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Thread: The Future of Islam

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    The Future of Islam

    I just finished watching an interesting discussion on the "Future of Islam" between Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz.

    I am looking forward to some comments on the video (25min) from my Muslim friends.


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    I don't like either characters and don't agree with their views---while I can excuse Harris as being ignorant, Nawaz should know better---and so loses credibility.
    The problem with the above discussion is that it is based on 1) false assumptions 2) removed from (fact-based) historical context.

    From the start the discussion is based 1) Clash of civilizations---West (liberalism, secularism...etc) vs "Islam" (everything opposite of the "West") and how if this "Islam" can be just a bit more like the "West" everything will be well and all problems solved.....!!.....
    2) In order to make "them" (Islam) more like "us" (West)----Islam needs to "reform"(Islam-lite, privatize, "cultural" Islam)
    3) "Islam" = Isis = "Islamist"
    4) "Theocracy" Vs "Secularism"
    ....and much more....but let me deal with these points first....

    A major problem with these types of discussions is that labels such as "West, "Islam" etc, are ambiguous, flexible and unbalanced....(for ex---"West" is a geographical territory and "Islam" is a value system) If we assumed that the Modern "West" follows the "Enlightenment" heritage then we can properly compare and critique the two value systems of "Islam" and "Enlightenment"---but to do so fairly, we need to put them in proper historical context because their environment and historical trajectory shaped the expression of these value systems in different ways. (though...since we are all human beings---our core ethico-moral principles are universal, regardless of what religious/non-religious label we put on ourselves)

    Sam Harris mentions two value systems of the "West" ---Liberalism and Secularism and Nawaz adds Human rights to it. The assumption of both is that "Islam" does not have these.(...therefore the "reform"). What these characters fail to recognize is that the terms liberalism and secularism encompass a wide range of value systems---for example, American secularism is different from French secularism which is different from British secularism (which is a degree of theocracy---as the King/Queen of England is the head of both the state and church). Liberalism is generally defined as a POLITICAL philosophy (liberty, equality). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism
    Though all liberal doctrines possess a common heritage, scholars frequently assume that those doctrines contain "separate and often contradictory streams of thought". The objectives of liberal theorists and philosophers have differed across various times, cultures, and continents. The diversity of liberalism can be gleaned from the numerous adjectives that liberal thinkers and movements have attached to the very term liberalism, including classical, egalitarian, economic, social, welfare-state, ethical, humanist, deontological, perfectionist, democratic, and institutional, to name a few. Despite these variations, liberal thought does exhibit a few definite and fundamental conceptions. At its very root, liberalism is a philosophy about the meaning of humanity and society.

    Political philosopher John Gray identified the common strands in liberal thought as being individualist, egalitarian, meliorist, and universalist. The individualist element avers the ethical primacy of the human being against the pressures of social collectivism, the egalitarian element assigns the same moral worth and status to all individuals, the meliorist element asserts that successive generations can improve their sociopolitical arrangements, and the universalist element affirms the moral unity of the human species and marginalises local cultural differences.

    ..............................

    In terms of definitions, matters can get worse when it comes to "Islam" as this value system not only encompasses economics, politics, governance, as well as human relations based on an ethico-moral value system---but also has a 1,400 year history of practice and implementation and a geographical area that encompasses regions from Africa to China (as opposed to the Enlightenment/secularism/liberalism which began around 16/17th century....)

    Islam, like the Enlightenment thinkers, believes that as the nature of Human beings is similar, the core ethico-moral principles are universal----HOWEVER, cultural differences exist in expression and implementation of these core moral values and these differences need not be marginalized, rather they should be respected if they affirm core principles. This implies (for example) that the principle of "Equality", if it is indeed "universal", is not "Western" or "Eastern" but is a global value belonging to everyone. If so, the very concept of the "clash" of civilizations is false. The opposite of this POV would be that ethico-moral values are relative---so relative that there is no unifying (universal) language or experience---in which case, making "them" like "us" either by persuasion or coercion is an exercise in futility. If all values are only relative---then judgements of worse/better are also irrelevant.....

