left biblioblography: Muslim Misfires: Pamela Taylor Misses The Boat…

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Muslim Misfires: Pamela Taylor Misses The Boat…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisdasdasdwss

It’s interesting, that the logical fallacies religious people use seem to be ever-present, and the only sort of ‘logic’ they can agree on. Here’s a few articles by Pamela Taylor:

Atheists, Pew, and Webster's

Clearly those folks who identified themselves as atheists and then went on to say that they believed in God and even prayed regularly don't know what an atheist is. Atheists by definition do not believe in God. It's not a matter of debate; that's what it means to be an atheist.

What a brutal non-starter. What? Who? I love the lack of name-dropping these people use.

It strikes me that the use of atheist by those who believe in God(s) and even pray to Him/Her/It/Them is parallel to the use of agnostic by hundreds of thousands of vaguely Christian folks who do not belong to a particular denomination or church. They aren't actually agnostic anymore than someone who believes in God is an atheist. A true agnostic believes that the question "Is there a God?" cannot be answered and therefore chooses not to ask it.

Again, who the fuck are these people? Some of this is correct, some of it sounds ludicrous.

It is also, perhaps, analogous to feminists who will not define themselves as such.

Umm…who isn’t a feminist these day? I mean, anybody in their right mind.

"Atheists" who believe in God, one suspects, prefer not to be identified with a particular religious group.

Really, the juggling of contradiction as paradox is ridiculous.

So too, "agnostics" who are really non-churched Christians prefer not to be identified with a popular notion of Christianity. And women (and men) who clearly adhere to feminist ideals prefer not to identified with that label. The common thread is the fact that those labels are either used pejoratively by various groups, or perceived as limiting and narrowing.

Screw labels, I say.

If you are feminist you have to eschew dressing sexy.

Hey, I’m a feminist, but I’m a guy. Afraid my dressing sexy days are over, though.

If you're a Christian you have to be socially conservative and intolerant of other faiths.

Not necessarily true – anyone can use religion as a rationalization for anything that blows their dress up.

If you're a ______ (fill in the blank with whatever religion) you have to follow certain tenets.

I don’t ‘believe’ in the supernatural, so I don’t have to follow any tenets.

In an attempt to avoid the negatives associated with various labels, people search for a different label for themselves.

Welcome to ‘playing with words 101’. Hey, say it loud ‘n proud.

Thus I'm proud to define myself as a feminist, and to admit I love men, not just as potential mates, but intellectually, artistically, as human beings. I'm proud to be Muslim, though I emphatically reject the branches of the faith that are misogynist, militant, and extreme.

Uh…that would be, what, 90% of them? The Koran, like the bible, is a load of hooey. Mostly because it’s built on the latter.

And to add more idiocy to the stew:

Atheism also a matter of faith

Faith is, obviously, a matter of faith. It's a belief that there is such a thing as God (or Gods). Atheism, also, is a matter of faith. It is a belief that there is no such a thing as God (or Gods). Since we cannot prove (or at least to date have not been able to prove) whether God does or does not exist -- though many point to evidence for and against God as though it were proof (and often the very same evidence is cited by both sides!) -- either position remains a position of belief, of faith. The only rational stance is to admit that we cannot prove either position; a stance which, incidentally, can be taken by believers or atheists or agnostics.

This is a huge swing and a miss – and strike three! Yer….OUTTA HERE!

It’s a trope we constantly get banged over the head with…and one of those items that send a goodly percentage of us into a tither. No, disbelief is not a matter of ‘faith’. It’s a critique of an extravagant positive claim. We want evidence. No – scratch that, we want verifiable, testable, falsifiable proof. Something that will hold up while we prod it, measure it, reproduce it. Not something that seems to vanish in a laboratory every single time. Every single religion offers up something that passes their particular litmus tests, and yet comes apart like ancient parchment when touched, vanishes like dust under close scrutiny. Because the bar is conspicuously close to the floor, ridiculously easy for even a toddler to hurdle.

And then Ms. Taylor comes up with this mind-boggling paragraph, which contradicts itself:

Similarly a rational approach to ethics, law, and politics can be adopted by believers, atheists or agnostics. One of the reasons I embraced Islam was that its ethics closely converged with my own Kantian system of morality. And where I found discrepancies between my personal ethics and Islam, I also found disagreement among Muslims over what Islam really teaches -- whether it be over the position of women in family and society, the role of hudud punishments in today's world, homosexuality, theocracy, or the meaning of jihad.

You must be joking. The position of women in family and society is that of chattel. Theocracy is a mainstay in the Muslim world. Homosexuals are punished, killed, harassed. Stop apologizing for this barbaric anachronism already. Accommodationist politics are pathetic.

She says much in the article that makes her out to be a moderate Muslim (because, yes, they do exist, I’ve met a few, mostly lapsed), but then:

And lastly, there is the rampant Islamophobia that seems to have gripped much of this political season. Factual discussion about Muslims, radical or not, is pretty much as elusive as rational discussion about the role of Christianity or parties in our politics. Some would have you believe we are in the midst of all out war of cultures; others claim that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim; that there is no such thing as a loyal American Muslim, and that the real goal of American Muslims is to take over America and impose shari'ah on it. Sadly, these outrageous claims are being trumpeted not by the fringe, but by serious, influential politicians.

I’ve already stipulated there are moderates among Muslims, but am convinced that they are afraid to speak out against their more extreme sects. That right there, is a condemnation of that system. It allows bullies to dogpile onto rationality. I’m sure there are loyal American Muslims, and they just want to live their lives in peace and quiet, just like anyone else. The problem is, that there’s a lot of bad press. And I don’t mean isolated instances: there’s a LOT of it. And the tired excuse of “They’re not one of us!” just won’t hold up anymore.

Yes, I’m an Islamophobe, much in the same way I’m a Judeo-phobe, or a Christ-o-phobe: these people are, for the most part, unhinged. Frightening. Crazy. If I were to speak out against Christianity or Judaism in a crowd of those adherents, chances are that I would be pummeled. Muslims? I’m very sure it would go the extra mile.

So back on course: I am foursquare against taking people’s rights away. Regardless of the fact that their beliefs are pure fantasy. I am also foursquare against religion – because that’s what it does, it usurps reason, it deprives people of their rights and posits discrimination. It’s a conundrum wrapped in a puzzle, all right.

The only answer at this stage, is to stand up and calmly denounce any and all religion, regardless of the din it ignites.

Till the next post, then.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: