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icepick
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Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Stephens wrote:
Muslims would not take your quotes from Genesis as evidence of a trinity, because the Qur'an is seen as GOD setting the record straight. Muslims tend to believe that the Hebrew and Greek texts were corrupted over time, and they think there is pretty good evidence that the Arabic is still pretty close to the original.


That's a very good point and leads to an entirely different bucket of kittens . That idea that all of the other texts are corrupted and the Qur'an is the only correct version of God's message to mankind is a great example of a very important truth about many religions of the world. The majority of religions in the world all think that theirs is the only way. There are very few religions that say "well, we are one of the many roads to eternal bliss" . But the very nature of religion, and a belief in a world after this leads us to believe that someone is going to be right, and someone is going to be wrong. The idea that choosing a faith is only a matter finding what you feel comfortable with, like choosing a sofa, or a brand of coffee is misguided at best. Whatever we choose to believe, we need to believe that it is the only and correct way, because if we are wrong, we could be really wrong.

The idea of being pluralistic and embracing all faiths could be right, it is possible. Those of us who hold to one specific faith have no right to denigrate those who choose to hold a non conventional faith, or simply follow their own heart as their guide. But if there ends up being just one way to obtain eternal life, I don't think a person would necessarily recieve any benefit from a partial embrace of that faith. Most of the "Big Three" religions we know of in the west are pretty much an all or nothing commitment.

John Stephens wrote:

It's just on account of imagination. There is a richness of mythic imagery in these stories - and voices other than the voice of GOD.


That's one of the things about Genesis that annoys a great deal of people. They want a step by step setting down of exactly how it all went down, like some type of Time-Life how to repair your toilet guide. But it's obvious it's more of a bedtime story, a generalized explanation of how it happened. That's one of the reason that you can't explicitly scientifically analyze the creation story in genesis, there are a lot of details missing.
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Stephens wrote:
Rip Tanion wrote:
That's because they were Moors, and not Arabs [...] I talk out of my ass half the time.

Your first sentence triggered my racist radar southern honky style - until I read your last sentence. A good test for ridiculous prejudice in a statement is to substitute another group:
Code:
That's because they were Moors, and not Negroes.
That's because they were Moors, and not Jews.

Seriously, though, the rest of your post seems pretty fair.
I don't think that was racist statement at all. I wasn't talking about racial differences, I was talking about cultural ones.

BTW weren't the Moors indeed "negroes", that is to say dark skinned Africans? When I think Moors, the first thing I think of is Diego Vel?zquez's painting of Juan De Pareja (a.k.a. Portrait of a Moor) When I was a teen, and we'd take a school trip to the Metropolitan, I used to love to annoy the guards by pointing to ol' Juan's portrait, and asking "Hey, is that Jimi Hendrix?"
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moor n.
1: A member of a Muslim people of mixed Berber and Arab descent, now living chiefly in northwest Africa.
2: One of the Muslims who invaded Spain in the 8th century and established a civilization in Andalusia that lasted until the late 15th century.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ber?ber n.
1: A member of a North African, primarily Muslim people living in settled or nomadic tribes from Morocco to Egypt.
2: Any of the Afro-Asiatic languages of the Berbers.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[Arabic Barbar.]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

berber

\Ber"ber\, n. [See Barbary.] A member of a race somewhat resembling the Arabs, but often classed as Hamitic, who were formerly the inhabitants of the whole of North Africa from the Mediterranean southward into the Sahara, and who still occupy a large part of that region; -- called also Kabyles. Also, the language spoken by this people.

berber

n 1: a member of a Caucasoid Muslim people of northern Africa [syn: Berber] 2: a cluster of related dialects that were once the major language of North Africa west of Egypt; now spoken mostly in Morocco [syn: Berber]
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
[Arabic Barbar.]
So does that mean that the Arabs considered the Berbers barbarians (a term, which back then, was used by many civilizations to broadly describe foriegners)?
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John Stephens
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

icepick wrote:
The majority of religions in the world all think that theirs is the only way. There are very few religions that say "well, we are one of the many roads to eternal bliss" . But the very nature of religion, and a belief in a world after this leads us to believe that someone is going to be right, and someone is going to be wrong. The idea that choosing a faith is only a matter finding what you feel comfortable with, like choosing a sofa, or a brand of coffee is misguided at best. Whatever we choose to believe, we need to believe that it is the only and correct way, because if we are wrong, we could be really wrong.

The idea of being pluralistic and embracing all faiths could be right, it is possible. Those of us who hold to one specific faith have no right to denigrate those who choose to hold a non conventional faith, or simply follow their own heart as their guide. But if there ends up being just one way to obtain eternal life, I don't think a person would necessarily recieve any benefit from a partial embrace of that faith. Most of the "Big Three" religions we know of in the west are pretty much an all or nothing commitment.

If you read the Washingtom Post, you may have noticed a recent article by David Yount, who worships at the same meeting I do. On first day, I overheard an interesting conversation in which Yount and another fellow were talking about the division of mainstream Christianity in America into two major sects: the church of the North leans toward universalism, tolerance, and a liberal social agenda, all of which alienate parishoners with a more Southern spirituality of Evangelism, literal interpretation of the Bible, with influential patches of intollerance & fundamentalism.

My own experience of GOD has led me into the Quaker community. Mainstream Christians may look at Quakers as religious anarchists, but our worship and lifestyle is very centered around the principle that the same mystery revealed through the prophets and in the presence of Christ continues to speak to us all, if we only pause to listen. For hundreds of years the Quakers have made no distiction between "saved" and "unsaved" or any other categories of human distinction, for all are equal in the eyes of GOD, and it is our duty to uplift that of GOD in all people.

Having spoken thus, I'd like to hold the Religious Society of Friends free from any liability that may result from my own hair-brained ideas.

icepick wrote:
That's one of the things about Genesis that annoys a great deal of people. They want a step by step setting down of exactly how it all went down, like some type of Time-Life how to repair your toilet guide.

I suspect that's a result of the monumental changes in western consciousness since the text was composed. Our culture values analytical intelligence and harbors an almost ridiculous prejudice against the imagination and conscience, which connect us to the inner life. The ancients would have never looked for the Bible to contain scientific truth, and reading it like a science manual is a BIG mistake. The history it contains is refracted through the prism of faith, revealing a dazzling array of psychological depth and meaning. It's stories are not the eye-witness accounts that we read in our twentieth-century newspapers, but profound meditations reflecting on the struggles of the soul to aprehend GOD's blessing - and many times searching for the shortcut to divine blessings.

P. S. I asked my friend some more questions about his grandfather after reading some information online. It turns out Shaykh Ahmed Al Baki mounted an almost Gandhian nonviolent resistance movement against the French colonialists in Senegal. You can read a timeline here, remembering that the Shaykh commanded no weapons or armed resistance - the French and the people of Senegal were moved by the man's profound inner peace and unwavering courage. The French turned over the reigns to Senegal some thirty years after the Shaykh's death.

That's all for now. I have to stop peaking at this message board.
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John Stephens
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

David Yount wrote:
When the European Union agrees on a constitution, it will likely dispense with any mention of God.

As I understand it, there is no god in the U.S. Constitution either.

amazon.com wrote:
Book Description
Yount examines the state of Christian faith in America today and assesses its prognosis for the future. According to surveys and other research, the breadth of faith is wide but typically shallow. Yount looks at the symptoms of this mile-wide, inch-deep style of faith, speculates as to its causes, and offers ideas for churches and individuals to deepen faith.

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John Stephens
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another interestic article:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/allah.asp
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Stephens wrote:
Rip Tanion wrote:
That's because they were Moors, and not Arabs [...] I talk out of my ass half the time.

Your first sentence triggered my racist radar southern honky style - until I read your last sentence. A good test for ridiculous prejudice in a statement is to substitute another group:
Code:
That's because they were Moors, and not Negroes.
That's because they were Moors, and not Jews.

Seriously, though, the rest of your post seems pretty fair.

icepick wrote:
Wow, seven levels! But werent you pointing out earlier that the Muslim hell is more of a temporal place of punishment like purgatory than an eternal abode like the Lake of Fire wrote about in Revelation?

