Violent tendencies in Christian and Muslim Religions

If not for those two parts I would have given your post a ‘like’. I’m not even a Christian, but I’m getting sick of the relativistic tendency to group other religions together with Islam like that. Sure, Christianity has had and still has it’s darker sides as well, but it has proven capable to adjust enough during and after the Enlightenment to be able to live in relative harmony with the modern secular society and way of life.

In contrast, this challenge of modernity is one of the core reasons why fundamentalism and in extend terrorism is on the rise inside Islam. The doctrine of Islam is considered perfection itself by believers, and until the end of the middle ages this view was supported by the success and power of the Islamic world. The modern rise of the West has confused the superiority complex of Islam, and the question of why the Islamic world has fallen behind despite Islam being superior, is explained by the Islamic world losing it’s way and not following the pure Islam. In the eyes of the fundamentalists this return to the pure Islam is the way for Islam to make it’s big comeback and to withstand the challenges of modernity. The desire for a new Islamic Caliphate is a longing to the old Golden Age of Islam.

And then you get to the real problem. The early Islam was mostly, if not solely, spread by conquest through Jihad, which was started by the prophet Muhammed himself. It gives a justification for violence and holy wars that is unprecedented in any other major religion the world knows today. In no other religion was the topmost authority/founder (Jesus, Buddha, whoever) a warlord like Muhammed.

Frequently the Crusades are pointed at to “prove” that Christianity is just as bad in these matters, but this was 1) an answer to the military threat of Islam and 2) almost a thousand years after the founding of Christianity. A fundamentalist Christian will never see one of the war-hungry popes as a higher authority than Jesus Christ himself, who was pretty much a pacifist. Of course, one can point to Breivik, but that’s an isolated case. You’ll be hard pressed to find even a handful of comparable cases in recent times, while Jihadists exist by the tens of thousands at this moment, with even more sympathisers.

Anyway, other than that, great post. I think I especially dislike religion relativism because I often find myself defending Christianity, which I actually don’t want to do, since I have plenty of criticism on it myself.

If you agree with the post apart from those 2 parts, then I assume you are reading something into my argument I did not say. I grouped the Bible with the Q’ran in my magic book argument- if you accept this, then you should have no problems. I argue that both books have equal potential for harm, both having good and bad aspects - are you arguing the Bible doesn’t?
It is true Christianity has adapted to modern society much better than Islam - I fully agree and would not argue otherwise.
I would further suggest why this is: Modern society is basically Western society - wealthier, more educated and with it’s citizen’s basic needs met. There is a massive correlation between having all these things in place and more Secular non- religious populations. What I’m saying is that there is nothing inherently less ambiguous about the Bible than the q’ran…hence it does not affect my argument.
The rest of your post explains the terrorist reasoning for their interpretation etc and makes the case that Christianity is better than Islam……where does this get us? You are legitimising the books…why?

Not that the Bible doesn’t, just that the Quran has a lot more bad aspects, because of this:

I’m not, I’m making the case the Islam is worse than Christianity in these matters. Bad and worse is different from good and better. I’m not legitimizing anything, I believe in neither. Where does this get us? I think it is important to recognize the differences between the religions, because thinking they are essentially the same thing would imply that Islam can and will go through the same developments and adjustments as Christianity to become relatively compatible with the modern Western secular society. This is not a given, at all.

Ok, I could definitely argue that as the Bible condones Genocide, Rape, Incest, Murder, etc etc it would be a tough call, but however I will concede the point for arguments sake.

Yes, they are antonyms of each other, not sure of the point being made. It sounds like a Reds are better than Blues argument again though, which I have gallantly and generously conceded already and has nothing to do with my argument about the books which you said you agree with (I think).

I agree, they are different in this respect but again, it has nothing to do with them being essentially the same in the manner I said - that they can both be interpreted any which way. It has no bearing on my argument. I specifically tried to avoid getting into any ideological debate and just stick to the basic argument because I’ve learnt it goes nowhere…

Yes, but a very important question is how well an interpretation can be defended against other interpretations from other followers of the religion in question. Because that is how an interpretation gets mass adoption, and if it is a particularly bad interpretation, cause major problems. This battle of interpretations usually involves comparing the authority of certain texts or important figures that conflict with each other, to see which one trumps the other.

I argue that countering an interpretation that condones violence against other human beings is a lot easier in Christianity than in Islam, because of the differences between the two most authoritative figures in them who are both considered perfect in their respective religions: Jesus and Muhammed.

It’s pretty hard for peaceful Muslims to argue against fundamentalists with a desire for Jihad and Sharia law. The fundamentalists can point to their highest authority, Muhammed, and claim they are just following his example.

In Christianity this is pretty much the other way around. Their highest authority, Jesus, can always be pointed to to counter any interpretations that condone violence, since he was a pacifist according to the Bible. The same is true for Buddhism.