    Political Islam/Islamism/Islamist are terms that have no fixed definitions therefore can be used in different ways. It seems Nawaz conflates ISIS or "Jihadists" with "Islamists". For many Muslim citizens, their aspirations of governance is for rule of law, transparency, and integrity and they want a system based on the values of Justice, Equality and Liberty.----To Europeans these values may seem "uniquely" European, but for Muslims these are Islamic values....(and to the Chinese, these would be the values that their philosophers Confucious, Lao Tzu and others espoused)

    In European history, the Church held power and this power was abused...the solution to this problem was "secularism" which in essence was a division of power so that the "church" power was removed from the "State". In Islamic history, there is no "Church" to begin with....so the division of power was the "Judiciary" and the "State"---in other words, an independent Judiciary checked the power of the State and the State in turn checked the power of the Judiciary...thereby keeping both in balance (at least in theory). Thus, in Islamic history---there was no need for a separation of Church and State---the historical trajectory and experience was completely different. But in the Modern nation-state system, the Judiciary and the State become combined----this new system destroys the traditional balance of power that existed in the classical Islamic system. The real discussion that needs to take place for any political system is not if it is Theocratic or Secular---rather---the internal power structures and the mechanisms in place to reduce the abuse of power. Oppression is the injustice that should be the primary concern of a governing/political system.

    Post-Modernism (in the East/non-"West" one could also use the term postcolonial) is a term that is also difficult to define---but for the purpose of this discussion---we can understand it as a movement that is critiquing and re-evaluating "Modernity" and the assumptions and world-view it is based on. Consider, is the Enlightenment (or "colonial") heritage "universal"? Is it relevant to those whose historical trajectories and cultural expressions different? Did it benefit humanity or does its philosophy have flaws?.....etc....


    However, I do agree (in regards to "reform") that each generation must struggle to express and implement ethico-moral principles in their lives as individual human beings and as a collective and these expression may differ from what was understood or implemented by the previous generations....and that is alright as long as it advances equality, justice, compassion, mercy and respect for human dignity.

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    for those who know more than the basics of "Islam" here are issues and discussion by scholars with regards to "reform'
    Can start at about 18 min.....

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    ISIS, Reform, and the Future

    There are people who argue that ISIS practices the values of "Islam", but one could also turn it around and say ISIS follows the practices and values of the Modern (Secular) heritage for example....
    1) ISIS steals the oil and resells it at high prices---this was (and still is) a "Modern" practice where wars are waged to "steal" resources on the cheap or when puppet governments/dictators are installed so that they allow the exploitation of the land and its people for the benefit of the "privileged", or the Multinational Corporations that destroy communities and environments for greed.....
    2) ISIS is brutally violent---and the bombing of Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Napalm in Cambodia, Vietnam, White phosphorus in Falluja, Gaza...etc, Depleted Uranium in Iraq...etc....are all extreme violence
    3) ISIS kidnaps people---The U.S. and NATO kidnapped (or "rounded up") random civilians (men, women, and boys) and put them in prison and tortured them in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    4) ISIS is a remorseless killer---U.S. Drones
    5) ISIS oppresses---European colonialism then American Imperialism
    6) ISIS uses propaganda to justify its wrong actions----Britain, U.S. used propaganda to justify their wars. The soldiers who remorselessly kill others are glorified---for example the Hollywood Movie "American Sniper", the use of embedded "journalists".....
    7) ISIS has a toxic ideology---Manifest Destiny/American Exceptionalism....Utilitarian morality which allowed Madeline Albright to kill half a million Iraqi children, Racism (U.S) Xenophobic tribalism (Europe) and other ideas of dubious morality such as this one by Sam Harris....
    "Some ideas are so dangerous that it may be ethical to kill people for believing them" or "...the practice of torture, in certain circumstances, would seem to be not only permissible but necessary"
    ....then there are Western philosophers like Micheal Walzer who think it is ok to kill others or do immoral actions for "nation" or "community" (Just and Unjust wars; a moral argument with historical illustrations)

    Whatever ISIS is---they are certainly the worst reflection of humanity and as such, all of us can see them as a mirror of our own capacity for evil whatever our labels happen to be. The solution to ISIS is not more bombs and violence---but a renewal of our noble values, of our potential for goodness, of making efforts to build instead of destroy, of learning to respect others as equal members of the human family.....

    Instead of sending warplanes---put sanctions on the international armaments manufacturers (the big 5), freeze their assets and use that money to rebuild the destroyed Middle East.
    Instead of mercenaries going over to fight---encourage volunteers of a different kind---youth that help to build. Send in Soldiers that are engineers, doctors, organizers...etc Use military planes and vehicles to send in supplies for building....a global coalition that works towards peace rather than war.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoEFNBoHYxc
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americ...519413442.html

    What we need is global reform---we need to re-evaluate our toxic capitalism so that while profit making is encouraged, exploitation is discouraged, we need to re-evaluate our political systems so that transparency is encouraged and corruption is discouraged, we need to re-evaluate our legal systems so that justice is encouraged and injustice is discouraged, we need to reform our philosophies so that equality is more fully understood as the right of all---not just the entitlement of the privileged and we need to look critically at the power dynamics and power structures so that balance is restored and abuse is reduced.

