Nailed to the Mosque Door

The Iraqi writer Majed Al-Gharbawi is calling for sweeping reform in Islamic culture and religious discourse. Writing for the liberal Arabic-language Website, Elaph.com (translation via MEMRI), Al-Gharbawi argued in the wake of the London bombings that while the psychological, political, and economic reasons for terrorism are important, "they are secondary reasons."

"The driving reason is religious ideology," according to Al-Gharbawi. "In the name of religion, wars have broken out; blood has been let; murder has been legitimized; rights have been revoked; regimes have been taken over; those with different opinions have been accused of unbelief; and Muslims with different opinions have even been accused of heresy . . . Religion was and remains a cover for justifying acts of terror and for arbitrary policies . . . ."

A distorted religious discourse "has reshaped the logic of the [Islamist] movements, based on mockery of life and love of death, hatred for the other and self-glorification, neglect of this world and [preparation] for the hereafter . . . ." That discourse "has not educated the people of the Islamist movements to adopt leniency, mercy, and tolerance for the other -- but rather has educated [them] to hatred of the other and plans to murder and uproot the other . . . This culture is completely unconnected to the human values to which the Koran calls . . . . "

Al-Gharbawi is one of numerous Muslim writers demanding a religious response to Islam's global crisis. Many of these writers are calling for religious fatwas against terrorist deeds, but Al-Gharbawi thinks that's not enough. He wants a re-interpretation of Shari'a, a new understanding of the life of the Prophet, and even writes that "there is a need to discuss intensively the issue of abolishing chapters in the Koran."

A revised Koran may be unlikely, but changing perceptions of the Koran are a known historical phenomenon. The Mu'tazilites, for example, who controlled orthodoxy in early Baghdad, held that the Koran was a created book. There are numerous examples of changing Koranic understanding in Islamic history.

That process continues. As the NYT reported last December, many Muslims today are "dismayed by the ever more bloody image of Islam around the world. They are determined to find a way to wrestle the faith back from extremists. Basically the liberals seek to dilute what they criticize as the clerical monopoly on disseminating interpretations of the sacred texts." The long-term Muslim revolt against Islamism that Al-Gharbawi and others are demanding has been trying to start itself.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    It's been said that what Islam needs is a Martin Luther...

  • ||

    It's a start.

    Race against time, it seems to me.

    Only a "Copernican revolution" (if you will) from without - Bush's repudiation of realpolitik and the status quo - could have led to a Copernican revolution of thinking from within (if that occurs).

    Lot of ifs and maybes.

    SMG

  • ||

    "The driving reason is religious ideology," according to Al-Gharbawi. "In the name of religion, wars have broken out; blood has been let; murder has been legitimized; rights have been revoked; regimes have been taken over; those with different opinions have been accused of unbelief; and Muslims with different opinions have even been accused of heresy . . . Religion was and remains a cover for justifying acts of terror and for arbitrary policies . . . ."

    Yeah I hate this crap. If anything the 20th centery has tought us that it is the "state" that propetuates the most evil in the world not religion....for the most part I see the middle east's problem as a lack of intituations that reconise individual rights and the limitations of the state. Admitiadly religion is used by leaders as a means to power and a tool to sustain that power. Sort of like how democrats use enviornmentalism in the US.

    There are moderates in Islam...Iraq is a prime example...most Iraqis are not supporting the current insurgancy and in fact confidance in the democratic procces grows everyday (it is only in western media that faith in democracy in Iraq has wained)

  • ||

    Basically the liberals seek to dilute what they criticize as the clerical monopoly on disseminating interpretations of the sacred texts

    Why do the liberals hate Islam?

  • ||

    "...for the most part I see the middle east's problem as a lack of intituations that reconise individual rights and the limitations of the state."

    My understanding is that most of of the people of the Middle East prefer Sharia to individual rights and limitations on the state.

    "He wants a re-interpretation of Shari'a, a new understanding of the life of the Prophet, and even writes that "there is a need to discuss intensively the issue of abolishing chapters in the Koran."

    The reformation reaffirmed the importance of religious texts. Talk of abolishing chapters in the Qu'ran leads nowhere.

    "A revised Koran may be unlikely, but changing perceptions of the Koran are a known historical phenomenon."

    Indeed.

  • ||

    "The Mu'tazilites, for example, who controlled orthodoxy in early Baghdad, held that the Koran was a created book."

    But wasn't this just the rather pedantic debate over whether the Koran was a separate creation of God (though still his verbatim speech), or some kind of essential component of God's mind that was literally part of (and therefore co-eternal with) God? How much more interpretive leeway does the former position leave you?

