Author Topic: Would these quotes by Dawkins on Islam be considered bigotted and/or wrong?  (Read 1744 times)

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Offline John Albert

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Every time I've said I was against calling Islam the worst religion in the world, you've responded like I'm saying we shouldn't be critical of the Islamic religion.

Please allow me to clarify. I think it's rather silly to call Islam "the worst religion in the world" when organizations like Aleph (formerly Aum Shinrikyo) are known to exist in the world. And who knows when the next death cult will make headlines with a mass suicide, mass murder, or who knows what. So... "worst religion" is pretty tough to tell.

But as major religions go, the Abrahamic religions are all pretty bad, and Islam is certainly the bottom of that barrel.

When you said:

     
I don't think Islam is inherently more bad than Christianity.

I took that to mean you didn't think Islam is inherently any worse than Christianity.

And I disagree. Considering how both of those religions are currently being taught and acted upon throughout the world, Islam is comparatively far worse than Christianity.


Nowhere have I said that Islam should be free of criticism, just that the religion itself is an inanimate concept and that it's the people who do things and teach things that we object to.

A religion is not an inanimate concept. A religion is not just its holy book.

A religion is the living worldview and set of cultural values that inform and instruct its followers' actions. The doctrines that its leaders promote and the actions of its followers are just as much part of the religion as the literal scriptures.
 

Let's be clear though, it's not just "human rights violations by Muslims." The fact that the perpetrators follow Islam is not just incidental to the human rights violations. The human rights violations are literally commanded by the Islamic scriptures and expressly ordered by Islamic religious leaders. Hence, the actions are to some degree a consequence of the teachings of Islam. 


Again, the religion itself is nothing; it's the followers who do bad or good, or choose to focus on the bad or good elements of the religious teachings.

"Religion is nothing."?  That's nonsense.

Religions are participatory organizations. Religious leaders lead, their congregations follow. Religious leaders cite the authority of holy books for their mandate to lead, and interpret the scriptures as they see fit. That power dynamic is key. You can't have a religion without it.

Of course everybody living under Islam may not believe everything their religious leaders tell them. But that religion is so totalitarian in nature, so ingrained into the governments and legal systems, that it's impossible for somebody living in a majority Muslim country to resist following the religion. A woman simply cannot live as an autonomous person. A gay person must never get caught with another man. A nonbeliever must keep his mouth shut. The consequences are imprisonment, torture and/or death. No other major religion is that powerful or abusive to its people.


If Islamic teachings were so clear that its followers must be horrible, then all the follower would be horrible.  They are clearly not.

This is a fallacy of division. All followers of a religion need not be psychopaths for the religion itself to be horrible. Religions can be just as oppressive as any other ideology.

It's not necessary for every single follower to be a murderous maniac; all it takes is to have the religious prohibitions enshrined in official legislature, and enough zealots to round up the victims and chop their heads off or stone them to death. The religious text prescribes it, religious leaders call for it, the religious laws mandate it, and the zealots carry out the executions.

I used to work with a guy who was convinced because of a line in the Koran (I don't remember the details) that all Muslims are liars and cannot be trusted when they profess to have good intentions or be good people.  That is an extreme example of what you are talking about, yes, but still a dangerous indicator for where that kind of absolutist thinking can lead.  I refuse to judge a whole group or individuals based off of what some words in a book say they should do.

I never said that all the followers are bad people. I actually said quite the opposite; Islam is an awful ideology, but most Muslims are good people regardless. Multiple times in this discussion I have deliberately said that I don't judge people collectively.

Your friend there is referring to the Islamic practice of taqiyya, which allows a Muslim to deny their faith in order to avoid being martyred for his religion. It's an allowance for deception under very specific circumstances, and does not at all mean that Muslims are inherently untrustworthy.


You're not listening to me.  It's a subjective question which serves only to support a divisive worldview; us versus them.  We're not measuring units of badness, we're judging an entire group of people as bad because of the actions of some and some words written down by others.

You just accused me of not listening, as a segueway into blatantly lying about what I said.

I am not  judging an entire group of people as bad. You're accusing me of doing that, but I most certainly am not. I have said numerous times in these threads about Islam, that I absolutely do not malign people for the religion that they happened to be born into.

You and SkeptiQueer and others keep battering this same strawman, trying to make me out as a bigot. It's dishonest, and frankly very insulting. You ought to be ashamed.

