The media, 'Holy Books' and political correctness.

The media, 'Holy Books' and political correctness.

Postby Ayn Marx » Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:19 am

The recent Charlie shootings in France have focused my attention on a herd of elephants in the room the media and politicians won't comment upon.
Under the guise of 'tolerance' we are somehow forbidden criticism of scripture be it The Bible, The Koran or any other so called holy book.
When and how did this prohibition take hold of press and television?
A debate now taking place with increased intensity often focuses on distinctions between moderate Islam and Islamic fundamentalism. All this without any reference to or analysis of specific passages in the Koran. ( Don't get me wrong here, the Bible and other texts require equal scrutiny).
To be specific, why don't those interviewing Muslim clerics, for instance, ask for an explanation of passages from the Koran such as Sura 3: V:7-10.in the light of recent events?
"O our Lord! For the day of whose coming there is not doubt, thou wilt surely gather mankind together. Verily, God will not fail the promise.
As for the infidels, their wealth, and their children, shall avail them nothing against God. They will be fuel for the fire.
After the want of the Pharaoh,and of those who went before them, they treated our signs as falsehoods. Therefore God laid hold of them in their sins; God is severe in punishing!
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Re: The media, 'Holy Books' and political correctness.

Postby Thoughtage » Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:26 am

The recent Charlie shootings in France have focused my attention on a herd of elephants in the room the media and politicians won't comment upon.Under the guise of 'tolerance' we are somehow forbidden criticism of scripture be it The Bible, The Koran or any other so called holy book.


Hmm.... I get the opposite impression. It seems to me everybody is enthusiastically defending free speech and the right to make fun of religious figures and their books etc.

To me, what's missing from the nearly perfectly uniform commentary on the Paris shootings is the question....

Does free speech include the right to shout fire in a crowded theater?

To me, there is a meaningful difference between writing thoughtful articles which relentlessly challenge some ideology, and offering sarcastic cartoons whose only real purpose appears to be poking someone's deeply held beliefs in the eye.

I can enthusiastically support the thoughtful articles, but haven't yet figured out what constructive purpose sarcastic cartoons serve. Why inflame a situation just to inflame it?

In any case, I'm sure we all agree that violence is not the way we should engage these questions.
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Re: The media, 'Holy Books' and political correctness.

Postby Bill » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:52 am

I think that Ayn is correct in saying that there is some evidence to suggest that the media pussy-foots around some of the major issues that arise from combating religious intolerance,

In the USA, we a caveat against looking at Muslims as being potential targets for radicalization just because they are Muslims. We have to wait until they are radicalized before we can put them on any sort of radar screen: and even then, due process may mean we have to wait until the bomb goes off before we start sifting through their email correspondence with known jihad recruiters.

It is a strange dichotomy: we may hate what you say, but we will defend to the death your right to say it.

Back to the main point. Where confusion abounds is over the translation of the term "Kafir" to "infidel": for the term Kafir specifically excludes Christians and Jews (for they are children of the book) but when Westerners turn the word into "infidel" they give it the prior Christian meaning which excludes all who do not follow the Correct Religion.

When the Koran talks of Kafirs facing eternal hell fire damnation, it is limited to those who reject all three Abrahamic religions. On the other hand, when Christian fundamentalists talk of the rapture, only a very small band of Christians will make the cut. Relatively speaking, Muslims are less savage than Christians when it comes to the Great Culling of Disbelievers.

Even so, I wish some learned Muslim will explain to us why Allah is so incapable of dealing with those who mock his followers, he has to get some murderous psychopaths to overcome his lack of omnipotency.
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Re: The media, 'Holy Books' and political correctness.

Postby Thoughtage » Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:01 pm

Hi Bill,

In the USA, we a caveat against looking at Muslims as being potential targets for radicalization just because they are Muslims. We have to wait until they are radicalized before we can put them on any sort of radar screen: and even then, due process may mean we have to wait until the bomb goes off before we start sifting through their email correspondence with known jihad recruiters.


Well, we should of course remember that the overwhelming vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, and that their community is not the only one where extremism can occur. If we were to put every group that contained violent people on the radar screen, we'd all be on that screen.

It is a strange dichotomy: we may hate what you say, but we will defend to the death your right to say it.


We should 1) defend their legal right to say it, and 2) their right to say it free of violence. But after that, there's nothing wrong with 3) using that same right to oppose them vigorously.

That's what seems to be missing from the cultural dialog in regards to the Paris magazine, that last part, number 3. It seems nobody is challenging their business model, a magazine whose explicit purpose appears to have been to enrage. It seems reasonable to challenge that business model, though perhaps that can wait at least until the dead are buried.
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Re: The media, 'Holy Books' and political correctness.

Postby Bill » Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:21 pm

In my experience, the only people to be enraged by satirists where those on the receiving end of a pointed jab.

In England, Punch Magazine and Private Eye were constantly berated by political parties for one reason or another.

The nearest we have to satirical magazines in the USA are National Lampoon and Mad Magazine, so we Americans only get to see "real' satirical cartoons on the editorial pages of newspapers - where the content has been pre-screened fto ensure that it is not likely to upset the owner(s) of the publication. Perhaps if we established a panel of American newspaper owners to vet the work of Charlie Hobdo, everyone would be much happier.
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Re: The media, 'Holy Books' and political correctness.

Postby Thoughtage » Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:12 pm

In my experience, the only people to be enraged by satirists where those on the receiving end of a pointed jab.


Ok, but when the target of the satire is a leading global religious figure, the number of people enraged can be substantial. Perhaps the satirists should be challenged to explain what that accomplishes? Wouldn't such a challenge be free speech too?

