Friday, February 13, 2009

Counterfactual Thought for the Day

Let's play a little game. Let us imagine for a moment that a small group representing less than 1% of all Christians in the world decided to interpret the Bible in an extreme and violent way and began to use it to justify attacks on Muslims and Jews around the world.

Now let us imagine that a European Jew/Muslim politician produced a film of these attacks and juxtaposed them against the following verses in the Bible presented with sub-headings thus:

On the treatment of Non-Believers
"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods . . . thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people . . . If thou shalt hear . . . Certain men . . . have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods . . . Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants ofthat city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword"(Deuteronomy 13:6-15).
On the rule of war and engagement

"And when the Lord thy God hath delivered [a city] into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones . . . shalt thou take unto thyself . . . But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth"(Deuteronomy 20:13-16).
On the treatment of the enemy

"[W]hen the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance of them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord ..." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

“And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both males, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men who were before the house. And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go you forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city” (Ezekiel 9:5-7).
On the subjugation of women

"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and sayunto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the Lord by thy estimation. And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. And if it be a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. And if it be from sixty years old and above, if it be a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female, ten shekels" (Leviticus 27:1-7).

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" ; (1 Timothy 2:11-12).

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church" (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).
On the treatment of errant children

And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die" (Deuteronomy 21:20-21).

"For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death" (Mark 7:10).

"And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death" (Exodus 21:15).

"And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death (Exodus 21:17)."
On the treatment of fatties

And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague" (Numbers 11:32-33).

"The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel" (Psalms 78:31).
On the treatment of those that mock others appearance (the One-eyed Scottish Idiot Rule)

"And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them" (2 Kings 2:23-24).
On engaging in sex during menstruation

"And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people." (Leviticus 20:18).
On the rape of a female virgin

"If a man finds a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days" (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).
Now ask yourself this question. Would the politician making this film be banned from entering the United Kingdom for fear of causing public disorder and outrage amongst the non-fundamentalist Christian majority?

What would be more important? The principle and defence of free speech? Or the belief that everyone has the right not to be offended? You can probably guess what my position is. Now please excuse me whilst I hide behind the pews from the shrapnel that a grenade like this may inevitably cause.

Update: Quick declaration of interest. I am not a Christian. I have however read the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita.

Update II: Have added some more examples to the list just for added point-making purposes.

62 comments:

Henry Crun said...

Let us not forget that in the Bible Belt in America, there are those who use the Bible to promote racism, as did the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa.

The Wilders visit was badly handled by the Second Home Secretary who obviously bowed to pressure from the Islamists in both the HoC and HoL. Let's not forget that it was Lord Ahmed who threatened the violence, not Geert Wilders.

Peter O said...

I think the difference (and it's crucially important) is that I can't think of any "Christian" groups using these texts as a justification for violence. The same is simply not the case for the Q'uranic texts...

dizzy said...

This isa counterfactual, so the crucially important point is moot really. The wider issues relates to defending the free expression of art and speech whether it causes offence or not.

dizzy said...

Additionally it is about whether or not the stand that the Government has taken would ever be applied in reverse which I doubt very much.

Scott P said...

Reposted from a similar debate elsewhere, try the following thought experiment.

Inciting violence is illegal.

Standing on a street corner shouting, for example, “Death to all Liberal Democrats”; illegal.

A book which includes the phrase, “The mighty prophet has decreed that all Liberal Democrats must be put to death”; potentially illegal, should be debated and perhaps banned.

A politician claiming that the book incites violence; free speech.

The press tried to play the counterfactual game with Lord Pearson yesterday, asking if he would allow someone like Hitler to come and preach anti-Semitic views. Pearson replied that he would allow such a person to come and then laugh at them.

The press wilfully misinterpreted that statement asking repeatedly if Pearson thought it was funny, when of course the actual response to such people is ridicule, prompting laughter.

IanVisits said...

It is possibly worth noting that the delightful Westboro Baptist Church (of GodHatesFags fame) is due to arrive in the UK and picket Queen Mary's College in Basingstone on the 20th Feb.

(according to their website - http://www.godhatesfags.com/schedule.html)

I wonder if they will be barred from entering the country due to their regular incitements to hatred against... well, almost everyone as it happens.

