• Athena
    1.6k
    When it was. It's an interesting history just why it then went into the backwardness and only was abruptly awakened by Napoleon invading Egypt. But then it was too late and the Ottoman Empire was "the sick man of Europe".ssu

    When Europeans began sailing around the tip of Africa to reach China and India, it was the end of Islam's glory. The mid-east stopped being the all-important middle man that connected the East with the West. Also, the connection between East and West resulted in the renaissance, a reawakening of scientific thinking that made mankind more dependent on what could be learned and then do under his own power, instead of being dependent on a God. We returned to an explanation of nature being the cause, instead of everything being the will of a God. This radically changed the West and man's understanding of his position in the world, throwing the West into progressive motion and Islam into decline.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    They are not a nation, but many (especially the fundamentalists) see themselves as one world-wide Muslim community or ummah.

    And they see Westerners exactly as we see them, i.e., as the "bad guys".

    Additionally, though most Muslims are not terrorists, they do agree with Islamic Law. And the problem with Islamic Law is that it tends to become more and more oppressive in addition to encouraging extremism.

    The terrorists' reasoning is that if 75% of Muslims want Sharia Law, then it is right for them to fight the 25% that do not. And this goes for non-Muslim countries too. If Muslims are a minority, this means that Islam is being "suppressed" and this situation needs to be redressed by creating a Muslim majority.

    India is a good illustration. The Muslim minority in British India demanded their own state. In 1947, they got Pakistan and Bangladesh. But some Muslims chose to stay behind in India and now the fundamentalists among them (and those of Pakistan) demand that they be liberated from infidel "oppression".

    As fundamentalism is popular with the uneducated masses (and even some of the educated classes), politicians tend to encourage it for their own agenda, and one wave of fundamentalism is followed by a more radical one, just as the Mujahedin were followed by the Taliban and the Taliban by al-Qaeda ....
    Apollodorus

    Where is the center of the Muslim world? Like attacking the Mormons may seem like a good thing to do but it would not change the power and influence of the United States. It is futile to attack something that is not a centralized power, but like an invasive species, impossible to get rid of and spreading everywhere.

    I see Westerns as the bad guys. At one time the US had all the minerals and resources it needed, But England and France, and then Germany were spreading everywhere and competing to control world resources. Then they were united by world wars and where Britain began to loose power, the US stepped in. It is like the story of Athens and the Persian war, which caused Athens to developed a navy and then merchants and didn't want to give up spreading its power once it had a taste of it. Sparta slapped Athens down and then Roman became the dominant power, but thanks to Alexander the Great Hellenism was spread everywhere.

    :lol: My time is up but I must comment about the fighting for what we believe is right. The Christian right seems to be winning the fight against abortion rights. There is talk of this uniting democrats who might come out in larger numbers and defend the right to have an abortion. Fighting for what gives our lives purpose and meaning is a wonderful thing. The problem is the rules for fighting. When we include military weapons in the fighting, the destructiveness can not be justified.
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    It is futile to attack something that is not a centralized power, but like an invasive species, impossible to get rid of and spreading everywhere.Athena

    There may not be a global center for the whole Muslim ummah, but there are centers of radicalism that can be tackled if there is a political will to do so. And you can take counter-measures against the governments that support them.

    Seeing that Muslims demand Islamic states for themselves, perhaps the solution would be for non-Muslims to demand their own states? China and India seem to already be doing this.

    Otherwise, I think the conflict is bound to continue until one side defeats the other ....
  • ssu
    4.5k
    And Pakistan is still a member of the British Commonwealth which has exactly the same map as the British Empire:Apollodorus

    And this just shows just how awesome the English, sorry, the British are in these things. Russia tried this with the CIS, but failed to get the Baltics obviously into this commonwealth and has fought wars and annexed parts of former members Ukraine and Georgia. Other members naturally have taken notice of this. So not so friendly Commonwealth that one after all.

    And they don't play cricket.

    IPL-2021-6000-Cr-1.jpg

    This just shows the strategic narcissism of the US and it's carefree ignorance of the objectives of other countries.

    When it comes to Afghanistan in 2001, the real objective would have been to give assurances to Pakistan that it can indeed leave out in the cold it's own creation, the Taliban, yet be totally confident that it's back, Afghanistan, will be safe from Indian influence. The Afghan question is a huge one for Pakistan as there is the Durand line dividing the Pashtuns into two and Afghanistan even itself has been a threat to Pakistan. Here was the opportunity for the US to use it's closest ally, the UK, perhaps through it's Commonwealth connections to assure that indeed Pakistan would be safe and on the same time reassure India that there was no foul play here.

    But that didn't happen. The US diplomacy was then "either you are with us or against us". And while from the start the US was declaring that it was only in Afghanistan because of Al Qaeda and would not be long around, it's totally natural for Pakistan to believe this "We will go out from here" message and both back the Taliban and play along with the War on Terror.

    And when Pakistan did this, what could the US do? Bomb Islamabad? Hence not only get the remnants of the Taliban fight against it, but also have even Punjabis from Pakistan to volunteer to fight in Afghanistan against the US? Add one nuclear armed country to the Axis-of-evil?

