Difficulties in debating Islam

Tao_Equus

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I have recently been researching on the topic of Muhammads' life and the origins of Islam. I find myself with many questions I would like to debate but find that I am reluctant and unsure how to go about this without offending Muslims. Do others here feel this same 'intimidation', for thats what I feel it to be, and find like me that this is unique to Islam?
 
It seems often that debate v. discussion tends to offend.

I mean if you honor and respect someone elses belief but wish to discuss the intracies, the origin, or some issues...I think most are open to that...

Seems all religions have thier issues...I can't come to grips with some of the thought regarding infidels...but also have issues with the talmud on gentiles...but me thinks that I need to work on my log as well...
 
I think you've hit it there, wil - debate is challenging... discussion is respectful . For an example from another area, engaging a Christian in a debate about the divinity of Jesus will generally be confrontational - (well, unless the divinity question isn't a core belief of theirs) and you'll usually get a negative reaction. The items you mention, Tao, are core to Islamic belief, and thus get negative reactions when challenged.
 
Well the questions I have I would not hesitate to post to a Christian, a Jew, a Jannist or any other religeon. But I just know as soon as I were to post the same it would not be recieved well at all. I would immediately be condemned as anti-Islamic, of have another agenda other than an honest discussion. That this is unique to Islam strikes me as though we are all having to be way beyond respectful, which of course we should be, but infact we have to handle Islamic issues with oven gloves on. This strikes me as wrong.
Most of you will know I am an athiest, I have no agenda to push, yet I remain captivated by the origins, history and nuances of all faiths. Its just sad that I feel unable to engage in some questions I have, and I note that no-one else has risked the same, so I am unable to get anything that way. It's almost like CR is a corridor of doors, each leading to a faith, but the door marked Islam is securely locked and surrounded by balls of razor-wire. Its so much a reflection of the times I supose.



I should maybe have used the word discuss and not debate, there is a difference. but would there be a difference once a question was asked? I have no need or urge to proselityse for any camp including my own flavour of atheism. But in discussion with people you can get insights that are not found any other way.



david
 
Again it appears with anything, discussing nuances and intracies of something we have common ground on is one thing...

But if one percieves that your questions or discussions are digging at the foundations of their faith that is quite another..
 
Tao_Equus said:
Well the questions I have I would not hesitate to post to a Christian, a Jew, a Jannist or any other religeon. But I just know as soon as I were to post the same it would not be recieved well at all. I would immediately be condemned as anti-Islamic, of have another agenda other than an honest discussion. That this is unique to Islam strikes me as though we are all having to be way beyond respectful, which of course we should be, but infact we have to handle Islamic issues with oven gloves on. This strikes me as wrong.
Most of you will know I am an athiest, I have no agenda to push, yet I remain captivated by the origins, history and nuances of all faiths. Its just sad that I feel unable to engage in some questions I have, and I note that no-one else has risked the same, so I am unable to get anything that way. It's almost like CR is a corridor of doors, each leading to a faith, but the door marked Islam is securely locked and surrounded by balls of razor-wire. Its so much a reflection of the times I supose.



I should maybe have used the word discuss and not debate, there is a difference. but would there be a difference once a question was asked? I have no need or urge to proselityse for any camp including my own flavour of atheism. But in discussion with people you can get insights that are not found any other way.



david

I can relate to what you're saying, some issues are very sensitive and/or controversial when it comes to discussing them with Muslims. I remember throwing accusations at Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) one day and the Christian I was talking with decided to "turn the tables" on me so to speak and threw some accusations at Muhammad (just to illustrate a point). I got pretty heated when that happened, lol, but I've grown since then.
 
Tao_Equus said:
I have recently been researching on the topic of Muhammads' life and the origins of Islam. I find myself with many questions I would like to debate but find that I am reluctant and unsure how to go about this without offending Muslims. Do others here feel this same 'intimidation', for thats what I feel it to be, and find like me that this is unique to Islam?

As Bruce has already pointed out, Christians also have their hot buttons. But of course you’re right that not all traditions are equally “hot” – and take this from someone prone to pushing buttons.

