So mathewrjames was kind enough to respond to my #notbuyingit post and I wanted to respond. However, my response got a bit bigger than I usually like to put in my comments, plus I needed to write another post. So I figured I’d give it more of a response worthy of their comment. Here we go.
Rubbish! There have been countless muslim condemnations of terror attacks over the past few decades and especially after this latest attack, not to mention all the middle eastern countries joining in the bombing of ISIL. so spreading vicious bile like this article does nothing but stir up anti-muslim sentiment that helps to fuel the violence that the far right perpetrate on innocent victims. For someone who has just spent months claiming polytheists are being persecuted because of the words of a humanistic pagan, I find this absolutely hypocritical!
First off, yes there have been “condemnations” by Muslims of nearly every Islamic terror attack out there. These are usually press releases by major Islamic organizations and some Imams. Perhaps, indeed, these condemnations are countless.
My Issue is with the lack of action.
The United Nations puts out hundreds of condemnations a year about various bad actions all over the world. It is also universally acknowledged that a condemnation by the UN holds about as much water and action as a newspaper boat in a storm tossed river, with said boat having greater integrity.
And what have all these “countless” condemnations gotten us over the last fourteen odd years? Well…the Islamists have their own country, which is rapidly growing by accounts, committing huge war-crimes against nearby populaces, and which just leveled a pretty major act of war on the civilian population of a distant nation (France). Said country is rapidly gaining other Islamist allies who are joining their nation, meaning that ISIS has managed to create a national power with territories all over the middle east and Africa. With Major success in recruiting coreligionists to come join them from all over the world.
What these countless condemnations have not gotten us is any lowering in the violence levels. The whole of “moderate” Islam condemns the actions of these extremists and yet…the extremism is only growing.
Why? Because words lack power.
Simply saying something isn’t enough to make it happen. Protesting against a violation of ones beliefs by others in your religion isn’t going to make them stop “violating” your beliefs.
Since Mathew mentions a certain “humanist” pagan I’ve been debating with, we’ll use that as an example. Halstead can protest and condemn me and other polytheists all he likes for not practicing a paganism he recognizes and for violating what he believes paganism is. But as mine and the actions of other polytheists show, his condemnation does nothing to stop our practices or our preaching. The same is true for us in regards to Halstead, we can condemn his beliefs and actions all we like, but our words have done nothing to stop him and his practices either.
Condemnations alone, do not work. It can be one, or countless, but the simple fact is that simply saying “do not do this bad thing” is never going to stop people from doing that bad thing. Especially when it comes to matters of faith and those doing the “bad thing” believe a literal and textual interpretation of their faith that says the “Bad thing” is in fact the “Good Thing.”
Now, are some Middle Eastern countries joining in waging war against ISIL? Yes, a few. And this is good. But a few nations does not the whole of Islam make. And it is the governments of these countries that is acting, people with vested interests in saving their own hides (which there is nothing wrong with) but they civilian populations often have large numbers of people who go out and celebrate these terrorist attacks in the street. so really, mixed bag for me here. For those acting against, there are a great number celebrating for.
But to matthew, my insisting that Muslims and Islam step up and own their bad actors the way that every other religion has to is “Bile” which “stirs up anti-muslim sentiment.”
So I have three honest questions about Mathew’s position here.
1) Muslim families have no need to police and check their relatives for extremist behavior which can and does lead to the violent deaths of innocent non-muslims? Despite the fact that Christians, Jews, Heathens, Pagans, and every other religious group does the same to their members.
2) Muslims are not to be held responsible for the bad actions of their fellow coreligionists, despite the fact that Christians are nearly universally held responsible for the bad actions of their coreligionists past and present, as are Heathens and Jews?
3) Islam, despite containing the violent, supremacist teachings of a violent, supremacist mass murdering pedophile, is in no way responsible for the violence committed by those recreating a fundamentalist form of violent, supremacist Islam in which they rape and murder?
See, there’s a double standard here that I find very often when I talk to people about Islam. It is okay to completely blame Christianity for the violence of the Crusades, despite the fact that there’s not all that much in the Bible I recall which supports Crusader ideology/theology. But it is completely unacceptable to blame Islam for the violence of Jihad, despite the fact that Jihad is a literal commandment in the Koran, with fairly clear rules to follow (which ISIS does).
It’s okay to demand terrible punishments on Catholic priests who engage in pedophilia, but the instant you start talking about the fact that the prophet mohammad married a six year old girl and “deflowered” her when she was nine is a topic that is somewhere between verboten and “well, that’s just their culture.”
Equivalent behaviors, but nonequivalent culpability.
I’m pretty sure if it was Christians blowing people up for not being Christians, Mathew and a great many others would have no problem scourging all of Christianity for the violence of those “Extremists.” Why am I certain of this? Because I’ve seen how people treat all Christians when a single Christian protests outside an abortion clinic, or refuses to give gay people marriage licenses. Suddenly, the bad actions of one Christian is a perfect reason to condemn all Christians.
But a Muslim blows up and kills 50 non-muslims? #NOTALLMUSLIMSYOURACISTS!!!!!
So you’ll excuse me for not agreeing to such a double standard.
Now, can the viewpoint I am espousing here cause “far right violence against innocent victims”? In as much as the same viewpoint aimed at other groups can inspire “far left violence against innocent victims.” Claiming that a group bears responsibility for the actions of its members can lead to violence against said group. Generally because the members of that group are no longer considered “innocent.”
I mean, the GLBT community talks about how all heterosexual people are to blame and are responsible for the violence committed by a few homo/transphobic individuals. And generally, I don’t see anyone on their side going #notallstraightpeople.
So really, Right or Left, it’s getting done. The issue seems to me that Mathew thinks muslims are “innocent” and do not deserve such hate. But I’m pretty sure there’s at least one group out there that Mathew would have no problem using this same concept on. Like “far right” people.
But let’s give some thought to his last point. Is it hypocritical of me to hold this position in light of my recent joining in of the debate against Halstead’s “atheist paganism” definition of Paganism as a whole.
Well, let’s start with defining Hypocrisy.
hypocrisy (plural hypocrisies)
- The contrivance of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing real character or inclinations, esp. with respect to religious and moral beliefs; hence in general sense, dissimulation, pretence, sham; an occurrence of this.
- The claim or pretense of having beliefs, standards, qualities, behaviours, virtues, motivations, etc. which one does not actually have. [from early 13th c.]
- The practice of engaging in the same behaviour or activity for which one criticises another; moral self-contradiction whereby the behavior of one or more people belies their own claimed or implied possession of certain beliefs, standards or virtues.
- An instance of either or both of the above.
And…okay. I need some help here from the audience. Looking over these definitions, I can’t figure out where I would be violating any one of them and being a hypocrite.
Is it in holding Muslims and Islam to the same standard Heathens and Heathenism is held to?
Is it in calling out those I view as bad actors like Halstead with his narrow definition of what “good paganism” is, the same way I’m insisting Muslims do to their supremacists?
It it in insisting that words are not enough sometimes, that actions must be taken? I’ve taken actions against those who have acted badly and harmed others within Paganism both by word and by deed. I’m not asking Muslims to do anything I haven’t done within my own religion.
So…I’m confused. Honestly.
So there we go. I hope mathew feels I’ve given his comment it’s due diligence. I wanted to speak with him honestly, because there are many who have his position, but I wish to be clear in my position and why my position is not in fact rubbish.
I’m going to say one last thing though. Since the attacks in Paris, I’ve repeatedly checked the Islam tag here on WordPress, scrolling down as far as I could each time. I found a fair number of posts.
I didn’t find any condemnations of the attacks from Muslim blogs.