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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Criticizing Islam Is Bigotry - No Free Speech For Infidels (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Criticizing Islam Is Bigotry - No Free Speech For Infidels
capaxinfiniti
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The Muslim Students Association of UCLA recently proposed this resolution regarding 'islamophobia.'

Imagine if every marginalized or slightly-marginalized group on campus made up their own resolutions. Whatever concept of free speech existed before would be completely neutered.

This resolution seems detrimental to the overall quality of education at the university. The MSA's attempt at limiting resentment and misinformation will likely end up suppressing free speech. Students would be less likely to raise important questions and criticism if they fear it will be labeled hate speech. Writing off legitimate concerns as bigoted and phobic doesn't lend to having meaningful discussions. If the MSA really wants a progressive and diverse campus - which seems to be the end-all-beat-all goal of higher education these days - honest dialog should be encouraged both ways. For muslims that fear the criticism of their religion, maybe an honest look at the widely held doctrines of Islam is in order.

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fugu13
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Did you read the resolution? Nothing I see in it is about what you're saying it is. Please quote the parts of the resolution you find objectionable, and explain why they have the implications you say they do.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Whereas, Islamophobia is defined as ideologies, beliefs, and actions that perpetuate inaccurate and xenophobic views toward the culture and practice of Islam and the personification of its followers, such as being seen as monolithic, seen as a separate and „other‟ culture that does not share common values, seen as inferior to the West, seen as violent, aggressive, and supportive of terrorism, seen as sexist and oppressive of women, seen as a political ideology used for political advantage, anti Muslim hostility, and exclusionary or discriminatory practices against Muslims from mainstream society; and...
But...some Muslims are violent, aggressive supporters of terrorism! Very few compared to the total, but still, some are.
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MattP
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quote:
But...some Muslims are violent, aggressive supporters of terrorism! Very few compared to the total, but still, some are.
Sure, and some Christians are as well. And some Catholics are rapists. And some atheists are serial killers. And some Jews do run movie studios.
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Samprimary
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There's like a complete disconnect between what this document proposes and what capaxinfiniti is describing.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
But...some Muslims are violent, aggressive supporters of terrorism! Very few compared to the total, but still, some are.
Sure, and some Christians are as well. And some Catholics are rapists. And some atheists are serial killers. And some Jews do run movie studios.
Do you genuinely believe those are equivalent examples?
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MattP
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quote:
Do you genuinely believe those are equivalent examples?
Of the applicable principle? Sure. Medieval Christianity was every bit as scary as medieval Islam. We're just fortunate that the medieval form of Christianity has evolved to the current, more benign, form. That there are still places and people that practice medieval Islam is irrelevant except when directly addressing those places and people. "Islam" isn't violent. Some Muslims that live in theocratic and oppressive middle-eastern counties are violent. Same with misogyny and any other negative trait that you'd like to apply to the that faith which you wouldn't want applied to yours.

On the flip side, the most populous Islamic country is a democracy and elected it's first female president a decade before the US had a female candidate with a reasonable chance of obtaining the office.

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Lisa
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http://students.asucla.ucla.edu/documents/resolutions/anti-islamophobia.pdf

http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/david-horowitz-totalitarians-within.html

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adenam
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What Samp said:
quote:
There's like a complete disconnect between what this document proposes and what capaxinfiniti is describing.

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Rakeesh
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*snort* Lisa, it still astonishes me that someone as cynical and wary as you would link to that particular website and not laugh uproariously. "Here, in order to complain about how biased these Muslims are, we take you to the choir-preaching liberal-hating neoconservatives."

Yeah.

----

Dan, you *are* aware that the initial complaint made in this thread is false at best, deceptive at worst, yes? Is that relevant to the discussion, or shall we talk instead about how Islam as a group is sufficiently collectively worse than 'we' are that we get to make blanket generalizations?

(Without also acknowledging that whenever someone does it about *us*, it's wrong.)

---

Capax, will you link us to the story you read about this proposal, so we can see why you think this way? Because it's quite clear you haven't read it or aren't responding to the document. Or is this one of the occasions where, because they're college campus Muslims, you don't have to actually look at what they say-you just know already?

I suppose it could be worse, they could be gay-activist anti war commie college campus Muslims.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Do you guys think mainstream Muslims see the terrorists like mainstream Christians saw David Koresh? That is to say, crazy, clearly twisting holy words to their own violent leanings and not a part of "their" group/religion?

I've known a few Muslims...not a whole lot, but they strike me as a good sort of people, and while Muhammad lead his people in war, generally speaking (as far as I know) the Koran calls for peace and brotherhood.

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Ron Lambert
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Are we allowed to disagree with Islam? Or is that a stoning offense, too?

The basic problem that does truly seem to be inherent in Islam is its fundamental intolerance, and willingness to force people to accept Islam if they are in a position where they can apply force.

The cowardliness of Islamic governments making it a capital crime to convert to another religion--especially to Christianity--and a capital crime even for Christians to speak openly about their beliefs, is an offense against God and mankind. If Moslems really believe their religion is the truth, then let them have the courage to allow free and open competition in the marketplace of ideas.

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Rakeesh
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As someone who doesn't actually believe in the free and fair competition of ideas, it takes a bit of nerve for you to say that. Your claim that Islam 'seems' fundamentally intolerant is nonsense as well. Suffice to say it doesn't measure up in historical or modern terms-throughout history we've seen Muslims at different times and places co-existing peacefully or even openly tolerating religious differences when they govern.

As for the modern era and islam's fundamental intolerance, you've been posed several examples in this thread why that's a foolish claim as well. I don't expect you to ever acknowledge that, though-or even to back off of your claim of fundamental intolerance to something more along the lines of, "Islamic cultures and governments have problems with intolerance," a much easier case to make.

I wonder if you can find me a modern majority-Christian society in which Christianity got it's start in the free, unforced marketplace of ideas. I likewise wonder if you'll take note that the concerns raised in this thread bear little relation to the actual document.

But neither of those things are things you have to do, are they? You're not obliged to be honest about this issue anymore than you are about politics.

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Ron Lambert
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Rakeesh, anyone who would actually claim that Islam is not intolerant simply does not live on the same planet. Do you deny that most Islamic governments actually have a death penalty for anyone who would convert from Islam, and forbids Christians to speak openly about their beliefs, also on pain of death? If Islam influences the governments it controls to kill anyone who challenges Islam's hegemony in any way, that seems like a pretty undeniable example of sheer and total intolerance.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

Dan, you *are* aware that the initial complaint made in this thread is false at best, deceptive at worst, yes? Is that relevant to the discussion, or shall we talk instead about how Islam as a group is sufficiently collectively worse than 'we' are that we get to make blanket generalizations?

(Without also acknowledging that whenever someone does it about *us*, it's wrong.)

Come on now, are you really doing this to me on Hatrack of all places? I'm to be held accountable for the topic of the thread? Who cares about the topic of the thread! [Razz]

Don't read more into my comment than is there. I'm not commenting on the thread topic, I'm committing a heinous act of derailment. I was just asking a question. I got an answer, too. If you'd like to criticize the question I asked, go right ahead (Heck, I generally appreciate your criticisms, Rakeesh, because they tend to be quite reasonable) but don't criticize me for what you inferred from my one-sentence question, please.

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Olivet
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There were Christians who hunted Mormons, and there still are Christians who blow up buildings, or kill people because of their religious views. There isn't usually a huge outcry among Christians denouncing clinic bombers and doctor-killers. Some do, but it's not usually sexy enough to make the news.

My only real experience of Muslims and their culture/family life came from my Albanian Muslim friends when we lived in Chicago. The family took me under their collective wing and treated me like a daughter. I've sat with my friend Nurdon in a restaurant during the month of Ramadan, sipping water until the sun went down and we could order. [Smile] My son's current BFF, Lutfi, and Wendy, his mom, are Muslim. We've been camping together. So, no. I don't automatically think "terrorist" when I hear "Muslim."

There was a time when predominantly Muslim countries produced some of the most well-educated women I have ever met. They were still Muslim. Many Muslims look on in horror at what passes for their religion in some places, these days.

When the fundamentalist extremists take over, civilization declines. That's pretty evident, I think. More evidence of this phenomenon may be forthcoming, unless we are very lucky. ;P

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Shanna
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No one group speaks for Islam and the Islam people. An "Islamic government" is not representative of Islam. Despite being an atheist, I have a deep respect for the Christian faith and have read the bible many times. And it doesn't take a biblical scholar to take issue with abusive Catholic priests. Despite being in an authoritative position within the Christian faith, these priests are not representative of the Christian belief system. Just as terrorists and "Islamic governments" are not representative of the Islamic faith. They distort the religion the very religion they hide behind.

Having read both the Bible and the Koran in their entirety, I found examples of extreme violence in both. I also found messages of tolerance, peace, and equality in both.

Its unfortunate that so many Americans have probably never developed close friendships with Muslim individuals. My best friend in junior high and high school came from a Muslim Indian family. They were educated, hard-working, driven Americans who were always the most gracious people when I would come over for sleepovers. My friend's mom even made it a point to fully stock her pantry with my favorite foods when she knew I'd be staying for the weekend (spicy Indian food didn't agree with my Midwestern-style taste buds.)

And when I think of Muslims and 9/11 in the same thought, I don't think of terrorists. I think of my best friend and the horrible things said to her family for months after. Imagine getting on a plane and watching people forfeit their tickets and get off just because of the color of your skin.

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Stephan
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Any religion that says, we are right and you are wrong, in my opinion is inherently intolerant, and has the potential of turning into what Islam has in some countries.
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Jeff C.
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I won't say that Muslims are wrong in their faith or that they don't have a right to follow their faith, but I will say that their holy book says, many times over, that any non-believer should be killed.

Sura (2:191) - And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive un-believers]
Sura (2:244) - Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things.
Sura (2:216) - Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.
Sura (3:151) - "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority."
Sura (4:74) - Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.
Sura (4:89) - They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks
Sura (4:95) - Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward,-
Sura (5:33) - The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement
Sura (8:12) - I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them
Sura (8:15) - O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey's end.
Sura (8:39) - And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah
Sura (8:57) - If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.
Sura (8:59-60) - And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah's Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape. Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy
Sura (9:5) - So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them
Sura (9:20) - Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah's way are of much greater worth in Allah's sight. These are they who are triumphant.
Sura (9:29) - Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
Sura (9:30) - And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!
Sura (9:38-39) - "O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place"
Sura (9:41) - Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew
Sura (9:73) - O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination
Sura (9:88) - But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper.
Sura (9:111) - Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.
Sura (21:44) - We gave the good things of this life to these men and their fathers until the period grew long for them; See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders? Is it then they who will win?
Sura (25:52) - "Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness, with the (Qur'an)."
Sura (47:35) - Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost: for Allah is with you,
Sura (48:17) - There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick (that they go not forth to war). And whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow; and whoso turneth back, him will He punish with a painful doom.
Sura (48:29) - Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves
Sura (61:4) - Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way
Sura (61:10-12) - "O ye who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous Penalty?- That ye believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that ye strive (your utmost) in the Cause of Allah, with your property and your persons: That will be best for you, if ye but knew! He will forgive you your sins, and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, and to beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eternity."
Sura (66:9) - O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey's end.


I pulled those off of a yahoo answers thread where someone was asking for references. These are examples of why some people take issue with the religion as a whole, because of its approach to violence. Granted, Christianity has a vast history of violence just like Islam, but Jesus never went around saying "kill everyone who disagrees with me". Rather, his stance was more of a "live and let live" kind of thing. You know, turn the other cheek. He even referenced the old testament stuff, saying that because he was the Messiah, he brought a new kind of love and forgiveness that was not previously possible.

Of course, other people talk about killing in the name of God throughout the Christian bible, mostly in the old testament, but Jesus was a man of peace and he is the figurehead of the religion, just like Muhammed is for Islam, so let's compare the two.

Christ says numerous times to use compassion, but he also warns to, essentially, stay on your guard because people will try to kill those who spread new ideas. He advocates a more defensive role, rather than hostility. He was a realist and an idealist, not a warlord.

Muhammed, unlike Christ, said numerous times to kill everyone who wasn't a Muslim, and he made war against anyone who disagreed with him, killing thousands in the process. And that is their prophet, mind you, not just some random figure from the book. There's a fundamental problem with that when you're trying to argue that Islam is about peace. Truthfully, it can't be; not unless the entire world is full of Muslims. Muhammed went around spreading his religion, but if you disagreed...you died. That's just how it went. You can argue Christians did this too eventually, but I'm not comparing followers here, but rather the figurehead that started it all.

You can see the difference, I think, between the perspectives of these two men.

Moving on, some people choose to disregard certain themes in their holy books, which I think is fine, but you have to ask yourself...what would Jesus/Muhammed do? Would Muhammed approve of killing Christians? Well, you know what, he probably would because that's what he said to do. Would Jesus say to go out and kill atheists? It seems very unlikely considering he never lifted a sword and he was an advocate of forgiveness. Those are the key differences. How people interpret them is a different story.

Of course, I don't think we should tell Muslims they can't do anything or discriminate against them, because there's a pretty big difference between American Muslims and the ones you find in the Middle East. The American Muslims seem to have adapted their belief system. They more or less had to, after all, what with being surrounded by non-believers. But it's different over there because most of that area believes as they do. They're brought up in a violent world where the Quran is viewed much more traditionally. Couple that with the fact that they NEED someone to blame and hate for the state of the world they live in, well, it seems logical (and easier) to point the finger at us. Their religion even tells them it's OK (what with all the talk about killing non-believers), so why not try to bomb us?

That's just what I think, anyway.

[ June 02, 2011, 12:46 PM: Message edited by: Jeff C. ]

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Blayne Bradley
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And the god of the Christian bible is a genocidal bigoted prick until he 'changed his mind'.
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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Do you guys think mainstream Muslims see the terrorists like mainstream Christians saw David Koresh?
Bad analogy as David Koresh wasn't following mainstream Christian dogma, and in past centuries he would have been burned as a heretic.

I do believe however that mainstream Orthodox Christians saw Karadjic and Mladic like mainstream Muslims see the terrorists.

quote:
That is to say, crazy,
As far as I know, Osama Bin Laden wasn't any more crazy than any other religious person. I don't want Muslims to consider Osama Bin Laden a non-Muslim, I want them to reject him even *though* he was a Muslim.

Same way that I don't need Catholics to say that past Popes weren't Catholic, for me to want them to reject the Inquisition.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
The basic problem that does truly seem to be inherent in Islam is its fundamental intolerance,
Judaism has gotten over its fundamental intolerance. Islam can too.

Christianity is different in *its texts* from either of the above just because it began as a religion of slaves, and thus had to teach patience, not conquest and/or genocide. In its practice it HAS NOT been: When Christians got power they skinned the flesh of people like Hypatia and burned heretics alive and so forth.

In medieval times life as a Christian in the Islamic world was much more tolerable than life as a Muslim in the Christian world.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Good points Aris, but I wonder if someone claims to be a pacifist and then kills someone, is it fair to still call them a pacifist.

Or to put it another way, if bin Laden and those evil popes went against their religion isn't it unfair on the religion to classify them in that religion still.

I'm not sure bin Laden did go against his religion, as I am not very knowledgeable about Islam. But I'm pretty darn tootin' sure that the popes who okayed the Inquisition/Crusades/child molesting priest cover ups went straight against the bible.

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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
And the god of the Christian bible is a genocidal bigoted prick until he 'changed his mind'.

Sure, but Christianity follows the new, reformed version of God, not the traditional old testament Jewish God. There's a huge difference.

Christianity views God as compassionate, and has ever since the religion was founded. What you're talking about was something that existed long before the religion came to exist, so you can't really blame it for that since it didn't even exist until thousands of years later.

quote:
I'm not sure bin Laden did go against his religion, as I am not very knowledgeable about Islam. But I'm pretty darn tootin' sure that the popes who okayed the Inquisition/Crusades/child molesting priest cover ups went straight against the bible.
Your assumptions are correct. Bin Laden took his views straight out of the Quran, which was how he was able to justify what he did.

The priests and advocates of the Inquisition/crusades/child molestation are hypocrits who don't know what their own bible says.

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:

Sure, but Christianity follows the new, reformed version of God, not the traditional old testament Jewish God. There's a huge difference.

Christianity views God as compassionate, and has ever since the religion was founded. What you're talking about was something that existed long before the religion came to exist, so you can't really blame it for that since it didn't even exist until thousands of years later.

I think this is an excellent case example of doublethink.
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MattP
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quote:
Sure, but Christianity follows the new, reformed version of God, not the traditional old testament Jewish God. There's a huge difference.
But even that decision is a rationalization which has not been consistently applied for the history of Christianity. Many Christians *still* cite Leviticus when condemning homosexuality even while choosing not to stone Sabbath breakers or insubordinate children.

"Cafeteria Christianity" is sometimes used by one group of Christians to criticize another group which, in their opinion, picks and chooses which portions of Christianity they wish to follow. From the non-Christian perspective, there's no such thing as a Christian who isn't a Cafeteria Christian because there are a number of apparent contradictions both within Christian scripture and between Christian scripture and observed reality. These contradictions are typically resolved by making assumptions about literal vs figurative meaning, implying metaphor, or devising some criteria by which to determine that one point of doctrine supersedes another so that the former can be followed and the latter ignored. Even deeper scholarship invokes cultural context at the time of authorship to suggest meaning that may vary from a plain modern-day reading of the words.

I don't see any reason why Islam cannot follow a similar path. Every indication is that it already has. As already pointed out, the Islamic extremist is largely a product of certain political and cultural environments, rather than the religion itself.