    I would like to see a future that is pluralistic---one that is not divided by artificial boundaries or mythical concepts of "nations" but one in which all human beings have the freedom to move about anywhere anytime. One in which there is diversity of communities that have their own systems of laws, governance, economics etc....in this way....the community with the best practices will naturally progress and expand and others can copy its best practices for benefit. Best practices that encourage balance and harmony with the environment both of nature and socio-communal.

    One way forward may be to redefine "success" so that it is no longer measured by the acquisition of wealth, individual or national (GDP) but by the degree of "happiness". There is an interesting (2009) study of the interaction between genes, environment and "happiness".....perhaps more research into this area will yield benefits to humanity...?......Research shows that genetically Asian populations are more at risk of depression but rate low in actual depression while (White) Western populations are genetically less at risk but rate higher in depression and the researchers have concluded social factors such as collectivism may offset the risk for Asian populations....this may or may not be so, but a social environment that promotes a greater degree of altruistic behavior has also been shown to encourage happiness as well as physical well-being.
    http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.o...rspb.2009.1650
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0729161952.htm

    We may be Muslim, Christian, Humanist or other and we could all agree that the pursuit of happiness is a "universal" right---and if we assume that all humanity is of equivalent value---then this right extends to all human beings on earth. If by (the virtues,values) sharing and co-operation we can help each other achieve some degree of happiness--we may benefit not only ourselves but others....
    ....and there is a global push for better values happening....In Australia there have been demonstrations against the racism of "reclaim Australia", in Germany there have been anti-Pegida demonstrations, The Tibetan Buddhist Dalai Lama has spoken against the hate promoted by some Burmese Buddhist monks (though the two types of Buddhism are different) There are Indian scholars and historians working against the toxic tribalism of the Hindutva and its affiliates, there are both youth and Islamic scholars working to correct the propaganda and misinformation from ISIS...these may be small steps in the right direction...but they may be hopeful indicators of more positive changes to come...?.....

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    tWebber
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    Thank-you for your abundant thoughts on this topic, Siam! However, I would like to narrow the focus of the discussion to a fundamental issue. It seems that a major motivating force in the formation of groups like ISIS is quite simply their interpretation of the Quran. An unfortunate example of this reality is found even in the video you linked to. Scanning the comment section reveals devout (in their mind) Muslims who revere the Quran and teachings of Mohammad, yet support groups like ISIS. Their interpretation leads them to embrace the modus operandi of groups such as ISIS. These practicing and devout Muslims see such groups as being staunchly faithful to the Quranic teachings. This phenomena seems to be an exclusive trait of Islam in the modern world. Indeed, we cannot find such wide-spread parallels in any other religion in the modern world - for example, if a young man becomes increasingly devout as a Christian, no one worries for their safety. If a young man becomes increasingly devout as a Buddhist, no one worries for their safety. If a young man becomes increasingly devout as a Muslim, people worry for their safety. It is seemingly a tightrope of a walk for Muslims. They can easily be lead to embrace interpretations of the text that lead to radicalization and, for Muslims exclusively, that is quite dangerous indeed.

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    "we cannot find such wide-spread parallels in any other religion in the modern world"---If you change the word "religion" to ideology---you will find plenty of ISIS-like examples by the (Modern) Secular "West"...though the "west" often uses proxies to do the actual dirty work.....for example.....
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/...unds-like-fun/
    East Timor won its independence in 1999 with the blood and courage of its ordinary people. The tiny, fragile democracy was immediately subjected to a relentless campaign of bullying by the Australian government which sought to manoeuvre it out of its legal ownership of the sea bed’s oil and gas revenue. To get its way, Australia refused to recognise the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the Law of the Sea and unilaterally changed the maritime boundary in its own favour.
    The subsequent report of the United Nations on East Timor describes thousands of cases of summary execution and violence against women by Suharto’s Kopassus special forces, many of whom were trained in Australia. “Rape, sexual slavery and sexual violence were tools used as part of the campaign designed to inflict a deep experience of terror, powerlessness and hopelessness upon pro-independence supporters,” says the UN.

