Against sharia

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I am politically in agreement with such anti-sharia activism. But I am also troubled by the way that we, when defending liberal secular Western individualist policies, we so rarely acknowledge the burdens such a regime places on devoutly religious people.

We may defend our views in the name of minimizing harm, but we inescapably also do harm, and we cause pain. I just wish we could oppose sharia without the liberal fantasy of a world free of coercion and conflicts of interests. Interests rooted in religion are real interests for all their superstitious qualities.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • Sabio

    Totally agree. Liberal Politically-Correct Atheism could hurt us in the end.

  • uzza

    Elsewhere you have said “if you don’t see how … (criticising muslims)is often real harm to them, you’re missing something very important about this debate”

    I’d say the devout place burdens on themselves, and I certainly do not see how we cause harm by presenting our views. What is it that I am missing?

  • GOP Mammal

    We should never apologize for standing for secularism and against theocratic fascism.

  • Taner Edis

    Uzza: “I certainly do not see how we cause harm by presenting our views.”These views are in support of a secular legal regime. Any legal regime will burden some ways of life and favor others. Devout, socially conservative Muslims are burdened by being coerced to live in a secular legal regime.

    The speakers also express criticism of Islam. I like this. I join in when I can. But not a few Muslims react against various kinds of criticism and satire as an insult, even as a vicious attack on what they care about the most. Talk to a devout Muslim; have them explain why saying nasty things about Muhammad is totally unacceptable. Read what Muslim thinkers say about the harm “insulting religion” does.

    My reaction tends to be that yes, the liberal secular way of doing things privileges my way of life over some others. And yes, it exposes the deep sense of the sacred and untouchable felt by many devout religious people to insults. Nonetheless, that is still what I prefer.

  • uzza

    Secular or not has nothing to do with it, and by legal regime I assume you mean a society: Ok, every member is “burdened” to accept the consensus on responsible behavior. The alternative is an immature and antisocial insistence on having one’s own way.

    One’s reaction to something does not define what that thing is; it does defines one’s level of maturity. Realizing and coming to accept that others do not share your feelings and beliefs is merely growing up—it’s not coercion. Adults learn that they harm themselves when they cannot control their feelings over the fact that the world is not as they wish.

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