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  #1  
Old Sep 16, '06, 8:41 am
Caesar Caesar is offline
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Default Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

We are all aware of Pope Benedict's recent comments regarding Islam and the violence caused through the Muslim religion.

Do you think that Islam is by nature a violent, oppressive religion, or is this just what Islamic radicals have turned it into? Is Islam a peaceful religion?

Also, what is the differance between the violence in Islam and the violence in Christianity?
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  #2  
Old Sep 16, '06, 8:54 am
Genesis315 Genesis315 is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

There are many different versions of Islam, even though there are not too many specific denominations. Since they are in essence "sola scriptura" every Muslim might have a different interpretation--some interpret it as peaceful, some as commanding terrorism. So who has the right interpretation since there is no central Islamic authority? Well, I think looking at how the founder practiced it is a good indicator--Muhammed himself waged Holy Wars. He practiced coerced conversions.

The difference between Islamic and Christian violence is that permitted Christian violence was defensive (even if we disagee that Christian wars were just, those with the authority to make that decision thought differently and God will judge them on their decision--Blessed Pope Urban II made it to Heaven and was beatified so it couldn't have been that bad of a decision). Any practice by Christians of coerced conversion or conversion by sword has been condemned over and over again by Popes in Church history.

Our pope have publically apologized for the sins of Catholics--we acknowledge the violent behavior as sinful. We've also done a good job of purging that behavior and mindset from our members. On the other hand, the violent sects of Islam do not believe it is a sin--rather they see it as their duty. They encourage it. That's the difference.
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  #3  
Old Sep 16, '06, 9:43 am
Liberian Liberian is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

Caesar,

I don't think Islam is by nature violent or peaceful; for that matter, I don't really think Christianity is by nature violent or peaceful. (Jesus did say that He had come not to bring peace but a sword, after all.) Certain circumstances require violence while others do not. If somebody wants violence he will find justification within Christianity or within Islam; if somebody wants peace he will find justification within Christianity or within Islam.

- Liberian
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  #4  
Old Sep 16, '06, 10:13 am
Maranatha Maranatha is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

It seems to me that even if Islam is not a violent religion, there is a lot of violence pent up in Islamic cultures - some more then others. The Arabic, African and Persian cultures specifically. There seems to be less pent up violence in Turkish and Indonesian versions of Islam.

As for the second question from the OP: Do Catholics need to answer for violence perpetrated by non-Catholic Christians? What Catholic Christian violence would you put on par with Islamic violence?
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  #5  
Old Sep 16, '06, 10:43 am
Caesar Caesar is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

Quote:
As for the second question from the OP: Do Catholics need to answer for violence perpetrated by non-Catholic Christians? What Catholic Christian violence would you put on par with Islamic violence?
Whether we as Catholics like it or not, or even whether other Christians like it or not, Catholicism is very much the spokesperson for all of Christianity. So to other religions, Catholicism should take on some of the responsibility for the violence of non-Catholic Christians.

As for your second question- are you reffering to Islamic and Catholic violence past or present?
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  #6  
Old Sep 16, '06, 11:04 am
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Rolltide Rolltide is online now
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

When I was in college, I had a Turkish roommate who was Muslim and who has gone on to be one of my very best friends. He has travelled extensively with me throughout the US, and my family and I visited him for a month in Turkey. I have also on another occasion visited Morocco for five days. While I was there, I found the local population to be nothing but polite. In fact, if I had to judge my reaction in Turkey (in 1992), I'd say that the majority of the Turkish population *loved* Americans! I can tell you that my friend, his family and friends, and all of the other Muslims I know are very peaceful people. I will say that a major problem in Turkey is a huge difference in development between west and east. Istanbul and the Aegean coast is very western and developed, stable, peaceful, and accepting. The eastern frontier is very poor and still living in a pre-industrial age in many places. That ignorance and lack of education causes many of the problems. Remember, that Islam is a religion that is much akin to Protestantism. There is no central authority to regulate doctrine. It can be interpreted however someone chooses. Many people join the most radical form of Islam for the exact same reasons that ordinary people joined the Nazi party in the 1930s. They feel powerless, they have no jobs, and they blame the west for that. They are usually very young and can be influences. They are the Islamic version of Christian cults. How well does the Westboro Baptist Church represent Christianity, for example? What about David Koresh and the Branch Davidians? There are countless Christian cults that give us problems too. They just aren't as widespread or as organized as they are in the Muslim world because we have far less poverty.
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  #7  
Old Sep 16, '06, 11:58 am
Maranatha Maranatha is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caesar View Post
As for your second question- are you referring to Islamic and Catholic violence past or present?
Either.
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  #8  
Old Sep 16, '06, 6:02 pm
thistle thistle is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caesar View Post
We are all aware of Pope Benedict's recent comments regarding Islam and the violence caused through the Muslim religion.