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Samprimary
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quote:
I don't see any reason why Islam cannot follow a similar path. Every indication is that it already has. As already pointed out, the Islamic extremist is largely a product of certain political and cultural environments, rather than the religion itself.
Yeah, muslims are going to do exactly what christians, buddhists, hindus, shenism/taoists, and even the tiny runner-up religions (shinto, sikhs, jews, jainists, etc) do on a fairly regular basis: pull apart and eventually schism along lines determined by political and cultural environments more than what the religion used to declaratively be about.

That the vast, vast majority of muslims worldwide don't and never will think they have a requirement at all to kill nonbelievers and apostates is as wholly unsurprising to me as the fact that christians won't stone you to death for wearing a cotton/polyester blend, or whatever. You can be part of any religion and say 'aha, muslims are supposed to do this!!' and it's true — as true as the thousands of thousands of things that you're technically supposed to be doing, but which have been creatively explained away by selective interpretation.

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Jeff C.
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I agree that they could and probably will get there eventually, to the point where they are more liberal with their beliefs, but it isn't even close to being there yet. The main reason for this is because there are more than a few nations that bind themselves to the religion and stick to all those archaic laws that the other religions have gotten rid of. Islam is almost as old as Christianity, but it still, as a whole, trends toward conservative thinking. Granted there are muslims who are a little more "cafeteria" in their beliefs, but it's not really like that oversees (Iran is a prime example).

How many nations will go around killing nonbelievers if they start preaching another religion? How many still stone people to death for having sex before marriage or having an affair? The Muslim faith plays more of a role in the way those countries are run than Christianity does in America (despite what you may or may not believe, it is not illegal to go out and declare yourself an Athiest, a Catholic, a Satanist, a Jew, or even a Muslim). The law in America cannot touch you. In fact, one of our fundamental laws says "separation of church and state" because we used to be just like those other countries, except with Christianity (Salem witch trials, for example), but we've since moved on. I believe this will eventually happen to the Muslim countries as well, and probably to the faith as a whole, but I certainly don't think they're already there. To say they are is proposterous.

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kmbboots
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Jeff, one thing that I think that you are missing is that Islam, rather than not "being there yet", was "there" when we Christians were burning people at the stake. (And if you think that Christians are "there" ask the Muslims of Srebrenica.) It is bad for religions in general to let the fundamentalists take charge.

I agree that the joining of religion and state is a bad thing; I oppose it in this so-called "Christian" nation.

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Rakeesh
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Basically, you're suggesting that a religion can be defined by what theocracies or fundamentalist governments do in its name, Jeff C.

This would be much more compelling if, y'know, Christians didn't strongly object to that idea both historically and in modern times, specifically referring to every time some small town somewhere does something absurd in the name of religion...that cannot be said to be representative of Christianity, or even the Christianity if that region.

It's always, always some people misinterpreting things or being 'bad Christians'. Unless they're Muslims.

It should also be noted that there isn't a society that exists that is secular where that shift wasn't opposed on religious grounds in the past. The Western world in particular, it's a bit baffling to claim they reached their more or less tolerant viewpoints when those ideologies have been *routinely* (in the beginning) rejected on religious grounds. Humanist is *still* a dirty word in some religious circles.

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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Sure, but Christianity follows the new, reformed version of God, not the traditional old testament Jewish God. There's a huge difference.
But even that decision is a rationalization which has not been consistently applied for the history of Christianity. Many Christians *still* cite Leviticus when condemning homosexuality even while choosing not to stone Sabbath breakers or insubordinate children.
Actually, I'd say the new testament version of the anti-homosexual theory probably comes from Paul's words in Romans 1:26-27, where he directly talks against it.

Still, I personally have no problem with homosexuals or anyone else for that matter, so please don't assume I do based on this discussion. I'm simply trying to explain why I feel like Islam still has a ways to go before it "catches up" with Judaism, Buddhism, and Christianity, in terms of mass-change and adaptation.

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kmbboots
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Rakeesh, just for clarification, I was noting that Srebrenica was as representative of Christianity as various assorted monstrosities are representative of Islam.

Jeff, you still seem unaware that Islam for centuries was a model of tolerance. Far more than Christianity has been through much of our history. If certain groups have fallen into fundamentalism it should serve as a warning to religion in general rather than an indictment of Islam in particular.

ETA: Jeff, if you would like me to put Paul's mention of homosexuality in Romans in some context for you, I would be glad to do so.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
How many nations will go around killing nonbelievers if they start preaching another religion? How many still stone people to death for having sex before marriage or having an affair? The Muslim faith plays more of a role in the way those countries are run than Christianity does in America.