So, you are arguing although they can be interpreted every which way, we can form a consensus on the “nicest” version, then agree this is the “real” Christianity or Islam? Firstly I would say this has not worked for the past donkey’s years since they started - for example Christianity has literally thousands of sub-sects with varying definitions. Mohammed’s descendents squabbled after his death about who had the correct interpretation, this led to the Shia/Sunni split. It’s been like this from the start.
You appear to keep bringing it back to the relative merits of each, but I’m afraid this is still irrelevant to my argument and you are factually incorrect I’m afraid.

Simply not true…

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Jesus (the pacifist).

Can you tell me how you “interpret” this statement as coming from a “pacifist” - without totally making my argument for me?

No, I say the most violent interpretations can far more easily be defended in Islam than in Christianity. Hence there will be more violence from Islam than from Christianity.

One quote, that when taken literally, contradicts all actions of him. If you keep on reading it is pretty clear that the sword is a metaphor for the divide that will happen in a family if one follows him while the others don’t:

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. 34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household [Micah 7:6]

37 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Is your argument that you can interpret it any way you want? Sure you can, that’s what I agreed with at the start of my previous post.

My point is that when Christians start a serious discussion on whether Jesus condoned violence or not, the ones interpreting this as pro-violence are going to have a really hard time defending that argument, and will scarcely convince anyone.

In Islam, not so much. That’s why there are major problems with Islamic fundamentalists in the world that far exceed problems caused by Christian fundamentalists. There simply are a lot more well-defensible(!) justifications for violence in Islam than in Christianity.

No the real problem is a belief in absolute truth which is shared by many religions, certainly all zoriastrian religions such as Islam, Judism and Chistianity which is based on Judiasm. If you believe your way is the only way and your God is the only God, and moreover that others should convert to your religion (or political party, belief system, academic position, whatever same result regardless of truth or perspective we’re talking about) or for whatever reason are devalued then that is inevitable cause for conflict and war. The problem is this Good God verses Evil Devil concept. Us vs Them. One Absolute Truth. One religion, One God, etc etc etc. My Truth is the Way. That bullshit is the problem.

Are you forgetting the cruisades? Witch hunts (which are still going on by the way). Destruction of pagan holy sites. General religious persecution. Sexual puritanism? Occupation of Palastine by Isreal in present day? Does any of this ring a bell? Christianity fitting into secular society? That is hilarious. Christianity is about as disruptive to society as Islam is. I mean I could go on about this but I think you get the idea.

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Seriously…they’ve convinced many people over millenia of exactly this position, to the detriment of “witches”, gays,non-believers etc. Just because its quiet at the moment, this interpretation exists and there is nothing to prevent it becoming the dominant view (out of the thousands) in the future.
If you grant the books can be interpreted any which way, then I need not enter into this good/bad Bible issue - it is irrelevant and only illustrates my point. I could definitely quote the Bible and make a convincing pro-violence stance…no question. I would only need to convince a handful anyway and then Bang…12 journalists/cartoonists murdered - do you really not see the underlying argument/issue/problem?

Just to be clear, this is the position the Christian debaters and apologists make - that Noah, Jonah, Adam and Eve etc are meant metaphorically. However this is not the message the priests/Imams give to their “flocks” of sheeple. Every religious person who goes to church etc that I’ve come across is told completely the opposite - that these things happened and that they are real.
Apart from anything else these books have been interpreted LITERALLY for hundreds of years, if it was meant “metaphorically” by these bronze age goat herders or directly dictated by God (whichever) - then why - when nobody understood that for centuries? Is this "metaphorical! method the best way a deity can think of to spread his message - obviously not worked.
Just think about the argument from the metaphorical apologists.

Adam and Eve are metaphorical
God sacrificed his son Jesus to save humanity from the “metaphorical” original sin - something that didn’t even happen or is this bit metaphorical too? The whole thing makes no sense.
I said I didn’t want to get into the theology etc (not because I can’t I hope you understand)., but because it is irrelevant and only goes to serve my argument.
Just to counter your main point that you keep returning to [ that Christianity has the edge over Islam - Christianity is a totally immoral ideology in the first place.
Here’s why - It is based on the old idea of “scape-goating”, when villagers put the sins of the village on a goat and chased it out of the village. Jesus just takes this one step further, put sins on him and so long as you believe in him you will be saved. Scape-goatism is no basis for a decent moral code in my book.
I can do this all day Seneca but it gets us nowhere and I would be more interested in responses to my main argument. Thanks

Faith is a Virtue
Ignorance is Strength

Notice the correlation…

Could this be the start of another holy war? :smile:

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Lol…I didn’t start it…and ALL my posts should be interpreted as being from the highest authority, the ultimate truth, for the ultimate good of mankind…bollocks… I’m going to start a new religion…lol

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@Blindsite2k, all those examples were in times or places when or where most people were or are illiterate, so they practically believe anything their leaders tell or told them. The same kind of shit happens or happened without religion or with almost any other religion, philosophy or ideology in those times or places.

