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Debate or diatribe?

Reader comment on item: Uncovering Early Islam

Submitted by G Rule (United Kingdom), Apr 25, 2017 at 05:16

I'm not religious but wonder why you choose to post this on a website set up to promote analysis and debate? Honest debate about how religious followers can interpret some of their biblical texts for today's world is a vital ongoing struggle for all of the major religions. A recent analysis suggested the Old Testament provides at least as big a challenge in interpreting violent passages as the Islamic bible, with many similar passages.

What you call teaching # 5 is regularly thrown at Islam. Modern humanist secular concepts of right and wrong behaviour are imprecise and imperfect. We still don't have agreement across the United States, Europe, or Asia today re ages of consent for marriage. Applying these concepts rigidly in a literal way even now risks labelling many people unfairly. You're projecting recently developed concepts back in time without appreciating the difference in realities of life thousands of years ago when people lived short lives and married young. There are discussions about this issue in the Islamic world which you're not helping by rigidly labelling whole cultures, a religion and religious descriptions of a God (see Karen Armstrong).

There are lots of good Muslims in the world, and good debate is urgently needed. Working in the mental health field we regularly try to help people who have suffered different kinds of childhood abuse from many religious and non religious institutions. You won't help if you just throw insults at whole cultures.That approach just causes retreat from dialogue about how the world might change for the better.


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