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#81- Leaving Islam A Conversation with Sarah Haider

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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09 June 2017 17:59
 

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Sarah Haider about her organization Ex-Muslims of North America, how the political Left is confused about Islam, “rape culture” under Islam, honesty without bigotry, stealth theocracy, immigration, the prospects of reforming Islam, and other topics.

#81- Leaving Islam A Conversation with Sarah Haider

This thread is for listeners’ comments.

 
mcgheesco
 
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mcgheesco
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09 June 2017 18:48
 

sigh.  i gotta say that i skip this anti-muslim stuff every time.  i get it.  i do.  i am an avowed atheist and i absolutely agree with everything sam says in principle.  but this is just not among the main problems we face in this country.  this isn’t marseilles or luton.  our problem is not the islamicization of our culture.  and it’s not terror attacks perpetrated by muslims.  it’s about how extremists work together to pinch the rest of us.  what we should be worried about is not the next orlando, but the reaction of a much more powerful force.  the UK endured decades of faith-based terror, but they never let that turn into anti-Irish Catholic jibber jabber.  please let this go for now.  we are all on the same side when it comes to the current administration.  let’s just get through this crisis all together, and if we succeed then we can all duke it out properly.

 
murraybiscuit
 
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murraybiscuit
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09 June 2017 22:40
 

Just a minor theological point for what it’s worth. Christians [Protestants] do believe that the bible is the sole infallible “word of God” (hence the expression). Sola Scriptura (canon) was a cornerstone of the Reformation, with scripture set in contradistinction to the Catholic inclusion of apocryphal texts; Church tradition and episcopate as alternative arbiters of doctrine. As for questions around whether there’s any scriptural justification for this, look at 2 Timothy 3:16-17. There is a long theological history of divine spoken word being the source of universal creation, life and ultimately redemption. To Protestants, scripture is literally sacred. Maybe I’m the only one that was taught this. I’m not so sure Islam is exceptional in this regard.

[ Edited: 09 June 2017 22:49 by murraybiscuit]
 
DanTheHam
 
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09 June 2017 23:53
 

Why not just ban all religious symbols in public space? Religious freedom should only protect religious practice within your own four walls. No more headscarfs/burkas etc., no more crosses around the neck etc.

 
user unknown
 
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user unknown
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10 June 2017 01:56
 

About the expectation, that Muslims do a fast shift towards modern ideas, while Christs and Jews had hundrets of years.

I’m not sure, whether I should buy that argument.

Both of my parents were born few years / few weeks before WWII and raised catholic, still are catholic. Tried to make a catholic out of me with good progress in the beginning but a sudden end when I was 18 y.o.
While in school, I belonged to about 10% of the class, who went to church on a regular basis, while most of the other pupils only visited it, when they were young. Most of them didn’t oppose Christianity openly - they just took it less and less seriously.

For me, church was a parallel universe, where I could live with. I played football (you call it soccer?) as the others, listened to Rock’n'Roll as the others - just made the church in parallel and was happy not to talk about it, outside. It’s so irrational. I didn’t like to appear irrational. My father didn’t talk much about religion but visited church regularly too, and sang in the chorus. Outside of church, he behaved like a normal person, most of the time and acted very rationally. For a few years, I suspected him, that he did not believe in God but pretended to, because of my mother. He disputed it, so I have to believe him.

However: When both of my parents where young, childs, the NSDAP was in force, predating Jews, Homosexuals, politically left people and so on. All three groups were enemies of the roman, catholic church. Consequently, the catholic party Zentrum supported Hitler becoming Reichskanzler. The church had an oath against modernism. This was abandoned only in 1967. Till then, priests celebrated with the back to the people, mostly in Latin language, men sat on the one side in the church, women on the other.