Personally, I hope not - but it would at the least by hypocritical of the government to let Phelps and his gang in, while banning Wilders from the same.

Letters From A Tory said...

The fact that one Muslim Lord can complain and the entire government comes running is ridiculous.

Everyone knows that this incident has nothing to do with freedom of speech and everything to do with Labour trying to win favour with the Muslim community. The reaction from the government would have been completely different if a video had been made about Christianity.

John M Ward said...

Interesting way of making a valid point. Well done, Dizzy!

Of course, no God worthy of the name would create us so poorly, and be so incapable of managing the resultant situation, that he would give us carte blanche to go around killing each other anyway (and he has explicitly told us not to, anyway).

This is one of the ways we can know that jihadists and any others promoting violence, on any pretext, and serving evil, not God. We were warned that the great deceiver (the devil) has no qualms about subverting religions and anything else to his cause, so this should come as no surprise.

marksany said...

I can think of a Christian who has used this kind of Bible interpretation to kill people - George Bush.

Lanarion said...

"If a man finds a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days" (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).

This interested me. What is this saying? It's saying - if a crazy israelite effectively rapes a girl, he has to *pay* (50 shekels of silver being a huge amount, I believe - 1kg of gold or silver, quite a bit for a small-time nomad) the father to discourage him from killing him, and then has to take care and look after the girl as a wife - meaning she wasn't left disgraced, alone and shunned. The point is protection of the girl from isolation and disgrace.

Anyhow, was just interesting.

Barnacle Bill said...

You want to be careful young dizzy, you'll have Canvas turning up complaining your a racist and wanting you to apologize!
However, I do feel more and more isolated in my own country, with a government more interested in self preservation than in being balanced & fair minded to all it's citizens.

Anonymous said...

very very interesting - thank you

JMB said...

Like many others I get very angry every time I see Broon on TV. If I threatened violence because of this who would be locked up, me or Broon?

All too often people are threatened with arrest or prevented from doing something because others threaten violence or to act illegally. The people threatening violence or acting illegally are the ones that should be arrested.

Oldrightie said...

Fundementally there are more shits in the world than decent people. Most of the former lust after power over others. It's called socialism.

Anonymous said...

Dizzy, will you or one of your readers, please explain to a dim wit the point that you are trying to make. What are the 'correct' answers to your questions?

SR said...

It is actually the "Bhagavad Gita" rather than "Bagavita". But i get your point.

dizzy said...

Corrected. I did actually Google the spelling as I couldn't remember it and that was written on a website so assumed it was right. I blame the lSD in my youth. Stories about elephant Gods with arms and stuff are much better than Christendom anwyay!

Stu said...

Thanks for writing that, Dizzy. Fantastic.

Old Holborn said...

You have a right not to be offended?

That's a new one on me. Can you back it up with any particular law?

ukipwebmaster said...

Shouting fire in a theatre:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4dxE8hhNuA

Alex said...

I don't think many Christians that I know would place much weight on any of these quotations, particularly not as a basis for any violence. The Old Testament texts are Jewish laws and largely ignored by modern Christians, except insofar as they demonstrate the extent of ancient religious observance.

Of the 3 New Testament texts, one says that God will punish non-belivers at the time of the Resurrection (repeated in many other places), but this is not an incitement to take any violence. It simply says if you are not a believer you are going to hell, even if you think you are one of the good guys. The other two are epistles from Paul, a well known misogynist. Paul's writings are not taken as gospel by many Christians because ... they are not Gospel. Christians believe them to be divinely inspired, but that doesn't mean God proof-read them.

There is a good reason why it is called Christianity and not Paulianity, because you won't read such things spoken by Jesus in the Bible. You will read passages like the 2 Thessalonians, for example the end of Matthew 25 (Parable of the Sheep and Goats), but always talking about God's judgement, not man's).

What you will also read in the Gospels are the two gratest commendments (1. Love God & 2. Love your neighbour) and Jesus' statement that these are the basis for all of his teaching.

Ed said...

