Obama Message to Iran: Diplomacy or Condescension?

When I saw some excerpts of Barack Obama’s unprecedented video address to the Iranian people, I first said, “wow, cool.” Then I watched the entire video and my “inner Iranian” said “who the hell do you think you are?”

What threw me was the following excerpt:

You, too, have a choice. The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right — but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create.

via Transcript of Obama’s Message in Celebration of Nowruz – WSJ.com.

Who is Barack Obama or any American President, for that matter, to define “the true greatness of the Iranian people”? Perhaps to the Iranian government’s mindset, their true greatness lies in their ability to kick ass? And when one looks at American history, we have certainly not hidden our propensity to go and kick some ass. So, not only does this excerpt strike me as condescending, it also smacks slightly of hypocrisy. We don’t hesitate to go to other countries and beat the crap out of them, particularly when we have financial interests there but we give Iran a lecture?

This video would have been fine and dandy if the paragraph I highlighted above had been removed. I think it is really cool for Obama to directly address the people of Iran and reinforce that we are all made of the same blood, bone and skin. It is when this shared joy over their New Year became an opportunity to tell them how to behave that we crossed the line from diplomacy over into condescension.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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70 thoughts on “Obama Message to Iran: Diplomacy or Condescension?

  1. This is a nation that funds Hezbollah and Hamas.

    A nation that put “keys” to heaven in the hands of little boys and then forced them to run through mine fields.

    A nation actively building nuclear weapons while threatening to annihilate a people wholesale. A people, mind you, that came close to total extermination the last time they were threatened.

    In the history of human beings, no nation has ever actively worked on building a nuclear weapon while also talking about exterminating an ethnic group. They have always been weapons of deterrence. Deterrence from World War III or deterrence of an island hopping campaign that would have killed up to 500,000 more Americans and millions more Japanese.

    This is a nation that spanks women, yes, literally spanks them with paddles for not wearing the proper attire.

    But, alas, your obvious reverse psychology cracks me up and I see right through it. Rutherford is, in a bizarre way, trying to show us that, yes, Obama is tough on Iran. Those from the right were wrong about him. He can be Hawkish.

    Rutherford, your hatred of American policy, by equivocating our foreign policy with the imperialism of other super powers through out world history, is a joke. Even our mistakes are mostly made over moral stands against tyranny we see trying to take over the world. Our there a few exceptions? Of course.

    But go ahead and try to compare us to the USSR, the 3rd Reich, the 2 Reich, Imperial France, Imperial England, the Belgians in the Congo, Japan, the Ottoman Empire, Catholic Spain, the Crusaders, the Arabs, Romans, Alexander the Great, the Sumerians etc. etc. etc.. You’re just wrong. We just don’t take nations over, and you know it. This makes us unique in world history. Look at Iraq? Does that look like Imperialism to you? We haven’t sucked out on drop of stolen oil.

  2. In other news, Dead Rabbit lurks in his subterranean dungeon smoking a mild, creamy Arturo Fuente cigar. Ceder, cream, pecans, silk. Watching Michigan battle hard. God is great.

    You enjoy a good cigar “R”? If so, let me know. If I luck out and we have a child, you will receive quite a treat. Same goes for that Puritan, Tex, if he enjoys such a treat.

  3. DR, so let me get this straight. Because we are relatively “the good guys” (and I don’t really argue with that premise), that gives us the right to lecture other nations?

    How likely is someone to work with you if your opening line is “let’s work together so you’re not such an ass hole.” Hardly a way to convince your without-any-morals-or-scruples enemy to come to the table.

    I’m not saying that America is the evil empire. I am saying that we have this tendency to adopt a holier-than-thou tone with other nations, particularly non-White-or-European nations. And quite frankly they don’t want to hear it.

    Iran already knows we think they suck. We don’t need to remind them of that. We do need to tell them that the better parts of their culture are not lost on us … and maybe with that small bit of respect, they’ll come around a bit. Slim chance but maybe. Telling them they need to be civilized will get us no where fast.

  4. Well I don’t smoke but let’s face it, the cigar is all about the symbol, not the smoke, at least as far as newborns are concerned, so I’d be honored to receive the token of your new fatherhood.

    As for how you’re spending your Saturday, sounds like the good life to me. 🙂

  5. Rabbit,

    If I luck out and we have a child, you will receive quite a treat. Same goes for that Puritan, Tex, if he enjoys such a treat.

    You know why I love you man? Because I’ve been called many things in my time, but never a Puritan. That was so good, I’m going to tell my wife that she’s misunderstood me all these years, and I’ve got the proof! 😆

    I want you to save your money and buy that lucky bouncing baby a pacifier with my name on it. Better yet, a monogrammed softball.

    Something like this:

    I :heart: Tex…

  6. DR, Tex has the right answer here. Save the cigar cash and buy your kid something nice. How ’bout a nice baby t-shirt that reads:

    “I can’t wait to grow up to be a liberal like my Uncle Rutherford”

    😀

  7. Obama still hasn’t learned a valuable lesson.

    When constantly finding your foot in your open mouth, don’t season the foot to make it taste better.

    Instead, just stop opening your mouth.

  8. Red Pill, interesting comment although I’m not sure you agree with my premise or whether you dislike Obama’s message for some other reason. Could you elaborate?

    (BTW, long time no see ….. glad to see you back on the blog commenting.)

  9. It just seems that Obama has gotten in some sticky situations with his mouth lately. And he hasn’t yet learned that the only real cure for that is less talking.

    Which isn’t good for a guy who is all talk.

    (I’ll try and stop by more. Classes have been demanding this term)

  10. Red Pill, LOL I’ll ignore the second comment about “all talk” but I will say that I think one reason Obama tends to talk haltingly (lots of “ahhhs”) is that he is censoring what comes out of his mouth. The faster the dialog and the quicker he responds, the more he tends to say something problematic. I think the “special Olympics” comment was an example where he was free-flowing a bit too much and said something offensive.

    I kinda like Bill Maher’s take on it since he is always able to take something offensive and make it super-offensive. He remarked that since there are many special Olympians who bowl much better than Obama, it only proves that “bowling is retarded”.

  11. R I applaud the point you made in the post

    Then I watched the entire video and my “inner Iranian” said “who the hell do you think you are?”

  12. I kinda like Bill Maher’s take on it since he is always able to take something offensive and make it super-offensive. He remarked that since there are many special Olympians who bowl much better than Obama, it only proves that “bowling is retarded”.

    Forgetting I find Maher one of the most offensive people in the world, and forgetting for a minute that I would pay to have one shot as his jaw, and forgetting for a moment that I am almost sure I could end his miserable existence with the one shot…

    This from a guy that doesn’t look like he could muster enough muscle to pick up a 16lbs bowling ball?

  13. Thanks Alfie.

    Tex, I admit I watch Maher with mixed emotions. In the areas where I agree with him, I don’t much like how he delivers the message and in other areas he’s simply just an asshole. But I do give him points for being as nasty a lib as Ann Coulter is a conservative. (I would love to have seen their recent debate. Hope I can find it on the web some day.)

  14. Uhh….I ordered some custom “I can’t wait to grow up to be a liberal like my Uncle Rutherford” diapers. Only 15 bucks for 3. I had the statement embroidered on the inside.

  15. Uhh….I ordered some custom “I can’t wait to grow up to be a liberal like my Uncle Rutherford” diapers. Only 15 bucks for 3. I had the statement embroidered on the inside.

    😆 😆 😆 😆 *** GUFFAW *** 😆 😆 😆 😆

    I just knew something like that was coming! I’m just glad they didn’t include the name Tex somewhere on the front.

  16. Uhh….I ordered some custom “I can’t wait to grow up to be a liberal like my Uncle Rutherford” diapers.

    Hey so long as they’re not disposables. That way they keep getting cleansed of the conservative crap over and over again. What great symbolism! 🙂

  17. Obama. D@mn. I can’t help myself, I have to make the objoke ( obligatory joke ).

    Come on, Rutherford. The Chimp only mangled the language as he spoke extemporaneously. Obama ‘uh’s, ‘er’s, and ‘WaitWait’s so much sans TelepromTer that he actually qualifies for that Special Olympics Bowling medal. Cut the suit some slack!

    By the way, your Euro-centrism is showing. Iran thinks they are the center of civilization and the US is the barbaric nation lost in the wilderness. Their President has been just as condescending.

  18. First, the Obama teleprompter video is hilarious.

    Second, I only skimmed the Ahmadinejad letter to Bush but I’m not sure I’d characterize it as condescending. Even if it were, many consider the President of Iran to be a lunatic so why would we compare our President’s rhetoric to his?

  19. Who is it, whose opinion matters to Ahmadinejad, that considers him lunatic? Your Euro-centrism is showing again. In the civilized world, Dar al-Islam, he is the President of a leading nation, while the US is only the biggest thug in the wilderness, Dar al-Harb.

    Ahmadinejad lectures Bush, a Christian, on morality as a teacher to a stubborn student. Then, he closes with:

    “Vasalam Ala Man Ataba’al hoda”,

    meaning “Peace be to the one who follows the right/true path”, or perhaps “Peace only unto those who follow the true path.”

    Ahmadinejad means himself and that Bush is to have war and lose.

    Further, remembering the historical/religious/legality/morality/politics/courtesy/cleanliness of the phrase, it is tantamount to a declaration of war. These are the words of Mohammad to the Christian Byzantine and Persian Sassanid emperors before he conquered them.

    So, yes, we should compare our President’s rhetoric to that of one who is correctly following the ‘noble’ example of the prophet.

  20. Rigorist, as I’ve stated elsewhere, I suspect your knowledge of Islam has narrowed rather than broadened your view. Being relatively ignorant of Islamic teachings myself, I can’t prove this definitively but I suspect it nevertheless.

    I really wish a practicing Muslim could get on this blog to contribute to the debate!

  21. Rutherford:

    I’ve debated practicing Muslims in public online forums you don’t want that here. They say something misleading, I rebuke them with the arguments of their own imams, they get loud long-winded and ugly to change the subject and obscure the point.

    Trust me! I’m the devil you know! [tm]

    Perhaps you are right about the narrowing of my view. There is no better way for me to discover that bias than to have you checked my thinking.

    I’m going to do something close to the line between professional and personal. I am going to quote, in its entirety, an e-mail I sent to you in July.

    The recommendations in it, to study what they say to each other rather than to outsiders, and to take nothing that I say on faith but rather demand that I provide independently verifiable references that you can and do check, will provide us the Muslim you are looking for.

    To Those That Read This Blog:

    There is, of course, a background conversation between Rutherford and myself. What, following, reads as condescension was written in sincere concern for a highly respected partner.

    They hate us for our freedom

    Rutherford,

    This is too important to screw around about.

    I’m going to do 3 things:

    warn,
    reference,and
    testify.

    Understanding Islam is too important for you to take anyone’s, anyone’s word for it. Don’t believe anything you don’t check for yourself.

    When I decided to study Islam, I didn’t rely on what we said to each other about it. I didn’t rely on what Muslims were telling us on the outside about Islam. I read what they were saying to each other. That’s what I recommend to you.

    Don’t believe what I tell you. Confirm it yourself.

    I sent you a set of URLs for reference material I would use to debate you concerning politics. You didn’t get the whole list.

    Quote >>>

    For your examination in addition to these I send Rutherford, I would recommend learning about the enemy by listening to what they tell each other rather than what they say to us.

    Why do I make this recommendation? Please note:
    http://www.central-mosque.com/fiqh/salam1.htm

    This is the advice of Sunni imams:
    http://www.askimam.org/index.php
    http://www.central-mosque.com/fiqh/index.htm

    The Wikipedia reference:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imam#Sunni_imams

    Iran and Iraq, however are Shia, therefore:

    The origins of the Sunni-Shia split:
    http://www.islamfortoday.com/shia.htm

    Shia news:
    http://www.jafariyanews.com/

    If anyone is actually in charge of Iraq, it’s this guy.
    The website of Ayatollah Sistani:
    http://www.sistani.org/

    He also renders sharia for the muslim. You can read it under Q & A.

    I have referred to Islam as the enemy, because Islam has unequivocally said that we are their enemy and it is ours. There is no middle ground.

    Whether you see Islam as a credible thread is a different issue.

    OK. Now, unless you have references I should have ready as well, we can talk.

    Yours,

    <<< end quote

    Now, you have the whole list. You should find other sources you think you can trust as well.

    Finally, I will testify.

    ‘They hate us for our freedom.’ This is a statement so clear and accurate it’s a marvel. It is nothing less than brilliant.

    Islam is a complete system. Faith, law, and manners all at once. There isn’t an accept this and reject that about it either. It’s all of it, all at once. Westerners, including you, compartmentalize their thinking. You think of courts and courting to be different. You are trained to split prayer and punishment. Islam is one piece.

    The definition of a Muslim is one who submits to Allah, as a slave submits, totally.

    What they offer is freedom – freedom from arbitrary human law and practice. For those having trouble with the contradictions of our society, it can be attractive.

    Sharia is the law. It is Allah’s will for all the earth. It is the Gospel. It is absolute and unchanging. The Koran is an exact copy of an book in heaven. Allah only speaks Arabic, by the way. The ‘korans’ you see in bookstores, aren’t really Korans.

    Are you following this? It’s slow and boring as watching concrete set, but such is a foundation.

    An infidel is one who hasn’t any fidelity to Allah. I need to emphasize the accuracy of that. It’s not a loose definition.

    We, you and I, being non-muslims are infidels. We have not submitted.

    Therefore, we are in violation of the law of Allah. We are *criminals*.

    This is important. Do you get that? We are criminals.

    They hate us for our freedom in *precisely* the same way as we hate escaped felons for their freedom.

    OK. You have homework. If you want to argue about it, use Islamic citations. Anything except Islamic citations will earn you ridicule for credulity and laziness.

  22. I’ve debated practicing Muslims in public online forums you don’t want that here. They say something misleading, I rebuke them with the arguments of their own imams, they get loud long-winded and ugly to change the subject and obscure the point.

    Ahhhhh, now we’re onto something! “They say something misleading…” So you are such an authority on the Koran that the smartest of Muslims can do nothing more than “obscure the point” in an argument with you?

    I have never studied the Koran but my educated guess is that much like the Christian Bible, it is subject to interpretation. You see that is where organized religion (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, you name it) and I part company.

    1. I do not refute the existence of a higher power (call it God if you like). Why? Because I am not smart enough to say there isn’t one. I would find such an assertion the height of arrogance. That is why I refuse to call myself an atheist. I don’t know how things got started. I don’t know how exactly homo sapiens ended up with an awareness of self unlike that of any other animal. I find it counter intuitive to believe there is a total void at death even though I have no memory prior to birth (let’s keep Shirley Maclaine out of this for the moment). I am willing to accept the possibility of that void (I fear that is the truth) but I’m also willing to accept that maybe we have an essence that continues to exist. I am much less willing to accept that any supernatural force controls our day to day lives.

