Some More About Islam

Some More About Islam
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     Critics of Islam have a penchant for ignoring completeness in quoting from the Quran. To me, it also appears the critics are also rather fond of re-framing verses in a man-made (read – agenda supporting) artificial context and. herein lies the rub. It serves no deep and lasting purpose to intentionally slant or spin something in order to support an argument or put a contrived “best face” on a matter. Those with even a modicum of desire to discover the truth of an issue will inevitably confront the ruse head on and know it for the blatant falsehood it is.

     The only context that applies: The Quran is presented as the words of All Mighty God as told to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) by God's messenger of choice, the Angel Gabriel. That's the complete context, accept is or reject it, the choice is yours, but do not alter it in order to meet your needs.

     I provide readers with two, simple, direct examples of how the critics typically operate and leave you to draw your own conclusions. If someone decides to conduct further research into the matter I suggest they first invest some time studying the Quran as it is properly the sole authoritative document.

Adding Context that Distorts:

Say: O ye that reject Faith! I worship not that which ye worship, nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine. (109:1-6)

     If you read the Sura above it is readily apparent that those that follow Islam want no truck with those who believe in other faiths. In clear language is the open declaration that no exchange is desired, no dialogue being solicited, and no wish to intermingle expressed. That is the whole of it, a straight forward declaration of you do your thing and I'll do mine.

     However, I have encountered several instances in which non-Islamic sources have spun this straight forward assertion into something insidious and evil. The tactic typically employed is that of re-framing by way of adding context and it unfolds in this fashion:

     The Sura refers exclusively to a volatile dispute between the Prophet (PBUH) and the Pagan leadership of Mecca. In accordance with tradition, the Pagans attempted to craft a peace agreement in which the followers of the Prophet (PBUH) would accept the Pagan's gods as legitimate and the Pagans would then accept the God of Islam. Therefore, the Sura is not a declaration of tolerance but is only a rejection of Islam intermingling with Paganism.

Two defects that undermine the critics:

     The Quran is accepted by the followers of Islam to be the direct word of All Mighty God. It is a complete rendering of God's Law as applied to earthly living. Re-framing assumes that God didn't quite get it right and there is additional human commentary needed in order to clarify what God meant to say. This completely negates the concept of an Omnipotent Being (God) and reduces the document to a secular work in progress set of laws.

     Critics who use this tactic are contemporary writers far removed for the event that was the Prophet's (PBUH) life and most typically not followers of Islam but of another, some might say competing, religion. Regardless of a person's thoughts on the question of the Divine nature of the writings (Quran) it is inherently dishonest to take a Faith's authoritative text, put it in a speculation derived context, and then claim to have provided a necessary errata. Man playing God is an abomination to all Faiths.

Selectivity in Verse Presentation:

     This is far and away the most common ploy utilized by critics of Islam and I'll use the most frequent example of this fallacy … the Sword Sura. 
And slay them wherever ye catch them.... (2:191)
     I most often encounter this selective argument used by fundamentalists of various persuasions who have, amazingly enough, managed to memorize all of one part of a verse and recite it endlessly as being representative of the entirety of Islamic thought and beliefs. The complete verse is as follows:

Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (2:190-192)

     Even those un-initiated in the beast that is war can readily see that the complete verse refers to defense of self in battle. For those that are Veterans the verse is easily recognized as what we today term “Rules of Engagement” and I recall of my Drill Sergeant's constant reminder to us when in Basic Training: “Your sole purpose is to kill the enemies of America.” The nature of war is killing the enemy and the Sword Sura clearly states that when confronted by the enemy in battl kill them before they kill you.
     
     Hopefully, I leave you with far more questions than answers as self-directed inquiry is the only way I am aware of to discover the personal truth of any given matter. What I would like to stress is that criticism is valid if and only if it is derived from honest and rigorous examination of an issue. Otherwise, criticism is nothing more than agenda mongering and who can honestly argue that such a thing is worthwhile and useful?



Comments

Contractor Added Sep 4, 2013 - 2:38pm
Thanks all that, Richard. Ah ... synchronicity as I've been working on a Jihad piece for a bit. Jihad is both complicated and rather simplistic.
 
Suffice it to say that Taliban, AQ, and other terrorist groups are most definitely NOT waging Jihad. They are guilty of blasphemy, heresy, murder, rape, and theft. According to their own religion they have stained their Souls and earned a place in the eternal fires of hell.
 
Most of these murderous Zombies are illiterate and have never even read the Nobel Quran. They rely on the rantings and ravings of delusional, worldly power seeking, socio-path pseudo-clerics masquerading as Imam.
 
BTW, whenever you encounter an article attributing something to Imam _____ in the press you might want to just disregard all that follows. There is only one more Imam prophesied to appear on earth before the beginning of Judgement Day.
 