    Or (Modern) Christians.....
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/200...crimes.balkans
    "But make no mistake: there would have been no ethnic cleansing if there were not individuals willing to turn on their neighbours, to unleash terror and hatred and to leave scarred victims.

    "Unlike the policymakers who dealt in theories and plans, these were the individuals who rounded up innocent women and girls, then raped them or sexually assaulted them, tortured them, enslaved them and then... exchanged, sold or transferred them to other soldiers."

    As the case began, an adjacent court continued hearing evidence against the Bosnian Serb General, Radislav Kirstic, accused of genocide in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre - the most senior officer to face the tribunal.

    or (Modern) Buddhists.....
    http://america.aljazeera.com/opinion...m-problem.html
    The campaign against the Rohingya and Muslims in Myanmar is spearheaded by controversial monk Ashin Wirathu. Once referred to as the “Burmese bin Laden,” he is the leader of an ultranationalist group called 969, which opposes the growth of Islam in Myanmar. He was jailed in 2003 for inciting hatred and stirring sectarian clashes and released in 2010.

    Wirathu has warned against an impending Muslim takeover of Myanmar. In 2012 the rape of a Buddhist woman in northern Rakhine led to violent attacks that left dozens of civilians dead and more than 125,000 Rohingya and other Muslims displaced. Human Rights Watch described the humanitarian crisis as “ethnic cleansing.”


    So...do you think that all these Secular, Christian, Buddhist, and others are reading the Quran to get their ideas on bad behavior?---obviously not! Are they getting these ideas from their particular ideologies---maybe, but maybe not, as this type of ISIS-like behavior seems to occur across the board.....The more likely explanation is that bad behavior is "universal"---but its justification is specific to whatever tradition the person or group comes from.

    It is not that ISIS-like behavior is "exclusive" to Islam---only that the governments and media want people to believe it is so....why?--geo-strategic/political agendas which may or may not differ from country to country....

    Are ISIS "devout"?---is a myth. Actual research and interviews shows that many of these youth do not know Islam/Quran at all. And research also shows that knowing Islam prevents some youth from falling into the ISIS propaganda. Knowledge gives you the tools for discernment, ignorance opens the door for propaganda to work.
    There are some youth who think they are fighting for a "glorious cause" the way Americans rallied around their nation after 9/11 or they way the French united after the Paris attacks. "Glorious Causes" (excessive altruism) are emotionally attractive......There are/were also secular ex-Baathists with their agendas, Tribal Sunni with their political aspirations and the surrounding nations such as Turkey, Jordan , Saudi Arabia and others who all aided ISIS for geo-strategic reasons of their own.....
    The situation is not as simplistic and black/white.........

    Quran and Interpretation---If we understand interpretations of the Quran (tafsir) as "Freedom of Speech/thought", then the way ISIS "interprets" might be rejected, but should not be banned....?....So, the way to counter this would be to put up interpretations that are mainstream/acceptable---and this is already being done by Muslims. One example of such efforts is the Study Quran---
    The authors, a team of Islamic studies scholars led by Seyyed Hossein Nasr include Caner K. Dagli, Maria Massi Dakake, Joseph E.B. Lumbard, and Muhammad Rustom, account for both Shiite and Sunni perspectives when offering exegetical commentary and translating verses (see, for example, SQ commentary on Q 33.33), and have maintained translations of creed that can mutually support the various theological orientations that predominate in mainline Islamic thought (Atharī, Ash'arī, Māturidī, and Mu'tazilī).---http://muslimmatters.org/2015/12/14/the-study-quran-a-review/
    ...but there are many other efforts also by a variety of scholars and youth.....

    Modernity----The Modern (secular) project has brought much benefits to humanity....but IMO, there are some flaws....such as inconsistent/absent moral structures, hierarchical philosophy that benefits the few privileged, lack of a restraining force for vices such as greed, revenge, war...but primarily, an inadequate philosophical understanding of the concepts of Justice and Equality. If ISIS is a mirror of the worst tendencies of Modernity---then it is a good opportunity to see these deficiencies and take corrective actions for the benefit of our own futures.....

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    Thank you again for your response, Siam. However, it appears you might be missing the forest for the trees when it comes to my fundamental point. This misunderstanding is highlighted when you stated: "So...do you think that all these Secular, Christian, Buddhist, and others are reading the Quran to get their ideas on bad behavior?---obviously not!"