    2. That is where I STOP. Everything else involves books written by men and interpreted by other men. Billy Graham’s interpretation of the Bible does not match that of Jerry Falwell. One Ayatollah’s interpretation of the Koran does not match that of another. I perceive that your choice is to dismiss the interpretations of Muslims who try to pull peaceful, non confrontational messages from the Koran. They are obscuring the truth. Was Jerry Falwell obscuring “the truth” of the Bible when he said 9/11 was a punishment from God for homosexuality? You can find loads of crackpot Christians who thought Jerry was right on the money. They shared his “truth”. So, who is to say where the truth lies within any religion which is for the most part grounded in the irrational to begin with?

    You’ve read Islamic writings that have convinced you that they are the enemy. You’ve listened to chatter among them that reinforces that view. If I had the patience to wade through what I consider to be mostly superstitious mumbo jumbo, I am sure I would find some Muslims talking among themselves about peace and reconciliation. Some other Muslims would call them heretics no doubt but who is to say?

    P.S. My mumbo jumbo slander is not limited to Islam. Sarah Palin’s recent complaint that she couldn’t find anyone on the McCain campaign staff to pray with her, makes her a crackpot in my book. But then you knew that already.

  23. I am not a practicing Muslim or anything else. I have no dog in the religion fight. I have never studied the Koran, giving it only brief readings out of curiosity. But I have been studying European, Islamic, and Middle Eastern history at university for a few of years now, so I’ll take a crack at this. (But I am telling you all now, I am not giving citations right now, because I just wrapped up finals week, and citations are too much like schoolwork.)

    Muslims cannot be generalized any more than Christians. For every rule, there are acceptions. As with the Bible, the Koran is subject to interpretation. The Koran says lineage doesn’t matter to succession, Shia’s say otherwise. The Koran says not to worship saints or idols, Sunni and Shia Sufi mystics say otherwise.

    Allah is God in Arabic. Allah is the same god as the Christian and Jewish God. The differnce between Allah and God is like the differnce between Joseph and Jose.

    Islam does not see Christianity or Judaism as its enemy. Muslims respect Jesus as a prophet, equal to Muhammad. They just don’t see him as equal to God, as Christians do. Jews and Christians are supposed to be respected as “People of the Book.” As per 1 of my professors, Jesus is the most popular religious image in Iran.

    The issue with Israel is about Zionism, not Judaism. It’s about land, not religion. I am not saying either side is right, just stating the fact.

    All Sharias are not alike. There are 5 different versions of Sharia law, from 5 different “Schools of Law.” The Sunni schools are:

    Hanafi (Founded 767) which is found primarily in Turkey and Pakistan.

    Maliki (Founded 795) which is found primarily in Africa.

    Shafi’i (Founded 820) which is found primarily in Egypt, Southern Arabia, Malaysia, East Africa, and parts of Central Asia.

    Hanbali (Founded 855) which is found primarily in Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf states.

    Sunni schools of law do not change.

    The Shia school of law (Ja’fari) was founded in 765, and is mostly found in Iran and Southern Lebanon. Unlike Sunni law, Shia law changes to keep itself somewhat current with the needs of the society applying it. So it is subject to conciderable interpretation and revision over time.

    In most (I’d say all, but I am not 100% positive) Middle eastern states that use Sharia law, all parties involved must agree to have it applied to them, as opposed to secular law.

    I’d have to (mostly) agree with Rutherford of the subject of religion. Studying European and Middle Eastern history has taught me a lot about just how much man has injected himself into affairs he claims are above him.

    Thank you for indulging my rambling.

  24. Before Rigorist hits me, I better make something more clear.

    “In most (I’d say all, but I am not 100% positive) Middle eastern states that use Sharia law, all parties involved must agree to have it applied to them, as opposed to secular law. ”

    That should have been “…secular Middle Eastern states…..”

  25. Rutherford,

    if I were to say that Americans have the absolute right of speech and you were to rebuke me by pointing out the laws against child pornography, what would guess my response would be? Would I check your sources, or would I say that you are a liar because you are neither a lawyer nor a television personality, that there there are no depths you will not sink to in order to pervert the nation, that you are insulting my patriotism?

    I’m sure you’d rather I did the former.

    If you’d like for us to get a Muslim in here, I know where to find some.

    Red Pill,

    All true.

    There are words missing from English and here is where I need one of them: what is the word for lying by selective truths? Red, you’ve been … en-slanted?

    So, what are the natures of these changes in Ja’fari?

    Iran’s legal system is Ja’fari. The Shia are large and in charge there. They are right proud of it.

    Ahmadinejad famously said that there were no homosexuals in Iran. That’s because when they find one, they execute him.

    Islam isn’t a religion. It’s a nation.

  26. Allah is God in Arabic. Allah is the same god as the Christian and Jewish God. The differnce between Allah and God is like the differnce between Joseph and Jose.

    Pill, I almost always like your comments but I can’t let this one pass. That statement couldn’t be anymore wrong. I won’t get into the specifics of theology and Apologetics unless requested, but unless the Muslims have now started calling Allah as “Jesus Christ”, God and Allah are certainly not one and the same.

  27. Red Pill,

    ‘Beslanted’. My err.

    I can’t use ‘mislead’ because you haven’t arrived at an erroneous conclusion, but rather you have been infused with the tendency to do so.

    I’d say ‘to equivocate’ is the word I want, but that is to use ambiguities in meaning, and I want to say the use of select truths.

    You should keep that [grin] rigor of definition in mind when you see me use the word ‘nation’.

  28. Well, with due respect Tex, I believe you’re the one who is wrong.

    Jesus Christ is not God. As per the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, God and Jesus Christ are equals, but not the same being. That’s why Jews don’t worship Christ. They don’t see him as even an equal to God. Now, if you are talking something about what God has grown to become since Christ, that is religious dogma and interpretation, and is not my field of study.

    But, I’d just say that was not the case until Constantine called that First Ecumenical Council and that was decided (by men, I might add) to place them as equals, along with The Holy Spirit (The Catholic Church)

    Rigorist: The nature of changes to Ja’fari revolve around the concept of Ijtihad.

    Ijtihad is the practice of interpretting the Koran, Hadith, and other sources of the Islamic faith. “The Gates of Ijtihad” were closed by Sunni schools in the 10th-Centrury. But the “Gates of Ijtihad” never close for Shi’ites. They are continually interpretting those sources in order to apply them to modern society.

    An example would be text messaging. Shia clerics have had to decide if a man can text message his divorce decree to his wife by texting her the appropriate words 3 times. Sunni schools don’t consider this. Texting wasn’t around in the 9th-Century, so Sunni schools say “no way.” I don’t recall the Shia decision, right now. But the point is more that they considered it.

    I am not defending 1 over the other, or against anything else. I’m just offering what I have learned.

    Do you not think there are Christians in America who would like to execute homosexuals if they were the state power? And I’m sure they could dig up Bible verses they have interpretted to justify that.

    Islam cannot be a “nation” because, like Christianity, it is much too diverse. The beliefs and practices vary too much to be considered a single “nation.”

    I don’t believe that I have been “en-slanted.” History is not very kind to any religion, if viewed objectively. The most horrible acts committed by man have been done in the name of religion. And I am certainly aware of many of the brutal things done over the centuries in the name of Islam, just as I am aware of the brutal things done over the centuries in the name of other religions.