The Shia hold that the last Imam is all ready on earth and is hidden from sight. The point is, according to the Islam of the Prophet (PBUH) only one more Imam is to be on earth. So, I consider the stooge press offerings citing to Imam ____ to be just so much drivel not worth reading.
William Stockton Added Sep 4, 2013 - 3:58pm
Forcepro.
I understand and appreciate your clarifications/education on Islam.
 
I believe your words will have the most impact on those who are impartial and willing to consider different perspectives about that religion.
I'm nearly decided that impartiality to religion can never be attained in the west.  Partly due to the violent history of the militant sect of Islam.  And partly due to religion itself which is generally intolerant of tolerance.  Monotheistic religions seems to be the 'gateway drug' for extremist ideology.  I have been there myself and am grateful for being able to change my life otherwise.
Just as there are militant Christians, there are also the peace-loving kind.  
It is as if "individual interpretation" of the religion can be used as justification for loving as well for killing.  I think that is why I chose to discard any and all interpretation and just let God be God and I will just try to do what is right in life.  
Anyway.  Just my take.
Contractor Added Sep 4, 2013 - 6:17pm
Hey William:
 
"I believe your words will have the most impact on those who are impartial and willing to consider different perspectives about that religion."
 
Perhaps, all I'm attempting to do is present some facts in the hope that perhaps someone will juxtapose the facts presented against the propaganda campaign being waged in the mainstream press. I do not care at all for manipulative campaigns and that's what is occurring. 
 
"I'm nearly decided that impartiality to religion can never be attained in the west."
 
Maybe true ... still I feel compelled to give it an honest effort.
 
"Partly due to the violent history of the militant sect of Islam.  And partly due to religion itself which is generally intolerant of tolerance."
 
Not really a sect as such ... corruption hiding under the skirts of religion. An old and time honored tactic of war mongers.
 
Islam is, as you say, intolerant. To me, that is a good thing. I challenge anyone to provide proof positive that the secularizing "liberalism" of America has produced real good. I am intolerant of drunks ... but I wish them no harm.
 
"Monotheistic religions seems to be the 'gateway drug' for extremist ideology."
 
I beg to differ. See: Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Hitler.


"Just as there are militant Christians, there are also the peace-loving kind.  
It is as if "individual interpretation" of the religion can be used as justification for loving as well for killing."
 
For love, agreed, for killing I disagree. If someone corrupts an ideology in pursuit of whatever cause the original ideology no longer applies ... it ceases to be. The so-called Jihadists are a classic case in point.
 
"I think that is why I chose to discard any and all interpretation and just let God be God and I will just try to do what is right in life."
 
Perhaps the best any of us can do.  
Contractor Added Sep 4, 2013 - 6:23pm
Nathan: "I've learned enough about it and its history of conquest to conclude that Islam will soeday take over the world and that there is very little that the world can do to stop this eventuality."
 
Not at all the case. Even within the span of a few years I witnessed a great deal of corruption creep into Islam. The West is investing vast amounts of money and resources in undermining that which refuses to bow down to corporate dictates and the globalist agenda. Islam is suffering from secularization. It is far more an ideological war than one of bombs and bullets.
Patrick Writes Added Sep 4, 2013 - 6:51pm
Okay, so I think you're bumping into some things that secularists do to Christians. It's just life. For instance, tolerance. It's a lovely word but it changed meanings over the years. It used to mean to allow stuff that you don't accept or agree with to exist in your life. 
 
Now tolerance means you must accept everything someone else believes as true, as true for you, or at least that it could be real. Under that new definition, most devout Christians are intolerant. And that would apply to devout Jews, Muslims, or other Mormons, etc... There are countless secular commentaries that say Christians are intolerant.
 
Secondly, Quran 9:5 and 9:29 (Sword Verses) disagree with the idea that a follower of Islam should only engage in defensive warfare. 
Contractor Added Sep 4, 2013 - 7:19pm
Patrick: "Secondly, Quran 9:5 and 9:29 (Sword Verses) disagree with the idea that a follower of Islam should only engage in defensive warfare." 
 
I suppose you are referring, at least in part, to the following:
 
"And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."
 
If so, then you are mistaken in your understanding. The polytheists are in Islamic territory and subject to Islamic law. A person cannot be compelled to provide zakah unless this is the circumstance.
 
Each culture and country imposes its own laws on those within its borders. It's like I frequently told newbies in country that insisted on running around wearing wife beaters when they had tattoos showing. It's forbidden, don't like it ... leave. Same applies to the polytheists.
 
I leave you with this ... a second chance out for the polytheists:
 
"And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah . Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know."
Contractor Added Sep 4, 2013 - 8:03pm
Patrick, I appreciate your interaction, however, you are straying off topic. The article was not submitted as a source of debate for the relative merits of Islam versus the downside of same. 
 