I'd like to see a bit more focus on opposing extremism of all flavors, which would include journalistic extremism.

The truth may be that a lot of satirists simply enjoy sticking their finger in other people's eyes, and then they try to rationalize that poor behavior by wrapping themselves in the flag and noble concepts like free speech etc.

Religious people are not the only ones with delicate sensibilities. The very same kind of mad dog mob hysteria can arise if one posts effective challenges to atheism on an atheist forum.
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Re: The media, 'Holy Books' and political correctness.

Postby romansh » Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:36 pm

Ayn Marx wrote:The recent Charlie shootings in France have focused my attention on a herd of elephants in the room the media and politicians won't comment upon.
Under the guise of 'tolerance' we are somehow forbidden criticism of scripture be it The Bible, The Koran or any other so called holy book.

Hi Ayn ... welcome

I take your point here as well. The question for me is how do I treat the common or garden Muslim next door?

Any thoughts?
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Re: The media, 'Holy Books' and political correctness.

Postby Ayn Marx » Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:42 am

romansh wrote:
Ayn Marx wrote:The recent Charlie shootings in France have focused my attention on a herd of elephants in the room the media and politicians won't comment upon.
Under the guise of 'tolerance' we are somehow forbidden criticism of scripture be it The Bible, The Koran or any other so called holy book.

Hi Ayn ... welcome

I take your point here as well. The question for me is how do I treat the common or garden Muslim next door?

Any thoughts?

How? First off we have to accept, just as with the many shades of Christian, there are many shades of Muslim.The common garden kind may exist ideed and maybe we should treat them with an open mind IF they treat us the same way. The central point I was attempting to make wasn't about tolerating any of the various strains of the many religions that ( in my view) infest humanity, I was asking why it is this relatively new notion of political correctness has slammed a very tight lid on any close analysis and'/or criticism of so called holy books and the many bizarre theologies that claim to be based on them.
There have been though some very brave attemps to place these texts under the microscope this century. The first that always comes to mind is Bishop John Shelby Spong's "The Sins of Scripture'. This is a tome many Christians will simply refuse to read. We get some idea of the kind of blindness to reason induced by religious fundamentalism when organisations such as, say,the Jehovah's Whitnesses are specifically forbidden to read any such literature.
How the broadcast and print news media in general have managed to tie themselves in similar knots is a puzzle.
Part of the problem I suspect is the non-religious simply don't see any point in reading so called holy books. I suggest this is our biggest mistake as it's always your first defence to know your enemy. A wider perspective suggests we should also make some effort to acquire a passing familiarity with extreme non-religious works such as Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged' and Karl Marx's various writings amongst others.
Faithfull are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs Ch:27.V:5.
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Re: The media, 'Holy Books' and political correctness.

Postby Ayn Marx » Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:54 am

Bill wrote: Where confusion abounds is over the translation of the term "Kafir" to "infidel": for the term Kafir specifically excludes Christians and Jews (for they are children of the book) but when Westerners turn the word into "infidel" they give it the prior Christian meaning which excludes all who do not follow the Correct Religion.
When the Koran talks of Kafirs facing eternal hell fire damnation, it is limited to those who reject all three Abrahamic religions. On the other hand, when Christian fundamentalists talk of the rapture, only a very small band of Christians will make the cut. Relatively speaking, Muslims are less savage than Christians when it comes to the Great Culling of Disbelievers.

So, if we all convert to one of the Abrahamic religions we are safe? Sadly, I think not
"In the earliest recited verses of the Qur'an, such as Al-Kafirun, the term kafir simply divided the Meccan community into believers and unbelievers. In later recited verses, particularly those recited after the Hijra in 622 AD, the concept of infidel - kafir - was expanded upon, with Jews and Christians included.[22] The expanded term kafir refers to anyone who satisfies one or more of the following conditions - practices idolatry of any form, does not accept the absolute oneness of God, denies Muhammed as Prophet, ignores God's ayah (evidence or signs), or rejects belief in resurrection and final judgment."
Taken from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infidel

And yes, Christianity has over the ages been particularly adept at culling disbelievers. Give them sufficiant political power and they'll do it again.
"For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish" Psalm 1:V:6.
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Re: The media, 'Holy Books' and political correctness.

Postby romansh » Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:32 am

Ayn, I do take your point here ...
Ayn Marx wrote: I was asking why it is this relatively new notion of political correctness has slammed a very tight lid on any close analysis and'/or criticism of so called holy books and the many bizarre theologies that claim to be based on them.
There have been though some very brave attemps to place these texts under the microscope this century. The first that always comes to mind is Bishop John Shelby Spong's "The Sins of Scripture'. This is a tome many Christians will simply refuse to read. We get some idea of the kind of blindness to reason induced by religious fundamentalism when organisations such as, say,the Jehovah's Whitnesses are specifically forbidden to read any such literature.


I think this political correctness goes way back ... and there is something Orwellian about it, newspeak. The theory being if there are no 'criminal' words there can be no criminal thoughts and hence actions. I am not in anyway endorsing this as a valid position. Having said that, this world has become a more tolerant and safer world (on a relative basis), and I would argue in part due to political correctness, secularization, education etc ... and I would not really include religion in this except that it too is a vehicle education and awareness.

Ayn Marx wrote: I suggest this is our biggest mistake as it's always your first defence to know your enemy.


I must admit I find this sentence a little problematic ... I can't help thinking if we think of someone as our enemy they will ultimately become that. And I will become an enemy as well. Of course there is a time and place to play the enemy role.
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