    Now here's the crux of the issue - the articles you linked to have little (if anything) to do with religion. The individuals committing those crimes were not fueled by their religious convictions. Their motivation for committing crimes cannot be traced back to inspiration from their holy books. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Islam. Let me illustrate this point with an example. Let's take a brief look at the San Bernardino's killer Syed Farook. This man was reported as having been very devout and pious - he consistently took advantage of his lunch breaks to pray. Raids on his home revealed multiple Quran's, and not much else in terms of literature. I can only imagine the content of his prayers, but perhaps they went something along the lines of: "O, merciful and mighty Allah! Ruler of the the heavens and all creation! I am a mere mortal and this life is nothing but a breath. O, mighty Allah may I spend my few years in service to you. Please Lord, make me into your solider for it is all I desire in this life. By your will alone shall I live and not compromise with the unbelievers. May I never distort your pure and true word like the liberal apostates, O Allah! You are great and ever to be praised!" This religious fervor was coupled with an interpretation of the Quran that became the driving force for carrying out his terrorist attack. I'm sure other factors were involved, yet this fundamental reality ought not be glossed over.

    Now, of course, there are indeed examples of Christian's acting out in violence based upon religious convictions - however there is absolutely no serious or wide spread support for this sort of violence within the Christian community, nor is there any debate within Christendom over the legitimacy of the doctrinal motivations of these violent Christian fanatics. On the other hand, unfortunately, what we are witnessing within Islam is a violent sect that corporately adhere's to an interpretation that fuels their violence. These so-called soldier's of Allah are everywhere. There is worldwide support and worldwide condemnation of them within the Muslim community. Many of them are highly educated individuals. Many of them insist on reading the Quran as they beg Allah for wisdom, as the comment section reveals in the video you linked to. As Maajid Nawaz affirms, ISIS and those of their ilk, have an intimate connection with Islam and the Quran. Moreover, he goes on to say that they in fact have a plausible interpretation of Quranic teachings - "to deny this is an exercise in dishonesty". We do not find any parallel in any other religion in our modern world.
    Last edited by Scrawly; 02-28-2016 at 08:27 AM.

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    "Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Islam."---that is the incorrect assumption I wanted to highlight.---because research says it is incorrect premise. Yes, media wants to portray an exclusive connection---but just because they say so does not make it true.
    In the previous examples---there was one about the Balkans---the Serb soldiers were Orthodox Christians and a group of them called the "Scorpions" went on to commit abuse and crimes...but before they did so, they were blessed by an orthodox priest---and it was captured on video. Ofcourse no one wants to link this violence to Christianity---in fact the Serb soldiers are refereed to as "Serbs" and not "Orthodox Christians"---but a Muslim-American will be referred to only as "Muslim" and connections to religion will be highlighted or distorted or even made-up by the media. There are many other examples, too, the U.S. Blackwater mercenary group explicitly used Christian Crusading (Holy war) language and massacred innocent civilians, One arms manufacturer printed bible verse numbers on rifle sights, one/some (?) Evangelical Churches passed out Bible coins (at gunpoint), ---but just as you pointed out---no matter how strong the link to Christianity there might be---this is simply dismissed. ----But,...this is correct in my opinion----only, it is equally correct for Islam as it is for Christianity. That does not mean that Islam or Christianity have absolutely nothing to do with it, after all, these religions are being abused by bad people. Because of this abuse, good Christians, Muslims, Humanists, Buddhists etc have to voice their values and counter such toxic propaganda. (..which, as I mentioned previously, we Muslims are already doing....)

    "Maajid Nawaz affirms, ISIS and those of their ilk, have an intimate connection with Islam and the Quran."---Nawaz was with an organization that has extremists views called the hizb-ut-tahrir or some such...and his experience is important to consider. This organization is not ISIS---even though some strands of thinking may overlap between the two. But he is not a scientist. People who have actually gone and done field research with a methodology, are also important to consider....?....

