Sam Harris on Islam

I know we debunk Christianity here, but in our present world I consider militant Islam to be a more dangerous faith. What's so astounding is how many Muslims think there is nothing much wrong with suicide bombings against civilian targets in order to defend Islam.


Mark said...

And a lot of Jews think it is OK to bomb the shit out of an entire country.

Democracy Lover said...

I read Sam Harris' book and felt his attack on Islam was out of proportion. Harris fails to deal adequately with the question of why Islam remains (to a large extent) stuck with a theological and political framework that Christianity (to a large extent) abandoned in the 15th Century. Was this a failure of Islam or was it due to the fact that the Enlightenment happened in Europe and not in the Ottoman Empire?

I am no fan of fundamentalist Islam, but frankly I believe the threat of fundamentalist Christianity is much greater because the Christian fundamentalists have access to far greater military and economic power.

Also, we need to examine the religious state formed by Zionism in Israel and its attempts at ethnic cleansing and expansion into a greater Israel allegedly "given by God" to the Hebrew people. Does this phenomenon play a greater role in the growth of extremist Islam than the tenets of the religion itself?

Clearly the world would be better off if no human being took Christianity, Judaism or Islam seriously. However, even without religion, man would not be entirely rational and peaceful.

Tommykey said...

DL, an important part of the reason why Islam is stuck in the Middle Ages, for lack of a better term, is because unlike Christian Europe, there is no concept of a separation of the religion from the state.

In Europe, while the rulers were Christians (even if only in name), the civil laws were administered by the government, while the Church existed as a separate institution. In Islam, the state was expected to be a vehicle for the implementation of Islamic law.

Other factors include the fact that Europe was a patchwork of smaller states in competition with one another, so there was a constant struggle to learn the latest technology to acquire military or economic advantage over one's neighbors. The Ottoman Empire on the other hand, which was the only Islamic power that Christian Europe was up against from the 15th through the 18th century was a victim of its own success to some degree. They looked down upon the infidel Europeans and felt they had nothing to learn from them.

The Ottomans also adopted a stupid policy wherein the Sultans heirs would be locked up in a palace unable to gain experience in government of administration because the sultans would fear that their own heirs would overthrow them. So what ended up happening was that the Ottomans ended up having a series of sultans who were inexperienced at government and who were often the puppets of the Janissaries. With the Ottoman government paralyzed at the top, the bureaucracy hardened and there was no interest in innovation.

There are other factors to be considered, but given the late hour I can't think straight anymore. I hope the above was helpful to you though.

blondlieut said...

Umm, err, just to clarify here, haven't there been totalizing, atheist, extremist ideologies bent on world domination willing to murder millions? I'm just checking. Fact check as you will. I know "religion causes war," but I'm not sure a "religion" involves a believe in "God" as Sam Harris is imagining. God isn't really God's name, God is just a name for what we imagine ultimate reality to be; others have thought of ultimate reality in different ways (the brotherhood of man, a workers' paradise, etc.).

Oh, I'm being subtle again. Damn me.

Richard Hurst