The Wrong Way To Speak Out Against Blasphemy Laws

In addition to the other organizations speaking out against potential blasphemy laws in the wake of the radical Muslims rioting against a pathetic YouTube video, a couple more have issued statements of their own.

First, Atheist Alliance International:

“AAI is deeply concerned that the UN member states will overreact to recent protests and violence in Muslim-majority countries — violence which itself is a grotesque overreaction to an amateur video of dubious origin — by endorsing anti-blasphemy resolutions during the General Assembly and within the UN Human Rights Council. Such steps would gravely undermine freedoms of expression and conscience, would give unwarranted privilege to religious viewpoints, and — most dangerously — would provide a veil of legitimacy for governments to oppress citizens in the name of protecting religion,” said President Carlos A. Diaz.

“Indeed, many of the countries that have been the vocal in their support for international regulation have been among the most egregious and regressive oppressors of both freethought and minority religions, often using domestic anti-blasphemy laws to persecute individuals with minority viewpoints. Inevitably, when people think for themselves there are going to be disagreements. The only fair response is to protect people’s right to express their views, not to favour one view over another,” said Diaz.

Then, American Atheists:

“We have seen recently that most of the Islamic world is demanding that all people avoid defaming their prophet, and suddenly across America our citizens are obeying out of fear or political correctness. We are losing our right to criticize, via our own submission,” said [President Dave] Silverman.

“Criticizing any religion is often equated to racism or hate, when really it’s just honest expression that must be protected,” said Mr. Silverman.

Silverman also posed for this image, which I think wrongly suggests that the whole religion is evil instead of just the way a minority of its radical followers practice and interpret it:

To say Islam is barbaric is to imply its followers are too. I’m all for the criticism of ideas, but this, to me, goes further than that. It’s too simplistic — for the sake of a Twitter hashtag, really — and it does a disservice to the millions and millions of followers of Islam who would fully support everything else on Dave’s sign. Yes, they’re wrong with their theology, but they’re not barbaric. Dave would no doubt agree with me on that, but his sign fails to make that distinction.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • David

    Until I hear “millions and millions” followers of  islam saying no to violence, murder and riots I will continue to support the idea that  islam is barbaric

  • Thematsrock

    Great commentary as usual. 

  • Howler.

    It should read, if anything, all religion is barbaric! 

  • Jim Valentine

    Hemant, religion is nothing without dogma.  The dogma of Islam and Christianity both are completely barbaric.

  • Christopher Check

    All religions are barbaric, in essence.  They are holdovers from more primitive, -barbaric- time periods.

    That doesn’t imply their adherents are uncivilized, but that they ascribe to a system of thought that developed in less civilized times.

  • C Peterson


    1: possessing or characteristic of a cultural level more complex than primitive savagery but less sophisticated than advanced civilization

    2: having a bizarre, primitive, or unsophisticated quality

    How does this fail to describe nearly any theistic religion?

  • Goodguylucifer

    Islam IS barbaric. Islamic Scripture advocates violence against nonbelievers. That doesn’t mean that all Muslims are barbaric, but that’s only because some Muslims follow the more deplorable tenets of Islam less strictly than others.

  • Jarppu

    If you say that christianity is homophobic(which is true), is that saying that all christians are homophobic(which they aren’t)? Of course not.  This applies to Islam as well. Islam is barbaric, but not all of it’s followers are. Hemant you seem to grasp difference when it comes to christianity, but you don’t seem to grasp the difference when it comes to Islam?

  • Matt Dillahunty

    If Dave’s sign had said #MuslimsAreBarbaric – I’d have had the same objections that you have. It doesn’t say that. It’s not broad-brush. It’s accurate. Islam IS barbaric.

  • Marco Conti

    The majority of muslims are not barbaric. That I know. But for as long as a majority of them continue to approve silently of their radical wing’s barbaric actions they deserver that moniker as well.

  • asonge

    You mean like the protests for peaceful protests outnumbering the possibly-maybe-existing riots that preceded the attacks in Benghazi? Or how about when the peaceful protesters started marching on the militias a few days later, taking over 2 militia bases (including the one believed to be behind the attacks)? You’re relying on a media that sells sensationalism, but the truth is much more nuanced than that. The ones suing for peace are also more likely to be employed and busy working. It’s a silent majority that is starting to assert itself and get recognized by *some* media. The Arab world is no some monolithic Salafist party, but I bet you don’t know the difference between Islamists and Muslims.