This article, and attending discussion, is simply to provide a sounding board of sorts regarding what has been published and broadcast in the mainstream media as opposed to the real, actual fundamental tenets and practices of Islam, albeit, in abbreviated format.
 
So, it would be great if you could continue on in the intended vein and I will not be responding to comments outside this article's narrow scope. 
Contractor Added Sep 5, 2013 - 10:53am
Inner struggle is one aspect of Jihad as set forth in the Quran. Jihad is like many Arabe words ... multiple meanings, rich in context ... and most definitely not what the terrorists are representing it to be.
Contractor Added Sep 5, 2013 - 11:51am
Nathan: "I hope you are right and I hope all Muslim come to your interpretation."
 
Unrealistic to an extreme. "All" is not a viable option when it comes to matters human.
 
"... many madrassas preach violence, hatred, and intolerance."
 
Do you have any facts supporting your statement? Just how many Madrassa have you been inside and examined their curriculum?


"It is not a small minority."


I beg to differ, from my personal and repeated experience it is a very small minority.


"What can you do to change that?"


Nothing ... I have no power.


"Can you be the Martin Luther of Islam?"


No, and I have no desire to be assassinated either for that matter.
Contractor Added Sep 5, 2013 - 9:14pm
Jason, this thread is not intended as a forum for discussing the relative merits and evils of Islam or any other religion for that matter.
 
I simply provide some things outside the mainstream press propaganda as a vehicle for people to check their reasoning if they so desire.
 
Apply your "point" to the conduct of the U.S. over the years if the death tally is your thing.
Contractor Added Sep 6, 2013 - 1:39pm
Funny how some people, simply cannot honestly check their own reasoning. They are compelled to seek external validation for their own thoughts. Rather pathetic and insecure of them ... obviously.
 
 
John Simpson Added Sep 6, 2013 - 2:09pm
ForceRro
An intellectual Green Beret, who would have thought it possible considering the image the media presents of us? I have also lived with and worked with Muslims from Indonesia to North Africa to Iran; I found the hospitality of those not intent on killing me to be first class. The Muslims in North Africa were continuously trying to sell me a cute-little-Jewish girl for the night; I did not run into this problem in Iran. My Iranian neighbors would warn me about the days that I should be careful about crowds or about days that I should just stay at home. They would talk about the trouble makers as being insane!
Contractor Added Sep 6, 2013 - 3:56pm
Hey John: "An intellectual Green Beret, who would have thought it possible considering the image the media presents of us?"
 
Dovetails nicely with what I am attempting to do in this setting ... provide some alternatives to the mainstream press propaganda campaign and let people do with it what they will.
 
As for Hollywood ... what reasonable person would value the opinions and perspective of professional pretenders, a.k.a. Actors?
 
John Simpson Added Sep 6, 2013 - 7:41pm
ForcePro,
I was in Iran training them to be Cobra pilots, on every call to prayer I lost them for an hour; I actually did not know what they did with their heads during that period of time.
 
I also had friends in the Middle East that had a real “higher education”, they were teachers, doctors, and bankers. My Iranian girlfriend had a college education (not form the Qur’an) and she could speak French, English, and Russian. Most of the enlisted men I worked with in the military had a Qur’an education; I was teaching then flight line safety.
 
Yes I know the countries that won the war divided the Middle East up without paying attention to tribal boundaries and that has caused most if not all the problems in that area of the world, it should not have been done that way, it was, so get over it!
 
You said “you have no understanding of the intent of the Nobel Quran”. The nobel Qur’an? Give me a break. I have read the Qur,an it is the ramblings of a despot who plagiarized everything he could from the Zoroastrians, Christians, and the Jews.
He claimed that it came directly from god. Do you think God ever changes His mind, do you think He ever says “Oh, I did not mean to tell him that! I’ll have to go back and tell him what I really meant!” I don’t think so. But that is what Mohammad tells us about the Qur’an. That is why he had to change directions some times. Yea, right.
 
You sound like you have drank the Islamic kool aid!
Contractor Added Sep 6, 2013 - 8:44pm
John - "I was in Iran training them to be Cobra pilots, on every call to prayer I lost them for an hour; I actually did not know what they did with their heads during that period of time."

So, you've gone from them spending 5 hours a day banging their heads in the sand to you don't know what they were doing ... "nice" change of course. Learn that in flight school did you?

You were working with their military ... I know that game. We weren't allowed to tell them they did something "wrong" ... always had to preface corrections with "I must have trained you wrong ..." The joke they call their military is hardly representative of their society, much less Islam as a whole. 

"I have read the Qur,an ..."

Doubtful, perhaps you've skimmed through a translation of the Nobel Quran ... but highly doubtful you've ever read it.

"… it is the ramblings of a despot who plagiarized everything he could from the Zoroastrians, Christians, and the Jews."

