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It's all "religious", by someone's definition

Reader comment on item: Terrorism Defies Definition
in response to reader comment: I agree...it's not a religion

Submitted by Michael S. (United States), Nov 29, 2014 at 18:51

HI, Donevan

Interesting remarks. You said,

"I'slam does not comport with "Religion" as I and others understand the term. While there are prayers, customs, and dogma, "Religion" to my mind is a "Re-linking" to the deity, whatever that may be."

In this "Information Age", we seem to be continually engaged in "wordfare". The Gaza war: Was it a war? or genocide? The Gaza blockade busters: Were they committing an act of war? or the victims of piracy? Those two examples of wordfare happen to have deep and deadly legal implications I wonder if your re-classifying Islam as.. what? A political ideology? ...also has deadly implications. I'm just wondering. For practical purposed, Islam will continue to be considered a "religion", benefitting from all the legal perks that go with that label, as long as supporters of this viewpoint are in power -- and I dare say, they are in power and will continue to be in power until Messiah comes.

It's difficult to define religions. My son-in-law is Chinese and Christian. He says his Chinese business contacts are "Buddhist"; but not "religious", mainly because they don't have any dietary prohibitions. He did mention the grave-sweeping custom, which nearly all Chinese practice once a year (including my son-in-law and his family), as one of the few common forms of religious expression. I toured China myself, and found things much this way. My daughter, in fact, says most of their business friends are "Moneyists".

To my son-in-law, at least, Muslims are very religious because they religiously follow dietary laws. In his eyes, Jews fall into a similar category. What one eats, after all, is a vital part of one's daily life. One can profess to believe anything about God; but if those beliefs don't manifest in everyday reality, such as at the dinner table, what weight do they have?

You obviously look at these matters from a different perspective altogether. You said,

"In I'slam the notion is to "Submit" to the diety. In my discussions with adherents to I'slam, an encounter with "The god" is not to be wished. Hence the 'communion', or desire to become one with the deity is truncated, therefore no "Re-linking" is possible."

I understand what you are saying; but to speak simply, hardly anyone in the world is actuaully concerned about "re-linking with the deity"; and this doesn't figure into their definition of religion I have known some people who have said they wanted to "get closer to God". Two of them were Jews; and the solution their rabbis gave them was identical: "Wear tefillin".

I have read accounts of some Muslim suicide bombers, who had similar desires. The advice their mentors gave them, of course, was to becom "shahids", or suicide-murderers. That may sound less "religious" than wearing tefillin; but in dealing with problems connected with eternal life or death, it actually is somewhat logical: Get close to God? Make a blood sacrifice -- preferably with someone else's blood; but one's own will do in a pinch. That kind of thinking is as old as the hills; it's even in the Bible, though I will emphasise the fact that neither I nor the Bible advocates suicide-murder.

Some people think they will please God, by eating kosher -- or hallal -- or vegetarian. Others think the key is wearing tsitsit, tefillin, crucifixes, etc. does the trick; or lighting candles, or self-immolation, or blowing up others. It's all "religious", by someone's definition.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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