-----------------
Now ask yourself this question. Would the [European Jew/Muslim] politician making this film be banned from entering the United Kingdom for fear of causing public disorder and outrage amongst the non-fundamentalist Christian majority?
-------------------

I think there is a high probability that a Jewish politician would indeed be banned from entering the country. However that speaks more for the institutionalised anti-Semitism that exists, rather than the fear of public disorder such a Jew may cause. The 'excuse' that would be employed would be the fear of public disorder.

As to a Muslim politician being banned from entering, not a snowball in hell's chance. Such a politician would be welcomed with open arms and given the widest possible platform from which to preach their 'message of peace'.

So, so much for level playing fields and freedom of speech.

Taking your counterfactual hypothetical example a bit further if I may? If a group representing less than 1% of Christians did indeed interpret the bible in such a way then I would like to think that such a group would be loudly condemned, vilified and laughed at by peace loving Christians (I'm a non believer by the way, but I still laugh at and condemn such cult like mentality), as well as mainstream Christians taking great efforts to communicate to other religions that they do not condone in any way the activities of such a small 1% minority.

This must be done in such a way that there is zero ambiguity to these other religions that mainstream Christians believe this. In fact this is what actually occurs. Sadly, however, I don't see this being reciprocated - counterfactually.

MBoy said...

Great post!

dizzy said...

@Oldholborn

You fucking tit, of all the people to think that I was in favour of that and not the former I never exepcted it to be you.

*smashes head against keyboard*

Anonymous said...

We just kill muslims for money, or more to the point our leaders do. Freedom being used as the justification rather than the bible, any excuse will do I suppose.
Having lived and worked in muslim countries I can tell you that as long as your rich you can do what you want, drugs, prostitutes, booze etc. Dinosaurs no, you can't do dinosaurs.

dizzy said...

@alex

You are missing the point. It's a counterfactual FFS

Old Holborn said...

@dizzy

It wasn't aimed at you, you cocktrumpet

*throws poledancer off lap*

Anonymous said...

The Old Testament is just as primitive and savage in places as the Koran. A pity that Islam does not have the mellowing equivalent of the New Testament, peace ,love thy neighbour, turn other cheek etc.

dizzy said...

The New testament is not all peace, love and turn the other cheek though.

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Matthew 10:34

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:16

"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death." Matthew 10:21

"[W]hen the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance of them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord ..." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" ; (1 Timothy 2:11-12).

"For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death" (Mark 7:10).

Roger Thornhill said...

Wilders has become a distraction, just as the Bankers have become a distraction. Everyone is now talking about Wilders and the film being vile and not what the film is about - vile behaviour.

Anonymous said...

I'm a wishy-washy nominal sometimes go to Church Christian. As it so happens, I own copies of the Bible (King James version) and the Koran (Penguin translation). Now, if you swear (on one of these?) that you've read the Bible and the Koran (and the other one), no doubt you have and my incredulity does me no credit and indeed I shall have to ask your/God's forgiveness. Suffice it to say that my attempts to read these books have always been stymied by nodding eyelids and outright incomprehension. My reaction is to ask why on earth would you do such a thing? As your selection of quotations (and those of Mr Wilders) proves all too powerfully, these books are almost meaningless when presented without context. Indeed, you prompted me to open my Bible at random. I landed somewhere in the Book of Kings and was immediately faced with a full page of description of the main office holders under King David (one of them being Zadok the Priest). Anyway, I'm rambling. Well done and hats off if you've read them.

dizzy said...

I didn't read the Koran until after 9/11. The bible as read because I spent so much time in hopsital as a kid! :)

pp said...

You are quite right that the government wouldn't give a monkeys.

However, I think you would find that moderate Christians would 'retaliate' by point out that you are talking about the old-testiment and would disown the stuff you cite.

The Dutch bloke is actually asking Muslims to do the same with certain passages of the Koran.

Christians have done it (come out of the dark-ages), time for the moslems to do the same.

Alex said...

Simply quoting verses doesn't mean anything, you have to put them in context:

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Matthew 10:34

This is about cutting the ties that bind families and putting God first. Jesus is simply saying that his followers have to put God before their attachment to members of their family.

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:16

In my Bible (ASV) Luke 14:16 reads "Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper and bade many", so I can't really comment.

"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death." Matthew 10:21

This is from a section in which Jesus warns his disciples that they should expect to be persecuted, and the brother betraying brother is the non-believeing brother betraying the believing brother.

"[W]hen the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance of them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord ..." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

Another warning about the punishment by God of non-believers, but it doesn't specify that Christians should attack non-belivers, rather that God will exercise his own judgement.

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" ; (1 Timothy 2:11-12).

More guff from Paul.

"For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death" (Mark 7:10).

If you read the whle of Mark 7 you will see that what is going on here is that Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, by pointing out that although the Old Testament law contains the law quoted it was the practice of the Pharisees to find other laws so that the Pharisees would no longer be bound by that rule. The fact that Jesus quotes the law in Mark 7:10 does not mean that he either condemns it nor condones it.

dizzy said...

Actually you don;t have tyo put them in context at all. That is the whole point about this counterfactual after all. The Bible and the Koran contain, in equal measure, hatred and violence in the name of faith and belief. And the point is that we live in a society whereby if the tables were turned and it was Christian fundamentalist blowing things up - and please, don't try to say it doesn't happen because Timothy McVeigh proves otherwise - there would not be the same reaction if someone made a video similar to Wilders.

Don't get me wrong, this post is not an attack on Christianity, fair from it. It is showing that counterfactually you could do the same with Christendom and posits the question that the response and reaction to such a film would be very very different.

Posting and arguing that "ahh but Christians don;t do these things" both ignores the whole point fo a counterfactual and also assumes that Christianity cannot itself be barabaric, which it can and has been.

Stirrer said...

The poor old Christians are very vulnerable in their acceptance of the Old Testament, but they can't reject it for two reasons (there may be more, but I'm only an amateur mocker of religion rather than a proper theologian):-

1. Their original mission was to convert the Jews by arguing that JC was the messiah: to do that they could not reject the OT without alienating their market. Then Paul spoiled the party by going after the gentile vote, whereupon the OT became irrelevant, but they retained it out of habit;

2. Part of the justification for presenting JC as the messiah was that it had been foretold. They could hardly dispose of the prophecies, all in the OT, whilst maintaining that stance.

So they are left arguing that the wrath, vengeance and whimsically cruel god of the OT has done the anger management course, to be reborn as the beatific, pacific character of the NT.

Islam, by contrast, is perfectly clear about its aim of world domination. It is expansionist and gives unbelievers two chances: convert or get your head cut off. Just because most Moslems are quiet now, don't imagine it'll be like that when their higher birth-rate plus immigration propels them into the majority. We'll get the full middle-ages system of judicial murder, religious police, public executions etc then.

Wish there were a god I could ask him or her to protect my grandchildren. Especially the girls. They'll need it.

Stirrer said...

The poor old Christians are very vulnerable in their acceptance of the Old Testament, but they can't reject it for two reasons (there may be more, but I'm only an amateur mocker of religion rather than a proper theologian):-

1. Their original mission was to convert the Jews by arguing that JC was the messiah: to do that they could not reject the OT without alienating their market. Then Paul spoiled the party by going after the gentile vote, whereupon the OT became irrelevant, but they retained it out of habit;

2. Part of the justification for presenting JC as the messiah was that it had been foretold. They could hardly dispose of the prophecies, all in the OT, whilst maintaining that stance.

So they are left arguing that the wrath, vengeance and whimsically cruel god of the OT has done the anger management course, to be reborn as the beatific, pacific character of the NT.

Islam, by contrast, is perfectly clear about its aim of world domination. It is expansionist and gives unbelievers two chances: convert or get your head cut off. Just because most Moslems are quiet now, don't imagine it'll be like that when their higher birth-rate plus immigration propels them into the majority. We'll get the full middle-ages system of judicial murder, religious police, public executions etc then.

Wish there were a god I could ask him or her to protect my grandchildren. Especially the girls. They'll need it.

Vronsky said...

It's an interesting post in that it raises the question of why Christians do not use the biblical passages you quote as excuses for barbarity and violence, when *some* Muslims thus use the Koran.

I think the answer is simply that Christians used to behave that way until the emergence of constraining secular laws in a secular society. Remove that society with its laws and the Christians will be right back torturing and burning.

There will be trends to violence in Islamic societies so long as they are theocracies. If secularism withdraws, violent religion re-emerges (see USA).

