Thinking About the West

Western civilization is adrift in the world of ideas. Uncoupled from religion for over a century, the Judeo-Christian ethical tradition which endured—albeit, once it had been absorbed into a secular, modernist rationale—is under existential threat from within. The Twitter-lynching of Chris Gayle, the asylum seeker crisis in Europe and connected sexual violence in Cologne and other cities on New Year’s Eve, and the increasing frequency of attacks by Islam-inspired jihadists are all in their own and disparate ways symptoms of the same ailment.

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The Conversation that Isn’t

gagged speech

Islam-is-violence or Islam-is-peace? Take your pick because there is no third option available to those who would like to see debate and policy based on a rational, informed and unbiased approach to Islam’s history and interpretations

As attacks inspired by Islamist ideology continue to erupt around the globe — Paris, San Bernardino, Africa, stick a pin the map and stayed tuned– the tourniquet on the Islam-and-terrorism conversation is tight and getting tighter. The popularity of #YouAintNoMuslimBruv, in response to the London Underground stabbings, bolstered by President Obama’s latest glib insistence that ‘ISIL does not speak for Islam’, highlight just how, since 9/11 and earlier, the West has imposed tacit and active restrictions on what can and cannot be said about Islam and its multiple interpretations.
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Please, Waleed, Clichés Won’t Suffice

love-hate

ISIS says Islam is one thing and Waleed Aly insists it is nothing of the kind. Unless he is prepared to address and explain the if-and-why of Koranic literalism,  I’ll remain confused. Absent that, Aly’s latest sermon is an empty polemic, clarifying nothing.

Betting on God

As part of my blog series on Christianity and atheism with Jesse, I’ve responded to his latest post which deals with Pascal’s Wager.

Not directly related to the wager, there seems to be an underlying thread in the post that suggests Christians are in the business of conning people—purposefully hiding the truth. Naturally, Christians are as capable of deceit as the next person, however to imply (unless I’ve badly misunderstood) that deceit is more or less a part of Christian doctrine itself, doesn’t sit well. Basically because there seems to be a lack of evidence for this—with the exception of some tele-evangelists. I think a distinction between individuals and creed is needed. But anyway, that’s taking this conversation down a different path—psychology I guess—and one that can easily lead to playing the man, not the game. Maybe it’s best to move on.  Continue reading

Deadly opinions & the Islamic State

 

ISIS militants wave a flag in Iraq

 

The violence in Northern Iraq is terrible. That’s my opinion, but is it ‘true’?

Being entitled to your opinion is something we hear a lot about at the moment and normally it isn’t a matter of life and death.

Something else we hear is that what’s true for one person doesn’t have to be true for someone else. Two completely different opinions, and yet they can both be true at the same time.

The danger with claiming that all opinions are valid and true is that in so doing we may be losing the meaning of ‘true’ itself. If everything is true, does that mean nothing is?

I’m writing this because of IS, the Islamic State, a ‘terrorist army’ of militant Muslims with an unpleasant opinion about what Islam means who are threatening genocide as we speak. The point of this post isn’t to get bogged down in what ‘true’ Islam means, but rather to ask us in the West how we’re going to respond. Continue reading