  • Emily Dietle

    Agreed, though I’ll support his freedom to say it.

  • The Godless Monster

    Former Muslim here.
    Islam IS barbaric in the extreme. Anyone who says otherwise is either Muslim or wholly ignorant of Islam.
    Silverman is right. In fact, he doesn’t go far enough.

  • asonge

    And that kind of distinction supports religious essentialism. It says that religions are essentially their holy books and that (often sizable) minorities are illegitimate, as well as the heretics within the majority who often make up a lot of the majority. This kind of essentialist attitude is what allows the power structures of the religions to claim their authority. Anthropologists know that large groups of people are normatively described by the attitudes and actions of the majority, not the text they pledge allegiance to. Would you say that conservative Americans were all for separation of church and state because they say they respect the constitution so much? Tradition is much more normative than text, particularly when tradition determines the reading of the text.

    When you support essentialist attitudes like that, you’re delegitimizing people like the Sufis, which are basically the Islamic flavor of Unitarian Universalists or “secular Muslims” in Egypt who fight for the rights of Copts (and atheists) every day.

  • David

     I will take your money but I will not write a 10 page paper on the topic

  • IndyFitz

    Couldn’t agree more.  And, by definition, the followers of a barbaric religion are barbaric.  You can’t follow a religion that promotes barbarism and get off the hook.  How often have atheists opposed Christianity based on things like oppression of women, condoning of slavery, selling of daughters, murder of innocents, and the list goes on and on and on.  People who support that religion support those things, even if they claim they don’t.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too!

  • IndyFitz

    Agreed.  You can’t follow a barbaric religion and claim to not be barbaric.  That’s picking and choosing.  Maybe if more followers realize why they’re considered barbaric, they’ll examine their religions more closely and come to the conclusion that yes, those religions are barbaric, and yes, following them makes them, by definition, barbaric.

  • IndyFitz


  • The Godless Monster

    He’s delegitimizing nobody. He’s merely stating a fact. Islam is barbaric. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times again; the difference between Christianity/Judaism and Islam is not just one of degree but of kind.  There is no doubt that extremists from any religion are potentially dangerous, but Islam is nearly 700 years behind the west. They never went through an Age of Reason. Judaism and Christianity have been diluted/toned down/tempered by long term exposure to principles popularized during the Enlightenment.
    I come from a Shia background, hailing from south Lebanon in Hezbollah controlled territory. I love my family, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of them are primitives and it is mainly due to their adherence to Islam.
    There are sects that claim to be Muslim, yet do not follow much of the Quran or the Hadith. Some might think it is disingenuous to bring these outliers into the discussion. If we have these types of exchanges, it might be helpful if terms are clearly defined and agreed upon.

  • IndyFitz

    Maybe, but either the religion they claim to follow condones barbaric behavior or it doesn’t.  If they ignore the parts they don’t like, that’s a good thing, but the religion is still barbaric.  It sounds like the pick-and-choosers need to just get away from their religions entirely so they don’t have to be associated with such barbarism.  Or silliness.

  • IndyFitz

    Excellent point.

  • IndyFitz

    Excellent post.  Hard to argue with a former Muslim who knows it better than most.

    Any chance you’d share your “elevator speech” about why you’re no longer Muslim?  Just curious.

  • asonge

    In the discussion of sexual essentialism, it is the 5% of the population that is gay and the even smaller set of the population that is trans that cause us to re-evaluate gender essentialism the most. Why shouldn’t Sufis and secularists in the Muslim world drive our discussion about religion? Religions aren’t holy books. Religions aren’t even solely dogmas. Religions are unique and varying combinations of identities, beliefs, and behaviors (if you’re familiar with religious polling like Pew’s giant studies on religion you’d know this). As such, saying Islam is barbaric means that you are in part saying that the identity is barbaric, even if you’re only talking about either beliefs or behaviors. Which is why short-handing religious identity is essentialist *and* wrong.

  • asonge

    Okay, so who speaks for the religion? Where is the magic definition of what is authoritative for religion? Texts have never been the sole determiner of what is in a religion, though some religions claim that for themselves, their reading of the texts are embedded in the culture of their community which changes what the words mean to them. Religious *traditions* are less problematic because they follow an evolution through history that does exist in each religion, notably a description of the forks and views on things like dogmas and texts that actually describe what people believe, not some imagined standard of what they should believe based on your view of the text outside of the community standards of reading placed on that text. Religions are identities as well as behaviors and beliefs, and some religions like reformed Judaism have managed to make the transition to pure identity.