The violence of Sharia law should not be confused with the violence of 7/7 or 9/11 (assuming Islamists to have been responsible). The first is simple and inexcusable barbarism but the second can be explained, if not excused, as violent responses to violent provocations.

Anyway, Wilder should not have been prevented entry. We have moved into the dangerous area where you can be punished, not for something you have done, but for something you might do.

Peter O said...

Stirrer,

I think you'll find that the God of the Old Testament who is wrathful against sin is still alive and well in the New Testament, exercising, and suffering, his wrath on the cross.

Yes, you are an amateur mocker, not a theologian.

Jim said...

AS someone who grew up in an evangelical Christian household (but is not a believer) I can concur with the points regarding the Old Testament. The whole point of 'christianity' is that Christ came to provide a new way of living (the 'new testament') that would do away with the Old Testament rules. The Jews rejected it, and him obviously(!), and still follow the Old Testament. Christianity is based on the New Testament - all the basic tenets such as turning the other cheek, blessed are the meek etc originate there.

While there may be one or two verses in the New Testament that could be interpreted in an iffy way, the central message of Christianity is peaceful, of being responsible for your own actions, and having to suffer the consequences in the hereafter. It specifically tells Christians not to judge others, and let God do that in the final reckoning.

I severely doubt that any Christian minister, however 'out there' would ever condone murder,let alone incite it, whatever the situation. Yet we see many Islamic religious leaders do precisely that. Hence the problem.

Alex said...

dizzy said...
Actually you don;t have to put them in context at all.


Of course you do. If you read any verse of the Bible you have to read the verses before and after to understand its meaning. good example is the verse from Mark 7, which you quoted in isolation as though it was part of the gospel teaching. It wasn't it was a law quoted by Jesus as an example of an Old Testament law for which the Pharisees had created a loophole.

"The Bible and the Koran contain, in equal measure, hatred and violence in the name of faith and belief."

The New Testament does not, particularly in the Gospel texts. Unlike the Koran, the New Testament does not tell believers to kill non-believers. The Koran, purportedly a transcription of the words of Mohammed is very graphic in its instructions.

If later Christians have waged Holy Wars, that should be a lesson on the dangers of organised religion.

dizzy said...

As has already been mentioned, you cannoty isolate the New Testament as not connected withteh Old. The New testmaent is based entirely on prophecy of the Old. And I'm sorry, but the New Testament has a lot of violence in it.

You are piecemeal choosing the nice bits in the same way that loony people piecemeal pick the bad bits in the Koran I'm afraid. There is ample content in the Koran that can be used as you are using the New Testament to portray Islam as a religion of peace as well.

However, we are diverting away from the point of the counterfactual here, that being that if the boot was on the other foot there would not likely be the same sort of reaction and ban.

In my view, there shouldnt be bans at all, however, back on your point, I;m afraid I cannot agree with you that the New Testament is about love and peace, it is patently not, it contains just as much damnation to Hell and violence as the first, and it is also instrcuts antiquated opinion on, for example, the subjugation of women which I note you dismiss as "guff".

Bottom line is this, Christinaity and Islam, in their totality contain violence towards non-believers fro both God and instructions to followers. Trying to separte out the New testament from the Old Testament when it suits an argument is also weak.

Anonymous said...

Howard Katz makes some interesting points on the OT verses the NT.
The OT being based on Mosaic Law. an eye for an eye, keep the rewards of your labour, and the Jews were successful. Whereas the NT is basically communist, turn the other cheek, the rich man can't get into heaven etc. When this was introduced in the Western Roman Empire, it collapsed, much like Britain is today.
The Koran follows more closely to Mosaic Law, so if the muslims take over at least burglary would be down.
But I still think most Muslims will be chased out of the country when the economy collapses, the decision to ban the Dutchman, the non response of the Tories, should push more towards the BNP, as we seem to be following the Weimer path. The Muslims are our Jews.

John M Ward said...

Alex has sussed it out well, some others here have "missed it", which is a shame.

There is considerable merit in taking a step back, clearing the mind of prejudice (in its literal sense of pre-judging) and realising the difference between God's actual Word and the attempts of (often corrupt and self-serving) men to twist meanings and actions to suit their own agenda — which is exactly what we see in much of the Islamic world today.