    I’ve kind of made it my mission to shine light on some of these misconceptions and stereotypes, because ultimately, I don’t believe Orientalism serves our society well. Islam and/or the Middle East isn’t going anywhere. Mutual understanding is the only thing that will lead to a peaceful coexistence.

    (And yes, Muslims and the Middle East could use work in that area, as well. But I can only do so much, and my wife would never move to Cairo (where I would love to go to school – American University))

  29. “Vasalam Ala Man Ataba’al hoda”,
    meaning “Peace be to the one who follows the right/true path”, or perhaps “Peace only unto those who follow the true path.”
    Ahmadinejad means himself and that Bush is to have war and lose.

    Isn’t the closing all about defining a difference between a follower of Islam and an unbeliever and specifically one not “of the book” ? I’d add “peace” is a big word.
    Muslims believe in Jesus, even revere him. They however do not believe he is the end all be all. Ergo a Christian can’t accept a Muslim or should I say Islam due to the whole coming after Jesus thing anymore than they can accept a Mormon. I’d put it to you the latter being almost less acceptable from a biblical standpoint. Likewise a Muslim can’t buy into many of the final facets of Christianity.
    And Rigorist are you looking for taqiyya

  30. Red Pill,

    I didn’t say you were wrong. I said you were right, within unspecified bounds.

    Regarding the execution of homosexuals, let’s not lose the point I was making by bringing in the Christians. I am saying by that example the same thing you are saying about Ijtihad.

    You said that Ja’fari “changes to keep itself somewhat current with the needs of the society applying it. So it is subject to conciderable interpretation and revision over time.” That’s strictly true, but its false on almost every issue that comes to the mind of an American when it is phrased as you put it. It certainly doesn’t and won’t extend to showing tolerance for homosexuality, nor equal freedom for women, nor equal standing for non-Muslims before their law, nor … on and on and on.

    Have you been beslanted? You have just said that Sharia laws can’t be considered as a group over differences too small to be detected. You have deflected, not invited, the examination of Sharia by presenting it as a impossibly broad subject. It’s not.

    Hmmm.

    You said Jesus was the most revered prophet, save Mohammad. True, except their Jesus didn’t die on the cross. The Muslim Jesus slunk away from his persecutors with Allah’s providing divine cover, and let some other nameless hapless Jewish schmuck die on that cross. You have just held that these two Jesus ( Jesuses? Jesi? ) are one in the same, and by specifying the one found in mosques given preference to Islam’s version.

    Hmmm.

    Let’s ask Rutherford. He doesn’t have a dog in this fight.

    Rutherford, are these two versions called Jesus the same man?

    Red Pill, you don’t get “mutual understanding” by saying everybody is the same and then assuming however we are that they must be just like us. You get mutual understanding when we analyze and understand who they are, and they analyze and understand who we are.

    Here’s a data about your hope for “peaceful coexistence”: in all 5 of those schools of Sharia, you – as an unbeliever – are a criminal wandering around loose. You can’t testify against any charge a Muslims makes, not even in your own defense. You can’t hold any Muslim to a contract or agreement. You are, at the least, presumed to be a criminal who hasn’t been caught yet.

    That is never, never ever ever, going to change.

  31. ‘Islam cannot be a “nation” because, like Christianity, it is much too diverse. The beliefs and practices vary too much to be considered a single “nation.” ‘ – Red Pill

    This one is just too, too easy.

    If Islam is too diverse to be a nation, then certainly the United States cannot be one.

    Even when I tell you, right up front, that I am using the word ‘nation’ rigorously, you reflexively disagree and reference a characteristic which is obviously irrelevant. Diversity or its absence is not a element in the definition of ‘nation’.

    I am certainly the object of your ‘mutual understanding’.

    Further, as I examined the substance of your argument, understood it, and pointedly agreed where appropriate, you are also the object of my idea of ‘mutual understanding’.

    Have you had a rash of idiots and trolls at your blog? Well, smile. It’s a sign of success.

  32. Well, with due respect Tex, I believe you’re the one who is wrong.

    Man Red. Where are you getting your doctrine? They don’t call it the Trinity for nothing. That Jesus Christ is God is the very essence of Christianity. Here is a verse that makes it as clear as it possibly can be.

    Hebrews 1:8
    But of the Son He says, “YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.

    Here’s Jesus’ own words: John 14:8

    Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

    Doesn’t get much clearer than that Red. 😉

  33. Tex not to get you going but how do you explain passages such as Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

  34. Alfie,

    That they consider themselves to be a people and a nation is a big part of it.

    Also, they have government, taxes, a system of laws and their enforcement, a defined immigration system, a volunteer military, and a foreign policy.

    In fact, their diversity is IMHO an argument for being considered a nation.

    The US has two major political parties. France has about 5.

    They have 4 ( or 5 ) different legal traditions? The US arguably has 50, and Louisiana’s is different

    They have a chief executive office that is currently unfilled: Caliph.

    They don’t need a legislature. Allah handled that.

    They don’t have a police force, but then nations without defined territory wouldn’t and at the time of their creation vigilante enforcement was the norm.

    Let’s re-think Osama bin Laden in this structure. He is the General officer of a volunteer military. Is he an extremist? I don’t think he’s any more of an Islamic extremist than General Powell was an American extremist.

    Half of the US was loudly against the Gulf War, but that didn’t make Powell an extremist.

    All the world saw the public protests against Bush’s foreign policy, but that didn’t change them. We could see wide dissent in Islam in how its military operates, but if they aren’t in charge it wouldn’t change anything.

    In fact, because their leadership is defined by itself – one becomes an Imam by acclamation of a current set of Imams in all but one of those legal traditions( which has a curriculum and a test ) – there is a social stigma on the people in general which are the members of a mosque. They consider themselves to be Jahili – the uneducated – and therefore their judgment, especially if expressed by popular ballot, is suspect.

    This is no different than the original system of choosing a Senator in the US – appointment by the state Governor with confirmation by the state legislature, nor far removed from our Electoral College.

    How am I doing so far?

  35. Rigorist: In a secular society, I would have to be a Muslim for Sharia law to apply to me, or I would have to agree to have it applied to me.

    “You have just said that Sharia laws can’t be considered as a group over differences too small to be detected.”

    “Have you had a rash of idiots and trolls at your blog? Well, smile. It’s a sign of success.”

    I’m not quite sure how to take this, but I am trying hard not to be insulted.
    I’ve said nothing of the sort. When and where those laws came about doesn’t even begin to examine the laws themselves.

    “You have deflected, not invited, the examination of Sharia by presenting it as a impossibly broad subject. It’s not.”

    What I have done is taken a term being used as a generic and shown that it is anything but. I don’t think that is detering examination of it.

    “You said Jesus was the most revered prophet, save Mohammad. True, except their Jesus didn’t die on the cross. The Muslim Jesus slunk away from his persecutors with Allah’s providing divine cover, and let some other nameless hapless Jewish schmuck die on that cross. You have just held that these two Jesus ( Jesuses? Jesi? ) are one in the same, and by specifying the one found in mosques given preference to Islam’s version.”

    I didn’t specify any version. I’m afraid, like your rigorous use of “nation,” I don’t really understand what you are talking about.

    But I do know that “nations” are defined by common cultural things, such as language and customs. And, as with Christianity, those things are pretty diverse in Islam.

