Comment of the Day: “Pop Quiz: The Bottom Of The Slippery Slope”

islamic-symbol

Going far afield from the post it followed, the Comment of the Day from texaggo4 examines the tricky question of whether militant, radical or extremist Muslims can be fairly regarded as representative of the faith. Taking off from a comment by Penn (in the blocks), tex examines various ways of analyzing the problem, in a long and fascinating exposition. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post “Pop Quiz: The Bottom of the Slippery Slope.”

 

Fundamentalism v Militancy

“Which brings me an item I almost ran yesterday re the specious anti-free-speech posts some people were making and/or agreeing with. I thought Beth had pretty much covered the subject but … no. As (self-confessed) Christian writer and psychiatrist M. Scott Peck – Lt. Col. who served as the U.S. Army’s Assistant Chief Psychiatry and Neurology Consultant to the Surgeon General of the Army – explained, “(T)there are different stages of spiritual maturity. Fundamentalism – whether it be Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Hindu fundamentalism – is an immature stage of development.

‘Indeed, a Christian fundamentalist who kills others in the name of religion is much more similar to a Muslim – or Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist – fundamentalist who kills others in the name of his religion than to a Christian who peacefully fights for justice and truth, helps the poor, or serves to bring hope to the downtrodden.’

If we can’t agree to differentiating fundamentalists (extremists by definition) from (comparatively) rational folks, we will continue to have straw man arguments that lump every one together under a label that is useless for discussion.”

I’ve read some of Peck’s works. Pretty good. But I think he’s inaccurate on the characterization of “Fundamentalism”. He’s fallen for the same trap in mislabeling that the main stream media uses. Certainly spiritual immaturity involves a great deal of emotionalism, which typically manifests in anger, when a person’s beliefs are challenged. Anger, which can lead to violence, is best described as “Militancy”, not “Fundamentalism”.

If religion A says “at the bare bones you must believe”:

1) Never touch a weapon
2) Be peaceful with everyone
3) Oppose studying earthquakes

And a practitioner of religion A picked up a gun and blew away the first seismologist they found, they couldn’t rightly be called a “Fundamentalist” in their religion, because they clearly violated the fundamentals. They are more aptly described as a Militant practitioner of religion A and clearly break their own religion’s rules.

If religion B says “at the bare bones you must believe”:

1) Only tolerate people who are like you
2) Kill people who disagree with you
3) Oppose studying earthquakes

Then Practitioner B, when he picks up a gun and blows away seismologists, is not only a “Militant” practitioner, but can rightly be called a “Fundamentalist” for following his religion’s key tenets. Which would also lead to the identification that “Militancy” is also “enshrined” in his religion.

This is the major flaw in Islam v Christianity comparisons. The poo-pooers like to say “Well Christians were really violent in the name of their religion also.” Sure, those Christians who did that were definitively WRONG to do it, but at least they can’t find anywhere in the New Testament to advocated their violence…so they were not “Fundamental” AT ALL. Just Militant asses. When Muslims engage in violence, they can refer to a plethora of textual backing to support their violence… they ARE being “Fundamental” when they are militant. Peck is correct that it is spiritual immaturity, he’s just wrong labelling it Fundamentalism. It’s time to acknowledge that Islam has encoded, not just a lack of ethics in it’s belief system, but an actively counter-ethical system.

“Well Christians were really violent in the name of their religion also”: I’m not sure why this objection is even raised. Do you?

  • Are we supposed to let Muslims do this because Christians did it also? (Rationalization)
  • Are we supposed to condemn Christianity now also?
  • Are we supposed to just assume this is a growing pain in Islam and let it ride, turning a blind eye because Europe was a very violent place at one time also?

I’ve never figured out the objection…

Islamophobia

Probably time to address the poo-pooers concerns about “Islamophobia.”Any time a rational person identifies the inherent flaws in Islam that seem to inculcate and forgive the very disgusting behaviors engaged in, some bleeding heart demands we acknowledge “Well, not ALL Muslims are like that!” This required caveat, which the rational person already understands, seems to be the only thing the bleeding hearts care about. I strongly suspect that if no one pointed out militant Islam, then the prevailing notion amongst the group in question would be that ALL Muslims are bleary-eyed peace-loving down to earth people who only want good for all…

Thank God for the rational people.