As opposed to the calm, factual, logic based response you posted up ... eh? Or is it that perhaps you prefer the fairy tales
gleamed from Roman and Greek mythology and presented as religion … or is that self-serving five book set more to your liking?


"He claimed that it came directly from god. Do you think God ever changes His mind, ..."

Well ... let's see, there are some 100 factual errors in the Gospels alone, Rome keeps pumping out encyclicals trying to get it right, Aramaic is a dead language so no one really knows what Christians are suppose to think … I do believe I detect a pattern here.

“You sound like you have drank the Islamic kool aid!”

Coming from someone who presents as a myopic, narrow minded bigot I consider that a compliment, thanks. De Oppresso Liber.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Contractor Added Sep 7, 2013 - 10:05am
Glenn, a well thought out secularist perspective. Thanks for posting up.
Contractor Added Sep 7, 2013 - 12:31pm
Stephen: "Overall a vey useful article, but even your setting of (109:1-6) is a matter of opinion and many muslims would disagree."
 
Please, by all means, share with us your  direct, personal, experiences with "many" Muslims. Specifically, where you were, some indicator of years, and the level of competency in the Noble Quran, e.g., Cleric, scholar ... of those with which you conversed.


"It is one thing to claim it to be the word of God, it is another to state that your interpretation is the only one."


The Noble Quran has remained unchanged in content since its first recording. I do not rely on my understanding so much as I do that of Clerics and scholars ... in person conversations over time.


"You can ague it is more valid, but there are no monopolies here."


A matter of opinion and one to which you are entitled. Even in secular law there are those recognized as "experts" and their opinions hold sway under most conditions.


"Just because it is the word of the omnipotent God does not mean that every human will understand it."


If you mean that one must follow the other ... agreed. Then too, there are those who will read a Dilbert cartoon strip and not get it. Your point is what?


"And history clearly demonstrates that there have been different interpretations."


With regard to the Noble Quran? No, not really. Even though Arabe is rich in texture and connotations the essence remains constant. Arguing subtle nuances are the purview of scholars and Clerics ... far above my pay grade. 
Contractor Added Sep 7, 2013 - 9:18pm
Robert: "I just skimmed through your comments and one think struck me as comical is that for someone that isn’t a Muslim and spent a short period of time in their land, you certainly think you know everything about them."
 
Rather poor reading comprehension ... public school education I think. As I stated, I rely on personal conversations with those regarded as authoritative sources. My "short time" spans more than a few years ... and yours, as with some other critics is all of what? "Nothing" and "none" are the correct answers I do believe. 
 
Robert:  " ... but my assessment is that the military likely brainwashed you into thinking the way you think."
 
You fail. I was in 7th SFG(A); AO was South/Central America. I got out in the 1990s. Your assessment ability is on par with your general knowledge of the subject matter in this thread, non-existent.
 
Trolling ... or just not very bright?
 
 
William Stockton Added Sep 7, 2013 - 9:58pm
ForcePro,
 
By all accounts it seems as if you are pro-Islam.  And you say you are not Muslim.  Ok.  I take you at your word.
You must have met some very kind and good people in your travels who coincidentally were Muslim.  I take it that you gained an appreciation for Islam which few of us westerners have had.  In fact, it is quite the opposite in most of our cases.
Perhaps you could please clarify the "appearance" of you being a defender of Islam.
Contractor Added Sep 7, 2013 - 10:22pm
William: "By all accounts it seems as if you are pro-Islam."
 
Negative, I am anti-smear campaign in which millions are slandered and lumped into the same category as the few.
 
"You must have met some very kind and good people in your travels who coincidentally were Muslim."
 
Negative, I met some Muslims who were coincidentally good people.
 
"In fact, it is quite the opposite in most of our cases."
 
Right on point as your exposure to, and knowledge of, Islam comes from propaganda outlets for those with an agenda far removed from disseminating truth ... the mainstream press. Deranged, ranting "evangelists" is another favorite outlet for the poison.
 
"Perhaps you could please clarify the "appearance" of you being a defender of Islam."
 
Sure, I post up what I know of Islam and frequently check with a few friends of mine who are recognized within their community as being knowledgeable of the Quran and Hadiths.
 
Personally, I studiously avoid the Hadiths as to me they have the same faults and inherent flaws as those found in the Gospels, namely, well after the fact and the recorded opinions of a select few.
 
I defend nothing with regard to religious dogma, William, and with good reason. We are all born dying and each of us is guaranteed an answer regarding the after-life. Why speculate or choose sides when I'll have the answer in time? If nothing else, I am a patient Man.
 
William Stockton Added Sep 7, 2013 - 11:13pm
ForcePro,
I'm sorry I was not clear.  I did not ask if you were a defender of religious dogma but I must have somehow given you that opinion.
 
I believe tho that you have tipped your hat when you said, "We are all born dying and each of us is guaranteed an answer regarding the after-life."
 
