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Pattern matching and themes in the Quran

 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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13 October 2018 08:00
 
icehorse - 13 October 2018 07:35 AM

bb:

Why did Muhammad decide to let the Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims live in peace and practice their own religion in their own houses of worship?  Did he not understand the Quran?  Did Muhammad have a problem with pattern matching and themes in the Quran?

If you were to study all of my posts on this forum you would find (among other things), that I have always acknowledged that Muhammad was a brilliant general and politician. He “picked his battles” as it were. And of course, on occasion he’d choose to lop off the heads of 800 of his defeated Jewish and/or Christian opponents.

In other words, Muhammad was tolerant when it suited his end game.

You failed to answer the main question: Less than 10% of today’s world Muslim population, equipped with suicide vests, could wipe out the rest of humanity (with the exception, of course, of those who choose to convert to Islam to save themselves).  It seems like a win-win; a net gain in the Muslim population through conversion, plenty of new martyrs to celebrate, and no more non-Muslims left in the world.

Why hasn’t this already happened?

If Islam is everything that you say it is, the above should be fait accompli.  Why is it not?

 
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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13 October 2018 08:17
 
icehorse - 13 October 2018 07:35 AM

In other words, Muhammad was tolerant when it suited his end game.

So, Muhammad did have a problem with pattern matching and themes in the Quran?  Cognitive issues?

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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13 October 2018 08:18
 
bbearren - 13 October 2018 08:00 AM
icehorse - 13 October 2018 07:35 AM

bb:

Why did Muhammad decide to let the Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims live in peace and practice their own religion in their own houses of worship?  Did he not understand the Quran?  Did Muhammad have a problem with pattern matching and themes in the Quran?

If you were to study all of my posts on this forum you would find (among other things), that I have always acknowledged that Muhammad was a brilliant general and politician. He “picked his battles” as it were. And of course, on occasion he’d choose to lop off the heads of 800 of his defeated Jewish and/or Christian opponents.

In other words, Muhammad was tolerant when it suited his end game.

You failed to answer the main question: Less than 10% of today’s world Muslim population, equipped with suicide vests, could wipe out the rest of humanity (with the exception, of course, of those who choose to convert to Islam to save themselves).  It seems like a win-win; a net gain in the Muslim population through conversion, plenty of new martyrs to celebrate, and no more non-Muslims left in the world.

Why hasn’t this already happened?

If Islam is everything that you say it is, the above should be fait accompli.  Why is it not?

Your scenario makes a lot of assumptions that I don’t make. For example, when I say Muslims are taught to be intolerant, that does NOT equate to “murder nonMuslims”.

In recent polls taken in the UK, something like 50% of the Muslims living in the UK thought homosexuality should be banned. Recent world-wide polls indicate that easily half of the world’s Muslims want Sharia. Throughout the ME, nonMuslim populations are systematically being reduced. We’ve seen this happen in the last hundred years in Turkey.

Islam preaches a a supremacist worldview, and we see this play out whenever Muslims become the majority of a population. Would you feel comfortable if any of the women in your life who you love, had to live in a Muslim majority country?

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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13 October 2018 08:23
 
bbearren - 13 October 2018 08:17 AM
icehorse - 13 October 2018 07:35 AM

In other words, Muhammad was tolerant when it suited his end game.

So, Muhammad did have a problem with pattern matching and themes in the Quran?  Cognitive issues?

Not at all. (First off, he wrote the darned thing, which puts him in a truly unique position.) I would say that if you were to start with these two assumptions, you can easily explain almost all of Muhammads actions:

1 - He was intolerant of nonMuslims
2 - He was a brilliant, pragmatic general and politician.

I would agree that he would often appear to be tolerant - when he could use that episode in his favor. There are plenty of situations when he demonstrated violent intolerance, correct?

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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13 October 2018 08:50
 
icehorse - 13 October 2018 07:16 AM

burt:

Ice, you are committing a fallacy here. First off, you have to ask what is the context for each of the various statements. Instead you seem to be saying that if somebody says yes under one set of conditions then they must say yes under all conditions.

And that’s sort of the point of this entire thread. As we are pattern matching machines, our minds might attempt to keep track of the 524 specific rules about under which exact circumstances Muslims should be intolerant of nonMuslims. But our subconscious brains WILL find the larger, simpler pattern. One of the larger, simpler patterns in the Quran is “be intolerant of nonMuslims”.

I understand that there are plenty of tolerant Muslims. But their brains and minds are at odds with each other. And of course, large, world-wide polls show us that - indeed - some of the repeated messages in the Quran do in fact translate to commonly held opinions throughout the Muslim world.

Put yet another way, cognitive scientists will tell you that an individual’s mind and their brain are frequently at odds. Further, the brain is more frequently in charge than the conscious mind likes to acknowledge. We are all run more by tacit knowledge and skills than we let on. In this case “tacit” means: that which cannot be accurately described. No one on the planet can accurately describe the formula for walking. Or hitting a tennis ball. Or playing the violin. Or making moral decisions. We CAN become reliable experts in these domains, but our minds cannot put accurate words to explain our expertise. This is tacit knowledge and skill. One aspect of this is that the brain acts without the mind agreeing. Every good performer (music, sports, chess..), will tell you that when they are performing they are “in the flow”. They will tell you that the part of their brain that can speak is quiet when they are performing. Further, when they cannot quiet the mind, the mind gums up the works. The mind is fond of coaching “racket low”, “knees bent”, “head down”, and so on. But the mind actually has almost no ability to do the thing being done. The doing of the thing being done is above the mind’s pay grade. The brain that cannot explain is in charge.

So, back to the Quran, the mind can try to hedge and justify and qualify and defend and make sense of the words. One can become a “scholar” of the book and - in conversation between minds - demonstrate scholarly knowledge of the context and history and on and on. But the BRAIN DOES NOT CARE. The brain has spotted and remembered the patterns.

It IS a problem that 1.8 billion people’s brains have the message “be intolerant towards nonMuslims” burned in. It IS a problem that this devastatingly damaging book is so widely read, studied, and defended. And it’s defended by well-intended nonMuslims - yikes!

The brain is pattern matching, but your approach is, I’d say, not a correct one for understanding how this works as a general process. The reason that context matters is not that people have to remember a list of cases but that what the brain matches are the connecting patterns implicit in the context (implicit learning). The fundamentalist Muslims who take the message “be intolerant toward non-Muslims” are those who are already intolerant and only read the words that support this intolerance, without abstracting deeper patterns in which those words are embedded. So: does the Quran contain statements that can be taken to support an attitude of intolerance? Yes. Does the Quran contain passages that can be taken to support an attitude of tolerance? Yes.

Here’s a related example: Back in the early 70s I came across books by the Afghan-British writer Idries Shah. Many of these books were compilation of Middle Eastern “teaching stories,” or of apparently simple humorous tales. I was fascinated by these and reread these books multiple times. After a while, I found that this was having an effect: I would find myself in some social situation, or in some situation where my ego was reacting in a particular way, and I’d recall a tale that captured the overall pattern of interactions involved in that situation, allowing me to understand it in a way that I normally would not have and so behave in a more productive way than I might have behaved otherwise. Or, at least get a new perspective on things. Muslim education often involves multiple readings of the Quran and this gives a similar result, it’s not the single phrases that sink in so much as the overall patterns of connections. They learn, implicitly, to see the world through the lens of the Quran, as it were. I realize that you can take this comment as supporting your view, but doing so you then must answer BB’s question: why is it that not all Muslims, or at least the vast majority, are rabidly intolerant of other religions?

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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13 October 2018 09:04
 

burt, I appreciate the thoughtful reply…

burt:

The brain is pattern matching, but your approach is, I’d say, not a correct one for understanding how this works as a general process. The reason that context matters is not that people have to remember a list of cases but that what the brain matches are the connecting patterns implicit in the context (implicit learning).

Muhammad thought up over 500 contexts in which Muslims should be intolerant, correct? Do you think he had a meta-pattern in mind? This is just propaganda 101 stuff that you seem to be arguing against.

burt:

So: does the Quran contain statements that can be taken to support an attitude of intolerance? Yes. Does the Quran contain passages that can be taken to support an attitude of tolerance? Yes.

I would take a stab that the ratio of intolerant messages to tolerant messages in the Quran is maybe 20:1.

burt:

I realize that you can take this comment as supporting your view, but doing so you then must answer BB’s question: why is it that not all Muslims, or at least the vast majority, are rabidly intolerant of other religions?

See post 33 - While you inserted the word “rabid”, I would say that we have abundant evidence that once Muslims become the majority in an area they repeatedly demonstrate their intolerance for nonMuslims. Again, look at demographic trends all over the ME. Look at demographic trends in Turkey over the last hundred years.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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13 October 2018 09:12
 
burt - 13 October 2018 08:50 AM

why is it that not all Muslims, or at least the vast majority, are rabidly intolerant of other religions?

Conservation of energy. All religions are intolerant of other religions as they are competition for the true word of god and thus whose side god is on. Intolerance and hate is costly and time consuming especially if your religion/god is a minority so the return on investment has to be very high to motivate most people.

 
 
Suheyla
 
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Suheyla
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13 October 2018 09:17
 

Mr Icehorse,  you say Muslims are intolerant of non-Muslims.  I have many non-Muslim friends. We respect each other’s beliefs.

Can you tell me why I should be friends with you if you show disrespect to my beliefs?  If you can not provide a good reason, do you now understand the context of your claim?  Thank you, sir.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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13 October 2018 09:21
 
Suheyla - 13 October 2018 09:17 AM

Mr Icehorse,  you say Muslims are intolerant of non-Muslims.  I have many non-Muslim friends. We respect each other’s beliefs.

Can you tell me why I should be friends with you if you show disrespect to my beliefs?  If you can not provide a good reason, do you now understand the context of your claim?  Thank you, sir.

Hi Suheyla,

On an individual level, the Muslims I have met have been tolerant. I’m sure that your personal experience is also one of tolerance.

But let’s look at the bigger picture. Why do you think it is that all throughout the Middle East, across many different countries, Muslims are forcing nonMuslims to leave? Why do you think that over the last 100 years, the Muslims in Turkey have forced almost all nonMuslims out of the country?

 
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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13 October 2018 09:57
 
icehorse - 13 October 2018 08:23 AM

I would say that if you were to start with these two assumptions, you can easily explain almost all of Muhammads actions:

1 - He was intolerant of nonMuslims
2 - He was a brilliant, pragmatic general and politician.

I would agree that he would often appear to be tolerant - when he could use that episode in his favor. There are plenty of situations when he demonstrated violent intolerance, correct?

I don’t start with those two assumptions.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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13 October 2018 10:24
 
Suheyla - 13 October 2018 09:17 AM

Mr Icehorse,  you say Muslims are intolerant of non-Muslims.  I have many non-Muslim friends. We respect each other’s beliefs.

Can you tell me why I should be friends with you if you show disrespect to my beliefs?  If you can not provide a good reason, do you now understand the context of your claim?  Thank you, sir.

Do you? Your religions are mutually exclusive, Jews say Christians and Muslims and every other religion are wrong, Christians say Jews and Muslims and every other religion are wrong and Muslims say Jews and Christians and every other religion are wrong. So when you say you respect each other’s beliefs what you are saying is that you are ignoring your own and each others religion and beliefs and calling that respect and tolerance.

Here’s a question for you, would it be OK for you to marry who you want, a Jew, another woman, be homosexual, not be a virgin on your wedding day, have an affair etc?

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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13 October 2018 10:48
 
bbearren - 13 October 2018 09:57 AM
icehorse - 13 October 2018 08:23 AM

I would say that if you were to start with these two assumptions, you can easily explain almost all of Muhammads actions:

1 - He was intolerant of nonMuslims
2 - He was a brilliant, pragmatic general and politician.

I would agree that he would often appear to be tolerant - when he could use that episode in his favor. There are plenty of situations when he demonstrated violent intolerance, correct?

I don’t start with those two assumptions.

Your assumptions are beside the point. You asked me a question and I gave you a favor simple, logically consistent, common-sense answer. I might even go so far as to call my answer parsimonious.  wink

 
 
Suheyla
 
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Suheyla
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13 October 2018 11:20
 
icehorse - 13 October 2018 09:21 AM
Suheyla - 13 October 2018 09:17 AM

Mr Icehorse,  you say Muslims are intolerant of non-Muslims.  I have many non-Muslim friends. We respect each other’s beliefs.

Can you tell me why I should be friends with you if you show disrespect to my beliefs?  If you can not provide a good reason, do you now understand the context of your claim?  Thank you, sir.

Hi Suheyla,

On an individual level, the Muslims I have met have been tolerant. I’m sure that your personal experience is also one of tolerance.

But let’s look at the bigger picture. Why do you think it is that all throughout the Middle East, across many different countries, Muslims are forcing nonMuslims to leave? Why do you think that over the last 100 years, the Muslims in Turkey have forced almost all nonMuslims out of the country?

Thank you for looking at the big picture. That will help with our discussion.

Ottoman Empire had Jews and Christians for hundreds of years in their society. They did not flee. In fact, I understand they fled the European persecution to seek the protection of Muslim Empire.  In the bigger picture, societies change, they evolve. There is not a single reason why groups migrate. Why did the Americans migrate from Europe to   America originally?  They were not driven out by Muslims. So, people migrate for other reasons.

If there is a similar population movement in Turkey as you say, there could be other reasons. Certainly the invasion of Turkey by the British, French, Greeks, Australia and others did not help.  You do not know what would have happened to Middle East if left alone by the outside powers. Thank you.

 
Suheyla
 
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Suheyla
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13 October 2018 11:31
 
GAD - 13 October 2018 10:24 AM
Suheyla - 13 October 2018 09:17 AM

Mr Icehorse,  you say Muslims are intolerant of non-Muslims.  I have many non-Muslim friends. We respect each other’s beliefs.

Can you tell me why I should be friends with you if you show disrespect to my beliefs?  If you can not provide a good reason, do you now understand the context of your claim?  Thank you, sir.

Do you? Your religions are mutually exclusive, Jews say Christians and Muslims and every other religion are wrong, Christians say Jews and Muslims and every other religion are wrong and Muslims say Jews and Christians and every other religion are wrong. So when you say you respect each other’s beliefs what you are saying is that you are ignoring your own and each others religion and beliefs and calling that respect and tolerance.

Here’s a question for you, would it be OK for you to marry who you want, a Jew, another woman, be homosexual, not be a virgin on your wedding day, have an affair etc?

Respecting each other’s beliefs is not ignoring them. It is simply accepting that we are brought up different and we have different views.  We enjoy each other. We laugh and attend each others weddings, funerals. We do not need to dissect our differences.

I’m already married and with children. My husband is also Muslim. When people decide to have a lifetime together, it helps to have similar views on customs, traditions, raising children. That is why I chose to marry a Muslim. That is also what my family wanted.  You are asking me to consider other options which I do not want for the reasons I explained. It does not mean any disrespect to the others.  Thank you.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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13 October 2018 11:37
 
Suheyla - 13 October 2018 11:20 AM
icehorse - 13 October 2018 09:21 AM
Suheyla - 13 October 2018 09:17 AM

Mr Icehorse,  you say Muslims are intolerant of non-Muslims.  I have many non-Muslim friends. We respect each other’s beliefs.

Can you tell me why I should be friends with you if you show disrespect to my beliefs?  If you can not provide a good reason, do you now understand the context of your claim?  Thank you, sir.

Hi Suheyla,

On an individual level, the Muslims I have met have been tolerant. I’m sure that your personal experience is also one of tolerance.

But let’s look at the bigger picture. Why do you think it is that all throughout the Middle East, across many different countries, Muslims are forcing nonMuslims to leave? Why do you think that over the last 100 years, the Muslims in Turkey have forced almost all nonMuslims out of the country?

Thank you for looking at the big picture. That will help with our discussion.

Ottoman Empire had Jews and Christians for hundreds of years in their society. They did not flee. In fact, I understand they fled the European persecution to seek the protection of Muslim Empire.  In the bigger picture, societies change, they evolve. There is not a single reason why groups migrate. Why did the Americans migrate from Europe to   America originally?  They were not driven out by Muslims. So, people migrate for other reasons.

If there is a similar population movement in Turkey as you say, there could be other reasons. Certainly the invasion of Turkey by the British, French, Greeks, Australia and others did not help.  You do not know what would have happened to Middle East if left alone by the outside powers. Thank you.

Everyone on the planet has been affected by outside powers. For decades now, many countries in the ME have enjoyed amazing wealth and prosperity. And during that same period, these countries have been destroying the churches of nonMuslims, killing nonMuslims, and forcing the remaining nonMuslims to leave. This is a widespread trend throughout the entire region.

How is this an example of tolerance for nonMuslims?

 
 
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