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Ch. 4 - The Problem with Islam 
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Post Re: Will the Real Religion please Stand Up?
Quote:
Malls are a good way to group together commerce.


You know, downtowns were a great way to group together commence, so this argument in favor of malls is a little thin. My father commented in the sixties that shopping at the strip mall (didn't have enclosed malls in Ohio then) was the new form of Sunday worship.

How does anyone live in America and not think Money is Our God? I've never heard of people worshiping flint (exchanged and used for making points) or wampum, though of course people saw spiritual significance in the return of the sun, the miracle of seeds, etc. Money is a means to an end for you and for me, riverc0il, but it's a lot more than that for many, many people, from people with little who hoard even that and envy everyone else to those with billions who want more, more, more.

Some of the people who write on these threads are incredibly literalistic. I have got to assume that we don't have too many poets, writers, or other artists contributing here. When someone uses a word with artistic license or writes a very clever piece (such as Esack's) intending to make us think, it is read with the utmost dreariness and lack of imagination. I would like to recommend "Daily Afflictions," a little book by Andrew Boyd, to all of you to hone up your rusty senses of humor.




Sat May 06, 2006 6:58 am


Post Re: Will the Real Religion please Stand Up?
Now that I think about it, I have to believe that Riverc0il was being terribly ironic. So ironic I didn't laugh. Sorry. A number of theologians have suggested that your god is not the one you talk about or say you believe in, but is whatever is central to your life, what you spend the most time pursuing, what is most meaningful to you. Hahahaha, for some people this appears to be Money! (I hear Pink Floyd in the background.)




Sat May 06, 2006 9:52 am
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Post Re: Will the Real Religion please Stand Up?
river: But such comparisons of capitalism to religion is quite frankly tough to swallow and kind of silly.

I think Esack's comparison of Capitalism and Religion is worthy of serious consideration, even if his analysis is light on specifics. He's not the first to make the comparison. Marx identified what he called Commodity Fetishism in Capitalism, where commodities aquire abstract values and special powers...forces that define human relationships, goods and services, and what is worthy and meaningful in society. Of course, Marx saw this as a detrimental process that devalued human and natural resources and alienated people from their labor, their communities, and themselves...in essence, an Idolatry.

Dr. Harvey Cox is professor of Christian Ethics at the Divinity School of Harvard University and has spent a lifetime examining the relationships between the religious and secular worlds. In this article from the Atlantic Monthly 1999, he makes a strong case for "The Market As God" and Capitalism as Living in The New Dispensationalism

Quote:
Discovering the theology of The Market made me begin to think in a different way about the conflict among religions. Violence between Catholics and Protestants in Ulster or Hindus and Muslims in India often dominates the headlines. But I have come to wonder whether the real clash of religions (or even of civilizations) may be going unnoticed. I am beginning to think that for all the religions of the world, however they may differ from one another, the religion of The Market has become the most formidable rival, the more so because it is rarely recognized as a religion. The traditional religions and the religion of the global market, as we have seen, hold radically different views of nature. In Christianity and Judaism, for example, "the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and all that dwell therein." The Creator appoints human beings as stewards and gardeners but, as it were, retains title to the earth. Other faiths have similar ideas.

In The Market religion, however, human beings, more particularly those with money, own anything they buy and-within certain limits-can dispose of anything as they choose. Other contradictions can be seen in ideas about the human body, the nature of human community, and the purpose of life. The older religions encourage archaic attachments to particular places. But in The Market's eyes all places are interchangeable. The Market prefers a homogenized world culture with as few inconvenient particularities as possible.


Esack quotes the Buddhist scholar, David Loy in the brief excerpt I included above. Loy, speaking at a conference titled The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health & Ethics offers this lecture Religion and the Market from which the following quote is taken:

Quote:
Later chapters in this book explore the ways Buddhism and other religions diagnose and attempt to resolve this problem. If we contrast their approaches with market indoctrination about the importance of acquisition and consumption -- an indoctrination that is necessary for the market to thrive -- the battle lines become clear. All genuine religions are natural allies against what amounts to an idolatry that undermines their most important teachings.

In conclusion, the market is not just an economic system but a religion -- yet not a very good one, for it can thrive only by promising a secular salvation that it never quite supplies. Its academic discipline, the "social science" of economics, is better understood as a theology pretending to be a science.

This suggests that any solution to the problems they have created must also have a religious dimension. That is not a matter of turning from secular to sacred values, but the need to discover how our secular obsessions have become symptomatic of a spiritual need they cannot meet. As we have consciously or unconsciously turned away from a religious understanding of the world, we have come to pursue this-worldly goals with a religious zeal all the greater because they can never be fulfilled. The solution to the environmental catastrophe that has already begun, and to the social deterioration we are already suffering from, will occur when we redirect this repressed spiritual urge back into its true path. For the time being, that path includes struggling against the false religion of our age.


So, I think there is something worth considering from these Muslim, Christian and Buddhist perspectives regarding the Religious elements of Capitalism. I think Capitalism, like any all-encompassing ideologies that propose definitions of human nature, the good society, worth and value, meaning and purpose...involve many of the same machinations of Religion: faith, worship, sacrifice, missionary zeal, heresy and orthodoxy, sacred temples, and elaborate theologies.




Sat May 06, 2006 10:16 am
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Post World Government
The idea of a world government fascinates me. On a simple level, I feel that a world government is what we need to survive. However, I must confess that I haven't given it enough thought to really imagine how such a government would operate. I couldn't argue for or against it. On p 150 Harris states, "...we need a world government." Harris sems to feel we need a world government to rescue the world from religion. He may be right. Does anyone have any thoughts on a world government? Could it liberate us from tribalism? Is it just a nice idea that is impracticle or impossible for some reason?




Sun May 07, 2006 1:36 pm
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Post Arab world and book talk
Harris reports, "...Spain translates as many books into Spanish each year as the entire Arab world has translated into Arabic since the ninth century." The italics are mine. Oh man, that just made me stop reading and reflect on that fact. Wow.




Sun May 07, 2006 1:45 pm
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Post Re: Arab world and book talk
Once again, Dissident Heart, let me thank you for the fascinating references. I've been proofreading (mostly fiction) for years and years, and my eyes had little energy left over for good reading. I think Esack chose to say with humor what Cox and Loy state more seriously, but my impression of him was that he is a human being who takes what should be taken seriously with seriousness but without grimness. I want to read the things you mention when I'm done slogging through The Origins of Totalitarianism and Eichmann in Jerusalem.




Mon May 08, 2006 7:37 am
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Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Problem with Islam
The Islamic world supports and condones those suicide bombings. I just watched another show about this subject today. Throughout the Palestinian territory there are hundreds of government funded posters and billboards encouraging and praising martyrdom behavior. Most Palestinians celebrate and praise the killing of innocent Israelis.




Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:51 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Problem with Islam
nickelplate416 : "It wasn't my intention to start a debate on the Israel/Palestine conflict,"

I can see that.

" and I will not take sides here "

Clearly.

"Yet they didn't respond by randomly blowing up schools, buses, buildings or planes, killing dozens or hundreds of civilians in the process."

You didn't see what Israel "supposedly" just did to Lebanon a couple of months ago?




Quote:
Might *reality* also be part of the problem? What is the "reality" of the number of civilians killed by Israel, compared to the number of civilians killed by it's neighbors?

What is the "reality" of Israel's existence? Is it a Jewish homeland? Or is it Arab/Muslim land?



I think my questions were pretty neutral.

It shouldn't matter what bias one may have, (whether it's state induced or home grown) anyone should able, and any freethinker should be willing, to compare what flash cards are being shown by the corporate owned liberal media, to what's actually been happening on the ground -- in "*reality*". And see how it statistically looks on the scales -- without "choosing sides."


Chris: "there are hundreds of government funded posters and billboards encouraging and praising martyrdom behavior. Most Palestinians celebrate and praise the killing of innocent Israelis"

They were like parades, I tell ya!!

Edited by: GOD defiles Reason at: 9/4/06 4:22 am



Mon Sep 04, 2006 2:43 am
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Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Problem with Islam
I'm sure there is a powerful message behind that post, God defiles Reason, but I'm missing it. Care to explain?

My point is that the Muslim world supports and encourages their people strapping bombs on their bodies and detonating them in public places killing innocent men, women and children. Do you also support suicide bombings?




Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:37 am
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Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Problem with Islam
Chris: "I'm sure there is a powerful message behind that post, God defiles Reason, but I'm missing it. Care to explain?"

Check into those questions yet?


Chris: "Do you also support suicide bombings? "

Do you also support Nazi style reprisals?




Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:33 pm


Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Problem with Islam
"You didn't see what Israel "supposedly" just did to Lebanon a couple of months ago?"

Israel does not sponsor or encourage terrorist attacks against any entity, civilian or not, Muslim or not. If an Israeli was caught blowing up a Muslim school or a Palestinian community in Israel, I guarantee you that he would be trialed and put to jail. And if he was caught doing this in another country, Israel would not come to his defense. In any case, here is a very well written counterpoint on the current Israel/Lebanon tragedy: www.uwire.com/content//to...06002.html

And Nasrallah (head of Hezbollah) also said this about Jews: "If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli." (in the New Yorker, 14/10/02)

This is antisemitism, plain and simple.

Edited by: nickelplate416 at: 9/4/06 9:54 pm



Mon Sep 04, 2006 8:50 pm


Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Problem with Islam
nickelplate416 :
"And Nasrallah (head of Hezbollah) also said this about Jews:"

I ask you about recent actions, and you respond with what somebody said? How do words compare to actions?


Did that quote come from your own personal stash of bias? or was that the best you could find in a search?








"This is anti-Semitism, plain and simple."

Anti-Semite. Now there's a creation that probably deserves a whole thread of discussion.


Thank the good lord for the mad max meme
just when our friends are committing atrocities.


What is your opinion of taking a neutral stance while examining Israel's actions?




Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:39 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Problem with Islam
Nickelplate416

Quote:
Israel does not sponsor or encourage terrorist attacks against any entity, civilian or not, Muslim or not.
A point that a significant number of people refuse to consider, but one that I think matters greatly.

Quote:
If an Israeli was caught blowing up a Muslim school or a Palestinian community in Israel, I guarantee you that he would be trialed and put to jail.
And if a Palestinian were caught doing likewise he would be praised as a hero and rewarded financially by the governing terrorist organization.

Quote:
And Nasrallah (head of Hezbollah) also said this about Jews: "If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli." (in the New Yorker, 14/10/02)

This is antisemitism, plain and simple.
This seems crytsal clear to anyone with their eyes open.

Oh, and welcome to BookTalk Nickelplate416. I'm enjoying your posts. ::80

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 9/5/06 1:03 am



Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:02 am
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Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Problem with Islam
Nickelplate416

You made a comment earlier that stuck in my head.

Quote:
Islam - and Christianity, etc. - *is* the problem. If the most likely interpretation of an excerpt from a holy book is one of martyrdom, then the problem is not with the reader, but with the message itself.
For a message supposedly coming from a all-knowing and all-powerful superhero there sure is some confusion. Couldn't this deity have delivered are more precise and clear message so that billions of his children wouldn't slaughter each other due to translation errors?




Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:08 am
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Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Problem with Islam
We liike d' way u talk :smokin mmmm hmm


.




Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:49 am
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