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If ISIS Isn't Islamic, Were Crusaders Christian?

A summit on violent extremism at the White House aims to tackle radical Islamism in part by quibbling over definitions.

screencapscreencapPresident Obama wrapped up a three day summit on “violent extremism” at the White House attended by representatives from about 60 countries, including some foreign ministers by addressing some of the ways he believed governments ought to fight violent extremism. Obama presented numerous examples, from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to Boko Haram, exclusively radical Islamist groups, but was criticized for avoiding the use of that term. Obama’s comments at the summit present nothing new.

As usual, military operations against terrorist organizations topped the agenda of how to combat violent extremism. It was followed by appeals to education, community outreach, and economic improvement (terrorist groups, unsurprisingly, are largely fueled by young, unemployed males). But the first approach the president mentioned to combat violent extremism after fighting terrorist organizations was that the U.S. and other governments had to:

confront the warped ideologies espoused by terrorists like al Qaeda and ISIL, especially their attempt to use Islam to justify their violence.  I discussed this at length yesterday.  These terrorists are desperate for legitimacy.  And all of us have a responsibility to refute the notion that groups like ISIL somehow represent Islam, because that is a falsehood that embraces the terrorist narrative. 

It’s the closest in the remarks the president came to explicitly linking the violent extremism world governments are increasingly worried about to the radical Islamism that fuels it. The president’s point, not a new one, is to deny ISIS its claim to represent true Islam (the kind of claim religious fundamentalists almost always use). But earlier this month, at a national prayer breakfast, President Obama said this about violent religious extremists of the past:

And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

So perhaps the president considers ISIS to be justifying its actions in the name of Islam the way Crusaders did in the name of Christ and believes neither to belong to the religious faith traditions they in which they claim/claimed membership. But it’s kind of a “no true Scotsman” situation. President Obama says rejecting ISIS’ claim to be Islamic rejects the “terrorist narrative.” But rejecting the existence of the claim (and the arguments for it) is more dangerous because it rejects reality.

Last week, The Atlantic ran a long piece by Graeme Wood headlined “What ISIS Really Wants” that explores what the Islamic State really is (a self-styled caliphate based on violent, literalist interpretation of Islam). The whole thing is worth a read but here’s a relevant portion on the practice of takfir, excommunication, in which ISIS engages heavily:

Western officials would probably do best to refrain from weighing in on matters of Islamic theological debate altogether. Barack Obama himself drifted into takfiri waters when he claimed that the Islamic State was “not Islamic”—the irony being that he, as the non-Muslim son of a Muslim, may himself be classified as an apostate, and yet is now practicing takfir against Muslims. Non-Muslims’ practicing takfir elicits chuckles from jihadists (“Like a pig covered in feces giving hygiene advice to others,” one tweeted).

Think Progress ran a response piece, based on interviews with scholars, that posited, among other things, that “Wood’s argument perpetuates the false idea that Islam is a literalistic tradition where violent texts are taken at face value.” Wood’s argument wasn’t that only ISIS’ literalistic tradition is Islamic but rather that Islam, as pretty much any belief system, includes literalistic traditions. Whether or not those traditions are considered “legitimate” is a subjective exercise, and ultimately a pointless one, because it doesn’t change the real-world consequences of those traditions in action.

Photo Credit: YouTube

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  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Crusaders did in the name of Christ and believes neither to belong to the religious faith traditions they in which they claim/claimed membership.

    That would be an interesting position given that the Pope is the one who called the crusade.

  • Swiss Servator... Switzy!||

    As if the Pope is a Christian!

    /Lightworker

  • Robert||

    Does a bear...never mind.

  • Nosea||

    I hope the irony of all this isn't lost in translation. They can't agree on the interpretation of the koran and christians can't always agree on the interpretation of the bible. There is a reason we didn't go down a similar path... separation of church and state.

    You don't have to look on the web very long to find an army of loonies espousing embittered hatred towards gays, Obama, muslims, abortion, and gay marriage. Envision a country who didn't separate church from state and we could almost look very familiar to our enemies.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Except that many european countries do not have separation of church and state and never have.

    Many have state religions.

    So no, it's not that.

    You need to look at the second clause--the truly revolutionary one-- 'or prohibiting the free exercise thereof'. That's the difference.

  • Issue Ninja||

    "There is a reason we didn't go down a similar path... separation of church and state... Envision a country who didn't separate church from state and we could almost look very familiar to our enemies."

    The French Revolution most definitely separated church and state, and quickly degenerated into a bloodbath, and then militaristic despotism.

    Azathoth!! is right. Separation of church and state is not it.

  • Free Society||

    Not so sure the crusades were a such an egregious act when you put it into context. The crusaders had at least as much of a right to invade and conquer as the Muslims did when they invaded and conquered the same area and certainly more of a right to do so than the Muslims had when they invaded the Iberian peninsula. That's not to say the crusaders had a right to do so, but whatever amount of legitimacy they had in doing so is directly proportional to the Muslims' own imperialist legitimacy in the preceding centuries..

  • Tony||

    Obama is speaking to an international audience when he does this. The goal is to do whatever he can rhetorically not to make "moderate" Muslims hate the West more so that they join with the extremists.

    As an anti-theist I've often said that moderates enable extremists and that extremists, if anything, are being the more devout and the more thoughtful in their practice of their religion. I've also taken Bill Maher's side over Ben Affleck's.

    Nevertheless, Obama is not trying to win a dorm-room debate, he's being politic. The only objection to his trying to separate terrorism from Islam seems to be coming from people who want to connect terrorism with all Muslims. People who every year sound the alarm about the War on Christmas. The only thing that's possible to debate here is whether it's a good idea to stoke religious animosity or not. I say bad idea.

  • Catatafish||

    I don't disagree with you that this is his primary intent. I'd just like a bit more of a "when are you so-called moderates going to have your own reformation" push. But then he's accused of, at best, sticking his nose where it doesn't belong or, at worst, inferring that all Muslims have a duty to deal with the violent minority. Check that, even worse, that there actually is theological support within the texts for the violent actions of the minority.

  • Tony||

    For once I am willing to admit that I don't have a good answer here. I don't see how lecturing the Muslim world on its backwardness will do any good, and military action seems to always cause more problems than it solves.

    I'm just not interested in the idea that we need to maintain fairness in our rhetoric so that we don't hurt people's feelings. There are real problems here, and whether all Christians are responsible for the actions of abortion bombings or all Muslims are responsible for Islamist terrorism, or whether this comparison is insulting to either, I think is best suited for the dorm.

  • Catatafish||

    "I'm just not interested in the idea that we need to maintain fairness in our rhetoric so that we don't hurt people's feelings."

    I was somewhat with you until you wrote this, Tony. Isn't the president doing exactly this?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I don't see how lecturing the Muslim world on its backwardness will do any good...

    Add in the fact that it ignores guys like Abdullah who certainly do seem to be doing their part to confront extremism, or all the parts of the Muslim world that are struggling to come to terms with modernity.

  • GILMORE||

    "Tony|2.19.15 @ 5:39PM|#

    For once I am willing to admit that I don't have a good answer here"

    lol

    you thought... oh, lordy.

    Filing this away for future reference

  • R C Dean||

    The only objection to his trying to separate terrorism from Islam seems to be coming from people who want to connect terrorism with all Muslims.

    Not in the slightest.

    The objections are that its stupid, wrong and insulting. And that denying the ideological, motivational, and demographic base and core values of a violent organization is counterproductive, at best.

  • Tony||

    So Islam is inherently violent... and the president can accomplish something by saying so.

  • ||

    The president can accomplish something by recognizing what *actually* motivates the Islamists, so we can accurately predict what they are and are not likely to do. And that is their interpretation of their faith.

  • Tony||

    They're gonna keep trying to acquire territory and they want to kill 10 million Americans. The president of the United States rubbing Bill O'Reilly's Christian boner is not going to help prevent that.

  • ||

    Nor is offering them a bunch of development aid, or pretending they are un-Islamic, or making very stupid alliances of convenience with other radical Islamist factions.

  • ||

    Wrong, Tony. The problem is that Obama is basing policy prescriptions on this (false) idea that the Islamists aren't primarily motivated by their faith. It isn't just rhetoric aimed at moderate Muslims.

    There is a general refusal to acknowledge that these people in fact take their religion very seriously and aren't going to change their minds just because they are offered a job and the opportunity to buy a Toyota. They aren't looking for a house with a white picket fence (or whatever the equivalent is in Saudi Arabia).

    It's been, perhaps centuries since Westerners were familiar with what it meant to take one's faith so seriously that one felt a moral obligation to spread it at the point of a sword. Maybe that's why we have trouble relating to where the Islamists are coming from and what they are really are about.

    But if we're going to understand them, and by that I mean by able to predict what they are going to do and counter them, then we have to understand that mindset. Development aid isn't going to do jack shit to stop them. Proving their prophecies wrong might.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    But if we're going to understand them

    It's not like they haven't made themselves clear already about who they are, what they want, and why they want it. I mean, we could start understanding them by just taking them at their word.

  • Invisible Finger||

    You do realize that nobody in the beltway actually has that skill. When your entire life is based around couched language, clear language is an alien tongue.

  • Tony||

    Again, you just want to win a pointless smokeout session debate. Obama surely understands that ISIS is motivated intensely by religion. He's also very deliberately trying to isolate them so that other Muslims don't think America is making war with all of Islam, thus giving them cause to consider joining the fight.

    As for how to deal with the problem beyond employing rhetoric to try to slow recruitment, I truly have no idea.

  • ||

    Really, then why all the bullshit about how what *really* motivates "extremism" is lack of economic development, poverty, and political oppression?

  • Tony||

    What do you propose? Declare Islam rotten to the core and exterminate all the brutes?

    The most direct causal line I can think of to the creation of extremist Muslim groups is Western meddling in Muslim societies (i.e., bombing them for decades and destabilizing their governments).

  • Sevo||

    Tony|2.19.15 @ 5:54PM|#
    "What do you propose?"

    Some of us prefer not to lie, unlike that lying POS in the WH.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Read the Atlantic article. Doesn't seem like ISIS gives a shit about Western meddling.

  • John Titor||

    Recognize the fact that ISIS's interpretation of Islam is just as valid as the interpretations of more moderate or secular Muslims, rather than trying to deny its legitimacy (which it has) altogether?

  • ||

    This.

    And then declare to all Muslims that if they interpret their faith in this way, we are going to KILL THEM. Because, obviously, if they are trying to kill us, we're going to kill them right back.

  • ||

    In reference to John Titor.

  • PapayaSF||

    The most direct causal line I can think of to the creation of extremist Muslim groups is Western meddling in Muslim societies (i.e., bombing them for decades and destabilizing their governments).

    Bullshit. The only reason that Islam showed any moderation in recent history is because the West confronted and defeated them. Saudi Arabia didn't abolish slavery in 1962 because they suddenly got enlightened, they did it because of US pressure. Muslim states were burning apostates and forcing Jews to pay jizya in the 19th century.

    ISIS is not some weird modern creation so much as Islam returning to its roots. ISIS is Islam, pure and straight up.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    What do you propose? Declare Islam rotten to the core and exterminate all the brutes?

    Or recognize that Islam has some set of assholes badly in need of killing.

    And recognizing most Muslims aren't assholes badly in need of killing.