Put any religion in these situations (modernity, prosperity, etc) and they change just as readily as Christianity did, along (mostly) the same timelines. Looking at where they are now is an issue of detangling the complex cause of how Islam has impacted its environment versus how its environment impacts Islam. Put practically any religion into the tribalistic, militaristic morass of places like Afghanistan, and by century's end it's unsurprising if it looks a lot like the Taliban.

quote:
I'm simply trying to explain why I feel like Islam still has a ways to go before it "catches up" with Judaism, Buddhism, and Christianity, in terms of mass-change and adaptation.
Sure does, and at least we have some competent assurances that it's moving in the right direction in a lot of places.
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MattP
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quote:
Actually, I'd say the new testament version of the anti-homosexual theory probably comes from Paul's words in Romans 1:26-27, where he directly talks against it.
I'm not saying there isn't *also* an arguable case against homosexuality in the New Testament, but that a number of Christians continue to cite the supposedly no longer applicable portions of the Old Testament as well, despite ignoring the majority of the commandments contained therein.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/man-tattoos-leviticus-1822-that-forbids-homosexua

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Darth_Mauve
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I listened to an AM Radio religious talk show on Islam a month or so ago. I do that just to make sure I don't live in an echo chamber.

Here is what they said.

"The Koran says that Muslims can lie to non-Muslims, so no non-Muslim can ever trust what a Muslim says. So any time someone says they are a moderate Muslim you must expect them to lie."

"The Koran says that Muslims must convert everyone, and anyone who does not convert must die."

"Muslims are working together all over the world to convert our kill all non-Muslims, and blame it on the extremists. They are obviously all extremist."

"Shirah law is a government, not a religion."

"Islam is a form of Government, not a real religion. Hence any laws against it are allowed, as simple fight against treason and defense of our government."

This was all building up to--Having the US Outlaw Islam.

or worse.

Since they repeatedly said that they were not sure that Outlawing Islam would truly stop secret Muslims from carrying out their evil plans. Deportation won't stop them from attacking us.

What is left?

Genocide in the name of Christianity? Because they see it as self defense, these Christians were suggesting it.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Genocide in the name of Christianity?
Wouldn't be the first time.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Basically, you're suggesting that a religion can be defined by what theocracies or fundamentalist governments do in its name, Jeff C.

This would be much more compelling if, y'know, Christians didn't strongly object to that idea both historically and in modern times, specifically referring to every time some small town somewhere does something absurd in the name of religion...that cannot be said to be representative of Christianity, or even the Christianity if that region.

It's always, always some people misinterpreting things or being 'bad Christians'. Unless they're Muslims.

It should also be noted that there isn't a society that exists that is secular where that shift wasn't opposed on religious grounds in the past. The Western world in particular, it's a bit baffling to claim they reached their more or less tolerant viewpoints when those ideologies have been *routinely* (in the beginning) rejected on religious grounds. Humanist is *still* a dirty word in some religious circles.

I'll try to answer this as best I can, so please excuse me if I forget something. The first part about the governments, I'm not saying that at all. You mention fundamentalist governments, but really, isn't that all of them, as far as Islam goes anyway. From what I've seen, at least in that region of the world, they all seem to follow the same template of rules which are usually based directly on their holy book (do any of them consider adultery an acceptable act?). My point was just that Christianity isn't the national religion of any major country (as far as I know, anyway) in the present world. Granted, it certainly used to be and the Catholics still have that little city-nation in the middle of Rome, but it's not the same thing.

What's more, saying that it's the same when a little town does something silly in the name of christianity as compared to a nation like Iran or Palistine isn't very reasonable. A small little town in Georgia or Maine is still subject to the United States as a country and the laws therein. Iran wants to destroy Israel because it "goes against the Muslim Nation", all the while Iran could be developing nukes and gearing up for a nice little massacre. Is that the same thing as having a little town do something stupid, whether it's hold a protest or something worse? No. No it is not.


kmbboots, I don't need the context. I mentioned that verse because it is one of the ones anti-homosexual Christians use when they try to cite sources and it is located in the New Testament. That was my point. I am not trying to argue one way or the other as far as the meaning goes, simply that it exists. That verse is right up there with the Leviticus one when it comes to the subject.


Matt, I agree with you. A lot of Christians keep looking at the Old Testament because they think it still applies. With Christ's arrival, according to the New Testament itself, many of the old laws are supposed to be put away and replaced. Christians should understand this, but many don't. I suspect it is because they don't read their own bible, but what can you do?