    No, here the strategic narcissism, term invented aptly by former national security advisor H.R. McMaster, kicked in and caused the Pakistani aid to the Taliban simply becoming a "politically-incorrect" issue and the continuation of US aid to Pakistan becoming a reason for a hope that somehow Pakistan would change it's course. US simply didn't know what to do with Pakistan. Yet with the aid from Pakistan and the sanctuary of Pakistan, the Taliban won the war.

    The muteness about Pakistan and it's role in the collapse of the Afghan government and the victorious offensive of the Taliban tells how incapable the US is to face real geopolitics and will easily lull itself into repeating it's own invented discourse about the events where no thought was given to other actors than itself.

    But it is wrong to assume that the British have no influence. It's just that they prefer to operate in a more behind-the-scenes way than the French.Apollodorus
    I agree with this.

    But what's the point of having that subtle behind-the-scenes approach when you have to just take what a US President hastily decides things without even consulting you first? Was the UK government informed about the deal with the Taliban during the Trump administration? To my knowledge, no. Was the UK government consulted when the Afghan government was collapsing? Again, to my knowledge, no.

    What's the point of having a smart behind-the-scenes diplomacy when the Leader of the alliance simply makes decisions for itself without ever consulting you?

    From that point, things got more and more lethal. US Deputy State Secretary Richard Armitage did tell the Pakistanis after 9/11 in 2001 that the US would bomb them back to the Stone Age if they didn't sort out the terrorists. But the Pakistanis have carried on playing their usual double game, and the West got fooled one more time.Apollodorus
    The US doesn't attack countries with known nuclear weapons. It attacks only the one's with alleged nuclear weapons.

    Sounds reasonable, actually.

    infografik_nuclear_weapons.png?itok=XmKx2Cll

    (Even if it should be noted that Pakistani soldiers do have been killed in US drone strikes. Oops.)
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k


    Well, every country does what it can.

    Besides, Afghanistan was a US-UK-NATO joint operation. After it became clear that the war on Taliban could not be won by military means, the whole project became pointless and politically unsustainable.

    You just can’t win a war against an opponent based in Pakistan by sitting in Afghanistan. The real problem is Pakistan but there is no political will to solve that problem.

    Once Trump had decided to get out of Afghanistan and the other NATO members were unwilling to carry on without the US, there was nothing the British could have done about it.

    BTW this discussion could perhaps be continued elsewhere as it looks like @Athena wants her thread back ….
  • ssu
    4.5k
    Well, the Taliban aren't going to be just left with their own ideas. The neighboring countries and the Great Powers, even if not enthusiastically, will try to influence what will happen in Afghanistan. Hence they won't be left alone I think.

    For example Vietnam didn't have it peaceful after the South collapsed and the country was unified. Then they had a border war with China and then intervened and overthrew the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Only afterwards it's been rather peaceful in that area of the World. even if South-East Asia has it's fair share of insurgents lurking in the jungles.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    Oh, I so want to argue against what you said just for the fun of it and I love your ending statement that clarifies we are playing with all these ideas is just fun. :love:

    What if we could bring Islam and Christianity together? I know that is an insane idea considering neither religion can avoid division and fighting against each other, so there is not one Christianity or one Islam. And some of us are strongly opposed to both religions, but how can we be philosophical about all this and work on reasoning for peace? Instead of attempting to have peace through power? Ah, is this thread about Afghanistan or patriarchy versus matriarchy, and do we want to bring an end to rape culture, as in raping the earth as we rape each other? :lol:

    I think my comment about communism was the bait switch. The threatening enemy was communism until the USSR fell, so we had to have a new enemy to do exactly what the US stood against from its very beginning, that is maintain its WWII military might and fight for global control. The new enemy became terrorists but that is very hard to defend and use to justify our military presence around the world. Who are the terrorist? They are not a nation and wars are against nations, not a handful of nuts cases. Oh, the terrorists are Muslims. You know those people who do not know God and follow his commandments and who are jealous of the US because God blesses the US and not them. Right there, that is proof of who God favors and it is the will of God that we control the resources of the world. But everyone can have religious freedom so we should not attack people for how they understand and worship God. Obviously, religious freedom makes us superior to Muslims and their notion of Shia law is threatening to us. cockco, cuckoo Can we call that reasoning? What is really happening? Is there are a philosophy that explains this insanity?
    Athena

    I don't wish to make the issue a game to be played without care or concern; if anyone insists its a game, so be it, but the consequences won't be a laughing matter. That's that.

    There are two ways we can manage this. Either attempt some sorta unification of religions, politics, ideologies, etc. or just learn to accept our differences and agree to coexist peacefully i.e. stamp out diversity or embrace it. Which path the world chooses will decide the future of humanity.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    There may not be a global center for the whole Muslim ummah, but there are centers of radicalism that can be tackled if there is a political will to do so. And you can take counter-measures against the governments that support them.

