I don't like Islam

Stop the hijack about Virtue Signallers or SJW.

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Everybody doesn’t like something good. There are people who don’t like chocolate and people who don’t like Disneyland.

I don’t like religions in general. It seems silly to me to have a bunch of supernatural beliefs without any evidence to support them. It certainly doesn’t seem like a good foundation for a ethical or political system. And I don’t like the way a lot of religious people want to impose their beliefs on people who don’t share their religion.

I think my 2nd paragraph covers that. But I am uncomfortable actually calling out a religion as “bad” even though I don’t particularly respect any of them. Part of the purpose of this thread is so I can figure out why.

Fair enough. What, in your opinion, makes a book “good” in this context? Would you say the books you recommend are objectively truthful, neither apologetic nor antagonistic?

This has to do with my wish to be able to separate Islam from tribalism and the politics of power, but it is a problem. These days, the shitty theocracies seem to be all or mostly Islamic. Why would that be so? Does Islam lend itself to this more than other religions? I would prefer to think there are other reasons, but I don’t know what they are. Are there published materials that address this question?

But there are generally recognized major Christian sects, most of which have a governing body of some kind. And we are generally able to recognize cults when we see them, and the cults and the few outlier sects that are not quite cults are nowhere near powerful enough to control people outside their immediate sphere. There doesn’t seem to be anything like these distinctions in Islam (although this is where further reading would probably help me).

I attempted to explain in the OP why Islam. That was the point of the entire OP. And no, I don’t follow football or other team sports. But thanks for trying to trivialize the issue.

Islam has major sects too.

Christian Fundamentalists are bastards because they’re not Christian enough. If you think you’re supposed to follow Deuteronomy, you suck at being a Christian: one of the most famous parts of the New Testament is Jesus Christ telling people not to follow the rules of the Old Testament, and that you shouldn’t stone adulterers.

A good book in this context, for us humanists, is one that examines its subject the way it would examine any other cultural phenomenon, with neither reverence nor revulsion. Armstrong is, IIRC, a Christian believer, but writes about religion from a more scholarly perspective than most authors outside of scholarship. Of course, reading the works of academics is also always a good idea, IMO, if you’re willing to put in the work, but they don’t generally write broad overviews about Islam.

You can tell a good book from a bad book because you come away from it thinking “oh, this is more complicated than I thought,” which should be anyone’s reaction to learning about a fourteen-centuries-long cultural phenomenon involving half the world and more than a billion people. Any serious look at modern Islam should give you plenty of ammunition for criticism of common interpretations of the Quran and the way Islam is practices in many countries. But it’s also going to treat those subjects in their complex glory, without overgeneralizing or caricaturing or essentializing.

Matthew 15:4

Jesus did not give a blanket disavowal of the Old Testament. He decried ‘legalism’, the nitpicking of God’s law to get away with immoral behavior while technically obeying the rules. And, in the writings, he does deny a few of the traditional laws - like the necessity of eating kosher. But we also see him say, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” And he says, “All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Basically, the portrayal of Jesus and his philosophy is, to put it lightly, a bit inconsistent if you actually read through the Gospels and pay attention to context and such. Which laws he still subscribed to is completely unclear, but I think it’s reasonable to say that if Jesus commands that you stone your child to death, should that child talk back to you, that we can’t immediately rule out any of the most objectionable parts of the Deuteronomic code.

I can only speculate.

As governing systems evolved we got monarchies (and eventually other forms of government) and religion. They grew up side-by-side and have had an uneven and contentious relationship.

Both are ultimately concerned with control of the masses (power). One claims temporal power and the other spiritual power and they have had a tug-of-war over who controls what over the ages. Certainly they mix sometimes too.

Is there something about Islam that lends itself more to theocracies? I’d say no. More happenstance than some feature of the religion. Tribalism is a very common human thing. Perhaps the Balkanization of Christianity made it so no one strain could easily rise to the top. Islam has what…two major strains (Shia and Sunni)? We saw two strains of Christianity fight vehemently in Northern Ireland.

I am only guessing but maybe letting the US be a place where all the various strains were allowed to come made it impossible for any one to become overbearing.

Just thinking out loud…

Because they’re not Communist.

That may sound flippant, but the fact is that autocratic regimes in nations with weak civil-society protection of rights tend to spread via some overarching ideology. For autocratic regimes in ex-colonial societies, that frequently boiled down to either communism or Islamist theocracy.

I would assume because Muslims overseas are on the whole more authoritarian, conservative and socially oppressive than other faiths (christianity, judaism, hinduism, buddhism, etc). Muslim majority nations have worse civil and human rights than nations where the majority are other faiths (although realistically, there are really only 2 major global religions. Islam & Christianity. The other faiths usually only have 1 or so majority nations. Judiasm in Israel, Hinduism in India, etc). Buddhist majority nations in southeast asia have problems with civil and human rights, but nobody is making the argument that buddhism itself is a cause of this oppression. That argument can be made in muslim majority nations.

The problem is it is hard to walk a tightrope, on one hand liberals and secular humanists have problems with the modern muslim world due to the oppressive culture, but so do right wing authoritarians who reject Islam due to tribalism and give lip service to the oppression culture as their motivation. The problems are for different reasons, but the two groups don’t want to be confused with each other and any criticisms of Islamic culture are labeled as right wing tribalism.

I don’t like religion in general, but of all the religions on earth I think I dislike Islam the most too of major religions. I don’t see why this is wrong. It is unpopular, but there are valid reasons to believe that.

But northern African muslim nations have worse civil, political, and human rights than southern African christian nations. Both were under the thumb of colonialism. Neither is ideal, but the Muslim majority area is almost all not free with a couple free and a few partly free. The christian areas are a mix of free, not free, and partly free.

Map of muslim vs christian majority African nations

Map of freedom in Africa.

:dubious: Those maps, or at least your interpretation of them, is really stretching the characteristic of “majority Muslim”, as well as glossing over several major counterexamples to your thesis.

For example, both Egypt and Chad in the north are counted as “majority Muslim” and “not free”, but Egypt is 80-90% Muslim while Chad is about 53% Muslim. Neighbors Somalia and Ethiopia both get strong “not free” rankings, but Somalia is nearly 100% Muslim while Ethiopia is about 63% Christian.

And of course, your generalization completely overlooks the very populous and extremely unfree Democratic Republic of the Congo (80% Christian) and Angola (over 75% Christian). Not to mention the strong “free” rankings of Tunisia (99% Muslim) and Senegal (92% Muslim).

So I’m skeptical about the strength of the correlation between prevalence of Islam and lack of freedom. I’m also very skeptical about alleged causal relations between prevalence of Islam and lack of freedom. What your data actually show is a clump of three neighboring majority-Christian nations in the extreme south that have strong “free” rankings, with freedom or lack thereof elsewhere on the continent not noticeably dependent on religious demographics.

Also:

Central African Republic - 80% Christian, not free
Cameroon - 70% Christian, not free
Uganda - 85% Christian, not free.
Rwanda - 96% Christian, not free.
Burundi - 90% Christian, not free.
South Sudan - difficult to parse, but probably majority Christian ( maybe 60% ), most of the rest animist, not free.
Gabon - 73% Christian, not free.
Congo-Brazzaville - 85% Christian, not free
Equatorial Guinea - 93% Christian, not free.
Swaziland - 83% Christian, not free.

Counting the two you’ve already listed, that’s 12 unfree majority Christian countries. Versus? Actually 8 unfree Muslim countries ( I’m leaving out the Spanish Sahara as an ambiguous case, but 9 if you include them ) - they look huge on the map, because frankly a lot of them are made up of a lot of semi-empty Saharan desert.

For free Christian countries ( over 50% Christian ) we have Ghana, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Free Muslim countries are Tunisia and Senegal. Benin is also free by this standard, but congrats to “African traditional religions” for taking the prize there ( 50% traditional, 30% Christian, 20% Muslim ).

I don’t really feel like parsing everyone else in the middle.

So what conclusions can we draw from this? Fuck all, IMHO. Africa as a continent has some issues and religion is far from the biggest driver of them.

ETA: Corrected numbers, CAR is another ‘not free’ Christian country.

  1. That passage is not included in several important and early manuscripts, and many scholars believe it was not a part of the original gospel.

  2. That aside, your assertion is totally false, because there is no point in the passage where Jesus tells people not to obey Mosaic Law, or that you shouldn’t stone adulterers. On the contrary, he invites people to stone her, although he implies that they will be hypocrites if they do. When her accusers disappear, there is no longer any evidence to convict her, and so the charges are dropped. A plausible explanation of why the crowd yielded so easily is that the charges were false. The passage even states that the whole thing was arranged as a trap for Jesus, rather than as a legitimate execution.

  3. Both of those aside, there is an even more famous part of the New Testament, namely the Sermon on the Mount. In it, Jesus says (Matt 5:18-19) that anyone who teaches that even the least item of Mosaic Law should be relaxed will be least in the kingdom of heaven, and that the Law will endure until heaven and earth pass away.

In other words, it’s not me saying this, it’s Jesus: If you think you’re not supposed to follow Deuteronomy, you suck at being a Christian.

Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and other Muslim countries have had women heads of state. Benazir Bhutto became Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1988. The US nominated a woman as a major party candidate for president for the first time less than an year ago, and she lost to a man unfit to be President in every way.

Not liking Islam = you’ve seen some of its fruits in the world. Nothing to be ashamed of. Any self respecting liberal that is either neutral or positive towards the faith loses their liberal card imo.

The difficult thing is hating on the religion without hating on muslims, there the rotten theology does not necessarily manifest in destructive and toxic ways. But I must confess, whenever I encounter someone visibly muslim, I do wish them to be free of that belief system more than any other.

it is frankly a weird and a bizarre idea you have, combining a lack of knowledge of the protestants christians and a lack of knowledge of the Islamic approach.

it makes no sense at all.

the historical sequence in the Middle east which is where the impressions the Americans have of the governance in the Islamic world (not even really complete), is first on decolonization it was the Leftist secular governments in the Arab region, the Arab Nationalism, as reaction to the colonial rule (of course the Iran was the secularizing Western allied monarchy, corrupt and abusive).

It is on these governments failures and the close and indeed unique association of the secular experience with the failed dictatorship regimes.

So the first reaction of the decolonization was not the “theocratic governments” but in fact the secularist Left authoritarian governments in the majority - and they began with great and wide popular acclaim.

Of course Americans have generally no sense of history and think the past decades is eternal history.

As Kimstu and Tamerlane point out, the assertion is grossly inaccurate in fact.

When the “valid reasons” are based on inaccurate generalizations from half knowledge, then they are not very valid.

And of course in the sub Saharan Africa there is a record of one continuous democratic tradition with no coup d’etat, no dictatorship.

It is the muslim majority Senegal, since indeed even the colonial period where the representative democratic tradition is continuous since 19th century - and not by settlers, native - was allowed by the colonial authority although restricted.

so obviously by the ad hoc selective reasoning from selective data presented by many in these threads, it must be to have a Francophone Muslim tradition to have a chance - self evident, no?

I am sorry you still hate your algebra lessons.

The argument here isn’t that “hey, here’s some verses I randomly plucked out of the Koran and aren’t they horrible”, without knowing how much emphasis is placed on it in Islam: this could rightly be countered with a horrid-but-unfollowed quote from the Old Testament.

The argument is “members of this religion actually support the death penalty for apostasy.” The argument may or may not be true: the counter-argument is to show that most clerics and/or followers do not support this policy, not to counter with a Bible quote that most Christians obviously do not follow.