interest. Now that everyone does it, I can’t necessarily say they were wrong.)

    Be all that as it may… what the reformation DID and what Luther, specifically, and others DID was to reaffirm the individual. Individual responsibility and individual faith. They redefined and emphasized just *where* salvation happens. This fundamental change in focus is probably responsible for more than we can imagine as far as science and government is concerned.

    Emphasis on individual faith meant that *each person* needed to learn to read. The Bible was translated into German, it was translated into English. The church was the driving force behind literacy. The church was the driving force behind literacy for the poor and for laborers who’s *only* need for being able to read was to read the Bible.

    Emphasis on the individual translates economically as well into a culture that assumes that people should do their own labor and benefit from their own labor. Look at the difference between the economic cultures of Protestant and non-protestant countries. Look at the economic cultures of the *colonies* with Protestant traditions and those with Catholic traditions. See a pattern?

    If we look at the middle east the social structures and economic prosperity seem to be attached to familial or tribal membership as often as not. It’s not really possible for someone to “make it on their own” because what they make isn’t always their own. What’s interesting is that when people from cultures like that come to the US they tend to excell economically… I think it’s because they are motivated by the fact that they are, only *here*, able to be independant.

    So what has the middle east contributed? The level of education, at least among the educated, seems to be really high. But what are the incentives to be innovative or invent new things? Where are the incentives to be artistically daring or creative?

    And then, let us not even start on the perverted concepts of “honor”. Christ and Christianity is about humility. God Himself humbling himself to the lowest possible place. This offends Muslims. It offends them a lot. But what are the results in the culture, in society?

    Progress happens best in a culture where it is ordinary to admit mistakes. Progress happens best where admitting you were wrong is seen as personal strength and integrity, not weakness and failure. Progress happens best where people are not threatened by other people’s success.

  • Beeblebrox

    Excellent post Synova. Upon examination one can clearly see that Islam is precisely the polar opposite of Christianity. Where Christ teaches to love your enemies, the Quran teaches to kill them. Where Christ taught to turn the other cheek even if mightily offended, the Quran teaches to take offense at the earliest possible opportunity. Christ teaches forgiveness, Quran, revenge. And so on.

    The dawning reality of our time is that Muslims are pretty much done with the idea of reformation. Every day that goes by that the Jihadist see that the secularized West is made up of cowards and appeasers, the more emboldened they become. The Imams believe the end times are hand. They are hard at work fulfilling the requirements for the return of the Hidden Imam.

    I don’t expect anything but an all out Jihad on the West in the coming months and years.

  • Mac Lorry

    Good post Synova. I just want to emphasize some points.

    His worst anti-semetic rants were apparently in response to Jews who were trying to get Christians to convert.

    The Apostle Paul had some harsh words for Jews trying to enslave Christians once more to the law. In Galatians 5:12 Paul writes “I wish those troublemakers would castrate themselves.” (God’s Word translation)

    What Martin Luther realized was that the authority of the Roman Catholic Church was based on a misreading of scripture. The Roman Catholic Church vigorously opposed translation of the Bible in common languages such as German and English. Some of the first translators were imprisoned or put to death. It was the ready availability of the Bible in the common languages of the day that restored Christianity’s original message and structure.