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The Threat of Islam
Posted: 24 February 2012 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Posted: 24 February 2012 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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mid atlantic - 24 February 2012 05:03 PM
TimB - 24 February 2012 03:54 PM
mid atlantic - 24 February 2012 02:33 PM
TimB - 24 February 2012 09:56 AM

Would any of you, who think that Islam is no threat to the future of secularism, choose to live in a Muslim dominated society, today?

Tim; for the sake of clarity, do you actually mean mean Muslim or Arab dominated society.  They’re two different things.  I woul not want to live in an Arab society, because I find their lifestyle unattractive. OTOH, a muslim society if it was very moderate - that may be tolerable.

What non-Arab “moderate” muslim dominated society are you thinking of?  e.g., Maylasia and Indonesia may not be as rife with religious intolerance but the problems are there and are probably going to get worse.

I was thinking possibly Albania, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Bosnia, some areas in Turkey. Those nations have populations that are nominally muslim, but the levels of faith are quite low.

Atheists cannot openly identify or organize themselves in Turkey.  Since WWI, the percentage of the population that was Christian has declined to around 1%.  98% of the pop is Muslim.  Some areas of Turkey may be tolerant of other religions or of infidels, I wouldn’t know, but generally I think it is not.
You may be right about Albania, though the Muslim pop is only 67% there.  (It also has the distinction of having been a Communist imposed atheistic state, not that long ago.)  In Azerbaijan, over 90% of pop. self identify as Muslim, but over 1/2 the pop say that religion is of little or know importance to them.  Their constitution also requires religious freedom, so it may be a good example of a Muslim society that is tolerant (as long as they don’t start getting devout).  In Uz-beki-beki-beki-stan, the govt. bans Islamic organizations that it deems extremist.  So it might be an ok place to live for now, as long as the tight secular control of religions, holds there.  In Bosnia, the Muslim pop is only 45% and of course they have their own unique recent history of religious war, but as the pop is not particularly devout, it is probably an ok place for now also.

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Posted: 25 February 2012 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I know of a family where the father stabbed to death with kitchen knives his wife, her lover and before killing himself he also tried to murder his two kids. Would you therefore say that knives are a threat? Why is it that many families who own kitchen knives don’t use them to murder each other? Why is it that in Azerbaijan most people are Muslims but the majority of them say that Islam is of a little importance to them? If Islam was such a threat then how come it doesn’t have the same effect on people in Azerbaijan as it does in Yemen? Why is it that many families who own kitchen knives don’t go stabbing themselves?

And why is it that Nigeria where only 50% of the population are Muslims is a lot more dangerous place to live than Turkey where nearly everyone is a Muslim? Could it be that Islam in fact is not a treat just like kitchen knives are not a threat? Could it be that people use either Islam or kitchen knives (or broken chairs in Egypt at a football game) because they are violent to begin with?

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Posted: 25 February 2012 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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George:  Thanks for the suggestion.  I have just ordered Scott Atran’s “Talking to the Enemy…” and “In Gods we trust….” from Amazon.  I will attempt to get my facts correct and balanced to get an accurate over-all view of what is going on.  I will be taking the Humanism course in the Month of March, so I don’t know how far I will be able to progress into Islam – but yes, way sooner than the end of 2012.
TT.

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If your belief is true, the data will confirm it.  If your belief is false, then you need faith to believe it.
Religions that demand respect the most - are the religions that merit respect the least.
If you are offended by attacks on your religion, then your religion has programmed you well.

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Posted: 25 February 2012 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Ted,

Atran’s book on terrorism should be of a high importance to anybody who’s interested in this topic. I am sure you’ll learn much from it and also enjoy it a great deal. I have never read Atran’s other book on religion, but from what I’ve heard it is not an easy read.

You may also want to listen to a Point of Inquiry podcast with Atran. I can’t now link to it as I am on my iPhone.

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Posted: 25 February 2012 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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George, This Scott Atran guy has a great background, is very easy to listen to, and makes a lot of sense.  Before the books arrive, there is a lot on him that one can view on You-Tube.  Check out Scott Atran from Beyond Belief 2007:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJl2-AdLt48
Once on You-tube there are many other videos with Atran that appear to have merit

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If your belief is true, the data will confirm it.  If your belief is false, then you need faith to believe it.
Religions that demand respect the most - are the religions that merit respect the least.
If you are offended by attacks on your religion, then your religion has programmed you well.

