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JohnC's Avatar Joined over 7 years ago
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Go to: Debate: Christopher Hitchens and Dinesh D'Souza

JohnC's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by JohnC

The answer to why the constants of the visible universe have the values they do is simple: We don't know, yet. Just as we don't know (and the question is probably related) how to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity.

However, to posit God as the answer is both to immediately initiate an infinity regress and abandon scientific inquiry. It is simply rerunning the cosmological (first cause) argument on slightly different terrain. The last refuge for the god-of-the-gaps, and hence a theological as well as scientific failure as an argument.

Sat, 21 Feb 2009 20:06:00 UTC | #328836

Go to: Attendance at religious services, but not religious devotion, predicts support for suicide attacks

JohnC's Avatar Jump to comment 82 by JohnC

... in Islamic suicide attack, death of the perpetrator is in itself part of the goal.

Succintly put, and made me think! It may be that only Christianity and Islam are capable of generating such a perspective given their distinctive views of Heaven/Paradise. In Bushido you are enhancing your honour in this life (post-mortem); for the Tigers you are sacrificing for the historical victory of an oppressed people, etc, etc.

[edit] Extending that thought: the difference is that Christianity, while celebrating martyrs, has always maintained a strong prohibition against suicide (mortal sin etc) whereas I am not aware of a similar constraint in Islam (anyone know more?). The debates I've seen have all been about killing non-combatants, other Muslims, women, not about the act of suicide itself.

Sat, 21 Feb 2009 07:59:00 UTC | #328534

Go to: Attendance at religious services, but not religious devotion, predicts support for suicide attacks

JohnC's Avatar Jump to comment 80 by JohnC

Comment #344421 by Corylus

The classic 20th century example of suicide attack would be Kamikaze pilots. The Bushido ideology that underwrote this was clearly mainly cultural rather than religious in nature.

Sat, 21 Feb 2009 07:47:00 UTC | #328526

Go to: Attendance at religious services, but not religious devotion, predicts support for suicide attacks

JohnC's Avatar Jump to comment 78 by JohnC

As far as I know suicide bombing is a relatively recent phenonemon in Muslim culture as well and, as I noted earlier, requires a radical reinterpretation of Islam for its justification. Delegitimising this tactic in the eyes of "ordinary" Muslims is an urgent priority. But that is not possible if we push the false line that this is tactic endorsed by Islamic doctrine (which is the line of the Bin Ladens of this world).

This is an unpleasant business because it involves supporting Salafi clerics who oppose terrorism, despite the fact that they are deeply reactionary on almost every other issue you can think of.

Sat, 21 Feb 2009 07:33:00 UTC | #328518

Go to: Attendance at religious services, but not religious devotion, predicts support for suicide attacks

JohnC's Avatar Jump to comment 72 by JohnC

Billy, I am by no means the only person who gets angry and frustrated by serious discussion being swamped by childish to-and-fro with trolls. If you have anything of value to contribute to the topic of this board, please don't hesistate to make a contribution. If you want to engage in pointless polemic, please go to the alternate thread.

Sat, 21 Feb 2009 06:57:00 UTC | #328500

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