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October 22, 2001
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"To me, every fundamentalist Muslim, no matter how peaceable in his own behavior, is part of a murderous movement and is thus, in some fashion, a foot soldier in the war that bin Laden has launched against civilization." a comment by Daniel Pipes If Muslim fundamentalists are this bad I wonder what his views are of the other religious fundamentalists
posted by Qambient (49 comments total)

 
I'm not defending Jerry Fawel, but the last I checked, there are no fundamentalist christians blowing themselves up in crowded restaurants, or, say, flying 757s into buildings.
posted by Witold at 12:50 PM on October 22, 2001


No ... Just mass murdering like Jim Jones, David Koresh, Heavans Gate and Tim McVeigh. Or doing it slowly, one abortion doctor at a time. That's only in the US. What about the Irish and other christianity driven groups. .
posted by Dillenger69 at 12:58 PM on October 22, 2001


But there are fundamentalist Christians blowing holes in abortion doctors. And extreme environmentalists on the left spiking trees. And Scientologists making murderously terrible movies.

Zealots suck, and they're not confined to any one ideology.
posted by Skot at 12:58 PM on October 22, 2001


Zealots suck, but certain beliefs breed zealots. There aren't many, say, atheist zealots bombing churches.
posted by Doug at 1:02 PM on October 22, 2001


No, but don't you think murdering one peron is quite enough to get you into hell?
Not that I believe in hell, but luckily most (christian) fundamentalists do. Therefore I'm pretty convinved they'll end up there, while I on the other hand will just die.
posted by ginz at 1:03 PM on October 22, 2001


Religions suck. Eventually, they will cause the downfall of society.
posted by howa2396 at 1:05 PM on October 22, 2001


Eventually society will cause the downfall of society.
posted by fuq at 1:13 PM on October 22, 2001


To me, every nationalist American, no matter how peaceable in his own behavior, is part of a murderous movement and is thus, in some fashion, a foot soldier in the war that the US government has launched against civilization.
posted by dogmatic at 1:18 PM on October 22, 2001


howa2396: Almost every human society since the beginning has been very religious, its only been in the past few hundred years that 'secular' societies have emerged. Religions do cause problems, but I don't think that you can say religion is going to cause the downfall of society, since the two have gone hand in hand for thousands of years

And there have been some murderous Atheists (Stalin, Pol-pot, etc), but they didn't do their killing in the name of Atheism, just various secular ideologies. Belief in the supernatural, it would seem, is not a key component in a murderous ideology.
posted by delmoi at 1:21 PM on October 22, 2001


Eventually society will cause the downfall of society.

Communists and Fascists have done a better job, at least so far.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:24 PM on October 22, 2001


One more thing. Qambient picked probably the most incindeary comment in the artical, the author of which clearly has no problem with 'regular' Muslims, and belives that Fundementalist islam is a corruption of such.
posted by delmoi at 1:25 PM on October 22, 2001


One more thing. Qambient picked probably the most incindeary comment in the artical, the author of which clearly has no problem with 'regular' Muslims, and belives that Fundementalist islam is a corruption of such.
posted by delmoi at 1:26 PM on October 22, 2001


Belief in the supernatural, it would seem, is not a key component in a murderous ideology

Bingo. Belief in something greater than mere life is the key component. Stalinists murder in the name of The People and "historical imperative". Nazis murder in the name of Aryan Destiny. Religious nutcases murder in the name of their god.

...they're all doing the same thing, they just attach different names.
posted by aramaic at 1:27 PM on October 22, 2001


ParisParamus: Are you sure? How far back does your history book go? Only the past 100 years?
posted by ginz at 1:30 PM on October 22, 2001


There aren't many, say, atheist zealots bombing churches.

To the contrary, Doug, I think "atheist zealots bombing churches" succinctly describes the ongoing destruction by the Chinese of Tibetan temples and monasteries.

"Atheist China views religion as feudal superstition though it tolerates a
limited degree of religious freedom.

