Saturday, February 7, 2015

Whap! Thank you, sir. May I have another? Whap! Thank you....

I had an interesting exchange in my previous post with It' regarding my feelings for / perceptions of Islam, and I mentioned the peaceful nature of Buddhists and Hindu's in passing.  This in turn reminded me of a conversation I had with an Indian friend recently.

He was telling me about his native country (he is an IT professional here in the US now and his wife is a doctor), and he enlightened me considerably.  He told me that there are as many Muslims living in predominantly Hindu India as there are in the next door Muslim country of Pakistan.  I had thought that when the British vacated control of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 the Muslims and Hindu were seriously segregated.

The Hindu are a very benign, inclusive people.  When their country was founded their revered leader Mahatma Gandhi pointed out the colors of their flag ( to us...representing their Hindu citizens, white their Christian citizens, and green their Muslim citizens) was meant to show respect for all.

Here's the tie-in with my post of yesterday:  My Indian friend explained that in recent years with the rise of militant Islam terrorism has become a terrible problem in India.  India claims, and they have proof, that Pakistan is turning a blind eye to the extremists living there and fomenting trouble inside India.  The goal seems to be to cause a backlash against the Muslims living in India, sparking a religious war the ruthless extreme Muslims feel they can win.  The last thing they want is "peaceful co-existence".

Why are there so many disaffected Muslims around the world?  What is it about Islam that makes it so easy for extremists to subvert?  (At least "subverted" is what moderate Muslims say has happened to their religion.)  Where did they learn to be so ruthlessly cruel?  Are such atrocities really called for in the Quran?  

There are entire sects (Wahhabis, for example) who are devoted to this unbending, my-way-or-the-highway, take-no-prisoner, version of Islam.  Rule, or exception?  Every religion has their nut cases, but do millions of Muslim militants still qualify as "exceptions"?  There's a big gray area there.

Honest question:  How many "other cheeks" should we in the West turn when extreme Islam comes after us?  How much should we accept before we become a doormat?


Please don't be shy.  Thoughtful comments would be appreciated.


  1. If it is racist to dislike people who chop off heads, burn people alive in a cage, murder children, force people to change religion or die, kidnap women and force them to "marry" fly planes into buildings full of innocent people, want all women to be totally subservient and in general want everyone who does not support them and kiss their boots to die a violent death, and are backward ignorant sadistic mother and goat f***ers, then I am a racist.

  2. On my recent trip to India I spent a lot of time near the Indian/Pakistani border. Yes, India has the second largest Muslim population on Earth, I think Pakistan is second. I was amazed at the security surrounding the Taj Mahal; Muslim extremists have threatened to blow it up, which I do not understand since this magnificent structure is Islamic, created by Muslims when they controlled India. I have no problem with Islamic philosophy, but it does seem the religion is being pushed by extremists in a manner that should be disturbing to millions of Muslims. If followers of Islam do nothing to change this, there truly will be a religious war pitting the East against the West.

  3. A a Christian - and something of a fundamentalist at that - I know I am supposed to forgive my enemies (or those who do me wrong) "not seven times, but seventy times seven" (Matthew 18:22) which basically means "as many times as they offend you".

    However, I'd be lying if I told you that, should push come to shove, I wouldn't blow some motherfucker's head off if I had a gun and he was trying to kill me. When someone is provoking you and basically HOPING you will retaliate, I think it's totally against human nature to not respond in way that would gratify that need.

    I'd like to think I could turn the other cheek as many times as Christ demands of me, but I am human and subject to massive failure in that regard. I truly expect it will come down to us or them - meaning those people who are not radical Islam versus those who are radical Islam - at some point. And to be perfectly honest, despite the command to forgive, if I had a chance to push a button that would wipe the Earth of all traces and remnants of Islam, and that this had by definition to include the people who believed in it, I'd have a very hard time NOT pushing that button.

    I say this knowing full well I'd be killing many peaceful people. And I suppose some folks might have the same thoughts concerning a chance at killing all Christians or some other group to which I belong. Still, the temptation to wipe out so much evil at one time would be very hard to resist.

    1. Wow. I think you need to have a series of really long sit-downs with your clergy person. And some introspection. And perhaps a rereading of the New Testament. This is not okay, not spiritually or in any other way healthy, to think of killing so many of God's children like that. And to speak aloud of it, in a way that despite your protestations that you are a Christian, basically condones and approves of such things, that's not something someone with Christ in his heart does.

      You are essentially saying that you'd join the Christian version of Al Queda.

      Please take some time to sit with your Savior and let His Peace refresh your heart.

  4. This is a difficult and complex topic...I'll have to think about this. So far, I tend to agree with Stephen - the Islamic philosophy is not the problem, it's the extremists. Should we stay away from judging a religion by the extremists in it? Would it be OK to judge Christianity by the people who deny that the earth is billions of years old? I know - not quite the same thing (killing people vs. denying science - but that's all I could think of right now.

    I have to laugh a bit at Suldog's comment. He is a fundamentalist Christian, except when push should come to shove. Then he isn't. (Please, don't take this the wrong way, Suldog...I don't mean this in a bad way. I know we are all human and it's certainly an understandable sentiment when lives are threatened. It just struck me as funny as I was quickly reading your comment)

  5. Flight Plan
    You seemed pretty convinced to your own beliefs and ways, so I'm not clear your asking for different thiings. It's easy to find canned answeres to the standard responses.....'ours is a religion of peace'....hell I could figure out a couple good tag lines to that one. It's difficult to think in other times and places, and the coherence betwixt our times and those time. The crusades come to mind, the inquisition, the various actrocities the christian world has put upon the world. But It has some significance. The idea always, it seems, is to exclaim that this 'is different times, we are different now.'. Yeah, I suppose. One would like to think that we've made strides, thought out our issues, etc. But it seems not true.