    The United States is not a “nation,” it is a state. In social sciences, there is a difference. And since History is a part of the Social Sciences, that it the usage I go with.

    “Red Pill, you don’t get “mutual understanding” by saying everybody is the same and then assuming however we are that they must be just like us. You get mutual understanding when we analyze and understand who they are, and they analyze and understand who we are.”

    I couldn’t agree more. However, I have not said everyone is the same. I simply point out similarities in history.

    Tex: “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

    Do you not believe that The Father dwells in you, too? But I know you don’t believe you are God.

    If Jesus is God, then what was God before Jesus? Incomplete? (I’m not saying that to be sarcastic, but your arguement has too many holes)

    Not all Christians believe in the Trinity.

    The fact is, the Judaeo-Christian god is the same god Muslims pray to.

    It’s diner time, so I will have to address the last comment by Rigorist later. There is a lot in there to cover.

  36. Alfie,

    There is certainly a part of the relationship between Christ and the Father that no theologian could possibly explain. For instance, I couldn’t possibly explain the quote, “Father, into thy hands I commit thy spirit”. Perhaps it is the relationship of the physical on earth to the spiritual in heaven – but that is only speculation on my behalf. If Christ’s own disciples couldn’t fully understand the relationship, then I certainly can’t.

    However, two verses from the Old Testament alone clearly dictate Christ’s role and position if you believe Christ to be the Messiah as Christians do which includes me:

    Isaiah 7:14
    Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

    Immanuel (Hebrew “God is with us” consists of two Hebrew words: (’El, meaning ‘God’) and (ʻImmānū, meaning ‘with us’)

    and

    Isaiah 9:6
    For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

  37. By the way “R”,

    I know it pains you to see this “religious stuff” on your board. I’m trying to hold it to a minimum – but it was relevant to answer a question posed.

  38. If Jesus is God, then what was God before Jesus? Incomplete? (I’m not saying that to be sarcastic, but your arguement has too many holes)

    It wasn’t God that was incomplete Pill. It was us. The entire first chapter of John makes it clear who Christ was. Your answer lies there. In part:

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

    Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

    In fact, Christ is mentioned in Genesis 1 if you read carefully:

    Genesis 1:26
    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    The Hebrew reads “Then Elohim said,”…

    The Hebrew word Elohim is a plural noun.

    ——————————-

    Not all Christians believe in the Trinity.

    Let me ask you a question then. What is the Holy Spirit?

    ——————————

    The fact is, the Judaeo-Christian god is the same god Muslims pray to.

    I completely and adamantly disagree.

    Allah was the moon god, until Muhammad came I along. He was but one of the pantheon of 360 gods that were worshiped by the pagan Arabs in the temple in Mecca. Muhammed passionately opposed idolatry, and by military and physical force, Muhammed destroyed all the gods in the Kaaba, except the moon God Allah, whom he elevated by decreeing that Allah was the only god. Muhammad asserted that Allah is the same God Abraham worshiped and served, but the historical facts say otherwise.

    Archaeological discoveries have regularly expose bits of Allah’s mythical history. I could direct you, if interested. Or you can Google the stuff. Pretty interesting read.

  39. Context :

    “You said Jesus was the most revered prophet, save Mohammad. True, except their Jesus didn’t die on the cross. The Muslim Jesus slunk away from his persecutors with Allah’s providing divine cover, and let some other nameless hapless Jewish schmuck die on that cross. You have just held that these two Jesus ( Jesuses? Jesi? ) are one in the same, and by specifying the one found in mosques given preference to Islam’s version.”

    I didn’t specify any version. I’m afraid, like your rigorous use of “nation,” I don’t really understand what you are talking about.

    -Red Pill

    The Jesus of Christendom, who was the Word who was with God from the beginning, born of the virgin Mary, was God made into man. He willingly was scourged, crucified, and killed on that cross. If you know of some Christian denomination that doesn’t ascribe to that, I’d like to know who they are.

    The Jesus of Islam, properly called Isa, was a Muslim prophet, born of Joseph and Mary, was due to be crucified, but Allah confused the Jews and the Romans and he escaped as another Jewish man was scourged, crucified, and killed upon that cross.

    Christians don’t say that the Jesus of Islam is the same as theirs. It is Muslims who claim that the Jesus of Christendom is the same as the Islamic one.

    You have repeated the Islamic party line, without mention of the Christian rejection of it, as though it is the objective truth.

    Why did you do that?

    That’s not a rhetorical nor idle question. I seriously mean to ask why did you do that?

  40. I know it pains you to see this “religious stuff” on your board. I’m trying to hold it to a minimum – but it was relevant to answer a question posed.

    Nope, Tex, on the contrary I am having the time of my life! First, I must give my sincere thanks to the Red Pill. Although he and I often differ on matters of politics I am as tickled as punch to see his detailed and erudite assessment of Islam which has contributed to a lively debate. I haven’t read through all of the comments yet but I will.

    One of the items that really gets me grinning is this whole father-son-holy ghost debate and how the Bible really does not make a clear case for Christ being God himself, at least if I understand the argument in this thread correctly. And by watching you guys quoting verse, you only prove the point I was making about Islam and the Koran. These are books written by men interpreted by other men.

    You know the old saying you can find a statistic to prove anything? Well, I believe you can find a Biblical verse to prove anything.

    I’ll be reading this entire comment thread in more detail tomorrow (Sunday). I can’t promise I’ll have much to contribute because you guys have me outclassed big time in your knowledge of religion but I am absolutely loving the debate and discourse!

  41. Rutherford,

    There’s not much that pains me to watch you squirm, but the fact you are so woefully ignorant about religion does alarm me.

    Understand I have said little about Islam other than to disagree with Red’s assessment that God and Allah are one and the same. If I had the mind to, I could easily prove that wrong from either standpoint.

    But I say that to say this Rutherford, my old friend. You know how I tell Rabbit he reminds me of my brother-in-law? Well you remind me of my brother-in-law’s best friend Mike. Pretty bright; completely irreligious to the point of mockery. Like you, he had some health issues. Last summer, Mike went on one of his “Jesus” rants in his mocking sort of way, and I “not too nicely” explained there were some things I would no longer tolerate and I was through with him.

    Two months ago, Mike had a massive CVA at 54 and died within five minutes of telling his wife he couldn’t see out of his right eye. Gone for eternity…Don’t say that to offend or attempt to scare you but simply make a statement of fact.

    The fact that I didn’t spend more effort even if it offended Mike and instead verbally lit his ass on fire several times, has personally haunted me for several weeks.

    I think that is one of the reasons I backed off of taunting you so much. Consider it a gut feeling…not sure which one us it applies to.

  42. I’m kind of lost in the discussion now, so if I miss any important pending questions just bring them back to the front.

    Rigorist: “Why did you do that?”
    I was not aware there were contardictory beliefs on that, and I will keep that in mind, and even research it further.

    I guess I should have further clarified. I don’t mean that Muslims believe everything about Jesus that Christians do. Since they believe he was just a man, their stories about him all the way from conception may be different. I don’t know enough about that to say.

    What I do know is that Muslims respect as a prophet the man who walked the earth and preached who was named Jesus. That was really all I meant to say. If I overgeneralized, then I was in error.

    “Let me ask you a question then. What is the Holy Spirit?”

    I understand it to be the all-encompassing spirit of God, as per the 325 Council of Nicaea who decided what it was when prompted by the Roman Emperor Constantine to do so. But there were people then, as now, who do not believe in the concept of “The Holy Spirit,” and who also question the relationship between Jesus Christ and God the Father. I believe Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christians are examples of such.