The fact is that there is a very large population of Christians living in multiple liberal secular societies right now without causing major structural problems. Islam hasn’t proven capable of that so far. Turkey was the closest thing in the last century, but even Turkey is sliding now.

I don’t believe that, at least not in the Western world. Also, convincing a hand-full of people for one attack is one incident. The Jihadists are not a hand-full of people and they have a very large group of sympathisers, and many of those have had decent educations and have or had decent lives in a peaceful environment. It’s a major structural problem, in this age unique to Islam, and I argue it’s because violence in name of Islam is far easier to justify than violence for example in name of Christianity. Hell, I’ll go even further and say Islam not only justifies it, but actually pushes believers towards it.

I don’t make these arguments to defend Christendom’s reputation. I’m saying that Islam is a lot worse. I’m making them because of the danger of potentially overestimating Islam’s capability of modernizing, like this:

:smiley: No, because I’m not religious, and neither are Al_Kafir or Blindsite2k as far as I know. Anyway, I’m going to stop partaking in this discussion now, because it’ll likely not get anywhere from this point anyway. I think we all have more important things to do than discuss religions endlessly. :wink:

Seriously, this is exactly what I wanted to avoid – we can take the relative merits of various religions off-topic where I really don’t mind continuing – in fact I’ll pick your relevant points out and do exactly this… Anyway, can I repeat and summarize my argument, then you can say whether you agree with it or not and if not, why not.

  1. Both the Bible and Q’ran can be interpreted in either Good or Bad ways.
    (Whether one is more easily interpreted as good and the other more easily interpreted as Bad is both disputable and irrelevant).

  2. It is not a good idea to suggest highly ambiguous books contain hidden truths, ultimate meanings or ultimate authority due to the potential for harm – see 1.

  3. Anybody suggesting 2. or advocating, proselytising, arguing for etc is giving legitimacy to the books, thereby legitimising the same source of truth that the terrorists use for their source of truth and we’re back to 1…

  4. Any mono-theist (Muslim, Christian or Jew) understanding this, yet refusing to question why they believe what they believe and continuing to do 2. is culpable and part of the problem in my view.

  5. This is why it is related to the misguided, wrongly framed “war on terror” of the OP, which I replied to and have remained on topic ever since, continuously asking NOT to get involved in the ideological religious debates again.

So do I, but this just demonstrates the way this argument has been studiously ignored and instead turned into something else. This is a common issue, the elephant is ignored even though it is completely relevant to the OP.
Just that atheist guy spouting religion again…ignore the arguments…and the fact that I specifically tried to avoid this throughout.

Agreed with all, except this part:

I think it’s relevant, if one is more easily interpreted in a bad way than it’s far more likely to cause serious problems.

As someone brought up as a roman catholic, I eventually saw the inconsistencies and prejudice of the religion I was told to believe in, as well as those of other faiths that I observed in a more casual way.

I now view religions as lame attempts to make sense and order out of life, but ones that have flaws based on the perspectives and objectives of their developers. To me, religion is a collection of facts, half-truths, unsubstantiated claims and lies, assembled into a product and marketed, ostensibly to provide explanation about a world of which very little is known, in a quest to guide its followers through life and keep the donations rolling in.

I personally feel better accepting that no religion can possibly have the answers to some of the deep questions about life - all they can do is offer their best guess coated in fear or hope.

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So you are saying Book A has less potential for harm than Book B?
Given that both Book A and Book B BOTH have potential for harm and your (highly disputable) argument is one of by what “Degree” of potential harm each contain, then it doesn’t really affect my argument… I have already conceded the point you are making (for arguments sake)…so are you saying you agree with my reasoning but just qualifying it by saying in your opinion one has more potential for harm than the others? The end result being Christians are less culpable than Muslims? If so then I think we are in agreement apart from this aspect which I would contend - but do not need to, in order for my argument to stand. I won’t argue the toss on this point. I would say the question of Culpability is not related to the relative merits of each, but to the basic idea that they are both ambiguous though.Thanks Seneca, that was an interesting and informative conversation…appreciate it…

Exactly, nice to have you express your opinion…lol

So true…no other Human Being has any other extra faculty that you or I do not possess that allows them to know there was a creator, nevermind to know his mind and special plans. No other Human has access to a special pool of knowledge or extra way of “knowing”…that others don’t possess…don’t listen to those that say they have…it is the biggest scam in history

Lol I just never believed in any religion.

Idk why, but my inner instinct just never told me it was true.

I guess everybody is just wired differently.

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