  • Tony||

    Which is precisely what Obama said, except he added the rhetorical gimme that the extremists aren't "true Muslims." I don't agree strictly, but the president isn't in the position to adopt an atheistic attitude, he has to praise religion and he has to not express a preference for Christianity.

  • ||

    But they ARE true Muslims. They are just extremely fundamentalist and literal in their interpretation of the Koran.

    Saying they aren't true Muslims is like saying that Seventh Day Adventists aren't true Christians. Or that Hasidic Jews aren't really Jewish.

  • John Titor||

    Or that the Anabaptists at the Munster Rebellion weren't really influenced by their Christian beliefs to carve out a theocratic, authoritarian state (admittedly I like to dig this one out because I see a lot of similarities between the Anabaptists and ISIS, including their apocalyptic death cult attitudes).

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I was just thinking about the Munsterites myself.

    (And I'll avoid making a joke about Herman Munster, because that would be totally inappropriate in such a serious setting)

  • Tony||

    Everybody understands that. What is your point? What purpose does it serve for Obama to make this essentially academic point?

  • ||

    So we can all starting thinking about how we really deal with an actual fanatical religious movement that is bent on killing us and has tens of thousands of armed, violent followers and controls 1/3 of Iraq and Syria and parts of Lybia.

    Calling them un-Islamic is denial. it is trying to pretend that what is actually happening is not happening.

    Sorry, but this is ACTUALLY HAPPENING.

  • John Titor||

    Calling them un-Islamic is denial. it is trying to pretend that what is actually happening is not happening.

    It could also be a lie so profoundly stupid that everyone, accept the diehard partisans, should be calling him out on it. Because there's really only to possible options out of this, he's being extremely dishonest with the American people about something that even the most basic fool can figure out, or he's openly delusional.

  • John Titor||

    It could also be a lie so profoundly stupid that everyone, *except the diehard partisans, should be calling him out on it. Because there's really only two possible options out of this, he's being extremely dishonest with the American people about something that even the most basic fool can figure out, or he's openly delusional.

    Jeez.

  • Tony||

    But you're not interested in thinking critically about policy, and neither are the TV blowhards you're parroting, otherwise you wouldn't be harping on this completely meaningless bullshit.

  • John Titor||

    Actually I'm very interested in thinking critically about policy, and I'm not parroting any 'TV blowhards'. The fact that you think that outright denial of reality is 'completely meaningless bullshit' speaks a lot about your willingness to think critically about policy however.

  • wareagle||

    What purpose does it serve for Obama to make this essentially academic point?

    how about to show that he gets that it IS the point. My word.

  • John Titor||

    What purpose does it serve pretending that ISIS is an illegitimate interpretation of Islam? And saying it's to stop Islamophobia is not an acceptable answer, due to it being nonsense.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    What purpose does it serve for Obama to make this essentially academic point?

    Well, first of all, it's the truth. Stating the truth should be its own point. That said, there's a more practical matter of identifying the nature of the problem. The problem is that, while most Muslims are no doubt decent enough sorts trying to do the right thing, Islam, more than any other religion right now has a problem with assholes badly in need of killing. And, in the long run, the only way that's going to stop is when Muslims recognize that there is going on with their religion that is enabling that.

  • Tony||

    Stating the truth should be its own point.

    My god you people's cynicism makes my soul hurt.

    there's a more practical matter of identifying the nature of the problem.

    Do tell. This is such a pressing policy problem, the words that Obama's mouth-hole makes.

    Islam, more than any other religion right now has a problem with assholes badly in need of killing.

    American Christians and Israeli Jews have killed more Muslims, by far, than the reverse. So while I'm not disagreeing with the point that members of ISIS are in desperate need of killing, let's not lecture the president of the US on the proper rhetorical perspective. It's not a fucking given that the best approach to Middle East policy is to completely ignore the sentiments and perspective of Muslims.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "This is such a pressing policy problem, the words that Obama's mouth-hole makes."

    He is the Chief Executive, which makes him the top diplomat, so yeah, it is a policy issue when he's speaking in public like this.

  • wareagle||

    except he added the rhetorical gimme that the extremists aren't "true Muslims."

    and that's the biggest lie of them all. They may be the most true of any muslims. Faith is not just something they practice, it is what these folks are and they are willing to kill in its name. Damn, dude; if you want to solve a problem, you have to be able to honestly recognize what the problem is.

  • Heedless||

    Declare solidarity with the least objectionable 3 groups that are fighting ISIS. Offer those groups support (symbolic, if not actual military aid). Expand this to the US as a supporter of the broader Muslim world as they combat this barbarity.

    Shut the fuck up about the Crusades.
    Skip the tiresome self-flagellation.
    Talk about all the good things we're doing or are planning to do for the brave Muslims standing against ISIS. Make something up if you have to.

    This is not rocket surgery.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    He's also very deliberately trying to isolate them so that other Muslims don't think America is making war with all of Islam,

    This is fucking nonsense. ISIS is being fought by other Muslims on virtually every one of its borders. The people who will think that the US is making war on Islam are going to think that regardless of what bullshit issues forth from Obama's mouth.

  • Tony||

    I gather than one of the big problems is getting other Muslim-majority states to participate in the fight (particularly Iran and Saudi Arabia). Seems helpful to make as much peace as possible with anyone we can to isolate the extremist groups as much as possible.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Iran and Saudi Arabia are more concerned with geopolitics than they are whether the U.S. is calling a spade a spade.

  • Tony||

    So who is concerned about it? Should the president take time away from geopolitics to rub some falafel on Bill O'Reilly?

  • John Galt||

    I was beginning to suspect you forgot to breath and wouldn't be back. You never fail to disappoint.

  • John Titor||

    The goal is to do whatever he can rhetorically not to make "moderate" Muslims hate the West more so that they join with the extremists.

    So directly ignoring and insulting a core belief of their religious faith, that only Muslims can engage in takfir to determine who is a true Muslim, by declaring that your opinion as an apostate/unbeliever is valid (when in Islam it specifically isn't) isn't going to make people hate the West more?

  • sarcasmic||

    As an anti-theist...

    No you're not. You're a statist. You are intensely religious, with government being your god. Government is your higher power, and you have faith that there is nothing that it cannot do, so long as the right people are given enough power.

    So don't even try to claim you are superior to religious people who use violence to get their way. Because that's exactly what you are: a religious zealot who will support your god government in anything coercive and violent activity that it engages in, so long as you agree with the politics of those who are in power.

  • Tony||

    You're a delusional idiot.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Obama is speaking to an international audience when he does this.


    Only in comic books would he be the president of the world.

    The goal is to do whatever he can rhetorically not to make "moderate" Muslims hate the West more so that they join with the extremists[...]

    The only objection to his trying to separate terrorism from Islam seems to be coming from people who want to connect terrorism with all Muslims.


    To me it would seem like the president is the only person alive along with a few leftists who actually believe this claptrap.

    People who every year sound the alarm about the War on Christmas. The only thing that's possible to debate here is whether it's a good idea to stoke religious animosity or not. I say bad idea.

  • Irish||

    Think Progress (like, unfortunately, most left-wing organizations these days) is obsessed with defending Islam against any criticism no matter how legitimate. It's especially irritating because no other religion is treated with this deference. Moreover, this mindless defense of a religious movement is coming from allegedly 'secular' liberals.

    You could write an article literally calling for the extermination of Mormons and Think Progress would determine that this was less hateful than insulting Mohammad.

  • Tony||

    The motivation is to protect Arab- and South Asian–Americans from being shot (as racist idiots sometimes can't tell the difference between Muslims and Sikhs, for example). Because of high-profile terrorism committed by Arabs in recent years, they are a particularly vulnerable group in the West. As I say above, this is not about rhetorical fairness.

  • ||

    That is even dumber than what Obama said.

    You honestly think the redneck degenerates in our country who want to whack a Muslim for FREEDOM are going to listen to Obama when he asks them to remember that not all muslims are terrorists?

    Your fallacies wrap around you constantly. You realize this, right?

    Of course you don't. You're Tony.

  • Irish||

    It's also immensely arrogant and patronizing since Tony apparently believes that his political opponents are a hairs-breadth away from slaughtering a religious minority...despite the fact that anti-Muslim hate crimes in this country are incredibly rare.

    Basically, leftists are certain hick rednecks are about to murder all the Muslims, but this supposed backlash never seems to manifest.

    So leftists are blatantly lying on behalf of Islam because of a delusionally negative opinion they have of their own countrymen.

  • Tony||

    Two separate points: the international audience and international crisis Obama is addressing, and the domestic concern liberals (who can walk and chew gun) have about Islamophobia.

  • PapayaSF||

    this supposed backlash never seems to manifest

    Indeed, and it gets to the point of comedy: every time there's another Islamic terror attack, the media worries about the real problem: backlash!

  • John Galt||

    Lefties such as Tony would be the very first to die brutally horrific deaths within an Islamic theocracy; yet, like practically all lefties he lets his radical hatred of those his masters direct him to target as enemies delude him into completely ignoring the very facts that should most concern him.

    Gruber wasn't exaggerating in any way when he repeatedly pointed out how "stupid" his little Tony's really are.

  • Tony||

    I usually have a policy of ignoring buck-toothed Drudgebots who say the word "Gruber," but it should be noted that terrorism in the US is committed by 90%+ nonMuslims.

  • PapayaSF||

    it should be noted that terrorism in the US is committed by 90%+ nonMuslims.

    Oh, really? And what's the death toll of all this non-Muslim "terrorism"? Is it more than 3,000?

  • Tony||

    I'm saying that's why liberals are particularly sensitive to Islamophobia, even perhaps to a degree that makes them inconsistent with respect to how they treat other groups, like Christians, who are not vulnerable in this country.

  • ||

    And there it is, a perfect bow to your exquisite logical fallacy.

    Liberals just understand this cycle of oppression better because.........

    ...........well, they just do. You'll have to take his word for it.

  • Tony||

    They understand better because they actually give a shit. Everyone else is whining about the poor, persecuted Christians who aren't being left alone to discriminate against gays and Muslims.

  • ||

    "Liberals understand oppression better because they give a shit."

    You are an elitist hypocritical snob. Homosexuals are slaughtered like cattle by these degenerates and you are more worried about making sure that Muslims don't get their feelings hurt by mean rednecks.

    YOU don't give a shit. All YOU give a shit about is remaining "above" everyone else.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|2.19.15 @ 5:57PM|#
    "They understand better because they actually give a shit."

    I believe this piece of shit believes this assertion equals an argument.
    Dumber than a bucket of mud.

  • PapayaSF||

    poor, persecuted Christians

    Of course, on a worldwide basis, it is Christians who are being persecuted. By Muslims.

  • Tony||

    So is that going to be made better by antagonizing Muslims?

  • PapayaSF||

    So is that going to be made better by antagonizing Muslims?

    I am always amused when the left says we shouldn't "antagonize" people. It's always selective. The left is never concerned about antagonizing Republicans, or Libertarians, or Christians, or anyone who objects to gay marriage, or men, and on and on. But a theocratic terror movement? We better be polite!

    Besides, antagonizing might be part of the solution. "Regular" Muslims should either reject and root out the jihadis, or join them. It will clarify things.

  • John Galt||

    You don't give a shit, it's just a charade you play to give yourself a false sense superiority.

  • Wicked Skin||

    No Tman what leftist know is that they are a hair's width away from herding their political enemies into extermination camps. That's what leftists do. The fact that the asshole in chief refers to political opponents as enemies, demonstrates this fact quite clearly. They have murder in their hearts and so they believe that everybody has murder in their hearts.

  • Buddy Bizarre||

    Please, the correct term is 'reeducation camps'.

  • ||

    Because "Islamophobia" is such a pressing national concern....

  • Tony||

    Unlike the tax rates billionaires have to pay.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|2.19.15 @ 6:00PM|#
    "Unlike the tax rates billionaires have to pay."

    Green looks so good on you.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    You're a socialist so counting is hard for you. Let me help you. $1BB $450k.

  • PapayaSF||

    "Islamophobia" is a bullshit term, anyway. It's not irrational to fear people who want to kill you.

  • Tony||

    It's the irrational fear of all Muslims.

  • PapayaSF||

    There's nothing irrational about fearing a religion that says it's destined to rule the world, by force if necessary, and regularly slaughters vast numbers of people for that goal.

  • lap83||

    Muslims are vulnerable, you're right. They're vulnerable to radical members of their own religion, right along with the rest of us who aren't good enough to live in the eyes of ISIS. Focusing on "Islamophobia" when less radical Muslims are oppressed and worse by the Islamic State is like worrying that cancer will make you unpopular.

  • ||

    It's like spending a lot of time and effort making sure that cancer patients aren't discriminated against in the job market.

  • LynchPin1477||

    According to that article in the Atlantic, Muslims living in ISIS territory are at *more* risk than Christians. Supposedly, if Christians pay a tax and fall into line, they're relatively safe. But a Muslim that disagrees with some obscure interpretation of the Koran? That's a death sentence.

  • Heedless||

    It's like the old Stalin-era joke: Factory worker is asleep after a hard day's work. In the wee hours of the morning, he hears the heavy knock of the secret police at his door. He doesn't even bother to get out of bed, just yells "The apartments for party members are upstairs."

  • DesigNate||

    You guys just don't get how brilliant and amazing Tony and the liberals are. You should be bowing down to their awesomeness.

    You bunch of racists twats.

  • Catatafish||

    If that was his primary motivation, why was he, by your own admission, speaking to an "international audience?"

  • DesigNate||

    And yet, you would take away those same people's ability to defend themselves.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Up above you said the only people criticizing Obama for not calling ISIS Islamic are the ones concerned about the war on Christmas. Yet here you say Obama can't call ISIS Islamic or he may incite violence against Muslims. You can't have it both ways.

  • ||

    You can't have it both ways.

    Sure he can. In matters of religious faith, it's pretty easy to hold opposing, contradictory views. As was pointed out above, Tony's god has told him what to think/believe.

  • ||

    Because of high-profile terrorism committed by Arabs in recent years, they are a particularly vulnerable group in the West.

    You know what's really funny? The fact that progressives are so focused on the potential for attacks being committed against Arabs, despite the fact that there HAS NOT BEEN A SINGLE incident of attacks against them that comes REMOTELY close to the very "high profile" cases of actual Arab-Muslim terrorism against non-Muslims, such as the Charlie Hebdo attacks just a couple of weeks ago.

    Who the fuck do you think needs protection here? Who is ACTUALLY DOING THE KILLING? And WHO IS ACTUALLY BEING KILLED?

    Hint: The people getting killed aren't Arabs or Muslims.

  • Tony||

    American citizens, terrorism against whom is mostly committed by white Christians. But oh did they ever throw a bitch fit when they realized they were being looked at by the feds.

  • ||

    Name an example of actual terrorism committed by white Christians against Muslims. Please.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    That guy who shot 3 Pale....oh, wait.

  • Tony||

    The Iraq war.

  • ||

    What could I expect but a facile, bullshit answer?

  • Tony||

    Far too high a body count to be terrorism?

  • MJGreen||

    OK, please start naming examples in our life times. There was the occasional abortion doctor bombing, and... what? McVeigh was basically agnostic, so no luck there. Where's all this white Christian terrorism threatening Americans?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    The motivation is to protect Arab- and South Asian–Americans from being shot

    Then the assholes with this motivation are really, really, stupid. People in the West, beyond a few nutjobs, have shown no inclination to respond to anyone except the guilty parties in this manner.

  • ||

    Yes, but we have to find a moral equivalence between Christians and Muslims because otherwise we might have to acknowledge that maybe the Muslims are WORSE. Which would be, like, racist or something.

  • Azathoth!!||

    You are aware, of course, that more people have been killed by muslims--in attacks that are quickly labeled anything except terrorism-- since 9/11 than there have been muslims(or sikhs) killed in any 'backlash'?

    Right?

  • ||

    Mormans are white Christians. In the mind of a liberal, there is no one worse than a white Christian.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    They aren't real Christians no matter what they say!

  • JeremyR||

    More Christian than Catholics

  • John Galt||

    More Christian than Catholics

    Nothing like setting the threshold at it's lowest possible point.

  • ||

    More Christian than Jews?

  • ||

    It's enough that they are white and go to Church for a liberal to hate them.

    The corollary to this is that liberals consider all brown people to be incapable of legitimately doing anything wrong. If ever there is evidence that appears to prove otherwise, it is immediately "understandable" because of years/decades/centuries of white (Christian) oppression.

  • Wicked Skin||

    Actually liberals consider all brown people incapable of doing ANYTHING. Without liberals to feed, clothe and shelter them liberals believe that brown people would be naked, starving and homeless. They real are quite the vile racists.

  • ||

    Agreed.

  • ||

    Earlier this month when that Oregon bakery refusing to sell a cake to a gay couple story was in the news, there was a bunch of sound and fury about how good it was that the bakery was being fined $75k--stick it to those Christian fundamentalists!

    On the other hand, I was more concerned about the other recent stories of ISIS executing gays by throwing them from tall buildings.

    I remarked on how lucky we are to live in a culture where religious fundamentalism is considered refusal of service to make a cake instead of the outright mass murder of homosexuals like in some parts of the world.

    The response: "Fundamentalism takes various forms." Then the circlejerk went right back to the evils of the religious right and how nasty and hypocritical those bigoted Christians are.

    (I feel I should note that I'm an atheist and I'd gladly sell to gays, so it wasn't my sacred cow being gored here. I just have a smidgen of perspective.)

  • ||

    Imagine what would happen if a gay couple walked into a Muslim bakery and demanded a wedding cake with a picture Mohammed on it.

  • sarcasmic||

    They would be arrested for hatecrime.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Demanding it isn't hatecrime. Putting it on the cake is hatecrime. Not doing what gay people demand is hatecrime.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Do gays outrank Muslims on the social justice hierarchy of minorities?

  • ||

    Who? The gay couple, or the bakers?

  • S. Quincy||

    The bakers would be arrested for gun crime.

  • Irish||

    The problem is that even within western countries Muslims are actually held to a lower standard than non-Muslims.

    There was a Gallup poll in Britain where they found 0 out of 500 Muslims who said it was morally acceptable to be gay.

    Zero. Now according to the left, the act of being anti-gay (even if you never discriminate against them) proves that you're an extremist. Yet I'm assured the average Muslim is a moderate, despite the fact that polling shows they have opinions that would result in a Christian being declared a fundamentalist.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Fair, but I think also that polling Muslims on questions of morality contradictory to Sharia might be subject to the same sort of data problems that polling kids doing drugs does. That is publicly supporting such an unpopular/illegal thing might not seem to them to be very wise.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Morally acceptable and socially acceptable are two different things in the West.

    Even a stupid Muslim knows that.

  • cavalier973||

    The problem is that even within western countries Muslims are actually held to a lower standard than non-Muslims.

    If you switch your government to "Fundamentalism", you can engage in skullduggery (as in, drop a nuke on another nation's city) and the computer opponents other nations are quicker to forgive you.

    You also can build Fanatics who are cheap to maintain. The downside is a 50% reduction in your science production.

  • Kure'i||

    +1 4X

  • John Galt||

    Ab-so-lute-ly.

  • ||

    Whether or not those traditions are considered “legitimate” is a subjective exercise, and ultimately a pointless one, because it doesn’t change the real-world consequences of those traditions in action.

    Over at Hotair Allahpundit brought up the point that even the President of Egypt is calling for an Islamic reformation. Obama is just making all of this ten times worse by ignoring the reality of the situation.

    Egyptian President Al-Sisi at Al-Azhar: We Must Revolutionize Our Religion

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Had a cab driver last weekend who moved to Canada from Egypt within the last couple years. He said Egypt had become very dangerous and that he had to get his family out. He was a Christian and he said the "crazy" muslims were roaming Egypt slaughtering all Christians like him.

    Guy spoke great english and seemed just genuinely happy to be in Canada and not Egypt. It makes me feel bad for all the people like him who haven't been able to get out.

  • R C Dean||

    So now it turns out our President is actually an Islamic scholar, qualified to actually determine who is a real Muslim and who is not. Gosh, but that sounds awful lot like what some of the loonier Manchurian-Muslim conspiracists have been claiming.

    Of all the stupid ways to try to address this problem, claiming that these terrorists aren't really Muslims has got to be the stupidest and most pointless.

    The Pope called the Crusades, its true. There are tractor-trailer loads of imams and ayatollahs egging on the violent jihadis. I think the analogy is pretty tight, myself.

  • ||

    Yeah, the Atlantic article went on for a bit about how the Islamists laugh at that.

    According to them, as the non-Muslim son of Muslim, Obama is technically an apostate himself, so to hear to declare them to be takfir is hilariously ironic to them.

    The whole Atlantic article is really worth the read.

  • ||

    That article really did explain why these degenerates are so intensely dangerous.

    They really do just want to see the world burn, literally.

  • ||

    Right they actually believe they are going to fulfill the prophecy of the apocalypse.

  • Tony||

    So do a third of the members of Congress. Seriously, scary shit. And they're in Congress.

  • ||

    I never knew you felt that way about the Democrats.

  • JWatts||

    "So do a third of the members of Congress."

    Well technically the Democrats make up about 2/5ths of Congress, but a third is close enough for government work.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    For the last time, CAGW is not going to kill us. Invent another doomsday please.

  • Mock-star||

    ....And yet you would have them have more power over us. Because they just represent decisions that we make together or some other sort of poppycock.

  • OldMexican||

    And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.


    Could we all agree that if the narrative being pushed is that these terrorist groups have no legitimate claim to their religion's roots to justify their actions, then bringing up the Crusades to admonish Christians for believing they have moral standing to judge the actions of self-described Islamic groups is contradictory and confusing?

    Wasn't the point pushed by the president that the despicable actions perpetrated by these self-professed Islamic groups contradict the peaceful tenets of Islam? If that's the case, doesn't then the actions of a few Crusaders contradict the peaceful tenets of Christianity and thus there would be no point in bringing their actions up as a way to argue that Christians share a collective guilt?

    Unless the president believes Christianity is NOT a religion of peace.

    To me, the president's message is very clear: Christianity is NOT a religion of peace because... Crusades. Thus you stupid Christians have no moral standing to be judging the horrible actions by a few hundred thousand radical Muslims.

  • R C Dean||

    As some wag pointed out, we seem to have the medieval Christian violence thing well under control. Its the medieval Islamic violence thing that is a current problem.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Exactly. The Crusades aren't relevant to today since they aren't going on and haven't been for centuries.

  • Drake||

    Even when they were being fought, the Crusades were generally defensive or reactionary. Since nobody in the West learns history for shit, they are surprised to learn that Muslim armies penetrated as far as Paris, Poland, and Vienna at various times.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    even the President of Egypt is calling for an Islamic reformation.