After losing WWII, the killing of Jews, Homosexuals and Communists stopped. But homosexual practise was forbidden until the 70ies, with minors up until the 90ies in the west. A Communist party was forbidden. But during one generation, the aggressive mindset was replaced by tolerance. Today, tolerance towards Jews and Gays is common sense. More so in the next generation, which could be my kids. (Even communists get accepted.) My parents already raised me with a tolerant mindset in general, while not open for Gays in particular. In my early years, divorce was a big sin in the words of my parents. When the sister of my father brought a divorce into his family, the incident was not much discussed, but ranting about divorce stopped.

And this is mainstream. At the end of WWII, 95% of the west Germans identified as Christians (today about 55%). People don’t take their believe so seriously, some disjoin completly, some disjoin from the authorities and/or institution and the church itself is following slowly the path of modernism.

So my argument is, that most of the change to tolerance in Christianity took place in the first 30 years of the last 70 years, one generation. Today, with the evidence of technology for the methods of science, it shouldn’t take longer under good circumstances for the Muslims. At least not in countries, where they have free access to information and are pretty secure from fundamentalists, hunting for apostates.

And a remark about the Koran, being the word of god: Wasn’t it the word of the arch angel Gabriel, which was dictated to Mohamed, who then himself dictated it to someone, able to write, according to this Koran?

 
DanTheHam
 
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10 June 2017 04:48
 

Since you are in or from Germany: How do you explain that religiosity among turks in Germany is on the rise?
see here: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/survey-turks-in-germany-willing-to-integrate-but-more-religious-a-850607.html

user unknown - 10 June 2017 01:56 AM

About the expectation, that Muslims do a fast shift towards modern ideas, while Christs and Jews had hundrets of years.

I’m not sure, whether I should buy that argument.

Both of my parents were born few years / few weeks before WWII and raised catholic, still are catholic. Tried to make a catholic out of me with good progress in the beginning but a sudden end when I was 18 y.o.
While in school, I belonged to about 10% of the class, who went to church on a regular basis, while most of the other pupils only visited it, when they were young. Most of them didn’t oppose Christianity openly - they just took it less and less seriously.

For me, church was a parallel universe, where I could live with. I played football (you call it soccer?) as the others, listened to Rock’n'Roll as the others - just made the church in parallel and was happy not to talk about it, outside. It’s so irrational. I didn’t like to appear irrational. My father didn’t talk much about religion but visited church regularly too, and sang in the chorus. Outside of church, he behaved like a normal person, most of the time and acted very rationally. For a few years, I suspected him, that he did not believe in God but pretended to, because of my mother. He disputed it, so I have to believe him.

However: When both of my parents where young, childs, the NSDAP was in force, predating Jews, Homosexuals, politically left people and so on. All three groups were enemies of the roman, catholic church. Consequently, the catholic party Zentrum supported Hitler becoming Reichskanzler. The church had an oath against modernism. This was abandoned only in 1967. Till then, priests celebrated with the back to the people, mostly in Latin language, men sat on the one side in the church, women on the other.

After losing WWII, the killing of Jews, Homosexuals and Communists stopped. But homosexual practise was forbidden until the 70ies, with minors up until the 90ies in the west. A Communist party was forbidden. But during one generation, the aggressive mindset was replaced by tolerance. Today, tolerance towards Jews and Gays is common sense. More so in the next generation, which could be my kids. (Even communists get accepted.) My parents already raised me with a tolerant mindset in general, while not open for Gays in particular. In my early years, divorce was a big sin in the words of my parents. When the sister of my father brought a divorce into his family, the incident was not much discussed, but ranting about divorce stopped.

And this is mainstream. At the end of WWII, 95% of the west Germans identified as Christians (today about 55%). People don’t take their believe so seriously, some disjoin completly, some disjoin from the authorities and/or institution and the church itself is following slowly the path of modernism.

So my argument is, that most of the change to tolerance in Christianity took place in the first 30 years of the last 70 years, one generation. Today, with the evidence of technology for the methods of science, it shouldn’t take longer under good circumstances for the Muslims. At least not in countries, where they have free access to information and are pretty secure from fundamentalists, hunting for apostates.