    That division in doctrine is what 18th-Century historian Edward Gibbon cites as helping to lead to the fall of the Roman Empire (Not a view shared by modern historians).

    Tex: I would authentically be glad to see where you would direct me. I enjoy archaeology, as well as learning history from opposing viewpoints.

    I’m afraid I can’t argue against Biblical scripture, or offer any alternatives from the Koran. Like Rutherford, I don’t place much stock in these books that have been written, revised, and interpretted by men. And I have not had time to study them in depth from a historical perspective (as much as I would love to).

    And my upper-division History of Christianity class isn’t until next year. (Modern Iran in 2 weeks should be fun and make for good debate!)

  43. Red,

    After really what amounts to an adult lifetime of study, I must again disagree with your assessment of the Bible being rewritten countless times. There has never been a more scrutinized book, and yet it has more than stood the test of time.

    And being that we literally have some document portions of a 2nd and 3rd generation chapters of several New Testament books from early 2nd century A.D., I think people who make these statements are either ignorant of the historical facts, or simply being disingenuous.

    In addition, from the findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, the scrolls include a complete copy of the Book of Isaiah, a fragmented copy of Isaiah, containing much of Isaiah 38-66, and fragments of almost every book in the Old Testament. The majority of the fragments are from Isaiah and the Pentateuch. The books of Samuel, in a tattered copy, were also found and also two complete chapters of the book of Habakkuk. These have been dated to 100 B.C.

    Now of course, I have always respected your own opinion Red, so don’t take me wrong. I don’t believe your have ulterior motives or are being disingenuous. If you are seeking knowledge, perhaps I can help.

    If you would like a nice and mostly secular adventure of a Jew following the archeological sites and have not had a chance, the “Walking the Bible” series is very interesting. Interesting enough, they made a few PBS specials on the subject which were quite good. Its intent was not to proselytize but to simply trace the steps of what the Bible says. I found it most enlightening. And in it, you will find the Bible is incredibly accurate in referencing the historical perspective. This is even the opinion of their secular scholars.

  44. Red Pill,

    When the question is whether a bias has been introduced into your thinking, “Why did you do that?” is particularly pointed.

    Your error isn’t the issue. Your intent when making such statements – whether in error or not – is much closer. Your feelings underlying your intent are at the heart of the question.

    In the post ‘Alien Thought’, I address the problem of drawing one into making a paradigm shift, so my question to you has special importance to me. How can I motivate you to closely examine your thinking to discover your biases?

  45. I didn’t actually say the Bible has been revised “countless times.” But it has most certainly been revised, as well as standardized. (And I should further clarify. I don’t say that stuff about the Bible to knock it down for other people. I only state it to put forth why it doesn’t do it for me personally.)

    Perhaps the most notable standardization came during the medieval period of inquisition (Not to be mistaken for the Spanish Inquisition), when lay piety was common, and the word of God was being interpretted and written down in vernacular by people not educationally qualified to do so. I believe the order for standardization came down from either Pope Gregory IX or Innocent III. (but I haven’t had enough coffee to dig through my notes to confirm that, so please don’t quote me on it.)

    And I think the fact that there is a King James Version of the Bible says a lot on that subject.

    But, as I have admitted, my experience with Christian history is not at the same level with my experience in Islamic history…yet. So I am certainly not in a position to offer heavy debate on the topic.

    And thanks for the viewing tip. I’ll definately keep jmy eyes open for that title. It sounds fascinating.

  46. Rigorist: Motivation to learn is not an issue with me. My biases come from ignorances that I am more than willing to address through education.

    But, it’s hard to know what you don’t know when you don’t know it. That is why I so enjoy discussions such as this, that don’t turn into a pissing match. Not only to maybe give some knowledge, but also to gain it.

    I have no interest in perpetuating biases on either side of the Christian/Islamic coin. As I mentioned before, that is what I want to put a stop to, because I believe them to be counter-productive to our society.

    I’m almost at the end of a B.A., and plan to go on to graduate school, so I’m the first to admit I have a loooong way to go with my studies.

  47. Now I would like to ask why.

    Rigorist, why do you use such sweeping generalities when discussing Sharia law?

    We have discussed that there are different schools of Sharia law, coming from different sects, dates, and geographies. But originally, you were applying the generic “Sharia” to a group of over 1.5 billion that is spread out all over the globe.

    You have claimed that Sharia law never changes, while we have concluded that the “Gates of Ijtihad” (Interpretation of the sources of the faith) never close in Shia schools of law.

    You have repeated the western Orientalist party line, without mention of the variances, as though it is the objective truth.

    Why did you do that?

  48. The fact that I didn’t spend more effort even if it offended Mike and instead verbally lit his ass on fire several times, has personally haunted me for several weeks.

    Tex, I’m genuinely touched by your comment. For starters, I think most of us have regrets about something we did or didn’t say to people when they were alive. Odds are no amount of conversation or cajoling would have changed Mike’s viewpoint.

    I’m not proud of my ignorance of the details of various religions. My mother who was not religious was very well read and knew a lot about different religions. Truth be told Tex, I am one of the odd few who likes to write (and writes fairly well) but is not much of a reader. My lack of “book-learnin” is not limited to religion. LOL. For me to read anything, it has to really interest me and quite frankly the “details” of the various religions haven’t been compelling enough for my study. I mean no snobbery in that. I’m probably making matters worse by saying this, but I’m not a big fan of fantasy-fiction. When I do pick up a book, it tends to either be fact, or perhaps a family drama or historical based fiction. (I’m currently attempting to get through Settling Accounts Return Engagement by Harry Turtledove.) Since I consider all religious tomes to be fantasy, I just don’t get that into them.

    Unlike Mike, and despite what I just wrote, I really do try not to mock religion. I understand the incredible comfort that it gives to most worshipers. As Dead Rabbit said in an earlier comment, religion is often the ingredient that helps turn otherwise hopeless cases around (and I don’t mean by divine intervention). And as I have stated before, I consider it arrogant to totally disqualify the possibility of a God.

    But I will say this. Any God worth my time doesn’t care whether or not I worship him. He cares what I’ve done in my life and as far as I’m concerned if I’ve done pretty well on the moral, ethical scale, God will forgive my few trespasses and admit me to whatever riches in the after life await those who are “good’. On the other hand, if God is an egotistical SOB who demands admiration and reverence then he is hardly a God at all. He is nothing more than a supernatural version of Donald Trump (sorry I just finished watching “Celebrity Apprentice”).

    My wife, who does know the Bible a bit better than I do suggested I ask you a question Tex. Do you believe in the Old Testament God or the New Testament one? My understanding is that the Old Testament one is a petty bastard while the New Testament one is loving and forgiving. From some of what you write, I get the feeling you may be an Old Testament kind of guy.

  49. Rigorist I never called you a liar. On the contrary I believe that you have read lots and lots of stuff about Islam. My only suspicion is that you gravitate toward sources that reinforce your view. I could be wrong about this.

    Clearly Red Pill has read sources that make him draw different conclusions from yours.

    And quite honestly, Rigorist, if every statement you made about Islam was modified by the word “radical”, then you’d probably have me right with you. Just the other night I saw Salman Rushdie saying that radical Islam wants “the bomb” for the express purpose of using it. They don’t want a deterrent or a means of defense. They want a means to destroy their enemy. Where I part company with you is when you ascribe this radical view to Islam as a whole. To return to my previous analogy, as tempted as I might be to judge all Christians by Jerry Falwell, I’d be wrong to do so.

