I've been watching a video (Maryam Namazie at Athiest Alliance International Conference, Dublin) and I didn't quite like the way Maryam was criticizing Islam or religion in general. It is very obvious that she has some sort of extreme fear and/or detest towards religions, or that could simply be the way she talks. Either way I think I've seen her using unethical debate tactics when that guy from some Islamic research center brought up what he claims to be academic and historical evidence that Sharia Law has been fruitful to bring communities together of different religions and backgrounds.

I think she was wrong for unethically debating down that guy like that. Also due to my past super religious background, I can say that this guy or any other person saying Sharia Law is good; is utterly full of shit. And not just because of what the law promotes and advocates which some of it result into internal inconsistencies with the religion itself, but mainly because of preposterous structural flaws that doesn't allow it to scale without ending up with complete hegemonic domination.

Now this has brought up a kind of a dilemma in the back of my mind. Let's examine the following statement..

"I have nothing against religions, but I have everything against those who believe in it to the extent that it affects their actions to reflect harm or discrimination upon others."

We can infer from the above statement the following..

  • Everyone has the freedom to believe whatever they want to believe.
  • No one has the right to enforce and/or apply their beliefs upon anyone.
  • Rational, evidential, and unbiased criticism is allowed on anyone's beliefs without requiring the believer to accept, deny, nor comment on the criticisms.

Most if not all would agree that religion without believers -- regardless to how ridiculous it is -- will almost always deem it powerless and even has no meaning outside of any poetic rites or writings that only encourages our delusional sides to jump up and dance.

Concordantly it is inexorably difficult to criticize one's actions that imply a set of beliefs without criticizing the beliefs themselves. And since all beliefs regardless to their nature will almost always affect our actions, it is reasonable to assume that regardless to how hard someone tries to keep their beliefs to themselves, it will almost always affect others.

I have three questions for you..

  • Isn't the statement above (between quotes) logically circular? Or am I simply insane?!
  • Hypothetically; if a religion encourages a believer to kill people, and if a believer was caught in the murder of someone, wouldn't the believer be found guilty of killing someone or should the religion be condemned instead? If the former, wouldn't the believer be found mentally unstable for allowing such beliefs to dwell deep enough to act on them and therefore found not guilty?
  • Should we criticize, and more importantly, label religions instead of the religious?

Okay, that was shamelessly more than three questions, but help is needed here fellas. :-)

Tags: circular, criticism, religion, religious

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i rather like Maryam Namazie.. i think she tries very hard to stick to the religion instead of the believer, but you have to understand, (i realize i'm gonna get slack for this but..).. sometimes its the believers that define their own religion by their actions.. and therefore it's their action that must be criticised right along side the scriptures .... a perfect example of this would be honour killings..

Sure that would've been a good strategy if she were targeting religion in general, but 99% of her talk is about Islam and Islamism which is very targeted, and could be exploited to fire back, as she pointed out.

Anyhoo.. I still find a hard time what should be criticized, the religion or the religious. Do you think that criticizing religion or the religious is quite circular and both can be counter-argued and in fact used as a defense in some situations? And why?

lemme break this down just a bit so it's easier for me..

 when it comes to islam, it gets just a bit trickier, because islam imposes itself so much in the average muslim's daily life that it becomes who you are.. so to attack the religion.. it feels like you (as a muslim) are being attacked... but that's the feeling..  i think it is possible to criticise the religion without pointing fingers at the believer, but that's not to say the believer won't get his/her feelings hurt..

and hurt feelings are no defense..

I think it has more to do with the geopolitical scene that made islamaphobia such a cliche, yet a justifiable one for many. It's really a mess of a fight between fundamentalists which most of the west perceives as all muslims. And the rest of the muslims getting "unfair" treatment because they are constantly associated with the fundamentalists. In essence, it's the stereotypes we create about a religion in isolation of its believers that pushes people unintentionally into unified camps where each feels the need to defend their respective perspectives.

I really think we should not be so harsh on the believers as we all know how did that feel, to be misunderstood and be mistaken for the "crazy" bunch. I think from a pragmatic perspective, given the current situation and relative population sizes, it is quite unwise to criticize anyone or any religion in specific but rather keep at the fundamental problem of this mess, which is ultimately the concept of a god.

Eradicate the concept of god with irrevocable irrefutable evidence, and all religion will collapse like dominoes. :-)

mind you Maryam also help found the one law for all campaign which not only deals with sharia, but all faith based laws..

It's not really about Maryam in particular, I just think arbitrating debates can be done with much more evidentialism and less hyper activity and loud voices. It only degrades her posture as a debater that way. And I'm not saying that she's not doing a good job. She's actually quite good if she would be a political debater where the nature of tactics differ. In short, I was merely pointing out technicalities and nitpicking on the favorite choice of weapon.

what do you think of ayaan hirsi ali's soft spoken debates.. ?

Someone here pointed her out for me before, but didn't really get to see anything for her.

Although I'm bedazzled by something like this (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA0C3C1D163BE880A).

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