Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jihad and Sati, and coexistence

The cry of many in the West to mute our criticism of Islam in the interest of peace and coexistence reminds me of a story about Charles James Napier, the British Army's commander-in-chief in India in the mid-19th century.

The British outlawed the traditional Indian practice of Sati, which is self-immolation of widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Such practices were often abetted by Hindu locals.

When Hindu priests complained to Napier that Seti was a venerable traditional Hindu custom, Napier replied:
Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.

Coexistence between civilizations means compromise. The devil is in the details: some compromises are betrayals (Quisling in Norway and Vichy France), and some compromises are noble and work to the benefit of both civilizations.

"Coexistence" is neither evil nor good. The compromises made to achieve it stamp it so.

So I believe in coexistence with Islam. Coexistence on emphatically Christian terms.

Here are the Christian terms:

1) Nonviolence. The resort to violence to settle religious differences must be utterly repudiated.

2) Human rights, most emphatically freedom of religion and freedom of speech. No exceptions. No one has the right to force religious practice on another person, and no one has a right to threaten or use violence against another because of the expression of an opinion.

Those are the terms of coexistence between Christianity and Islam. Freedom is the indispensable foundation for that coexistence. Islam reveres their prophet, and we revere our freedom-- a gift to all men by God-- which we hold to be self-evident.

If the Islamists insist, then let us each act according to our customs. Muslims will kill innocents and demand submission, and we will fight for our freedom, again.


  1. If we Christians were to kill people who insulted Christ, would you accept silence with equanimity? Would you consider such silence "coexistence"?

    How about this: we Christians want voluntary prayer in schools. What if we Christians began blowing up schools full of kids until the law was changed?

    Would you then consider that "coexistence"? Or would it just be that we forced you to submit, using violence?

    I am amazed by you cowardice regarding Islam, compared to your vigor criticizing Christianity. It's a very unattractive trait. Leads me to think that you're a coward.

    1. bachfiend can criticize Christianity because he knows he will get forgiveness instead of a fatwa!

  2. Yes, let’s all shake our fists and proclaim our version of God is better, they’ll give in eventually. Perhaps the raining of missiles on their fundamentalist extremists will show the survivors the power that comes from believing in the correct God. What could possibly go wrong?

    It is good news to see large demonstrations in Libya in support of the US. They know the religious extremists killed one of the men most responsible for their new freedom.

    Egnor, calling intelligent grown ups cowards has no effect on them; it only serves to make you sound like a 12 year old bully.


    1. Yeah, I tend to be more upset about actual priests who molested people I know back in the ‘70s, rather than a largely fictional character found in a thousand year old book of bullshit. I might just as well be pissed that Santa is polluting the North Pole with reindeer shit.

      Perhaps the pedophilia of the Koran was inspired by Numbers 31:18 “But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”


  3. Michael,

    You don't get the point. You and I live in liberal Western democracies. We are allowed to say whatever we want with impunity. Violence is a crime and dealt with by the law.

    But putting a deliberately inflammatory video on the Internet easily accessed on YouTube in countries which aren't liberal, Western or democracies is foolish if not malicious. Potential producers of such material should self-censor knowing that such material has a high probability of inciting violence and death of innocents. But I suspect that's exactly what they want.

    Anyway, I don't have anything bad to say about Mohammed. I don't think that he was a pedophile. Because I don't think that he ever actually existed. I think Islam started out as a Christian sect (one not recognizing the divinity of Jesus). Mohammed means 'he who is to be blessed'.

    'There is but one God (not 2 or 3), and Mohammed (he who is to be blessed, ie Jesus) is His Messenger' was their slogan to distinguish it from 'orthodox' Christianity. It originated in Syria and Palestine, and when the ruling dynasty was replaced and the new one moved its base to Arabia, the new rulers did the first thing rulers often do (like King Josiah and Emperor Constantine); edit and rewrite scripture to come up with a state religion justifying their rule.

    Tom Holland recently wrote a book 'Under the Shadow of the Sword' claiming that Mohammed had to exist because Islam arose in the 7th century and a store of partial copies of the Qur'an were found in a Yemeni mosque, and according to the two German Qur'an experts who were allowed to examine them, the same verse in different copies showed slight discrepancies due to inadvertent errors in copying and that they dated from the 8th century, so the originals had to have come from much earlier.

    I'm not convinced, because the Yemeni authorities got upset that there were any variations in the Qur'an and quickly removed access, so the dating I think is unconfirmed (they also don't seem to be aware that the modern Qur'an was only settled on in the 1920s).

    Anyway, I generally don't argue against the Islamic worldview on this blog, because it's a Christian blog. I think islam's worldview is just as crazy as Christianity's, but its ideology is much much worse. Barbarous in many parts of the world.

  4. Yeah, I agree with your terms, as would any reasonable person, but as Bach pointed out, they are not Christian terms. They are the terms of modern, western civilisation. They're certainly not the terms under which Christianity has operated for most of its career. But Egnor, as you've said in the past, you are not guilty of the sins of your religious ancestors, so let's not get bogged down with that.

    And obviously, *legally* people should be able to say whatever they want, and make whatever offensive garbage film they want, but that doesn't mean that we as a society shouldn't tell them to shut up, especially when it's one group of superstitious morons making fun of the superstitious nonsense of another group of morons, and doing it in the least productive way possible.

    So there, Islam sucks as well, and Mohammed (if he existed) was a pedophile. Happy now?


  5. @Nick:

    I feel much better.

    The freedom and prosperity of the West is attributable almost entirely to Christianity. There was some transmission of laudable Greco-Roman culture, of course, but that is true of all of the Roman Empire. Only the Christian areas of the Empire developed genuine freedom and prosperity. The Muslim areas have stagnated and have little freedom.

    And don't get me started on atheism.

    1. One of Egnor’s favorite pat responses


    2. @KW:

      It has the virtue of truth.

      Why not just admit the obvious, and deal with it?

    3. It has the virtue of truth.

      If by "truth" you mean a complete fabrication. But you can't really tell the difference between lies and truth any more, can you?

  6. Michael,

    No. The freedom and prosperity of the West is almost entirely due to Christianity's loss of power over the rule of citizens of the West (and also the West's location in the world). The European colonial powers (England, Holland, Spain etc) went forth and conquered because that was their only option, not because of Christianity. Strong Christian Italian city-states, such as Venice, didn't set up empires, didn't even try, because they didn't need to. They were happily and peacefully trading with the Ottoman Empire via Alexandria, and making a very nice profit out of it.

    The Ottoman Empire didn't bother to try to establish a worldwide colonial empire either. Because it didn't need to. It had control of the Silk Road, to trade with China, the world's richest country at the time, and access with trading ships to India across the Arabian Sea.

    Vasco da Gama's aim in going to India via the Cape of Good Hope was to destroy Arab trade and gain the lucrative Indian trade. Mainly by violence because he couldn't accomplish it by peaceful means. The Indian rulers were singularly unimpressed by the very poor quality of European goods compared to Arabian ones.

    And don't get me started on your lamentable ignorance of history.

    1. Freedom is due to Christianity's loss of power?

      Then atheist regimes should be the most free of all.


    2. Michael,

      Gawd, you do love quoting out of context don't you? 'The freedom and prosperity of the WEST is almost entirely due to Christianity's loss of power over the rule of the citizens of the WEST'.

      You can't even get the complete quote right.

      Point to a single western country with a secular, non-theocratic government that's not free. I'm waiting.

    3. "secular, non-theocratic" are Christian terms, achieved only in nations with a long history of Christianity.

      Maybe this will help:

      You do need to keep up on your study of Egnorance

    4. Michael,

      No. Your list of free western countries proves my point. They're all secular states, not theocracies. Even Britain, with its established church and Anglican bishops sitting in the House of Lords isn't anywhere close to being a theocracy. Government is still formed from the House of Parliament, which is popularly elected, with no religious test included.

      Your including Spain on the list demonstrates how silly you are. For much of the 20th century, it was a dictatorship, without freedom, heavily under the influence of the Catholic Church. When a democratic government was elected in the '30s, the Catholic Church was one of Franco's strongest supporters, and of of his subsequent brutal dictatorship.

      It was only when Franco returned Spain to a monarchy, quickly evolving into a constitutional monarchy, that Spaniards became truly free. They became free after the Catholic Church lost its power.

      I notice your list doesn't include two secular Western free countries; Australia and New Zealand.

    5. The list proves my point. Free secular states emerge from Christian cultures, and only Christian cultures.

    6. Michael,

      No. What about Japan? And South Korea? And India? And Israel? I thought you were a great fan of Israel.