CHILD SACRIFICE - Reply to Ianus
Submitted by Sofa Sogood (United States), Feb 24, 2007 at 01:11
Thanks for the reply -- I enjoyed it, though it wasn't exactly what I expected.
A couple of things --
>Regarding the word "choose" -- yes, some words and phrases are very specific. Others leave a little room. "Kill" is very specific even though there's leeway around how to do it, while "be kind" is less so -- while some could consider some behaviors kind, others could disagree -- as in "welfare" "tough love" etc. What do you think the definition of "interpret" is?
But, here, what I meant by "choose to interpret" isn't exactly correct.
But one could "choose" to "ignore" certain parts of a very old text regarding the religion of their parents that they were born into. For instance, there are, in fact, many Muslims who do not "kill the infidel" wherever they find them. They don't even think it's such a good idea. They pray and give thanks to their god, but not 5 times a day, they don't eat pork, but they might have a drink now and then, they try to treat others with "kindness" and behave morally and ethically -- as they "interpret" those, when someone dies they prepare the body according to ritual, they observe Ramadan, they don't particularly repress their wives and daughters any more than men of other religious or non-religious backgrounds, etc. etc. They consider the practice of their religion as a personal quest for the good in themselves and as a guide to help order their spiritual and social lives. (This is similar to the fact that most Jews consider themselves Jews even though they don't practice the "stoning" of those who break certain laws -- Catholics who practice birth control -- and so on.
Of course, there are some who would say that those who do not follow every letter of the law of Islam are not Muslims at all. Or they could say they are "bad" Muslims. It's perhaps difficult in Islam because it's written that the Koran is the word of Allah given directly to Mohammed, and that Mohammed is the last prophet -- which means that every word is meant for all time to come.
But there is nevertheless here what I have no better word for than "interpretation." Maybe they "interpret" or "choose to believe", that since the Koran was re-written, that maybe some extra stuff got inserted that isn't exactly God's word. Maybe they "interpret" that Mohammed, although he received God's word, did a little ad-libbing. Maybe the concept of "submission" even though it is the meaning of Islam, is somewhat relative to them. (I've heard a few Orthodox Jews say that they believe the real reason for the prohibition of pork was for health reasons, but that people wouldn't listen unless they were told the law was from God -- but they still don't eat it, and consider it sinful to do so.)
Religion is mystical and isn't bound by the rules of logic. Imams could find a way to "interpret" for instance, that "killing" does not actually, literally, mean "killing." Or that it was meant for that time period only. Or whatever. It isn't impossible that there could be an alternate "interpretation" or a new "discovery" of the "true meaning" because logic isn't important in religion.
The "choice" of some Muslims is to ignore what they choose to, including the opinion of those who would judge them, and go about their life as they "choose" to in the best way they are able in a modern world.
>I wonder how the pagans could secure their existence if they slaughtered their babies almost on an assembly-line as the fairy-tales imply?
What do "assembly-lines" or not have to do with anything? By "common" I meant not unusual. You're probably very right that many people gave up their children solely out of despair, and most floated them down a river as with Moses. And you aren't wrong to surmise that it wasn't an every day sacrifice party, but do you really think that nothing written in the Torah or anything recorded in ancient historical records, has any reality concerning the behavior of humans in early times? Have you done your own private anthropoligical studies? Sacrifice --"offering" and returning to your god a portion of what was "given" to you, or some part of the best that you have produced, is still practiced in every religion around the world in one way or another. Magical explanations were the best humans could come up with (and for most still are). Escalating from tossing back some seeds to, however reluctantly, the ultimate of burning children -- with the idea that their god's generosity was dependent on the quality of their offering and vice versa -- is not an illogical progression -- whether it was recorded in the Bible or not. Why would a practice be "forbidden" if it didn't exist?
My question to the Imams was, "Aren't you practicing the behavior of the pagans you believe deserve death? Didn't God forbid Abraham? I don't know for sure because I haven't studied the Koran, but I don't believe that taboo was rescinded. If I'm not incorrect, within your very own system and beliefs, aren't you hypocrites?"
> Arab practice of burying alive their new-born daughters, and Mohammed's idea to enslave them instead. It's terrible, but interesting. Does that imply that there was never any practice of sacrificing boys, and therefore no prohibition against the practice in the Koran?
>Be realistic! Otherwise [if it wasn't written] they wouldn't interpret it to be good.
Are you sure? How do you know, or are you just assuming?
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".
Reader comments (2098) on this item
Comment on this item
You can help support Daniel Pipes' work by making a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes