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

‘Why Atheism?’ A response

I recently asked my friend Jesse whether he’d be interested in having a debate about his atheism, and my Christianity. The motivation for having this conversation, at least on my part was a bit selfish: I needed something to write about! Beyond that, I think we’ve both got fairly strong beliefs, and we both enjoy talking/writing about issues, so a blog-debate seemed appropriate.  Continue reading

Islam & the Scotsman: moving the goals or looking for truth?

More attacks, more dead. Same battle cries, same denial. Candlelit vigils, mourning masses.

Seventeen Parisians and anywhere from 150 to 2,000 Nigerians in Baga. Vehement outrage or muted indifference … whatever the initial emotions, when it comes to trying to understand the ideological basis for the attacks, history is left at the door, as too is reason.

‘Why do they hate us?’ cries the grieving widow. ‘It’s not Islamic or a state,’ argues the President. ‘It’s not Islam,’ reason certain Sheiks.

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Criticism & prejudice: trying to understand Islam

 

‘Islamophobic!’ is directed at anyone it would seem, who has any criticism of Islam.

In light of the rise of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) in Northern Iraq and its intolerant ideologies, ‘moderate’ and ‘mainstream’ Muslims, as well as many non-Muslims have stressed the peaceful nature of ‘true’ Islam.

Deflecting criticism away from Islam’s holy texts, moralistic commentators—many non-Muslim—often compare the words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad to massacres in the Old Testament committed by the Israelites. It is argued that just as ‘mainstream’ Christians and Jews do not act according to many old teachings now, likewise the Islamic world for the most part does not either, and thus certain aspects of their religious texts and traditions can be ignored just as Christians pick and choose those bits of Scripture which suit this time and place.

At face value, this comparison seems fair. Christians—I can’t speak for Jews—adapt their Bible to make it more palatable, so why shouldn’t Muslims?

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