    I remember seeing that. From what I understand though is that Islam has some structural peculiarities that will make such a reformation mmm.. tricky. Given the degree to which Islamic societies seem prone to fits of religiously motivated hysteria I imagine a real change in Islamic doctrine will be accompanied by some bloodshed. (their very own 30 years war, perhaps) Also I imagine that there are already conspiracy theorists suggesting that the Jews got to Sisi and this is all a Zionist plot to corrupt the one true faith.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Islam has some structural peculiarities

    Like all other religions, those structural peculiarities are that the whole fucking thing is stupid.

  • PapayaSF||

    No, Islam has some special ones. It's hard to "reform" a religion when every word in the holy book is said to be the literal, untranslated, eternal word of God.

  • John Titor||

    Per ISIS I always wondered if you could possibly reform the caliphate and use it to manipulate Islam towards a long term reformation. Looks like ISIS took my advice and reversed it.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I wish Obama would stop pretending to be a Quranic scholar and focus on something he really is an expert on: the US Constitution.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Who dares deny the omniscience of the Obamessiah?

  • lap83||

    "If ISIS Isn't Islamic, Were Crusaders Christian?"

    The phrasing of this suggests they're somehow connected. The fact that they aren't is the main reason I think people have a problem with Obama bringing the latter up while talking about the former.

  • Not an Economist||

    The point -- to anyone who's actually informed (outside a partisan echo chamber)is that the terrorists recruit followers by saying a "religious war" has been launched against Islam. One need not agree with them to see they have a good argument. Indeed, roughly 1/3 of the comments here (excluding gossip) give more evidence to the terror recruiters.

    If you read The Atlantic piece, you will see one issue the militant Islamist have is a non-believer telling a believer what true Islam is. You know, like Obama is doing. This is one piece of evidence that a "religious war" has been launched against Islam.

  • John Titor||

    Laughable that the guy complaining about how Americans are 'shitty on world history' starts by lecturing on how Israel has no right to that land. Oh, and Muslims do? Last I checked they were an invasive force that uprooted and destroyed the Byzantines/Romans as the Rashidun Caliphate. According to Hihn, when Muslims do it, it gives them ownership of the land for eternity. When the Jews do it, why they've got no right!

  • JWatts||

    "Speaking of the Crusades, the First Crusade began by slaughtering Jews in Germany, which some call the first holocaust."

    Citation needed.

  • John Titor||

    JWatts, he's actually right, there were several pogroms against the Jews in the Rhineland shortly before the First Crusade...

    ...but what he doesn't mention, in a shitty attempt to hide it, is that violence against Jews was never an official policy of the Church, and during the Rhineland massacres in 1096 Catholic Church officials condemned the assaults on the Jews, with several bishops actually sheltering them from violence (several did accept money for their protection however).

  • PapayaSF||

    But if Arabs are forbidden to have nuclear weapons then why would Israel need them, if not for aggression?

    Are you insane? The tiny country of Israel is surrounded by countries that would like to exterminate it. They've had nukes for decades and never used them. Where's the "aggression"?

    To say that the Arabs (and Iranians) need nukes to "defend themselves" against Israel is like saying a street gang needs guns to defend themselves against the kid they've got cornered in an alley, who they haven't yet been able to kill.

  • Doctor Whom||

    But it’s kind of a “no true Scotsman” situation.

    One of the nice things about the no-true-Scotsman fallacy is that you don't have to apply it consistently. You can have completely different criteria for true Scotsmen that you like and for true Irishmen that you don't, or even for the same true Scotsman depending on how he's behaving that day.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Everyone knows that true Irishmen are actually the bastard children of true Scotsmen.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It is the other way around, Scots are Irishmen who were asked to leave Ireland for not being up to standards.

  • Rich||

    "These terrorists are desperate for legitimacy."

    Citation needed.

  • Invisible Finger||

    A gun pretty much gives you all the legitimacy you need. Ask a police.

  • alinenache||

  • ||

    Clearly Ed needs to get down off of his high horse.

    I see Tony rushed in to try and explain away Obumble's bumbling idiocy. I am not going to bother reading it.

  • From the Tundra||

    So, do you actually change clothes when you change handles?

  • Sevo||

    Michael Hihn|2.19.15 @ 6:06PM|#
    "And your own bumbling idiocy? ...."

    Oh, look who's here! Mike the obsolete 'libertarian'.
    (laughing)

  • Ken Shultz||

    "In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."

    ----Barack Obama

    The fight against slavery was brought to a head by Christian fanatics.

    The fight against Jim Crow was brought to an end by Christians like the Reverend Martin Luther King.

    "So perhaps the president considers ISIS to be justifying its actions in the name of Islam the way Crusaders did in the name of Christ and believes neither to belong to the religious faith traditions they in which they claim/claimed membership."

    What his argument does is mirror the justifications used by ISIS.

    Stalin used to mention that Americans once rounded up Native Americans into something like concentration camps, too.

    Why is Obama making those kinds of arguments--on ISIS' behalf?

    Yes, we may have burned a defenseless victim alive, but don't forget that Christians used to burn people at the stake, too?

    Obama should apologize for saying such a thing. He won't, but he should.

    "It was followed by appeals to education, community outreach, and economic improvement (terrorist groups, unsurprisingly, are largely fueled by young, unemployed males)."

    Obama doesn't know the first thing about what makes economies grow or how the economy creates stable employment. If winning the war against terror depends on America taking the lead on that, then we won't start winning the war against terror until Obama is no longer in office.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Why is Obama making those kinds of arguments--on ISIS' behalf?

    Because he has the intellect of an adolescent.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, I can imagine him saying something like that about Stalin.

    Well, before we start condemning Stalin for the gulags and death camps, it's important to remember that not so long ago, capitalists were rounding up Native Americans on reservations and interring Japanese-Americans, too.

    I suppose there's some kind of valid intellectual point there somewhere, but giving fuel to your enemies in justifying the atrocities they're actively committing--just doesn't seem like very presidential behavior to me.

    But I'm kinda biased against presidents with the intellect of an adolescent, too.

  • Invisible Finger||

    remember back when the left wanted to claim that Dubya was a retard?

    Maybe he is/was. An accident of birth, beyond his control. Obama is stupid by choice.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Any religion is defined by the aggregate behavior of its believers. There are almost always a number of various strains of the faith, so if we pick out a few of the major sects that constitute the majority of the faithful, maybe we can get somewhere.

    I don't know of any major christian sects where large numbers of the faithful support and are willing to engage in the harming of others due to their religious beliefs. I'm excluding the edge case of the Catholic church and how it contributes to the AIDS epidemic.

    The situation with Islam is clearly different; there are hundreds of thousands (at least) of active jihadis, and breeding and supporting them are probably millions of others who spread the hate. It's like a virus. The jihadis are the ones who are most infected, but there are millions of carriers, relatives, clergy etc. who foster the environment of violence and intolerance. The behavior of the jihadis is so abnormal for a peaceful society, in order for it to thrive and spread as it has there must be a deep well of perverse values in their culture to allow it to exist at all.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Hey! Welcome back! I liked your last return better, but welcome back anyway.

  • From the Tundra||

    That's pretty damn funny!

    "He's taught me so much, like how to love your enemies as yourself, to pray for those who hurt you, and when to pass up the three in favor of a higher percentage shot."
  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    "Christ isn't going to be 32 forever, and, quite frankly, He hasn't been the same since the Romans drove holes into His hands and feet," NBA analyst and former coach Chuck Daly said. "A painful stigmata injury is difficult to overcome, and it may affect His shooting touch."

  • GILMORE||

    Don't call it a comeback

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Thanks, I'm excited to be here! I know if I listen to Coach, and my teammates have faith in me, we can take it all the way.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Any religion is defined by the aggregate behavior of its believers."

    I think dogma can be separated from the people who believe in it. It can and does influence culture.

    Gay atheists will say that they should be treated the way we would want to be treated if we were them.

    ...which is to say, that piece of dogma has influenced the culture to the extent that even people who don't subscribe to the teachings of Jesus generally accept it to be a truth.

    As for the aggregate behavior of believers being representative of a whole religion, I think that's a hard sell.

    It's sort of like saying that the Confederate Army was fighting to preserve slavery or that the Union Army was fighting against slavery.

    ...and ignoring the fact that most Confederate soldiers weren't slave owners, that Ulysses S. Grant was a slave owner, that some young men, on both sides, joined up for adventure, others out of a sense of camaraderie, ...

    Ultimately, I don't think you can tell much about a group of people without looking at them as individuals--be it an army, a corporation, a market, or a religion.

    And there are enormous differences in various strains of Islam. The Islam of East Africa, and the Islam of Malaysia and Indonesia really aren't the Islam of Saudi Arabia.

    How can you throw 1.5 billion individuals in the same boat? they don't even see themselves that way.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Let's see, your 100,000 Jihadis divided by 1.5 billion, isn't that .006%? Is my math right? That's six one-thousandths of one percent.

    I've lived in neighborhoods where the rate of gang affiliation was much higher than that.

  • Meriwether3||

    Well said.

  • Invisible Finger||

    You're using pre-Islam Arab math. That math didn't come from Allah so your math is a sin against Allah.

  • PapayaSF||

    Ken, many surveys have shown that among Muslims in various countries, support for terror ranges from a few percent to 90%+. Support for sharia law is similar. To focus on the relatively small number of actual fighters is to miss the bigger picture.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't want to post the same thing twice, but see what I wrote here about "sharia":

    http://reason.com/blog/2015/02.....nt_5101679

    Also, check this link about Muslim "support" for terrorism:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02.....pilot.html

    I imagine in places that are under various forms of occupation, that terrorists are pretty popular. I imagine in places like northern Lebanon, where Hezbollah offers Shia a free education and free hospital care, that they're pretty popular in their sphere of influence, too.

    I imagine in the Sunni part of Iraq, in Gaza, in the tribal north of Pakistan, and other places that have been either occupied or populated with those who have, that the terrorists are pretty popular.

    To what extent the terrorists are popular because those places have been under various forms of occupation and the resistance has been terrorist is the question. Maybe the terrorists are popular because they're the only resistance to occupation? How popular are terrorists among Muslims that haven't really had to deal with occupation?

    I understand Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim majority nation. How popular is terrorism in Jakarta?

  • PapayaSF||

    "Sharia" means more than "rule of law," it means Islamic law. So what accounts for the support of sharia among British Muslims? The failures of English law and the horrible oppression they suffer there?

    Terror is dismayingly popular among Muslims around the world. Yeah, so maybe ISIS is turning some of them off. Big deal. There's still way too much support. 26% of Malaysian Muslims support suicide bombings. 41% of Indonesians supported Osama bin Laden in 2007.

  • Ken Shultz||

    When I'm saying that Sharia means rule of law, I'm trying to point out its significance.

    I'm trying to describe what isn't necessarily obvious to most of the people who use the word as some kind of boogeyman.

    It's really important to Judaism that Moses got the law straight from God, as well, and, yeah, there are lots of Orthodox Jews, right here in the United States actually, who do their best to live by, what are we going to call it? "Jewish sharia" for want of a better term?

    I don't care if Muslims want to live by Muslims jurisprudence--so long as everyone is participating of their own free will, and everyone's rights are still guaranteed by the Constitution.

    No one should be able to commit a crime and get away with it--just because it's part of their traditional religious jurisprudence. And given traditions as diverse as Orthodox Judaism, Mormonism, Seventh-Day Adventism, Christian Science, and Jehovah's Witnesses, Hutterites, and the Amish, I don't see why Islamic Sharia wouldn't conform, as well.

    I know some people find religious law scary, but some people find the Second Amendment and marijuana use scary, too.

    The only thing I find truly scary about people's religion is the remedy to religion the frightened always seem to leave undiscussed.

    What is it you want to do about the scary Muslims? Kick 'em out of the country? Ignore their First Amendment rights? What is it that you'd like us to do about these people if what you're saying is true?

  • PapayaSF||

    I find religious law scary when it makes no distinction between the religious and secular realms. Christianity has the "render unto Caesar" thing. Islam does not. Combine that with the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy, a tax on non-Muslims, and a really awful track record, and yeah, I find sharia "scary" and don't want it imposed on anyone.

    As for a remedy, it's truly difficult. I'd end all Muslim immigration to the West if I could, and use scholarly research to undermine the authority of the Koran. I think Islam will always be a problem, because it's not just a religion but a political system, and because it doesn't have the inherent flexibility of interpretation that Christianity has, because the Koran and Bible are very different that way. And of course Jesus and Muhammad were very different.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Fundamentalist Mormons decide to flagrantly ignore both mainstream Mormonism and the law--and practice polygamy anyway.

    I understand it isn't uncommon among the Amish not to send their children to school past the 8th grade.

    People have been putting religious law above secular law in America since its founding, and the First Amendment is supposed to protect our right to do so.

    You just can't use religious law as an excuse to violate someone else's rights.

    I don't find that kind of freedom scary. I find people who insist that the secular government is supreme in all matters--including matters of conscience--scary.

  • PapayaSF||

    The big difference is that Mormons and Amish and Orthodox Jews are not terrorizing anyone, not killing blasphemers or apostates, and have no ambitions to rule the world. Those things make sharia more than just another form of religious law.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    "I've lived in neighborhoods where the rate of gang affiliation was much higher than that."

    Good for you. However, an honest comparison would be gang affiliation percentage as compared to the entire population of North America. I have no idea what that number is, BTW.

  • Wicked Skin||

    You call yourself Jesus H Christ but you aren't omniscient?

  • S. Quincy||

    JHC is not omniscient, he just has a guy on speed dial who is.

  • Sevo||

    "Gay atheists will say that they should be treated the way we would want to be treated if we were them.
    ...which is to say, that piece of dogma has influenced the culture to the extent that even people who don't subscribe to the teachings of Jesus generally accept it to be a truth."

    First, let's make sure we know there isn't a shred of evidence for any historical Jesus.
    Next, how do you know that what you claim to be the teaching of so-and-so wasn't taken from gay atheists to begin with?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Anybody who says there isn't ANY evidence is going too far.

    First and second century Christians who arose in his wake seemed to think he existed.

    You might say the evidence isn't conclusive, but that doesn't mean there isn't any evidence whatsoever.

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz|2.19.15 @ 6:38PM|#
    "Anybody who says there isn't ANY evidence is going too far."

    Anybody who claims there *IS* evidence should show it.
    Claiming some people think so is NOT evidence and you should know it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You can't completely disregard the books of the New Testament as an historical document.

    Even if you don't believe the the gods in the Iliad and the Odyssey actually existed, it's still an historical document. It tells us something about the people who wrote it.

    There are references to Jesus (and John the Baptist) by Josephus. Is that metaphysically certainty evidence without qualification and totally conclusive?

    No. ...but it is evidence.

    There is also the evidence of the movement he started, morphing into the Christianity we have today. Oral traditions aren't conclusive either--but they are evidence.

    There's evidence that the churches Paul wrote letters to in the New Testament actually existed historically.

    There's the account of Pliny the Younger of his trial of early Christians and the practices they were being tried for. His account matches quite closely how early Christians were described in New Testament, and their behavior seems to mesh nicely with the teachings of Jesus. Specifically, they were still Jews, who, as Jews, were given a special reprieve from having to bow to an idol of the Emperor, but were accused of not being Jews by Jewish authorities--and still refusing to bow to idols.

    There is lots and lots of evidence that Jesus actually existed. None of it irrefutable.

    There is less evidence that Zoroaster actually existed, and yet the scholarly consensus is that he did, too.

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

  • Ken Shultz||

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz|2.19.15 @ 11:02PM|#
    "You can't completely disregard the books of the New Testament as an historical document."

    Yeah, 'books' put together 600 years after a supposed event are, uh...
    That's a bullshit claim and if you don't know that, I'm wasting bandwidth.
    ----------------------
    "Even if you don't believe the the gods in the Iliad and the Odyssey actually existed, it's still an historical document. It tells us something about the people who wrote it."

    Goal posts on wheels!
    -----------------------
    "There are references to Jesus (and John the Baptist) by Josephus. Is that metaphysically certainty evidence without qualification and totally conclusive?
    No. ...but it is evidence."

    No, it is nothing of the sort. It's hearsay. And you know it.
    Cont'd

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Yeah, 'books' put together 600 years after a supposed event are, uh...
    That's a bullshit claim and if you don't know that, I'm wasting bandwidth."

    Actually, books put together centuries after the fact can be and are historical documents. They tell us about the people who put them together and what they thought at the time.

    The Old Testament, as we have it today, was edited and reintegrated from numerous sources after the Babylonian Captivity--after the Persians had taken over, actually. Genesis is the integration of a number of preexisting fragments. And it's safe to say that before any of it was written down, it was passed down orally.

    When the Persians came into contact with the Jews, the Jewish literary tradition had an impact on the Persians, and the Gathas started to be written down, pretty much for the first time. One of the reasons it has been so hard to date the life of Zoroaster is because the Gathas he wrote were memorized and passed down by word of mouth for centuries before they were ever written down.

    The Gathas were memorized and spoken aloud--sort of like how Muslim boys memorize the Quran in a madrasa today.

    Some parts of the New Testament were circulated as letters and contained revisions to other gospels--specifically Mark.

    But none of that means that Jesus didn't exist.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Even if you don't believe the the gods in the Iliad and the Odyssey actually existed, it's still an historical document. It tells us something about the people who wrote it."

    Sevo--"Goal posts on wheels!"

    That isn't a goal post moving at all.

    Just because the stories of Homer were passed down orally for a long time before they were written down doesn't mean there was no Battle of Troy.

    Just because Hara and Zeus and Athena and the other events that are depicted in those works are supernatural in origin, doesn't mean that Agamemnon didn't exist.

    When historians look at these works, they start practicing what amounts to scientific fallibililism. The things that are most likely to be true are the things that survive the most scrutiny.

    If we were living in a semi-literate society, you would have learned certain things about George Washington. You'd have heard that he crossed the Delaware and defeated the Hessians. You'd also have heard that he skipped a silver dollar all the way across the Potomac. At Mt. Vernon, it's physically impossible to do that--the river is too wide. Oh, and silver dollars didn't exist at the time.

    ...but none of that would mean that George Washington didn't exist or that he didn't cross the Delaware and defeat the Hessians.

    The basics of the story are correct--even if you disregard the supernatural elements of the story. You may have heard that Jefferson wrote himself a New Testament doing exactly that.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "There are references to Jesus (and John the Baptist) by Josephus. Is that metaphysically certainty evidence without qualification and totally conclusive?
    No. ...but it is evidence."

    Sevo--No, it is nothing of the sort. It's hearsay. And you know it."

    So you want to disregard eyewitness accounts becasue they're in the Bible--and you claim mythological accounts have no historical value.

    And you also want to disregard contemporaries outside of the Bible, too--because they may not have actually witnessed Jesus and John the Baptist themselves?

    That's stacking the deck.

    I never met Michael Jordan myself, but I have a pretty good idea that he existed.

    And if he existed mainly in some religiously inspired account of his career, written by his fans, but someone came across a historian outside of the Jordan Bible making a reference to him and what he did--that matches the basic story of the Jordan Bible? I would think that mention would count as evidence of his having actually existed.

    Josephus was a contemporary historian.

  • Sevo||

    "There is also the evidence of the movement he started, morphing into the Christianity we have today. Oral traditions aren't conclusive either--but they are evidence."

    Which is not evidence of an historical junior. I'll ignore the rest of your bullshit, except for:
    "There is lots and lots of evidence that Jesus actually existed. None of it irrefutable."

    There is not one shred that would convince anyone who wasn't already convinced.
    It's called "faith"; you're welcome to it, I don't care.
    But don't bother trying to suggest that there is one shred of evidence to support it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Again, just because the evidence isn't conclusive doesn't mean there isn't any evidence.

    And just so you know, appeal to ignorance is a logical fallacy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A....._ignorance

    Logically, arguments are not false simply because insufficient evidence exists to prove them true. They're not true simply because there is inconclusive evidence to prove them false either.

    Sometimes, especially when we're talking about the ancient world, all the available evidence is simply inconclusive. ...which does not mean that there is no evidence.

    The evidence for Christianity, likewise, can be objectively inconclusive but subjectively compelling. Some people find that, for instance, forgiving family, friends, and others for wrongs that were perpetrated against them to the same extent that they want God to forgive their sins that made it necessary for Jesus to die is just a better, more peaceful way of existing. Again, evidence like that is highly subjective, but if people test out Jesus' teachings in that way and find them to be true, you can say that evidence is highly subjective, but you can't say it isn't evidence.

    I don't think faith can exist without a background of uncertainty, but then I don't think any of us can make a claim either way with absolute certainty. Not when the evidence is inconclusive,

  • Doctor Whom||

    The golden rule is not and has never been unique to Christianity.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I didn't say it was.

    But by way of Christianity is definitely the vector by which it was ingrained into our culture.

    And isn't it fundamental to our culture?

  • Invisible Finger||

    Not anymore.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think that's still a big part of what people are talking about when they say something is unfair.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I guarantee the Gold Rule has nothing to do with what Tony or Barry think is fair.

  • Sevo||

    "But by way of Christianity is definitely the vector by which it was ingrained into our culture."

    So is walking on two legs ingrained by Xianity? Or can we presume your statement is of equal value?

  • Invisible Finger||

    Do unto others, then split.

    /iron-on

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    "I think dogma can be separated from the people who believe in it. It can and does influence culture."

    "Dogma" can only influence culture if people act on it: ie. aggregate behavior.

    "Gay atheists will say that they should be treated the way we would want to be treated if we were them."

    Yes, it's a part of our culture because christians have been saying it for so long. It's not part of our culture just because someone wrote it down once. It's been repeated over and over again.

    "It's sort of like saying that the Confederate Army was fighting to preserve slavery or that the Union Army was fighting against slavery."

    No, it's not. The jihadis have been very clear their motivation is religious.

    "And there are enormous differences in various strains of Islam. The Islam of East Africa, and the Islam of Malaysia and Indonesia really aren't the Islam of Saudi Arabia."

    I mentioned in my first paragraph that there are always various sects/groupings whatever, for any religion. The majority of the Jihadis appear to come from North Africa and the Middle East, so yes, I should have made a distinction there.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "No, it's not. The jihadis have been very clear their motivation is religious."

    The question was whether what the jihadis do is somehow indicative of 1.5 billion Muslims.

    It isn't.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02.....pilot.html

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    That's your question, not mine. I said there is cultural/religious support for it. I never said every single Muslim was pro-jihad.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    And to compare civil war soldiers to jihadis is, frankly, a little disgusting. I need to get some work done so I don't have time to get into why, but honestly, that's way off.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "And to compare civil war soldiers to jihadis is, frankly, a little disgusting."

    I wasn't comparing civil war soldiers to jihadis.

    "As for the aggregate behavior of believers being representative of a whole religion, I think that's a hard sell....

    There are enormous differences in various strains of Islam. The Islam of East Africa, and the Islam of Malaysia and Indonesia really aren't the Islam of Saudi Arabia."

    I was comparing your making generalizations about 1.5 billion Muslims to making generalizations about Civil War soldiers.

    Making generalizations about millions of people or hundreds of thousands of soldiers, or tens of thousands of people in a corporation--all fraught with logical problems.

    And don't worry. You're not alone.

    Lots of people fling poo in disgust when they've painted themselves into a silly corner.

    So you can't make generalizations about 1.5 billion people?

    The sun will still rise tomorrow.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    the Islam of Malaysia and Indonesia really aren't the Islam of Saudi Arabia.

    You're right. Somehow the Malays have managed to hate the Jews even more than our "friends" the Saudis.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't understand the reference.

    You're linking to one guy to suggest that all Malays hate Jews?

    Help me understand what you mean.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    That "one guy" is one of the most influential persons in Malaysia. Fact is, for the past 40 years or so, the Malaysia has been jokingly referred to as "Saudi Arabia East" due to the massive campaign by the Wahabis to radicalize the Malays. And sadly it has worked. Here's a short essay by someone commenting on the prevalence of antisemitism in Malaysian political discourse:

    One of the constants in Malaysian politics, and possibly Malaysian society is anti-semitism. I do not mean anti-Israel sentiment, which may or may not be justified; I mean anti-Jewish sentiment, which labels people on their relation to those of Jewish extraction or the Jewish faith. Although I doubt this plays a major role in our politics or society, the very fact that it remains a prominent tool in politicians' arsenals is frightening and depressing....This got me thinking: anti-semitism in Malaysia really goes beyond anti-Israel sentiment. There is little distinction between Israel and the Jewish people in how we perceive things; we freely and readily blur these lines. We hate both the Jewish state and the Jewish people.
  • Heroic Mulatto||

    This hatred is what makes anti-semitism such a potent political tool in Malaysia. Everyone knows how Anwar Ibrahim is so frequently tarred as someone who associates with Jews, and by implication, supports the cause of Zionism and Israel. The most recent instance of this sentiment in public memorably occurred when Mukhriz Mahathir openly criticised Anwar in Parliament for being endorsed by a Jewish-American, Paul Wolfowitz. In the same breath, Mukhriz mentioned Wolfowitz's complicity in the murder of Iraqi civilians and his Jewish heritage. It did not occur to anyone to point out that while Wolfowitz could make a choice in assisting or ordering the killing of people, he had no choice about his parentage.

    nstead, Anwar's surrogates in the opposition hit back by, first, correctly pointing out that Anwar has no real control over who supports him, and second, that Mukhriz's father should shoulder as much blame for associating with American Jews like the shamed political lobbyist Jack Abramoff. That, friends, is the state of political discourse in our country: when in doubt, blame the Jews. While someone's panties are bound to get into a knot if you blame the Chinese or Malays (and even then, both being relatively safe targets as long as you tightly control your audience), nobody gives two shits about the Jews. For all this talk of non-racial politics, we're still caught up in this mentality of resorting to race when it suits us.
  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Let's not even get into the fact that Malaysia has technically been under martial law since declaring its independence, and uses this to justify the imprisonment in psychiatric hospitals of Muslims who try to convert to a different religion. One such case was that of Hilmy Mohd Noor.

  • Rhywun||

    Anwar Ibrahim is so frequently tarred as someone who associates with Jews

    As if the constant sodomy charges aren't enough.

  • Meriwether3||

    I don't know of any major christian sects where large numbers of the faithful support and are willing to engage in the harming of others due to their religious beliefs.

    If we discount historic examples, and only include those in living memory, how do you feel about the troubles in northern Ireland? Granted, the lines between nationalism, religion and culture are blurry, but it is still framed as a protestant vs catholic struggle.

    Any number of 20th century christian polish and Russian pogroms against jews.

    The Lord's resistance army in Uganda.

    This is just off the top of my head. My point is that there are assholes everywhere, especially in fucked up places. You don't need to resort to the idea that "there must be a deep well of perverse values in their culture to allow it to exist at all."

    "Religion made me do it" is pretty weak. I can condemn assholes for being assholes all day long and not have to criticize the faith or culture of a billion people (Christian or Muslim) to make my point.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    "If we discount historic examples, and only include those in living memory"

    Yes, that's why my statement was in the present tense.

    "Granted, the lines between nationalism, religion and culture are blurry, but it is still framed as a protestant vs catholic struggle."

    You can't remove the nationalism from that conflict. It's a colonial conflict with religious implications.

    ""Religion made me do it" is pretty weak. I can condemn assholes for being assholes all day long and not have to criticize the faith or culture of a billion people (Christian or Muslim) to make my point."

    Fuck that. If it were a small number of isolated "assholes" you would be right. It's not. There are large numbers of well-funded zealots wreaking havoc and misery across numerous countries.

  • Meriwether3||

    You can't remove the nationalism from that conflict. It's a colonial conflict with religious implications.

    So are most of the conflicts in the middle east. If you're going to throw history, you've got to know history.

    Syria, Iraq & Lybia were falling apart before ISIS was really a threat. Not a surprise that they are asshole magnets. How many assholes does it take to condemn every member of major religion? 0.06%? 3%? 10%?

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    I NEVER SAID ALL ISLAMISTS SUPPORT TERROR. Here, I'll make it plain: NOT ALL ISLAMISTS SUPPORT TERROR!.

    There.

    My point, perhaps poorly made, but I don't think so, was to say that the degree of jihadism prevalent today requires a considerable level of cultural support. Enough support it to make jihadism and Islamic terror major problems in the world today.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'd say that in all of the places you mention (Russia, Uganda), there were a fuck-ton of perverse values in play. You can argue that maybe they didn't come from Christianity (I would), but you can't really argue that the cultures in which these pogroms and murders sprung up were hunky-dory.

    IMO, Islam is a religion that is fundamentally broken without theocracy. The system worked to some degree when there was still a Caliph; the Caliph was a nominally religious (usually quite secular) sovereign over temporal affairs, and when there was a strong Caliph religious violence was generally channeled and formally restrained. Not to say that I agree with theocracy, but it seems that it worked a lot better for Islam than secular governments have in most of the Islamic world (barring perhaps places like Malaysia and Indonesia).

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    That's an interesting point.

  • Meriwether3||

    Yeah. I think you're kind of right. Fucked up places breed fucked up people.
    Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Lybia, Afghanistan & Somalia are really fucked up places. Colonialism, native despots, sectarian conflict, suppression of democratic reforms, etc, have made these places horrible for everyone who couldn't escape.

    I wouldn't argue that islam is morally bankrupt, I've known too many good Muslims and seen first hand their attitudes about family, charity, and moral behavior to say that it "is a religion that is fundamentally broken without theocracy."

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I don't think Muslims are morally bankrupt on a personal level; I think the religion as an organism is broken without theocracy and creates an extraordinary amount of excess activity that is counter-productive.

    Say what you will about the Catholic church, they are damn good at what they do. They're the oldest institution in the world, have 1 billion members, and are extremely close in mission and doctrine to what they were when Clement was Pope. This is despite having a billion members and millions of competing interests at play (as occurs when humans are involved). As far as religious organizations go, they are the gold standard.

    Mormons aren't too shabby themselves. They've existed since before Abraham and run a tidy little outfit with a nice hierarchy which is expanding and looks similar to what it did. It's made compromises, though, so let's give it a bronze medal.

    Islam is close to being on the level of Unitarians, as far as getting-it-togetherness is concerned. Suicide bombers are not just bad PR, they really aren't getting the job done. Any medieval Caliph worth his salt would have immediately ended that type of nonsense unless he was pursuing war with the target at that time; it is entirely counterproductive and kills his subjects with no positive benefit to his religion's spread or his realm's prosperity. Its high point for keeping its shit together was during the Caliphate. Sayid the Nice Guy is not really relevant to the equation.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    since before Abraham *Lincoln*, that is. My bad

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Sayid the Nice Guy

    I saw what you did there.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    *tips cap*

  • PapayaSF||

    +1

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I hate to be put in a position of defending the Roman Church or Popery, but here we go, history time. The impetus for the Crusades was not to proselytize or wage holy war, it was to relieve the Byzantine Empire of the pressure of the attacking Seljuk Turks (who were Sunni Muslims). Prior to the Seljuk campaigns, the Umayyad Caliphate had conquered (some might say Crusaded) Syria, Egypt, North Africa, and forcibly converted most of those places to Islam. So you could say, but for the original jihadists, the Crusades would never have happened.

    As to whether ISIS is Islamic in character and whether the Crusades are Christian in character, I would say yes to the former and no to the latter. The history of Islam is one rapid, violent and forcible conversion. Our proglodyte friends blame it on the "literalist" reading of the Quran. The problem with saying that is that there is no other reading of the Quran in Islam because the Quran is the literal word of Allah, not an interpretation, not a recollection of prior events, it is verbatim from Allah to Mohammed. Over the years, the Progressives have tried to twist Christianity into pacifism, and have mostly succeeded. Islam cannot be twisted as such because the command to fight and kill and die is explicit.

  • ||

    That doesn't excuse the inquisition. The Spanish did some pretty horrible things to the Amerindians in the name of God, pretty equal to the stuff that ISIS is doing now.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    That brings up an interesting point: the Spanish Inquisition (whom nobody seems to suspect despite their unusual attire) was created and exclusively controlled by the Spanish crown. It was staffed by significant clergy, but their appointments came from Ferdinand and Isabella, not the Pope. So who were the Spanish inquisitors' (who remain unsuspected) loyalties with? God? The Pope? the King?

    Maybe some did. But for the most part, the Spanish did what they did to the natives because they could do it, not because of any religious instruction. It might have appeased whatever conscience they may have possessed to say that they had "Christianized" the natives, but the goal was to take what they had.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Pretty much just good ol' government murder but with a veneer of religiosity to hide behind/blame others.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Yes. If you would just give up your heathen gods and your material wealth and work yourselves to death on our estates, we wouldn't have to beat you.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The impetus for the Crusades was not to proselytize or wage holy war, it was to relieve the Byzantine Empire of the pressure of the attacking Seljuk Turks (who were Sunni Muslims)


    So what you're saying is that the Crusaders had good intentions, but that original sin intervened -- and how could they, as Christians, have seen that coming? (BTW, that would be why none of the other churches existing at the time -- Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Coptic, Church of the East, etc -- endorsed the Crusades or the concept of holy war).

    +it was a matter of holy war; it was justified as an Augustinian just war (defensive and so forth) and as a way to be a good Samaritan to the Eastern Roman Empire and the Eastern Christians. Participating was an efficacious form of penance, after all. There is plenty in Scripture showing that warfare can be a means for effecting God's will and sanctioning certain types of warfare.

    I think it's pretty tough to argue yourself out of the Crusades being part of Christianity, even if they are not typical of it. What is more difficult is arguing that Christianity supports a sharia-style system of government in the here and now -- and that is where co-existence with Islam is most difficult to achieve.

  • Invisible Finger||

    the Quran is the literal word of Allah....the command to fight and kill and die is explicit.

    This is why Iraq became such a clusterfuck.

    We have a US Constitution that spells out in clear plain language what the government cannot do. And government has subsequently harangued people into believing that the language is NOT clear and is instead open to interpretation.

    We've come up with idiotic "case law" which contradicts clear and concise language. We tried to force this corrupt form of law onto Iraq and the people there fucking hate that form of law. The law they claim they want to follow may be blinkered, philistine, and pig-ignorant because of the farcical notion that it is the literal word of God, but it sure is a lot less corrupted.

    But being completely full of shit is the only skill Obama and his ilk have. If we were to follow the US Constitution as the word of law, the apostates that fancy themselves as upholding the Constitution while they systematically flush it down the toilet - aka government employees - would justifiably be liquidated.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Once upon a time, a fancy judge named John Marshall decided that the Constitution merely enumerated the baseline of the government's powers, not its limits.

    When that happened, we were all well and truly fucked.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "We have a US Constitution that spells out in clear plain language what the government cannot do."

    I've become enamored of the suggestion that when Muslims elsewhere in the world say "sharia", they often mean what we mean when we say, "the rule of law".

    In much of the Muslim world, the law has been the whim of despots for so very long.

    So long that the idea of having a single law that everyone knows and understands and is written down might be seen as enormous improvement by itself--even if the "rule of law", in this case, is brutal (albeit maybe less brutal than the whim of despots like Hussein or Gaddafi).

  • Invisible Finger||

    Even if it is MORE brutal, it is at least more predictable.

    Personally, I'm more of the mind of Jesus who basically said God wouldn't trivialize himself with stupid bullshit like law. (Render unto Caesar...)

    The establishment of a Caliphate is sowing the seeds of its own systemic corruption, not unlike the papacy. But the truth is most Catholics ignore the papacy because they don't like the religion they like-for-the-most-part being corrupted with idiotic purity. I'm betting the same goes for every other religion, large or small.

    Life's lesson is that rigidity isn't a virtue. As we gain experience and knowledge, some old rules wind up being counter-productive. Islam tries to get around that by pretending Allah wants people to be counter-productive. Which is still the same old government/ religious doublethink. Islam may have less of it, but it still has enough of it to be corrupt at its core like every other religion.

  • ||

    I don't know how much the Islamists are driven by pure religious ideology. I do think that it's partially driven by the fact that they feel their way of life is threatened by western culture and they're just using jihad as an excuse.

    Weren't they just mostly killing off other factions of their own faith over religious disputes until we started fucking around all over the middle east in every way possible? Or were they always trying to commit terrorists acts all over the globe?

    I mean I know they were involved in a lot of wars way back when, but who wasn't? Including the Crusaders.

  • LynchPin1477||

    education, community outreach, and economic improvement

    So no real role for government, then.

  • Invisible Finger||

    What do you mean? Money won't steal itself.

  • Ron||

    if ISIS ever takes over and then forces their religion on everyone will Obama still claim it is not religious based? How far does one have to go over a cliff before realizing they are falling?

  • GILMORE||

    "deny ISIS its claim to represent true Islam"

    Where in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster did Obama get the impression that he has the Authority to actually tell people whether their version of 'religion' is or isn't the 'real' one?

    IOW - why would he expect them (or anyone) to give a flying fuck what anyone thinks?

    Its about as irrational as pretending that Mormons will stop being Mormons if the Pope says, "I think they're weird".

    Clearly he has no fucking idea how religion *works*. Its not a @#*(&@ popularity contest.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Honestly, all of these discussions that generalize religious views specifically are kind of silly. The fact is that both the crap ISIS is peddling and the Christianity of the crusaders fall or fell, in hte latter case, within a distribution of views within either religion.

    Unfortunately, as things stand today, the distribution of views represented by Islam appears to be unfavorably skewed toward of attitudes, behaviors and positions that pose a threat to the rest of us.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Think Progress ran a response piece, based on interviews with scholars, that posited, among other things, that “Wood’s argument perpetuates the false idea that Islam is a literalistic tradition where violent texts are taken at face value.” Wood’s argument wasn’t that only ISIS’ literalistic tradition is Islamic but rather that Islam, as pretty much any belief system, includes literalistic traditions.


    Also fairly absurd considering that the origin of Islam lends itself heavily towards literalistic traditions. The story goes that the Qu'ran is co-eternal with God and the very words of God (and not a secondhand canon assembled after the fact along the lines of the Bible).

    Yes, there are oral traditions in Islam which are more flexible (particularly in Central Asia) and a handful of Arafah and Ramadan Muslims who don't take their religion seriously, as well as your various Karen Armstrongs who have essentially Christian or Gnostic takes on the religion along the same lines as California Buddhism. This does not mean that the religion does not have a literalistic bent, and in fact as many Islamic Central Asian and North African countries have educated themselves to the point of being able to read the Qu'ran for themselves instead of relying on oral tradition you have seen movement towards "literalistic" interpretations.

  • John||

    Stormy Dragon of all people called this. There is no intrinsic meaning to Islam or really any other religion. The religion is what its followers say it is. If ISIS says they are Islamic, that is what they are.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Eh, I think he's wrong about this.

    An early Christian who said "Hey, I'm a Christian" could be asked by another Christian where he was baptized and who his bishop was. If he couldn't, he wasn't a Christian. So, who was a Christian? Whoever belonged to the network of mutually-recognizing bishops who had been confirmed by other bishops (including bishops and the congregations they oversaw). That is why, say, Arianism is a Christian heresy while Manicheanism is a distinct religion, despite both having Christian influences and name-repping Jesus.

    Islam is a little different, but I fail to see any valid cladistic by which ISIS is not Islamic. It really shows the level of the President's (or more likely, his speechwriter's) intellect that this has become a point of debate.

  • John||

    I along with most other Christians do not consider Mormons to be Christian. From the inside perspective they are not. But to a non Christian are they? I think so. I don't see how a non Christian can deny their claims of being Christian.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    To argue with a muslim, you have to play by their rules.

  • ||

    They're progressives?

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Pretty much. Black is white, good is bad, spades are diamonds, i am the walrus goo goo gechoo....

  • Tony||

    Watching a clip of FOX News bobbleheads whine about Obama not linking terrorism to Islam. They are actually saying that he is erring by not noting the "religious nature" of the problem. Seriously, people who otherwise complain constantly about religion being demonized and assaulted. I think we can all agree that the president doing their bidding and saying Christianity is better than Islam, which is what their incoherence boils down to, is not a good idea.

  • LynchPin1477||

    There is a religious nature to the problem, though. If Obama doesn't want to say that publicly because he's playing politics, then fine. But the White House strategy for dealing with ISIS should at least demonstrate a good grasp of the reality of what motivates them and others like them.

    In other words, the best way to shut the people on Fox News up is to beat ISIS.

    That's a high bar. I'd settle for a strategy that is coherent and at least making progress. But I'm hard pressed to think of one coming from the White House. In fact, that pretty well summarizes the last 20 years of U.S. policy and action on this issue.

    You can assert that Obama really does get it and is just being cagey, but where is the evidence of that? Where is the evidence that the White House is even trying to confront the religious nature of ISIS? That is an honest question.

  • John||

    It never helps to lie or deny the problem. By saying ridiculous and untrue things he just cedes the field to his opponents. Everyone in America knows ISIS is an Islamic movement and terrorism is primarily an Islamic problem. All Obama does by pretending that its not is cause people to tune him out and listen to someone who is willing to at least admit the problem.

  • Tony||

    The only attempt at an explanation for why this matters: the president should show that he knows that the problem has a religious component. Why? Because Americans are confused on this point? Or do you think the president's national security bureaucracy has all overlooked the fact that ISIS has a religious component? That would prove you guys right about government incompetence, but it seems unlikely.

  • wareagle||

    the president should show that he knows that the problem has a religious component.

    the root of the problem, and we all know how much the left loves its root causes, is the religious component. The only one confused, or mired in denial, about that is Obama himself. When you cannot identify the problem, you are not going to fix it. You're not even going to sound credible in talking about fixes.

  • Tony||

    But if anyone blames Christianity for the bad actions of its adherence gets criticized with just as much pants-wetting as is going on here. Or did you not notice that both things have been going on here with respect to Obama's words?

    Again, it is highly unlikely that the president is unaware that ISIS is composed of Muslims.

  • LynchPin1477||

    The problem does have a religious component, and the president should know that. Yes.

    Now, he can show that by following a good strategy that confronts that reality. I'm fairly certain at least some people in the national security bureaucracy have advocated that. Has the president listened and adopted that strategy? I'm not seeing many signs of it.

    Given that, it's perfectly reasonable for people to ask the president "Do you really get what motivates ISIS? Are you adopting a strategy that incorporates that?" and to critique the answer. Because he is, after all, an elected official and accountable to the people (supposedly).

    You are demanding that we just trust that Obama totally understands the situation. That isn't how democracy works.

  • John||

    Forget Democracy, that is not how reality works. Obama has given every indication that he has no understanding of the situation. He is becoming dangerously delusional and unpredictable.

  • wareagle||

    Now, he can show that by following a good strategy that confronts that reality.

    until he recognizes reality, the rest is photo ops and bullshit.

  • Tony||

    Rest assured that the president is aware that they identify as Muslim. He wouldn't be making pains to dispel claims that all Muslims are culpable if he wasn't aware of that. This is not a strategy, this is a FOX News aneurism. It is pure politics, and I'd frankly like for rightwing blowhards to have a single policy idea in six years instead of spending all their time implying that the president is a terrorist sympathizer. Criticize that unhelpful behavior why don't you.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Rest assured that the president is aware that they identify as Muslim.

    Is strategy taking this into account? Or taking into account that many of ISIS's sympathizers and supporters also identify ISIS as Islamic? It's one thing to say "Yeah, I heard them say that." It's another to act on that information.

    I'd frankly like for rightwing blowhards to have a single policy idea in six years

    There are plenty that want to take a more active military role against ISIS. Their policy ideas may not be good ones, but they do exist.

  • Tony||

    Yet instead of debating competing policy proposals, we're talking about words the president said. When did Republicans get so fucking paralyzingly sensitive?

  • wareagle||

    Seriously, people who otherwise complain constantly about religion being demonized and assaulted.

    put down your confirmation bias and try something new, like thinking. When a group is ACTIVELY KILLING PEOPLE IN THE NAME OF A SPECIFIC RELIGION, that religion deserves to be demonized. Unless you can show the crazed Baptists or Buddhists chopping off heads and the lead, this may be your weakest argument to date. On anything.

  • Tony||

    Nor is it helpful to legitimize the actual political tactic behind the complaint: Republicans are using all of the death and horror and instead of actually offering policy ideas are implying that Obama is a secret Muslim terrorist to their idiot base. We shouldn't forget that's what this bitching is all about.

  • John||

    Obama is nearly as ignorant as you Tony.

    "Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding. Generations -- (applause) -- Generations of Muslim immigrants came here and went to work as farmers and merchants and factory workers, helped to lay railroads and to build up America.

    http://cnsnews.com/news/articl.....s-founding

    That has to be the most idiotic and ahistoric thing an American President has ever said. I don't think Obama is playing politics here. I think he actually is so ignorant of history he believes this. He is so stupid and poorly educated that its embarrassing to the country.

  • wareagle||

    didn't I read about those folks during Muslim History Month?

    Man from Harvard adn we should all be worried that Scott Walker left school a semester short.

  • Tony||

    ...Sarah Palin being your idea of a great leader.

    Muslims fought in the Revolutionary War on the side of the Americans. The first country to recognize the United States as independent was a Muslim country.

    He wasn't lying, and all you're interested in is flinging racist shit at the president and getting validation that Christianity is true and Islam is not. You are part of the problem.

  • John||

    Tony, Obama thinks Muslims helped found the country. And he was totally lying. There wasn't a single Muslim in America at its founding and not a single founder ever thought of a Muslim think as an influence.

    HE wasn't lying Tony. He is that stupid. He is the dumbest person ever to be in national politics. Sarah Palin could have actually said she could see Russia from her house and it wouldn't have been as stupid as this. This is why SNL doesn't parody him. It can't be done. He actually says all of the stupid things the writers would have him say.

  • Tony||

    Did he say Muslims helped found the country? Are you saying no Muslims were present in the Revolution or worked as farmers and factory workers? How is his saying something perfectly true evidence of his idiocy?

  • John||

    He said Islam is woven into the fabric of our country. That is fucking insane Tony. Insane. It is not even ignorant so much as it is so bizarre as to be insane.

    You need to start preparing for the day you have to renounce this jackass Tony. It is coming. He has gone so far off the rails even the Democrats are going to have to do something.

  • Tony||

    Jesus, at worst he is being generous and kind to peaceful Muslim-American citizens. What does "woven into the fabric" mean, specifically? Because if you think you're going to get me onboard with the "Christian nation" bullcrap, you're sadly mistaken. The most important founders weren't even really Christians.

  • John||

    No Tony he is a fucking idiot. Someone should ask him if you can see Mecca from the White House. He wasn't being generous. He was being profoundly ignorant and insulting to both Muslims and really all Americans.

  • John Titor||

    So wait, claiming that Christianity is woven into the fabric of the nation is bullcrap, but holding the same position for Islam is entirely acceptable? Tony's blind partisan support strikes again.

  • Tony||

    They're both woven into the fabric. Christianity obviously takes up more space. A stifling amount of space.

    My America is a paragon of secular democracy. Fuck everyone playing the role of puppet for those who would have it otherwise.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    There wasn't a single Muslim in America at its founding

    There were plenty. They were called "African slaves".

  • John||

    They were not Muslims. They were African animists. The Muslims enslaved Africans. They didn't become slaves.

  • John Titor||

    The European slave trade did have Muslim slaves, and there were Muslim slaves in America at the time of the Revolution. Mulatto's link, admittedly from wikipedia, supports this.

  • wareagle||

    Muslims were also the Barbary bad guys of Jefferson's day, no? And what is the "racist shit" being flung at the idiot in chief?

    Finally, no one says Islam is true or false or anything beyond the focal point of what defines ISIS. But most people not named Obama recognize that it is the problem.

  • Tony||

    You know how like a significant fraction of Republicans think Obama is a Muslim? That's what this is all about. It's not about foreign policy, it's about primary voters. If you guys are going to get worked up over something, try that cynical horseshit.

  • John Titor||

    And the President blatantly denying basic reality is not at all an empty attempt at currying favour? It's amazing how you throw a bitchfit about the supposed delusions of Republicans but refuse to hold Obama to any kind of standard. Oh wait, you're a dishonest partisan, shouldn't be surprised.

  • Wicked Skin||

    Obama being a muslim is a fact and he is friends with terrorists, also a fact. Just because he gets off on murdering brown people to try to make people believe he's not a muslim, doesn't change the fact that he is a muslim and enjoys eating dogs.

  • ||

    Really? I was totally convinced that he's one of the lizard people who live inside the hollow moon.

  • Wicked Skin||

    Only on his mother's side of the family and those aren't lizard people, everybody knows that the nazis have a secret base inside of the moon.

  • ||

    Damn, I thought that the Nazis all live in secret tunnels under the Amazon. I've got to catch up things.

  • John||

    We would be better off if he was a Muslim. He might have a coherent world view and some understanding of reality. It couldn't be any worse than being what he is, which is a faculty lounge Porg convinced every brown person is a victim and is making reasonable demands. And it might be better.

  • ||

    Well, a lot of the brown people he kills with drones are victims. Does he want to have a conversation about that on national TV? I'd be happy to volunteer to engage him in that.

    No, he's not a Muslim, he's an arrogant narcissistic jackass is what he is.

  • John||

    He only drones those people to keep the really evil Republicans from making too much trouble.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Well, we do use algebra and Arabic numerals.

  • Rhywun||

    It couldn't be any worse than being what he is, which is a faculty lounge Porg

    "Let me be clear - resistance is futile."

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Obama being a muslim is a fact and he is friends with terrorists

    Go back to Free Republic and the idiots there.

    Of course many of them post here.

  • ||

    /sarcasm

    Durrr, my name is ButtPig and I'm a fuu-fuu-fucking retard! I got a retard spoon, durrr!!!!!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • John||

    What does that guy know? Imam Obama has issued his Fatwa. ISIS is out of Islam.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "a long piece by Graeme Wood headlined “What ISIS Really Wants”"

    I'll tell you what ISIS wants, what it really really wants
    Tell me what ISIS wants, what it really wants
    It wants to kill, it wants to kill, it wants to kill, it wants to kill
    It wants to kill all the apostates and the infidels, too

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If you wanna be in ISIS
    You gotta get with the fiqh
    Spread Islam forever
    Beheading never ends

    If you wanna be in ISIS
    You have got to give
    Martyrdom's not easy
    But that's the way it is

  • ||

    We had a conversation about religion today at work. And believe it or not, the ISIS situation is not what brought it about, although that did enter the conversation a couple of time. The conversation was mostly covering Buddhism and Christianity.

    I told them that my religion is technology. One person asks me if that's what Tom Cruise believes in, lol. I said, no technology and scientology are not quite the same thing. That was a good laugh.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    So... cyber-Jesus cloned from the Holy Prepuce, then?

  • ||

    I was talking to Jesus through a hole in the floor
    He said our time is up, we can't stay anymore
    No more

  • Officer Jim Lahey||

    Didn't have time to read the whole thread before commenting, so apologies if it's already been covered (I'm drunk and want to get back to the Witcher 2 tonight), but wouldn't the best solution (not necessarily to be acted upon by the US officially) be to capture some of these shitheads and drown them in pig's blood, publicly, and on Youtube? Do so repeatedly, and they might not have so many recruits? Reckon Pershing had the right idea, but leaving that 50th survivor is no longer necessary in this modern age.
    Fucking shit-jihadists...

  • John||

    There is that. Then there is the fact that they apparently think that if you are killed by a woman, you don't die a martyr and go to heaven. We have a good number of women pilots. I would make sure as many sorties as possible that we flew against these animals had women pilots. Let them know that if they die in an American air raid it will likely be at the hands of a woman. These animals would be so easy to fuck with an demoralize.

  • LynchPin1477||

    What's the gender of a drone?

  • John||

    Whatever the person piloting it is. And I would make sure they were women too. Though we are not using many drones against ISIS. We are flying regular CASS sorties.

  • ||

    I think that in Latin, I'm using Portuguese as example:

    Zangao = Drone = masculine

    I think this is because the word drone is originally used to describe a worker bee, who are males.

    The feminine would be abelha, or bee.

    I could be wrong, I'm not a linguistic expert, we'll have to ask Heroic Mulatto his opine.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Workers bees are female. The males have sex and die. But I do think they are referred to as drones.

  • ||

    Ok, yeah, I got a little confused there. But the males are drones.

  • ||

    And so I think that the word drone is masculine.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "these animals"

    I hope you stay off the dehumanizing rhetoric. It either degrades humans or insults animals, depending on the circumstances.

  • John||

    I don't. The people in ISIS have forfeited their right to be called human beings. As far as I am concerned they are irredeemable and need to be slaughters like diseased cattle. I would show them no quarter. Anyone associated with ISIS would be shot or hanged if captured with their body left to rot in the desert and be eaten by vultures as warning to the rest of the world.

    I am not kidding.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I know you're not kidding, and I myself would like ISIS - as a group - to be killed *a lot.*

    I wouldn't mind if their people resisted to the end and all ended up shot.

    But if they should happen to surrender, then yes, they have rights as human beings - including the right, if we want to hang them, of being charged with a specific, capital, crime and being given a fair trial.

    My emotional reaction is that I want all of them to resist to the death so we don't have to worry about their rights if captured.

    But my intellectual reaction is that if they surrender, then their human rights attach, even if only the right to a fair trial prior to hanging.

  • ||

    This is exactly the kind of thinking I'm talking about.

    If you want to destroy a group of religious fanatics, it helps to understand exactly what their fucked up religious beliefs actually are.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Our Team Red Wahabbi Christians WANT a Holy War - that is the only plausible reason possible for their insistence that the President calls Islam(ists) out as our enemy.

    Religion is insane - the Koran is as stupid and evil as the Bible is.

  • John||

    Shut up retard. Go take your meds. It is pretty fucking scary that Obama might actually be as stupid as you are.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Who is your favorite preacher, John? Jimmy Swaggert? Or are you more of the soft bullshitter type like Joel Osteen?

  • ||

    I like that church lady, buttpig, she told me you like her to rape you with her big strapon.

    Lick those cankles, lick em!

  • ||

    Lol, it's just a sock puppet, John. That's all it is, it's not a real person. I mean, just look at the things it says.

    Who can take seriously that there are a bunch of Christian vigilante gangs running around in Dogdick Georgia(where it claims to live) butt raping and lynching everyone, planning their rampage of doom?

    Or the ridiculous fawning over Obama. It's already starting the same adoration of Hillary.

    I wonder which one of out regular posters are doing this?

    Lick those cankles, ButtPig, lick!

  • John Titor||

    Shorter Buttplug: PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEEEEE.

  • ||

    It can't even discern sarcasm tonight. It's got to be all that cankle lickin causing more brain damage.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    This issue has really drawn the wingnuts out of their doomer shelters.

    WE WANT WAR!! WE WANT TO KILL SOME MOOSLIMS!

    "Non-intervention", my ass. Team Red has Dickless Cheney blood in their eyes.

  • ||

    No, we want Hillary, she's the real war monger we've been looking for!

    Lick those cankles, lick em!

  • ||

    The thing about ISIS is that it is actually a kind of romantic fantasy, just like the Nazi's dream of bringing back the Roman Empire. Only instead of the Western kind of romantic fantasy that involves knights in armor and castles, it's an Islamic romantic fantasy about holy war and dressing up in black ninja robes and beheading lots of people just like Mohammed. It's all desert themed and full of religious scriptures and martyrdom.

  • John||

    That is a great way to describe them Hazel. The whole thing is ridiculous but like the Nazis, deadly serious. They may be insane and have a Quixotic Dream, but they are deadly as hell and very dangerous.

  • ||

    I also suspect that the reason ISIS attracts lots of western-born muslims is because western-born Muslims have grown up with western romantic fantasies, and have assimilated the ideas of the Romantic period.

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

  • Mickey Rat||

    "So perhaps the president considers ISIS to be justifying its actions in the name of Islam the way Crusaders did in the name of Christ and believes neither to belong to the religious faith traditions they in which they claim/claimed membership."

    It also neatly ignores that the Crusades began as a unified counter-offensive to centuries of Muslims waging Holy War to conquer Christian Europe and the Byzantine Empire. The Crusades were Christendom playing by the rules Islam established.

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