  • Rick Gaber||

    Julian, I've added a link to this post to the bottom of FAITH AND FORCE: THE DESTROYERS OF THE MODERN WORLD



    Check out: The
    Minaret of Freedom


    also:
    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/GuestColumns/Nawash20050301.shtml


    and:
    http://www.freemuslims.org/


    and:
    New
    book says the Qur'an gives women the same rights as men


    and:

    [snip]

    Yet much more is now required of the adherents of Islam: the reinvention
    of their religion. No longer can the words of the Koran be considered inerrant,
    infallible, those of Allah himself. The words must be read thoughtfully
    and critically, and the wisdom they contain extracted with reflection,
    not reflexively.

    Christianity emerged from its Dark Ages when its sacred texts were considered
    infallible and criticism condemned (often to death) as heresy, to subject
    itself to historical examination and rational discussion. It is stronger
    for it. For a religion's strength does not lie in fanatical belief, in
    an unquestioned assumption that disagreement or criticism of it is an incomprehensible
    perversion. A religion's strength lies in the goodness it does for people's
    souls.

    As Al-Rawandi puts it:

    The claims of Islam do not depend on historical origins, but on an inner
    knowledge of God, the accompaniment and reward of piety. What makes Islam
    true is the spiritual life of Moslems, not religious history but religious
    experience.

    These are the teachings of a school of Islamic thought known as Sufism.
    How Islam must reinvent itself to emerge out of the Islamic Dark Ages it
    has inhabited for the last several hundred years, and join and flourish
    in the civilized world, is to combine the teachings of Sufism with those
    of Jadidism, the attempt by Central Asian Islamic scholars 100 years ago
    to make a revitalized Islam compatible with the modern world.

    While Jadidism was snuffed by the Soviets, its revival, combined with
    the inner peace and truths provided by Sufism, could reinvent an Islam
    prepared to participate and prosper in the 21st century.

    The combined synergy of Sufism and Jadidism would be the salvation of
    Islam. Today it stands in dire need of being saved. I hope that dedicated
    Islamic scholars will appear on the scene to create such a salvatory synergy.
    In the meantime, none of us any longer needs to be afraid or intimidated
    by the Myth of Mecca.

    -- Jack Wheeler, HERE

  • ||

    What happened in the 20th Century is we developed new ideologies revolving around the state and technology to industrialize mass killings. If you think religion is so benign, take a look at the history of the crusades or the 30 Years War sometime.

  • ||

    Not a Matter of Religious Belief
    by Abid Ullah Jan
    (Saturday July 30 2005)
    http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/17279
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "Righteous murderers may claim they're spreading democracy and defending human rights, but clearer heads and common sense can distinguish faith based motivation of fanatics, who have killed 128,000 people so far because God told their commander in chief to go to war from those who stand up to their tyranny and injustice irrespective of their religious belief."


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Only a blind would not see that the forces of tyranny have perfectly consolidated their position. In the near future, there is absolutely no hope for an end to invasions and occupations and the mushrooming concentration camps.
    >
    >It is now becoming illegal to call the wars the modern day tyrants wage as illegal, immoral and illegitimate. From the recent statements of Bush, Blair and their allies in the media, it is clear that they are not going to tolerate a single word that does not approve their totalitarian agenda. Everything else would be extremism, indirectly supporting ?terrorism.?


    The core argument is the West is under attack from global Jihad and ?Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are hardly the motivating factors behind? it.[1] Masses are told that Muslims are motivated to undermine the West only due to their religious ideology. Those who want to be politically correct like Blair, claim that it is due to ?poisonous? misinterpretation of Islam. Those who are blunt, claim that this is what Islam really is. It is not misinterpretation.

    Islam, nevertheless, remains in focus. Directly or indirectly, it is presented as the root problem. The most serious problem actually is posed by the ambiguity and hundreds of unanswered questions surrounding 9/11. Instead of attempting to answer all the legitimate questions that clog the internet, the 9/11 Commission went on to associate and consolidate Islam?s link with terrorism. Questions remained unanswered and Muslims are guilty for the heinous crime of 9/11, giving Islamophobes a magic excuse with which they kill any argument they face.

    Masses are repeatedly told that there is nothing wrong with the occupation of Palestine, Iraq , Afghanistan or the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia because the ?terrorists? are least concerned with occupations, ?but see the United States involvement there as part of a global phenomenon of cultural domination.?[2] Thus ?their vision of a global Ummah? is the problem that needs to be eliminated.

    In a situation where the aggressors present their aggression and violence as noble, there is hardly any hope that we will se any improvement in the time to come. Read statements from Bush and Blair, watch cable broadcasts, or read the New York Times and its associates and you will find that they are all fully convinced they have noble motives for invasions, occupation and wreaking their violence.

    Supporters of continued war and occupations are very righteous folks. Which is why the real global resistance to their actions that we are posing, let?s be absolutely clear, should be one of our shared humanity against the madness of people like these; the rule of much vaunted international laws, norms and standards of human decency against the lies, hypocrisy and double standards they apply for themselves. It?s the cause of reason against unreason, of common sense against the firm convictions of those who have clearly told the world that God told them to invade Iraq. This fanaticism now tells the world that the oppressors are resisting to their tyranny only because of their faith.

