Oh, What the Heck

Links?

  1. It is indeed winter. See? Nature can impress, eh?
  2. The are spreading … and it is a religious movement. And not extremists, alas. The President’s strategy of denying their religious origins/basis is, to put it kindly, “a well intentioned but dishonest campaign”. Hmm. Well intentioned and dishonest, sounds like our President’s modus operandi for many many things.
  3. Security and technology, or asking a high school kid to hack a car.
  4. Hmm. Who’s job was it to stop the Balrog? Somebody had to, apparently, put their foot down and say, “You shall not pass!”
  5. How post-modern scholarship gets it (being it = history) wrong.
  6. I wonder how unintentionally ironic that headline is, after all “insane and unbalanced” is a pretty good self-portrait of that particular site. Well, insane might be too strong, unbalanced however is constant as the stars.
  7. Nanotech in nature.
  8. Some verse.
  9. A book now in my inbox. Looks good.
  10. Heh.
  11. I hadn’t realized most outdoors hiking/camping/mountain climbing deaths are by the very experienced not the reverse. Makes sense though. Doesn’t really sound like anything anyone needs to do anything about though.
  12. Regulation. So, is that a generalization principle? That regulation needs to establish both (a) the need for said regulation and to (b) establish that proposed regulation is feasible at a sufficiently low cost. Low. Cost. !!!! Grrr.

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32 comments

  1. Boonton says:

    4.Hmm. Who’s job was it to stop the Balrog? Somebody had to, apparently, put their foot down and say, “You shall not pass!”

    The first thing we should do is put our foot down and stop seeing ISIS as a Balrog. ISIS is more like the Mountain People from Deliverance.

    The President’s strategy of denying their religious origins/basis is…

    How again have we established their basis is religious? Yes they clearly do don lots of religious symbols and language, but as I pointed out in our previous discussion biker gangs often do the same with Christian symbols and rhetoric yet you refuse to assent that they might be described as having a ‘religious origin’. Like biker gangs, though, they seem to attract theologically unsophisticated recruits (new converts, petty criminals with little history of religious belief).

    Rhetorically they do up religious justifications for their acts and unlike biker gangs, they claim to be a ‘state’ but they are unable to get any serious traction so far in Islam’s major cultural thought centers…instead they seem to just make enemies out of them. Their primary actions, though, seem more like a gang….namely bullying people around, demanding that people pay them money, and sadistically killing people.

    Is opposing them a theological fight? I don’t think so. It is not akin to, say, the Protestant Reformation which the Catholic Church had to counter not only with force but also ideas.

  2. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    How again have we established their basis is religious?

    Did you read the article. That they are religious (unlike al-Qaeda) is established over and over and over again in that article.

    but they are unable to get any serious traction so far in Islam’s major cultural thought centers

    cite? ’cause the article states that differently.

    Is opposing them a theological fight?

    No. But there are strategic and tactical implications as noted in the article to their theological basis for their existence.

  3. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Yes they clearly do don lots of religious symbols and language, but as I pointed out in our previous discussion biker gangs often do the same with Christian symbols and rhetoric yet you refuse to assent that they might be described as having a ‘religious origin’.

    Uhm, you forgot. In that conversation it was noted that the “Christian symbols” from biker gangs are derived from their association with Heavy Metal, which in turn gets it’s symbol and vocabulary from … Satanism. Which technically speaking is not a Christ cult. You know that too.

    And you didn’t read the article if you think they are getting just “new converts, petty criminals with little history of religious belief”. ’cause that’s not what the article claims. Cite?

    The author of that article interviewed a number of ISIS/ISIL leaders and intellectual (theological) followers. They aren’t “extremists”. They have a logical theological argument they make for their actions. Alas.

  4. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    “The first thing we should do is put our foot down and stop seeing ISIS as a Balrog.”. Uhm a balrog was just a scary think under the mountain. It didn’t threaten world order in LOTR either.

    ISIS is growing fast right now. Apparently you want to wait until they number in the millions before you stand up and notice.

  5. Boonton says:

    Actually the Balrog would have been a formidable enemy in LOTR as would have Smaug the Dragon. So defeating it really was one of those critical factors in the war.

    ISIS is growing fast right now.

    Actually IMO it isn’t. A few days ago I saw the news coloring a map of the M.E. black for all the areas ISIS supposedly controls. One area was all of Libya. Scary, until an analyst starting talking about how he’s been a Libya expert for years and when he heard the name of the town where ISIS had ‘taken over’ and executed Coptic Christian construction workers from Egypt he had to search for it on the map….it is one of Libya’s more obscure and marginal towns…which is saying a lot since most of Libya is obscure and marginal. ISIS appears to grow by two means:

    1. Local Sunni chieftains decide they are ‘allied’ with ISIS and throw up a black flag. Endlessly shifting alliances have been a constant feature of the desert tribes in Ariba since time began.

    2. They ‘take over’ obscure towns and cities in out of the way places.

    ISIS appears unable to take over or win allies in the M.E.’s actual power centers. That would be major cities like Cario, Baghdad, Demascus and Saudi Arabia. It also appears unable to to intelligently work with the larger Muslim world (esp. Shi’ites), instead it antagonizes them.

    ISIS’s only power base appears to be Sunni’s in Iraq and Syria and the reasons seem pretty clear. Under Saddam minority Sunnis were given preferred treatment and after Saddam Sunnis fear, not without good reason, that the country is run by partisans allied with Iran’s Shi’ite powerhouse. The Iraqi gov’t neither trusts Sunnis and has a lot of score settling lefter over from the Saddam era. As a result, Sunnis are partial to a ‘solution’ that entails ethnically cleansing out non-Sunnis from the areas they can control. Likewise Syria under Assad is also partial to Iranian Shi’ites, giving Sunnis there motive to join the ISIS ship.

    This is all well and good in the limited areas of Iraq and Syria but the real centers of power in the M.E. are Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran. ISIS has little useful to offer them and except for a few young men willing to go off and fight for foreign idealistic causes, they have nothing but contempt for ISIS.

    Uhm, you forgot. In that conversation it was noted that the “Christian symbols” from biker gangs are derived from their association with Heavy Metal, which in turn gets it’s symbol and vocabulary from … Satanism. Which technically speaking is not a Christ cult. You know that too.

    Actually quite a few Metal bands took on Christian symbolism without ever doing anything with Satanism. But it really doesn’t matter. Like it or not Satanism is nothing more than an offshoot of the Christian branch of the tree of world religions. (Also biker gangs predate Heavy Metal by at least a few decades).