    If a person wants to exclusively link Islam with violence so that this becomes "uniquely evil"---then consider,.... is there not a danger that violence done in the name of secularism, democracy, nationalism, homeland security, revenge, ...etc...becomes "less evil" in degree and therefore more acceptable? Re-read carefully what argument you used in your response....."there is no wide-spread support for this sort of violence"? is that so? Do you think that "collateral damage" (murder) of hundreds of thousands of human beings under U.S. and NATO misadventures is "acceptable"?---simply because no one says "Allahuakbar", this makes killing OK? Why?
    ---and if indeed there is no support (as you said)---by the "silent majority" of the citizens, then why should this not apply to the majority of Muslims too?
    on the other hand consider this.....
    If French people can hate and promote violence after 129 people were killed---then what happens to the sentiments of their BROTHERS in humanity whose whole country has been destroyed?
    https://www.rt.com/news/224395-musli...s-rise-france/
    "France drops 20 bombs against ISIS"
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-n...llande-6842658

    We Muslims have been asked this many times---so let me turn the tables and ask---what steps are the citizens of the "West", in whose name these wars are fought,---doing to correct the rampant and toxic ideologies that promote these types of immoral behavior, violence and aggression by their nations and governments?

    Assigning blame to others will no doubt make us feel better---but if we work together to be positive and hopeful of our future and promote the best of our shared values...we may turn the tide towards peace and begin to make a difference? (...and there is a place to start---the Geneva conventions and various other conventions and treaties, UDHR, international law...as well as philosophies and traditions from the faith communities.... etc)

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    You mentioned some imaginary prayer---did u know there is an actual Christian hymn called "Onward, Upward Christian soldier" that goes---

    1 Onward, upward, Christian soldier,
    Bravely push the battle on;
    There’s a great reward before us,
    Soon the conflict will be won.
    Refrain:
    Hallelujah! shout the chorus,
    Onward, upward is our song;
    Crowns of vict’ry lie before us,
    Boldly march against the wrong.

    2 Grasp the sword, then go with courage,
    Ever humbly watch and pray;
    Never, never be discouraged,
    Never falter by the way. [Refrain]....etc
    http://www.hymnary.org/text/onward_u...ldier_bravely_


    ...Its history according to wiki....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onward...stian_Soldiers
    When Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt met in August 1941 on the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to agree the Atlantic Charter, a church service was held for which Prime Minister Churchill chose the hymns. He chose "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and afterwards made a radio broadcast explaining this choice:

    We sang "Onward, Christian Soldiers" indeed, and I felt that this was no vain presumption, but that we had the right to feel that we serving a cause for the sake of which a trumpet has sounded from on high. When I looked upon that densely packed congregation of fighting men of the same language, of the same faith, of the same fundamental laws, of the same ideals ... it swept across me that here was the only hope, but also the sure hope, of saving the world from measureless degradation.

    — Winston Churchill

    The song has been sung at many funerals, including at the funeral of American president Dwight D. Eisenhower at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., March 1969. Apart from its obvious martial associations, the song has been associated with protest against the established order, particularly in the case of the civil rights movement.

    An attempt was made in the 1980s to strip "Onward, Christian Soldiers" from the United Methodist Hymnal and the Episcopal Hymnal 1982 due to perceived militarism. Outrage among church-goers caused both committees to back down. However, the hymn was omitted from both the 1990 and 2013 hymnals of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Australian Hymn Book, published in 1977, and its successor, Together in Song, published in 1999. The Spiritualists' National Union hymnbook has a variation on the hymn, entitled "Onward, Comrades, Onward". In some modern Anglican hymn books, it is replaced with Onward, Christian Pilgrims set to the same tune

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    Well thanks very much again, Siam. I think we are reaching general areas of agreement, and other areas we shall agree to disagree. A few final thoughts here - you seem to be conflating religion and geopolitics. I understand that Islam is interwoven with politics, but let's sustain the focus on the fact that wide-spread/universal interpretations of the Quran within the Muslim community produce dangerous, radical sects - even within the general Muslim population, who by and large live peaceful lives - interpretations of the Quran have planted the seeds of accepting repugnant views of the world and infidels. The formation of these sects and dangerous ideas can be traced back to absolute submission to Allah and particular - not to mention popular views - of the Quran.

    Now, you are quite right to point out Christianity's troubling past fueled by religious convictions - crusades, inquisitions, witch-hunts, etc. Yet the key word here is past. In other words, Christianity has been through what Islam is currently going through. Christianity has passed through the acids of Modernity and thus no longer accepts abject barbarism within the global Christian community. Islam, unfortunately, is still in a primal state. Fundamental, critical, open and honest discussions needs to increasingly take place within global Islam. Muslims need to embrace the fact that there will be ex-Muslims who reject the faith. These people ought to be treated with dignity and respect - not ostracized and even murdered in some cases. Their choice needs to be honored within the global Muslim community sans barbaric backlash.

    I'll leave you with a video that I think you'll find much agreement with:


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