Re: Islam and Violence

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sun 08 Dec 2002 - 03:35:23 GMT

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    >Just a thought from a lowly college prof: there has always been a
    >between "religion" and "spirituality." Francis of Assisi was spiritual
    >first, but given the time in which he lived, did his best to assuage the
    >Church. Churches are institutions, and as such, do indeed exist to
    >perpetuate themselves.
    >Religion was the primary enforcer of social norms for centuries in Europe
    >the East. Has that changed? Isn't the Islamic jihad a recursion to that

    I was wondering how you define spirituality. Does it mean you think the body has a spirit that lives after the body dies or that it embodies the concept of morality that guides the body through life?

    I think the idea of religion defining morality and social norms is coming to an end. A lot of the religious view of such morality was based on "what God wants" and would therefore imply that there is a God that wants people to conduct their lives in a certain manner. I think of it as the white haired old man in the sky who spends his days worrying about how we dress and fornicate syndrome.

    As a person who doesn't believe in a person called God, I have trouble accepting such a God as the arbiter of my morals. I can find plenty of moral ideas to follow that were not handed down to me by a higher authority.
      They are dictated more by logic than be spirituality. For the most part then can be reduced to the concepts that the means we use shape the ends we get and any transaction between two people or two groups of people should be based on a winning solution for both parties. There are only four logically sane outcomes to a transaction and these are (1) I win, you win; (2) I win, you lose; (3) I lose, you win; and (4) we both lose. Of these, only number one is sane, the rest are insane.

    Even the idea of "enforcing" morality is false in my estimation. To
    "enforce" means to use force to achieve the goal of making someone adopt your idea of what is right and what is wrong. This changes from culture to culture and religion to religion. You should not be in a position to force me to adopt your standards or ideas of right and wrong. I should not be forced to believe in concepts such as "original sin" or "we must fear God." To my mind that is an insane proposition. It is based on a philosophy of you win and I lose in the argument on who is right and who is wrong. If I don't agree with your concept, I should be "forced" by the church to adopt it. That is how religion "enforces" morality. Morality then becomes what the church says it is.

    I feel that my concept of morality is as good or better for my life than any church's concept. Therefore I don't see how than can force me to accept theirs. The people who set up the government of this country created the separation of church and state for this very reason. When members of one religion tries to tell the members of another religion what to believe, it leads to war and war is itself insane.

    The wars that have devestated Europe and the middle East for centuries, yea milliniums, were more often brought on by one religious group trying to dictate mores to another than any other cause. Just look at the Serbs and Kosovars, the Catholics and Protestants of Ireland, the Moores and Catholics of Spain, and the Spanish conquistadors who wiped out the religions of indiginous people in Mexico, Central and South America as well as the Philippines. Untold millions have died for the "enforcement" of moral values by one group over another. It's not something I think the world should continue to allow. They claimed they did it for "spiritual" reasons.
      The cry of the Spanish was "The sword and the faith." You can put me down as a person of little faith from a religious point of view. My faith, in fact, is downright nonexistent.



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