The point I was trying to make was that while Christianity and most other religions have evolved to be a little more politically correct (most of the time), Islam is still a great deal behind in term of how it has changed and progressed. Women are still regarded as property, women can't wear certain clothes, adultery is still punishable by death, openly preaching another religion can still get you arrested and killed, and so on. It's like visiting another time period, to an extent, which is partially why everyone seems to be clashing with them. It also doesn't help that they live in a horrible envirnment and are basically born into war, just like those child soldiers in Africa.

I'm not saying I don't think they deserve a place in the world. I'm saying they need to evolve. If they don't then this holy war isn't going to end anytime soon, and a lot more of them are going to end up dead because of it.

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kmbboots
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Jeff, what I am taking issue with is that you think that Islam needs to "catch up" or that they are "behind". I am trying to convey some sense of history that you are overlooking. For most of the history of both religions, Islam was "ahead" of Christianity in terms of tolerance. That they may be "behind" now is not because they haven't gotten as far as we have, but because, when linked with oppressive government, poverty, and so forth, certain groups of Muslims have fallen back from where they once were. As could we under similar circumstances.
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Rakeesh
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Jeff C.,

quote:
You mention fundamentalist governments, but really, isn't that all of them, as far as Islam goes anyway. From what I've seen, at least in that region of the world, they all seem to follow the same template of rules which are usually based directly on their holy book (do any of them consider adultery an acceptable act?).
Look, we're both laypeople here, but I think you'll find that they don't in fact use the same template of rules, first off. There are different sects within Islam just as with any other gigantic religion. Forty years ago, for example, things would not have looked quite so religious in Iran-the popular example today among folks claiming a 'fundamental' intolerance in Islam. The fact that things are different now is, some would say, as much political as religious. So I don't grant your premise.

quote:
My point was just that Christianity isn't the national religion of any major country (as far as I know, anyway) in the present world. Granted, it certainly used to be and the Catholics still have that little city-nation in the middle of Rome, but it's not the same thing.
I know your point wasn't that Christianity is a state religion in the sense of a theocracy anymore. But when comparing Islam and Christianity and finding the one more tolerant and using the latter's acceptance of secularized government as an example...well, it bears mentioning that Christians didn't just say, "Alright-time to have secular governments now." It was a struggle. Much like governments that are heavily entwined with Islam in the present day.

quote:

What's more, saying that it's the same when a little town does something silly in the name of christianity as compared to a nation like Iran or Palistine isn't very reasonable. A small little town in Georgia or Maine is still subject to the United States as a country and the laws therein. Iran wants to destroy Israel because it "goes against the Muslim Nation", all the while Iran could be developing nukes and gearing up for a nice little massacre. Is that the same thing as having a little town do something stupid, whether it's hold a protest or something worse? No. No it is not.

Well. I didn't say it was the same thing. No. No, I didn't.

What I said was that if we're going to start looking to what a government does in the name of religion and then say, "This religion is fundamentally 'y' as seen by example 'x'," Christians will have some unpleasant explaining to do whenever some small town government does something ridiculous in the name of religion.

That's not what happens, of course. What happens is that those guys, even in that town, are brushed off as unfortunate examples of 'bad' Christians, fundamentalist kooks not representative of the faith as a whole. Because of course everyone knows Christians aren't like that. Despite what some of them start to do once they begin to blur the line between...church and state. That was my point.

Also, what can Iran be said to want? The Iran that currently has a, by most people's measure, unlawfully seated President that wasn't elected by its people? That Iran? Is this where we Americans, totally secure in our free society and not really facing the possibility of a police state (regardless of what hysterical right- and left-wingers will have you believe, and it's worth mentioning they don't actually believe that kind of thing when they say it)...is this where we Americans say, "Well if they don't want that, why don't they just overthrow their government like we did?"

Some of the things in here I'm responding to you haven't said. I know that, so please don't think I'm applying them to you, Jeff C. I'm just remembering shades of this conversation, and the way it often goes.

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MattP
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quote:
My point was just that Christianity isn't the national religion of any major country (as far as I know, anyway) in the present world.
No, but when it was it was often every bit as bad as the Islamic theocracies. The lesson here is that theocracies are dangerous, not any particular religion and it is those nations, not the religion they claim to represent, that have some catching up to do. There are secular Islamic nations and those nations are quite "modern"/"western" in their construction and cultural mores.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Jeff, what I am taking issue with is that you think that Islam needs to "catch up" or that they are "behind". I am trying to convey some sense of history that you are overlooking. For most of the history of both religions, Islam was "ahead" of Christianity in terms of tolerance. That they may be "behind" now is not because they haven't gotten as far as we have, but because, when linked with oppressive government, poverty, and so forth, certain groups of Muslims have fallen back from where they once were. As could we under similar circumstances.