Here’s where it sits. Envision two continuums (continua?).

The first Continuum will be “Islamism.” At point 0, you have a guy who was born to Muslim parents but after that never practiced the religion in his life. At point 100, you have the guy who follows Islam to the absolute letter of the Koran and Hadiths and is one step away from blowing himself and a handful of Jews kafiri to smithereens. Along that continuum you have anywhere from the secular Muslim who occasionally prays, to the daily prayer, to the Sufis, to the Shias, down the line to the quiet supporters of the terrorists who would never do such themselves, to the guys who verbally support the terrorist but wouldn’t do it themselves to the Wahabbists, to the Salafists, then to the Takfirists, etc. On that continuum you have every shade of active practice of the religion.

The second Continuum will be “Islamophobia.” At point 0, you have the guy who sees the news and thinks “hey that dude who cheered the 9-11 attacks and the Charlie Hebdo attacks is probably a bad guy” but then gets on about his day. At point 100, you have the guy who says “WHUT?! His name has ibn or bin in it??? KILL HIM!” Similarly along that continuum, you have every shade of individual who worries about Islam’s effect on it’s believers and the likelihood that it fosters militant behavior.

Still with me? Now, I think rational people, without having to caveat a comment about Islam or militant Muslims, understands that, on the 1st continuum, the Vast majority fall in the “don’t worry about these guys” zone. I think the bleeding-hearts believe every time someone makes a comment observing the reality of the world, they think the commenter believes EVERY SINGLE MUSLIM is at point 100 on the 1st continuum and therefore they quietly believe that every person making an anti-Islamic observation must lean towards being an Islamophobic extremist.

Here’s the concern that the poo-pooers don’t seem to realize or give appropriate gravity to: I think there are VASTLY MORE people on the “worrisome” end of the 1st continuum than there are on the “worrisome” end of the 2nd continuum. And it is also concerning that the bleeding hearts don’t seem to think that the “worrisome” end of the 1st continuum is nearly that big of a threat and are more concerned with not mislabeling the “non-worrisome” Muslims than they are with handling the troublesome ones…

19 thoughts on “Comment of the Day: “Pop Quiz: The Bottom Of The Slippery Slope”

  1. I would dispute that Islam authorizes (let alone commands) Muslims in general to engage in violence against those for violating Islamic law.

    Let us take the example of the Jews. Their Scripture prescribes the death penalty for those who commit various offenses like idolatry, blasphemy, and buggery. And yet, one would be hard-pressed to find cases of individual Jews murdering people for alleged blasphemy, idolatry, or buggery. And this is because almost all Jews understand those commands to apply to Israel as a nation, and as such, the penalties can only be carried out by those acting under the legal authority of the Nation of Israel.

    Why would Islam be different? Surely the medieval Islamic caliphs did not want their subjects to act outside the law to punish infidels and apostates. It would seem that the religious duty to fight unbelievers is a duty of an Islamic state, and of those with legal authority to fight for an Islamic state.

    • Oddly enough then that everyone in the Islamic State seems authorized to kill everyone not in the Islamic State.

      Apples and Oranges comparison.

      Also odd that you’ll accept as potentially justifiable that the laws of the Torah are “ok” as they prescribe punishment by a Jewish nation ON citizens *inside* that nation, then generalize that to say it’s ok for an Islamic State to then kill non-citizens simply for not being in the Islamic State…

      Surely you see be difference that breaks your analogy?

      • What is really odd is that Mohammed, himself, was not initially a member of an “Islamic State”…at least not until he created one.

    • One of the major fundamental differences between Judaism and Islam or Christianity is that Judaism is more of an endurance faith, they are waiting out the apocalypse, living by their rules, and battening down the hatches. They eat Kosher, they don’t give a rats ass if you don’t, you can burn in hell in the afterlife. They don’t care. You will never, ever find a Jewish missionary. This is fundamentally different from Islam and Christianity, which are “conversion” faiths. That’s why I don’t think the comparison stands muster.