    But both Christian toting and Satanism toting bikers and Metal-heads typically share something in common, few of them are very theological minded. You can find deep Christian and even Satanist thinkers who take the religious stuff as more than simply their default cultural symbolism, but neither gangs nor metal could be said to have originated from them.

    Contrast this with, again, Martin Luther in Europe and Ayatollah Khomeini. Both movements started due to serious and deeply thought religious convictions: Luther with the rejection of Papal authority over religious life and Khomeini with a real rejection of Western society and culture. That is hardly saying that followers, princes and power makers who supported both didn’t also have worldly motivations and agendas, but it does imply that the movement itself could fairly be said to have originated from actual religious thought*

    * A cynic here might point out that both revolutions were really going to happen one way or the other. Northern Europe was already chaffing from Papal authority and Persia has always been a cultural and military powerhouse in the region. If Luther and Khomeini didn’t come along they would have invented something like them anyway.

  6. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Actually the Balrog would have been a formidable enemy in LOTR as would have Smaug the Dragon.

    I disagree. After Sauron was defeated Gondor could take them out piecemeal with little problem.

    ISIS appears unable to take over or win allies in the M.E.’s actual power centers.

    Like it or not Satanism is nothing more than an offshoot of the Christian branch of the tree of world religions.

    It is not a Christ cult.

    But both Christian toting and Satanism toting bikers and Metal-heads typically share something in common, few of them are very theological minded.

    Yes. We agree. And as far as we know al-Qaeda is also not theologically minded. ISIS however is. This is the point of the article. Did you even read it yet? Or are you just talking in generalities?

    Both movements started due to serious and deeply thought religious convictions

    And the quoted article notes, this is true, in part, of ISIS as well. Look, a “God hate’s Fags” violent knucklehead can’t justify his theology consistently by pointing to the historical Christian Church. ISIS however can entirely consistently justify and explain their actions entirely based on historically sound interpretations of Islam. In fact, this is one of their attractions to those in the M.E., they are (or represent) a earnest fundamentalist callback to those things which Islam has eased up on in the modern era. I can, in part, sympathize with this. A decade or so ago, when I reconverted to Christianity, I read a whole lot of theology. I decided I didn’t trust modern/post-modern theological writing and if I was going to understand theology better, I had to get to the early writings and move forward. Well, I read a bunch of early Christian writings and then found there was a organized Church (Orthodoxy) for which those early writings are still foundational and fundamental (I prefer Cassian, Gregory Nazainzus, and Maximus to Barth and later writers … although NT Wright is readable). I can see the point of a rejection of relativistic wishy/washy theologies. ISIS is a Islamic counterpart to this “back to the roots” thing. Their leader claims descent from the Mohammed, and as such has religious authority. This is the basis for his leadership.

    I think Obama’s rejection of “Islam isn’t ISIS” is based on a stupid stupid syllogism. (a) Major religions teach modern virtues. (b) ISIS is practicing slavery, beheadings, and so forth, ergo ISIS isn’t theologically sound. This is nice and neat. But is really really simplistic, and as the linked article points out, wrong. ISIS is bringing back these things because the prophet did them.

    A final note, if ISIS isn’t religously based, why respond “We will defeat Rome” … at all? Who is the audience for remarks like that if their followers aren’t actually motivated by Islam?

  7. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Oh, as for growth. Less than a year ago, there were very few in number. There are many more today. They are growing, they’ve only been around for less than a year or so.

    Why do you think misunderstanding/mischaracterizing a group is helpful?

  8. Boonton says:

    Satanism:

    It is not a Christ cult.

    Actually it is. To the degree that it is a religion it exists because of Christ. It may sound a bit ironic but to the degree Satanists desire to embody or support the anti-Christ, they are implicitly saying their religion centers on Christ. If you’re going to dedicate yourself to being the negative of something, you are actually saying that something is quite important aren’t you? If that bothers you, think of anti-communists. Could anti-communism exist if communism never existed?

    And as far as we know al-Qaeda is also not theologically minded. ISIS however is

    Bin Laden was reported to be quite serious about religion.

    This is the point of the article. Did you even read it yet? Or are you just talking in generalities?

    I just finished it (I take it you mean The Atlantic article). I’m reminded of a story I once read in a history of the Popes. There was a dispute over who had won the election and one man leaped into the chair and declared because he had sat in Peter’s throne he was now the Pope. Many Cardinals were aghast at this childish stunt, but the man had supporters and ended up becoming Pope after all!

    It feels to me the article is indirectly asserting a theological stunt. Get some territory (any will do no matter how irrelevant). Declare yourself a caliph and there you are! All Muslims must join you or you can kill them. And yet almost no Muslims have joined…well except for a few thousand (at best) disconnected ones from abroad.

  9. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Actually it is. To the degree that it is a religion it exists because of Christ.

    “exists because of Christ” is not, to my understanding, what defines a ‘Christ Cult’. The Mormon faith and the Jehovah witnesses are Christ cults because Jesus is a central figure and is worshiped. Satanist are not Christ cults, Jesus is not worshiped nor is central to their faith.

    And no, “anti-communists” couldn’t exist without communism, but capitalists and free-marketeers (another definition of anti-communist) could actually exist just fine if Marx had never written anything.

    Bin Laden was reported to be quite serious about religion.

    But his movement was not fundamentally religious. I never understood bin Laden to claim religious authority, he is termed a Sheikh not an Imam for example.

    Not a stunt. The thesis of the article is that

    It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse.

    To that extent the claim “they aren’t religious” or “they aren’t Islamic” is just a freaking lie. Why pretend otherwise, unless you want to look stupid? And answer the question I asked regarding the “We will defeat Rome” statement. If this isn’t a religious movement, who is the audience for that statement? Who is that remark intended for?

  10. Mark says:

    Boonton
    Saying Satanism is a Christ cult is like saying Christianity is a Lucifer cult. That doesn’t scan.

  11. Boonton says:

    “exists because of Christ” is not, to my understanding, what defines a ‘Christ Cult’. The Mormon faith and the Jehovah witnesses are Christ cults because Jesus is a central figure and is worshiped. Satanist are not Christ cults, Jesus is not worshiped nor is central to their faith.

    It seems if you stand yourself in direct opposition to someone or something, that would indeed be a ‘central figure’ in one’s faith or ideology. There is a formal ‘Church of Satanism’ that has a theology that is probably a neo-paganist centered which I suppose we could say is not a direct offshoot of Christianity. But in the history of many satanist sects and groups, the central pivot comes directly from Christ. For example, an early concept of the ‘black mass’ consisted of saying key prayers of the Christian mass backwards…sometimes these were done by actual Christian priests who figured if saying the mass properly accomplished positive things reversing it could be used to accomplish negative things. At least as far as pop culture references go, I don’t think you can get around the fact that satanism has to be tied to the branch of Christianity…a mirror opposite something is still focused on that something. You can say it is a dependent branch since Christianity doesn’t need Satanism to exist but a Christ focused Satanist requires Christianity to exist.