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Posted: 25 February 2012 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Yes, I remember the debate between Sam Harris and Atran very well (if that’s what you’re linking to; I am still on my iPhone and don’t want to waste data watching YouTube.) That debate obviously continues with the majority of atheists agreeing with Harris. I think that’s very unfortunate because Atran is the real expert here, where Harris is only a skilled and pationate philosopher (or something like that). But as Sagan once noticed, people tend to prefer pseudoscience over science, as science is usually a little harder to get through.

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Posted: 25 February 2012 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Ted Tyler - 25 February 2012 11:16 AM

George:  Thanks for the suggestion.  I have just ordered Scott Atran’s “Talking to the Enemy…” and “In Gods we trust….” from Amazon.  I will attempt to get my facts correct and balanced to get an accurate over-all view of what is going on.  I will be taking the Humanism course in the Month of March, so I don’t know how far I will be able to progress into Islam – but yes, way sooner than the end of 2012.
TT.

Talking to the Enemy is a pretty good book, although poorly edited. The chapters about Indonesian Muslim terrorists strike to the heart of the matter - which is tribalism.

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Posted: 25 February 2012 08:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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George - 25 February 2012 04:13 PM

Harris is only a skilled and pationate philosopher (or something like that).

Harris is not a philosopher; he has a BA in philosophy. His background is more in neuroscience. IIRC he is getting his PhD in that subject.

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Posted: 26 February 2012 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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dougsmith - 25 February 2012 08:07 PM
George - 25 February 2012 04:13 PM

Harris is only a skilled and pationate philosopher (or something like that).

Harris is not a philosopher; he has a BA in philosophy. His background is more in neuroscience. IIRC he is getting his PhD in that subject.

Yes, but he completed and received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

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Posted: 26 February 2012 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Yeah, he is probably doing it to be able to prove that Dalai Lama’s hogwash is in fact science. I always get a smile on my face when I hear Harris trying to avoid answering what his beliefs in Buddhism actually are.

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Posted: 26 February 2012 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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traveler - 26 February 2012 08:58 AM

Yes, but he completed and received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

OK, last I heard he was still in the program, but that was quite awhile ago.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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George - 25 February 2012 09:16 AM

I know of a family where the father stabbed to death with kitchen knives his wife, her lover and before killing himself he also tried to murder his two kids. Would you therefore say that knives are a threat? Why is it that many families who own kitchen knives don’t use them to murder each other? Why is it that in Azerbaijan most people are Muslims but the majority of them say that Islam is of a little importance to them? If Islam was such a threat then how come it doesn’t have the same effect on people in Azerbaijan as it does in Yemen? Why is it that many families who own kitchen knives don’t go stabbing themselves?

And why is it that Nigeria where only 50% of the population are Muslims is a lot more dangerous place to live than Turkey where nearly everyone is a Muslim? Could it be that Islam in fact is not a treat just like kitchen knives are not a threat? Could it be that people use either Islam or kitchen knives (or broken chairs in Egypt at a football game) because they are violent to begin with?

Knives (or boxcutters), don’t kill people. 

Devout religious beliefs that can be interpreted to justify killing, don’t kill people.

People who have those things may be more likely than others to kill people. 

Different nations/cultures with different histories will clearly have a different impact on how religious beliefs will be incorporated into their society. 

My concern, however, is not as much violence as it is the suppression/oppression of religious freedom and especially freedom from religion, which I expect will be at risk in any Islamic dominated society that does not have some very strong counter control against that possibility.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Tim B.

My concern, however, is not as much violence as it is the suppression/oppression of religious freedom and especially freedom from religion, which I expect will be at risk in any Islamic dominated society that does not have some very strong counter control against that possibility.

A justifiable concern.  Keep in mind however that religious freedom in western culture arose not through a philosophical awakening to the non-existence of a superior entity but through a desire of US founding fathers to avoid the bloodshed of the religious wars in Europe.  Hopefully this same concern and experience will lead to religious tolerance in Muslim societies.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Being from Holland, with its very sexual and societal freedoms, I often wonder if the very moral restrictions in fundamentalist religious countries does not contribute to the emotional and violent behavior, especially in their younger generations with raging hormones, without outlet.

[ Edited: 27 February 2012 03:12 PM by Write4U ]
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