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Religion, and 9/11.

Religion 9/11

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#1 Hambil

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 02:38 AM

I've started this thread to discuss my personal feelings on the involvement of religion in the events of 9/11, and the past three years. Also, to discuss others feelings and views on the subject. This will be intense. I have extremely strong feelings, as I'm sure do others. Let's all do our best to support and understand, not undermine and misinterpret.

I grew up Baptist. For most of my life I can remember not liking religion. I had lots of questions as I child, and they were never answered in Church. This feeling only grew as I did. The more I understood history, and the role of religion, the more I began to see it as an artificial construct of the human psyche responsible for rationalizing horrors I could hardly imagine, such as the Crusades, and the Inquisition. I saw it as a way to avoid thought and reason, as evidenced by the persecution of scientists in the name of religion throughout history.

I also became aware that Jesus, did not seem to fit with any of the rest of the bible, or any organized religion as best I could understand them. What he said, I warmed to. What he did, amazed me. Man, or son of God, he was no doubt great and inspirational.

This only served to further my distaste for religion. To so distort such a great man's life and words into something that became almost unrecognizable, abhorred me.

I had become, without realizing it, or even knowing the term, a secular humanist.

At the age of 35, I was still a child. I was the house cat that never grew up. The last of generation X, and peter pan. On 9/11, I became an adult.

I was no longer willing to sit back and be passive. I was no longer willing to hold my tongue about what I understood, simply because it was unpopular and I was in a minority. Once again, horror had been committed in the name of God, and I felt: It. Had. To. Stop.

Then, my leader, my country, refused to even acknowledge the issue. Refused, in the face of such horror, to question their beliefs even for a moment. I knew, in that moment, that George Bush did not represent me on any level. I knew my country, was headed down a path I found to be historically terrifying. I knew, for the first time in my life, I had to vote. I was already voting out George Bush on that day, and it would be three years before I knew who I was voting for.

That is my story. Love it, hate it, argue it, but it is mine. And to me, it is very personal and powerful.

Edited by Hambil, 12 August 2004 - 01:58 PM.


#2 Lord Ravensburg

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 03:13 AM

Hambil, on Aug 11 2004, 07:36 AM, said:

Then, my leader, my country, refused to even acknowledge the issue. Refused, in the face of such horror, to question their beliefs even for a moment.
Your statement is incorrect.

Here is an excerpt from Bush's speech on Sept. 20, 2001.

"Al Qaeda is to terror what the Mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money, its goal is remaking the world and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.

The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics; a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam.

The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans and make no distinctions among military and civilians, including women and children. This group and its leader, a person named Osama bin Laden, are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan."

http://www.cnn.com/2...ush.transcript/

#3 Hambil

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 03:24 AM

Lord Ravensburg, on Aug 11 2004, 08:11 AM, said:

Hambil, on Aug 11 2004, 07:36 AM, said:

Then, my leader, my country, refused to even acknowledge the issue. Refused, in the face of such horror, to question their beliefs even for a moment.
Your statement is incorrect.

Here is an excerpt from Bush's speech on Sept. 20, 2001.

"Al Qaeda is to terror what the Mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money, its goal is remaking the world and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.

The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics; a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam.

The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans and make no distinctions among military and civilians, including women and children. This group and its leader, a person named Osama bin Laden, are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan."

http://www.cnn.com/2...ush.transcript/
Hence, the orginal subtitled of this thread: "My s**t don't stink".

The issue I refer to, is not acknowledged. The issue is religion. Not their religion. Not their specific brand of religion. Just religion.

Edited by Hambil, 12 August 2004 - 02:03 PM.


#4 Lord Ravensburg

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 03:42 AM

Yet Bush quite correctly defines the enemy in that passage.  My religious bearing or lack thereof has absolutely no bearing on the truth of it.  At the risk of offending, how does yours?

As to implying that religion itself is the problem, I disagree.

<edited for clarity>

Edited by Lord Ravensburg, 11 August 2004 - 03:52 AM.


#5 Hambil

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 04:12 AM

Lord Ravensburg, on Aug 11 2004, 08:40 AM, said:

Yet Bush quite correctly defines the enemy in that passage.  My religious bearing or lack thereof has absolutely no bearing on the truth of it.  At the risk of offending, how does yours?

As to implying that religion itself is the problem, I disagree.

<edited for clarity>
I don't believe Bush correctly identifies the enemy at all. He identifies the attackers, and one of the major  organizations behind them. The enemy is religion, and irrational thought, and fanatasism, and ignorance. It has roots not just in Israel, but in two thousand year old hatreds born on religious difference that are barely differences.

I respect that you disagree that religion is the problem. To clarify, I am not implying that it is: I am stating flat out, in my opinion, that it is.

#6 Godeskian

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 04:45 AM

Fanatacism isn't a unique trait to religion, however it does tend to give them both focus, and convince them that death isn't a complication.

The 'reward in heaven' concept is a very insidious one as it devalues human life, both of the person willing to commit the attacks and of the 'infidels' he's attacking

As for Islam, is everyone aware of the fact that the Qu'ran specifically tells muslims to go to non muslim lands (the Dar Al Harb, literally the land of war and chaos) to multiply and to find ways to enforce Islamic law as the law of the land. As soon as they succeed the land becomes Dar Al Islam.

This is, in my view, a problem, as it allows just about everything to be justified in the name of turning Dar al Harb into Dar Al Islam.

I've never understood the 'Islam is a religion of peace' as their mainstream members have done their fair share of conquest over the centuries, and still have it written in their holy book that they should keep doing it.

Are there peacefull Islamics? yes, undoubtably the vast majority of them, as with any social group, are decent, hardworking people who don't care one way or the other.

It's the rest of them I worry about.

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#7 Lord Ravensburg

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 04:47 AM

Religion has never been a requirement for irrational thought, fanaticism, or ignorance.  Like any belief system, religion can be perverted.  In its absence, there are plenty of other vehicles.  Humans will always find reasons to fight each other.  However the vast majority of people who actively practice their faiths do so peacefully.

Furthermore no serious presidential candidate, Republican, Democratic, or otherwise, is ever going to call out religion as a whole.  Without making a judgement on whether that should actually be done or not, I propose that such an expectation is unrealistic.

#8 aphrael

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 07:37 AM

Religion is used as an excuse to committ horrible unspeakable acts.  The Inquisition and the Klan are good examples.

#9 Nonny

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 09:09 AM

Cyberhippie, on Aug 11 2004, 09:43 AM, said:

Fanatacism isn't a unique trait to religion, however it does tend to give them both focus, and convince them that death isn't a complication.

The 'reward in heaven' concept is a very insidious one as it devalues human life, both of the person willing to commit the attacks and of the 'infidels' he's attacking

As for Islam, is everyone aware of the fact that the Qu'ran specifically tells muslims to go to non muslim lands (the Dar Al Harb, literally the land of war and chaos) to multiply and to find ways to enforce Islamic law as the law of the land. As soon as they succeed the land becomes Dar Al Islam.

This is, in my view, a problem, as it allows just about everything to be justified in the name of turning Dar al Harb into Dar Al Islam.

I've never understood the 'Islam is a religion of peace' as their mainstream members have done their fair share of conquest over the centuries, and still have it written in their holy book that they should keep doing it.

Are there peacefull Islamics? yes, undoubtably the vast majority of them, as with any social group, are decent, hardworking people who don't care one way or the other.

It's the rest of them I worry about.
Well said.  My Slovenian ancestors were well aware of the attempts to conquer and convert them.  They built their churches on high ground as a place of safety when the Turks came, and signal fires on mountain peaks to warn other villages that they were coming.  

However, they were forcibly Christianized by the conquerors who came before.  And my great great great grandfather was known as the Son of the Turk.  Some Turks left the Ottoman Empire to live in peace elsewhere.  There will always be good individuals and bad situations.  I blame religion for a lot of the bad situations in the world, but do not deny that some of the good individuals practice religion sincerely.  

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#10 QueenTiye

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 09:35 AM

Hambil, on Aug 11 2004, 05:10 AM, said:

I don't believe Bush correctly identifies the enemy at all. He identifies the attackers, and one of the major  organizations behind them. The enemy is religion, and irrational thought, and fanatasism, and ignorance. It has roots not just in Israel, but in two thousand year old hatreds born on religious difference that are barely differences.

I respect that you disagree that religion is the problem. To clarify, I am not implying that it is: I am stating flat out, in my opinion, that it is.
In essence, you are saying that unless someone sees religion as a problem, as you do, then you will not support them.

That's your position, and you are entitled to it.  It, unfortunately does not leave you with a candidate this November, although I guess you are willing to compromise on the level of religiousity.

Your post here is challenging for me.  My initial response is to shut you off just as completely as I feel shut off from you.  However, my religion forbids me from taking that attitude - it requires me to make an attempt at peace and unity, no matter how difficult.

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#11 Hambil

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 09:42 AM

Food for thought:

I have very carefully not said that religious people are a problem. Or that being religious is a problem. I have said that religion is a problem.

I have also not called for the end of religion, or suggested that religion should be outlawed, or any such thing. In fact, we haven't talked about solutions at all yet.

Further, it is my belief that a religious humanist, with a few small changes, could make the exact same argument I have.

Edited by Hambil, 11 August 2004 - 09:44 AM.


#12 QueenTiye

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 09:49 AM

Yes, I'm aware that you haven't said that religious people are a problem, or that being religious is a problem.  But, in context, you have extended the problem of religion (as you see it) to people, because you have now held the president accountable for not sharing your view that religion is a problem.  

I have in fact been interested in knowing what a religious humanist would say about a lot of things, since I think that in general, I am something of a religious humanist myself.  (I think. I have yet to read any official statements from religious humanists.)  AND, I am interested in continuing to learn about your views, including the as of yet unnamed solutions you propose.  I am interested in knowing how you propose a solution that will allow you to be ok with a religious person holding public office, for instance.

I might add that my own faith doesn't really lend itself to anyone within it holding public office - so I'm not so sure if my resistance to your opinion here is even appropriate.  I'm just sharing with you, really... :)

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#13 Hambil

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 09:59 AM

Handmaiden07, on Aug 11 2004, 02:47 PM, said:

Yes, I'm aware that you haven't said that religious people are a problem, or that being religious is a problem.  But, in context, you have extended the problem of religion (as you see it) to people, because you have now held the president accountable for not sharing your view that religion is a problem. 
<snip>
I am interested in knowing how you propose a solution that will allow you to be ok with a religious person holding public office, for instance.
Our founding fathers where aware of the same problem I am pointing out. They built a mechanism into our country for dealing with it, called seperation of church and state. The effects of this on the power of religion to run peoples lives has already been discussed, rather interestingly, in another recent thread.

I want my president to respect and believe in this concept. I do not believe Bush does. I have nothing to go on but his related words and actions - he would never say so directly - but that is the conculsion I have reached.

Bush feels about me, the way I think you initially reacted: "My initial response is to shut you off just as completely as I feel shut off from you." Only he doesn't have to, or isn't willing, to engage with me as you are trying. I am not part of his America. Why would I vote for him, any more than a gay man or woman would?

Edited by Hambil, 11 August 2004 - 09:59 AM.


#14 Cyncie

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 10:06 AM

I find it interesting that so many people point to all of the bad things that have been undertaken in the name of religion as a support for their rejection of religion, yet conveniently overlook the many good things that have been done in the name of the same religions. I think, if you look in most cities you will find a large quantity of hospitals that are church supported. Relief organizations, soup kitchens, disaster relief, medical missions, youth centers, alchohol and drug rehabilitation programs, literacy programs, and many other things have all been undertaken by churches and religious based organizations to improve the human condition.

I agree with Lord Ravensburg. It's not religion that's the problem, but the abuse of religion. Sure, you can point to extremists who use religion to support hatred and violence. But, you can also point to religious people who did nothing but good. Jesus (who was a practicing Jew, even as he spoke against the abuses of that religion in his day), Gandhi, Blaise Pascal, Albert Schweitzer, St. Francis of Assisi (whose prayer was "Lord make me an instrument of your peace"), and many more, lived our their faith in positive ways, instead of negative ones.