So then, what religion are you?  If you cannot fully answer my question as I am sure you now understand why I am asking, then I will label you (in my mind) as deceitful.
Contractor Added Sep 8, 2013 - 1:46pm
Nathan, "Nobel" is a generally accepted preface as is "Holy" when referring to the Bible. Why PBUH? A Prayer and a Blessing offered up as is customary.
 
William: "So then, what religion are you?"
 
Rather rude of you to act as if you have any entitlement to know another person's religion. However, even though you are rude, perhaps simply ignorant is a better word, I will answer your question ... none and all. I walk a Spiritual Path and am no slave to dogma. If you cannot grasp the distinction between Spiritual and Religious then the shortcoming is yours and yours alone.
 
"If you cannot fully answer my question as I am sure you now understand why I am asking, then I will label you (in my mind) as deceitful."
 
I would be hard pressed to care any less about what is in your mind. That's your personal sanctuary and hell ... choose as you will.
William Stockton Added Sep 8, 2013 - 2:59pm
ForcePro wrote: "However, even though you are rude, perhaps simply ignorant is a better word"
 
Well you have said enough for me to know where you stand.  You wanted a constructive discussion and now you are criticizing my character for asking a question about your bias.   Whatever dude.  Now I know you are full of bs.
Contractor Added Sep 8, 2013 - 3:31pm
Great stuff, William, glad to see you off this thread. 
Robert Wendell Added Sep 10, 2013 - 10:08pm
Stockton, quit being the asinine ignoramus you usually are. You're getting what you dish out. Your comments are rude and then you complain when your fecal verbosity splatters back on you. Attacking your bad reasoning and the world view you must have acquired from the likes of Faux Muse are not ad hominem attacks, but you take them that way every time and them indulge in a whole mess of ad hominem attacks as an apparent act of revenge. Maybe you should become one of the blasphemous Muslims to which ForcePro refers regarding the radical Islamic fundamentalists and that you apparently think they all are. That particular subset of Muslims is really into vengeance and you seem to be hanging right in there with them. Hard to tell the difference if you take away the specifics of your respective belief systems, which seem to be fundamentally irrelevant with respect to your behaviors.
Robert Wendell Added Sep 10, 2013 - 10:52pm
ForcePro, I appreciate your attempts to clarify reality with regard to the Islamic world and its inhabitants. It is clear to me that the image we in the west get of Muslims is a very jaded caricature of the realities. I served as a volunteer for four years on an interfaith committee that honored all believers in a Supreme Being, including Baha'i, Hindu, Sikh, Bhuddist, and other faiths as well as the three Abrahamic religions. Some of my fellow members on the interfaith committee were Muslim. They are sweet, kind people who are as horrified as any regarding what some are doing in the name of Allah and their religion.
 
I also worked for three and a half years in a Conservative synagogue in which I experienced fascinating conferences that included a team of three clerics, a Palestinian Anglican priest, a rabbi, and a Muslim cleric who live and work together in Israel toward peace among the three faiths and their corresponding cultures. I shed tears upon hearing some of their heart-rending as well as heart-warming stories of their personal experiences and their work together. 
 
I personally have a strong interfaith orientation, since I'm convinced that God manifests in different ways at different times in different cultures, and likely also on different planets. I believe God does so through human or human-level beings elsewhere in the universe. These may reflect God imperfectly in their writings, but the most meaningful parts of any scriptures are those we find in common among them. The most irrelevant are the cultural specifics in which their metaphorically expressed truths are embedded.
 
However, there will always be those who are literal-minded and myopic, and can only see the surface meaning and miss the truly relevant and deep truths. They focus on differences and ignore the universality. We can always laugh at European fairy tales for children that no adult takes literally while completely missing the moral point they were intended to teach. That's an operational definition of fundamentalism in my mental lexicon. I notice that disdain and often hatred of religion is founded on this gross misperception of truth and too often projected as a foolish assumption of an anthropomorphic god that doesn't exist, so they miss the reality of the God Who does.
 
I, like you, do not find dogma either very interesting or compelling. However, I do attend church regularly because I find ritual deeply meaningful and enjoy being with morally healthy human beings who are well-meaning and loving, even if narrow in many if not most cases. That's my choice, but not one the personal value of which I feel any compulsion to convince others.
Contractor Added Sep 11, 2013 - 5:22pm
Robert: "I appreciate your attempts to clarify reality with regard to the Islamic world and its inhabitants."
 
All I'm doing is presenting a perspective outside the mainstream press which has demonized an entire people. People form their own opinions ... I'm just an alternative information source in this issue.
 
Robert: "I served as a volunteer for four years on an interfaith committee ..."
 
3 years for me, good experience.
 
Robert: "They focus on differences and ignore the universality."
 
What I term the "heavy elements" of the major religions are pretty much in agreement on the fundamental issues. Differences abound, however, the planks remain remarkably similar.
 