Kmboots, I understand what you're saying, and I completely agree, but that's not what the point was in what I was saying. I was referring to the current state of Islam affairs in the world. Sure, they used to be better off and they've fallen behind, but all that really means is that they are, in fact, behind. In a race (and I'm not saying it is a race, by any means), if car A passes car B in an early lap, but car B passes car A later on, isn't car A behind? Does it lose if car B wins? In other words, saying that Islam as a whole was ahead and has only recenty fallen behind still proves that it is, in fact, behind. And that was all I was saying. As a whole, the religion needs to evolve. To get with the times, so to speak, if it is to survive.


Rakeesh, I can understand what you're saying about it being political, too, because (let's face it), people use religion all the time as a means of conveying their politics. However, with Islam, it happens much more frequently in today's world and in many countries whose politics take the worst parts of the religion and include them as part of their own political laws. Now, I'm not saying that this can't be fixed, but these beliefs are spread throughout the region and not just in a single, particular country. It would prove quite difficult to change things, but hey, I guess we can try.

You mentioned Iran and argued against it being a prime example of Islamic belief, but what about the like-minded nations around it? They might not get along with Iran, but they still have their fair share of American and Jewish hate built up, and they still all have similar laws regarding the treatment of women and of non-believers. Those are religious laws, not just the state's. How do you get rid of those laws without upsetting the religious community from which they originated?

Also, and I'm just saying this as a joke so don't take this part seriously, but you mention the thing about revolting...didn't two (primarily Muslim) countries just do that? Just sayin' [Evil]


Matt, I agree. Theocracies suck, but my point wasn't the history surrounding them, but rather that in present day, Islam-centric nations tend to have a stronger tendancy to be that way. It's just the way it is right now. Christians certainly have a history of the same kind of thing, just like every other religion, but right now it's the Muslim's time to shine (in that regard), which means that they will probably evolve at some point as well.


I like to think of history as repeating, except with different people backing the same kind of thing. Christianity had the crusades, and now the Muslims have their own Holy War. I'm sure the Jews and the Buddhists had their own drama at some point too. Right now, though, the Muslims are up to bat and they're going to have to get through it and move on. They have to break out of their fundamentalist perceptions and get back to where they were (if kmboots is indeed correct). I know it sucks to think like that, but that's how it seems to me right now.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Christianity had the crusades, and now the Muslims have their own Holy War.
Wait, where's the equivalence here?
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Christianity had the crusades, and now the Muslims have their own Holy War.
Wait, where's the equivalence here?
Because they are both holy wars? What's not to understand?
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kmbboots
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Jeff, rather than a straight race, try thinking of it as a race where cars sometimes slow and sometimes even go backwards. The Islam "car" is just as capable of moving fast as the Christian car and the Christian car is just as likely to turn around and go back to the starting line. Evolving, as you keep putting it, implies only forward progress.

Also, you are basing your view of Islam almost entirely on Middle Eastern Muslims and they have difficulties specific to that region. And even that troubled area has countries like Qatar that are still doing quite well in the "race".

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TomDavidson
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I don't know that that's true, Kate; some religions are better than others for some things. Islam, for example, was a great religion for instituting slightly-better-than-average medieval-era law, because that law was actually explicitly written into a religion that relied on scholarly judges' interpretations of what is said to be the literal word of God. This makes the religion slightly flexible at the edges, but extremely inflexible at its core. Compare the method of changing traditional Islamic belief to, say, the method of changing traditional Mormon belief, or traditional Baptist belief; all of these things are possible, but all require very different movements.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Because they are both holy wars? What's not to understand?
The scope of the multiple Crusades vs the terrorist activities of late are hugely different.

The Crusades were over 200 years, with over a 1/4 million deaths and many nations contributing to what was basically an invasion which was actively encouraged by the Pope/Roman Catholic Church.

The terrorist efforts of extreme Muslims are rejected by most Muslims, and the scale of murder is again, hugely different.

It seems like an unfair comparison Jeff.

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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
My point was just that Christianity isn't the national religion of any major country (as far as I know, anyway) in the present world.

Um, England?
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MattP
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Not in any meaningful way. The Church of England has no effective authority over the governance of the country.
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theamazeeaz
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Still the "national religion", just like England is still a monarchy.
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MattP
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Right, but were talking about theocracies. Context.
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