  • The Godless Monster

     I’m the result of a mixed marriage and was raised Muslim and Catholic simultaneously. Left Islam when I was 18 because it was just too damn silly and primitive. Left the Catholic Church later for the same reasons. Joined the Churches of Christ, started REALLY reading the Bible and became disgusted, disillusioned and agnostic.
    After some time as a private soldier in the Middle East and a nasty divorce I came back to the US with a lot of questions.
    Did a lot of thinking and reading of atheist blogs and deconverted completely in 2005.

  • The Godless Monster

     “Hard to argue with a former Muslim who knows it better than most.”
    You’d think so, but there’s usually at least one or two in the crowd who will argue that I’m full of shit, a poser or suffering from self-hatred. It’s easier (and less discomfiting) to dismiss what I have to say than to admit they’re wrong.

  • IndyFitz

    Good points, but to answer “Who speaks for the religion?” I’d say the holy book does. As the sole source for that religion — certainly the original and central source, from which all other writings, traditions, beliefs, rituals, ceremonies, practices, etc., for that religion grew — it seems like it’s the religion’s rulebook that’s always at the eye of the storm.

  • The Godless Monster

     “…saying Islam is barbaric means that you are in part saying that the identity is barbaric…”

    Of course. That’s exactly what I’m saying. While there are certainly pleasant skinheads in the world, I have no problem also labeling them as primitives. You can whitewash it or use smoek and mirrors all you want to prove your point, but the fact remains that Islam is a particularly odious, disgusting, violent and detestable ideology.

  • IndyFitz

    Thanks for sharing. Quite a perspective you have! Did you have a desire to believe in a higher power and were trying to find the “right” religion, and concluded there wasn’t one, or were you edging on agnostic all along and just gave it a few final chances?

  • IndyFitz

    True enough! You’ll never convince everyone of anything, that’s for sure.

  • asonge

    Christianity existed for 200 years before a full canon evolved. Catholics make up 50% of Christians and they do not believe that the text is the sole or highest authority. But let’s take a “Biblical” like the SBC and compare them to another one like the Jehovah’s Witnesses…what makes their beliefs different? They both believe in inspiration from the Holy Spirit for correctly interpreting scripture (Holy Spirit reading goggles?), but what is considered to be valid methods of reading the text vary widely. The text alone is not necessary for any tradition within Christianity, and seeing earlier that the text isn’t sufficient as well, I have no reason to believe that what determines adherence to a religion should in any way concern the texts, they are just a tool for some other mechanism. If we stop being essentialist, we can look at how these religions do work with other beliefs and behaviors and community institutions to mark who is in-bounds or out-of-bounds, no matter if they *say* it is the holy texts, it’s only going to be their interpretation at best (and in many cases tradition alone). Here’s an exercise: find the Biblical prohibition against abortion.

  • Gahaa90

    No Dave said the right thing.  Islam is barbaric. The killings  of men women and children in the name of Islam is enough to say that Islam is barbaric. In any war between the civilized human and the savage, support the civilized human. 

  • IndyFitz

    Holy Spirit reading goggles! :-)

    I’m certainly not saying different groups/people don’t interpret it all according to their wants and desires. But your points are well taken. However, how a written holy book came about doesn’t change the fact that it’s all down on paper now, and it’s full of barbaric stuff, if you ask me.
    You bring up an interesting point about finding the biblical prohibition against abortion… nothing specific at all! What’s interesting is that some adherents create barbarism where it isn’t explicitly outlined, yet ignore the barbarism that is in every version of the Bible no matter which denomination owns it. And if a religion’s holy book talks of how it’s okay to oppress women and kill nonbelievers and own slaves, it’s barbaric and its followers are barbaric by definition (IMHO).

    There doesn’t seem to be room for different interpretations when a holy book says you should kill a certain type of people, no matter how they spin it.

  • The Godless Monster

     It was the former. I was a reluctant atheist, but committed to following the evidence to wherever it took me.
    I was devastated and it took me nearly a year to get over it. I’d stood at the edge before, but always thought there was somebody or something there that had “my six”.
    The first time I stared into the abyss and understood I was truly alone was the single most terrifying experience of my life.