Do you think that Islam is by nature a violent, oppressive religion, or is this just what Islamic radicals have turned it into? Is Islam a peaceful religion?

Also, what is the differance between the violence in Islam and the violence in Christianity?
Apart from being a false religion Islam is a religion of violence.
See this good CA article on Islam.

http://www.catholic.com/library/endless_jihad.asp
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  #9  
Old Sep 16, '06, 6:04 pm
YinYangMom YinYangMom is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

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Originally Posted by Rolltide View Post
I will say that a major problem in Turkey is a huge difference in development between west and east. Istanbul and the Aegean coast is very western and developed, stable, peaceful, and accepting. The eastern frontier is very poor and still living in a pre-industrial age in many places. That ignorance and lack of education causes many of the problems. Remember, that Islam is a religion that is much akin to Protestantism. There is no central authority to regulate doctrine. It can be interpreted however someone chooses. Many people join the most radical form of Islam for the exact same reasons that ordinary people joined the Nazi party in the 1930s. They feel powerless, they have no jobs, and they blame the west for that. They are usually very young and can be influences. They are the Islamic version of Christian cults. How well does the Westboro Baptist Church represent Christianity, for example? What about David Koresh and the Branch Davidians? There are countless Christian cults that give us problems too. They just aren't as widespread or as organized as they are in the Muslim world because we have far less poverty.
Nice insight and most helpful. Thank you.
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  #10  
Old Sep 16, '06, 8:40 pm
nucatholic nucatholic is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

I just want to say that I am very impressed with the responses to this thread. I agree with Liberian in that a person chooses how to interpret their faith, especially one without a central authority. Even with Catholics, we can see how some preach hatred and intolerance while some (a majority) focus on the peaceful side of Christianity. I think with Islam, it is easier to interpret the faith as justifying the types of violence we see today. Personally I think it is madness to take another person's life in the name of something you have no evidence for. Even if you did have some basic justification it is certainly not sufficient to warrant ending a person's life. Do I believe religion contributes to violence? Of course it does but all types of "faith" do. By that I mean the "faith" that the Soviets and the Maoists had in communism and the "faith" that the Nazis had in the ideals of the Nazi party. Religion is just one of the many ideologies that contribute to the violence we see in the world.


Now as to Christianity, despite my disbelief of the tenets of Catholicism, I give them credit for owning up formally for the wrongs they have committed in the past. I do see some scary things written on these forums by Catholics and I hear the worst things from the Protestants in my home state, but I do not think they rival radical Islam.
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  #11  
Old Sep 16, '06, 9:19 pm
Ridgerunner Ridgerunner is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maranatha View Post
There seems to be less pent up violence in Turkish and Indonesian versions of Islam.
I think the million plus Armenians murdered by the Turks; the Kurds now being murdered by the Turks and the thousands of Christians murdered in Timor would disagree with this statement.
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  #12  
Old Sep 16, '06, 9:56 pm
Vigis Vigis is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

Yes, Islam is a violent religion. It was spread by the sword. And those who live by it shall die by it. I do admit their are some peaceful Moslems, but Islam itself is violent. Look at the last few Crusades. One city was taken by Moslem forces and 50,000 Christians were murdered! These people even raped nuns! In less that 100 years from the beginings of Islam the Islamic World streched form Spain to India. This was all done by the sword. They still bring their sword to us today. I understand why the Pope aplolgized for his comment. The few Christians in the Middle East were starting to be more persecuted than ever. The time is going to come though when we are going to have to stop beating around the bush and address the problem as Pope Urban II did in 1095 A.D. God speed.
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  #13  
Old Sep 16, '06, 10:02 pm
Vigis Vigis is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolltide View Post
When I was in college, I had a Turkish roommate who was Muslim and who has gone on to be one of my very best friends. He has travelled extensively with me throughout the US, and my family and I visited him for a month in Turkey. I have also on another occasion visited Morocco for five days. While I was there, I found the local population to be nothing but polite. In fact, if I had to judge my reaction in Turkey (in 1992), I'd say that the majority of the Turkish population *loved* Americans! I can tell you that my friend, his family and friends, and all of the other Muslims I know are very peaceful people. I will say that a major problem in Turkey is a huge difference in development between west and east. Istanbul and the Aegean coast is very western and developed, stable, peaceful, and accepting. The eastern frontier is very poor and still living in a pre-industrial age in many places. That ignorance and lack of education causes many of the problems. Remember, that Islam is a religion that is much akin to Protestantism. There is no central authority to regulate doctrine. It can be interpreted however someone chooses. Many people join the most radical form of Islam for the exact same reasons that ordinary people joined the Nazi party in the 1930s. They feel powerless, they have no jobs, and they blame the west for that. They are usually very young and can be influences. They are the Islamic version of Christian cults. How well does the Westboro Baptist Church represent Christianity, for example? What about David Koresh and the Branch Davidians? There are countless Christian cults that give us problems too. They just aren't as widespread or as organized as they are in the Muslim world because we have far less poverty.
Islam can be united again. That should be our worst fear. If someone claims to be Caliph (like a Pope) and has some proof to back it up then Christendom will be under a threat that it has not experienced in the last 1300 years. God speed.
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  #14  
Old Sep 16, '06, 10:16 pm
Peter DiMitri Peter DiMitri is offline
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