"Religious culture... not only hampers social development and economic
development, but also stops people becoming more civilised," the official Tibet
Daily said in an edition seen in Beijing on Thursday."
posted by quercus at 1:32 PM on October 22, 2001


hopefully, society will eventually cause the downfall of religion. closed systems and all that.
posted by luriete at 1:35 PM on October 22, 2001


i am so sick of hearing "tim mcveigh" every time the fact is brought up that certain people who call themselves fundamentalist muslims are killing in the most abhorrent way. mcveigh AFAIK was not particularly religious....his ideology gone haywire was 'patriotism'.

and calling "Jim Jones, David Koresh, Heavans Gate" either murderers or christians is very debateable.

i think the scary point from the article is the 10-15% number. i don't think you'll find 10-15% of christians supporting abortion clinic bombings or 10-15% of 'patriots' supporting bombing federal buildings.

personally, i agree that everyone who holds up a poster in support of bin laden is a footsoldier in the war. dogmatic, you can twist things and say that everyone who waves an american flag is a footsoldier too if you want. i think both sides would wear the title proudly.
posted by danOstuporStar at 1:48 PM on October 22, 2001


Religion enables mortals to control others, even though it is borne of the divine, humanity is flawed and power corrupts. The wave of 'patriotism' is just as nauseating as any sort of religious fundamentalism; it promotes the belief that some mass of varied elements which is inherently flawed is superior. It's up to us not to mirror our enemies, and all credit to Jesus, he was pretty much the top man to demonstrate how to do that. What a shame most Christians look to the semantics in the edited words of the reporters, rather than the actual behaviour of the big J.
posted by boneybaloney at 1:50 PM on October 22, 2001


To the contrary, Doug, I think "atheist zealots bombing churches" succinctly describes the ongoing destruction by the Chinese of Tibetan temples and monasteries.

Indeed. Too many atheists have this idea that they’re in better company than any religion. They’re not.

Belief in the supernatural, it would seem, is not a key component in a murderous ideology.
Belief in something greater than mere life is the key component.

Yes, yes, yes. While it may be true that there are less suicidal atheists—there is no heaven but, then again, remember that there is no hell—that does not decrease the ability of an atheist to be evil. Therefore, attaching crazies to religions is just another way people advance their own beliefs. Moslems bash Christians, Christians bash Moslems, and atheists say they all suck. I try to tune all of it out.
posted by gleemax at 1:52 PM on October 22, 2001


"a foot soldier in the war that the US government has launched against civilization."

I don't understand what you're getting at. I must be behind on the latest conspiracy theories. Why does the US government hate civilization? And why are they trying to return us to the stone age? And how could bombing Afghanistan possible bring this about?

So, since I'm a patriotic American, I'm part of some movement to end civilization? I had no idea.

Or are you saying that the US is attacking all civilized people? But if that's the case, then am I not a foot soldier in a bloody war against myself?

Wow. That's deep.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:53 PM on October 22, 2001


You got me there, quercus. Good point.
posted by Doug at 1:59 PM on October 22, 2001


"To me, every fundamentalist Muslim, no matter how peaceable in his own behavior, is part of a murderous movement and is thus, in some fashion, a foot soldier in the war that bin Laden has launched against civilization."

The only problem with this statement is who determines exactly what the definition of a "fundamentalist Muslim" is...
posted by laz-e-boy at 2:00 PM on October 22, 2001


danOstuporStar: you're the only one who mentioned Tim McVeigh in this thread.

As for the Chinese destroying buddist temples, well, they arn't doing it when people are in them, which is the point. (not that I'd even heard of them doing it at all). There is a big diffrence between leveling a church to build a highway or whatever, and killing thousands of people...
posted by delmoi at 2:02 PM on October 22, 2001


Fundamentalists of any stripe suck. Even atheist fundys.
Moderation in all things.
Including moderation.
I've been moderated before.
I can handle it.
posted by nofundy at 2:12 PM on October 22, 2001


"The wave of 'patriotism' is just as nauseating as any sort of religious fundamentalism;"

I take exception to that. In fact, I *do* feel that the US system (our "mass of varied elements"), while not without flaws, is superior. Maybe you don't agree, but what is wrong with me thinking that? Why is that nauseating?

And how is it the same as asking me to believe God wants me to murder thousands of civilians?

Do you feel this contempt for all patriots? Including those like myself that spend time educating themselves on the issues? Or do you just assume patriots are idiots because they don't agree with you?
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:12 PM on October 22, 2001


delmoi: not
posted by walrus at 2:14 PM on October 22, 2001


(not that I'd even heard of them doing it at all). There is a big diffrence between leveling a church to build a highway or whatever, and killing thousands of people...


