1. Zugzwang
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    09 Feb '14 20:59
    The US government has stated that the United States is not and does not
    intend to be at war against Islam, most Islamic societies, or most Muslims.
    The US government has stated that it's fighting against only 'terrorists' who
    happen to be Muslim. The US government has stated that law-abiding
    Muslims should be free to practice their religion without having to be afraid
    of persecution inside the United States. But Sam Harris seems to believe
    that the United States is being too 'soft' on Islam and Muslims. So what
    would Sam Harris prefer to do against Islam and Muslims? Go to war.

    "We are at war with Islam. It may not serve our immediate foreign policy
    objectives for our political leaders to openly acknowledge this fact, but it
    is unambiguously so. It is not merely that we are at war with an otherwise
    peaceful religion that has been 'hijacked' by extremists. We are at war with
    precisely the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran."
    --Sam Harris (_The End of Faith_, p. 109)

    Could Anders Breivik (a Norwegian mass murderer who hates Islam and
    would like to kill more Muslims) have expressed it as well?

    If anyone cannot see what's wrong with Sam Harris's statements, let's
    try substituting 'Judaism' for 'Islam', 'Jews' for "Muslims', and 'Torah' for
    'Koran'. In that case, it seems like what a Nazi propagandist would have
    written about Judaism and Jews. Would that help make it any clearer?
    Sam Harris seems to have 'zero tolerance' for Islam and 'the vision of life
    that is prescribed for *all Muslims* in the Koran' (to quote him).

    So Sam Harris seems to advocate 'we' (whoever that is) going to war--
    even if it's not explicitly declared--against Islam and apparently all Muslims.
    To what end? I doubt that Sam Harris would want this global religious war
    to end by shaking hands with Islamic leaders and saying, "Let's now live
    together, both Muslims and non-Muslims, in peace forever." I suspect that
    that Sam Harris's ideal 'Final Solution' would be to see Islam destroyed and
    no Muslims remaining in the world. In that case, all Muslims would either
    have been killed (which would amount to genocide) or forced to convert.
    Perhaps there would be 21st century equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition
    to spy on former Muslims to check whether they still might be attempting
    to follow Islam in secret.

    I don't believe in Islam. I have criticized Islam and some Muslims.
    I would have no objection if Islam eventually disappeared because Muslims
    *voluntarily* ceased believing in it. But in the meantime I would prefer to
    live in peace with Muslims, and I believe that most Muslims would prefer to
    live in peace with me. So I oppose using or threatening violence ('We are
    at war with Islam.'--Sam Harris) to force anyone to change one's religion.
    I hope that the Crusades (against Islam) will remain a part of history and
    not become a part of our future.

    Fortunately, in my view, Sam Harris does not seem to have much political
    influence now in the United States. Yet I suspect there are innocent Muslim
    children asking their parents (like innocent Jewish children asked theirs),
    'Why do they hate us so much?'
  2. Cape Town
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    10 Feb '14 05:19
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    So Sam Harris seems to advocate 'we' (whoever that is) going to war--
    even if it's not explicitly declared--against Islam and apparently all Muslims.
    You are totally misunderstanding him, and partly also taking him out of context. Please find the speech where he said that and listen to the whole thing.
    Even in the bit you quoted he is not advocating going to war, he is stating that you are already at war.
    You are putting words in his mouth then objecting to them.
  3. Cape Town
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    10 Feb '14 05:29
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    But in the meantime I would prefer to live in peace with Muslims, and I believe that most Muslims would prefer to live in peace with me.
    Sam Harris claims that if Muslims prefer to live in peace with you then they are not following their religion. He claims that their religion, Islam, advocates war with you. Can you show otherwise?
  4. Zugzwang
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    10 Feb '14 20:442 edits
    As I wrote earlier, I don't regard Sam Harris as very important, and I don't
    intend to spend much more time discussing him. Twhitehead asked me for
    one reason--apart from mentioning the considered views of diverse critics--
    why I believe that Sam Harris is bigoted or intolerant toward Muslims, and
    I have cited and explained one reason. Evidently, that's not enough to
    convince Twhitehead (who seems to act like he's a lawyer for Sam Harris),
    but I was not aiming to 'convert' Twhitehead. Other people can keep
    reading what Sam Harris, his critics, and his supporters write and form
    their own judgments.

    The US government has declared that the United States is *not* at war
    with Islam. Sam Harris (a US citizen) has declared that the United States
    undoubtedly already is at war with Islam. In my view, Sam Harris has
    implied that he believes that the United States *ought to be at war*
    against Islam itself rather than only some 'Muslim terrorists' as groups or
    individuals. I am not going to enlist in a new Crusade against Islam.

    Twhitehead seems to have asked why I believe that I could live in peace
    with Muslims, which he seems to doubt would be possible because Muslims
    who faithfully follow Islam could not be satisfied to live in peace with me.
    First of all, no one Muslim can speak for Islam, which embraces a diverse
    community of more than one billion believers. There are some Muslims who
    may regard me, an atheist, as an 'infidel' who's unfit to live. But I have had
    enough conversations with other Muslims, both men and women, *who
    know that I'm an atheist*, and I have encountered tolerance, civility, and
    offers of hospitality and friendship. Some Muslims have invited me, as their
    honoured guest, into their homes. I believe these Muslims when they say
    they wish to live in peace with me and offer their hands in friendship.

    My experiences with Muslims have not been always positive or negative.
    A much bigger British Muslim woman in conservative attire once threatened
    me because she jumped to the wrong conclusion that I hate all Muslims.
    I had said nothing to her, so I suspect that she, being too sensitive to
    anti-Muslim bigotry, had misinterpreted my facial expression. On the other
    hand, I briefly shared a room (while attending the same event) with
    someone of Muslim heritage (who did not seem very religious), and we had
    no problems getting along. I have noticed, however, that some devout
    Muslim women seem less easy to approach, and I have learned not to try
    to discuss some sensitive subjects with them.
  5. SubscriberSuzianne
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    11 Feb '14 00:19
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Twhitehead asked me for one reason --apart from mentioning the considered views of diverse critics-- why I believe that Sam Harris is bigoted or intolerant toward Muslims, and I have cited and explained one reason. Evidently, that's not enough to convince Twhitehead (who seems to act like he's a lawyer for Sam Harris), but I was not aiming to 'convert' Tw ...[text shortened]... eep reading what Sam Harris, his critics, and his supporters write and form their own judgments.
    Muslims are not the only group this man is bigoted and intolerant of.

    Women are also near the top of his list.

    This man is just a shameful excuse for a human being.
  6. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 Feb '14 01:24
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    Muslims are not the only group this man is bigoted and intolerant of.

    Women are also near the top of his list.

    This man is just a shameful excuse for a human being.
    Forgive me for not believing you. The evidence presented so far has been rather weak. Until that trend reverses, I'm reserving judgment.
  7. Zugzwang
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    11 Feb '14 01:491 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Sam Harris claims that if Muslims prefer to live in peace with you then they are not following their religion.
    He claims that their religion, Islam, advocates war with you. Can you show otherwise?
    Islam has many different interpretations. In fact, Muslims have been known
    to fight each other over their differing interpretations of their religion.
    Perhaps Twhitehead should read some non-Muslim scholars who seem
    much more qualified than Sam Harris to discuss interpretations of Islam.

    I don't think that Sam Harris, an atheist who's not an academic specialist
    on Islam, should be telling Muslims what's supposed to be the only right
    way to follow *their* religion. When Christian writers in this forum argue
    about how to interpret Christianity, I don't attempt to tell them what's
    the only right way to interpret Christianity because 1) I don't claim to know
    what's the only right way and 2) I have more respect for Christians than
    Sam Harris seems to have for Muslims.
  8. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 Feb '14 01:531 edit
    Come to think of it - aren't we at war with Islam? Or did I read the history books wrong?

    Maybe that's it. Maybe that's why Sam Harris is the only one of us deluded enough to think we are at war with Islam. Maybe he's just imagining things.

    Maybe we don't follow a God that has a favorite race. Maybe we didn't kick thousands of people off their land to make way for the favored race. Maybe we weren't thinking about reclaiming the temple mount (much like Richard the Lionhearted) to prepare for Jesus to come back.

    Maybe we didn't send disproportionate amounts of funding to one nation in the region while ignoring the others. Maybe we didn't help that nation gain nuclear capability as well as unmatched military strength.

    Maybe we didn't just conquer two of their countries and violate their sovereignty, using a name of someone who had harmed us as justification, when in fact we had no strong desire to catch him. When in fact he had no connection to the other state whatsoever.

    Maybe we didn't install puppet governments in the region that sparked insurgencies when other nations saw how weak they were.

    Maybe we didn't wax eloquent about their abuses of women while abusing the prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

    Maybe we didn't demand that they join us in the 21st century while ignoring that our own religion and culture, in recent past, supported slavery and the subjugation of women.

    If I lived in an Islamic state in the middle east, I know exactly how I'd answer the question of whether the West was at war with Islam.

    Maybe we're the only side that doesn't know.
  9. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    11 Feb '14 02:10
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    Come to think of it - aren't we at war with Islam? Or did I read the history books wrong?

    Maybe that's it. Maybe that's why Sam Harris is the only one of us deluded enough to think we are at war with Islam. Maybe he's just imagining things.

    Maybe we don't follow a God that has a favorite race. Maybe we didn't kick thousands of people off their land ...[text shortened]... stion of whether the West was at war with Islam.