  50. I get the feeling you may be an Old Testament kind of guy.

    😆

    An Old Testament kind of guy, huh? Well, I can’t blame you for thinking that with all the crap I’ve thrown your way. But please assure your wife, if I had the power to reign fire which unfortunately I do not, neither of you would be on my list and I might put a pair of wings on your little earthly angel for good measure. Some of your political heroes might begin to feel some heat…

    —————————–

    Not meaning to insult your wife “R”, but to answer this question…

    Do you believe in the Old Testament God or the New Testament one?

    I must ask your wife a question. Does she not understand that they are One and the same? Any Christian worth his salt must first understand that the New Testament is a fulfillment of the Old Testament. Now Jews are going to obviously disagree with this because what separates us really is that we as Christians are of the belief that Christ fulfilled the messianic role, while Jews are still awaiting the messiah.

    While you write well, I think you are making a huge mistake “R”. You are missing the most fascinating journey of them all. Too bad a smart guy like you won’t take the time to do a little research. I think you would find the Jewish history, once learned, is the most fabulous stuff ever written. And only then would you understand that the “Old Testament” God was not petty, but quite merciful and loving.

    And if you were to study the Koran a bit afterward, you would note that the Koran a cheap imitation, with many of the pieces to the puzzle copied and nothing but the Law without the mercy.

    It is so obvious…

    —————————

    About Mike, I am sure you are right about the cajoling. I could change nothing. Nonetheless, I am haunted that I didn’t provide a deeper friendship to allow him to see the life changing qualities that I know and he never will.

  51. Red pill,

    “Why did you do that?” That’s a good question, but not for the reason you asked it which was to discover my line of reasoning. By demonstration, answering that question as I meant it, I may communicate it.

    “Rigorist, why do you use such sweeping generalities when discussing Sharia law? ” I will take this as the thing that I did.

    The first, deepest, reason is shame/pride. From my childhood through adolescence through young adulthood and now into maturity I have always placed a high value on honesty and especially honesty with myself. I remember standing before my father with my younger sister, certainly before I was 10, to give my side of the story of how I had hurt her. She agreed with my account. I was still in big trouble, but I had told the truth. I spent most of high school as a resident student at a college preparatory school with an honor system. In a dormitory housing 140, including three resident teachers and their families, there were only eight doors locked. Tests were always unsupervised. A lie or a theft was grounds for expulsion and some did go. As a parent to toddlers, I had a crisis of character that only searching and brutal honesty about myself to myself saw me through.

    I am deeply ashamed whenever I discover that I have been anything less than utterly honest.

    So the first part of the answer to your question is that I hate in others what I hate myself.

    This is not a part of the answer I expected to read from you, but I did expect you to consider it.

  52. The next layer of the answer to your question is prejudice, and I like prejudice.

    Where things like gravity and inertia are reliable, life is statistical.

    Whereas in academic study and in science that attention to minutia is paramount, I recognize that in life, and the living of it, it is not possible to treat every event, every person, every situation as individual. It would be insane upon meeting any new person to spend time determining whether we spoke a common language or to confirm the origin of every utility bill.

    I am deliberately prejudiced so that I am not frozen in paranoia.

    As an aside, if you were honest with yourself, Red Pill, you would know that you are deliberately prejudiced as well.

    Specifically in regard to Sharia, all variations of it derived from common sources, Surah and Hadith. None contradict the Quran and more people speak Esperanto (about 2 million) than there are Muslims which do not take the example of Mohammed as the definitive guide to understanding the law of Allah.

    So, while I understand as you do that there are variations in those schools of law, I deal with Sharia at a level of abstraction outside of its ability to vary.

  53. Finally, I will marry the two prior given reasons.

    My aforementioned recommendation to Rutherford and in general is to read and listen to what Muslims say to each other rather than what they say to non-Muslims, to put oneself in their shoes and in their midst to understand them. What I have discovered by doing so has disturbed me.

    Almost everything I hear them say is some form of a lie. Sometimes, rarely, it is a direct falsehood. Usually, it is some manner of equivocation where are our misunderstanding is used to their advantage. Frequently, it is in the manner as you have repeated us, by carefully selected truth.

    I have decided, generally regarding all things in my life, that an incidence ratio of 8 or 9 out of 10 is a reasonable place for me to form a prejudice. If someone on the make-line has their hat twisted to one side, my fast food order will be wrong. Black Americans are liberals. Islam’s consistency is well in excess of these.

    And I hate them for it.

    That is why I use such sweeping generalities when discussing Sharia law.

  54. “Rigorist I never called you a liar. ” – Rutherford

    No no no no no! I didn’t mean that you called me a liar. I meant, by an analogous hypothetical exchange between us, to say that in argumentation Muslims called their opponents liars.

    To emphasize, when I use the arguments of their experts to refute the misleading statements of Muslims, they:

    1 – do not address my sources nor my reasoning, but rather,

    2 – call me a liar because I am neither Muslim nor have certification, accuse me of evil intent, and proclaim injury at my cruelty.

    If you would like to get a Muslim, here, to engage me so that you might have the benefit of studying a knowledgeable counter argument, I am all for it. In my humble experience, that’s not what you’re going to get, but we can try.

    Regarding my lack of preface, it is because I consider the differentiation between ‘radical’ and ‘moderate’ Muslims to be misleading. I think it is more accurate to describe and name those two groups as ‘leadership’ and ‘membership’. If you can find a ‘moderate leader’, please hurry to forcefully bring him to my attention.

    For every Christian Falwell there is a Rick Warren, and amongst Americans for every Goldwater, a Kennedy. If Muslims are in fact heterogeneous you’ll find those leaders.

  55. Rigorist: I can’t help but notice the double standards in your reply.

    You are willing to generalize Sharia law by focussing on its sources and abstraction as your baseline of judgement.

    But when I state that Muslims respect Jesus as a prophet, there is no room for generalization, baselines, or abstraction, and Muslims must see Jesus in the same perspective as Christians, or it doesn’t count.

    Like you, I hear many selective truths about Islam and the Middle East. However, the one’s I hear are not coming from Muslims.

    “They hate us for our freedom” and “they all want Sharia law” are perhaps the 2 that bother me the most.

  56. Rigorist writes earlier concerning radical vs moderate Muslims:

    I think it is more accurate to describe and name those two groups as ‘leadership’ and ‘membership’

    If your assessment is correct then Islam would indeed be unique for being the only group whose sensible, law-abiding members agree to be led by violent lunatics.

    Damn! I wish I had the energy that Tex has summoned from me to do the necessary research to find a Muslim leader who does not say “Death to America”.

    Either no Muslims read this blog or no one is willing to “testify”. 😦

  57. And if you were to study the Koran a bit afterward, you would note that the Koran a cheap imitation, with many of the pieces to the puzzle copied and nothing but the Law without the mercy.

    Now Tex, I know that the minute I cite my source (Bill Maher’s film “Relgulous”) you will dismiss what I have to say but according to that film, the Bible is hardly an “original text”. In fact many of the foundations (such as virgin birth) appeared in ancient religions long before the Bible came about. Based on that, I’m not sure you’ll get much mileage out of calling the Koran a knock-off.

