November 10, 2014

Thoughts on religious violence

I posted last month about Bill Maher's and Ben Affleck's argument over Islam.
Here is an alternate viewpoint which carries the additional weight of being written by a woman who was raised in the religion. She makes some outstanding points.
And if Bill Maher's goal in calling out Muslims were to liberalize the religion, I would support that. After all, Islam (compared to Christianity and Judaism) is a baby. Jews have been around for over 2500 years. Christians, technically, have worshiped just under 2000. But Muslims are 600 years younger than that. Think about what Christians were doing in the name of religion right around 1400 CE.
That is not to say that any religion which practices those things is acceptable. Executing heretics was barbaric in 1400 and it's not certainly not acceptable in the modern world. We could wait patiently for Islam to "grow up" and get past the awkward violent suppression age that Christianity at a whole finished up with... -when was the last time Christians advocated violence as a means of advancing its religion? 1992- ...20 years ago.
Yes, Christianity's use of violence tends to be isolated, less socially acceptable, less overtly violent (less wife-beating and more denial of rights), and advocating for the same in the Muslim world is justified. But (and this is hard for women and "heretics" who are subjected to violence in the name of Islam) we can only go so fast. Pushing dogma ahead half a millennium takes a big effort. Not looking like a bigoted asshat while agitating for change in someone else's religion is impossible.

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