Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

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Batgirl III
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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Batgirl III » Mon May 21, 2018 6:16 pm

Just to illustrate Ken’s point: I was a Roman Catholic for nearly half of my life, including twice weekly Catechism classes from K-12, Mass nearly every Sunday, and private lessons in Liturgical Latin from grades 7-10... So, despite having left the Church, I still had a reflexive urge to correct some of Ken’s mistakes in his opening paragraph. It is mostly right, but it misses out some of the nuance in the transubstantiation versus transformation versus symbolism debate.

People have spent centuries killing each other over this doctrine. If you ever want to commit suicide, go to Northern Ireland and tell any random person in a pub that there’s no distinction between Catholics and Anglicans. You probably won’t finish the sentence before the first fist flies...

Now, try to keep in mind, that Islam has been around almost as long as Christianity, but it has never had the same centralized hierarchy. There’s as many (if not more) sects, cults, schools of thought, regional variations, folk traditions, and cultural mores at play in Islam as there is in Christianity.
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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Ken » Mon May 21, 2018 7:25 pm

Batgirl III wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 6:16 pm
So, despite having left the Church, I still had a reflexive urge to correct some of Ken’s mistakes in his opening paragraph. It is mostly right, but it misses out some of the nuance in the transubstantiation versus transformation versus symbolism debate.
Yeah, I was going for broad overview; trying to keep it easy to follow, while functioning on very little sleep. I was using it as an example of a contested doctrine. I have no desire to write a multi-volume series of books.
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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Batgirl III » Mon May 21, 2018 9:03 pm

C’mon, it’s only a heated area of debate that people — including some of the greatest philosophers and theologians in world history — have been arguing about and going to war over for two millennia. I’m sure you could summarize it in a single post on an Internet forum devoted to playing Pretend Superheroes!
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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Ken » Mon May 21, 2018 9:08 pm

I thought we had a few years before we hit the two millennia mark. ;)
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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Batgirl III » Mon May 21, 2018 10:02 pm

Ken wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 9:08 pm
I thought we had a few years before we hit the two millennia mark. ;)

We passed it eighteen years ago, dude.
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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Ken » Mon May 21, 2018 11:09 pm

Batgirl III wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 10:02 pm
Ken wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 9:08 pm
I thought we had a few years before we hit the two millennia mark. ;)

We passed it eighteen years ago, dude.
No. We passed the turn of the Millennium 18 years ago. The transubstantiation vs symbolism debate couldn't have started until after the Last Supper, which happened, according to tradition, when Jeshua was 33 years old. Since estimates of His birth range anywhere from 7 to 4 BC (Backwards Chronology), that would put the Last Supper, and the founding of the Church, between AD (Advancing Dates) 26 and 29. That means the debate couldn't have started until at most 1,992 years ago.
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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Woodclaw » Fri May 25, 2018 12:44 pm

I've not tossed my 2 cents in this thread so far because it's a subject I'm in the process of understanding myself.

First of all a big disclaimer I gravitate between being Agnostic and being Atheist since I the end of primary school.

Now, a few years ago I read a serviceable (but by no mean good) translation of the Quran and I run into the first major roadblock to understanding it: the original Quran is a poem. Clearly this was a nice trick back in the day to make it easier to memorize to a vastly illiterate population (the officials of the Chinese Empire during the T'ang dynasty did the same with many public proclamations). This means that the difficulty to properly translate it is compounded and many times the translator tried to use simpler word to explain very complex concepts.

It doesn't help that different parts of the Quran seem to contradict each other (e.g. the sura II:62 states that those who aren't Islamic but worship God [jews and christians] should have nothing to fear from God; but the sura III:85 says that God reject all those who aren't Islamic; yet sura V:69 repeat the same concept of II:62).

The second problem -- as BG3 already noted -- is that there is no central authority in the Islamic faith. Opposite to Catholic and Orthodox churches and, to a degree, the Jewish faith, all the Imams share equal theological authority even if their interpretation of the tennets are in direct contrast. In theory each follower should choose what Iman suits him better and his/hers spiritual guide, but this isn't always possible. This result in a number of contraddiction that slowly seeped into the general culture and, of course, some of the most extreme interpretation were used to back repressive actions from various goverments.

The third and final problem is that Muhammad himself was both a religious and secular leader. Unfortunately this caused all of his texts and laws to become holy without any regard to their original purpose, plus it created the base for the idea of merging religious and political authority in many Islamic countries.
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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Ares » Fri May 25, 2018 5:34 pm

My own understanding of the Muslim issue is similar to Woodclaw. Islam has no central authority, so there anytime people disagree on interpretation of texts, there is often not a higher authority to go to for answers.

As a result, it's very easy for someone to take a line from the book out of context and spin it into a message of violence and hatred. Christianity has been suffering the same thing for centuries, where King James too a line about not suffering someone who poisons people into "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live", and thus creating decades of suffering as people use that line to justify the murder of different trials. Likewise, people take the "if a man sleeps with a man they have committed an abomination" line out of context, given it's from a section of the Bible dealing with Jewish law primarily with survival in the desert, where the line about "it's better that your seed fall in a prostitute than on the ground", because Jewish seed was too much of a precious resource to waste. And it also falls in other bits about how you could stone disrespectful children or those that work on Sunday. Those passages are about Jewish SOCIAL law, not holy/religious law, and yet people use those passages to justify homophobia.