  58. I didn’t say Muslims didn’t respect a prophet they call Jesus, actually Isa. Yes, they do. I correctly described the Jesus they respect. I also correctly described the Jesus of Christendom. No, neither the Muslims nor the Christians allow any ‘generalizations’ or ‘abstractions’. They are both very firm on the issue.

    You have stated the Islamic position as objective truth, settled fact.

    And then I asked you why you did that.

    I’d guess it’s because the Muslims come across as so much nicer than Christians on the matter, and you like nice people. You haven’t said so, but that’s my best guess.

    You likewise asked me why I made sweeping generalizations about Sharia. I told you why, much more openly that you told me, more deeply – it seems – than you have answered to yourself.

    OK, those two things bother you. Stop bellyaching like some pre-adolescent at the nasty medicine.

    Explain to me how one can “submit”, which is what Islam means, without guidance from Allah, which is what Sharia is. Explain to me how they can answer Allah’s call to submit,and not hate the defiance of those who don’t?

    I don’t want your faith, neither your trust. Research. Analyze. Think. Refute me.

    But don’t tell me I must be wrong because you don’t why, you just don’t like it.

  59. Gawd Rutherford. You’re so lame when it comes to religious talk that now you’re reciting the equally brain dead Bill Maher? Do you know how stupid that makes you look in my book? That’s about like quoting Hugo Chavez on advice to how to run a democracy.

    Okay, were to start.

    the Bible is hardly an “original text”. In fact many of the foundations (such as virgin birth) appeared in ancient religions long before the Bible came about.

    Who and what were their names? Did they split time? Did they change history? Have they had more art, more music, more books, more dispute than any man to ever walk the earth? Does the mere mention of their name invoke a reaction? Did they establish the Western civilization? I’ve heard that horseshit for so long, I actually just laugh at idiots that make that kind of quote.

    And then you make this equally outrageous statement:

    sure you’ll get much mileage out of calling the Koran a knock-off

    after just previously admitting not a day before you don’t have a clue and aren’t well read concerning religion. In fact, for somebody as educated and well written as you “R”, you might possibly be the most ignorant person I’ve ever had a relationship with when it concerns discussing the Bible. I mean Rutherford, you don’t understand the basic basics my old friend. Come on “R”! Do I have to start twisting the nads again?

    My question would be, “How the fuck would you know what’s a cheap copy when you don’t know either?” Liistening to Bill Maher? 😮

    Damn “R”, that last comment deserves the proverbial iron boot inserted in your wimpy ass. And just when I think you and I could have an intelligent conversation. Politics maybe; religion, you are absolutely hopeless.

  60. First, their ‘violent lunatics’ are volunteer soldiers, fighting in the Islamic manner. How do you thing a squad of US Marines looks to their opponents? Would you characterize them as ‘American Extremists’?

    Second, they are, of course, law abiding – depending on which law you mean. They have Allah’s law.

    You are forever making the same mistake: First world nation, law abiding, Ahmadinejad is a lunatic … .

    WRONG!

    They are the First world, the US is a collection of thugs in the wilderness. They have REAL law, from Allah, and we have none. Ahmadinejad is a great leader and Obama is a lunatic.

    BTW there are hundreds of Muslims who would be eager to comment here, there are dozens who it would be helpful to have. You’re not looking in the right places.

    Or you might be looking for that mythical ‘moderate’ Muslim. Good luck with that.

  61. Yes, but the next question is ‘do they have the apparatus of a functioning nation?’

    And as a matter of fact they do.

  62. Tex,

    No one can be an expert at everything.

    Rutherford is one of the infinitesimally small group of Liberals who can think and will argue rationally.

  63. Rigorist,

    is one of the infinitesimally small group of Liberals who can think and will argue rationally.

    No doubt. Rutherford knows I give the tip of the cap to him for thinking, even if he is a leftist shill with view blinded by Obama dogma. One more than one occasion, Rutherford and I have come close to a meeting of the minds.

    I like “R”, for no other reason being he doesn’t appear to take himself so seriously that he can’t enjoy a give and take; one of the few on the left that actually has a pretty good sense of humor.

    Most of the crap I give our commie friend is written in jest.

  64. Well, the learning in the portion of the discussion I was involved with seems to have been replaced with the usual pissing contest.

    It tends to happen when pointing out inconsistencies and double standards in the way some people want their own faith interpretted compared to the way they want to interpret other faiths. Inaccuracies and generalizations abound when passing judgement upon the faith of others, but only literal translation and factional beliefs will do when discussing their own faith.

    Rutherford, I implore you not to take the word of closed-minded people who perpetuate falacies about a religion and culture they have no interest in giving a fair chance. There are many moderates within a population of 1.5 billion people. Of course, being moderates, they are ignored, giving the perception that they do not exist. The news media gets better ratings by sticking to its portrayal of the angry, suicide-bombing Muslim. Because, that is obviously what a majority of my fellow Americans want to see.

    And that is a shame.

  65. Red Pill,

    First, in what way have I been inaccurate?

    You seem to be fussing about “interpreting” the Koran. The matter of Jesus, or Isa, in the Koran is forbidden to be “interpreted”.

    Here is the USC site with 3 side by side translations, 2 of which are plainly by Muslims and one by Pickthal who was also Muslim.

    The Koran is perfect 15:9 and protected by Allah: 41:41-42.

    One could argue about a mistranslation, but all 3 of these were done by Muslims, and Pickthal was certainly fluent in English.

    Isa was not crucified. Period. End of discussion: 4:157 and 5:110. Allah delivered him from harm.

    This isn’t even Hadith. It’s Surah.

    The Bible isn’t perfect, and doesn’t claim to be. As you noted the King James is a version and was, in fact, one of 5 in circulation when it was published, along with the Tyndale, Matthew, Coverdale, and Great.

    The Bible, one can interpret. Not the Koran.

    Now, refute me.

    It is not a pissing match when one is called to back up their arguments.

  66. Rutherford, I implore you …

    Red Pill, have no fear. Growing up I always was suspicious of a particular phenomenon. Whenever EVERYBODY hated person X, it gave me an immediate clue to give person X a try. There’s something about unanimous condemnation that has always made me weary. Now I’m not saying I’d make person X my best friend. But I’d always reserve judgment until I had made an independent evaluation.

    Ever since 9/11, Muslims have become the bogeyman in this country and to borrow your turn of phrase, it is “a shame”. My limited experience tells me that Muslims hold some of the same irrational views that other religious folk do.

    Case in point. I was on a small van taking me from the airport to my hotel once and the sun was about to set. The driver pulled the van over, apologized to the passengers, got out of the fan, kneeled on the sidewalk and prayed (I assume to Allah). This had to be done before sunset. What I considered to be his preposterously superstitious behavior only slightly delayed my trip to my hotel and I knew how important this ritual was to him. It left me with the impression that some Muslims do what I would call crazy sh*t. Now, if instead he had turned to me and said “I hate you infidel” and shot me in the head, my attitude might be different, but he did nothing more unusual than what Christians do.

    Ah yes Christians. They eat Nilla Wafers and call it the body of Christ and they drink red wine and call it the blood of Christ. Again, in my book, crazy sh*t. But it gives them comfort. It’s a ritual that resonates with them and has meaning for them. So I say fine, live and let live. Now if a Christian burns down my house because I am pro-choice, then we’ve got a problem.

    So yes, I do believe organized religion be it Islam or Christianity or Judaism is to quote Karl Marx, the opiate of the masses. But I do not say it disparagingly. I think we all have our opiates. Life is just too hard to get through without one.

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