  • asonge

    But that’s the thing, you pretend like it used to be that textual literalism has been the majority opinion throughout history. Catholicism, and moreso Orthodoxy have never relied on textual literalism and they were the only shop in town (for the most part) for more than half its history. In fact, it’s always been a minority opinion in Christianity, and only saw a big uptick in the US with the rise of the enlightenment and the Rationalist traditions of protestants (this is a specific sub-movement which de-miracalized the Bible, not about rationality/rationalism) who accepted the truth of Newtonian physics. From here, the Second Great Awakening and then the Jesus Movement of the 1970′s brought textual literalism to most of the rest of protestantism along with devotionalism (Jesus is my best friend/Lord and Savior). The history just doesn’t agree with the “essentialist” view that texts determine religion, or rather Christianity in particular.

  • Pseudonym

    Too easy: For almost all of human history, theistic religion was advanced civilization.

  • Pseudonym

    Until I hear “millions and millions” of Americans saying no to extrajudicial execution (hell, execution at all), unnecessary imperialistic wars etc, I will continue to support the idea that the USA is barbaric.

    I think that both of us will be waiting a long time. The number of Americans I’ve heard say anything numbers in the thousands at best. For followers of Islam, maybe the hundreds. Perhaps we should consider basing our expectations in reality rather than fantasy.

  • IndyFitz

    I don’t pretend anything. I maintain the Bible is the nearly exclusive source of Christianity, and that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to separate the Bible from the religion. I maintain that the Koran is the nearly exclusive source of Islam, and you can’t separate those two. Did people maintain oral traditions before they could read? Sure. How many of those were because they learned it from the clergy who told it to them from the holy books, like how the unlearned relied on the Catholic church for centuries? Most, I suspect. And if you go back far enough, was it all oral and so forth? Sure. But I think common sense tells us that the Bible in its written form has by far been the source of Christianity for so many centuries that what happened a millennium ago hardly matters now.

    I’d love to see the followers of Christianity who don’t claim the Bible is the source of their religion (whether they read it or not is moot). Take Mormonism… that’s a recent book and entire religion with writings based entirely on one man claiming he was translating holy plates. There really isn’t room for argument on whether THAT writing is the sole source of everything with Mormonism. And Mohammed was divinely inspired to write the books of the Koran, wasn’t he? And I don’t think there are so many variations on the Islamic holy book.

    But all this doesn’t matter. Even if a religious person has never read the holy book of his religion, if he claims to be an adherent of that religion, the sheer fact that the overwhelming majority of its adherents do follow that holy book seems to indicate it’s the authority… even if interpretations differ.

    Do you feel the holy writings that serve as the de facto bases of their respective religions should not be considered the authoritative sources on those religions? If not, what should those religions follow? And are they okay to follow so long as you pick and choose, and not follow the barbaric parts?

  • David

    Since I am not American I will have to take your word for the number of people able and willing to exercise their right to free speech. The part of the problem with the “millions and millions” under islam is that they are not allowed to exercise free speech with out the violence coming their way.  Which goes to enforce my opinion about islam being barbaric.

  • Jim

    I do not thInk Silverman’s image suggests the entire religion is evil. It forcefully asserts that the religion is barbaric, which it is. Evil is better ascribed to individuals and groups of individuals. Islam has these individual’s aplenty. These folk elevate the barbarity.

  • asonge

    Religions are identity groups and function as such. The texts provide some kind of anchor point, but it’s not authoritative even in most cases when it’s claimed to be such. How is the Bible the source of Christianity when there was an at least 200-400 year gap before there was an established canon and even longer before there was common circulation among the churches? And no, the Council of Nicaea didn’t establish a canon, it only established trinitarianism as the orthodoxy. Origen, one of the early church fathers, is famously not a literalist and it seems no one really was because no one had many of the gospels…it took a very long while for a lot of these books to gain circulation then to be packaged into canon (a lot of extra-canonical books existed and are still referenced by Catholics, Orthodox, and in particular the African Orthodox churches use the Shepherd of Hermis, etc).

    Islam’s canon (the Quran and the Hadith), despite what they claim, was seemingly also not assembled until 200 years later, though evidence of this isn’t as strong as the Christian case.

    The desire to have an authoritative source for the religion is going to mislead you into thinking that religious people’s behavior and beliefs are based on the book without looking at the religious culture which is the dominant source. If you actually pay attention to what they say their traditions are, this will be FAR more authoritative and illuminative compared to the texts.

