Religion isn't this passage or that passage it is the followers of the faith and what they do with it!
So that includes the nut jobs and extremists?
No, they aren't true followers of the faith.
So a religion is not the bad parts of its scripture, or the interpretations you don't like?
I've always felt that if a timeless, universal God wanted to give out a message of peace and love he could have just made it plain and obvious what he meant, instead of giving out passages like: '' But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)'', only to 'contextualise' them in some form or another later on. It didn't seem to bother him that this would mean that huge numbers of his followers would actually misinterpret his teaching, and do the complete opposite. Context, never has a word been so manipulated and abused than by the pious amongst us.
|The good and the bad, or neither.|
I often wonder how a Muslim would react if a BNP supporter argued with them, 'but our party is a party of peace!'
But what about this section, that seems a bit discriminatory?
No! You are just picking and choosing the worst parts to suit your agenda! You've taken that out of context etc. etc.
The Muslim would probably quite reasonably reply, if referring to a speech the leader of this party gave some years ago saying he was striving to make Britain all white again for example, that there was no way that any context could justify those statements, unless it was the sentence preceding it that said, the following is bullshit, don't abide by it.
So as an atheist myself when I hear a Muslim trying to justify the following: ''Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued'', frankly I don't care what imaginary or other context he is going to bring up, I'm not impressed.
The thing that brought my attention to this issue was a recent debate from Intelligence Squared involving my favourite local Neocon Douglas Murray, and the way the debate went. At one point, essentially, one side read out some peaceful verses and the other read out some not so peaceful. For some reason those that were supporting the motion were quite happy to put down the other side for 'telling them what their religion or a certain passage in their religion meant', while apparently not seeing the hypocrisy that they were doing exactly the same by asserting that Islam was a religion of their interpretation (in this case peace). It's pretty simple, when there is no uniform entity in the thing we call Islam you can either refer to the teachings themselves or refer to all forms of interpretation that have resulted from them whether you like some of those manifestations or not. In other words, to be intellectually honest you would have to call Islam, a religion of interpretation. Or unlike the trend of many left-leaning atheists, why not just be frank and call it a religion like all religions, a religion of bullshit?