Have you heard of the Cultural Revolution?
posted by gazingus at 2:16 PM on October 22, 2001


Oops ... not the 1st person to mention McVeigh, that should have been.
posted by walrus at 2:17 PM on October 22, 2001


Hrm. I did a text search of the page. Oh well. Sorry :P

As for the cultural revolution, quercus said "To the contrary, Doug, I think "atheist zealots bombing churches" succinctly describes the ongoing destruction by the Chinese of Tibetan temples and monasteries" the cultural revolution ended in 1976

This site really needs threaded discussion...
posted by delmoi at 2:49 PM on October 22, 2001


From Barbara Ehrenreich's 1997 book "Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War" [New York Times site]:

" To say that war may be, in an emotional sense, a close relative of religion is not to pass moral judgment on either of these ancient institutions...This is one of humankind's great natural "highs," and is, perhaps paradoxically, as likely to be experienced at an anti-war demonstration as at a pro-war rally. But it is a high that can be most reliably experienced in contemplation of an enemy--the "Viet Cong" or, for that matter, the military-industrial complex--which both excites our adrenaline and serves to unite us..."
posted by Carol Anne at 3:03 PM on October 22, 2001


(not that I'd even heard of them doing it at all). There is a big difference between leveling a church to build a highway or whatever, and killing thousands of people...

delmoi: Am I reading you right? Are you really disputing China's despicable record on religious freedom? China routinely disregards it's citizens most basic human rights in the name of stability (a lesson, incidentially, for American's to consider at this point in history). They're not exactly building highways over there.

Seriously, ask anybody who's lived under a communist regime (parts of the old Russia, for example) whether or not atheists are capable of religious oppression by force.
posted by gd779 at 3:21 PM on October 22, 2001


I think it is important to keep in mind that while 'patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel' (Samuel Johnson) that doesn't mean that all patriots are scoundrels.

Much the same way most Christian fundamentalists don't kill abortion doctors - some do - most don't.

It reminds me of something that Hakeem Olajuwan said right after the WTC disaster. He said that the terrorists where not Islamic Fundamentalists. The fundamentals of Islamic faith are simple, prayer, charity, fasting, and a couple of others (I can't remember them but I know they don't include mass murder) They were Islamic extremists. There is a big difference between the two.
posted by srboisvert at 3:22 PM on October 22, 2001


The parallel I drew between patriotism and fundamentalism is that both require a suspense of logic. The purpose of patriotism is to polarise an entire nation (in a positive way), the yang of which to polarise an entire branch of a religion (in a negative way). If Islamic fundamentalism is so bad, how come the Saudis are our allies?... oh yeah I forgot. Sorry. Patriotism is very useful for governments, it gives them carte blanche to do whatever 'in the name of our great country which can do no wrong'. It's hard to remember how flawed America was a couple of months ago, isn't it?
posted by boneybaloney at 4:01 PM on October 22, 2001


If "patriotism" means putting up more flags, buying more gas-guzzling SUVs to "keep America rolling", blindly following our leaders, and stifling any disagreement with our national lust to use terror to further our own greedy aims, then "patriotism" IS nauseating.

And that's exactly the kind of two-bit "patriotism" that is rampant in this country right now.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 4:35 PM on October 22, 2001


Almost every human society since the beginning has been very religious, its only been in the past few hundred years that 'secular' societies have emerged.

Almost every human society since the beginning has been one of very primitive technology. It's only been in the past few hundred years that "technological" societies have emerged.

Your point?
posted by rushmc at 5:06 PM on October 22, 2001


Too many atheists have this idea that they’re in better company than any religion. They’re not.

There, once again, is the flaw in the reasoning of the religious toward the non-religious. Atheists are no more a part of a select "company" than are all the people in the world who don't believe in leprechauns. They are simply individuals who do not choose to accept a particular (and some would say, preposterous) hypothesis without cause. They may on occasion share other traits, views, beliefs, philosophies, activities--but there is no causal link, and as often as not, they won't.

This is very different from religious folks, who by very definition share certain key beliefs that link them to some degree.
posted by rushmc at 5:10 PM on October 22, 2001


There is a definite historical relationship between fundamentalism in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and violence. The earliest religious terrorists (i.e., the Assassins in 1090 A.D., and Zealots-Sicarii in the first century A.D.) justified their actions as the purification of their respective religions. All three religious traditions include metaphors that invoke violence and war imagery to illustrate the struggle between good and evil. Unfortunately, fundamentalists tend to interpret much of the metaphorical stuff literally and the exclusionary nature of the three religions ("there is no god but my god") reinforces the notion that it's okay to purge the religious community of unsavory elements through violence.

any casual student of comparative religion and much of today's mainstream public knows that Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are part of the same general religious traditions and "Allah," "God," and "Jehovah" are basically the same diety. The fundies, however, usually don't know enough about the historical context to understand this.