  • Anna

    To say Islam is barbaric is to imply its followers are too.

    Not necessarily. I think Islamic theology does promote barbarism. As does Christian theology, but of course that doesn’t mean all Christians are barbaric. Many of them pointedly ignore the more inhumane parts of their belief system. Muslims are no doubt the same way. While fundamentalists of any stripe believe and promote barbaric things, moderates and liberals are much less likely to do so.

  • IndyFitz

    I don’t disagree with the historical evolution of religions. But I’m sure if you ask Christians what the authoritative source of their religion is, the vast majority will answer “The Bible.” Ask Muslims, and the vast majority will say “The Koran.” And so forth.

    I’m sure George Lucas could argue that the script was the original authority for Star Wars, but I bet virtually all the fans would cite the film as the authoritative source.

    I’m sure we could cite interviews and talk shows and magazine articles galore about the life and times of a particular celebrity, but I bet most folks would take the official autobiography as the authoritative source.

    I’m sure we could argue the lyrics of a particular song, but we’d probably settle on what the artist posts on his Web site.

    I don’t have a desire to have an authoritative source and am not misleading myself. It’s pretty clear that religious adherents define their religions through their holy books (at least certainly with Christianity and Islam), and repeatedly claiming that somehow I’m deluding myself doesn’t make it true. I respect your opinions in this discussion and haven’t made any statements indicating you’re deluding yourself or misleading yourself or trying to make yourself believe something that isn’t true. Please extend me the same courtesy.

    And even if we agreed that non-textual traditions are the norm, and agreed that those traditions are not born of the writings, then religions are still steeped in barbarism. The Spanish Inquisition was barbaric. Forcing people to live under theocratic rule for centuries was barbaric. Executing those who didn’t see it you way, forced conversions under penalty of death, and so on and so forth — all of it, barbaric. Religion hardly needs holy books alone to identify it as barbaric.

    So I maintain: religions are barbaric. Clearly, we should agree to disagree.

  • A3Kr0n

    Yes, Islam and all religions are barbaric, which makes me wonder why peace seeking people still support them.

  • Randy

    Dan’s statement is quite correct.  If people want to claim their religion is not barbaric (and I include Christians in this) then they need to at least eliminate the portions of their holy texts that are barbaric or promote barbarity.  It’s that simple.

  • Randy

     And now it’s not.

  • Pseudonym

    Correct. They are not synonymous any more.

  • Pseudonym

    I am also not American, which is why the number of Americans I’ve ever heard numbers only in the thousands.

    I’m puzzled by the latter point, though. If by “under Islam” you’re referring to Islamic theocratic governments, then I think that even the most liberal-of-the-liberal among us would agree that is barbaric. I certainly do.

    But surely it’s the authoritarian non-democratic government that’s the barbaric part. There are millions living in the secular-yet-Muslim-majority country of Turkey who can speak out on pretty much any issue (with some notable exceptions).

  • Pseudonym

    Hemant, religion is nothing without dogma.

    Only if you twist the meaning of “religion” beyond breaking point.

  • Pseudonym

    Hard to argue with a former Muslim who knows it better than most.

    Unless you’re another former Muslim with a different experience, of course.

  • C Peterson

    No, it was not. There was no advanced civilization for most of human history. There was barbarism.

  • TheBlackCat

     How do you figure that?  Can you name any religion that lacks dogma?

  • TheBlackCat

     Huh?  So you are saying theistic religions do fit the definition now?  The original question was asking about religions today (present tense), not in the past (past tense).

  • Ned Ludd

    “To say Islam is barbaric is to imply its followers are too.” Well they are. Muslim nations are the ones that translate and publish the least number of books–if you except the crappy Koran. They are still living as barbarians. 

  • IndyFitz

    Not at all. No matter what another Muslim’s experience is, it doesn’t change HIS experience. And since I believe all religions are barbaric and silly, I’ll take his argument over a happy Muslim’s any day.

  • Steve Fual

    I do not wish to be cruel or unpleasant to anyone but I also do not want government and education systems and programs to be constructed around religions that  are built on a foundation of imaginary supernatural beings .

    When those who know the truth do not speak up will the liars, fools and the indoctrinated keep silent ?  I dont think so.

    There is no god.

  • The Godless Monster

     I read the post you linked to. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the message I’m delivering here and is wholly irrelevant.