I'm going to disagree with the assertion that either Islam or Christianity can be used for peaceful or violent intent.

The central issue here is the underlying philosophy or belief system. Is Christianity violent in its basic tenets? Absolutely not. That means, by definition, that Christians that commit violence to spread their faith are violating their own religious teachings.

Islam, on the other hand, does have as part of it's tenets the use of violence. As has been stated, Muhammed himself was a warrior and spread his religion at the point of the sword, and the Koran itself has passages that speak quite clearly to the idea that violence is okay and even a good idea.

That may well mean that Muslims who aren't violent are actually not being completely true to Islam!

All great and bad philosophies have had bad actors, but having a bad philosophy (like Communism or Fascism) seems to result in much more bloodshed and hate than having a good philosophy (like Democracy) and failing to live up to that philosophy.

There have been, and there continue to be, violent Christians, but those Christians are violating their faith. Can the same be said for Islam? I doubt it.
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  #15  
Old Sep 16, '06, 10:56 pm
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Rolltide Rolltide is online now
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Default Re: Wars of Religion, Christianity vs. Islam

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Originally Posted by Ridgerunner View Post
I think the million plus Armenians murdered by the Turks; the Kurds now being murdered by the Turks and the thousands of Christians murdered in Timor would disagree with this statement.
I've had the incredibly interesting experience of being present at a PKK (Kurdistan Worker's Party) rally in central Turkey (and quite a shock it was for me to find myself there, as I wandered into it by accident)! I've talked to many Turks and Kurds about this problem, and the situation seems to be like this. *Both* sides acknowledge that education is a huge problem. Western Turkey is very modern and advanced. The further east you go, the futher back in time you go. I got as far east as central Turkey, in the Cappadocia / Konya area. For those of you who don't know, Konya is considered the most Islamic and conservative city in all of Turkey, and it's the home of the famous Whirling Dervishes. One thing that struck me about the mosque there was how similar it was to being in a medieval cathedral. They had relics of Muhammed (clippings from his beard, early Qu'rans, etc.), and people praying beside the tomb of Mevlana, the founder of the Dervishes. People never questioned my religion or my right to be there. Despite the presence of many veiled women, my mother and young female cousin never felt that anyone was anything but polite to them in their western dress. We would be invited into shops for tea, even with we had no intention of buying anything. It was still borderline western, but we still saw many people living traditionally, and even a large number of nomads camped outside of the town with their herds. Anyway, the problem is that Turkey feels as if it's trying to build an ethinc identity that the Kurds are tearing apart because they are uneducated and clinging to old and superstitious beliefs. They fear the westernization that change will bring. They are suspicious of education. The Turks also fear that the Kurds could attempt a revolution that, if successful, could create a very impoverished Islamic state on its doorstep. This state could then be easily influenced by extremists from Syria, Chechnya, and others. It is also why Turkish/American relations have soured as of late. The Iraq war has awakened Turkey's biggest fear... that the breakup of Iraq in a civil war could create an independent Kurdistan in its north that would act as a catalyst for eastern Turkey to break off. Mind you, some of this information is coming from Kurds themselves.

That being said, the Turks have a *horrible* history in dealing with outside nations, but this is partially due to nationalism. One need only look at the relatively good relations that Turks have with the Jewish minority within their country. The Armenian genocide was appalling, but remember, it occurred before Ataturk, who completely reformed and secularized the nation. The Turks are hyper-paranoid about their borders, but look at their neighbors. When you have that many neighboring countries, and *Bulgaria* is your best friend, of course there are major security concerns. Nevertheless, NONE of this justifies the very heavy hand with which Turkey deals with its Kurds. The slaughter of Kurds is appalling and there is a definite need for a better solution than what's going on there today.
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