    Saying Satanism is a Christ cult is like saying Christianity is a Lucifer cult.

    That would work perhaps if Gnostics or Zoroastrianism had more influence on the development of Christianity….making the universe a dualistic battle between equally powerful ‘Good God’ and ‘Evil God’. But the way it came out was always Lucifer as more of a side character rather than a main one. No way around it, Satanism is the spinoff. Likewise that might have worked if you could show early Christians were riffing off of Luciferian rites and ceremonies to craft their system of faith, but I don’t think you have the history there to support that.

    Likewise if someone came up with some type of ‘negative Islam’ faith that consisted of reversing features of the Muslim faith (i.e. eating during the days and fasting at night during Ramadam, saying ‘Cursed be his name’ any time the Prophet was discussed etc.) it would be pretty hard to map that as anything other than an offshoot of Islam. After all, if Islam never existed that faith couldn’t exist.

    To that extent the claim “they aren’t religious” or “they aren’t Islamic” is just a freaking lie.

    And who exactly has claimed that (except via the ‘no true Scotsman’ style of argument)? No one thinks ISIS consists of Catholics, for example. But there’s a difference between saying the IRA consists of Roman Catholics and Catholicism is the origin of the IRA. Imagine England in the 80’s trying to address IRA terrorism as a stuggle against Catholicism or a problem with ‘the Roman Catholic world’. While technically true the IRA consisted of Roman Catholic Irish, and even if the IRA claimed a Catholic centered theological argument for fighting the UK, trying to force it into a ‘Catholic problem’ when 99.9% of the Catholic world had no regard for the IRA would have been to miss a major point while at the same time granting the IRA pretentions of global power and influence that it never actually acquired.

  12. Boonton says:

    But his movement was not fundamentally religious. I never understood bin Laden to claim religious authority, he is termed a Sheikh not an Imam for example.

    Beats me but one interesting fact the article mentioned was that there is a deep division between Al Qaeda, which favors uniting Muslims by staging terrorism against the west, and ISIS, which holds that the primary duty is to expand their actual geographic territory first.

    It does raise the question of whether maybe ISIS is doing us an unintended favor. Let jihadists follow their call to fight pointless battles in the wilderness of Syria and Iraq rather than following the model of the Paris terrorists in staging attacks here. Granted those unlucky enough to be taken by ISIS won’t have good chances, but perhaps Al Qaeda would ultimately be undercut ideologically by essentially getting what they say they want, a caliphate in the Arabian world.

  13. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I’m not disputing that Satanism is derivative of Christianity, or is not dependent on its opposition to it. I’m saying it isn’t a Christ cult.

    And who exactly has claimed that

    That’s actually what you are arguing and what the President has claimed (they are not Islamic is the essence of the statement). He claims they have “perverted” Islam. Except the article points out they haven’t, they’ve just reverted to the practices of early Islam, which almost certainly isn’t what you would normally term a perversion.

  14. Boonton says:

    That’s actually what you are arguing and what the President has claimed (they are not Islamic is the essence of the statement). He claims they have “perverted” Islam.

    As I asked, who has claimed otherwise with the exception of the ‘no true Scotsman’ type of claim. (i.e. “No Roman Catholic would ever blow up a night club filled with innocent people” That doesn’t mean the speaker is claiming the IRA bombers were Mormons)

    Except the article points out they haven’t, they’ve just reverted to the practices of early Islam, which almost certainly isn’t what you would normally term a perversion.,

    So you would advise the President to claim ISIS represents ‘authentic Islam’ and those who consider themselves devout Muslims should either convert to a different religion or consider ISIS the closest thing they can get to the ‘pure thing’? Hmmm, I’m not sure why that would be helpful.

    Your other claim is that would be more honest. Here I’m not sure you are right either. Burning witches and heretics at the stake was something earlier Christians did. It wouldn’t follow from that, I suspect, that if a Christian cult started today that burned people alive you’d consider them more authentic or more real than more modern Christians. Or consider a Jewish group that advocated mass genocide of all Arabs citing the slaughter at Jericho. Would you consider that group to be more ‘true Jewish’ than most other Jewish groups who would not consider any such thing?

  15. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    St. John of Damascus wrote a book in the 7th century “Against the Heresy”. What was the primary heresy he was writing about you ask and why is this relevant? The heresy was Islam. Thus by your lights it might be argued that placing itself in opposition and/or that its origins depend on … in that way you argue vis a vis Christianity and Satansism, that by your argument then Islam is a Christ cult.

    It isn’t. Satanism too, is not a Christ cult.

    You can say it is a dependent branch since Christianity doesn’t need Satanism to exist but a Christ focused Satanist requires Christianity to exist.

    Do you think a free market capitalist depends on Communism for his beliefs in markets to make sense?

    And, I wonder, I remember some of those old 50’s/60’s biker films (The Wild One?) … I don’t recall any Christian imagery amongst the bikers. I’ll bet that wasn’t common until after the Metal scene took over many biker gangs. Do you have a reason for thinking that imagery pre-dated the musical influences?

  16. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Imagine England in the 80’s trying to address IRA terrorism as a struggle against Catholicism or a problem with ‘the Roman Catholic world’.

    They didn’t because it wasn’t a religious movement. Truth matters. ISIS is a religious movement. The IRA wasn’t. The point isn’t “what if we pretended they were” … they are or they aren’t.

  17. Boonton says:

    St. John of Damascus wrote a book in the 7th century “Against the Heresy”. What was the primary heresy he was writing about you ask and why is this relevant? The heresy was Islam. Thus by your lights it might be argued that placing itself in opposition and/or that its origins depend on … in that way you argue vis a vis Christianity and Satansism, that by your argument then Islam is a Christ cult.

    Interestingly when Christianity first encountered Islam, quite a few Christians did in fact view it as a form of Christian error. In fact there was a legend in the Christian world that Muhammad was led astray by a Christian monk named Bahira.

    This isn’t surprising, for early Christians probably had a hard time dealing with the idea of a new religion on the scene. Pagens they understood. Jews perplexed them (why didn’t they just accept Christ?) but they could rationalize their existence as being a case of misguided stubbornness. But the creation of a new religion, esp. by those who have access to Christianity? Strange. Many Muslims too view their faith as a fulfillment or ‘ultimate correction’ to Judism and Christianity. If you were mapping religions on a tree-like diagram you would have to branch Islam off the Judeo-Christian spurr.

