17th March 2010

“When we give so much weight to religious identities, by seeing them as counterparts to ethnic identities, we actually ‘lock in’ these communities – and lock out other communities from interaction. Far from respecting diversity, we actually end up throwing everyone, whether they hold strong, tepid or mild religious beliefs, into the same mix. Instead, we ought to afford everyone a space to just be citizens.”

Faisal al Yafai

10 Responses to “17th March 2010”

  1. Atheist MC Says:

    Unfortunately though some religio-ethnic communities do not want to be “just citizens”. Muslims in particular will often say they are Muslim over and above their statehood. Obviously when they live in a Muslim state that is not a problem, but when they live in a secular or christian state it is. Witness the problems France is have for example.

  2. steve Says:

    That is a pretty good point. There are a whole lot of people out there that are labeled “___” (insert whatever religion you want) regardless of how strongly they believe in a particular superstition.

    AMC makes an excellent point as well. Superstitions should never be embraced by the State. Frankly, religion should not be tolerated in government; like many quirky behaviors and beliefs it should be ignored if possible, belittled if appropriate, and banned if harmful.

    Those who choose to believe in sky fairies can do so on their own time.

  3. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    Well, any particular religion has no interest in diversity because that particular brand is the “correct one” in the view of it’s adherents. Islam in particular seems very accommodating of this xenophobia. I suppose it depends on the religion whether you can think of it as a monolith. With the exception of the minor-seeming sunni/shiite schism, Islam looks pretty monolithic to me. This will change when they get to go through their own “reformation” which i would think is inevitable.

  4. steve Says:

    Cap’n – you have interested me with your comment about inevitable reformation in Islam. Are you blaming the size of the cult or the wackiness?

  5. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    I’m assuming it’ll follow in the footsteps of the Christ mythologies but I hope it doesn’t take domination, ala the Catholic church, for it to collapse under it’s own weight. I might be flat wrong about the outcome but I don’t think I am about the pressures that are building up within Islam – the same pressures that always build up inside totalitarianisms. Given a choice between moderation and destruction religions usually opt for self-preservation.

  6. Atheist MC Says:

    Islam doesn’t have the inherent weaknesses that Christianity had (has). For one thing the Qu’ran is a single text and with minor (none if you believe the spin) differences is accepted by unni and Shia. The docrinal differences are relatively minor too, and stem from historical political issues rather than doctrinal ones. The chief difference being the source of authority in interpreting the Qu’ran (Imams for the Shia, the Hadith for Sunni) Also Shia are very much in the minority worldwide, the split seems significant to us mainly because most Shia are in Iran and Iraq which get a lot of publicity.
    The best hope for world peace barring worldwide secularism is that moderate Muslims everywhere reject the extremists and begin to accomodate a scientific world view (there is precedent for this Islam was once a potent force for science). The same could also be said for Christianity.

  7. GoodWithoutGod Says:

    AMC, you hit close to what I think. Acceptance and respect for religion – if possible – will only come when the sensible moderates actively reject the fundamentalist or extreme elements within their religion. Currently we see the moderates in Islam sitting passively on the sidelines while they watch the extreme elements wreak havoc world-wide.

    With this in mind, why shouldn’t we paint them all with the same brush?

    Non-action equates to participation, in my book. Where is the outrage by Muslims against Islamic extremism? Where are the demonstrations? The riots? The rallies? Which leaders have taken up the call for moderation?

    I hear nothing but silence and I see nothing but acquiescence.

    I can’t speak for the rest of you on this blog, but if anyone pulled this kind of shit in the name of atheism, I’d be the first to speak out loudly and clearly.

  8. The Heretic Says:

    They say nothing because they too are terrified of them.

  9. steve Says:

    I think the Heretic nailed it. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  10. John Says:

    An AK 47 is the tool most often used to teach muslin conformity.