Christian social conservative or Islamic fundamentalist

One of the common distractions on NL is that forum discussions seem to quickly turn into assigning labels. Our lastest has been catagorizing people as "thick" but one of our most popular has been the characterization of Muslims as something undesirable. All of this should have nothing to do with Nicaragua but it is pretty popular.

Well, I just tripped on an interesting article in Slate that might help. It compares the words of Christian social conservatives with those of Islamic fundamentalists. Now, I know words probably won't change any minds but, how about a test?

The article has nine quotes and you get to pick whether you think it was from a Christian social conservative or an Islamic fundamentalist. Picking an answer will show you the source and, at the end, you get your score. (I got 2 of 9 right.) While a test comparing political corruption between Nicaragua and the US might be more on-target, this test certainly shows that the more things are different, the more they are the same.

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About perceptions

This was not intended to be about comparative religions (as I stated) but about our perceptions/predjudices. This reminds me of asking people where the expression "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" comes from. In at least one poll conducted in the US, the majority of the people said it came from the US Constitution. Clearly it did not but its history is far more interesting.

Karl Marx is credited with it. From "Wikipedia we find

In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!

The Wikipedia article goes on to say that Marx really just popularized the expression. As one might expect, some assert it comes from Jesus. Again, from Wikipedia

Some scholars trace the origin of the phrase to the New Testament. In the parable of the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus spoke of what we are given, according to our abilities; to test the commitment of the steward to his master. In Acts the Apostles' lifestyle is described as communal (without individual possession), and uses the phrase "distribution was made unto every man according as he had need".

Once again, we see that the differences are really more of one of perception and personal predjudices than history. To help finalize our "comparative religions" piece, I again refer to "Wikipedia:

Mary had withdrawn into the Temple, where she was visited by the angel Gabriel to give the glad tidings of a holy son. The ****** states that God sent the message through the angel Gabriel to Mary that God had honoured Mary among the women of all nations. The angel also told Mary that she will give birth to a holy son, named Jesus, who will be a great prophet, to whom God will give the Gospel. The angel further told Mary that Jesus will speak in infancy and maturity and will be a companion to the most righteous.

I expect most of us can guess what ****** refers to.

or how about door #3?

Don't take this wrong fyl, but perhaps you could find a nice religious web site for posting this stuff.

Oh... Oh...

Another Christian Social Conservative that does not like the test? ;-))

I got 7 out of 9

Thinking I should convert to Islam just to piss off olivestreetguy. ;-)

Sitting here tonight watching the hurricane coverage; 13 dead, 5.5 million without power at this point, NYC subway tunnels full of water, state of emergency in 9 states, and you guys are worrying about the competing backwardness of religions... on this site ... where I keep checking the site name to make sure I'm in the right place... because the content all too often doesn't seem to fit.


Well Susan I guess we pushed one of your buttons, sorry I didn't focus on the hurricane!


No buttons were pushed. I used to wonder why people didn't like discussing politics here and that was before I knew they got too much of it, but it's the same with this religious nonsense. The percentage of fanatics on both sides is so small yet our media magnifies it so we think "they're all that way", strangely enough matching fyl's topic about perceptions.

It was interesting

I got one right.


if i am too thick....... you must aquit!

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

I got Limbs

But I'm not a Muslim

Airport security

Every time I walk through security at the airport I think of what Muslims stand for and I cry aloud as I pass through my displeasure for Muslims, I’m not sure what the screener’s think of me! KORAN commands to kill infidels: Allah is an enemy to unbelievers. - Sura 2:98 On unbelievers is the curse of Allah. - Sura 2:161 Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. - 2:191 Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme. (different translation: ) Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is God's entirely. - Sura 2:193 and 8:39 Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it. - 2:216 (different translation: ) Prescribed for you is fighting, though it is hateful to you. ..... martyrs.... Enter heaven - Surah 3:140-43 If you should die or be killed in the cause of Allah, His mercy and forgiveness would surely be better than all they riches they amass. If you should die or be killed, before Him you shall all be gathered. - 3:157-8 You must not think that those who were slain in the cause of Allah are dead. They are alive, and well-provided for by their Lord. - Surah 3:169-71 Let those fight in the cause of God who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fights in the cause of God, whether he is slain or victorious, soon we shall give him a great reward. - Surah 4:74 Those who believe fight in the cause of God, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil. - 4:76 But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever you find them. - 4:89 Therefore, we stirred among them enmity and hatred, which shall endure till the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will declare to them all that they have done. - 5:14 O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people. - 5:54 Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme - 8:39 O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there are 20 steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish 200; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding. - 8:65 It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he has made slaughter in the land. - 8:67 Allah will humble the unbelievers. Allah and His apostle are free from obligations to idol-worshipers. Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers. - 9:2-3 When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. - 9:5 Believers! Know that idolators are unclean. - 9:28 Fight those who believe neither in God nor the Last Day, nor what has been forbidden by God and his messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are People of the Book, until they pay the tribute and have been humbled. - 9:29 (another source: ) The unbelievers are impure and their abode is hell. (another source: ) Humiliate the non-Muslims to such an extent that they surrender and pay tribute. Whether unarmed or well-equipped, march on and fight for the cause of Allah, with your wealth and your persons. - 9:41 O Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites. Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey's end. - 9:73 Allah has purchased of their faithful lives and worldly goods, and in return has promised them the Garden. They will fight for His cause, kill and be killed. - 9:111 Fight unbelievers who are near to you. 9:123 (different translation: Believers! Make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Let them find harshness in you. (another source: ) Ye who believe! Murder those of the disbelievers.... As for those who are slain in the cause of Allah, He will not allow their works to perish. He will vouchsafe them guidance and ennoble their state; He will admit them to the Paradise He has made known to them. - 10:4-15 Allah has cursed the unbelievers and proposed for them a blazing hell. - 33:60 Unbelievers are enemies of Allah and they will roast in hell. - 41:14 When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds, then set them free, either by grace or ransom, until the war lays down its burdens. - 47:4 (different translation: ) When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads, and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly. Those who are slain in the way of Allah - he will never let their deeds be lost. Soon will he guide them and improve their condition, and admit them to the Garden, which he has announced for them. - 47:5 Muslims are harsh against the unbelievers, merciful to one another. - 48:25 Muhammad is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. Through them, Allah seeks to enrage the unbelievers. - 48:29 Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal sternly with them. Hell shall be their home, evil their fate. - 66:9 The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of hell. They are the vilest of all creatures. - 98:51 Fight them so that Allah may punish them at your hands, and put them to shame. (verse cited in Newsweek 2/11/02)