Robert: "I personally have a strong interfaith orientation, since I'm convinced that God manifests in different ways at different times in different cultures, and likely also on different planets. I believe God does so through human or human-level beings elsewhere in the universe."
 
So do I and agreed on all points. This earth is but one of many.
 
You might want to read Brent Landau's short work, "Revelation of the Magi" as it gives some insight into what the earliest Christians thought. Brent was a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard when he translated the original from Syriac to English. Interesting read.
 
"That's my choice, but not one the personal value of which I feel any compulsion to convince others."
 
Same with me ... what someone else believes is none of my business.
 
As for some others that insist on playing the gadfly ... this is "Writerbeat" and not "Criticbeat". I note that the most prolific pot stirrers on this forum contribute nothing of their own ... no articles by them, just rhetorical circularity and banal piffle ... mutated trolls perhaps.
Contractor Added Sep 11, 2013 - 9:07pm
Slate: "So perhaps this whole thing is a big miscommunication with you on the receiving end of the wrong information."
 
Since you have not submitted any articles of your own, put up the URLs to these non-Muslim bashing news sources that you consider valid. 
Contractor Added Oct 6, 2013 - 9:30pm
Christopher, go here for a succinct yet well thought out presentation that answers your questions regarding creating an image of the enemy.
 
rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkamZg68jpk#!
 
Christopher: "Do the "mainstream media" say that Islam is violent?"
 
The mainstream press couples Islam with terrorism when clearly the Nobel Quran condemns terrorist activity. When you see headlines that read "Radial Islamists ..." you have found an example of what I am referring to. The entire thesis of my related articles is that a person cannot be an authentic Muslim and also be a terrorist. The two are mutually exclusive states of being. Just because someone claims to be something does not in fact make them so. Ted Bundy often claimed to be a Police Officer or Fire Fighter.
 
Christopher: "Charlie Rose did interview Bashar Assad, so it seems that Assad is a man willing to talk.  It seems that it's just a matter of why he doesn't see what he's doing, in the way that we see it."
 
Count me out of the "we" category. The US government intentionally tried to destabilize Syria in anticipation of control of a major natural gas pipeline that is also of interest to Russia. Syria is just the playground of the moment for the Cold War of old.
 
Christopher: "And if we go into Syria, do U.S. troops risk the same treatment they received in Somalia, even if an official war is declared?"
 
Specifically what are you referring to?
 
Christopher: "It seems that it is impossible to predict the direction of a conflict, even if one is educated on the background of the people in question."


Welcome to the world of modern warfare. Even when I was in it I really had no idea how it was going to go at any given point in time. 
Contractor Added Oct 6, 2013 - 9:34pm
Traci: "My area has the largest Muslim/Islam community in the country. I've been learning more about the text in the Qur'an so I may have a better understanding of my Muslim neighbors."
 
First thing first, ask around and have one of them teach you to read and speak Arabe ... the Eastern dialect will work just fine.
 
Secondly, if your area doesn't all ready have one then set up a multi-cultural center where people from different faiths can meet, relax, and discuss issues in an atmosphere of mutual respect and dignity. You can take turns hosting it in your homes if no facility is available.
 
Thirdly, understand that claiming to be a Muslim is no insurance that a person is good or bad ... there are no magic bullets. I work off of observing a person's actions and pay very little attention to their words. 
Robert Wendell Added Oct 20, 2013 - 8:44am
Stockton is as Stockton thinks. He is fond of accusing others of lying and/or cheating.
Robert Wendell Added Oct 20, 2013 - 11:22am
@ ForcePro - 
 
Many if not most people cannot separate in their minds the ideas of spirituality and religion with its associated dogma. Stockton seems to have interpreted your distinction as simply avoiding the issue. Here is my minimal assessment of spirituality as distinct from religion and associated belief systems:
 
 
1.       Although some minimal beliefs must exist to motivate spiritual growth, mere religious belief systems or dogma do not in themselves represent, but often masquerade as spirituality.
 
2.       Nature is ultimately, fundamentally, and literally unified.
 
3.       Nature is fundamentally lively, lawful/intelligent, and fosters growth.
 
4.       Surface appearances do not explicitly reflect the fundamental nature of existence.
 
5.       The experience of consciousness explicitly represents the fundamentally unified nature of existence.
 
6.       Surface appearances and consciousness are polar extremes of a single reality.
 
7.       Surface appearances change and exist in space and time while the fundamental nature of consciousness does not, since it is the root of space-time and therefore transcends it.
 