And a remark about the Koran, being the word of god: Wasn’t it the word of the arch angel Gabriel, which was dictated to Mohamed, who then himself dictated it to someone, able to write, according to this Koran?

 
Papak
 
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Papak
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11 June 2017 09:18
 

Hello Sam,
I am an Ex-Muslim Iranian and recently put one of my works remembering Kurt Westergaard https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU6UWk6dRnw on my Facebook. Facebook has blocked my page because of it. Will you have a page for works such as mine in the future?
Thanks,
Papak

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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11 June 2017 09:40
 
DanTheHam - 09 June 2017 11:53 PM

Why not just ban all religious symbols in public space? Religious freedom should only protect religious practice within your own four walls. No more headscarfs/burkas etc., no more crosses around the neck etc.

Because it is not a free and democratic society that makes these types of restrictions on its citizens.

 
 
DanTheHam
 
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11 June 2017 09:41
 

It’s good to hear about atheists in Persia! Welcome to the club grin

Papak - 11 June 2017 09:18 AM

Hello Sam,
I am an Ex-Muslim Iranian and recently put one of my works remembering Kurt Westergaard https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU6UWk6dRnw on my Facebook. Facebook has blocked my page because of it. Will you have a page for works such as mine in the future?
Thanks,
Papak

 
DanTheHam
 
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DanTheHam
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11 June 2017 09:48
 

Well if the majority votes for such a rule, then it would be democratic. Our current societies are also not free in the sense that everything is allowed. I am not allowed to go shopping naked (haven’t tried yet, but I’m quite sure I would be stopped) or consume hard drugs or many other things. The French have laicism, not only to keep the government out of religion, but also religion out of the public space. Hence their strict stance on islamic veiling and burkinis in public space. I think France is still a democratic and free society. In fact, I’d argue that public displays of religiosity infringe upon the freedom of non-religious or believers of a different faith, so a ban might even increase freedom. Read more about French laicism here: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/07/economist-explains-2

Jan_CAN - 11 June 2017 09:40 AM
DanTheHam - 09 June 2017 11:53 PM

Why not just ban all religious symbols in public space? Religious freedom should only protect religious practice within your own four walls. No more headscarfs/burkas etc., no more crosses around the neck etc.

Because it is not a free and democratic society that makes these types of restrictions on its citizens.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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11 June 2017 10:06
 
DanTheHam - 11 June 2017 09:48 AM

Well if the majority votes for such a rule, then it would be democratic. Our current societies are also not free in the sense that everything is allowed. I am not allowed to go shopping naked (haven’t tried yet, but I’m quite sure I would be stopped) or consume hard drugs or many other things. The French have laicism, not only to keep the government out of religion, but also religion out of the public space. Hence their strict stance on islamic veiling and burkinis in public space. I think France is still a democratic and free society. In fact, I’d argue that public displays of religiosity infringe upon the freedom of non-religious or believers of a different faith, so a ban might even increase freedom. Read more about French laicism here: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/07/economist-explains-2

I disagree.  It is not a free and democratic society that imposes such rules.  Laws should be imposed to protect others, not because of the preferences of some, even the majority.  The laws of a country must also protect the rights of its minorities.

Although I have heard of these laws in France, I haven’t done thorough research on the situation there.  My current understanding is that it is based on an assumption that Muslim women are not choosing for themselves to wear Islamic veiling. 