    The threat is becoming more vast as it comes from those inspired by Bush and Blair, because their ideology of defending ?our way of life? and ?our values? has proved so infectious among small groups of religious and chauvinistic people on the margins of the Western society. Hitler was basically a loners, although he, too, claimed he was fighting for a greater cause?in Bush, Blair and their allies case, it is the God?s inspired mission to save ?a way of life? despite no claim to the contrary that anyone is more concerned about their way of life than the state of their life which has turned to a living hell due to the never ending colonial/imperial adventures.

    The rationalists have no bombs. They have argument to counter obscurantism of Bush, Blair and company in the war of ideas. Majority of the rationalists are non-Muslims. Internet is full of their analysis and research of the events from 9/11 to 7/7. Tired of their serious attempts at exposing the truth, the war lords are now increasingly proposing to make blacklists of ?extremists,? which will include all those whose words might ?indirectly? lead to resistance to the US and UK policies.

    It means that anything that does not support and agrees with what Bush and Blair are doing is indirectly leading to extremism and terrorism.

    This first casualty of this strategy would be the hundreds of web sites which are coming with evidence and analysis to show that 9/11 was an inside job and that Bush and Blair lied through their teeth to make invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan possible.

    Interestingly, none of these thousands of web sites and blogs belong to Muslims. None of these is motivated by faith. Yet they are going to be the first victims of new fascist measures because according to Friedman they believe US government actions may encourage violent reprisals. Hence they are "just one notch less despicable than the terrorists."

    Bill O?Reilly?s suggestion to ?just put them in chains? and ?incarcerate? all critics of Bush and Blair policies applies to most Americans, not ?religiously motivated? Muslims. The obscurantists, such as Christopher Dickey (Newsweek July 22, 2005), consider such truth diggers guilty because to them: ?any effort to understand the enemy or his motivations is treated as an apology for what he does. At times we seem to be infected by the very pathology we are fighting against.?

    The biggest excuse for consolidating tyranny and mainstreaming fascism is that all the resistance to the US, UK and Israeli crimes against humanity is religiously motivated or inspired by ?poisonous interpretation? or faith. The truth is that these are just new excuses for prolonging and legitimizing terrorism.

    The coming restrictions on the freedom of speech prove that these super-terrorists have totally lost the power of argument, debate, true religious faith and true legitimate politics. They are left with no excuse at all to defend their invasions and occupation besides supporting the monsters in power in Egypt, Islamabad, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Muslim world.

    They cannot debate. They cannot prove that ?suicide bombing? in the West is the work of Muslims and in the occupied lands in only because of religious motivation. For that reason, they now badly need to silence all debate and criticism. According to Blair?s definition for putting writers in the black list John Pilger and Robert Fisk would top the list, because their questioning the legitimacy of occupation is indirectly leading to extremism.

    Instead of supporting policies that would silence critics of the modern day fascists, the public would do well to face the basic painful facts and address them logically, reasonably, without demagoguery. It is not surrender to terrorism. It is the first crucial step toward defeating the real terrorists.

    Righteous murderers may claim they're spreading democracy and defending human rights, but clearer heads and common sense can distinguish faith based motivation of fanatics, who have killed 128,000 people so far because God told their commander in chief to go to war from those who stand up to their tyranny and injustice irrespective of their religious belief.


    http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/17279

  • ||

    "He wants a re-interpretation of Shari'a, a new understanding of the life of the Prophet, and even writes that "there is a need to discuss intensively the issue of abolishing chapters in the Koran."

    You can't abolish chapters of the Koran. If you are a moslem, then the Koran (unlike the bible)is the direct word of God.

    To many people who can read and understand in its original text it is a miracle itself.

    If there is a chapter that is wrong, then God is wrong, proving that God is not all powerfull and all knowing. You might as well create another religion before abolishing or changing the Koran in any way.

  • ||

    You know, the Reformation/Counter-Reformation ended up leading to death of 40% of Europe's population in the Thirty Years' War.

    Honestly, I think most people have just a terribly limited understanding of what was unleashed by the Reformation.

    Jim Walsh,

    Martin Luther was an anti-semite.

  • ||

    "Martin Luther was an anti-semite."

    Bah!, that charge gets thrown at anyone who criticises the Israeli government. So Mr Luther sympathises with the Palestinians, so what?

  • ||

    Speaking of which, I see Truth Seeker decided to post his manifeston on this thread.

    yeah, ok, um, good luck with that fella

  • ||

    "You know, the Reformation/Counter-Reformation ended up leading to death of 40% of Europe's population in the Thirty Years' War."

    wikipedia says different:

    "Estimates of mass civilian casualties of up to thirty percent of the population of Germany are now treated with caution. The mortality rate was perhaps closer to 15 to 20 percent, with deaths due to armed conflict, famine and disease."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty_years_war

  • ||

    Jim Walsh,

    Martin Luther was an anti-semite.