    But by your measure of a ‘Christ cult’ Islam would be removed since Jesus is only considered a Prophet (granted the 2nd greatest Prophet in all time but still a Prophet). This would put Islam closer than Judiasm.

    Do you think a free market capitalist depends on Communism for his beliefs in markets to make sense?

    Is this really the same thing as an anti-communist or are you confusing anti-communism with any advocate of a non-communist system? How about an advocate of feudalism?

    remember some of those old 50’s/60’s biker films (The Wild One?) … I don’t recall any Christian imagery amongst the bikers. I’ll bet that wasn’t common until after the Metal scene took over many biker gangs.

    Hollywood movies might have opted to mute showing people engaging in criminal or questionable behavior while toting Christian symbols. This was the days of the Hays Code and all and avoiding offense was more important than ‘realistic’ depictions.

    They didn’t because it wasn’t a religious movement. Truth matters. ISIS is a religious movement. The IRA wasn’t.

    And again who is saying they are not? You seem to want to import into an argument against ISIS some larger statement about the merits or demerits of Islam. Given that 99% of Muslims do not give credence to ISIS’s theological claims, this appears to be a very difficult stone you’re trying to roll up the hill. You’re trying to say that many, many Muslims, all of whom know more about their religious texts, traditions and customs than you, are mistaken and should view ISIS as ‘true Islam’ but ALSO reject ISIS (perhaps exploring outside of Islam for their spiritual needs?). To make this work it sounds like you would need two things to happen, and if you only get the first thing you end up with a stronger ISIS. How again is this a good idea?

  18. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Heavy metal began in the late 60’s. Do you have any evidence that biker gangs used Christian/Satanic imagery prior to that time? You’ve made the claim, why do you think it is the case? I’m not saying it isn’t, but I don’t know. I was too young at the time to remember personally.

    And again who is saying they are not?

    The President is saying they aren’t religious. He is going to great lengths to avoid noting that, say, the Paris attacks on Jews was by Muslims and the targets were chosen because of their religion.

    You’re trying to say that many, many Muslims, all of whom know more about their religious texts, traditions and customs than you, are mistaken and should view ISIS as ‘true Islam’ but ALSO reject ISIS (perhaps exploring outside of Islam for their spiritual needs?)

    Oh. Please. I’m not saying that. Look Catholics don’t say Protestants are not Christian. Similarly, except for Obama, nobody is claiming ISIS isn’t Islamic. You seem to be confused. If two people differ on interpretation of the Christian faith nobody argues that the other side isn’t Christian. Similarly, nobody (except perhaps the President) is arguing that IS isn’t Islamic, that they are Islamic doesn’t mean that the “99%” of other Muslims have to say they aren’t Muslim to disagree with them. You knew that.

    You’re trying to say that many, many Muslims, all of whom know more about their religious texts, traditions and customs than you, are mistaken and should view ISIS as ‘true Islam’ but ALSO reject ISIS (perhaps exploring outside of Islam for their spiritual needs?).

    This isn’t how religious disagreements work. As noted above, you know that. Why pretend differently?

  19. Boonton says:

    The President is saying they aren’t religious. He is going to great lengths to avoid noting that…

    Hmmm, a snippet of Obama’s speech on ISIS:

    try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why [ISIS] presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.” And they propagate the notion that America, and the West, generally, is at war with Islam. That’s how they recruit.

    So let’s pretend you just arrived from Mars and had no idea who any of these people are. You only have Obama’s speeches in front of me. I think you’d be able to say whoever this ISIS group is, they not only consist of people claiming religious motivation but also that their religion is part of some larger faith called ‘Islam’. So you have yet to provide an answer to my question of who is claiming they are not religious?

    Look Catholics don’t say Protestants are not Christian. Similarly, except for Obama, nobody is claiming ISIS isn’t Islamic.

    Well actually:

    1. They do all the time, for example google something like “Are Mormons Christians” or even better do a more sarcastic search like “Are Mormons really Christian”

    2. Or just look at some of the comments on http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2015/02/un-presidential-remarks. When confronted with something like a picture of a Klan meeting w/”Jesus Saves” hanging in the back Christians are happy to distance themselves from such groups (note that your definition of a “Christ cult” would require you to keep them in the Christian club).

    It is actually a time worn argument to assert “You say you are faithful X, but in reality you have so totally distorted X, got it so wrong you can’t even call yourself X”. Which leads me to the issues you keep dodging here:

    First: Either Islam is a true faith, or its a product of human imagination. If its true, then you either think ISIS is right (which I don’t think you do) or they aren’t. If they aren’t right, then you can say they aren’t Islamic via the ‘No True Scotsman’ ground.

    Or if you think Islam is a product of human imagination then it is whatever humans want it to be. Why do you then want to define ISIS as such? Define Islam as something actually helpful and useful. The only reason you provide is what you cripped from the Atlantic article, that 1300 years ago or so Muslims were killing people. So what? Christians once burned witches alive, yet I think you’d be reluctant to endorse a group that starts burning fortune tellers alive in Christ’s name today.

  20. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    google something like “Are Mormons Christians”

    Typically the “is X group Christian?” argument depend on two different but unstated definitions of Christian (or at least unstated within the argument). Most of the time, one side defines Christian as a Christ cult and the other person on their side of the argument defines Christian as Nicene Christian (a Christ cult whose beliefs conform to the Nicene creed). This arises because within the Nicene Christian confessing community the word “Christian” means “Nicene Christian”. Outside that group, “Christian” typically only means Christ cult. (This also simplifies slightly, as Catholics and Orthodox point to their split as keyed by the West adding terms to the original Nicene creed, with Protestants remaining with the Catholics on that part. Google “filioque” for more on that if interested).

    Either Islam is a true faith, or its a product of human imagination. If its true, then you either think ISIS is right (which I don’t think you do) or they aren’t. If they aren’t right, then you can say they aren’t Islamic via the ‘No True Scotsman’ ground.

    Here’s the rub. (there are two points, this is the first) If a Christian group decided to hew to beliefs and practices of 7th century Christianity, taking as closely as possibly their beliefs and praxis … Christians and others would have a hard time saying they weren’t Christian. The arguments for why they shouldn’t, say, exclude from communion or accept into communion based on very strict criteria and so on might be called to question. But … here we (according to the Atlantic article) have a group whose Islamic practices hark back to a similar period in Islam’s history. It is hard not to say ISIS is really Islamic on that basis.