    Maybe we're the only side that doesn't know.
    If we're at war with Islam, then It's kind of hard to explain why we're such good buddies with countries like Saudi Arabia.
  10. Zugzwang
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    11 Feb '14 02:141 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    You are totally misunderstanding him, and partly also taking him out of context. Please find the speech where he said that and listen to the whole thing.
    Even in the bit you quoted he is not advocating going to war, he is stating that you are already at war.
    You are putting words in his mouth then objecting to them.
    'Please find the speech where he (Sam Harris) said that and listen to
    the whole thing.'
    --Twhitehead

    If Twhitehead had read and comprehended what I wrote earlier, he should
    know that I quoted something from a book, *not* a 'speech' by Sam Harris.
    In contrast to Twhitehead, it seems, I prefer to read books and articles
    rather than watch YouTube videos. I don't know if a YouTube video
    exists of Sam Harris reading aloud from the book that he wrote.

    I have _The End of Faith_ by Sam Harris in front of me at this moment.
    Chapter 4, 'The Problem with Islam', begins on page 108. I am not going
    to reiterate what I quoted earlier. So here's more of the context (which
    Twhitehead has arrogantly claimed that I must have misunderstood):

    Here's what just before what I quoted earlier of Sam Harris:
    "...the world is filled with poor. uneducated, and exploited peoples who
    do not commit acts of terrorism, indeed who would never commit acts of
    terrorism of the sort that has become so commonplace among Muslims;
    and the Muslim world has no shortage of educated and prosperous men
    and women suffering little more than their infatuation with Koranic
    eschatology, who are eager to murder infidels for God's sake."
    --Sam Harris (_The End of Faith, p. 109)

    So Sam Harris believes that it's 'commonplace' for Muslims, even 'educated
    and prosperous' Muslims, to be "eager to murder infidels for God's sake".

    Here's what's just after what I quoted earlier of Sam Harris:
    "...prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran, (new text begins) and further
    elaborated in the literature of the hadith, which recounts the sayings and
    actions of the Prophet. A future in which Islam and the West do not stand
    on the brink of mutual annihilation is a future in which most Muslims have
    learned to ignore most of their canon, just as most Christians have learned
    to do. Such a transformation is by no means guaranteed to occur,
    however, given the tenets of Islam."
    --Sam Harris (_The End of Faith_, p. 110)

    So Sam Harris believes that *right now* (as distinct from a hypothetical
    future), Islam and the West 'stand on the brink of mutual annihilation'
    and that *most Muslims* seem to prefer it that way because *most
    Muslims* have not--and perhaps could never--'learn to ignore most of
    their canon'. I know of no scholarly evidence (Islamophobic websites
    don't count) that most Muslims today are in favour of war of annihilation
    against the West.

    *Even if* Sam Harris is right in believing that many, if not most, Muslims
    would like to kill me for being an 'infidel', I don't believe that the only
    response (I am *not* saying Sam Harris wrote this) should be to prepare
    to launch an offensive war to destroy Islam and all Islamic societies.
    While preparing to defend myself, I would like to give any Muslim who
    wanted to kill 'infidel' me a chance to change one's mind. I would like to
    show this Muslim that I am not the dangerous evil force that this Muslim
    (or some writers at RHP) ignorantly presume that I must be. So I would
    attempt to communicate with this Muslim and negotiate a peaceful
    settlement of our differences. Then, if a war were to begin, at least
    I would know that I had done my best to avert it. 'Gott mit uns!'
  11. Zugzwang
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    11 Feb '14 02:201 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett to SwissGambit
    If we're at war with Islam, then It's kind of hard to explain why
    we're such good buddies with countries like Saudi Arabia.
    It's more accurate to claim that the US government is 'such a good buddy'
    with some people who rule Saudi Arabia. If the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
    were to permit a 'free and fair' democratic election, how many Saudi citizens
    would vote to keep the House of Saud in power?
  12. Zugzwang
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    11 Feb '14 02:34
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    Come to think of it - aren't we at war with Islam? Or did I read the history books wrong?

    Maybe that's it. Maybe that's why Sam Harris is the only one of us deluded enough to think we are at war with Islam. Maybe he's just imagining things.

    Maybe we don't follow a God that has a favorite race. Maybe we didn't kick thousands of people off their land ...[text shortened]... stion of whether the West was at war with Islam.

    Maybe we're the only side that doesn't know.
    For a long time, I have been very critical of Israel and Zionism.
    I would like to point out, however, that not all Palestinians are Muslims.
    There's a disproportionately well-educated and successful Palestinian
    Christian minority, which includes some of the most famous Palestinians.
    My point is that Israel's oppression of the Palestinians oppresses Christians
    and non-believers in religion as well as Muslims.
  13. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 Feb '14 02:41
    Originally posted by rwingett
    If we're at war with Islam, then It's kind of hard to explain why we're such good buddies with countries like Saudi Arabia.
    oil

    Friendship's fleeting. We used to be Saddam's and bin Laden's friend, too.
  14. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    11 Feb '14 02:45
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    oil

    Friendship's fleeting. We used to be Saddam's and bin Laden's friend, too.
    It seems, then, that our enmity is driven by baser considerations than Islam.
  15. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 Feb '14 02:51
    Originally posted by rwingett
    It seems, then, that our enmity is driven by baser considerations than Islam.
    There is more than one consideration, to be sure. But the religious one is undeniable.
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