    Yeah, but given that Islam is already anti-semitic, then if Islam needs a Martin Luther, it needs an anti-anti-semite! It can't possibly go wrong!!

    What Islam really needs is a Martin Luther King.

  • ||

    If there is a chapter that is wrong, then God is wrong, proving that God is not all powerfull and all knowing. You might as well create another religion before abolishing or changing the Koran in any way.

    good idea

    oh, and truth seeker, that article provides an excellently articulated opinion with little to no proof. Of course that lack of proof could be the work of a vast right wing conspiracy, but as a betting man, I wouldn't make that bet.

    Haklyut

    Wasn't the reformation around the same time as the plague. I doubt war could kill 40% of a continent's population.

  • ||

    Hakluyt, you see that?

    "The mortality rate was perhaps closer to 15 to 20 percent, with deaths due to armed conflict, famine and disease."

    Joshua,
    Do you have a reading assignment for Hakluyt, so that he can brush up on his history?

    Rick Gaber
    "A religion's strength lies in the goodness it does for people's souls."

    Does that include atheism?, or is atheisms strenth somewhere else?

  • ||

    Well, if it was only 15% of the population then I guess it wasn't such a big deal!

    I have no idea how many people were killed in the 30 years' war, but I don't think the precise number is worthy of a food fight. I think Hakluyt's general point remains worthy of consideration regardless of whether the precise value was 15% or 40% or whatever: Reform is good and all, and necessary, but don't go assuming that a new ideology will automatically change everything for the better. Change needs to be done cautiously.

    Man, I sound like gaius marius!

    btw, maybe libertarianism needs a Reformation as well. Or maybe it just needs a Theodosius first, and a Martin Luther a thousand years later ;)

  • ||

    "there is a need to discuss intensively the issue of abolishing chapters in the Koran."

    Oh, this guy's really going to have credibility with that.

    Judaism and Christianity have managed to accomodate and ally with liberalism and even anti-racism without abolishing the Pentateuch or the Book of Joshua, comparatively speaking the Koran is far less warlike.

  • ||

    "the Pentateuch or the Book of Joshua, comparatively speaking the Koran is far less warlike."

    You guys have actually read those books? Man...,I haven't even seen the movies of them.

    Seriously though, I am going to start reading a Koran, and see if it makes any sense to me. Well I am going to try to read one. If it is like the bible, I am not going to get very far.

  • ||

    A distorted religious discourse "has reshaped the logic of the [Islamist] movements, based on mockery of life and love of death, hatred for the other and self-glorification, neglect of this world and [preparation] for the hereafter . . . ." That discourse "has not educated the people of the Islamist movements to adopt leniency, mercy, and tolerance for the other -- but rather has educated [them] to hatred of the other and plans to murder and uproot the other . . . This culture is completely unconnected to the human values to which the Koran calls . . . . "

    Sounds like their Islamic fundamentalists and our Christian fundamentalists have a lot in common....

    Ted

  • ||

    Speaking of government encouraging the flames of paranoia (I just was in another thread):
    There is as much reason to be paranoid about the Koran is there is to be about the Book of Morman.
    Just give some room to people who choose to have wierd beliefs. I mean we gave Utah to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and PROBLEM SOLVED.

  • ||

    thoreau said:
    "btw, maybe libertarianism needs a Reformation as well."

    A start would be to declare that "libertarian government" is so oxymoronic as to be insane.
    A suggested second "thesis" is that voting is Ritalin for adults.

  • ||

    I would rather Islam skip the "Martin Luther" stage and see Muslims go right to finding their own Gandhi or ML King.

  • ||

    Fundamentalist Islam has jumped the shark.

    Terror was okay when they were killing Jews on Israeli busses. But once suicide bombers focused on adherents to at least one form of Islam, people in the Islamic community were finally able to see the cancer that was growing in their community. Thus, once Islamic terrorists began blowing up Muslim children and executing Muslim foreign dignitaries they lost or are loosing the support of the Muslim street.

    Secondly, with the west's realization that Islamic terrorists are not the hopeless and frequently homeless Palestinian youth, but the youth of Bradford England and Salem Oregon many on the left and in the Islamic community are no longer willing to make excuses for this barbaric behavior.

    I believe we are beginning to witness the first true Islamic backlash against fundamentalist Islamic terrorism in the Islamic community. This is the only solution to the terrorist problem.

    Regards

    Joe

  • ||

    Let Mormans be mediators between Muslims and Christians.
    For every step forward by Muslims, as judged by Mormans, then Dubya must cut one faith-based initiative.