8.       The physical fragility of local, humanly expressed consciousness in surface appearances does not impugn the status of consciousness as the most global, general, abstract, and fundamental property of existence any more than crushing a radio destroys the source of the music.
Contractor Added Oct 20, 2013 - 12:09pm
@Konrad - Regarding Hadiths ... I pay them no mind. Those that rely on Hadiths are essentially saying that God didn't quite get it right and Man needed to step in and provide some examples. To me, the Hadiths are a source of division and strife.
Contractor Added Oct 20, 2013 - 12:22pm
@ Robert - Very well stated, Robert, and I find your position convincingly presented. To me, there is a definite gulf separating Spirituality and Religion as set forth in dogma. I know of some  people who are extremely Spiritual ... but practice no religion as such.


I know a lot of people who are religious (lip service to the dogma), and they are truly rotten human beings. Just for me, I regard religion as a potential vehicle and possibly a means to an end. Beyond this, I do not put a lot of stock in any of them.


There are some people who have never stepped into a formal house of worship that impeccably walk a Spiritual path. And there are people who have worked hard to memorize the dogma of their chosen religion yet routinely fail to apply much of it in their daily life.  


"Horses for courses." as an old friend of mine is fond of saying.


As for Stockton, I simply consider the source, and in this instance the source is what I would term an idiot. As a Muslim Cleric once said to me ... "Ignorance is very hard to deal with."
Personally, I'm not up for dealing with ignorance nor idiots so Stockton is a non-issue with me.
William Stockton Added Oct 20, 2013 - 12:51pm
You both done jerking each other off with my hand?
I just might start liking it!
kisses
Robert Wendell Added Oct 20, 2013 - 1:53pm
Nice guy, huh? Nice piece of confirmation, too. We ought to thank him maybe?
Robert Wendell Added Oct 20, 2013 - 4:09pm
Yes, Forcepro, the only thing there is to understand regarding the Un-Understandable is that there is nothing to understand, because it is simply you and you are it.
 
Since ancient times, this has been called Knowledge by Being. "To look for it outside yourself is like a fish looking for water."
 
"I am that. thou art that; all this is nothing but that."
Robert Wendell Added Oct 20, 2013 - 4:31pm
Our self-awareness is merely a local reflection of the single cosmic reality of consciousness as the Supreme Intelligence at the root of existence itself.  Failure to recognize this is the source of the "hard problem" of "explaining" consciousness rather than simply appreciating it as the axiomatic and therefore extra-rational root of all that is. It transcends reason precisely because it is the axiomatic root of reason.
 
The Abrahamic religions express this reality as being "made in the image of God". Asian traditions express the same thing saying, "Many ponds; one moon." This fundamental truth is common to all the great world religions. "Fundamentalists" in every religion ironically ignore this fundamental truth and focus superficially on all the provincial trappings of their cultural sources as fundamental. This is because they are trapped in surface appearances and fail to obey the ancient dictum from still another source, "Know thyself."
Contractor Added Oct 20, 2013 - 4:33pm
Stockton, we're convinced you are an idiot ... why continue belaboring the obvious?
Robert Wendell Added Oct 20, 2013 - 4:37pm
Hard-core atheists rightly throw out the superficial trappings of religion while ignoring the deep truth metaphorically embedded in them. This is because they also remain trapped in surface experiences. They are merely secular versions of the religious fundamentalists, but just intelligent enough to reject the provincial trappings as any kind of ultimate reality.
Contractor Added Oct 20, 2013 - 4:45pm
Hey Robert, if you are ever in the mood, there is a short work by Brent Landau, "Revelation of the Magi" that is a good read on how early Christians really thought. Brent translated a long last tome from the earliest Christian time period, 1 - 3 centuries post Christ, from Syriac to English as part of his Ph.D., program at Harvard. 
 
It's clear that Christians thought nothing like the dogma they gorge on today which is really Paganism ... although Christians would vehemently
deny my stated position. Seems many Christians just can't wrap their minds around what is documented and transpired with the Ante-Nicene Fathers centuries after Christ's ascension into heaven. Pure Roman Paganism and all for worldly political reasons. 


Check out Brent's book if you feel like it and let me know what you think about it.
Contractor Added Oct 20, 2013 - 4:56pm
Robert, I'm not convinced there are any authentic atheists. If we loosely define "God" as the ultimate arbiter, the supreme authority ... then atheists do in fact embrace a god. Namely, their own intellect.
 
Given that Criss Angel and David Copperfield make fortunes every year deceiving the human mind I think the god of atheists is very small indeed.
 
All in all I have to admit that I have very little, if any, concern for another person's Spiritual situation. Everyone dies ... everyone gets the answer. No sense in killing one another over it.
Robert Wendell Added Oct 20, 2013 - 5:48pm
@ ForcePro - Quoting you:
 
"No sense in killing one another over it."
 
Nope, none at all. The only problem I have with some of them, Dawkins, for example, is that they don't want freedom of religiion. They want freedom from it, which takes us back to the religious intolerance that motivated most of the earliest settlers of this country. Back then some people did kill people over it. Some people still do.
Contractor Added Oct 20, 2013 - 6:36pm
I think Dawkins is demented and Hawking not far behind. Put the two of them together and you have Nazi Thought Control Police in action.
 
