Wednesday, January 27, 2016

On Shariah Law

I would like to think of myself as relatively enlightened.  I'm a live-and-let-live sort of guy.  I don't really care, ultimately, what religion any person gives lip service to, or not.  What I do care about, is whether any person treats other people well, because, as one revered religious teacher is quoted as saying a couple of thousand years ago, "By their fruits" (the actions people take) "you will know them."

Shariah law is law based upon Islam.  I am not a Muslim, but even if I was, I don't think others should be required to live according to my personal beliefs.  The people I hear most adamantly protesting about Shariah law are Christians,

but I also don't want to live under Shariah law.

I have nothing against statues and sculptures.1
I don't think people who swear should be executed.2
I don't even think cursing out your parents should be punishable by death.3
I'm a historian, and I think I should be able to discuss other gods.4

I don't think children should be held accountable for mistakes their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents made.5
I'm rather horrified at the thought of slaughtering animals to "atone" for mistakes.6
I think it's pretty silly to be allowed to eat grasshoppers but denied that most divine of foods, bacon.7, 8

I will plant more than one kind of grape in my garden if I damn well please.9

I think a human is as good as another human, until the actions of that human make him worth less than others.  I think a female is as good as a male, even if there is necessarily some sex-specific things each is better at, like climbing ladders or carrying a child to term.  Patriarchal systems that make it clear a woman is property instead of a real, actual person really piss me off.  Some things that would make me especially angry might include

Women having to leave the community while on their period.10
A married female slave being beaten for having been raped by her master (this one especially pisses me off!).11
I don't think a woman not bleeding on her wedding night is reason enough to stone her.12,13,14,15,16

Being forced to marry your rapist is just sick and sadistic (though the rapist does have to pay the father a fine for, you know, damaging his property).17,18

There are other things I don't agree with.  I think I should be able to wear clothing made of more than one type of thread,19 Wiccans may dress funny, but I don't think that alone is usually worthy of death,20 and if they're both adults and it's consensual, I certainly don't think same-sex relations should end with stoning the participants.21

I don't want Shariah law.  Of course, everything I've just described are commandments from the Bible, but I don't want Shariah law, either.




Bob said...

You set up the common straw man that most Christian-bashers do, focusing on the Old Testament of the Bible and totally ignoring the New Testament, other than your opening quotation. For the most part, adherence to the Mosaic law of the Old Testament ended when Peter saw the vision in Acts 10 and was instructed to eat of the unclean animals, and again when Paul expanded Christianity by forcing Peter and the rest of the apostles to accept the Gentiles as Christians. Christians still follow the core of Mosaic law (the Ten Commandments), but the dietary laws and the particularly Jewish observances were superseded by the teachings of the early Christian Church.

You are also making a false moral equivalence between centuries-past Christian practice and current Islamic practice. Christians no longer burn witches and heretics, and the last Crusade ended in the medieval period. Islam still practices such barbarities to this day: stoning adulterers, burning witches, hanging homosexuals or throwing them from high buildings. Those are the issues that need to be addressed, not offenses centuries past.

J.R.Shirley said...

Bob, by the numbers:

1) It's not a straw man, since the book considered holy by Christians and Jews contains instructions at least as horrific as anything in the Quran;
2) I'm not a "Christian-basher", or I would discuss the logical disconnect between the idea of a loving god, and the reality shown in the Bible of a capricious deity who created a race of sentient beings for his amusement, then created sin so he could "sacrifice" himself through a false dichotomy of giving man a "choice" between choosing to accept salvation from the thing the "all powerful", "all loving" god created, or eternal torment. (But I didn't do that, did I, Bob?);
3) Both Jesus and Paul made clear that prior scripture was still in effect, through verses like Matt 5:17 (where Jesus plainly says he did not come to destroy "the law" [prior Jewish teachings] and 2 Tim 3:16;
4) Bob, don't superimpose your preconceptions or lack of knowledge on me. Christians do atrocities daily. The greatest deliberate genocide in the last 75 years was performed by a supposed "Christian" nation against an ethnic group primarily identified by their religion. Homosexuality is considerably more common in the Middle East than it is in the US.

Why don't we address ignorance? That would be a good start. So do some actual research, and when you have real, you know, facts, then we can have a discussion without you just being butt-hurt because someone pointed out that your holy canon is filled with misogyny, murder, and bronze-age barbarity, so it's pretty damn stupid to get up in arms because someone else's book written by desert goat herders also has some awful shit in it.

That was of course the obvious point, which I see you did not comprehend, or chose to ignore.

Bob said...

1. Two different books, John. Christians follow the Bible, Jews follow the Torah. All of the heinous practices you mention in your original post come from the Pentateuch, so presumably you're referring to the Torah, not the Bible, since the Bible also includes the New Testament, from which you offered no examples.

2. Using Mosaic Law as a means of bashing Christians in the US (and UK) is actually fairly common among atheists, secularists and other non-believers. My observation was simply that you were using those arguments, without technically calling you a Christian-basher yourself. To use your own cited example, by their own fruits...

3. Any good Catholic can tell you that Jesus of Nazareth didn't write a book, but instead founded a religion (contrast Muhammad, who did both). Christian law diverged from Old Testament Mosaic law almost immediately, mainly as a result of Paul's conversion and championing of the Gentiles as Christians. Circumcision, of course, is one of the first divergences from Mosaic doctrine among Christians, and even Paul and the apostles were forced to discuss the subject. My point is that the examples you cited were very quickly diverged from by most Christian sects. If you can cite an example of a Christian sect that practices Mosaic law in all its detail as cited in your examples, I'd be happy to admit my error.

4. I presume your example here is Nazi Germany, correct? I can't recall reading of Nazis shouting "Deus Vult!" or the like while machine-gunning Jews, I must have missed that part when I was reading Shirer and other accounts of the Holocaust. From my own reading of history the Nazis were a mix of atheism, paganism and Nordic mythology, NOT Christianity. As for "Christians do atrocities daily," perhaps you might link to today's atrocity - - or yesterday's, since they are so common. Bear in mind we're talking about atrocities committed specifically because one is a Christian, done to appease the capricious deity you mentioned above, and not simply a heinous crime committed by someone who just happens to have been baptized, or has professed belief, in Christ as his personal savior.

I think you're making as much a mistake concluding I'm a devout Christian as I might be in concluding you're a godless atheist - - regardless, there's no need for hostility simply because I take an opposing viewpoint. On any given day I can be a superstitious, non-practicing Catholic, an agnostic, or a Deist. I think that your original post was something of a tu quoque comparison of Christianity to Islam (or the Koran to the Bible, as you would have it) and I just don't think it a valid comparison, given current world events.

J.R.Shirley said...

Bob, you have misapplied tu quoque since I am not speaking of actions taken in the past, but rather of the hypocrisy of the present (believing one "holy book" filled with horrible things while ignoring other things at least as bad in one's own religious book)...and, speaking of hypocrisy, attempting to separate the OT from the Bible would then render Jesus as Messiah meaningless. (The is the point where the internet meme would have a poster saying "Your point is invalid.")

You think atrocities are committed because people are Muslims, as opposed to them choosing a certain mode of behavior?

There is a word that has become synonymous with war atrocity and genocide in our time, Bob. That word is "Serb". What is a Serb, Bob? Why, predominantly an Eastern Orthodox Christian...frequently engaged in the genocide of his Muslim countrymen.

Give it a rest, Bob. People do evil things, and religion isn't the reason.