  • Arthur Byrne

     It’s more accurate to say that even in the US, Muslims disproportionately tend to support restriction of free speech with respect to religion. Using GSS data 1998-2010 (SPKATH) it would be about 40%, compared to about 26% for Christians.

  • toth

    Islam–the belief system–*is* barbaric. Where’s the problem?

  • JT Eberhard

     I’m with Matt on this one.

  • Pseudonym

    I’m saying that today, there’s theistic religion that’s not advanced culture and there’s advanced culture that’s not theistic religion.

  • Pseudonym

    Thinking about it for 10 seconds: Neo-Paganism, Confucianism, Reform Judaism, atheistic Buddhism, and Liberal Christianity.

    If I thought about it for 10 more seconds I could probably come up with half a dozen more.

  • Pseudonym

    I did think about that before linking to it. Unfortunately, linking to all of Heina’s posts on Skepchick would just be spamming the forum, which is why I didn’t do it.

  • Pseudonym

    No matter what another Muslim’s experience is, it doesn’t change HIS experience.

    This is absolutely, completely, 100% true. I don’t doubt for a moment that The Godless Monster’s experiences are true.

    Similarly, I know plenty of people who have had terrible experiences growing up. I have no doubt whatsoever that their reports of their experiences are as accurate as can be. There is plenty of evidence that abusive parents and sundry other kinds of horrible childhood do indeed happen.

    However, I do not conclude from this that all families are dysfunctional and childhoods are all terrible, because that contradicts my experience, and it also contradicts the considerable evidence that not all childhoods are bad.

    And since I believe all religions are barbaric and silly, I’ll take his argument over a happy Muslim’s any day.

    Look up “confirmation bias” some time.

  • Grizzz

    May I ask if you have lived in a Middle Eastern country. If yes, I would then ask what country, for how long, and when?

  • Grizzz

    Dude, I think I have a new favorite around here! You rock sir!

  • 4rtuor4

    I’m not sure what to think about if people have something happen legally for saying ‘Muhammad was a pedophile’ or ‘Muhammad commited an act of child molestation’, although it seems like there are writings of Hadith that says he consumated his marriage with a girl when she was around 9 lunar years in age. Some people don’t accept these as being accurate, some do. I’m thinking I have heard some arguments before that were sort of convincing to me in the past that there shouldn’t be legal proceedings for people saying stuff like this, so maybe it would be better if there wasn’t legeslation about it.

    It seems more problematic, though, if people have something happen legally for saying or just having the interpretation that Muhammad was something like a ‘gangster’ similar to Constantine and Alexander the Great and that he conquered and treated people people in a poor and brutal way for poor reasons and that these things can be or should be thought of as generally ‘bad’ even so much as to say Muhammad was a generally ‘bad’ person and/or generally did ‘bad’ things.

    What is the precedence for people saying or interpreting that God or God’s actions are similarly ‘bad’ like Constantine and Alexander the Great like with acts against ancient people such as the Midianites or for saying such about ancient people (I’m not sure if these were Jews which could bring up the idea of anti-Semitism. I’m not sure if Jews and Christians now would say that they were exactly ‘Jewish’, but they seem to be talked about as having some relationship with God similar to Jews in the Bible whenever they’re said to have come about.) who did things to people like with the Midianites?

  • 4rtuor4

    What is the quality or qualities of a person who isn’t a Muslim? Can somebody be both a Muslim and a person who is not possibly a Muslim ?

  • Brian Macker

    Islam, the living religion as opposed to Islamic religious texts, is also barbaric.    The majority of Muslims in Palistine voted in two separate barbaric terrorist organizations.  Most Islamic nations have barbaric governments.   The populace in most Islamic nations act like barbarians towards minority groups.   The Islamic Sharia laws in place in many Muslim countries are barbaric.    Saudi Arabia is still chopping heads and hands off, as are other Islamic nations.

    That the minorities in these areas avoid drawing attraction by keeping quite is not a sign of Islamic tolerance and modernity.    