 

 
 
DanTheHam
 
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11 June 2017 10:33
 

In a democracy, the majority imposes laws on everybody else, also on those who disagree. That is just the character of new laws. Nobody is protected against laws they dislike. You are probably writing about constitutional guarantees to protect minorities and I agree that minorities need protection. However, in the case of religion, everybody needs protection from everybody else’s differing believes. Therefore, a ban of religious symbols in public would be a protection for everybody. I wonder if it would also improve communication among people from different faiths. A christian woman has to wonder if she can or should shake the hand of a man who visibly identifies himself as a muslim. An atheist must wonder if he is rude if he starts a chat with a veiled woman… at least I do. Without religious symbols, I would not worry and maybe there would be more communication. The idea is similar to school-uniforms: make people look similar enough so that different backgrounds are less visible and thus matter less.
Regarding France: laicism is not just for muslims, it targets all religions equally.

Jan_CAN - 11 June 2017 10:06 AM
DanTheHam - 11 June 2017 09:48 AM

Well if the majority votes for such a rule, then it would be democratic. Our current societies are also not free in the sense that everything is allowed. I am not allowed to go shopping naked (haven’t tried yet, but I’m quite sure I would be stopped) or consume hard drugs or many other things. The French have laicism, not only to keep the government out of religion, but also religion out of the public space. Hence their strict stance on islamic veiling and burkinis in public space. I think France is still a democratic and free society. In fact, I’d argue that public displays of religiosity infringe upon the freedom of non-religious or believers of a different faith, so a ban might even increase freedom. Read more about French laicism here: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/07/economist-explains-2

I disagree.  It is not a free and democratic society that imposes such rules.  Laws should be imposed to protect others, not because of the preferences of some, even the majority.  The laws of a country must also protect the rights of its minorities.

Although I have heard of these laws in France, I haven’t done thorough research on the situation there.  My current understanding is that it is based on an assumption that Muslim women are not choosing for themselves to wear Islamic veiling.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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11 June 2017 11:00
 
DanTheHam - 11 June 2017 10:33 AM

In a democracy, the majority imposes laws on everybody else, also on those who disagree. That is just the character of new laws. Nobody is protected against laws they dislike. You are probably writing about constitutional guarantees to protect minorities and I agree that minorities need protection. However, in the case of religion, everybody needs protection from everybody else’s differing believes. Therefore, a ban of religious symbols in public would be a protection for everybody. I wonder if it would also improve communication among people from different faiths. A christian woman has to wonder if she can or should shake the hand of a man who visibly identifies himself as a muslim. An atheist must wonder if he is rude if he starts a chat with a veiled woman… at least I do. Without religious symbols, I would not worry and maybe there would be more communication. The idea is similar to school-uniforms: make people look similar enough so that different backgrounds are less visible and thus matter less.

In a democratic society, laws are designed to protect citizens, not to impose the majority rule and prevent freedom of expression.

As an atheist/humanist, I also would prefer not to see religious symbols.  However, this is a preference; I have no right to control others in such a way.  Trying to retrict others with such laws and regulations is just the sort of thing that happens in totalitarian societies.

 

 
 
DanTheHam
 
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11 June 2017 11:19
 

I think I know what you mean, but democracies almost always use majority rule to come up with new laws, e.g. by majority vote in the legislative bodies or in the case of direct democracy majority vote of the people itself. The resulting laws are then applied to everybody, whether they like it or not. Here’s an example: the Swiss people adopted in 2009 an amendment to the constitution that forbids the construction of minarets. It is clearly democratic in the sense that the people itself voted. Does it restrict freedom? It restricts the freedom of some whereas others feel their freedom was protected against buildings that symbolise Islamic power exertion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_minaret_referendum,_2009 Would you say that Switzerland is no longer a democracy after this democratic decision?

Jan_CAN - 11 June 2017 11:00 AM
DanTheHam - 11 June 2017 10:33 AM

In a democracy, the majority imposes laws on everybody else, also on those who disagree. That is just the character of new laws. Nobody is protected against laws they dislike. You are probably writing about constitutional guarantees to protect minorities and I agree that minorities need protection. However, in the case of religion, everybody needs protection from everybody else’s differing believes. Therefore, a ban of religious symbols in public would be a protection for everybody. I wonder if it would also improve communication among people from different faiths. A christian woman has to wonder if she can or should shake the hand of a man who visibly identifies himself as a muslim. An atheist must wonder if he is rude if he starts a chat with a veiled woman… at least I do. Without religious symbols, I would not worry and maybe there would be more communication. The idea is similar to school-uniforms: make people look similar enough so that different backgrounds are less visible and thus matter less.