    It's pretty easy to lay this at the feet of the world of Islam, the 'peaceful majority' out shouted by the extreme wing of the religion. And to demand they do something, speak out, whatever. Not much of a reach to go here...

    Is it the right thing? I really don't know. Perhaps it's a inevitable step. I hope not. Things that start with an inevitable conclusion seem to never reach it...need we go to war with the 'islamic state'?

    Unfortunately, Suldog's response will be echoed by many,. and it's ill-thought-out, and just wrong. It's a quick, snapish response. It's just wrong, on so many levels.

    1. Thank you for your lengthy comment, but you failed to offer any possible answers to my questions. Let me ask them once again: Why are there so many disaffected Muslims around the world? And why is Islam so easy to subvert? Seems to me if we might gain some possible answers to those questions we might be able to turn things around. If I knew the answer, I never would have asked the question. That, sir, is why I asked the question.

    2. The same can be said for Christianity at various points in its history, can it not?

    3. Completely true, Kate. But as I see it we are different today. We've evolved. Where slavery was common centuries ago, for example, we now( in western society at least) condemn it. What was "right" then is "wrong" today. I know some don't buy my thesis, but can't you see a difference in attitudes just in your lifetime? Think race relations. We're not there yet, but things are much different that they were in the mid-20th Century.

    4. I was born in 1974. What I've seen, wrt racism in this country, is more of a shift from overt to covert racism. The subtle racism is harder to combat. For instance, your statement, "The Hindu are a very benign, inclusive people." On the surface, that sounds like a fine statement. But it's actually pretty objectifying (calling people of one religion A People, and calling that one people "benign") and stereotyping. There are Hindu extremists in India and a fair number of other places. It's condescending and, frankly, racist, to define all people of one religion that way.

      And who is this "we" of whom you speak? Assuming you mean white Christian westerners, we commit plenty of our own atrocities. You seem to be very interested in an "Us vs. Them" narrative, where you can "other" a majority of the world's population, pigeonholing groups of "Them" into a few simplistically-defined groups, who fit neatly into their stereotypes, so you can feel that "We" are superior. I can't help but think that this isn't the path to world peace.

    5. You read all that into what I wrote? You have an amazing talent, Kate. :)

  6. Another thing that occured to me, reading the comments now....just how much this topic seems to make people feel that they can just 'let it all out'.

    1. What's wrong with saying what you're thinking? To NOT say what you're thinking is just more PC drivel, and we already have plenty of that. Tactfully speaking your mind is something I respect.

    2. What's wrong is, not every thought is worthy of saying aloud, much less broadcasting on the internet.

    3. I see your point, sort of, Kate. I was thinking more of voicing an unpopular opinion, which is OK IMO if done tactfully, without calling those who disagree poopie heads or something. Too often we seem to say what people want to hear vs what we mean.

  7. Just typed a long post but the computer ate it.

    1) A small number of people are committing the greatest number of atrocities.
    2) I live in New Zealand and my daughter wants to visit the US. This scares me. A quick google will show that there were 283 mass shootings in the US in 2014. People are allowed to carry guns when they are shopping in some states. That is completely opposite to most of the Western world. The fact that there is still the death penalty in many states is another aspect that makes the US seem pretty primitive to those of us living in other Western countries. You have also had religious murders, such as Waco and the people who bombed abortion clinics in the 80s and 90s. I look at the US as a dangerous place, just as you look at India and Pakistan. (A friend of mine just came back from living in India with her husband and 2 kids. They loved it there).

    The third aspect of this is that some of this is about politics, not religion. We had a similar thing during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, when Britain was under threat of terrorist attack from the IRA. This was done in the name of religion, but it was actually political. I remember a friend telling me about someone who was asked what religion they were. When they replied "atheist", they were asked if they were a Protestant atheist or a Catholic atheist. This is less about religion and more about power and politics.

    Finally, something that has been happening since the Global Financial Crisis (and probably before) is that the gap between rich and poor all over the world is getting bigger. People who are disaffected look for a scapegoat or a way to regain power. The leaders of these movements are harnessing that sense of disenfranchisement and are using it for their own ends. That gives them potential followers in almost every country.

    1. Excellent comment Teresa. You're right, America can be a dangerous place. We seem to be becoming more callous to violence here: it gets little more than a 20 second sound bite on the nightly news.

      So you're saying the conflict, say, between Sunni and Shia Muslims is likely to be as much political as religious? I can see that. "Power corrupts".

      I agree wealth inequality is making things worse worldwide. While there is a new emerging middle class in many parts of the world, there is still crushing poverty, too. The rich get richer and all that. That's the stuff that breeds revolutions!

      What about lack of a good, well rounded education in the Muslim world? My understanding is their schools are about teaching the Quran vs the 3 R's. Without skills, how can they compete for 21st Century jobs? And birth Muslims allow birth control? Is it a religious taboo? I've read the Muslim youth population is booming, which translates to sky-high unemployment during those years when they are the most restless.

      Again, great comment Teresa. Thanks for directly answering the questions I've been looking for possible answers to.