I tried to say that there is likely a range of ideas of varying depth and insight; it's a mistake to look at Islam as a uniform culture. My friend went to a Wahhabi school, which he described pretty consistently with Rip's message. Ibrahima, on the other hand, is from Senegal, and his grandfather was a sage and mystic named Shaykh Ahmed Al Baki who refused the authority of the French colonialists:
in the introduction to Shaykh Ahmed Al Baki's GOD'S SACRED IDENTITY, translator Moustapha Mbacke wrote:
The Shaykh was sentenced to exile and several days after his departure, as he was being deported aboard a ship to Gabon, the French attempted to prevent him from praying aboard the boat. The Shaykh took his prayer mat and threw it in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean. He jumped on the mat, performed his noon prayer and climbed back on the boat. This ocured in high seas between Senegal and Guinea. He alludes to this when he wrote,

"Whoever seeks to drown me in the ocean inspired me to draw nigh to GOD."
Ibrahima's faith is much more contemplative & tranquil, and his voice abounds in the joy that GOD has given him.

I have dozens of Muslim friends and aquaintances from all around the world: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, ect. Their lives reflect the simplicity and abundant serenity of their faith. Because of the actions of a handful of extremists, Islam's simple piety is distorted in the minds of folks who don't get to know the Muslims in their extended communities. You are probably aware of the same contrast in Christianity.

simrob wrote:
It should be mentioned that the literature of the Koran sees the world as divided into two distinct realms - the Zone of Islam and the Zone of War, and since you and I are sitting (with high probability) in a non-Islamic state, guess what? We're in the Zone of War. Insofar as "religous tolerance" is inherent in the Koran there was no tolernace for political authorty that is not Islamic.

I'm sorry to pick on you, because you seem to really know your stuff - even though you may be a little tired of working on it. I just wanted to extract this statement because I it's misleading. The Qur'an is not a book that contains a detailed worldview. It's revelation is a reinterpretation of Judaism & Christianity within the context of the Prophet's Arabia. The text of the Qur'an assumes that the reader is familiar with the Prophet's cultural context, which is not espoused in the book.

There are numerous sacred texts called hadith & sunna which purport to provide this context, to guide Muslims in their interpretation of the Qur'an, and most of what you are talking about is based on an interpretation inflected through somebody's hadith or sunna. However, Muslims everywhere are totally divided over which of these texts are authoritative, and many Muslims even reject them altogether as the work of the Devil.

As a student, I think the value of historic and mythic context is incalulable, but from what I read, these interpretations of Al-Qur'an are inflected by somebody's agenda.

icepick wrote:
But did you ever notice, at least in Judaism and Christianity how there are individuals like Martin Luther and Jesus who jerk the slack out of these leaders and return to heart of worship and faith? What sort of reformers have their been in Islam? Or has it continued down the path of excessive fundamentalism?

I have to look into that. Some of my favorite poets are Rumi and Hafiz, who are decidedly driven by the ecstatic rapture of their faith, rather than the sword, but i don't know in terms of history if they had any social impact on others whose idea of Islam was something other than surrender to GOD [which is what "Islam" means; it is etymologically linked to "shalom" and "salem"].

icepick wrote:
I do know that one of the big differences between Islam and Christianity it the idea that God is one and he has no son. I always found the references in Genesis such as "let US make man in OUR own image" , and of course like you pointed out, the word Elohim contains the idea of a plurality of identities. How does Islam reconcile that passage of scripture?

In the Qur'an, GOD often uses the words "We," and "us." But you're right about one thing - in Islam, the idea of Isa as a god is idolatry. "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our god is One LORD."
Al-Quran wrote:
Isa, son of Maryam,
illustrious in this world and the next,
and one among the honored,
Who will speak to the people when in the cradle
and when in the prime of life,
and will be among the upright and doers of good.
[...]
When GOD said: "O Isa, I will take you to Myself and exalt you,
and rid you of infidels,
and hold those who follow you
above those who disbelieve till the Day of Resurrection.
[...]
For GOD the likeness of Isa is as that of Adam
whom He fashioned out of the dust and said "Be" and he was.
This is the truth from your Lord,
so do not be in doubt.
[...]
O people of the Book,
let us come to an agreement
on that which is common between us,
that we worship no one but GOD,
and make none His compeer,
and that none of us take any others for lord apart from GOD.