Historically, Christians & Muslims have been the hottest, for the simple reason that these two traditions were unique as religions of conversion claiming exclusive ownership of the absolute truth. As someone said on the Muslim board, if you believe that ignoring this truth leads to eternal damnation then it’s your duty to aggressively proselytize others (Christianity) or aggressively defend your own (Islam).

Christianity still has its aggressive types, but it’s currently cooler than Islam for several reasons.

First, as Brian rightly points out, there was the Reformation and the rise of the spirit of free inquiry in Europe & the West. I would say most Christians outside the most extreme fringes are habituated to a culture of inquiry and so have a higher tolerance for self-examination. I can’t help noticing, for example, that in discussions on the Islam board Muslims not only tend not to want to give personal perspectives on issues, they take positive pride in only quoting authority. It’s hard – even for a non-Muslim more diplomatic than me – to have what we with a “Western” mentality would call a straightforward, person-to-person conversation. Often the result are discussions that never really happen or happen at cross-purposes.

Second, not having undergone anything analogous to a Reformation, Islam retains in its mainstream features that have become marginal among Christians, attitudes toward apostasy, for example, and hot language drawing down curses, etc., on their opponents. Pre-Reformation, this mindset would have seemed perfectly normal to most Christians. Now, it seems decidedly “hot’.

Third, Islam in general is flavoured by the lack of development and social disarray in many Muslim countries. Muslims are correct that they shouldn’t be judged by the extremists, by ranting clerics in Afghanistan or practices like female genital mutilation in Africa. But I think these concrete social conditions drag down the tenor of discourse for Islam as a whole, especially because the felt need to protect the ummah, and the sense of historical grievance, leads even moderate Muslims to defend or at least pass over in silence many of these abuses.

Finally, there is the fact that Islam itself is in a unique state of crisis. Whatever you may say about the problems of other traditions, no faith is contested the way Islam is in its relationship to the contemporary world, its political mandate and most importantly in its justification for the use of violence to attain political ends. Unfortunately – if understandably – the reaction of many Muslims is to retreat further into their tradition as self-defence, on the principle that their problems are rooted not in Islam but in not being Islamic enough. In any case, fierce Muslim pride deeply resents outsiders, especially loose canons like me, offering any prescriptions or criticisms.

So, yes, I would agree that it’s not your imagination. Under present historical conditions, Islam is definitely a special & sensitive case.

Sincerely,
Devadatta
 
wil said:
Again it appears with anything, discussing nuances and intracies of something we have common ground on is one thing...

But if one percieves that your questions or discussions are digging at the foundations of their faith that is quite another..

I answered already on some other thread today, are the foundations so weak as to not withstand discussion?


regards

david
 
aburaees said:
I can relate to what you're saying, some issues are very sensitive and/or controversial when it comes to discussing them with Muslims. I remember throwing accusations at Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) one day and the Christian I was talking with decided to "turn the tables" on me so to speak and threw some accusations at Muhammad (just to illustrate a point). I got pretty heated when that happened, lol, but I've grown since then.

Well thats how we truly learn, IMHO. I have had my words thrown back at me several times now on these pages. And enjoyed the experience in every case :D


Thanks for your reply

david
 
Devadatta thank you for your post and for your support on this question. Thank you also for reminding me that its not worth the effort in trying to engage in any debate when all I will get in return are cut and pastes. And perhaps for reminding me that tolerance in the face of intolerance is sometimes ones only rational option.

Kind regards

david
 
I am interested in the origins of religious movements, and almost universally they begin with the founder having some sort of mystical experience.

