Context is key, and I am religiously biasedPublished January 20, 2017
Now that the reader knows what I stand for, that I am a radical for unity, I need to start laying some context to my book.
The hope is that my book motivates people to read more, and judge less.
While I’ve said several times in this blog that my writing is not scholarly, and even admit to this throughout the book, my goals have little to do with being recognized as a good writer. My goals align more with unity, with or without recognition of my book setting out to be some sort of catalyst for that.
In this context narrative, I’d like to first address the first chapter, Chapter 6. It is quite apparent I am pushing the positive aspects of religion–love, community, kindness, respect–while attempting to dispel some of the divisiveness we see between religions, particularly Christianity vs. Islam, and between concepts, particularly theism vs. atheism. I directly state this–“..my goal with this book is not to focus on the negative” (p7)–and address that neither of the two religions I discuss the most, Christianity and Islam, “seems to allow for much leeway if you are aware of the other ‘truth.'” (p21) Translation, if needed: neither God nor Allah, based on the books purported to be inerrant or divinely inspired, are excusing you if you knowingly do not follow. Even if my chapter doesn’t disguise my secret agenda of suppressing the divisiveness of religions, it is meant to promote that love [and other matters of the heart] might be “The Genius of ‘Modern’ Religion.” (p1) This is evidenced by the billions that use this “genius” to promote the positives: love, community, kindness. I use modern as a qualifier because of the historical religious warfare I’ve read about, which seems to be the narrative around the times both Christianity and Islam evolved, as well as the focus for many atheists that seem hell bent (sorry for the pun, atheists) on eliminating religion. In contrast to this history and rise of new atheist mindsets, many neuroscientists have published books that seem to be showing a discovery of how important religion is to human nature, albeit not necessarily tied to a specific faith, but I don’t address this at all in The World from Outside Its Box, except maybe if you count that some of those books are on my reading list. Many of our sacred books (Bible, Qur’an, etc.) are up for interpretation, which leads to my next point.
The other context I wanted to discuss is the context of interpretation, which would further implode arguments against my focus on the positive aspects of religion. While The Holy Bible is filled with violence (some scholars even argue more violence than The Noble Qur’an), many Christians today explain these notions away with it being allegorical, or simply a historical account of things.
Which brings me to Islam and Islamic extremists. I do not address anything outside of terrorism when defining extremists. So for what I address, the mathematics are clear, more than 99% of Muslims are not terrorists.
Other authors I’ve read do lump terrorism with lesser extreme mindsets, minds that might never take action against you, instead hoping to bask in the glory of knowing they, unlike you, will not be tortured in an eternal hellfire. While the statistics with these mindsets taken into account might stand in opposition to my implications of Islam being peaceful, I would wonder the results if we were to ask Christians a similar question: ‘Do you believe nonbelievers will make it to Heaven?’
In fact, these surveys have been given, and it seems about 80% of Christians in the U.S. do believe nonbelievers will make it. Well, that leaves 20% that don’t, which also seems to be about the number of Muslims (depending on the survey, of course) that admit that they believe infidels will reap what they sow. So why is 20% of evil Muslim mindsets different than 80% of good Christian mindsets? I guess it’s all about interpretation. So how’s come we don’t focus, in America, on the majority of Muslims that are promoting peace, are being cordial to infidels, and are not dreaming of the same heinous crimes that Islamic extremists are committing, seemingly more and more?
It may be because many scholars (I hesitate to call them that here) are writing about the historical context of Islam, or focusing way too much on the disturbing verses, and using either of those, or both, to support that Muslims that follow Islam and interpret it as peaceful are clearly interpreting it incorrectly. I guess then so are Christians pushing for the promotion of love, unity, and togetherness, given that some scholars (others might hesitate to call them that here) say that the Bible, even in modern times, sets out to scare us into submission by frightening us that God’s wrath is beyond anything we could ever imagine, particularly for nonbelievers.
My point of interpretation is not of my own revelation, as many authors before me argue interpretation is key. Does anything exist unless we interpret that it does? Some scholars argue that Christianity wouldn’t exist without Judaism. Still others argue that Islam, the youngest of all three, possibly involves aspects of both. And what of Zoroastrianism? Some scholars argue aspects of Judaism came from that religion. If your Christian recipe contains ingredients of Judaism, and the Judaism recipe contains ingredients of Zoroastrianism, then it’s no stretch at all that the Christian recipe also contains ingredients of Zoroastrianism. And Islam, then, would be more of a mixture than Christianity. I know, I’m both an infidel and a nonbeliever, but religion needs to change, particularly the two with the most followers present-day, so that it includes Inclusion, and believing either book to be inerrant or divinely inspired has obviously not brought us all together in the more than 30 centuries combined that both have existed.
BLang – just another human, one of over 7 billion