    Seeing that Muslims demand Islamic states for themselves, perhaps the solution would be for non-Muslims to demand their own states? China and India seem to already be doing this.

    Otherwise, I think the conflict is bound to continue until one side defeats the other ....
    Apollodorus

    That means Armageddon because it is it is not just a branch of Islam that is fundamentalist and more than willing to enter war against the powers of evil. It is just as much an Evangelical Christian thing. These are the folks Bush appealed to when he assured the Brits that there would be no problem getting the US to show their "power and glory" in a war against Iraq. These are the same people who got Trump elected. I don't know what can be done about this Christian and Muslim fundamentalism but we can not correct the problem if we do not properly identify it.

    I just got a better understanding that while the US is the center of Christian fundamentalism, Saudi Arabia is the center of Muslim fundamentalism, and it never made sense to me that we made war on Afghanistan and then Iraq, but not Bin Laden's home Saudi Arabia.

    WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do not agree on much, but Saudi Arabia may be an exception. She has deplored Saudi Arabia’s support for “radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.” He has called the Saudis “the world’s biggest funders of terrorism.” — Scott Shane

    The center of this problematic brand of Islam is not so different from the fundamentalist Evangelical Christians who are well organized to get their man in the presidency and to use political means to make US laws conform with their literal interpretation of the Bible. These are the folks Bush was appealing to when he turned our war powers on Iraq and sanctioned torturing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. This was announced as our Power and Glory and Evanical Christians loved it. Why don't see the mentality is the same? Political powers using religion to enhance their power.

    I don't think we should ignore that what is happening is driven by both fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims. The makes the center of the problem, not a geological location, but literal thinking and fundamentalist Christians and Muslims. Weapons of war can not kill this enemy.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    I don't wish to make the issue a game to be played without care or concern; if anyone insists its a game, so be it, but the consequences won't be a laughing matter. That's that.

    There are two ways we can manage this. Either attempt some sorta unification of religions, politics, ideologies, etc. or just learn to accept our differences and agree to coexist peacefully i.e. stamp out diversity or embrace it. Which path the world chooses will decide the future of humanity.
    TheMadFool

    I am so sorry! I never meant to indicate I take all this lightly and it certainly is no game to me, but if we loose our sense of humor, there is no hope. I don't think there is any chance of sanity if we do not focus on reasoning. Number one to this goal is correcting the problem of literal thinking by using education to prepare people for abstract thinking. We need to teach people "how to think" and that is not education for technology. If everyone interpreting their holy book abstractly there would be hope of reasoning ending religious conflict.

    However, we have all signs of the last days and this also needs to be addressed. People do not kill everyone around them when they need those people for labor. The US is not the only country overwhelmed by refugees. What we have today is overpopulation and our faith that technology makes it possible to continue overpopulating the earth is as bad as believing a god will protect us from the consequences of our bad judgment and bad actions. I am not sure we have a future if we do not have the right reasoning and education for technology will not bring us to good reasoning.

    We had a chance in Afghanistan and we blew it because of our failure to understand the education that is essential for higher-order thinking skills, and the 2012 Texas Republican agenda was to prevent education for the higher-order thinking skills, and the teachers in Texas had to take Texas to the Supreme Court, to stop the leadership of Texas from teaching creationism as science. Texas supported Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush and using our military force to regain and maintain control of foreign oil, leading to the extreme division of the rich in poor, the powerful, and the powerless in the mid-east, which in turn leads to the fundamentalist fight against evil. There would not be the problem we have today, without the actions of the US. And this paragraph is trying to say too much. :cry: If people do not learn the higher-order thinking skills, which we could have taught the Afghanistanians when we were there, there is no hope. But it isn't only the mid-east fundamentalist who need to learn the higher-order thinking skills.
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    I don't know what can be done about this Christian and Muslim fundamentalism but we can not correct the problem if we do not properly identify it.Athena

    This is exactly the point that I have been trying to make :smile:

    Of course fundamentalism, of any denomination, should be opposed. The question is, what can be done about it?

    As I said, it is essential to understand how empires operate in order to understand how we got to this point. However, this is only the first step. The second step, which is equally important, is to understand the opponent.

    For starters, we must avoid kidding ourselves and romanticizing Islam. The 7th century Arab is an outsider to what we call civilization, i.e., the urban civilization of Greece, Rome and Persia. He is at home in the Arabian desert whose barren expanse is only interrupted by scattered oases. But he is not content in the desert. For he has seen the unparalleled wealth and opulence of Christian Syria when traveling to the seasonal market at Damascus and the rich merchandise carried by the returning caravans which he and his comrades in arms have often raided. He has also heard of Constantinople, the “Great City of the Romans” (Rūmiyyat al-Kubra) “nothing like which was ever built, neither before nor after”.

    Presumably, getting their hands on the gold and silver of Greece and Persia, and enslaving their populations, especially the women, was one of the motivations behind the Arab invasions. But the religious aspect of it should not be neglected.

    Islam means submission to the will of God as supposedly revealed in the Koran.

    Submission means Peace, non-submission means War or struggle between the forces of submission and the forces of rebellion.

    Islamic Law (Sharia) divides the world into (1) areas of Peace or Islam, called the “House of Islam”, Dar al-Islam, where Islamic Law prevails, and (2) areas of War or Struggle, called the “House of War”, Dar al-Harb, where non-Islamic Law prevails.

    The concepts of “House of Islam” and “House of War” do not appear to occur either in the Koran or in oral Hadith tradition. However, they were introduced by Muslim law-makers during the Muslim conquests and are part of Islamic Law.

    Divisions of the world in Islam - Wikipedia

    Presumably, Muslims who accept Islamic Law, also accept the division of the world into these two antagonistic camps, in which case it is not difficult to see why Muslim extremists see the existence of territories that are not subject to Islamic Law as a provocation and invitation, indeed obligation, to wage holy war or jihad against the “infidels.”

    What compounds the problem is the Muslim belief that Islam was the original true religion that has been distorted by Jews and Christians whose current scriptures teach falsehoods and lead believers astray.

    Clearly, the issue is more complex than it may seem.

    So, can Islam be reformed? On the available evidence, I tend to doubt it. If we think about it, Christianity emerged within the evolved culture of Greece and Rome. In contrast, Islam had no comparable cultural background. It moderated itself for tactical reasons and through contact with other cultures. But it never reformed itself.

    When external pressures force it to do so, Islam will stay within a certain range of moderation. But left on its own, its own inner logic will cause it to return to its unreformed and unmoderated roots.

    This may be seen from the example of Pakistan. So long as it was part of British India, surrounded by Hindus, and dominated by European culture, it moderated itself for reasons of self-preservation. After Independence, when its main point of outside contact was Mecca in ultra-fundamentalist Saudi Arabia, it became more and more radical.

    Education seems to be part of the problem. When you have millions of Muslim villagers with little or no education except what they are told by radical mullahs, then the outcome is entirely predictable. And, as we can see, there is a growing movement of opposition against Western education.

    The name of the Islamist extremist organization "Boko Haram" (active in Niger and other African countries) literally means "Western education is forbidden" or "(Western) Book Forbidden," the only permitted book being the Koran.

    Boko Haram - Wikipedia
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    I don't know how to parse your recommendations. Some of them do sound like what a philosopher might say but I'm not certain whether it'll work or not. Are there any records of historical precedents? I mean that in the middle east and some mulsim southeast asian nations at least, rich philosophical traditions have been literally wiped off the face of the earth by Islam but the reverse has never happened. I'm doubtful that your well-meaning suggestions to improve the situation in Afghanistan will bear fruit.

    Morever, the crux of the problem is this: The Taliban is about Islam, not Afghanistan. The west, on other hand, despite the possibility that it's just lip service, want Afghans to think hard and feel deeply about Afghanistan. That's all I have to say.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    Well, the Taliban aren't going to be just left with their own ideas. The neighboring countries and the Great Powers, even if not enthusiastically, will try to influence what will happen in Afghanistan. Hence they won't be left alone I think.

    For example Vietnam didn't have it peaceful after the South collapsed and the country was unified. Then they had a border war with China and then intervened and overthrew the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Only afterwards it's been rather peaceful in that area of the World. even if South-East Asia has it's fair share of insurgents lurking in the jungles.
    ssu

    That gives a good perspective.

    Can we agree on some truths?

    While the Taliban and ISIS mean well, religious truths can not take the place of understanding how to run a government and economic system in the modern world. In the past when the Muslims were the middle man between East and West they had an advanced economic and bureaucratic system, the best for the time in history, but even if everyone remembered it, is that enough in today's world with the large populations dependent on many services such as clean water and sewage systems, a year round food supply, electricity, education for living with 21 century technology and employment?

    Right now the Taliban can not pay wages, so the people are starving and many may die of starvation. Others will die if the medical system collapses and because these people have not been paid wages, the medical system is likely to collapse. An invading army can do only so much to enforce social order, but if people are dying, the invading army can not build a nation. Might the Taliban realize they bit off more than they can chew?
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    Might the Taliban realize they bit off more than they can chew?Athena

    They might indeed. But it may equally be a cynical ploy to get the world to recognize their government and start pouring billions in aid into the coffers of their Islamic Emirate.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    I don't know how to parse your recommendations. Some of them do sound like what a philosopher might say but I'm not certain whether it'll work or not. Are there any records of historical precedents? I mean that in the middle east and some mulsim southeast asian nations at least, rich philosophical traditions have been literally wiped off the face of the earth by Islam but the reverse has never happened. I'm doubtful that your well-meaning suggestions to improve the situation in Afghanistan will bear fruit.

    Morever, the crux of the problem is this: The Taliban is about Islam, not Afghanistan. The west, on other hand, despite the possibility that it's just lip service, want Afghans to think hard and feel deeply about Afghanistan. That's all I have to say.
    TheMadFool

    Thank you, thank you. The answer to your question is yes. But until we share the same source of information I don't think anyone will believe me. At least over ten years of trying to convence people of the importance of education, have not gotten good results.

    My source of information is several books on the history of education. I am sure many people in the forum would love these books, but you will not find them in a regular book store. However these books can be found on line- Textbook in the History of Education by Paul Monroe 1910 and A History of Education by James Mulhern. Then I have old gradeschool text books and other books about education. Or we can come to the same information through an explanation of Liberal Education coming out of the Age of Reason and what scientific thinking has to do with what makes the West different from the East. A difference that was the foundation of war between the Greeks and Persians and has never been resolved. Your last statement is exactly right.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    They might indeed. But it may equally be a cynical ploy to get the world to recognize their government and start pouring billions in aid into the coffers of their Islamic Emirate.Apollodorus

    That would be a terrible mistake for the reason TheMadFool mentioned. This conflict is as old as the Persain war with the Greeks. Any help the Taliban gets needs to remain in the control of those who provide the help. The Taliban must be kept in the position of beggars, until they are developed enough to be independent. I am putting that out there for the purpose of discussion, not because I am sure what I am thinking. But I would never give a teenager or young adult an unlimited credit and hope nothing goes wrong. In God or Allah we trust, must never be a supported belief! It must be very clear who is providing the needs of the people and what it takes to provide those needs. That is the East West difference. (until we come to Trump and then the East and West mentality is exactly the same.)
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    Thank you, thank you. The answer to your question is yes. But until we share the same source of information I don't think anyone will believe me. At least over ten years of trying to convence people of the importance of education, have not gotten good results.

    My source of information is several books on the history of education. I am sure many people in the forum would love these books, but you will not find them in a regular book store. However these books can be found on line- Textbook in the History of Education by Paul Monroe 1910 and A History of Education by James Mulhern. Then I have old gradeschool text books and other books about education. Or we can come to the same information through an explanation of Liberal Education coming out of the Age of Reason and what scientific thinking has to do with what makes the West different from the East. A difference that was the foundation of war between the Greeks and Persians and has never been resolved. Your last statement is exactly right.
    Athena

    A recent historian of philosophy, Anthony Gottlieb, describes its (religion's) impact in terms of the tale of Sleeping Beauty. "Having pricked its finger on Christian theology, philosophy fell asleep for about a thousand years until awakened by the kiss of Descartes" — Anthony Kenny (An Illustrated Brief History Of Western Philosophy)

    I suppose we shoudn't be too hasty in our judgment of Islam, it's the youngest religion there is. If all goes well, Islam should produce its own Descartes who'll then give the kiss of life to the Islamic world. I won't live long enough to see that happening. :sad:
  • Athena
    1.6k
    This is exactly the point that I have been trying to make :smile:

    Of course fundamentalism, of any denomination, should be opposed. The question is, what can be done about it?

    As I said, it is essential to understand how empires operate in order to understand how we got to this point. However, this is only the first step. The second step, which is equally important, is to understand the opponent.

    For starters, we must avoid kidding ourselves and romanticizing Islam. The 7th century Arab is an outsider to what we call civilization, i.e., the urban civilization of Greece, Rome and Persia. He is at home in the Arabian desert whose barren expanse is only interrupted by scattered oases. But he is not content in the desert. For he has seen the unparalleled wealth and opulence of Christian Syria when traveling to the seasonal market at Damascus and the rich merchandise carried by the returning caravans which he and his comrades in arms have often raided. He has also heard of Constantinople, the “Great City of the Romans” (Rūmiyyat al-Kubra) “nothing like which was ever built, neither before nor after”.

    Presumably, getting their hands on the gold and silver of Greece and Persia, and enslaving their populations, especially the women, was one of the motivations behind the Arab invasions. But the religious aspect of it should not be neglected.

    Islam means submission to the will of God as supposedly revealed in the Koran.

    Submission means Peace, non-submission means War or struggle between the forces of submission and the forces of rebellion.

    Islamic Law (Sharia) divides the world into (1) areas of Peace or Islam, called the “House of Islam”, Dar al-Islam, where Islamic Law prevails, and (2) areas of War or Struggle, called the “House of War”, Dar al-Harb, where non-Islamic Law prevails.

    The concepts of “House of Islam” and “House of War” do not appear to occur either in the Koran or in oral Hadith tradition. However, they were introduced by Muslim law-makers during the Muslim conquests and are part of Islamic Law.

    Divisions of the world in Islam - Wikipedia

    Presumably, Muslims who accept Islamic Law, also accept the division of the world into these two antagonistic camps, in which case it is not difficult to see why Muslim extremists see the existence of territories that are not subject to Islamic Law as a provocation and invitation, indeed obligation, to wage holy war or jihad against the “infidels.”

    What compounds the problem is the Muslim belief that Islam was the original true religion that has been distorted by Jews and Christians whose current scriptures teach falsehoods and lead believers astray.

    Clearly, the issue is more complex than it may seem.

    So, can Islam be reformed? On the available evidence, I tend to doubt it. If we think about it, Christianity emerged within the evolved culture of Greece and Rome. In contrast, Islam had no comparable cultural background. It moderated itself for tactical reasons and through contact with other cultures. But it never reformed itself.

    When external pressures force it to do so, Islam will stay within a certain range of moderation. But left on its own, its own inner logic will cause it to return to its unreformed and unmoderated roots.

    This may be seen from the example of Pakistan. So long as it was part of British India, surrounded by Hindus, and dominated by European culture, it moderated itself for reasons of self-preservation. After Independence, when its main point of outside contact was Mecca in ultra-fundamentalist Saudi Arabia, it became more and more radical.

    Education seems to be part of the problem. When you have millions of Muslim villagers with little or no education except what they are told by radical mullahs, then the outcome is entirely predictable. And, as we can see, there is a growing movement of opposition against Western education.

    The name of the Islamist extremist organization "Boko Haram" (active in Niger and other African countries) literally means "Western education is forbidden" or "(Western) Book Forbidden," the only permitted book being the Koran.
    Apollodorus

    I see Christianity as just as good or bad as Islam. I hear about what is happening in Texas and wonder if are we coming to the end of our democracy because of Christian radicals? Texas is behind our conflicts with the mid-east and is no more tolerant of non Christian beliefs or racial differences than radical Muslims are tolerant of others. What do you think makes fundamentalist Christians different from fundamentalist Muslims? The Christian Mythology that takes credit for our democracy is no different from what you said about Muslims, and the power of that Christian mythology is the direct result of replacing liberal education with education for technology and leaving moral training to the church.
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    I see Christianity as just as good or bad as Islam.Athena

    You are probably right in a sense. However, we shouldn't ignore the differences.

    For example:

    1. Christianity spread through persuasion, Islam spread through invasion and conquest.

    2. There are very few (if any) Christian fundamentalist governments in the world, but many Muslim fundamentalist ones.

    3. There are very few (if any) Christian terror organizations, but many Muslim ones.

    4. Women are more likely to be oppressed and discriminated against in Muslim than in Christian countries, etc.

    I think, ultimately, what matters is not which religion is theoretically "better", but which of them shows more respect for freedom, democracy, and human rights.

    Of course some may argue that the US President is "just as good or as bad" as the head of the Taliban, but I think this is debatable.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    You are probably right in a sense. However, we shouldn't ignore the differences.

    For example:

    1. Christianity spread through persuasion, Islam spread through invasion and conquest.

    2. There are very few (if any) Christian fundamentalist governments in the world, but many Muslim fundamentalist ones.

    3. There are very few (if any) Christian terror organizations, but many Muslim ones.

    4. Women are more likely to be oppressed and discriminated against in Muslim than in Christian countries, etc.

    I think, ultimately, what matters is not which religion is theoretically "better", but which of them shows more respect for freedom, democracy, and human rights.

    Of course some may argue that the US President is "just as good or as bad" as the head of the Taliban, but I think this is debatable.
    Apollodorus

    Are you sure Christianity was not spread by the sword? We might have read different accounts of history?

    What were the steps of persuasion used? How about economic warfare?

    Point two, yes, many countries have not modernized as the West did following the renaissance in Europe. And thanks to this discussion, I have been pondering how anyone could write a history book for the East that made them think democracy is their inheritance from the Greeks and Rome?

    Point three, would you call the KKK a terrorist organization? How about the Nazis?

    Point four,
    The 15 states that did not ratify the Equal Rights Amendment before the 1982 deadline were Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. — ERA
    And none of us had equal rights for that long. We sure can not applaud Christianity for our equal rights gains and protection from sexual predators because Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are basically the same patriarchial religion.

    "I think, ultimately, what matters is not which religion is theoretically "better", but which of them shows more respect for freedom, democracy, and human rights." Yes, but that is what we gained through philosophy and conditions that lead to women having liberty, it is not because of religious differences. And can we keep in mind, at one time Isam was far more advanced than Christian Europe, and can we focus on why that was so? I think it is a mistake to think Christianity is better for democracy than Islam. If it had been for the renaissance and philosophy, we would not be a democracy and we would have protected freedom of speech and would not have liberty. Our failure to understand that and what it means to defend democracy in the classroom has us in deep trouble right.

    Our president in the US was born a nation that began with liberal/classical education and had education to teach citizenship and defend democracy. We stopped that in 1958 and left moral training to the church. That was a huge mistake.

    One more thing Kennedy and Biden were/are Catholic and that means universalism. Most US Presidents are Protestant and that means nationalism like the Christian Republic of Germany we defeated in two world wars and now resemble in many ways.
  • schopenhauer1
    6k
    "I think, ultimately, what matters is not which religion is theoretically "better", but which of them shows more respect for freedom, democracy, and human rights." Yes, but that is what we gained through philosophy and conditions that lead to women having liberty, it is not because of religious differences. And can we keep in mind, at one time Isam was far more advanced than Christian Europe, and can we focus on why that was so? I think it is a mistake to think Christianity is better for democracy than Islam. If it had been for the renaissance and philosophy, we would not be a democracy and we would have protected freedom of speech and would not have liberty. Our failure to understand that and what it means to defend democracy in the classroom has us in deep trouble right.Athena

    True about Renaissance and philosophy. Philosophy was locked up in dogma until that point, for the most part.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    True about Renaissance and philosophy. Philosophy was locked up in dogma until that point, for the most part.schopenhauer1

    Thank you and we should know the big, big difference was Aristotle and the Catholic church's Scholasticism that got philosophical and scientific thinking going. But even at this point, not much would have happened. The silk road lead to Europe replacing Roman numerals with Arabic (Indian) numbers which gave us the essential math to progress and also the technology of printing and making paper from China and that made it possible to make books that spread knowledge, including the Bible written in the languages people spoke so they read the Bible and determine truth for themselves. This was not so different from the forces that made Islam great, and it was what lead to democracy, not Christianity.
  • schopenhauer1
    6k
    Some say the Mongolian invasion contributed to the downfall of the Golden Age of Islam, especially the sack of Baghdad in 1258 and the destruction of the library. It was also an internal movement to turn away from it it earlier by people like Al-Ghazali.
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    Are you sure Christianity was not spread by the sword? We might have read different accounts of history? What were the steps of persuasion used? How about economic warfare?Athena

    Absolutely sure. Christianity started as a peaceful movement within the Roman Empire and spread peacefully and gradually through its teachings. In contrast, Islam started as a militarized group that took over Arabia by force of arms and then started invading Christian, Persian and other lands. The Koran explicitly says that Mohammad can have four wives plus as many female slaves captured in war as he pleases. The Bible does not say this of Jesus. There are some huge differences that should not be overlooked IMHO.

    Point two, yes, many countries have not modernized as the West did following the renaissance in Europe. And thanks to this discussion, I have been pondering how anyone could write a history book for the East that made them think democracy is their inheritance from the Greeks and Rome?Athena

    If you ask me, I think they couldn’t, because it isn’t. This is precisely why they reject that “inheritance”. They’ve been doing that since the 1100’s.

    Point three, would you call the KKK a terrorist organization? How about the Nazis?Athena

    Sure. But (1) KKK and neo-Nazis are racist, not religious fundamentalist, (2) they are not supported by Western governments, or indeed, by the Western public, and (3) they do not attack Muslim countries.

    And none of us had equal rights for that long. We sure can not applaud Christianity for our equal rights gains and protection from sexual predators because Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are basically the same patriarchial religion.Athena

    If they are all “basically the same”, then there seems to be no point having this discussion! :smile:

    And can we keep in mind, at one time Isam was far more advanced than Christian Europe, and can we focus on why that was so? I think it is a mistake to think Christianity is better for democracy than Islam. If it had been for the renaissance and philosophy, we would not be a democracy and we would have protected freedom of speech and would not have liberty. Our failure to understand that and what it means to defend democracy in the classroom has us in deep trouble right.Athena

    We can focus on anything you want, it’s your thread.
    But the philosophy was not Islamic. Aristotle was not a Muslim. The eastern part of the Roman Empire never lost its cultural heritage including philosophy. It was only the western part and that was because it was overrun by Germanic tribes that did not have a tradition of philosophy and learning. Nothing to do with Christianity.

    Our president in the US was born a nation that began with liberal/classical education and had education to teach citizenship and defend democracy. We stopped that in 1958 and left moral training to the church. That was a huge mistake.Athena

    I am not aware of US education being controlled by the Church. My impression was that it is controlled by liberals of various denominations?

    One more thing Kennedy and Biden were/are Catholic and that means universalism. Most US Presidents are Protestant and that means nationalism like the Christian Republic of Germany we defeated in two world wars and now resemble in many ways.Athena

    Sure. But Obama was a Protestant. And they are the presidents elected by the American people who are free to choose different presidents.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    Absolutely sure. Christianity started as a peaceful movement within the Roman Empire and spread peacefully and gradually through its teachings.Apollodorus

    :gasp: Are you being sarcastic or is that what you really believe. If that is what you believe we have read different books. What can people do when they believe different facts and do not agree about something as important as how the world came to be as it is today?
  • darthbarracuda
    3.3k
    We returned to an explanation of nature being the cause, instead of everything being the will of a God. This radically changed the West and man's understanding of his position in the world, throwing the West into progressive motion and Islam into decline.Athena

    I don't think complicated historical events can be broken down into monolithic stages like this. Metaphysical mutations don't seem like good explanations for historical events, IMO. The material basis (like advancements in trade technology) is what drives events; ideological changes are an effect, not the cause. It doesn't make any sense to me that one region of the planet progressed simply because the inhabitants started believing in something different. It just seems more like mythology than history.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    Sure. But (1) KKK and neo-Nazis are racist, not religious fundamentalist, (2) they are not supported by Western governments, or indeed, by the Western public, and (3) they do not attack Muslim countries.Apollodorus

    Oh dear, we don't usually disagree and I am uncomfortable with this. If the Southern government had made racist laws and protect racism as a way of life, there would not the Black pain and anger that we have today, and please, that was supported by Christianity and still is.

    Yes, Judaism, Christianity, Islam are the same religion but with different cultural understandings of the God of Abraham religion. And discussing this could be a way to better judgment and even peace. We need to end the lies that have been very divisive and are behind the wars we have had.

    However, there are times when our disagreements lead to me searching for more information and this piece of information seems very important to resolving a misunderstanding.

    Aristotelianism in Islamic philosophy
    In Arabic, Aristotle was referred to by name as Aristutalis or, more frequently, Aristu, although when quoted he was often referred to by a sobriquet such as 'the wise man'. Aristotle was also generally known as the First Teacher. Following the initial reception of Hellenistic texts into Islamic thought in al-Kindi's time, al-Farabi rediscovered a 'purer' version in the tenth century. In an allusion to his dependence on Aristotle, al-Farabi was called the Second Teacher. Ibn Rushd, known in the West as Averroes, was the last great Arabophone commentator on Aristotle, writing numerous treatises on his works. A careful examination of the Aristotelian works received by the Arabs indicates they were generally aware of the true Aristotle. Later, transmission of these works to Christian Europe allowed Aristotelianism to flourish in the scholastic period.

    We should not take at face value the Islamic philosophers' claims that they were simply following Aristotle. The convention in Islamic philosophy is to state that one is repeating the wisdom of the past, thus covering over such originality as may exist. There was a tendency among Islamic philosophers to cite Aristotle as an authority in order to validate their own claims and ideas.
    Muslim Philosophy

    I do not think the Taliban was influenced by Aristotle. The condition of life for the Taliban does not promote a refined intellect. They are not seeing the more civilized aspects of their Holy Book because the conditions of their lives not supporting civilized living. This was also true of Christians who lived for holy wars, not the refinement of civilization.

    I do not think the US would elect a person who was not Protestant or at least Catholic. I would go into shock if an atheist or even a deist, became our president. Christian domination in the US has questionable power of domination and not all of these people are knowingly and intentionally influenced by Aristotle, however, oddly many of them do embrace Neitzche and Hegel and the notion of national Protestanism. That is an ingredient of war and the Military-Industrial Complex and very bad decisions made in the Mid East.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    I don't think complicated historical events can be broken down into monolithic stages like this. Metaphysical mutations don't seem like good explanations for historical events, IMO. The material basis (like advancements in trade technology) is what drives events; ideological changes are an effect, not the cause. It doesn't make any sense to me that one region of the planet progressed simply because the inhabitants started believing in something different. It just seems more like mythology than history.darthbarracuda

    What is a metaphysical mutation?

    I am adding information I just came across because of Schopenhauer's post. I am still not sure of what metaphysical mutation means but understand it now seems important.
  • darthbarracuda
    3.3k
    Houellebecq coined it. I think it is supposed to refer to a large shift in the way a civilization views themselves and the world.
  • Athena
    1.6k
    Some say the Mongolian invasion contributed to the downfall of the Golden Age of Islam, especially the sack of Baghdad in 1258 and the destruction of the library. It was also an internal movement to turn away from it it earlier by people like Al-Ghazali.schopenhauer1

    Wow, I think you get the prize for the best post of the day! I did not have this information but thanks to you I looked for it. :love:

    Al-Ghazâlî (c.1056–1111) was one of the most prominent and influential philosophers, theologians, jurists, and mystics of Sunni Islam. He was active at a time when Sunni theology had just passed through its consolidation and entered a period of intense challenges from Shiite Ismâ’îlite theology and the Arabic tradition of Aristotelian philosophy (falsafa). Al-Ghazâlî understood the importance of falsafa and developed a complex response that rejected and condemned some of its teachings, while it also allowed him to accept and apply others. Al-Ghazâlî’s critique of twenty positions of falsafa in his Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahâfut al-falâsifa) is a significant landmark in the history of philosophy as it advances the nominalist critique of Aristotelian science developed later in 14th century Europe. On the Arabic and Muslim side al-Ghazâlî’s acceptance of demonstration (apodeixis) led to a much more refined and precise discourse on epistemology and a flowering of Aristotelian logics and metaphysics.Stanford
  • Athena
    1.6k
    Houellebecq coined it. I think it is supposed to refer to a large shift in the way a civilization views themselves and the world.darthbarracuda

    Now things may be making sense to me? My brain is overheated and I am going for a walk. I found a book on my shelf that will help me know more about Al-Ghzaile. Maybe I will know a little more when I return? Jeeze, I have been avoiding all this brain work and understanding why the Shia and Sunni are at odds with each other, but if this is connected to Aristotle and a metaphysic mutation, I MUST understand it.

    "This is the dawning of the Angel Aquarius". :lol: That doesn't belong in this thread but maybe a thread about the New Age, a time of high tech and peace and the end of tyranny. Sorry, my bad, but talk of a metaphysical mutation set this line of thinking off. I love not being too sure of what I know and realizing totally unexplored possibilities.
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