    Secondly, there is the apocalyptic side. In the Christian community a whole passel of protestants categorize themselves as pre- post- millenial (pre and post trib as well). See here (Orthodoxy it is noted, rejected this silliness in 381 and the Catholic church rejects this as well). So, eschatological views can in fact encompass heresy. Christianity has encompassed this primarily with the Nicene creed method, categorizing faiths as confessing or not-confessing the Creed as a primary “in/out” membership claim. I know of no such equivalent in Islam. If there is a creedal statement in Islam the question might arise whether the ISIS eschatological views are “out of bounds” or not regarding mainstream Islam.

    So what? Christians once burned witches alive, yet I think you’d be reluctant to endorse a group that starts burning fortune tellers alive in Christ’s name today.

    Oh, please. Don’t go there. That’s just silly. First off, the number of people killed by Inquisitions and such over the century is extremely small and oddly enough unlike ISIS is a departure from, not in accordance with the earliest Christian practices and beliefs.

    When confronted with something like a picture of a Klan meeting w/”Jesus Saves” hanging in the back Christians are happy to distance themselves from such groups

    And how do we do that? We say that those groups are not consistent with historical (especially early) Christian beliefs, teachings, and practices. Islam cannot, because of their different relationship to war and violence, slavery and conquering cannot use that method. This is a big problem which you would like to pretend does not exist.

    The Atlantic article points out that within the context of Islam itself it is hard to argue that ISIS is not Islamic and is inconsistent with Islamic practices and history.

  21. Boonton says:

    The ‘groups’ are simply using a definition that is important to them. If you believe that the Nicene Creed is ultimately the truth, then ‘Christians’ from other branches are inherently defective.

    In fact, in early Europe the charge of ‘atheism’ was tossed around quite a bit not at actual self-proclaimed atheists but at Christians. The idea was if your view of God was really wrong, then you didn’t really believe in God (or at least the God that actuals exists) and since you didn’t believe in any God that exists you might as well not believe in any God.

    If a Christian group decided to hew to beliefs and practices of 7th century Christianity, taking as closely as possibly their beliefs and praxis

    Oh, please. Don’t go there. That’s just silly. First off, the number of people killed by Inquisitions and such over the century is extremely small and oddly enough unlike ISIS is a departure from, not in accordance with the earliest Christian practices and beliefs.

    ISIS isn’t all that great following early Islamic belief and practice either. Ohhh sure people got burned alive, behaded and killed in good amounts 1300+ years ago. Islam hardly introduced cruelity to humanity or even to the Middle East. But even the caliphate was not as ISIS depicts it. Like all major religions, the empire compromised as it expanded, cut deals, tolerated differences AND no Muslims did not give unquestioned submission to the self-declared caliphate (if they did there would be no Sunni-Shi’ite split today).

    ISIS gets around this my a lot of the usual games. They reimagine history to be nicer than it really was. They perform some playground tricks to make only certain caliphates the ‘right’ ones to follow in history. They declare rules are only binding given a ‘correct’ caliphate holding power. Hence 90% of Islamic history can be ignored as either under the influence of an invalid caliphate or being irrelevant as it happened during a period where the seat was empty.

    So this would be like a group burning modern day fortune tellers alive who claim they are following what Christians did in Europe. When you attempt to retorte that relatively few Christians ever burned people alive, their reply is simply that most of Christian history has been either occupied by ‘fake Christians’ or responding that the ‘duty’ to burn witches only applies at certain points in history (again sort of like how some Jewish scholars reply to the slaughter at Jericho…commanded by God for only one particular battle, not a general rule of acceptable behavior for all time).

    So let’s return again to your differing definitions of Christian. The ‘in groups’ you are describing are trying to get at the truth, hence they desire a definition of Christianity that is not only descriptive but ultimately true. Hence they are inclined towards definitions that would exclude groups that they feel push the boundaries of acceptable variation within the tent of ‘true believers’ (hence the endlessly recurring pieces you’ll find pondering the question of whether Mormons/Roman Catholics/Anglicans/Jahovah’s Witnesses/etc. can be considered ‘really Christian’…..my brother-in-law actually says out of habit from the way he was raised things like “I was raised Catholic when I was very little but then my parents became Christian”)

    The other difference is sociological. Christianity would be defined as both all the main as well as all the ‘spin offs’ that erupted from the beginning of the Christian religion 2,000+ years ago. Mormonism would be easy to peg there as it is clearly derived from earlier Christian texts and ideas. So would Satanism, although we could say that maybe we should list ‘pure anti-‘ religions with a footnote in our studies least the unaware reader think it’s yet another variation on a theme.

    The sociological approach has an advantage in that we needn’t get bogged down with whether or not a particular sect is ‘true’ or ‘silly’ or whatnot. Likewise we can look at what authoritative texts say but we don’t have to get bogged down with whether we should be taking a literal, allegorical or a “these are just suggestions” type reading. We would say religion X is the sum of both the expressed ideas of various people throughout history who say they are part of X (or who others say are part of X) as well as what members of X actually do regardless of what the ‘rules’ seem to say they should be doing.

    Here the ISIS=Islam idea runs into a serious problem. ISIS declares they are Islamic by explicitly ignoring or rejection something like 90%+ of both all the world’s Muslims as well Islam’s actual history. If you are going for an ‘in group’ definition this isn’t a problem. An ‘in group’ approach assumes Islam is true and all that really matters is ISIS ‘getting it right’. If they are it doesn’t matter that everyone else is getting it wrong. Why be content with half-wrong if it is possible to just be right?

    But most of us aren’t going for an ‘in group’ definition of Islam since most of us here are not Muslims. And most people who go for an ‘in group’ definition of Islam end up with something that doesn’t embrace ISIS (otherwise ISIS’s followers would have to be numbered in the hundreds of millions instead of tens of thousands)

  22. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    The sociological approach has an advantage in that we needn’t get bogged down with whether or not a particular sect is ‘true’ or ‘silly’ or whatnot

    Yes, but by the Sociological approach, (what is a Christ cult) ISIS is certainly Islamic. They are a Mohammed cult. No question about it. That is the sociological perspective. So, sociologically speaking ISIS is definitely Islamic. Their faith claims are based on Mohammed’s teachings and Islam’s history. Furthermore, their modern beliefs and practices are traced directly from modern offshoots of Islam (Wahhabist and Salalfi Islam specifically I believe). Thjs further supports the notion that they are Islamic. It isn’t as if a group of American scholars independent of any contact with existent Islamic groups read history books and the Koran and “made up” what Islamic worship and praxis should be and called themselves Islamic. If that happened, you’d have a Mohammed cult that couldn’t trace its roots to any extant other Islamic tradition. This is not the case for IS. This group (ISIS) has roots in modern Islamic praxis and theology. It is a Mohammed cult. Therefore, as outsiders we have no choice but to acknowledge they are Islamic. I don’t see how you can claim otherwise … especially from a sociological perspective, in which “in/out” is less strict than is often done from by particular religious groups themselves.

    Mormonism, Jehovah’s witnesses &c (but not Satanism, I’d claim) sociologically are all Christ cults. Devotion to Christ is central to their religious beliefs. Satanism, while historically tracing modern roots to a rejection of Christianity is not a Christ cult by this measure, because for them devotion to Satan (who is not identified with Jesus of Nazareth) is central to their beliefs.

    In fact, in early Europe the charge of ‘atheism’ was tossed around quite a bit not at actual self-proclaimed atheists but at Christians. The idea was if your view of God was really wrong, then you didn’t really believe in God (or at least the God that actualy exists) and since you didn’t believe in any God that exists you might as well not believe in any God.

    In middle and late antiquity (pagan Roman era) Christians and Jews were all viewed as atheists. Normal pagans worshiped their “own” particular gods but didn’t normally deny the existence and divinity of the particular pagan god’s worshiped by others. If you were a devotee of Apollo for example, you wouldn’t claim that Isis wasn’t a goddess, just not a goddess you worshiped. Christian and Jews were viewed as atheists because they denied the divinity of Apollo and Isis. By saying your God was the only god (and furthermore the god you worshiped at best didn’t exist at all, at worst was a demon or devil), that was a very problematic claim for the ordinary pagan and why Christians and Jews were viewed as atheists.

    ISIS isn’t all that great following early Islamic belief and practice either.

    They are “bringing back” slavery, beheadings, and &c because they were practiced by early Islam. That is their stated reason for doing that. In what way are they “not great at following early Islam? You make the claim but do not offer any concrete support for it.

  23. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    The ‘groups’ are simply using a definition that is important to them. If you believe that the Nicene Creed is ultimately the truth, then ‘Christians’ from other branches are inherently defective.

    No. Typically it’s not that. It’s just that “within group” Nicene Christians drop the adjective because 99% of the time they use the term they are talking “in group” and that’s understood. It is only when they are talking to non-Nicene Christians (atheists or non-Nicene confessing Christians) they have gotten to the point where they don’t remember the distinction or don’t realize that “Christ cult” is what the other understands the term “Christian” to mean not their more commonly used internal definition. It’s not about “importance” it’s about common usage/meaning assigned to words.

    If you asked the most hide-bound Mormons-are-going-to-hell evangelical he’d admit that if your term “Christian” mean “Christ cult” that indeed Mormons are Christian by that definition. If the term Christian means “Whom Jesus Christ will save” or “Nicene Christian” then he’s going to not call a Mormon Christian. End of story. Simple.

  24. Boonton says:

    Yes, but by the Sociological approach, (what is a Christ cult) ISIS is certainly Islamic

    And the IRA is certainly Irish and certainly Roman Catholic.

    They are “bringing back” slavery, beheadings, and &c because they were practiced by early Islam. That is their stated reason for doing that. In what way are they “not great at following early Islam?

    Yes as our hypothetical Christian cult who burns fortune tellers might also say they are ‘bringing back’ something from the past. But as I pointed out they’ve practiced quite a bit of picking and choosing about the past.

    Recall your original argument was about whether or not ISIS ‘originates’ in Islam and the larger debate is revolving around the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ thesis. This is actually a break from using a socilogical or ‘in group’ definition to using a hybrid of the two. Sociologically ISIS would be ISlamic just as the Nation of Islam is also Islamic. ‘In group’ the NOI has a huge problem in that by holding their founder was a prophet, they run smack into one of Islam’s main tenants that Mohammed was the final and ultimate prophet. This would be akin to a Christian group that was also, perhaps, worshipping a woman as the ‘Daughter of God’ and a sibling of Christ. Sociologically we could put such a group in the Christian camp but I think even those who don’t consider themselves Christians would see there’s a glaring problem with that new group and all other mainstream Christian groups…a problem that would be even wider than the gulf between, say, Mormons and other Christians.

    The ‘Clash of Civilizations’ model therefore assumes our agenda should be actually aligned with ISIS. Since ultimately there has to be a clash between the Western and Islamic civilizations, the best policy would be to stoke that conflict by rhetorically linking ISIS not only as Islamic sociologically but also as the epitome of Islam via the ‘in group’ definition. Ironically this is also ISIS’s stance since they think the sooner the grand battle happens the sooner God is going to bring in the end times and they will be vindicated.

    This model, though, has not stood up to evidence. While we cannot pretend to be ‘in group’ with respect to Islam we can address the question of whether or not ISIS represents Islam sociologically and we can conclude they do not (just as we can conclude the hypothetical Son and Daughter of God cult above may be part of the set of Christian groups, they are an outlier…a deviation away from the norm).

    Rhetorically that strategy would advise emphasis that denies ISIS its claims to be ‘pure Islam’. IMO this is even more important since a lot of their claim relies upon a ‘theological gimmick’ (namely it was ok not to burn people, vote in free elections and so on before because there was no true caliphate but now that our guy declared he is one you have to change everything). There is also nothing untruthful about this tactic since the ‘No True Scotsman’ argument is perfectly acceptable.

    If you asked the most hide-bound Mormons-are-going-to-hell evangelical he’d admit that if your term “Christian” mean “Christ cult” that indeed Mormons are Christian by that definition. If the term Christian means “Whom Jesus Christ will save” or “Nicene Christian” then he’s going to not call a Mormon Christian. End of story. Simple.

    And this demonstrates what? That if you force someone to use a definition you want they will agree with you? All this demonstrates is that you and a hypothetical evangelical can agree on the *application* of one particular definition of a word. What definition is the right one? I suspect he might be more comfortable defining Christian as a “member of the Church Christ founded”. He might point out to you that no one would object to defining Republican as “a member of the Republican Party” or Harvardite as “a student, alumni or employee of Harvard University”. Of course how you would know whether or not Christ considers a Mormon a member of the Church he founded or a member of a Church trying to steal the brand is a bit more tricky but that doesn’t make the definition itself less valid.

  25. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    And this demonstrates what?

    Apparently you had missed the point of the my mentioning the “Christ cult” vs “Nicene Christian” issue at all. I had, as an aside, pointed out that often in Internets and elsewhere the argument between “are people X” Christian devolves to people shouting about one side using one definition for the word and the other side using another. Most often one side is arguing that, say, A JHV Witness is not Christian because they aren’t Nicene and the other side arguing yes they are, because they call on Jesus (Christ cult). And they go back and forth with much heat and little light based on the fact that neither is arguing the same thing, i.e., their definition of Christian isn’t shared.

    Let’s recap.
    1. ISIS is part of Islam, we’ve agreed they are a Mohammed cult.
    2. They are historically part of Islam (they intellectually and likely via personal attachment) trace their roots through Saudi Wahabism and Salafi Islamic strands of thought.
    3. Iff you follow a “clash of cilvilizations model” is it useful to consider ISIS representative of Islam for the purposes of gathering forces. Alas, nobody here is arguing the wisdom of that from either the Islamic or Western POV. This is, in a word, irrelevant to the discussion. Obama hasn’t offered a “Clash of Civ” as a model. Apparently, according to you, he’s rejected this to the point of even making the horrendous argument that ISIS isn’t Islamic and the Paris attackers were just random hoods attacking random victims (not Muslims attacking Jews, which is in point of fact actually what happened).

    I haven’t accepted the notion that the “CoC” model is right or relevant. You’ve brought that up, but neither I nor the Atlantic article points to that as relevant. The Atlantic argument, from which this discussion originates, points out that ISIS is fundamentally Islamic and has particular eschatological/millenial beliefs and this has useful strategic consequences. Denying their Islamic ties forces you to lose those strategic insight. Inasmuch as understanding your enemy so that you can understand and anticipate their actions is fundamental to good strategy and tactics. There is very little good to be derived from denying ISIS Islamic ties and much to gain, ergo … don’t deny their ties.

    But as I pointed out they’ve practiced quite a bit of picking and choosing about the past.

    Yes you’ve “pointed that out” but as noted, gave no actual concrete examples to what you are referring.

    And the IRA is certainly Irish and certainly Roman Catholic.

    And … what would be the use of pretending otherwise? Hmmm?

  26. Boonton says:

    The reason a Christian might argue a non-Nicene Christian person isn’t ‘really Christian’ is, presumably, because they think the Nicene creed is the borderline that marks authentic versus inauthentic Christians.

    ISIS’s argument is essentially that they have a right to declare a caliphate and if they are a real caliphate that places obligations on all Muslims that didn’t exist before their declaration. While they have ordered things that caliphates in the past ordered…it isn’t quite the same as being in historical sync with Islam.

    . Apparently, according to you, he’s rejected this to the point of even making the horrendous argument that ISIS isn’t Islamic and the Paris attackers were just random hoods attacking random victims (not Muslims attacking Jews, which is in point of fact actually what happened).

    An argument neither Obama nor anyone else has made. I’ll quote again:

    try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why [ISIS] presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.” And they propagate the notion that America, and the West, generally, is at war with Islam. That’s how they recruit.

    Again I’ll ask you suppose you came from Mars and could only use Obama’s words to try to figure out what ISIS is. Would you have any difficulty answering what religious faith they proclaim for themselves or that they assert religion is their motivation? No of course not.

    You are objecting to Obama using a Nicene-type argument. You’d rather he use the sociological argument but you keep dodging my question of why that would help anyone here? Why grant religious legitimacy to a group that has failed to get it (as evidenced by their lack of support from the Muslim world)? One argument might be because they deserve it, which is what someone who wants to make a beef with Islam might want to try or from someone who really thinks they are right. But since you are neither then what exactly is your response?

  27. Boonton says:

    I haven’t accepted the notion that the “CoC” model is right or relevant.

    CoC is the only foreign policy model being argued by some on the right. There’s another angle to this argument which I’ll call “My Beef with Religion” or MBR.

    On one side you have atheists like Bill Maher or the late Christopher Hitchens who invested a lot of energy into criticizing all forms of religion. Taking out Islam with a grand slam, say by arguing ISIS and like groups is Islam’s intellectual core, makes their job a lot easier. On the other hand you have Christian orientated advocates who like the argument that Christianity is better than Islam so again trashing Islam works. Neither of these views are very foreign policy centered since dealing with the actual Middle East means maintaining alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey who are never going to accept an anti-Islamic agenda but if your motivation is domestic applause and attention there’s no need to be concerned with having ideas that are inapplicable in the real world.

  28. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    CoC is the only foreign policy model being argued by some on the right.

    X is the argument of some on the right? Do your set theory. Some != all.

    Neither of these views are very foreign policy centered since dealing with the actual Middle East means maintaining alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey who are never going to accept an anti-Islamic agenda but if your motivation is domestic applause and attention there’s no need to be concerned with having ideas that are inapplicable in the real world.

    yah. That’s dumb. Almost as dumb as the stupid idea to deny that Islamic terrorist and ISIS have religious motiviations? Perhaps that too is motivated by seeking domestic applause and attention and ignoring the need to appear like you aren’t a drooling idiot to the outside world.

  29. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    The reason a Christian might argue a non-Nicene Christian person isn’t ‘really Christian’ is, presumably, because they think the Nicene creed is the borderline that marks authentic versus inauthentic Christians.

    Uhm. No. Please read what I wrote. I said ordinarily this argument is based on a two definitions of the word. One person is arguing based on one definition and the other is arguing based on another. I’ve never seen that sort of argument devolve to “Jesus won’t recognize you at the end of days because you don’t ascribe to a particular confession and I know this because I’ve been there and you haven’t”. Sorry. Not a type of disagreement I’ve ever witnessed.

    ISIS’s argument is essentially that they have a right to declare a caliphate and if they are a real caliphate that places obligations on all Muslims that didn’t exist before their declaration.

    This is a religious argument you realize.

    An argument neither Obama nor anyone else has made.

    Actually Obama has taken great care to not mention the religious affiliation an motivation of very very many terrorist agents. Can you find a quote where is says ISIS is in fact Islamic? I’ll wait. “presumes to delcare itself Islamic” … this isn’t saying that they are Islamic. Riiight? He’s doing exactly what you say he isn’t doing.

    Look. Obama has no standing as a person either based on his religion or his office (who says he is Christian, although I have my doubts), who is or isn’t any religion least of all one to which he does not belong. He isn’t in a position to grant “religious legitimacy” or deny it to anyone in the world, much less ISIS. ISIS is clearly (a) religious and (b) Islamic. This is beyond question. The only question is why the President insists on being so blind and willfully stupid on this matter. Does he cherish being a laughingstock?

    You’d rather he use the sociological argument but you keep dodging my question of why that would help anyone here?