For the Gautama it was what happened while he was doing some princely meditations under a tree.
Muhammad had his experiences while he was meditating in a cave in the hills.
While we are not told of any one mystical experience that Jesus had, I guess you could say that his entire life was a mystical experience if one believes the cannon.
Moses had his on a mountain when a burning bush spoke to him.
Paul, whose evangelizing and writing did a great deal to popularize the early Christian movement had his mystical moment on the road to Damascus.
Your namesake religion, Taoism, didn't start with a mystical moment according to legend. Rather Lao Tsu had to write down the Tao Te Ching as a toll payment for being allowed by a gatekeeper to cross the border from China into Mongolia on his beast.
Joseph Smith, a former Congregationalist living near the Erie Canal, was shown some golden plates in a vision. He later dug them up, along with some bow-shaped silver artifacts, on Mt.Cumorah, took them home, and translated them by himself them into the Book of Mormon which effectively started that religion.

In almost each instance the origin point had something to do with one person touching, or being touched by, some sort of alternative reality which inspired great works.
Magic? Creative quantum manipulation? G-d at work? No one knows, but each instance changed the world. The problems that happened after the initial instances were all caused when other humans were brought into the situation. Ask Salman Rushdie. He knows alot about this.

There was an excellent book about these sorts of processes written by Mircea Eliade in the 50's or 60's titled, I believe, The Sacred and the Profane. I found it to be very enlightening.

flow....:)
 
flowperson said:
While we are not told of any one mystical experience that Jesus had, I guess you could say that his entire life was a mystical experience if one believes the cannon.

Your namesake religion, Taoism, didn't start with a mystical moment according to legend. Rather Lao Tsu had to write down the Tao Te Ching as a toll payment for being allowed by a gatekeeper to cross the border from China into Mongolia on his beast.

There was an excellent book about these sorts of processes written by Mircea Eliade in the 50's or 60's titled, I believe, The Sacred and the Profane. I found it to be very enlightening.flow....:)

- I guess there are two main candidates for the birth of God consciousness in Jesus: his forty days in the desert, and his baptism by John with the descent of the dove.

- I believe that according to modern scholarship, Lao Tze was not an actual person but only an ideal type, attached to an anthology of taoist sayings. Chuang-tse, on the other hand, may very well have existed, since scholars detect an authentically individual voice.

- It's been a long time, but I remember reading a book by Mircea Eliade on shamanism. Have to respect his ambition to respectfully synthesize religious experience across all conditions.

Sincerely,
Devadatta
 
Devadatta.

Thanks for your response. I guess my point was that these things, religious movements, get started by an individual under mysterious and hidden circumstances, and they don't become controversial until others are brought into the movement. Humans being what they are....

I would also suggest the Forge and the Crucible by Eliade. Thanks again.

flow....:)
 
flowperson said:
Devadatta.

Thanks for your response. I guess my point was that these things, religious movements, get started by an individual under mysterious and hidden circumstances, and they don't become controversial until others are brought into the movement. Humans being what they are....

I would also suggest the Forge and the Crucible by Eliade. Thanks again.

flow....:)

Point taken. And I agree. I was only adding some supplements.

Sincerely,
Devadatta
 
All very true Flow, and any Prophet today would immediately be diagnosed as schitzophrenic and put on mind sapping medication.


Regards

david
 
Tao_Equus said:
I have recently been researching on the topic of Muhammads' life and the origins of Islam. I find myself with many questions I would like to debate but find that I am reluctant and unsure how to go about this without offending Muslims. Do others here feel this same 'intimidation', for thats what I feel it to be, and find like me that this is unique to Islam?
Sir
You are welcome to discuss any such quetsions with me ,I am an Ahmadi a faith in Islam, we believe in peaceful dialgue with others rather encourage it.God willing there will be know difficulties.
 
The violent reactions that we see so often are not, I think, intrinsic so much to Islam as to the particular historical situation of "wounded pride" that the Islamic world finds itself in. It is like the old history of China, which became the greatest ancient civilization in the world and froze up solid, proud of what it was, so that it remained the greatest ancient civilization long after the rest of the world had moved on. Just so, Islam was the greatest medieval civilization in the world, and froze up solid, still remaining the greatest medieval civilization in the world.
 
I have recently been researching on the topic of Muhammads' life and the origins of Islam. I find myself with many questions I would like to debate but find that I am reluctant and unsure how to go about this without offending Muslims. Do others here feel this same 'intimidation', for thats what I feel it to be, and find like me that this is unique to Islam?

Tao, I am deeply saddened with your experience and perception you're facing in researching one of the greatest human being every lived. However, at the same time, I am enlightened by your thought process. You are genuinely researching the life of Muhammad (pbuh) and Islam and the difficulty that you mentioned not only display your outmost respect to Islam such that you are worried that your question may become offensive. Well, I am here to give you some good news...

1) Islam encourages people to ask questions.
2) Islam command all its followers to gain knowledge. What is better way of gaining knowledge than asking question?
3) In fact in the life of Muhammad (pbuh), Muhammad (pbuh) was even corrected by Allah when at one time he ignored a man who approaches him to ask questions about Islam while he (pbuh) was in discussion with a group of noble people.

Now, you may asked, why then do you feel reluctant in asking certain questions as you feel unsure how to go about presenting them. Not a problem, state your intention, you level of knowledge on Islam and your current research.

If you still feel reluctant, you may approach anyone of us in the Islam Board personally and we will try to answer them as to our ability. If we can't we will definitely direct you to someone who can or we help to find the answer and present it to you.

May God make it easy for you in the research.
 
Tao_Equus, Et Al:
An interesting dialogue here. I surely do not hold myself out to be an expert on Islam, but I have had conversation with several members of the Atlanta Mosque, along with the Imam, and I have had no difficulty in finding adequate dialogue. This, of course, was several years ago but nothing appears to have changed.

Might I suggest, especially for those of Christian sects a reading into the Qu’ran, Surah 3 (Chapter 3) concerning the events involving Mary, Elizabeth, Zachariah, and Anna, Mary’s mother. Also the, Book of Miriam (Mary). The third chapter is alive with Christian doctrine, including the virgin birth, not only of Jesus, but also of Mary through her mother Anna. I believe a loose translation indicates that it was necessary for Mary to be pure in order to give birth to, Messiah! I am dumbfounded that more Christians have not paid attention to the disclosures made by the prophet’s (pbuh) meditations.

As an Evangelical Lutheran, church traditions allow enormous freedom in our discoveries into ancient and new text. I conduct a Sunday class of scholars, an out of the ordinary group of seven who are hungry to discover the ‘word’ in our congregation (and I have to scurry to keep up with them), while our most volatile associates, The Missouri Synod, here in our area are dire fundamentalists. You may not stray from the written word.

Perhaps it is not so much the religion itself that is difficult, but rather the individuals who have responded to your inquiries. Inhumility on this site, has been open and quite willing to discuss matters, and at length. (LOL)

brucedgc notes a difficulty in discussing the divinity of Christ and I would again suggest that it is not the religious belief on the subject, but the people responding to his inquiry. This, in itself, would require an inordinate amount of time as the discussion involves revolution in the church between Jewish and Gentile Christians, and suggests at least two centuries involved in getting from Jesus to a divine sonship.

In fact, Paula Christianson, has an enormously good study, "From Jesus to Christ"! A very good read… Divinity was never attributed to Jesus in the early church, but that discourse is not relevant here; and believe me, you can really get some hostile responses on this topic! The point is to find someone (or several someones) who have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the topic to engage in an agreeable discussion.

As often as not those who take offense, and I mean none to anyone, do not have sufficient knowledge to respond in a meaningful manner.

I Am, as always,
Victor G
 
I have recently been researching on the topic of Muhammads' life and the origins of Islam. I find myself with many questions I would like to debate but find that I am reluctant and unsure how to go about this without offending Muslims. Do others here feel this same 'intimidation', for thats what I feel it to be, and find like me that this is unique to Islam?

Hi
Sir
You had certain questions about Islam, and finding difficulties from Muslims to answer the same. I though don't debate with anybody, as confrontational debates usually only creates hatred ; yet I would be pleased to discuss such issues which you have in your mind. I offered myself previously also but there are no questions coming , may be you got the answers. If no ,my offer is still there.
Thanks
I am an Ahmadi - a faith in Islam
 
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