  • ||

    joshua corning,

    That's the most cautious estimate, and one I have never accepted. I suggest you consult:

    Cunningham & Grell, Four Horsemen, p. 208

    Parker, The Thirty Years War, p. 210-211

    kwais,

    I am far better read on the issue, and have no need to consult such a faulty resource as wikipedia.

    Lost in Translation,

    Wasn't the reformation around the same time as the plague.

    No. The highmark of the bubonic plague as a geographically expansive event in Europe was during the 1300s (that's why Boccacio's storytellers are stuck off in the back of beyond after all), though there were regional outbreaks following that century. The Reformation/Counter-Reformation's heyday was during the 1500s and 1600s (of course, we're still really living in the wake of those events - the conflict in Northern Ireland being one of the last armed conflicts of that period).

    Further, disease, etc. as a direct outcome of war is common partly because it disrupts food growing and trade patterns, with the consequent poor nutrition leading to greater outbreaks of disease (a poorly fed population is more susceptable to disease than a better fed population).

  • ||

    The point of course is that Martin Luther (who never meant in 1517 to create seperate confessional modes in the first place) didn't help create some "peace loving" movement (just consult his Babylonian Captivity sometime). Indeed, in choosing eventually to challenge and then ultimately sneer at Papal authority he helped to create an almost continent-wide crisis that lead to a tremendous loss of life. Of course there are perceived benefits to what he did (certainly those of the Weberian notion that Protestantism/Calvinism lead to capitalism think so), but it takes a certain amount of almost glib historical ignorance to claim that what Islam needs is its own Luther, especially since Luther had no problem with burning people at the stake, the state killing people en masse if they were doctrinally or otherwise "wrong," etc. Luther was a magisterial Reformation character after all.

  • ||

    In sum, Islam doesn't need its own Martin Luther (who is probably more analagous to the Islamicists than people realize). I'd recommend say an Islamic Erasmus or a secular, tolerant set of rulers like those that ruled Poland-Lithuana or Translyvania during the 1500s and 1600s if I had to cast my signts back that far.

  • ||

    Ruthless--it's Mormons, not Mormans. Wow. You're kinda bitter about them. What's the deal?

  • ||

    thirstyj,
    I love Mormons. I love Muslims. I love Semites. I love Darfurrians. I love everybody, while admitting that some people need killing. I simply object to any government killin'. Government gets carried away.
    In fact, killing is the reason for government, because individuals want to pass the buck.

  • ||

    My uncle has a problem with Mormons, but that's only 'cause he couldn't go to his daughters wedding.

  • ||

    Love or hate, surely someone else here sees the similarity between Salt Lake City and Mecca.

  • ||

    Hakluyt,

    If you say deaths in germany, rather then deaths in europe then i will say 40% rather then 20%...deal?

    Anyway your premise is actually sound..ie Martin luther lead to the reformation which lead to thirty years war which lead to many human deaths...which means it would be a bad idea for islam to get thier own Martin Luther...your first post on the subject didn't really say that...or at least i didn't get what you ment.

    Ruthless,

    "In fact, killing is the reason for government, because individuals want to pass the buck."

    Amen...oh wait I wrote that the State tends to kill people more then religion, at least in modern times. I think I am conflicted.

  • ||

    joshua corning,
    Religion and state are Jeckyl and Hyde, so you're not conflicted.

  • ||

    I amazed at how people as smart as Victor Davis Hanson and others throw to term, "reformation" around in the Islamic context, as if medieval Catholic Europe was anywhere near as anti-rational, or as barbaric as the Taliban or Bin Ladin. The reforamtion was as much as anything about the Church's inability to provide spirtually for its members. The roots of the reformation go not to Martin Lurther but to the 14th Century and papel schism (a completly needless division of the church over not any sort of religous conflict but a power play between the Italians and the French) and John Wycliff's response to it to say that the church is not necessary for human salvation. In a sense, Whycliff was the begning of the modern world. That said, to say that what Islam needs is a "reformation" like Christianity had is to say that the Reformation was about the reformers, champoins of human rights, science and the modern world versus the Catholics champions of the opposite. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reformation didn't occur because the church persocuted Galilao, it occured because it was doing things like selling indulgences and engaging in European power politics at the spiritual expense of its members. In short it was not about Chritianity coming to terms with the modern world, it was about a failed church and divisions which had been in Christianity since its inception. To say that it was about bringing Christianity into the modern world is not only not true but an unbelievable anti-Catholic slur.

    To say that Islam needs a reformation is also a horrendous slur against he vast majority of Muslims. Most Muslims do fine in the world or certainly no worse than say Animists in Africa or Hindus in India and I don't hear anyone calling for a "reformation" in those religions. Islam is facing a different problem. The problem is not a decant and spirtually failing church or even a sickness that affects a majority of the community. The problem is that there is a mutant and dangerous strain of Islam, enimating primarily from Saudi Arabia that is infecting Islamic communities world wide. Muslims in places like Indonesia and India have never had any issues dealing with the modern world. It is only in areas in which there are Wahabiist teachings that Muslims have an issue getting along with modern society. Unfortuneatly, these teachings are growing across a wider and wider area. In the last ten years, the U.S., U.K., Spain, Sudan, Nigeria, Indonesia, India, Russia, Isreal, Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, the Phillipines and others have all been the victims of Islamic terrorism. The unfortuneate fact is that wherever Muslims seem to go, radical teachings, hatred and terrorism seem to follow. No question, that it is only a minority of Muslims who subscribe to these teachings, but it is a widespread minority and one that seems to infect nearly every Islamic community in the world. Islam does not need a reformation in the sense that Christianity had, it need to eradicate a horrible ideolgy within its ranks. If it doesn't, the future of Islam and Muslims worldwide is in peril. If the price of having a Muslim minority within your country is suicide bombings and terror, countries will not tolerate the Muslim minorities anymore and Muslims will face a grim future. I fail to see how the Christian reformation has anything relevant to say about this issue.

  • ||

    joshua corning,

    What do you mean by "Germany?"

  • ||

    John,

    Ahh, the Catholic Church apologist arises.

    ...but to the 14th Century and papel schism (a completly needless division of the church over not any sort of religous conflict but a power play between the Italians and the French)...

    If you want too look to roots, then take it back to the 4th century and what to emphasize in the writings of Augustine. Further, the Catholic Church was always interested in secular power and wielding it.

    ...John Wycliff's response to it to say that the church is not necessary for human salvation.

    Why start with the Lollards? Why not start with Albigensians? Or the long-time conciliarist tradition within the Church stretching back before the 11th and 12th century innovations of Church power?

    The reformation didn't occur because the church persocuted Galilao...

    Well, since Galileo Galilei was born in the 1560s, no shit. Come on, the guy wasn't even alive yet when the Treaty of Augsburg was signed!

    ...it occured because it was doing things like selling indulgences...

    You'll find that this was more of a northern, German area of the Church affair, which explains why the reaction to it was so intense amongst ethnic Germans. The sale of indulgences was a fairly thing in the ultramontane.

    ...engaging in European power politics at the spiritual expense of its members.

    The Church has always been in involved this way. Why a break in the 16th century as opposed to say the 13th?

    To say that it was about bringing Christianity into the modern world is not only not true but an unbelievable anti-Catholic slur.

    We're stilling working on bringing Christianity into the modern world.

  • ||

    john,

    Note that much of the philosophical/ideological fuel comes directly out of Augustine.

  • ||

    All this history is fun, but it really is irrelavant. People may be members of religions and other groups, but so what? Each person is an individual, and each individual needs to make peace with modernity. Unfortunately, that vast majority of people in The West are uncomfortable with the modern idea that each individual should be free to live their life as they choose. As long as there are authoritarians in this world (and probably 90+% of humanity falls in this category), the world will be a messed up place.

    Authoritarians and collectivists are primitive. There will be no peace until everyone is a peace-loving individualist or the authoritarians/collectivists take absolute control and force "peace" on us (while destroying individual freedom).

  • bruce||

    You can't decide your religion needs re-interpretation or even disposal of chapters from it's main "given by god" operating manual. If you don't like your religion, what it has become, what is stands for, or what it produces, good for you, go find another one (hint: you won't find one any less violent or hateful). But the whole point of religion is that it's non-negotiable, can't evolve, is literally carved in stone, and says what it means. If you're not willing to blow yourself up for allah, you're not a true muslim. If you're not willing to stone a homosexual, you're not a true christian. Get on with the violence or become an atheist, or make up your own religion if you simply must have one. But there's no middle ground here.

    In the meantime, hopefully non-believers like myself can be fortunate enough to avoid the crossfire.

  • ||

    Hakluyt,

    What a great example of never responding to anything I said. There has always been a tension in Christianity between the importance of the individual's relationship to God and the importance of the Church in obtaining salvation. These differences were always present in Christianity and came to a head during the Reformation. Regardless of your knowledge or lackthereof of Christianity, the fact remains that what happened to Christianity during the 16th and 17th Centuries has nothing to do with what needs to happen to Islam today.

    We're stilling working on bringing Christianity into the modern world? There wouldn't be a modern world without the Judeo-Christian tradition. Every important idea or invention produced by mankind in the last 500 years has come from the West. Perhaps that was in spite of rather than because of Christianity. Even if that were true, which I don't think it is, Christianity at the very least has managed to get out of the way of progress better than any other religous tradition.

  • ||

    The Real Bill,

    Just defending my balliwick. :)

  • ||

    John,

    My responses were appropriate. You just didn't like what I had to write.