I think that's all. I forget if I was trying to make a point or not. ;')
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John Stephens
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That about sums up what I said in that particular post. Why repost the same thing without a comment?
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... I've seen another post similar to this one pop up, so I'm thinking that an anonymous post that simply quotes a previous post in its entirety may be some new form of automated spam. If you see more non-registered user postings that only quote a previous post, don't respond to them- I'll delete them as I find 'em.
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John Stephens
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By your command.
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simrob
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 3:40 am    Post subject: A bucket-sized mistake, that one. Reply with quote

John Stephens wrote:
simrob wrote:
It should be mentioned that the literature of the Koran sees the world as divided into two distinct realms - the Zone of Islam and the Zone of War, and since you and I are sitting (with high probability) in a non-Islamic state, guess what? We're in the Zone of War. Insofar as "religous tolerance" is inherent in the Koran there was no tolernace for political authorty that is not Islamic.

I'm sorry to pick on you, because you seem to really know your stuff - even though you may be a little tired of working on it. I just wanted to extract this statement because I it's misleading. The Qur'an is not a book that contains a detailed worldview. It's revelation is a reinterpretation of Judaism & Christianity within the context of the Prophet's Arabia. The text of the Qur'an assumes that the reader is familiar with the Prophet's cultural context, which is not espoused in the book.


Indeed - I was kind of on a generalizing binge from the rapid essay papers I'd had to write. While I do maintain that the worldview was an accurate one in the context of the mideval Islamic empire, it is a mistake to say that the Koran was the source of that worldview - the mideval Islamic state was the source of that wolrdview, and we do not live (as much I sometimes get confused) in the middle ages - so that was a potentially serious misrepresentation.

Yeah, that's all I wanted to say. I'm done with finals and on my intersemester break, so I'm not really following this thread other than that...
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kaos_de_moria
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:37 am    Post subject: Re: A bucket-sized mistake, that one. Reply with quote

simrob wrote:
John Stephens wrote:
simrob wrote:
It should be mentioned that the literature of the Koran sees the world as divided into two distinct realms - the Zone of Islam and the Zone of War, and since you and I are sitting (with high probability) in a non-Islamic state, guess what? We're in the Zone of War. Insofar as "religous tolerance" is inherent in the Koran there was no tolernace for political authorty that is not Islamic.

I'm sorry to pick on you, because you seem to really know your stuff - even though you may be a little tired of working on it. I just wanted to extract this statement because I it's misleading. The Qur'an is not a book that contains a detailed worldview. It's revelation is a reinterpretation of Judaism & Christianity within the context of the Prophet's Arabia. The text of the Qur'an assumes that the reader is familiar with the Prophet's cultural context, which is not espoused in the book.


Indeed - I was kind of on a generalizing binge from the rapid essay papers I'd had to write. While I do maintain that the worldview was an accurate one in the context of the mideval Islamic empire, it is a mistake to say that the Koran was the source of that worldview - the mideval Islamic state was the source of that wolrdview, and we do not live (as much I sometimes get confused) in the middle ages - so that was a potentially serious misrepresentation.

Yeah, that's all I wanted to say. I'm done with finals and on my intersemester break, so I'm not really following this thread other than that...


hmm. yes you are right, the qur'an does not include a full world view. but it includes some kind of rues how to create an acceptable world view. of course the different results this spawns are in competition to each other. the problem right now is, that competition is party fought with money and one of the richest islamic world views comes from the coalition of the saud family with the hanbalite preacher wahab. this world view is especially radical. and there is people who are part of this world view, who do see the world as partioned in the dar al-harb and the dar al-islam. the simpe answer, the islam isn't radical in its base, is not an answer to the problems we have these days. yes, the qur'an is ony a book. but we have to judge or handle the islam on the movements it created and especially on the movements who are active in the present day. it woud be the worst mistake we could do, to say al muslims are radical. but we have toi accept, that there is an enormous number of muslims who are. nd these muslims can be found often in states, which are partners of the west. most members of the muslim brotherhood in egypt must be seen as radicals from a western point of view.

don't know if that makes sense, or if i realy answered the last post, but i thaught it might be important to throw in m2c.
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