      But more than that, religion is a tool. You can take your holy books, which are generally conflicted, and cherry pick them to mean damn near anything you want them to. There is a specific passage that tells Muslims that they can tolerate the “people of the book” (which includes Christianity and Judaism) and there is another that reads “When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful.”.

      It’s kind of hard to “that Islam authorizes (let alone commands) Muslims in general to engage in violence against those for violating Islamic law. ” in the face of that.

      • Leviticus 20:13.

        Are present-day Jews violating that commandment?

        Or was that commandment directed towards the rulers of Israel?

        • Does that really matter in the context of this discussion?

          I suppose my answer would be that the laws in Leviticus were understood at the time to apply in the context of civil law. That said, there weren’t any punishments listed for not following through with the punishments prescribed. Whether this was because it wasn’t considered that people would not follow the letter of the law, or as a nod to the impracticality of a hard line stance in every situation, the fact is that from the standpoint of an endurance faith there is nothing that would condemn a person based on not stoning gays.

        • “Are present-day Jews violating that commandment?”

          Perhaps, but how often do they lose their heads over it? Or, more specifically, how many Jews LOP heads over that?

      • It’s kind of hard to “dispute that Islam authorizes (let alone commands) Muslims in general to engage in violence against those for violating Islamic law. ” in the face of that.

        What a difference one word makes.

      • Point 1
        What happens to people who convert from Islam in Islam-dominated counties? What happens to someone who violates Islamic law in Islamic countries? What happens to someone who criticizes Islam or the Islamic leaders in such a country? Is Sharia law optional in Islam? Is the Islamic state actually optional in Islam? Challenge Section: You don’t get to label the Islamic authorities or people in all the Islam-dominated countries “not true Muslims”.

        Now, what happens to someone who converts from Christianity in a Christian-dominated country? What happens when someone violates Christian Church law? What happens when someone criticizes Christianity or Christian leaders in such a country? Are there any Christian states left except Vatican City (and were there ever, truly)?

        Point 2
        Now, I think there is an argument to be made that the peace-loving, tolerant-of-other-religions Muslim can be best described as a ‘bad Muslim’. This is similar to most Christians who do not practice what the church preaches. How many churches have people in leadership positions that are cohabiting with their significant other? How many tolerate members and even leaders who commit adultery, fraud, and not paying child support? How many are not actually taking care of the poor, the orphans, or the widows? How many are not actually fulfilling their commitment to bringing the word of the love of God to the downtrodden and the imprisoned? How many condemn other groups on religious grounds that are not Biblically mandated? How many are just concerned with their own members and operate as a private club? How many treat their faith as a hobby, such as Catholic legislators who claim they abhor abortion but are staunch ‘pro-choice’ votes on any legislation? These people can best be called ‘bad Christians’. I would put forth the idea that even if most people who identify themselves as Christians think these activities are OK, it doesn’t make them ‘true Christian’ beliefs. The media and the government do not want religions that hold the loyalty of their followers. Such religions are a threat to the absolute authority of the state (and one of the reasons for the need for the First Amendment). The media and government ideal are ‘bad Christians’ and ‘bad Muslims’ and this should be kept in mind when they start talking about ‘true Christians’ and ‘true Muslims”.

        Yes, this post seems to include two contradictory points of view. That was its intention. In this ‘true Islam” argument, how are you going to judge ‘true Islam’? Do you judge it by a democratic vote, or by its stated principles and ideas? However, does your definition even matter? From a practical point of view, do we need to deal with Islam as it is practiced (Point 1), or based on what someone says the ‘ideal’ is (Point 2)?

        • I don’t understand your point, what are you disagreeing with? Or adding to?

          We deal with Islam as it is, because that is what effects us, and what it is is a group that on a fairly regular basis cultivates a minority of arguable size that blows shit up. What we have to so is stop bickering about how big or small that minority is and deal with the reality of the situation that most effects us, which is made of bullets and bombs.

