The first post tells why. It may be too little, but hopefully not too late.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fair militancy

Militant atheism is frequently selective - not in its deity-rejection but in its militancy. For instance, even though Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all "three anti-human religions" for Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), they come from "a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament". The latter, "known as...", of course, only to Christians (it's Tanakh for the Jews, without the changes introduced by the Christians), is, of course, responsible for everything, being a "tribal cult of a single fiercely unpleasant God." Definitely more unpleasant to Dawkins than the deity of his own religion, in whose hands he was molested as a boy - after all, that was for him only "an embarrassing, but otherwise harmless experience". Judaism is somehow to blame even for the death penalty for blasphemy practiced in Pakistan. As if penalties for blasphemy did not exist in other religions entirely independent of Judaism, and Islam did not contain enough violence that is unique to it.

It is thus comforting when an atheist is at least fair in his militancy. This is the case with Bill Maher. He is derisive of Christianity and Judaism, as he is of anything he dislikes. In his fairness though, interviewing Keith Ellison, a congressman and a Muslim convert, he called the "holy" Koran a "hate-filled book", where "Islama bin Laden" (must be a slip of the tongue) takes his instructions. Unapologetically and matter-of-factly. He sees a greater threat from Islam than even from the "right-wing" and the KKK (which would not say much if he did not consider everything on the right of Marx to be equal to KKK). There is no need to transcribe the short dialogue - just watch it.

What is interesting in that dialogue is not Maher's mumbling attempts at critiquing Islam, fair as they are - unusually for this self-styled "comedian", - but Ellison's helpless response. The only Koranic quote Ellison was able to produce to contravene Maher's "hate-filled book" statement was deceptively incomplete: "anyone who takes the life, it's as if he killed the whole world". That's what you usually hear from Islam's disingenuous apologists. What they never say is that the complete quote of this Koran 5:32 verse is, "Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors." So yes, there is a belief that murdering one human is like murdering the whole humanity, but this is a Jewish belief, indeed found in the Talmud. It is referred to as a Jewish belief in the Koran. Nowhere is it seen that Islam accepts it. What it does accept is Koran 9:5, "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war." Then again, Ellison, who referred to the eternal Koran as "compiled" and stated that he accepts "non-believers", may have not done his conversion right, or perhaps has forgotten what it was since he was 19, and there is a hope for him yet.

1 comment:

  1. Maher continues: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2014/09/10/maher_vs_charlie_rose_to_claim_islam_is_like_other_religions_is_naive_and_plain_wrong.html