In a democratic society, laws are designed to protect citizens, not to impose the majority rule and prevent freedom of expression.

As an atheist/humanist, I also would prefer not to see religious symbols.  However, this is a preference; I have no right to control others in such a way.  Trying to retrict others with such laws and regulations is just the sort of thing that happens in totalitarian societies.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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11 June 2017 12:09
 
DanTheHam - 11 June 2017 11:19 AM

I think I know what you mean, but democracies almost always use majority rule to come up with new laws, e.g. by majority vote in the legislative bodies or in the case of direct democracy majority vote of the people itself. The resulting laws are then applied to everybody, whether they like it or not. Here’s an example: the Swiss people adopted in 2009 an amendment to the constitution that forbids the construction of minarets. It is clearly democratic in the sense that the people itself voted. Does it restrict freedom? It restricts the freedom of some whereas others feel their freedom was protected against buildings that symbolise Islamic power exertion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_minaret_referendum,_2009 Would you say that Switzerland is no longer a democracy after this democratic decision?

Yes, democracies use majority rule to create new laws, but this should be based on protection of all, not just preferences of the majority.  Of course, it is not always easy to determine where this line is and there will always be tension and controversies in democratic societies.  These decisions have to be based on the degree of harm for one group versus that of another, and of course this is difficult to determine.  In my opinion, it is usually better and safer to err on the side of freedom and tolerance.

Restrictions regarding buildings doesn’t seem to be as personal a restriction as the earlier comment that affected individuals more directly (dress/clothing).

If you lived in a religious-majority community, would you want them to be able to legislate how you should dress (e.g. modesty rules, no tattoos, etc.)?

(I think we’ve diverted somewhat from the intent of the OP.)

 

 
 
DanTheHam
 
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11 June 2017 12:15
 

I agree that laws *should* take minorities into consideration. Of course, they oftentimes don’t.
My first suggestion (no more religious symbols in public) does not punish one minority and benefit a majority. It makes sure there is an equal common ground where nobody is offended by symbols of other faith or of non-faith. Plus the problem of veils, burkas etc. would be solved without having to ban other kinds of masks that are not religious.

Jan_CAN - 11 June 2017 12:09 PM
DanTheHam - 11 June 2017 11:19 AM

I think I know what you mean, but democracies almost always use majority rule to come up with new laws, e.g. by majority vote in the legislative bodies or in the case of direct democracy majority vote of the people itself. The resulting laws are then applied to everybody, whether they like it or not. Here’s an example: the Swiss people adopted in 2009 an amendment to the constitution that forbids the construction of minarets. It is clearly democratic in the sense that the people itself voted. Does it restrict freedom? It restricts the freedom of some whereas others feel their freedom was protected against buildings that symbolise Islamic power exertion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_minaret_referendum,_2009 Would you say that Switzerland is no longer a democracy after this democratic decision?

Yes, democracies use majority rule to create new laws, but this should be based on protection of all, not just preferences of the majority.  Of course, it is not always easy to determine where this line is and there will always be tension and controversies in democratic societies.  These decisions have to be based on the degree of harm for one group versus that of another, and of course this is difficult to determine.  In my opinion, it is usually better and safer to err on the side of freedom and tolerance.

Restrictions regarding buildings doesn’t seem to be as personal a restriction as the earlier comment that affected individuals more directly (dress/clothing).

If you lived in a religious-majority community, would you want them to be able to legislate how you should dress (e.g. modesty rules, no tattoos, etc.)?

(I think we’ve diverted somewhat from the intent of the OP.)

 
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