That stuff is the devil's work; and no amount of misdirection and obfuscation will change the reality just to suit someone's preferred outlook. The spiritual war is real and ongoing!

Matthew Dear said...

Interesting, but you misunderstand not so much the blunt distinction between Old and New Testament, but rather the importance of the transition between old and new covenants. Juxtaposing quotes from OT and NT often creates fallacies and I'm afraid a few of your examples do.

Vic Spong said...

Anonymous @1547: 'The Muslims are our Jews'. Funny: I must have missed the bits in my German history text books which described the mass murders by Germans Jewish conspirators of their fellow citizens c1918-33; the way Jewish community leaders attempted to create 'no go' areas for the German rule of law; the violent protests and threats against politicians by German Jews whenever anyone criticised the Torah; the way the Weimar government bent over to accommodate extremist Jewish lobby groups out of fear of those threats; and the complicity of the silent majority of moderate Jews who failed to take action against the extremists in their communities...

Scary Biscuits said...

Dizzy, you're wrong to say, "The Bible and the Koran contain, in equal measure, hatred and violence in the name of faith and belief."

The Bible uses stories of violence to indicate the ways of our forefathers. But the whole locus of it, even before you start on the New Testament, is a trend towards peace and understanding. Moses's contemporaries may have though God angry and whimsical but by the time of Jonah he is the still small voice of calm by your side. He no longer lives on the top of a mountain throwing lightening rods at us and he's for everybody, not just your tribe. This isn't inconsisntency in the Bible or a change in God, it is a change in man's understanding of Him as time progresses. God comes out of the Old Testament as a man walking towards you out of the mist.

The Koran, by contrast, has lots of nice things to say about our fellow man at the beginning but by the end it's all death and smiting. There has been no attempt that I am aware of to make the earlier passages superior to the later ones. This is the reason that many Muslims support violence. The clear locus of the Koran as a whole leads them towards it.

It is extremely difficult to read the Bible, understand what it's getting at and come to any other conclusion that you should love your fellow man. With the Koran it's the other way round; it take great mental strength not to avoid its seemingly obvious conclusion: kill kaffas.

tory boys never grow up said...

There is a perfectly sound basis for addressing you counterfactual, namely that a mark of civilisation is usually that majorities should not undertake gratuitous attacks on minorities. When it is the other way around it can be still be obnoxious and objectionable but it isn't as threatening.

A mark of nearly all totalitarian societies is that they have usually indulged in attacking and scapegoating minorities in order to keep the majority on side.

A better counterfactual would be to point to some of the attacks that take place on Christians in Moslem countries - and they do occur and are equally reprehensible.

As for the UK I do think that there have to be limits on the attacks and incitement which are aimed at minorities (And they need to be balance with protecting free speech) - I just think that it wasn't particularly intelligent to apply the law in this case - ridicule of that pathetic film would have been much more effective.

NorrieC said...

Dizzy,

Just in case you are about to jump off a bridge whilst pulling your hair out I want to give you a word of encouragement. I thought your piece was brilliantly put, demonstrating your "counterfactual" (great word btw)view to make a point. Your point was well made and clearly understood.
I can't believe the majority of posters taking you literally and missing the entire thrust of what you said.

You can bet your bottom dollar that if the reverse had been true (as you contest) then Mr Wilders would never have been refused entry.

I had to laugh at your repost to OH though. I think if you read his post again you'll find his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. Irony is such a cruel master.

Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Dizzy.
Of course, given all these God books have the same original source, they're all equally screwy.
Anyone who has any faculty of reason or confidence in their own existence has no need for the prepostrous crutch of religion.

Sid Satan said...

The Bible has 907 passages steeped in violence or cruelty, but the Koran a mere 520 passages. I would also say God has the edge in quality over Allah: His violence is really violent.

God, it should be recalled, once killed almost everything in a flood - showing a penchant for genocide, and scant regard for animal rights and biodiversity.

Obviously, most people Christian or Muslim, do not take the violent passages as instructions - but Wilders' film on the Koran shows there are clerics that do, and there is a tendency to see extreme violence as acceptable and desirable.