    At every level Islamic religion was originally and still is barbaric.   Sufi philosophy is not modern and is also barbaric.
    Here’s an example of Sufi barbarism, the great Sufi

    “[O]ne must go on jihad (i.e., warlike razzias or raids) at least once a year…one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them…If a person of the Ahl al-Kitab [People of The Book - primarily Jews and Christians] is enslaved, his marriage is [automatically] revoked…One may cut down their trees…One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide…they may steal as much food as they need…
    [T]he dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle…Jews, Christians, and Majians must pay the jizya [poll tax on non-Muslims]…on offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protruberant bone beneath his ear [i.e., the mandible]… They are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells…their houses may not be higher than the Muslim’s, no matter how low that is. The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddle[-work] is of wood. He may not walk on the good part of the road. They [the dhimmis] have to wear [an identifying] patch [on their clothing], even women, and even in the [public] baths…[dhimmis] must hold their tongue….” – Al-GhazaliModern Sufis are little better, for example Tabandeh with his diatribes against human rights, and lauding barbaric Sharia punishments.   He also writes barbaric and bigoted nonsense like this: “Islam and its peoples must be above the infidels, and never permit non-Muslims to acquire lordship over them. Since the marriage of a Muslim woman to an infidel husband (in accordance with the verse quoted: ‘Men are guardians of women’) means her subordination to an infidel, that fact makes the marriage void, because it does not obey the conditions laid down to make a contract valid.”Islam and Sufism is defined by the religious leaders, historical texts, and modern religious writings, that are considered respectible within those sects.  Not by lackadaisical followers who happen to be born into these sects.   None of this is the same as claiming “All Muslims are barbarians”, or “All Sufis …”.  Many are born into the religion and are ignorant, or would reject the behaviors condoned by the religion where they put in a position where they had a choice.  Often they have no such choice, or are pressured to conform.     

  • Brian Macker

    “… Sufis, which are basically the Islamic flavor of Unitarian Universalists …”  

     Utter nonsense.   Sufis are quite an intolerant bunch.  Unitarians allow Muslims and Atheists to join.   Sufis like Tabandeh  write and/or praise shit like, “Since Islam regards non-Muslims as on a lower level of belief and conviction, if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim…then his punishment must not be the retaliatory death, since the faith and conviction he possesses is loftier than that of the man slain…” and “Islam and its peoples must be above the infidels, and never permit non-Muslims to acquire lordship over them. “

  • Brian Macker

    We don’t practice extrajudicial execution, nor is it legal.  Learn the difference between acts of war, and simple crime.   Killing someone who is actively trying to murder civilians is not an execution, and in fact it classifies as a form of self defense.

  • Brian Macker

    Another straw man courtesy of SkepChick?  I didn’t bother reading it because I don’t know anyone who is arguing the point she is disputing in her title.

  • Brian Macker

    This is so obvious, and such basic logic.  Isn’t logic required for math?  Being Christian or Muslim is NOT defined by believing ever single dogma of the religion.   It’s impossible to do so in both religions because within each relgion their own dogmas self contradict.   It’s also possible to call oneself Muslim and pretty much reject everything in Islam, just like there are Jewish atheists.   Heck there are christian priests that are atheists.  Yes other Muslims are Christians reject them as non-believers but that’s nothing new either.   Christians and Muslims of various sects have been rejecting believers in other sects as non-Christians and non-Muslims for millenia.

  • Brian Macker

    Are Jains “barbaric” in the same sense?   I think you are equivocating.

  • Pseudonym

    Isn’t logic required for math?

    Speaking as a sometime mathematical logician, no. Or, at least, not in the sense that you think. Logic, as mathematicians understand it, is not the same thing as logic, as critical-thinking philosophers understand it.

    For a mathematician, a logic (I say “a” logic, because there are an infinite number of theories that fall under the banner “logic”) is a formal system where sequents are proven from axioms by means of inference rules. That’s it. It’s a game of formal symbol manipulation, the value of which is that logics can model useful problems. Different problems are modelled using different logical theories.

    For a philosopher, “logic” is about taming the world of thought. It’s about trying to understand what argument a person intends to make and seeing if it holds together.

    Incidentally, critical thinking is one of those areas of academia where expectation and reality are vastly different. People go into a topology class thinking that it’s going to be all toruses and Klein bottles, and get lost in the discussion of open sets and metric spaces. Similarly, people go into a critical thinking class with the idea that it’s going to be about spotting logical fallacies and instead get lectures on the principle of charity. In fact, most critical thinking classes spend quite a bit of time explaining why lists of logical fallacies are a complete waste of time!

    But I digress.

    The confusion is understandable, since, like all of science, what mathematicians study is a descendent of what philosophers study. But it’s quite different in character.

  • 4rtuor4