Having grown up in the deep south, I have a little firsthand experience with religious fundementalism, and it's an ugly thing. fundamentalism, by its very nature, preaches intolerance for other interpretations of religious traditions, and by extension, intolerance for a hell of a lot of other things. Everyone has a right to believe a strict interpretation of a particular religion, but not when that interpretation mandates the elimination (especially through violence) of other interpretations and people that subscribe to them.
posted by lizs at 6:38 PM on October 22, 2001


There, once again, is the flaw in the reasoning of the religious toward the non-religious.

That’s funny, because I’m an atheist (self link to unfinished and cheesy about page—I’m John). Have been for many years.

Anyway, of course atheists are a group just so much as Christians or Moslems. Think about it. Yes, we only have one ‘belief,’ but it’s an important one. (Now that I preview this, realize that the base belief of the religious is really one—the opposite of atheism, that there is a supreme being—and are just as varied a group as atheists. Instead of having different secular beliefs, they have different secular beliefs as well as different religious beliefs. They’re no more unified than a group of atheists.) To have an atheistic government, for instance, is in effect barring every religion—those who doesn’t agree with you—from participation in government. Only by interfering with religion can government separate religion from government. Take that cheesy list of commandments or whatever and the contrast with the blank slate. Yes, it’s offensive to some atheists. Personally, it’s not offensive to me. I’m proud of not having some stupid ass Bible or holy book to follow—my rules aren’t set in stone, and they can change. Kinda like laws, but without the lag. Did I have a point? Yeah, I lost it. Sorry.
posted by gleemax at 7:46 PM on October 22, 2001


I don't understand what you're getting at. I must be behind on the latest conspiracy theories. Why does the US government hate civilization? And why are they trying to return us to the stone age? And how could bombing Afghanistan possible bring this about?

So, since I'm a patriotic American, I'm part of some movement to end civilization? I had no idea.


No, you're not. At least not any more than the average Muslim being part of a movement to end civilization.

My point is that the argument 'works' equally well both ways, depending upon whose side you're on.
posted by dogmatic at 7:47 PM on October 22, 2001


Everyone has a right to believe a strict interpretation of a particular religion, but not when that interpretation mandates the elimination (especially through violence) of other interpretations and people that subscribe to them.

They have the right to believe whatever they want to believe. They are allowed to think whatever they want to think. However, they are not allowed to break laws, e.g., by acting upon their beliefs and taking out a smelly atheist or something.
posted by gleemax at 7:49 PM on October 22, 2001


They have the right to believe whatever they want to believe. They are allowed to think whatever they want to think. However, they are not allowed to break laws, e.g., by acting upon their beliefs and taking out a smelly atheist or something.

Well, yeah. that's what i meant to say; i just failed to articulate it well. "my right to throw a punch ends at your nose," etc.
posted by lizs at 7:54 PM on October 22, 2001


Yes, we only have one ‘belief,’ but it’s an important one.

Slice it how you will, lack of belief is not a belief. I do not believe that there currently exist living purple monkeys with spinning Jello limbs and Slinky eyes. I lack such a belief. That is not at all to say that I BELIEVE that there are no living purple monkeys with spinning Jello limbs and Slinky eyes. That seems a reasonable guess, given what I know of the world, and if pressed, I would guess that there are none such. But that's not the same as possessing an active belief that there aren't. I don't believe--I not-believe. Show me such a monkey, and I will begin to believe that it exists. I will still not believe that it does not exist, however.
posted by rushmc at 7:59 PM on October 22, 2001


There are two types of atheists: those who disbelieve there is a God and those who deny God exists. I suppose you’re the former and I’m the latter? Does this solve our differences?

Regardless, I still have trouble with your assertion that a disbelief is not a belief. Now I sound like a moron. Okay, let me try again. Purple monkeys aren’t important. But when most of the world believes in a God or gods and you do not, you are in a group with others like yourself, i.e., other atheists. It doesn’t mean you all like red or disbelieve in ghosts or anything else about you, but it does mean you are an atheist, and it almost seems like you don’t agree. As such, forming an atheistic government is akin to forming a religious government. Not because one or the other is good or bad or unstable but because it represents one particular view out of two (maybe three including indecision) possible beliefs. An atheistic government that lets religions be but does not recognize them is as bad as a religious government that lets atheists be but does not recognize them. By recognize I mean accept their view as a valid one. An atheistic government, by definition, cannot recognize a church as having a valid view—after all, there is no God. Same with the opposite.