  2. Somebody who has the energy and the tolerance should pick apart this embarrassing post from Dean Obedallah…a great example of how one can cherrypick facts to obscure the truth.I particularly like “And as a 2014 study by University of North Carolina found, since the 9/11 attacks, Muslim-linked terrorism has claimed the lives of 37 Americans. In that same time period, more than 190,000 Americans were murdered .” This a Rationalization #22 Hall of Fame worthy statement. And since 1945, no Jews have been sent to extermination camps: what are they worried about? I’d do it, but I’m still trying to finish the 2014 wrap-up…

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/14/are-all-terrorists-muslims-it-s-not-even-close.html

  3. How is Tex going to keep this up, when winter ends and the landscaping seasons and business resume their demands on his time?

    Directly to Tex: How do you DO all that commenting, man?! (even in winter?)

    • Honestly, I do a considerable amount of driving during my work and I compose most of my longer comments in my head while driving…believe me, they are far more eloquent and thorough in my brain. Then first work break I get (and during the winter that’s a lot), I frantically try to regurgitate everything I can recall. Hence the general lack of structure and refinement.

      The shorter comments are mostly clarifications or realizations of points I forgot, or noticing typos & errors keyboard betrayals. But really, I did go through a November/December comment slump when business picked up for the unusually excellent weather we had.

  4. I think Tex has the right approach. If we assume that Muslims are equally distributed across the continuum we still face a very serious problem.

    If there are an equal number of fanatical Jihadists and Muslims that take up arms to fight against them and each group represents 1 tenth of one percent of the entire Muslim population then the competing armies would be 1.6 million persons strong. For comparison: North Korea’s active duty military is 690,000 strong.

    If we add to the jihadists and Muslim fighters against the jihadists an equal one percent of the Muslim population as jihadist leaners and actual abettors of violence and on the other side vocal Muslim critics against jihad and violence we have 16 million Muslims on each side.

    If we add to that 10% that merely sympathize with the Jihadists but do nothing to aid or assist and 10% of Muslims side against Jihadist violence and do nothing but teach their children to be peaceful we have 160 Muslims on each side of the continuum.

    Right in the middle we have the largest block those that side with the jihadists simply because they are Muslim and those that despise the Jihadists but are silent out of fear of reprisal. This might represent 38.9% on either side of the fence. That amounts to 622,400,000 people immediately to the right and left of the mid point on the continuum.

    The problem is not that a small minority of Muslims are committing acts of violence and other atrocities it is that the vast majority of Muslims who are against Jihadists do little to nothing to stamp out the ideology that killing Muslims and non-Muslims with impunity.

    I think the old adage of “if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem” is appropriate. Unfortunately, I doubt if it is a nice neat equally distributed population demographic.

    • This leads to the inevitable WAR “ethics” balancing act of who should be seen as the enemy. Until we actually entered Germany and could differentiate between Germans fighting us and Germans surrendering to us, all Germans were treated as supporting the Nazi regime, whether or not in reality, Nazis didn’t have full and utter support of the people.

      What is the minimum conduct needed to determine if a people are in the realm of justifiable belligerency? Is it when active combatants are able to disappear into a neighborhood that will not regurgitate them to us? Therefore making them complicit? Does it alleviate matters that the neighborhood hiding them does so only out of fear of reprisals if they do not?

      These questions must eventually be addressed if we wish to rationally approach the problem with an effective solution.

      Certainly the “enemy” isn’t limited to just the guys coordinating, supplying and carrying out the attacks.

  5. Apologies up front to Jack for not acknowledging the honor of COD-ing (or at least setting off that of texagg04), and to Tex for not jumping back in and giving him a run for his effort. I missed the post entirely.

    It appears we are not on the same page still. I will respond when I have time to dig into my original searches and faulty memory to back up my fundamentals. I am currently in the middle of working one of my periodic film-festival runs (Noir City and Berlin & Beyond, fyi) and will not come up for air until February fourth or so.

    Meanwhile, I will read and may blurb what comes quickly to mind that can go out fast through the fingers without calling for hours of work that would need to be hours of sleep. Sorry for missing this one at the time; I value its challenge to come just a bit closer to an understanding, if not an agreement.

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