Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door

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  1. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by Habib View Post
    And, again, I am not saying that those who justify brutal actions with the Christian bible are correct, I am saying that the possibility to interpret things differently, even wildly differently, exists.
    No one with any sense would argue with this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Habib View Post
    As I understand it, you believe there is only one valid interpretation of the Christian texts and one valid interpretation of the Islamic texts. I simply disagree with that.
    My point, and where you may have misunderstood my intent, is that I do believe there is one “ideal” or “most accurate” message of scripture. Unfortunately, due to our human condition, it sometimes requires a variety of interpretations to arrive at the “most likely” intent. I am not convinced there is any one human capable of interpreting every single passage of scripture flawlessly every single time. We all have different understandings and life experiences that lead us to filter information differently. Some are consistently more accurate than others, but no one is flawless. Again, the whole “through a glass darkly” issue.

    An example in our culture is Baptists who read certain passages and determine that the only correct path is absolute abstinence from alcohol at all times, in all ways. We then have Catholics who read the same verses and have a fish fry with a cold keg in the community building next to the sanctuary. I personally fall somewhere in between the two.

    Is one more right than the other? It is not my job to say. I am only able to decide what I believe God wants me to do in faith.
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  2. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by Habib View Post
    There are large varieties of interpretations of both texts. As a Christian I believe the use of the bible to support genocide and the capture of slaves in the 16th century was deplorable.
    Not sure how anyone could be for genocide or slavery… certainly not “enlightened” Christians.

    Quote Originally Posted by Habib View Post
    There are many Muslims today who believe the use of the Quran to support terrorism is similarly deplorable.
    I don’t deny this. I agree 100%. Regardless of what’s written in any book, it is deplorable to use printed words to justify murder, torture and mayhem.

    Again, this gets back to my original premise, and the whole reason I first posted in this thread. This is a battle for hearts and minds. It is first and foremost within the Muslim faith, and secondarily, for hearts and minds outside the Muslim faith.

    If “peace loving” Muslims genuinely believe theirs is the correct interpretation of the prophet’s teachings, they need to capture the moral high ground within their faith and aggressively begin educating potential terrorists before they become indoctrinated in the dark side. They need to find ways to remove or discredit mullahs spewing hatred and discord. They need to do everything possible to educate their brethren and defeat terrorism within their ranks.

    Unfortunately, I do not believe they will be successful in this. There are too many passages in the Koran that justify violence as a means of protecting and/or spreading the faith. There are too many who view violence as the more expedient means to teh end they have in mind.

    I honestly believe we will witness things grow steadily worse with the actions of “violent” Islamists who feel fully vindicated by the words of their prophet to wage fiery warfare upon infidels.

    I truly hope I am wrong on this… we shall see.

  3. #93

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastbreak View Post
    No one with any sense would argue with this point.

    My point, and where you may have misunderstood my intent, is that I do believe there is one “ideal” or “most accurate” message of scripture. Unfortunately, due to our human condition, it sometimes requires a variety of interpretations to arrive at the “most likely” intent. I am not convinced there is any one human capable of interpreting every single passage of scripture flawlessly every single time. We all have different understandings and life experiences that lead us to filter information differently. Some are consistently more accurate than others, but no one is flawless. Again, the whole “through a glass darkly” issue.

    An example in our culture is Baptists who read certain passages and determine that the only correct path is absolute abstinence from alcohol at all times, in all ways. We then have Catholics who read the same verses and have a fish fry with a cold keg in the community building next to the sanctuary. I personally fall somewhere in between the two.

    Is one more right than the other? It is not my job to say. I am only able to decide what I believe God wants me to do in faith.
    Actually not all Baptists would agree with the above. Most probably would but not all. (Historically or in the modern era)

    Check out Elijah Craig's story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah_Craig

    He was co-founder (with Aaron Bledsoe) of my last church here in Virginia. In 1774 he helped establish Bledsoe's Meeting House. They later changed the name to North Pamunkey Baptist Church in the 1820's after a scandal involving Rev. Bledsoe. History is stranger than fiction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatz View Post
    Actually not all Baptists would agree with the above. Most probably would but not all. (Historically or in the modern era)

    Check out Elijah Craig's story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah_Craig

    He was co-founder (with Aaron Bledsoe) of my last church here in Virginia. In 1774 he helped establish Bledsoe's Meeting House. They later changed the name to North Pamunkey Baptist Church in the 1820's after a scandal involving Rev. Bledsoe. History is stranger than fiction.
    Brother Craig remains one of my favorite Baptists to this day...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastbreak View Post
    Brother Craig remains one of my favorite Baptists to this day...
    And a fun story to tell KY Baptists who have no knowledge of their own religious history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatz View Post
    And a fun story to tell KY Baptists who have no knowledge of their own religious history.
    I have been a fan of the good Brother Craig for some time now. I reside where he last practiced his crafts, (preaching and distilling) very near the limestone spring that provided pure water for his product. You are absolutely correct, it is an outright hoot to watch the reactions of his present day Baptist brethren as I recount his story for them.

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    UKFan, just saw your post and thank you also for your comments. I worked with a Muslim and he gave some books on Islam. I realized they worked hard, loved their families, and had dreams of Peace just like I did. We all know we have met people who don't trust each other for several reasons no matter what their beliefs are.

    I have had a man stand up in a church business meeting and talk bad against other races. We left the Church. I realize you have people like that probaby in every Church, but "keep your racist comments out of the Church". Thats what he was told.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alabama Larry View Post
    UKFan, just saw your post and thank you also for your comments. I worked with a Muslim and he gave some books on Islam. I realized they worked hard, loved their families, and had dreams of Peace just like I did. We all know we have met people who don't trust each other for several reasons no matter what their beliefs are.

    I have had a man stand up in a church business meeting and talk bad against other races. We left the Church. I realize you have people like that probaby in every Church, but "keep your racist comments out of the Church". Thats what he was told.
    Larry is winning this thread.

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    Hatz, nice read on Brother Craig. But he didn't have to face Drunk Drivers, fans at Football games who are drunk, teen age drinkers. Those are my biggest complaints about drinking. I was rasied in a Dry County in Alabama, but we had our share of booze. We were 4 miles from the Tennessee border line where there were several beer joints.

    Also enjoyed reading FastBack comments as usual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alabama Larry View Post
    Hatz, nice read on Brother Craig. But he didn't have to face Drunk Drivers, fans at Football games who are drunk, teen age drinkers. Those are my biggest complaints about drinking. I was rasied in a Dry County in Alabama, but we had our share of booze. We were 4 miles from the Tennessee border line where there were several beer joints.

    Also enjoyed reading FastBack comments as usual.
    Larry I understand your thoughts on drinking. And I definitely understand how drinking and driving is such an issue. But, I must take exception to using drunk fans at games as an example of justifying demonizing drinking. In all fairness, the number of obnoxious fans who aren't drunk are greater than those that are in most cases. I say we just make general obnoxiousness a sin.

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    I agree RM, I sin every day, and betcha you were thinking about me and Bama? I've seen things at games where over drinking had to be an issue, pouring drinks on senior citizens of opposing teams, cussing like a railroader right behind a group of ladies and children. (I actually talked to the AD about this one and they moved our season tickets at the Old Fairgrounds), people getting into fights, (part of it) spilling beer on me (accident), passing out and throwing up, and the tail gating is only getting worse with the drinking.

    I need to start a new thread..RockMom and I disagree again?

  12. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alabama Larry View Post
    I agree RM, I sin every day, and betcha you were thinking about me and Bama? I've seen things at games where over drinking had to be an issue, pouring drinks on senior citizens of opposing teams, cussing like a railroader right behind a group of ladies and children. (I actually talked to the AD about this one and they moved our season tickets at the Old Fairgrounds), people getting into fights, (part of it) spilling beer on me (accident), passing out and throwing up, and the tail gating is only getting worse with the drinking.

    I need to start a new thread..RockMom and I disagree again?
    I wasn't targeting you...I was speaking in general. I also was just trying to voice my objection to obnoxiousness in general, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. No offense meant. My apologies.

  13. #103

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    No need to apolozize. I agreed with you and I'm full aware of what you meant. I'm really a "very obnoxious Bama fan." Actually we pride ourselves on it. And I was kinda messin with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastbreak View Post
    I'm a bit reluctant to break up a hearty gay rights debate in a thread entitled, "Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door" to discuss Muslim issues, but here goes...

    Habib, I again split up your post to address your points…
    As long as there are Muslims capturing headlines and dominating coverage in the 24/7 news cycle by perpetrating violence in the name of Allah, “peace loving” Muslims need to point out and keep pointing out how the actions of these so called “extremists” are out of line with what they believe are the authentic teachings of the prophet.

    Not to suit me…

    …not to meet some stringent “litmus test”…

    …but for the benefit of their own faith and image.

    This is simple public relations.

    I have not once in this thread said, “There are no Muslims speaking out against terrorism” nor have I demanded they do so as some sort of “litmus test”.

    The fact that you were so readily able to produce a 9Mb PDF file containing letters from Muslim individuals and groups denouncing the acts of terrorists acting in the name of their faith tells me THEY felt this was necessary and potentially beneficial.

    Good P.R. IMO. They need to keep it up until their message gets out to enough people—especially those within their own faith—to turn the tide against those they assert are misappropriating their faith.

    I certainly do not see how it is intolerant and hateful to suggest that “peace loving” Muslims would do themselves and their faith a tremendous favor to continue these denouncements… not as a “litmus test” but as a platform for moving their “peaceful and gentle” interpretation of the faith into a position of better understanding and acceptance on the world stage… and to help eliminate misunderstandings with potential neighbors in communities across the U.S.

    If you find fault with this position, we will simply have to agree to disagree.
    I certainly have no issue with helpful public relations advice. Though, I did not understand mountain ref’s original post and your subsequent elaboration to be limited to that. I –and I think most anyone else - understood them to mean that Muslims are required to speak out or else receive hostile treatment and to imply Muslims have not spoken out against terrorism because it is part of their faith, respectively. That is what I disagreed with. If it had been public relations advice from the beginning, I wouldn’t have bothered chiming in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fastbreak View Post
    You have so predetermined my viewpoint and are prepared to be against what you “think” I’m trying to say, you’re not providing any “benefit of the doubt” to my actual words. I never said that “I” claim the Saudis are “liberal”. How could any sensible Westerner reading about people being beheaded, beaten and imprisoned for believing in Jesus Christ suggest this culture is “liberal”? Come on man…

    I said, “Many Muslims decry the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as corrupt due to their general friendliness with the West.” The intent was that the Saudis are viewed as being too “liberal” by many of their own hard line Muslim brethren. You are welcome to agree or disagree, but please understand my intent as you do.
    I have no desire to deliberately misunderstand you. You said “[…]Saudi Arabia, one of the more liberal Islamic nations in the Middle East…” I understood that to mean that Saudi Arabia is “liberal” compared to the Middle East as a whole. Thus, your presentation of brutality in Saudi Arabia was to demonstrate that Islam is inherently brutal since its most “liberal” country is extremely brutal. I replied that I do not believe Saudi Arabia to be liberal on any scale, even comparatively amongst Middle Eastern states. I’m not sure how that is a deliberate misunderstanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fastbreak
    I was not referring to myself, or even “objective outside observers” but former Muslim jihadists who at one time were on the “inside” of violence against the West. They have since fled to escape the brutal conditions in the lands of their youth. As they have come to see the bigger picture, they have turned from violence and elected to reveal what is being taught, believed and practiced by growing numbers of their former countrymen.

    THEY CLAIM that “peace loving” Muslims content with making nice with infidels are considered to be weak apostates by hard line adherents. This is not a surmise or opinion on my part, but the words and opinions of former Islamic jihadists, based upon THEIR UNDERSTANDING (not mine) of the writings of the prophet.
    My disagreement wasn’t with the source, whether it be you or former Muslims. It was with the implication that these sources are correct and other Muslims, scholars, or observers who share a differing interpretation are incorrect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fastbreak View Post
    Habib, I am not suggesting we toss out over half of the Bible. Paul instructs us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

    I am merely saying that the New Testament is the collection of letters/books that deal exclusively with Christianity. As a Christian, the words, actions and teaching of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament are our preeminent authority. His is the ultimate teaching for me to follow. None of this abolishes the good teachings, wisdom and history found in the Old Testament. The N.T. merely supersedes the O.T. in authority for me as a Christian.

    Paul said, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” He is speaking of our ability to understand and perceive here and now versus our ability to do so in God’s full presence. IMO, the time Jesus walked the earth and spoke directly to us was one of those moments of razor sharp clarity Paul speaks of… a time of unambiguous lucidity unencumbered by the filter of human interpretation. The words He spoke, as recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the most loving, inspired and challenging in the entire Bible. Everything else, is as Paul says in the KJV is “through a glass darkly”.

    I’ve been slapped by Hatz for hyperbole, but it is my genuine belief that the entire Old Testament, in one way or another, points to the need for, and pending arrival of a Messiah. From original sin; to the hopeless prospect of more than 500 laws no human could ever fulfill to the letter; to the hundreds of prophecies describing the who, what, when, where, why and how of His arrival.

    You don’t have to agree with me, (…really… I’m okay with that… lol) but If Muhammad is the singular standard for representing the Muslim faith, Jesus Christ is the only reasonable/fair option for representing Christianity. Muhammad is the sole author of the Koran. It seems correct to compare his words and teaching with those of Jesus.

    You will find nowhere in the words of Jesus (or any of His disciples, or in the entire New Testament for that matter) where he instructs us to take up the sword in the name of God. He instructs us to love God and love our neighbor (and to even love our enemies.) There is no ambiguity in His teaching. There is no room for waging violent jihad against non-believers in the name of His faith.

    Pulling out things recorded in the O.T. and trying to hang them on Jesus is a reach in this regard. Feel free to do so if you deem it necessary. It's just a reach IMO.
    I am neither suggesting half of the bible be tossed out nor am I attempting to hang violent passages on Jesus. I am saying that to only offer part of the Christian text up for comparison in terms of violence is beguiling, particularly when the part being omitted is extremely important to the Christian faith. I find your justification for doing so in the context of this discussion to be both convenient and specious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fastbreak View Post
    No one with any sense would argue with this point.

    My point, and where you may have misunderstood my intent, is that I do believe there is one “ideal” or “most accurate” message of scripture. Unfortunately, due to our human condition, it sometimes requires a variety of interpretations to arrive at the “most likely” intent. I am not convinced there is any one human capable of interpreting every single passage of scripture flawlessly every single time. We all have different understandings and life experiences that lead us to filter information differently. Some are consistently more accurate than others, but no one is flawless. Again, the whole “through a glass darkly” issue.

    An example in our culture is Baptists who read certain passages and determine that the only correct path is absolute abstinence from alcohol at all times, in all ways. We then have Catholics who read the same verses and have a fish fry with a cold keg in the community building next to the sanctuary. I personally fall somewhere in between the two.

    Is one more right than the other? It is not my job to say. I am only able to decide what I believe God wants me to do in faith.
    I absolutely agree with what you’ve written here. I simply believe these varied interpretations to be possible in the Islamic faith as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fastbreak
    Nor does anyone who has ever actually read the Koran in its entirety been able to truthfully deny Muhammad’s writings (specifically regarding violence and jihad against infidels) that are used to support such interpretations. This is a big challenge for the proponents of a “peaceful” Islam. I genuinely wish them well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fastbreak View Post
    I was stunned when I first read the Koran in its entirety in 1983 with all the instructions for violence by the prophet. These occur consistently throughout the text. They are not random exceptions, but a recurring theme for dealing with infidels and transgressors of the law as presented by Muhammad.

    I am NOT asserting that “peace loving” Muslims or “violent jihadists” are more or less faithful to the teachings of the prophet. What I AM SAYING is that those on both sides have ample justification in the Koran to support their viewpoints as being faithful. This is an internal struggle within Islam, based upon differing perspectives and selective emphasis on certain themes within the text.

    It is important to understand that neither side is amplifying a few scant verses here or there out of context to essentially build a mountain out of a molehill. Both peaceful and violent verses/teachings are in the Koran. Neither POV requires a magnifying glass and narrow scrutiny to reveal. Those who deny this are either ignorant of the facts and/or disingenuous.

    Personally, I would prefer to see the “peace loving” Muslims win the debate, but having read the book, I genuinely do not think it is possible for them to defuse those leaning toward violent means… and certainly not by denying that violence is clearly instructed by Muhammad in the Koran.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fastbreak View Post
    Not sure how anyone could be for genocide or slavery… certainly not “enlightened” Christians.

    I don’t deny this. I agree 100%. Regardless of what’s written in any book, it is deplorable to use printed words to justify murder, torture and mayhem.

    Again, this gets back to my original premise, and the whole reason I first posted in this thread. This is a battle for hearts and minds. It is first and foremost within the Muslim faith, and secondarily, for hearts and minds outside the Muslim faith.

    If “peace loving” Muslims genuinely believe theirs is the correct interpretation of the prophet’s teachings, they need to capture the moral high ground within their faith and aggressively begin educating potential terrorists before they become indoctrinated in the dark side. They need to find ways to remove or discredit mullahs spewing hatred and discord. They need to do everything possible to educate their brethren and defeat terrorism within their ranks.

    Unfortunately, I do not believe they will be successful in this. There are too many passages in the Koran that justify violence as a means of protecting and/or spreading the faith. There are too many who view violence as the more expedient means to teh end they have in mind.

    I honestly believe we will witness things grow steadily worse with the actions of “violent” Islamists who feel fully vindicated by the words of their prophet to wage fiery warfare upon infidels.

    I truly hope I am wrong on this… we shall see.
    I honestly believe it will go in the opposite direction as countries modernize and people are subject to a diverse range of views, interpretations, and acquire the ability to challenge those things themselves. I think this is already evident. But, this has been the crux of our debate: is Islam inherently violent? I do not believe it to be. As I understand it, you believe it to be. However, my argument has not been to convince you or anyone reading that my personal interpretation of the Quran is the correct one. I have argued that differing interpretations are possible, evident, and that those favoring terrorist violence are in the extreme minority. History has shown us a wide variety of interpretations of the Quran (as well as the Christian Bible, which I have used its possibility of interpretation as part of the faith as an example of the subjective nature of these texts). Jihad itself has been debated throughout the lifetime of Islam, and I would argue that the large majority of these interpretations have not been in favor of violence, thus, after centuries those who believe jihad to mean a violent war against outsiders wear the label of “radical.”

    Then, to bring this back to the beginning of the thread, I do not find Muslims people to be feared or unwelcome.

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