    ...the fact remains that what happened to Christianity during the 16th and 17th Centuries has nothing to do with what needs to happen to Islam today.

    That was of course my original statement on the matter way back at around comment ten.

    There wouldn't be a modern world without the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    That's clearly not true. The modern world, with its emphasis on empiricism, etc. is radically different from the world of revealed religion. Just compare the lives and thoughts of say Dr. Holmes and his son Oliver Wendell Holmes, jr. The true division lies in the 19th century because its in the 19th century that we abandon the "revealed knowledge" concepts of individuals like Louis Agassiz for our modern understanding of knowledge as a process.

    Every important idea or invention produced by mankind in the last 500 years has come from the West.

    Are you including Japan in the West? And this claim really has little to do with the significance you give to "Judeo-Christianity" (the P.C. Conservative term that is much used by fundamentalist Christians today).

    Perhaps that was in spite of rather than because of Christianity.

    Its fairly apparent that the butchery of Christians in the 16th and 17th century turned many off religious intolerance (just look at the Calvinist v. Arminian struggles in the Netherlands in the 17th century and how that that was influenced by earlier barbarism that was part of the Reformation), so it might be true in that way.

  • ||

    What ideas have come from Japan in the last 500 years? Yes Japan along with a lot of east Asia has become wonderfully prosperous countries. This is only to the extent that they have adopted ideas and systems developed in the West. Had Asia never had contact with the West it would not be what it is today. What exactly does the West owe Asia after it appropriated moveable type and paper money over 500 years ago?

  • ||

    Hakluyt,

    If you don't understand the significance of John Wycliff to develoment of the modern world and the idea of the indvidual, history isn't, intellectual history anyway, isn't much of your ballywick.

  • ||

    If you don't understand the significance of John Wycliff to develoment of the modern world and the idea of the indvidual, history isn't, intellectual history anyway, isn't much of your ballywick.

    Oh, man! This is going to be fun to watch!

  • ||

    John,

    I'm fairly well aware of Lollardy's influence on English history (and that of Hungary - after all, the Hussites and the Lollards are fairly intimately connected), but the idea that Lollardy is the wellspring of the concepts that you name is flat out bizarre given that Wyclif merely adopted what continental "evangelicals" had been talking about for over a century. What made Wyclif interesting was that he was given a position of power, not "his" ideas.

    Now, some of the areas of England (not Scotland or Wales) more initially sympathetic to the Reformation (especially in its Reformed nature) were also areas where Lollardy was important, but that is an entirely different matter.

  • ||

    Hyakluty,

    Its a long trail no question and I would never argue that Wyclif is solely responsible for the reformation. The idea of the individual relationship to God without the Church had always been in Christianity. From the very begining there has been a tension in Christianity between the individual renouncing the world and literally following Christ and the need for the Church. The medieval Church papered over this tension but it was always there. It was only when the medieval church began to fail spectacularly that the idea that man did not need to churhc and could achieve grace without the Church began to take hold. The 14th Century Papel schism played a large role in this. Yes the idea was there and not originial, but it began to gain traction because the Church was becoming such a miserable failure at gaurenteeing salvation to its members. When half the church claims that the other half is lead by the anti-christ and vis versa and the entire population devotly believes that communion with the church is necessary to be saved from hell, people become a lot more receptive to the idea that you do not need the Church for salvation. Whether it be Wyclyff or the Hussites, none of that happens without the failure of the Church in the 14th Century. The seeds of Reformation were sown long before Luther. That was my only point in pointing out Wycliff.

  • ||

    thoreau,

    Yeah, it will fun to see how pathetic John is once we get him out of his generalities. :)

    John,

    What ideas have come from Japan in the last 500 years?

    I dunno, they essentially invented and still lead the way in the use of robotics in manufacturing. Honestly, the notion that Japan merely aped and adopted Western culture is a serious misreading of what Japan has done post-Meiji.

    This is only to the extent that they have adopted ideas and systems developed in the West.

    Japan's system of corporate structure, etc. is dramatically different from that in the West. That's why its often considered a different "model" from other Western "models" (indeed, in the 1980s, before the recession of the 1990s, a lot of folks argued that the U.S. should adopt the Japanese model). You don't know this? Might I suggest that you look into the history of MITI?

    Had Asia never had contact with the West it would not be what it is today.

    That suggests that non-contact Japan would have been worse than a contact Japan, which is really an unknowable.

    What exactly does the West owe Asia after it appropriated moveable type and paper money over 500 years ago?

    Gunpowder (and the weaponry associated with it), tea (a very profitable commodity that helped make the British empire), the use of robotics in industry, the modern pearl industry, anime, the first artificial creation of a human hormone (adrenaline), the first artificial creation of a vitamin (B1), etc.

  • ||

    John,

    Its a long trail no question and I would never argue that Wyclif is solely responsible for the reformation.