The thing is, it isn't just 1% that hold extreme illiberal views that you mention in your counter-factual. Have a look at this 2006 survey by GfK NOP Social Research. 22% supported the London bombings (p34); 78% opposed free speech (favour punishment of those publishing the feeble Danish cartoons - p20); 30% would have liked to live under sharia law (p16); 45% believed 9/11 was an American-Israeli conspiracy (p.29). If this is a snapshot of the social fabric in Muslim communities, we should not be surprised if extremists thrive and demented clerics are lionised.

If people actually read them, they would see that the great sacred texts are in fact vile totalitarian manifestos... religion fills people with hatred and provides ideological cover for violence and all manner of injustice and bigotry. We should be reducing the space for it in public life and not closing the borders to people who wish to challenge it.

Cinnamon said...

So Dizzy, I take it your comfortable with 'Mein Kampf' being legal in Germany again and becoming a respected and legal mainstream belief once again, and you would not worry about the 99% moderate Nazis that result from this, but only the fundamentalists that want to implement Hitler's beliefs as he put them. Well, the Germans have come a long way since the days of blood and honour, so... why not?

----

Literature that incites people to hate others is always a problem, and all you've done here is to demonstrate why it's a problem to leave this intellectual poison in circulation without challenging it into oblivion.

And at what point does hate speech get a pass from you? Does it only have to be old enough -- ie, can we ressurrect Nazi ideology safely in (say) 400 years? There were many good things about it, if you ignore the euthanasia and genocide issues! (...)

Basically your position says that you don't take those threats seriously, and you have no problem with non-muslims being the official untermenschen in the Quran, because after all this time, after all those hundreds of years of brutal wars this religion waged against the rest of society, the modern muslims don't really mean it anymore.

Now, would you like to consider buying your crocodile food in bulk whilst you can still afford it?

JD said...

Dizzy,

You should know better than to use McVeigh as an example of "Christian" terrorism. He is an exception to the rule, not part of a precedent. Name me one single "Christian" terrorist group? You cannot, as there are none. On the other hand, let's look at the dozens and dozens of Islamic terror organizations. And before anyone gives the completely brainless example of the IRA and ETA - they want simple territorial gains and neither call for the downfall of democracy nor the imposition of a theocracy. All this moral relativist crap about all religions being prone violence no longer holds true, one cannot equate Christian violence of centuries ago with that of Muslims today.

The Huck said...

Surely this post is already a strong contender for a "Post of the Year" award... if there are such blog awards?

Anonymous said...

this islam is not a religion it is a mafia

Shaft120 said...

According to Portillo, didn't Emperor Constantine pretty much pick and choose which texts and Gospels make up the bible before giving it the big marketing campaign that made it what it is today?

All tosh anyway. Idlehands, envy and testosterone are the problem, religion is just the the blanket excuse.

sfauthor said...

Nice posting. Do you know about this edition of the Gita?

http://www.YogaVidya.com/gita.html

JD said...

Christianity experienced a reformation, or 'update' as I like to consider it. Islam seems to be still stuck in the 8th. Century. Big problem!
JD. بارك الله اميركا

NO TO LISBON MEANS NO TO LISBON!
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=3805936

Rightwinggit said...

@JD good point. A Christian these days is unlikely to shove a fucking big sword through your head for farting in church.

Unless it's the father of the bride during the wedding vows.

Gavin Ayling said...

I don't see a problem with this:
'And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die" (Deuteronomy 21:20-21).'

;-)

Ho Hum said...

The bottom line is in the votes.

Labour sees Muslims as a homogeneous group that will all vote for you if you say the right things, and that will boost their marginals.

Lots of Christians, nominal or otherwise, aren't going to vote for this brand of Labour, regardless of how distasteful that might be for some. This is because, although no sensible, and I stress sensible, Christian (there are some about if you look) will profess themselves to be perfect, they don't much go for hypocrisy, lying, cheating, suppression of the individual and authoritarianism (yeah, really, surprise surprise!) and can recognise those, and their dangers, when they see them.

the Pope's Aid said...

Attempts to Islamify the West cannot be Denied

In addition Two MEP's have both stated, we should be nice to Muslims, so that when they become the Majority, they will be nice to us.

smell the Coffee