Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fitna and a decent respect to the opinions of mankind

Okay, Geert Wilders puts out a film and it is aimed at Muslims.

So his queen says, "free speech doesn't allow one the right to offend." Now, is the European Royalty so inbred that they do not understand language. (from Reason) Of course, Her Majesty is a state functionary with little personal discretion to say what she may truly feel. Still, one would hope she would think a figure head crown was not worth having if it required saying things that are silly. Just in case the genes are too close, Queenie, I'm going to explain it to you. If speech must not offend, it is not free. So, just say you are against free speech and be honest or tell your PM to go to hell and accept the consequences.

Geert's prime minister "sighed that in Holland such statements (Wilders) were indeed legal, "but there is the possibility, once the film is released, that there will be a court case."" (also Reason) What was the point of getting rid of Seyss-Inquart?

Intent on proving Wilders' right, threats from Islamic groups caused Liveleak to stop the video on its website.

So it goes.

the voice of humility viewed Fitna and has some observations.

First of all, the film has some power. More for me as the music, Grieg's Asa's Tod from Peer Gynt was practiced for a long time by one of my children as he prepared for a concert with an ensemble he was part of. It is not overpowering, but it is serious music for a serious subject.

Second, it consists of many quotes from the Koran. Now I have a rule. If you quote someone and their first reaction is that you are quoting them out of context, then generally, they are either guilty or are bad stylists. When you write, say what you mean and mean what you say. Religious texts get a pass from me on this one, as they were written long ago and because so much is at stake, they are serious stuff and listening to a rebuttal is in order.

The quote that is the title of this post is from the declaration of independence. The colonists felt if they were going to rebel, they had to make known their reasons. I believe that we all have an obligation to make the reasons for our positions known within in that spirit of a decent respect for the opinions of others.

Did Mr. Wilders do this. If you watch the video, he is quoting the Koran and showing videos of Muslims speaking and acting. Other than the picture of Mohammed and the fuse, I don't think he is being unfair unless he is doing the out of context thing. That beheading video, there is some "splainin to do."

If he had a lot of ranting text, it would not have had much power and he could be dismissed as a crank. No, this is spare and eloquent, but it may be wrong.

Therefore, in the spirit of "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind" the voice of humility looked for a reasoned rebuttal. As to the verses quoted, Rupee News does what appears to my uneducated eyes a very good job. He calls it a first pass. I hope the second pass deals with the vicious statements that are the words of various speakers. It is not enough to say these fellows are not representative. There a lot of them and they are speaking to sizeable followings.

Rupee news disgraces himself by throwing around the word "Nazi." Socialism of the national variety is too often used instead of argument. Mr. Wilders is an enemy of Islam, no doubt, but that does not make him a National Socialist. Come up with actual totalitarian statements of Mr. Wilders if you can.

Having said that Rupee News has presented the verses in context that make them understandable, they do not do much for the cause of religion. Let me explain. Raised in the faith of my ancestors, many years ago, I read the bible, OT and NT, over a year or two. My goal was to ascertain if a person who knew nothing of religion were given the book and read it without comment from a teacher or proselytizer, would they find it converted them? My conclusion was probably not. I have purchased a Koran and started to read it. I can't. It is not a page turner. Now the voice of humility does not claim to be a scholar, so we do not assume it is the fault of the book.

The problem is, having read the verses in context that Rupee News presents, though they make clear what he intends, repel me. They give me the same feeling I got upon reading the bible, i.e. not much.

Most Christians or Moslems have not read their texts. In sermons, they get the best parts presented by persuasive speakers. I usually ask people why they believe. I never do it with a sarcastic attitude. If someone could present it so I could really think this is it, I'd be on the team without delay. Alas, it has never happened.

This is not to say, I did not find some lovely stuff in the bible, but it just did not say, this is it.

I suspect Moinsari's (I believe the writer of Rupee News)belief is a feeling as I've found from most people of other religions.

If I had to say there was someone's attitude I came closest to agreeing with it would be this.

Having written this, one would think I've had done with religion. Not so fast. I like the faith of my ancestors. Okay, I can't say I've had the conversion experience. I reason thusly, the voice of humility does not think himself all that bright and the religion has produced many of the great lights of Western Civilization. There is also the family thing. My family would not shun me if I said I was no longer a member of the religion, but I would feel less about myself. My ancestors kept the faith under horrible persecution. Also, the unbeliever, John Derbyshire helped. In his review of the works of J.F. Powers, he quotes Powers as saying, "There isn't anything the Church can do that it hasn't already done to disillusion me," he sighed in a 1988 interview, "but I still think it's it." I don't know that there is an it, but if there is,"it's it."

My family is fun. Maybe not big fat Greek wedding fun, but fun. I'd hate not to be part of it in the fullest sense.

So, Hassan, you are a better man than I. Still, if you're ever in town for Christmas, stop by for some cognac. You too, Moinsari. We can scare up some lemonade if you can't do the brandy.


Green Views said...

Thanks for the invite! Xo or VO? Let me know! Being good guests, we will return the facor and show up with some Champagne or Cognac!

Thanks for the comments

Our point was to ban the other texts too. Old scriptures do not put bread on the table!

Moin Ansari

tvoh said...

Dear Moin Ansari,

Thanks for commenting. As guest, you need only show up. I hope VO is good enough.

I must say, I would not want to ban any text, no matter how sublime or ridiculous. As Buddha said, we must each work out our own destiny.

Again, thanks.