You made an empirical statement that "labeling Islam as the worst is counter-productive towards actually making the world a better place." That is an empirical claim, so I won't accept it until I see some evidence to support it.


I'm open to religion having a place in this world so long as its followers can live peacefully along side those they disagree with as well.  I'm just as against atheists who cannot coexist with others and would rather live in a world full of tolerant religion than intolerant atheism.

I absolutely agree with this statement. I too am open to religion having a place in this world, so long as its followers can live peacefully alongside those they disagree with.

Thankfully, most religions in the world are just fine with that. There is one significant outlier though.

23 countries in the world today actively prosecute and imprison religious apostates. 13 of those countries even have the death penalty for apostasy. All these countries share the same majority religion, whose laws are enshrined in their governments. I'll give you one guess which religion it is.


It just seems to me that you're making a big jump from "people who do bad things selectively use portions of Islam as a justification" to "Islam is harmful."

A big jump? Really? Have you been ignoring everything I've been saying?

I'm talking about widespread human rights abuses in the Muslim world, which are literally instructed in the holy books and mandated by the religious leaders. If you don't see the connection then you must not be paying attention, or maybe you're in denial.
 

You seem to be both saying "don't judge individuals by the group they belong to" and "Islam is a bad religion" which seem to be at odds with each other.

Yes, that's what I'm saying. And those two statements are not at odds with one another. The problem is, you are conflating an ideology with living, flesh-and-blood human beings.

People are not the sum total of their cultures or ideologies. People are more important than ideologies. People are more important than cultures. People can rise above a backward culture or a stupid and brutal ideology like religion.

« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 05:21:21 PM by John Albert »

Offline haudace

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It would be nice people would critique the violent sects instead of the entire religion. Otherwise our secular perspective wouldn't make any sense, and it would be unproductive to over generalize. Please don't forget Islam has members numbering in the billions. How can they all be violent still not causing all sorts of civilized society to implode on itself?

I would be more receptive to arguments against Salafist and wahhabist sect for instance. There is merit to fight those beliefs however possible as those are the driving force behind Isis and Al Qaeda who are being fought by Muslims groups by the way. Beyond that everything else just comes across as Islamophobic, especially if the religion is being singled out from the others that are from the same theistic ideology.

Just my humble 2cents.

Edit: for phrasing.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 10:34:32 AM by haudace »

Offline John Albert

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It would be nice people would critique the violent sects instead of the entire religion.

Which "sects" are those, and how did they rise to positions of political authority in nearly every Muslim majority country in the world?


Please don't forget Islam has members numbering in the billions. How can they all be violent still not causing all sorts of civilized society to implode on itself?

Who said that all Muslims are violent?


I would be more receptive to arguments against Salafist and wahhabist sect for instance.

Some Salafist sub-sects are among the most peaceful reform movements in all of Islam.

Offline haudace

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It would be nice people would critique the violent sects instead of the entire religion.

Which "sects" are those, and how did they rise to positions of political authority in nearly every Muslim majority country in the world?

Wahhabism and salafism. There are great number of individuals that follow these ideologies but I doubt it's that widespread. Wahhabist/salafist radicals are being resisted, sometimes violently, by what we would define as "moderate" muslims in our circles. Wahhabist movements are the source of the violence that is perceived in Islam. ISIL and Al-Qaeda groups pretty much follow some sort of wahhabist/salafist tenet.

Please don't forget Islam has members numbering in the billions. How can they all be violent still not causing all sorts of civilized society to implode on itself?

Who said that all Muslims are violent?

It's not directly stated. I guess it depends on the interpretation of the message. Islam is a religion but it is also part of the identity of people. Calling out the entire religion is most likely interpreted as questioning the morals of all muslims. That doesn't help. It is similar to when listening to radical individuals rejecting western ideals such as freedom and democracy. It would make me feel threatened and I wager I wouldn't be the only one feeling that way.

My point is, it is probably high time to start working on the messaging on how we are criticizing the religion - to quit attacking Islam as a whole. Condemning wahhabist / salafist ideologies is one way to go about it. It would help to engage in tactics that doesn't alienate "moderate" muslims.

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Some Salafist sub-sects are among the most peaceful reform movements in all of Islam.

This is news to me - do you have a source?

 

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