    I'd be happy if you simply stuck to one claim instead of acting like constantly moving target.

    From the very begining there has been a tension in Christianity between the individual renouncing the world and literally following Christ and the need for the Church.

    No, its more of a tension that came about in the 4th and 5th centuries when Roman power was gradually slapped together with the newly ascendant Bishop of Rome. Before this that tension wasn't that important because the Church had no secular power over adherants. That of course explains why the various "heresies" (e.g., Arianism, Donatism, etc.) that plagued the early Church were able to grow rapidly; the Church (if we can call it that) didn't have any power to kill off the adherants of those heresies yet.

    It was only when the medieval church began to fail spectacularly...

    You mean like in the 11th century? :) When seculars were still porking women? :) Honestly, the CC has been on the verge of "failing spectactularly" so often that arguing that what was happening the 16th century was special in that regard is a bit silly.

    ...that the idea that man did not need to churhc and could achieve grace without the Church began to take hold.

    Except it had been taking hold at one time or another throughout the history of the Church; shit, look at the poor Albigensians if you want an example of that.

    ...none of that happens without the failure of the Church in the 14th Century.

    Well, I could make a much better argument that it was really the 12th century reforms of the Church that lead to the Reformation, because of their rejection and persecution of the concialiarist tradition within the Church.

  • ||

    John,

    And if I've offended Catholics or the Catholic Church, I was more than happy to do it. :)

    What makes the Reformation (and the Lutheran and Reformed confessional schisms) special in comparison to the Albingensians, the Waldensians, the Lollards, the Hussites (poor Jan Hus), etc. is the ability to use new methods of publication for vernacular religious works (be they be Bible, Psalters, the written works of various Reformation authors, etc.). Compare the use of the printing press in Wittenberg v. its non-use on the whole Italian peninsula and you'll see what I mean (remember on the Italian peninsula vernacular bibles were banned).

  • ||

    This thread gets my vote for most bizarre H&R thread of August.

    Everyone, you have 30 days to outdo it. Get to work!

  • ||

    Just defending my balliwick. :)

    Fair enough. History's not my bailiwick, but I have loved it since my childhood. I find it difficult to argue from it, though, since so much "historical knowledge" is fuzzy, to say the least. My formal education is in physics, which is decidedly less fuzzy (unless the topic is cosmology, then things can get real hairy).

    As a former Lutheran, I have to say that Luther was a bit of a head case. From my study of history, it seems that head cases sure made a lot of it (history, that is).

    Most recently, I've studied the history of the Goths. Now there's an example of cultural suicide. You make everyone hate you so much that you end up, well, a dead culture (and a modern, much derided, subculture).

  • ||

    The king is dead. Pres. Bush's handholding friend is the new king.

  • ||

    Twba,
    That is very interesting. When I was in Saudi Arabia two years ago, the rumor was that King Fahd was already dead, but that "they" were keeping that from the Saudi public.

    It was said that Abdullah was too pro US for the Saudi public's taste, and if it were known that he was running the country then there would be a civil war.

    There is a strong belief that a civil war in Saudi Arabia between those who support modernization and ties with the US, and those who would prefer a Taliban like government. And it is assumed that those who would prefer a Taliban government will easily win that war.

    This should be its own H&R thread.

  • ||

    Kwais,

    I am interested to find out the true number of Saudis and what they think.

  • ||

    "the true number"?

  • ||

    How many Saudis are there and how many are Wahabist whackjobs?

  • ||

    Hold on a minute. The guy Bush was holding hands with is having problems in his own country becasue he's too close to the US and Bush is having problems with his own voters because he's too close to the Saudis, yet they both allowed themselves to be photographed holding hands amongst the texas wildflowers?


    At the time I read a number of excuses saying that it's a cultural thing, yadayadayada, but if it's bad for both of them politically, why were the pictures allowed?

  • ||

    Twba,
    I heard a quote some where that some claimed it was 50/50, and some claimed that it was 60/40 in favor of the wahabiists. I couldn't tell you though.

    Even if it was 60/40 in favor of the secularist 'lets be friends with America' types. The Wahabi whackjobs would win the fight. They are more willing to fight, they are more convinced that they are right. The majority of the others just want to be left alone.

    Just like if there was a civil war in the US I think the religios right would win easily.

  • ||

    Kwais,

    I don't know any solid numbers either, which I find very frustrating. I think I found better info about the USSR during the cold war than I can now find about the KSA.

  • Rick Gaber||

    given that Islam is already anti-semitic



    I'm getting tired of the use of the term "anti-semitic" when the meaning is (supposed to be) ANTI-JUDAISM. Since "Semitic" refers to a LANGUAGE GROUP (Hellooooo???), and ARABIC IS A SEMITIC LANGUAGE (duh), one might be a little more careful before using anything like the above phrase. [/sarc]

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement