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Saturday, October 02, 2010

I believe I am banned from Samizdata. Or in any case, they have chosen not to post the comment below.

I reply to Ian B and other posts made at Samizdata since this one.

Rejoinding in reverse order:

"They wanted simple services and austere
buildings and lay preachers and the like"

Correct to this point, then you go right off the rails.

"all of which are features of Islam which has never had that kind of "Romishness"."

It never had a centralized church hierarchy, you are utterly wrong in every other respect. You think the ivory tower snobbery between Qum and Mecca isn't huge, you're nuts. Lay preachers my butt.

Ritual not so much, outside of the fact every faithful Moslem has a prayer schedule like a 13th century monk, elaborate buildings--check, every time they had the money for it.

"in rejecting the idea that God makes you jump through hoops like a performing dog, they took the first step towards reason, even if they still maintained an irrational faith in other ways"

Yep, that pilgrimage is no hoop at all, and nevermind the whole halal thing. No magical hoops, keerist you're piling it up.

And...Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner, who mentions a very substantial way in which the Puritans were in no way like the Moslems, and a way in which actually the Roundhead's opponents were relatively more like them.

"I'm just not entirely convinced that a smutty cartoonist with no A Levels, let alone a degree, is the ideal person to write it."

Must be hellish internalizing a very classist, minimal upward mobility society's opinion of yourself. You've got at least as much hackery in you as any academic--so you're halfway there now! You already think Popper and Heisenberg are very meaningful in everyday life and that they had profound epistemological insights which have policy implications!

"Or, it was a few centuries ago."

Except it would be admitted even then that the Bible was not literally the work of God, and that men being flawed can only imperfectly receive God's inspiration.

"The point I made is that however honestly you have reached your opinion, you can't stop people believing other things- and I gave the example of the reinterpretation of the US Constitution- a far clearer document than any Holy Book- as an example."

And your insistence that those other "interpretations" are in fact honestly arrived at as opposed to being merely what is convenient for one faction is a prime sign you are not able to perceive reality. Language is not so mutable it has no practical meaning.

And yes I read the interview. Funny fiqh and sharia are hand in glove, if they're so different.

"He says quite clearly, and you're big on that I know Tom, that there is a distinction between God's Law and human understanding (interpretation) of God's Law."

I see no practical difference between him and what is now life in Saudi Arabia;as long as it is Islamic, he is fine with the tyranny of the general will. When he wants members of any religion and atheists to hold forth on the superiority of their faith, 1st Amendment style, in the "parking lot" of the Great Mosque in Mecca, while cart vendors sling pork kielbasa on buns and frosty beers to the tourists--when he propounds individual human negative rights are all that exist, and is unambiguous that statements to the contrary in the Koran are bunk--then he'll be evidence of an Islamic Reformation.

"You see, I don't "like him". "

Sure you do, you need him to be enough like what you need him to be--and he's enough like that you're going with it--that you can put on the rosy glasses and say Islam is on it's way to reform.

"He simply stands as an example of somebody doing what I suggested,"

Not yet he isn't.

"and which you insist is impossible, which is using/developing an interpretation of Islam which isn't Tom Perkins Islam."

And it isn't my Islam, it's Mohammed's invention, and he said it is the perfectly recorded message of God. Your argument is with him and his followers, not me.

"Because re-interpreting things to suit themself is what humans do."

Uh huh. Tool making yes, and also rationalizing. What you're saying is as sensible as saying 2+3=4, and that it's just another interpretation. Oh yeah, you can be an academic, even a Phd, in Philosophy.

"You can call it "making shit up" if you like. It doesn't matter."

A case in point, the collective right "interpretation" of the 2nd amendment. It was invented from whole cloth in the early 19xx years, and never had a trace of legitimacy, but you'd say it just another interpretation as valid WRT the source material as any other. In fact, by language you may feel now is overbroad, you did say that.

"I simply said that that is possible, because language is as ambiguous as its reader wants it to be."

But not honestly so. There is a point where an "interpretation" becomes a lie, and chucking the majority of the Koran will be required for Islam to Reform.

"Look, I get it Tom. Muslims are evil, and irredeemable, and nothing is going to divert you from that certainty of yours."

Islam as it is, yes. An apostate Moslem could very well be a right enough guy.

"Fair enough, you're entitled to believe what you want. But at the end of the day you're still going to have to explain why Dr Ahmed doesn't want to kill you, like he's supposed to in Tom Perkins Islam."

Again, that isn't my Islam, it's Mohammed's. If in fact he is unwilling to tolerate the use of violence to cause me or you to submit, or to prevent backsliding in for example Mecca, Dr Ahmed needs to explain to Mohammed why he is blowing off his holy writ, he need make no explanations me.

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