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The Pitch: Banning All Religion
#11
dfiant Wrote:Religion is not the real problem, it is peoples interpretations of religion that is the problem. It just seem that religion has been twisted, contorted, mis-interpreted for the sole purpose to suit a person's needs and add weight to an arguement. In religions pure form, I think each religion would be a peaceful one. It seems to be in peoples nature to corrupt everything.

I'm not a religious person, but I think it would be a sad day if we removed religion and peoples rights to choose a religion.

finally!someone who gets it( i'm a religious person myself,but i completely agree with you on how people misinterpret it to suit them)
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#12
Inchante Wrote:I wonder, Colin, I was just reading an article on the growth of the Islamist movement in Europe. Is that something that is factual, is there a valid worry in the UK and Europe about Islamists or is this just reactionary hype from ultraconservative factions over there?

Interesting question.

Turkey, a secular Islamic country (and by that I mean the majority religion is Islam, but the government is strictly secular - church and state are separate) and has been seeking entry to the EU for some time now. It has made massive moves forward at the request of the EU in order to be eligible to join (notwithstanding that only a small portion of Turkey is geographically in Europe). However, Turkey keeps getting told they are not eligible yet, and the Turks are getting frustrated at this and say that it is only because it would make it the only majority Islam country in the EU. I can see where they are coming from because some far right politicians in have made a lot of anti-islamist noise over the last few years.

I've heard increasing reports that Amsterdam, one of my favourite cities (I briefly worked in the Netherlands 10+ years ago) is increasingly less safe for LGBT because of the increasing Muslim population in the city. The most tolerant peoples of Europe, the Dutch, are becoming restless enough to have voted in anti-Islamic politicians (Pim Fortuyn [assasinated] and Ayaan Hirsi Ali [in secured location] being the ones that immediately spring to mind) which came as a bit of a shock in the UK.

So, is there a valid worry, or is it just ultra-conservative extremists?

Mainstream politicians tend to condemn, yet take notice, when far right politicians get voted in. The BNP (Far right racist homophobic party) have been voted in in parts of England in recent years. Publicly mainstream politicians say it is just isolated instances, but there are 2 MEPs (Member of the European Parliament) in England for the BNP and MEPs have the largest constituencies (~1 million voters) which to me suggests a broader range of support than if it was merely a city councillor (with only a couple of thousand voters).

I think there are worries, but I think the more engaged (get everyone talking to each other and find out that we're really not all that different) approach works well to diffuse tensions rather than the we-come-in-peace-shoot-to-kill style we seem to see in the US (but that's just my perception, many friends have scared me from travelling because of the TSA's over zealousness more than any terrorist threat)
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#13
Thank you for that response. The EU's reaction to its Muslim population, as you describe it, is as I had thought--something between what the conservative and liberal media sources in the U.S. report.

However, there seems to be some misconception stemming from British media about the U.S. reaction to Islam. While the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq are predominantly Muslim did not endear those nations to the United States and its citizens, it certainly was not the reason why we went to war with them. Terrorism was a major component, though, oil was the primary imputes in most people's opinions. Really, the same exact reasons Britain went to war with the two countries. No, I don't think the U.S. and G.B. were on a crusade. That we leave to old Richard.

There is actually far less hostility toward Muslim people in the U.S. than is thought and than what is illustrated in some parts of the EU. We certainly haven't elected any politicians to Federal Government who ran on campaigns of Islamophobia nor have we passed laws against minarets and burkas. There were a few local legislatures, including my own, that attempted to pass laws banning Sharia, but as soon as the public reminded the politicians that the establishment clause of the first amendment rendered the point mute and that the free exercise clause of the same rendered the point unconstitutional, they seemed to backed off, at least in my state.

Really, the only incidents of Islamophobia in the U.S. have stemmed from private citizens or local governments. And both groups, to my knowledge, have faced consequences or were overruled through the judiciary if laws were broken.
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#14
[quote=colinmackay]Interesting question.

Turkey, a secular Islamic country (and by that I mean the majority religion is Islam, but the government is strictly secular - church and state are separate)

Sorry to burst your bubble my friend but Turkey is not a secular government. They are less extreme than say, Saudi Arabia, or Iran, when it comes to enforcement of Islamic Law, but Turkey has quite a history of human rights violations disguised as enforcement of Islamic Law, just like the rest of the Islam governments. That being said, I will admit to being biased, against Turks, because when I lived in Germany, Turks had a nasty habit of commiting unprovoked assaults on American Soldiers, and against Muslims, because I have been involved in fighting two wars against them. So take what I say in that context. On the question of religion. There are many who would say religion causes more problems than it solves, and I can't disagree with them, there are also many who would say ban all religion. Those I do disagree with. Where I think religion should be banned is in government. I don't think any government should follow the dictates of any religion.
Richard
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#15
ardus Wrote:Sorry to burst your bubble my friend but Turkey is not a secular government.

I double checked, and Turkey is Secular (officially), article 2 of their constitution states "The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law". I suspect that many in its government are Muslims (since 90+% of the population is) which colours there policies (just as many in the US are Christians and that equally colours their policies).

There is no official state religion in either Turkey or the USA, although one might be forgiven for thinking that it was Islam in Turkey and Christianity in the USA given the prevalence of both in each country. Contrast that with the UK which is officially Christian (where the head of state, the reigning monarch, is also the Defender of the Faith [Church of England]) and the rates of people calling themselves Christian is dipping below 50% depending on which poll you read (and in some cases quite significantly).
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#16
Mahatma Gandhi. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Gene V. Robinson. His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Thich Nhat Hanh. Desmond Tutu.

No, I disagree with blanket statements of banning religion. Banning stupidity, I think, would be far more effective discourse.
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#17
dfiant Wrote:Religion is not the real problem, it is peoples interpretations of religion that is the problem. It just seem that religion has been twisted, contorted, mis-interpreted for the sole purpose to suit a person's needs and add weight to an arguement. In religions pure form, I think each religion would be a peaceful one. It seems to be in peoples nature to corrupt everything.

I'm not a religious person, but I think it would be a sad day if we removed religion and peoples rights to choose a religion.

This is a great post.

While I don't consider myself a serious, devout Catholic, I was raised in that religion, and consider myself "spiritual".

I have a firm faith in God & Jesus. That being said, I was fortnuate enough to be raised by a set of parents who taught me that there are many different religions in the world, and they should be respected, whether or not you follow it.
Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: 
''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!
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#18
I'm an agnostic. The way I see it, banning religion is not only immoral and impossible, but it would also be completely ineffective. The problems with religion arise, as previously discussed, when manipulative people persuade weak-minded people that something is right and something else is wrong, and use commonly held beliefs to justify it. This leads to prejudice, discrimination, and general conflict. If there were no religion, the manipulative people would simply herd the weak-minded flock by misinterpreting science in favor of their prejudices. "Women's brains are physically smaller, therefore women are mentally inferior to men." "Homosexuals have higher rates of HIV, therefore homosexuals are dangerous and need to be segregated." The only difference is the literature they are skewing to make their points.
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#19
colinmackay Wrote:I double checked, and Turkey is Secular (officially), article 2 of their constitution states "The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law". I suspect that many in its government are Muslims (since 90+% of the population is) which colours there policies (just as many in the US are Christians and that equally colours their policies).

There is no official state religion in either Turkey or the USA, although one might be forgiven for thinking that it was Islam in Turkey and Christianity in the USA given the prevalence of both in each country. Contrast that with the UK which is officially Christian (where the head of state, the reigning monarch, is also the Defender of the Faith [Church of England]) and the rates of people calling themselves Christian is dipping below 50% depending on which poll you read (and in some cases quite significantly).

I thank you for your reply. I hope you didn't take my question about the Islamic conflicts in the EU as being confrontational, as the question was asked in curiosity not as an insult.

It is interesting to know that Turkey's government is secular. That was not something I knew prior to this discussion. Though, I am aware that they have been trying desperately to get into the EU. I wonder if that is why the established a secular government.

Of course, the United States has always had a secular government and has had to have such a government given its history of diverse religious beliefs. Though, I am afraid that once again the British media has grossly misrepresented the United States to you. No, the U.S. does not have a 90% Christian population as you indicate above. It is no where near that number. Indeed, the number of people who claim to have ANY religious affiliation in the U.S. is lower than 90%.

"The majority of Americans (76%) identify themselves as Christians, mostly within Protestant and Catholic denominations, accounting for 51% and 25% of the population respectively.[4] Non-Christian religions (including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc.), collectively make up about 3.9% to 5.5% of the adult population.[4][5][6] Another 15% of the adult population identifies as having no religious belief or no religious affiliation.[4] When asked, about 5.2% said they did not know, or refused to reply.[4] According to the American Religious Identification Survey, religious belief varies considerably across the country: 59% of Americans living in Western states (the "Unchurched Belt") report a belief in God, yet in the South (the "Bible Belt") the figure is as high as 86%.[4][7]

However, despite this seemingly high level of religiosity, only 9% of Americans in a 2008 poll said religion was the most important thing in their life, compared with 45% who said family was paramount in their life and 17% who said money and their career was paramount."

The British born Historian, Simon Schama, was in part inspired to write his book "The American Future: A History" because of all the misconceptions and oversimplifications his friends at home often made on religion and other topics of American cultural and politics. For some reason I always here that Americans know nothing of other cultures and nations, and yet, with the level of misinformation there is about the U.S. it makes me wonder how well informed people from other countries are. Schama's book is a good read if you have the chance.

Best wishes.
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#20
Inchante Wrote:I thank you for your reply. I hope you didn't take my question about the Islamic conflicts in the EU as being confrontational, as the question was asked in curiosity not as an insult.

The reply you are quoting from is my reply to East, I didn't take your reply as confrontational in any way

Inchante Wrote:It is interesting to know that Turkey's government is secular. That was not something I knew prior to this discussion. Though, I am aware that they have been trying desperately to get into the EU. I wonder if that is why the established a secular government.

As I recall they've been secular for some time, since before the formation of the EU. However, their current constitution dates only back to 1982.

Inchante Wrote:Of course, the United States has always had a secular government and has had to have such a government given its history of diverse religious beliefs. Though, I am afraid that once again the British media has grossly misrepresented the United States to you. No, the U.S. does not have a 90% Christian population as you indicate above. It is no where near that number. Indeed, the number of people who claim to have ANY religious affiliation in the U.S. is lower than 90%.

I didn't say that the USA was 90% Christian. I did say that Turkey was 90+% Muslim

Inchante Wrote:However, despite this seemingly high level of religiosity, only 9% of Americans in a 2008 poll said religion was the most important thing in their life, compared with 45% who said family was paramount in their life and 17% who said money and their career was paramount."

Interesting, However, I suspect that US politicians like ours tend to canvas religious groups more (hence skewing their policies more) because if a pastor, rabbi or imam tells their followers to vote one way or another a large proportion will likely follow. (For example, were I live there is a high muslim population in my constituency. The labour party have been fielding a Muslim candidate for decades and always winning. It took the SNP up until the last election to cotton on to this and field their own Muslim candidate in order to split the muslim vote.)

Inchante Wrote:The British born Historian, Simon Schama, was in part inspired to write his book "The American Future: A History" because of all the misconceptions and oversimplifications his friends at home often made on religion and other topics of American cultural and politics. For some reason I always here that Americans know nothing of other cultures and nations, and yet, with the level of misinformation there is about the U.S. it makes me wonder how well informed people from other countries are. Schama's book is a good read if you have the chance.

I think you have to live and work in a country to really understand how it functions. I don't doubt there are holes in my knowledge. However, when I overhear comments from American tourists ("isn't it great they built the castle so close to the shops"/"do you have electricity?"/"Why are you wearing trousers? I thought all scotch wear skirts."/etc.) then it does help colour one's views as to the education levels expected in the USA that the tourist didn't at least read a basic guide book on the flight over.
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