So, Hambil, in saying that religion and ignorance are the problem, are you saying that religious people are ignorant people, and that's the root of the problem? If so, I'd think you'd be surprised to find how many of our most intelligent and educated people profess some level of belief in God.

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#15 G1223

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 10:14 AM

I have seen religion used to help people and I have seen it used to excuse the worse of behaviors by men and women. I personally Have my faith and leave others theirs.

Like you I was raised baptist. I got a few of my questions answered. I did not grow angry and not getting all the answsers. I just realized that the people around me did not have them either. I knew that the answers were out there and that I would need to find them.

Now before folks think I am a born again guy the answer is very much no. I had my hobby roleplaying demonized by wackos even after I explained that we were playing the good guys. It gave me pause to realize that there were someo people that used the bible as an excuse for their actions.

But I saw the bible passage used by Bush on 9/11 used as the last words spoken over three Grandparents a Great Grandmother a Great Uncle and two Great Aunts and lastly my own Mother. The words were used to say, to me at least, that they were at peace and that we would meet again some time in the future.  

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#16 Bad Wolf

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 12:08 PM

Okay Hambil since I suggested you start this thread:  If I get you right, you are saying that religious fanatacism (which happens) when allowed to influence political policy is a bad thing.  I agree.  Look at the Inquisition, the pogroms on Jews throughout history, Al Quaida, the Middle East in general, Ireland, Inda, the Crusades...it's not really that hard a case to make.

Where I'm not clear is where you think Bush dropped the ball when it comes to 9-11.  Do I think that in *other* ways he is trying to let his own (imo) religious fanaticism dictate politics (e.g., the proposed anti gay amendment)?  Yes.  I'm just having a hard time seeing what you're saying about him vis a vis 9-11...

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#17 Godeskian

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 12:10 PM

Cyncie, on Aug 11 2004, 04:04 PM, said:

I find it interesting that so many people point to all of the bad things that have been undertaken in the name of religion as a support for their rejection of religion, yet conveniently overlook the many good things that have been done in the name of the same religions.
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#18 LaughingVulcan

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 12:11 PM

Before I can really respond, and I'm not sure that I will - I do my best to avoid all religious discussion on EI for reasons of my own - I believe that I would ask a pretty simple question:  What is your definition of "religion"?

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#19 Bad Wolf

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 12:14 PM

^  Hey LV...see my religion v. spirituality thread...

It may even still be on page one.

It's a good thread.  No bashing.:)

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#20 Hambil

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 12:52 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Aug 11 2004, 05:06 PM, said:

Okay Hambil since I suggested you start this thread:  If I get you right, you are saying that religious fanatacism (which happens) when allowed to influence political policy is a bad thing.  I agree.  Look at the Inquisition, the pogroms on Jews throughout history, Al Quaida, the Middle East in general, Ireland, Inda, the Crusades...it's not really that hard a case to make.

Where I'm not clear is where you think Bush dropped the ball when it comes to 9-11.  Do I think that in *other* ways he is trying to let his own (imo) religious fanaticism dictate politics (e.g., the proposed anti gay amendment)?  Yes.  I'm just having a hard time seeing what you're saying about him vis a vis 9-11...

Lil
9/11 crystallized a lifetime of thought for me. I had already been angry at religious fanaticism.

I do not see religious fanaticism the same as I am sure many on here, and in the US, do. I see having my door knocked on and being handed religious propaganda, as fanaticism. I see a gay marriage ban amendment as fanaticism. I see attempts to restrict what I can watch on TV (Married with Children), listen to on the radio (Howard Stern), or do in the privacy of my own home (just about anything other than the missionary position for the express purpose of having children) as religious fanaticism.

These things, and many more, are alive and well in the country. And gaining strength under this Presidency.

The Inquisition, The Crusades, 9/11, etc... are symptoms of a type of disease. They are the worst of it, but not the least of it.

Yes, many good things are done by religious people. Many good things are done by non-religious people too. Many atrocities are also committed without God being invoked. I will fight against these things when faced with them, religious or not.

But right now, in this country, the religious right is who I see carrying the banner of a war on my personal freedoms and beliefs, as well as actual war in Iraq, and perhaps soon elsewhere.

Edited by Hambil, 11 August 2004 - 12:53 PM.




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