    The article you claim to have read (and I’ve noted that point) has answered that for you. Because it informs you of the groups goals and what they need to accomplish to maintain their standing. Their religious beliefs and motivations inform you as to the motives and aims of the enemy which has direct strategic implications. This is “helping” you. Why can’t you see that.

  30. Boonton says:

    Actually Obama has taken great care to not mention the religious affiliation an motivation of very very many terrorist agents. Can you find a quote where is says ISIS is in fact Islamic? I’ll wait. “presumes to delcare itself Islamic” … this isn’t saying that they are Islamic. Riiight?

    My question to you was simple, if you had no other information than obama’s actual statements to go on what would you know about ISIS? You just stated that Obama has told you they are affiliated with Islam.

    Look. Obama has no standing as a person either based on his religion or his office (who says he is Christian, although I have my doubts), who is or isn’t any religion least of all one to which he does not belong.

    Wow, so then Obama has no standing to say ISIS is Islamic either. Neither do you while we are at it. Thanks for wasting nearly 30 comments to end up in a place where you are telling us Obama isn’t even allowed to say what you claim you want him to say. Amazing.

    The article you claim to have read (and I’ve noted that point) has answered that for you. Because it informs you of the groups goals and what they need to accomplish to maintain their standing. Their religious beliefs and motivations inform you as to the motives and aims of the enemy which has direct strategic implications.

    The main strategic implication of the article was that ISIS believes their caliphate’s authority would vanish if they could not control territory of some sort and the caliphate is required to never go more than a year without being at war with someone (although renewable peace treaties of ten years are allowed).

    The first is no different than every other war that has ever happened in human history. The second might open up some possibility of some future peace where the caliphate wages some symbolic battle once a year while maintaining peace with everyone else… This is unlikely to happen any time soon, though. The only strategic implementation might be that if ISIS really thinks the end of the world will happen on a specific battlefield then perhaps a coalition led by the US should march onto that battlefield and let all of ISIS meet them there. When they get incinerated and see that God does not choose that moment to come down and decide the battle for them, they will see the error of their ways and cease to exist.

    The problem with that last option, though, is that we do have records of what happens when religious groups gather themselves around a prophecy and the prophecy doesn’t come to pass (google ‘When Prophecy Fails’). What often doesn’t happen is the group dissolves after seeing the prophecy lacks credibility. Instead they double down on the prophecy, inventing modificatins and loopholes to explain why it is still true but they just misunderstood some key aspects of it. So while that 3rd option might be an interesting way to exploit ISIS’s religious beliefs to hand them a strategic defeat, it doesn’t seem like a sure thing at all.

    Ultimately the ‘direct strategic implications’ that fall out of your argument are essentially what Obama is using. Deny ISIS their claim that they represent some type of superior, ‘pure’ Islam and instead argue that they are a delusional fringe group that is a perversion rather than fulfillment of Islam.

    Almost as dumb as the stupid idea to deny that Islamic terrorist and ISIS have religious motiviations?

    Yet you’ve failed to produce a single quote of anyone saying this, despite being asked to do so multiple times.

  31. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Yet you’ve failed to produce a single quote of anyone saying this, despite being asked to do so multiple times.

    No. You ignored me. I said he never mentioned religions when the Jewish deli by bombing by a Muslim.

    Look. You’ve not produced a quote that says the are Islamic. Parse the quote you provided “That’s why [ISIS] presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.””. He doens’t say the are Islamic he says the “presume to call themselves Islamic. So if you are a space alien coming in, reading his statements, you could not logically actually say that ISIS is Islamic (which they are).

    Deny ISIS their claim that they represent some type of superior, ‘pure’ Islam and instead argue that they are a delusional fringe group that is a perversion rather than fulfillment of Islam.

    Uhm. But they aren’t. See the article. They actually aren’t what he says they are. And half the time he never mentions that a given attacker is Muslim and motivated by religion when they so obviously are. At the start of this discussion you were taking the position that ISIS motivations were not religious (following the President apparently).

    What often doesn’t happen is the group dissolves after seeing the prophecy lacks credibility. Instead they double down on the prophecy, inventing modificatins and loopholes to explain why it is still true but they just misunderstood some key aspects of it.

    Wrong. What usually what happens is continual moving of goalposts loses a groups credibility and they lose almost all their members.

    Deny ISIS their claim that they represent some type of superior, ‘pure’ Islam and instead argue that they are a delusional fringe group that is a perversion rather than fulfillment of Islam.

    No. That’s not actually the strategy he’s employing. He’s dancing around either ignoring their religion or being careful to not call them Islamic. This is actually very different than, say, confronting them by saying “takfir” (the practice of killing other Muslims for being heretic) is not a practice which is accepted worldwide. You can find me a quote where he points that out perhaps? To call out them as a perversion of Islam you have to mention the things they do which within Islam are out of bounds. Not ignore their religion. That isn’t how you do it.

  32. Boonton says:

    No. You ignored me. I said he never mentioned religions when the Jewish deli by bombing by a Muslim.

    Look. You’ve not produced a quote that says the are Islamic. Parse the quote you provided “That’s why [ISIS] presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.””.

    But as you pointed out, a person should not say someone is or isn’t a member of a religion unless that person is also a member of that religion. Since neither Obama nor you are Muslims, then that rule would mean he isn’t allowed to do anything more than say what terrorists claim to be their religion. Sorry that is your assertion.

    Anyway this does not fulfill my request for a quote and it only undercuts your assertion of “The President’s strategy of denying their religious origins/basis…”

    The distinction your clinging too is getting beyond hairsplitting. “Obama doesn’t say ISIS is Islamic, he just says ISIS declares themself Islamic…Obama said there are terrorists claim they are Islamic but he didn’t say the specific ones who attacked the Jewish supermarket in Paris were Islamic”…as if there was a world of critical difference between either.

    Wrong. What usually what happens is continual moving of goalposts loses a groups credibility and they lose almost all their members.

    Sometimes, sometimes not. Harold Camping had supporters until he himself decided his endtimes predictions were wrong. Jehovah’s Witnesses began with the ‘Great Disappointment’, a prediction the world would end and Christ would return in 1843. If you made one of ISIS’s prophecy’s false by, say, meeting them in that little farm town and defeating them odds are they aren’t going to just toss down their weapons and walk away. Loose some followers? Of course but that isn’t a new military strategy. Defeating your enemy in battles will cost him followers.

    No. That’s not actually the strategy he’s employing. He’s dancing around either ignoring their religion or being careful to not call them Islamic. This is actually very different than, say, confronting them by saying “takfir” (the practice of killing other Muslims for being heretic) is not a practice which is accepted worldwide

    Actually that quote goes right there.