But that's a problem with almost anything, where taking something out of context and spinning it can be used by charismatic people to justify atrocities, especially to desperate people who don't know any better. And when you live in a place that hasn't known peace in hundreds of years, has relatively few resources and a lot of anger at other parts of the world, it's easy to find desperate and angry people looking for something to believe in and someone to take their anger out on.

So Islam is perhaps in need of some social reform the way the Christianity has done throughout it's time. And there are progressive Muslims/Muslim reformists that are trying to focus on the aspects of their faith that are more about tolerance.

Another issue is that often time its less about being a Muslim and the part of the world they're from. Being a Muslim doesn't mean you come from an identical place and culture as every other Muslim. There are societies and cultures that are predominantly Muslim that are incredibly oppressive, sexist, bigoted and violent, but you could say that about almost anyone at different times in history. It's less the religion and more the culture of that particular location.

And then you have the immigration issue where you have people from the more violent and sexist cultures migrating to different parts of Europe and being linked to violent attacks and gang rapes, not because they're Muslim, but because the culture they grew up in supported that behavior. The problem is that it's considered racist and/or "Islamaphobic" to talk about such things frankly, and since no one wants to be labeled a racist, they avoid mentioning it.

Basically, we're at a weird point where outrage culture and professional victimhood have made it difficult to have rational discussions about things. Until we can talk openly and honestly about them, things are never going to change.

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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by BriarThrone » Fri May 25, 2018 6:18 pm

Ares, the biggest issue I have with that post is the phrase "out of context." Mohammed was a merchant-turned-war-leader who spent his entire adult life in the 7th century, conquering, enslaving, and oppressing a vast swathe of the world, establishing a theocratic fascist state called the "caliphate" that he explicitly commanded his followers to expand until it encompassed the whole world. A vast percentage of Islamic doctrine is on how to govern and expand the caliphate. It is the single defining feature of Islam. Why would anyone ever need anything to be taken out of that context to justify atrocities? The atrocities are justified very well by the specific context of both the command and the example of the Prophet.
Ares wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 5:34 pm
So Islam is perhaps in need of some social reform the way the Christianity has done throughout it's time. And there are progressive Muslims/Muslim reformists that are trying to focus on the aspects of their faith that are more about tolerance.
Indeed there are, and I have a lot of respect for those people. And it's not like they have a completely unfounded view of Islam. There are passages they can cite in their favor. Unfortunately, this is because Mohammed appeared to have a nasty habit of saying whatever would get him the best immediate outcome. The actual core passages - those that are focused on by mainstream Islam - are the ones that Mohammed actually enforced as law as Caliph. I've seen reformers get wrecked in debate by arguing a message of peace, tolerance, and compassion based on far more obscure passages, and then their opponent cites sharia that completely contradicts them, and their audience - my favorite example, specifically, was staged in front of a large audience of Muslims who did not in any way consider themselves radicals - acknowledged that the latter imam was speaking directly to the core of their faith as it was written.

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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Batgirl III » Fri May 25, 2018 6:26 pm

Basically, we're at a weird point where outrage culture and professional victimhood have made it difficult to have rational discussions about things. Until we can talk openly and honestly about them, things are never going to change.
Hell, these days we cannot even have rational discussions about why it’s important to be able to have rational discussions!

The perpetually outraged have dialed up their “no platforming” campaign to the point where Stephen Fry(!) is being denounced as a homophobic right-wing bigot because he agreed to share the stage at a Munk Debate with Jordan Peterson... and then there’s the whole “scandal” caused by Kanye West tweeting out that he agreed with some things said by Candice Owens.
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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Beleriphon » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:46 pm

Batgirl III wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 5:30 pm
Similar surveys show that a significant plurality of Muslims currently living in the United Kingdom think that Islamic canon law, sharia, should be added to or replace English common law and U.K. statutory law. Similar surveys yield similar results in other European states, although it remains a minority opinion in the U.S. and Canada...

This is definitely an area of concern for me, personally and professionally.
In Canada and the US the Muslim population is largely the result of actual intentional purposeful immigration, or refugees who have been selected to arrive and are fleeing their homes on the basis of mostly being moderate or liberally minded types. While Europe is getting everybody running away regardless of how they feel about anything else.

As a completely different question, for anybody that happens to know. Muslims have during Ramadan fast during daylight hours. In the Arabian peninsula and surrounding areas is roughly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night year round. However, as you move farther north and south the day night cycle changes. If a Muslim during Ramadan was in Iqaluit NU where the sun literally doesn't set at certain points of the year, what does a one do during Ramadan?

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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Batgirl III » Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:35 pm

Because we live in a fascinating world these days, believe it or not, this is a real issue that some Muslim communities have had to find an answer to. If you don’t have time to read the linked article, the TL;DR answer is that they’ll follow the timetable for Mecca.

I don’t have a link handy, but I recall reading somewhere that some Muslim theologians have also written fatwa for how to handle the “pray while facing Mecca” issue for astronauts in orbit, deep space, or even when on other planets. Kinda cool, really.
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Re: Muslim Culture, History and Politics - Open Debate

Post by Spectrum » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:27 am

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