Not an apologist for Muslims but

The good Book, Old Testament is full of blood spilt by the Hebrews obeying God's commands. These two religious groups don't like each other one bit, and that's an understatement. The only reason modern Israel doesn't go apocalipstic on the Palestinians and the rest of the Muslim world is because the US won't let them. If you have an open and sworn enemy that it's main goal is your total destruction no desire for compromise, what would you do. Christians find themselves involved in their mess, some willing others not. Myself I am glad I don't simpathize with either side cause. I feel for the senseless pain and death they have inflicted on each other and those that get involved in the whole mess. Religion is the opiate (or opium) of humanity said Marx. I think he meant it numbed your senses and put you in a stupefied trance, that reality and fantasy can no longer be distinguished. The Muslims of today are doing what the Hebrews of yore did. They believe, as the Hebrews believed then, because one man told them that God told him to tell them : you are my chosen people and I will deliver all your enemies in your hands. For he who's not for me it's against me. Remember, though, Marx said "religion" not God.

Eight out of nine right

The one I missed was the anti-female masturbation one, but I think fundamentalists of all stripes tend to be salaciously intrigued under their expressions of scandal.

The issues with the various varieties of Islam tend to be politicized, with some of the left cutting them more slack than some deserve (cultural relativism gone amuck as in the case of the girl shot by the Taliban for advocating education for females) to not being able to see the differences or not having any historical understanding of even the differences between the Shiites and the Sunnis (which I learned about reading a Sunni book which had been annotated by hand by a Shiite).

The award for the stupidest statement so far on this site is the one that assumed that if Obama is re-elected, this will be like the Cuban revolution. A real Marxist of my acquaintance said that it's nuts to think that the country will become fascist if Romney is elected (he lived in Massachusetts when Romney was governor). That's the stupidest statement on the other side, but nobody has made it here.

Fundamentalist positions tend to trade off events in the world we know for some benefit in a future world that's not proven to exist. Marx described religion as the opiate of the people -- further commenters on that have suggested that this was a more compassionate view of religion than the 20th Century might have realized -- that if you're in pain, opiates aren't a bad thing, and most people's lives were quite painful in ways that fewer of us, especially the people who can afford computers (me, my next door neighbors, the kid who still have my screwdriver) experience.

Ireland is becoming less religious as it becomes more prosperous. Europe's most religious areas are in its less prosperous parts. China was once the most prosperous culture in the world and the least religious (Buddhism and Taoism are non-theistic religions and the upper class of China was fairly agnostic, and all Central and East Asian religions tend to be far more tolerant of each other than Christianity has been of Islam. Islam basically is tolerant of any of the religions of The Book, but has held territories where even polytheistic faiths were tolerated rather than converted by government authority.

One of the things monotheistic religions do is subordinate women to men as a compensation to all the restrictions on all human life It's a parallel to the "At least you're white" response of the Southern upperclass to the Southern poor whites. Women in traditional cultures without high tech birth control are often pregnant or nursing, and so are vulnerable (one woman I knew in graduate school was very annoyed that being pregnant meant she didn't have the energy she had had when she wasn't pregnant). If fifty percent or better of your babies die before age five (see any 19th Century cemetery for short statistical studies), then birth control is less relevant.

The other interesting thing about this is that the Christian fundamentalist tradition makes more claims to women being less intelligent or ambitious than the Islamic fundamentalist tradition does. Women are seductive and treacherous, but not particularly seen as stupid. This matches what women who've lived in Latin cultures say about these cultures being far more respectful of women's intelligence -- the sexism is framed along the lines of seduction and treachery rather than limits to intelligence and ambition (and the Islamic/Spanish traditions seem to be very strongly tempered by indigenous matrilocal traditions where women ran the markets).

Egypt seems to be more tolerant of women learning than the Taliban and Saudi Arabia. One of my Egyptian students explained the hair veiling and other conservative clothing rules as creating an atmosphere at work where sexuality as a tool for or against women wasn't on the table (many Egyptian and Iranian women work outside the home). Another student from one of the Gulf States was horrified that British men wore shorts and went bare-chested as that was against modest dress codes also (he was studying engineering so he could replace foreign oil engineers in his country). I found my Islamic students to be the most individualistic of any of my students and the women weren't particularly cowed (selection bias, of course, since they'd been able to attend US universities.

On the weather issues, this has been circulating among my friends:

Rebecca Brown