Rather than arguing for their position they go to great lengths to attack the opposition which I recognize as a distinct sign of weakness.
 
If a person is secure in their beliefs then they have no reason for attacking ... why attack something that poses no threat?
 
Quite obviously people like Dawkins have a great deal of bluster and flash ... but at their core they are insecure and hateful. The poison leaks through and what reasonable, rational person would side with a purveyor of poison?
William Stockton Added Oct 20, 2013 - 9:17pm
"Stockton, we're convinced you are an idiot ... why continue belaboring the obvious?"
A thug response from a thug warrior.  You're no hero.  
Collaboration of the insane.  Ya, you and Wendy have the knowledge dept all wrapped up.
John Simpson Added Oct 21, 2013 - 9:14am
Contractor Added Oct 21, 2013 - 9:36am
Same thing is certain parts of American cities, Simpson. Be a white in Newark, NJ after dark and see how you do. "No sale" on your hate.
Contractor Added Oct 21, 2013 - 5:51pm
Stockton: "You both done jerking each other off with my hand?
I just might start liking it!
kisses"
 
A little late in life for you to be coming out of the closet, isn't it Willie Boy?
William Stockton Added Oct 21, 2013 - 8:38pm
FP:  I knew that would interest you.  Many, many Muslims are hiding in the closet lest their carnal inclinations be revealed.
Contractor Added Oct 21, 2013 - 9:52pm
Why cast disparaging remarks over your sexual orientation?  
 
William: "Many, many Muslims are hiding in the closet lest their carnal inclinations be revealed."
 
Okay, so you admit you've been stalking closeted Muslims ... kind of weird, aren't you?
William Stockton Added Oct 21, 2013 - 10:45pm
Great come back!
Contractor Added Oct 22, 2013 - 9:26am
It's a gift.
 
Got anything on topic to add or are you just riding along as Simpson's alter ego side kick?
Contractor Added Nov 11, 2013 - 2:31pm
@ CorradoCam - Sure, Hadiths are twisted, taken out of context and used as "justification" for horrendous acts that clearly violate the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad. They are a source of poison rather than clarifying inspiration.
 
The Hadiths are so much in dispute that they are actually ranked according to human interpretation of accuracy. It's ridiculous. No where in the Quran does it state "... and supplement God's word with Hadiths."
 
To me, the relying on the Hadiths is tantamount to saying "God didn't quite get it right and we need some examples to help us along." Total crock of crap ... to me.
 
Hadiths do not meet the burden necessary for declaring Jihad. Only a Prophet, directed by God, can call for Jihad. All Islamic scholars are in agreement that no Prophet walks the earth today. According to the Quran, only one more Prophet will appear on earth before End Days.
 
As for Fatwas, who the hell would pay any attention to that garbage. The sole standard is that the one issuing the Fatwa be an Islamic scholar. Oh, okay, "I hereby declare that all terrorists hiding behind Islam's skirts be beheaded at first light." There, done deal.
Ryan Messano Added Jun 10, 2016 - 6:25pm
JF are you a Muslim?  If so your profanity riddled post on America's obesity isn't a profound testament to your virtue.
 
Muhammad was a very lascivious and violent man.  Here is what John Quincy Adams, who is far wiser than you or I, had to say about Islam.

In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar, the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust, by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE.


Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. That war is yet flagrant; nor can it cease but by the extinction of that imposture, which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man. While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men. The hand of Ishmael will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. It is, indeed, amongst the mysterious dealings of God, that this delusion should have been suffered for so many ages, and during so many generations of human kind, to prevail over the doctrines of the meek and peaceful and benevolent Jesus

 
Ryan Messano Added Jun 10, 2016 - 6:25pm
The precept of the koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force
Ryan Messano Added Jun 10, 2016 - 6:25pm
The fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion, is the extirpation of hatred from the human heart. It forbids the exercise of it, even towards enemies. There is no denomination of Christians, which denies or misunderstands this doctrine. All understand it alike—all acknowledge its obligations; and however imperfectly, in the purposes of Divine Providence, its efficacy has been shown in the practice of Christians, it has not been wholly inoperative upon them. Its effect has been upon the manners of nations. It has mitigated the horrors of war—it has softened the features of slavery—it has humanized the intercourse of social life. The unqualified acknowledgement of a duty does not, indeed, suffice to insure its performance. Hatred is yet a passion, but too powerful upon the hearts of Christians. Yet they cannot indulge it, except by the sacrifice of their principles, and the conscious violation of their duties. No state paper from a Christian hand, could, without trampling the precepts of its Lord and Master, have commenced by an open proclamation of hatred to any portion of the human race. The Ottomanlays it down as the foundation of his discourse