Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

Islam and Racism

I can’t imagine anybody knowing me for very long, without coming to the understanding that I don’t believe in the concept of “race” as is it typically applied to humanity.

Put simply, I do not believe in different races among humans and therefor, do not believe in racism among them either.

There are a lot of folks out there who I’m sure look at people like me as “deniers.” To some folks, my refusal to accept race amongst humanity, makes me crazy or maybe delusional. To others, I’m sure I would be termed satanic or evil. Probably to others, I am simply stupid. I can live with all of that.

But let me now make my position clear. There are at least two things I’m trying to say:

  1. Though among humans, there are differences of culture, and among groups of humans, similarities and differences in physical attributes (and let’s face it, in things like medical prognoses as well), there is but one race—that being human. Put simply, whether your family is from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, Australia or elsewhere, you are a human. That means—to me at least—that we’re all part of the same big family.
  2. That people do things they ought not, and try to excuse their behavior by using “racial divisions” to do those things. If we’re all one race, the distinction cannot be one made as a result of the race of oneself or another. The point here, is not that folks are not doing things that others have chosen to deem or term racism, but that in allowing the term to be used, the folks doing wrong are strengthened. If the argument is (rightly) made, that race among humans does not exist, that’s one less thing for folks to hide behind. I’m by no means saying this will “cure” anything, to be clear, I’m convinced it won’t. What it will do though, is make some of the folks willing to support others using ideas like “purity of race,” at least pause for a moment, and consider their folly. They may not come to good or correct conclusions, but I flatly refuse to support their errant positions.

On this basis alone, I would expect folks to accept that at least I cannot support those speaking about folks attempting to deal with Islam as “racists” because they wish to apply “general fixes” in an attempt to deal with problems that—where they are not exclusive to Islam—run rampant in the belief set. If that’s not enough for you though, by all means, read on!

In my mind, it’s bad enough that either people group themselves together in such a way as to separate them from the rest of humanity on arbitrary distinctions, and even worse when others “do it to them.” And if that isn’t bad enough, they folks doing things of this sort, then mislabel folks.

As an example of this, when people refer to intolerance towards Muslims as “racial” anything, it shows their confusion about whom they speak. For just a second, let’s say I can agree with the idea of race where humanity is concerned (remember, this is an exercise, not reality). That would make it so Chinese or Germans would be people of different races, right?

But having come to that conclusion, now ask yourself the question(s), “Are there German and Chinese Muslims?” In case you’re wondering, the answer is, “Assuredly so!”

Here’s another consideration. Can somebody say, “I’m not of Hungarian extraction.” When it’s known they are? I would argue that such a statement was untrue.

On the other hand, can a person who is Muslim even by birth choose to “convert” to another belief set? Well, if you ask many Muslims, the answer is, “No.” Asking other people would result in a resounding, “Yes!”

The point here is simple, Islam is not a race (even if we could talk about races amongst humanity). As such, speaking about race when we speak about Islam is incorrect.

If this is yet not plain enough for you, let me make one more point.  When most folks think about Muslims, what countries come to mind? I would bet the majority of folks think about Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran or some other Middle Eastern country.

Funny thing is, the largest Muslim population in any country in the World is found in Indonesia (12.7% of the World’s Muslims)—and they’re followed by, Pakistan (11%), India (10.9%) and Bangladesh (9.2%) if Google is to be believed. Interestingly then, if I could support the idea or racism among humans, this would be a prime example. Because I can’t, it’s not. I think most people would agree that it is just confusion on many folks’ part.

This brings me to a final thought. I have recently heard folks comparing the suggestions of U.S. political figures on how to handle Islam’s issues, with Hitler’s “handling” of the Jews in and around World War II. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t find very many Jews familiar with what happened in Nazi Germany that would agree with such an idea.

To begin with, the Jews were not prone to make trouble or cause harm to their fellows who were not Jewish. Additionally, I’m pretty sure almost nobody would recommend “rounding up” Islamic folks and putting them in camps—Inside or outside the U.S.

Honestly though, one of the intents of the Founders of the U.S., was to make it so no one person possessed enough power to do such a thing. I know that many Japanese will argue that it happened anyway at places like Manzanar, and I’d be the last to disagree. That’s why we must remain ever vigilant. That does not mean we cannot expect folks to take any preemptive action when some group demonstrates a propensity toward a given improper perspective (or worse, set of actions). What it does mean, is that we must be careful just how much we do.

Funny thing is, I don’t even like the person making the suggestions all that well, but I like even less, people trying to bully him and others out of their positions when they’re not intending to be unreasonable in what they do.

Just my two cents.

Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

YouTube Obama Mocking God and the Bible Speech on Religion – YouTube

What’s wrong with this video?

Well, there are multiple things, let’s see if we can come up with some of them:

  1. Mr Obama appears to be unfamiliar with his Bible. He is—by way of example—unfamiliar with the idea of Old Testament versus New Testament. Funny that the majority of his quotes are Old Testament, and that they’re largely used to try to show Christians in a light that does not apply to them.
  2. Because of the above, Mr Obama demonstrates one of his worst character traits, namely, that he is “big headed.” Put another way, Mr Obama (as my Australian friends used to be prone to put it) “thinks himself.”
  3. Mr Obama is confuse as to what constitutes Christianity. Neither Mr Sharpton, nor Mr Billy Graham, for example, are the “be-all-end-all” of Christianity. Who does fit that descriptive? That would be Jesus Christ.

This all being said, I will agree with Mr Obama on one thing. America is not now and has never been a “Christian Nation”

One more thought, the idea of making a system of laws that “works for everybody” and/or “excludes nobody” is a rubbish idea. There are folks out there who think killing others for no other or greater reason than that they want to (or that the voices in their heads tell them to), are we going to make and live by a set of laws that is inclusive of those folks? I hope not. Given that America isn’t (and never was) a Christian nation, it should then be easy to understand that the existing policies and laws were built on some other “base.” That base would be that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.

This is what America was founded upon, and—as far as I can see—what today should be the basis for its laws and rules.

Philosophy Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

“They (We) worship the same god”

I went to visit my brother over the Thanksgiving break—a thing which is always interesting and instructional—and a conversation ensued about which I would like to write a bit here.

A small group was sitting around the dining room table, just talking, when the discussion turned to religion (something I know many consider a bad thing).

During that conversation, a member of the family (who is unimportant) made the observation (and I’m going to paraphrase here) that, “Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same god.”

Many take this as a reasonable posit, let me now explain why I do not.

This seems like a very deep and complicated issue, but actually, there are a couple of very simple answers to it.

  1. The first answer is simple, it comes in the form of a question, that question being, “Who is Jesus to you?” The most positive of Muslims (the ones who don’t tell you He was a malefactor) will say something like, “He was a prophet.” If asked how He relates to Mohammed, they will allow as how—where Jesus was important—Mohammed was a “latter prophet” and therefor what he said is more significant. I won’t even argue whether Mohammed was a prophet because it’s totally unnecessary. The Reason? If you ask a Christian (who really understands what he or she believes), he or she will tell you something like, “Jesus is God, come to Earth. He died for our sins and arose to the right hand of the Father, where He now sits reigning gloriously on High.” You may ask, “But the original question was as to whether Christians and Muslims worship the same god, how does this answer that?” It’s because to the Christian Jesus is God. The Muslim cannot say this in good faith.
  2. One thing so many people fail to recognize, is that when two texts exist that espouse different ideas and values—and most particularly when those texts are in conflict (at a fundamental level)—it’s pretty clear they cannot “get along.” That doesn’t mean they cannot tolerate each other, but it does mean they will not agree. This is the case with regard to the Bible and the Qu’ran. This matters because the very character of Allah is nothing like the character of God that is presented even in the Old Testament.

I could go crazy with other reasons and explanations, but frankly, this is enough.

I need not disparage anybody, suffice it to say, we disagree.

That’s my “two cents” on the matter. Thanks for taking the time to read this!

Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

On the Concept of Disenfranchisement

As I was taking my weekday morning walk/run yesterday morning, I started to consider the idea often expressed as “disenfranchisement.”

My consideration led me to some conclusions:

  1. You may have noticed that one of the fairly popular business models out there, is called the franchise. It is no mistake that this word is used here, and as a root of a descriptive many used to express their feeling of alienation from some entity. A large part of the point of the franchising model, is that some “umbrella entity” offers to some “candidate subordinate entity,” the right to operate under their umbrella. The benefit of doing this is simple, the child or subordinate entity “inherits” structure of some kind from the parent or umbrella entity. There are a few obvious considerations here:
    • The parent entity has the right to decide who will and who will not be accepted as a “franchisee”
    • Part of the franchiser’s decision as to who will be accepted is based on the willingness of the franchisee to follow the franchiser’s rules and standards.
    • In order to make sure the subordinate entity does as is required to be accepted as a franchisee, the franchiser can and usually does require a contract to be signed, indicating the terms of the franchisee’s acceptance.
  2. In the case of social or political disenfranchisement, the “contract” used would be termed a “social compact” or a “social contract.” The intent is to make it clear that certain behavior is intolerable, some is tolerable but not required (and some of that, not desirable), and some is required.
  3. For a large part, the above expectations of behavior (or restrictions on behavior) are codified in law. Put another way, for the most part, you are expected to follow the “laws” of the entity in question if you wish to be “enfranchised” in that entity.
  4. Societal enfranchisement—unlike most other enfranchisement—is not entirely a “take it or leave it” proposition. Where there are certainly things in which you must participate to be a member of society (as well as things you must not do), there are many things you are more allowed as possibilities without the requirement of participation.
  5. Where it would be hard for me to be exact on the number or amount of ways, I would say I am probably more disenfranchised where society is concerned than enfranchised. You may consider that a bad thing, I don’t. To begin with, there often ways in which what franchise I operate under is as accidental or incidental as not. Additional to that, there are things I am supposed to believe and accept that are unbelievable or unacceptable to me. And if it ever comes down to it, I will suffer the consequences rather than accept or believe them.
  6. In my view, enfranchisement is far from all that it is “cracked up to be.” Being a franchisee requires that others tell you how you ought and ought not behave at a minimum. The maximum being that you are told how you must behave.

In the end, you may have a problem with the idea of disenfranchisement. I’m not generally so concerned by it.