So...like...you know...and stuff...oh!

So, let me ask you, to clarify. If I say ‘Do you believe God does not exist?’ and ‘Do you not believe in God?’ what difference do you see between the questions? (Specifically, I’m trying to figure out if you have a problem with my wording or my statement.
posted by gleemax at 8:16 PM on October 22, 2001


"my right to throw a punch ends at your nose," etc.

I’ve never heard that before, but it’s damn funny. (Sorry about the confusion above—I come off as an ass sometimes.)
posted by gleemax at 8:18 PM on October 22, 2001


The only problem with this statement is who determines exactly what the definition of a "fundamentalist Muslim" is...

Right on. According to our distinguished Islamists on campus, a "fundamentalist Muslim" is one who follows the fundamental teachings of Islam, which state that to kill innocent people, regardless of their religion, is wrong.

And in case anyone's interested, here is an excerpt from a bit of "patriotism" that my fundamentalist Christian cousin forwarded to our email list last week (her heritage, like mine, is Filipino). It upset me enough to unsubscribe.

(And let me just say that I realize she and her crowd do not represent ALL patriots.)

"I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America...however, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some native Americans, need to understand.

First of all, it is not our responsibility to continually try not to offend you in any way. This idea of America being a multi-cultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language, and our own lifestyle. This culture, called the "American Way" has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom...

We speak English, not Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society - learn our language!"


posted by mirla at 9:53 PM on October 22, 2001


There are two types of atheists: those who disbelieve there is a God and those who deny God exists. I suppose you’re the former and I’m the latter? Does this solve our differences?

I suppose this works, though I would probably have almost as much trouble understanding the "denial" position as a fundamentalist would.

Purple monkeys aren’t important. But when most of the world believes in a God or gods and you do not, you are in a group with others like yourself, i.e., other atheists.

I don't see that the number of people suffering from a delusion matters one whit. If a billion people woke up tomorrow believing in the purple monkeys, it wouldn't change my view at all (though I would certainly wonder about and investigate this radical shift). If I invent the word "purplarian" to describe believers in the monkeys, you could say that I am an anti-purplarian and belong to a group of anti-purplarians. This may be descriptive, but it says NOTHING about my participation in or self-identification with such a group, because it is a false membership.

It doesn’t mean you all like red or disbelieve in ghosts or anything else about you, but it does mean you are an atheist, and it almost seems like you don’t agree.

It's not so much that I don't agree, as I see it as a meaningless distinction that conveys NO information beyond the fact that we share a single viewpoint out of an almost infinite number.

but because it represents one particular view out of two (maybe three including indecision) possible beliefs.

The difference is that this does not represent some minor dispute in dogma, but rather a worldview that consciously rejects belief in random nonsense and basing government upon such principles.

An atheistic government that lets religions be but does not recognize them is as bad as a religious government that lets atheists be but does not recognize them.

I don't have a problem with either type.

By recognize I mean accept their view as a valid one.

But something is not "valid" just because we want to be egalitarian. Belief that imaginary phenomena are real, simply because one wishes it so, is not valid.

So, let me ask you, to clarify. If I say ‘Do you believe God does not exist?’ and ‘Do you not believe in God?’ what difference do you see between the questions? (Specifically, I’m trying to figure out if you have a problem with my wording or my statement.


I tried to explain this in my last post. "Believing" something is an active thing. I believe that I like ice cream. I have reasons I can point to for harboring this belief. I have never eaten tkduilabeeil, so I have no sense of whether I like it or not. It would be absurd for me to "not believe" that I liked it. Not the best example, but I'm out of time for posting this morning, I fear.
posted by rushmc at 6:32 AM on October 23, 2001


Drivel on National Review website... film at eleven...
posted by Paul Dunne at 8:52 AM on October 23, 2001


nbbhmmm
posted by gleemax at 9:37 AM on October 23, 2001


No one blamed the Christians for Timothy McVeigh, but McVeigh didn't claim to act based on his religion, he acted based on his politics.

If people do bad things because they believe that their higher power wants them to do it, that's a religious act. Otherwise it's political or personal or pathological or whatever.

It all goes back to the higher goals that the action is supposed to achieve.
posted by basilwhite at 9:26 AM on October 25, 2001


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