Originally posted by josephw
I'm curious vistesd, from what context is that taken?
The words are true I think. Reminds me of a Bible passage that says essentially the same thing about judging others while we ourselves do the same things.
Hello, Joe old friend! Hope you and yours are well!
Well, you deserve a “long answer” (for old times' sake). In my most recent visits back here, I have seen a phenomenon that I saw years ago: persons of one religion claiming what persons of another religion believe (or how they behave) as if (1) they have some actual knowledge, and (2) their knowledge itself is broad enough to justify a generalization: “they” or “them”—as in “all” they or them, or at least most, or the “mainstream”, or whatever.
Suppose a Muslim were to speak of “Christians”—and make assertions about what “they” believe (or, even worse, must
believe to be “true Christians” )—inclusive of Evangelical Protestants, Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Coptic, etc., etc. ? Well, a whole lot of Christians, across the spectrum would jump in both to (a) declaim their differences (and maybe themselves indulge in some intramural “no true Christian™” argument), and (b) to ask where a Muslim gets off making what might be seen as unwarranted generalizations about Christians as “they” or “them”. Well, it happens. But, on this particular forum, it seems to happen often from Christians—but, since Ahosyney left, there hasn’t been much of a Muslim presence here. So, the most recent context for me (not on just a given thread) happened to be from Christians aimed at Muslims (and I argued that point on here so many years ago…!). But “Muslim” can be taken as no more a monolithic generalization than can Christian (and if there were as many varied Muslims on this site as there are Christians—e.g., “mainstream” Sunnis, Wahabbis, Ishmailis, Twelver Shia, Sufis (of different tariqas
), etc., etc.—I’m sure we would see as much intramural argument among them about how the Qur’an should be interpreted, the role of hadith, who are the “true Muslims™”, as we do among Christians on here now!).
But we both know that we have seen it on here from Vedantists, from Christians, and from atheists as well. But none of “them” can really be generalized into that kind of “they/them” either!
And the very worst (in the sense of being presumptuously absurd!) is when someone starts insisting to the other what that other “must” believe in order to be a “true them/other™”! Second worst is when people start asserting what [all of] “them” believe, or how [all of] “them” behave. Third worst is when a person of one religion insists (properly) on some cogent hermeneutical framework for understanding their own scriptures, while (a) abusively throwing out quotes—without even addressing the question of context—from the scriptures of a different religion (as if they didn’t need to think about such stuff in order to understand “those” scriptures), or (b) assuming that the same hermeneutical principles (e.g. appropriate contextualization) apply willy-nilly for all scriptures—e.g., the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospels, the Qur’an, the Tao Te Ching…
Of course we can argue and debate! But one has to at least listen to the other’s argument before pronouncing on them. If one wants to declaim on (the various interpretations of) what the Qur’an says, one needs to at least have studied the Qur’an. If one wants to know how this or that Muslim interprets the Qur’an, one must first hear them—and not assume then that they necessarily speak for all Muslims (for all of “them” ).
But I did want to de-contextualize the whole thing, so no one group would think I was accusing “them”—and so I wrote that little doggerel.