Progress in Three Paragraphs

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When free versions are available, why did I pay good money for this translation of the Quran?  Some of the value is in the English-language translation itself.  But much of the book is commentary from experts on Islam.  I paid for that.  Initially, I made a good faith effort to read the entire book, page by page.  But by the time I made it through the introduction, through the first surah and into the second, I realized that the commentary was bogging me down.  Most of this book consists of commentary.  For now, it distracts me from my purpose.

So I have spent the week reading the Quran, but focusing on Mohammed’s words exclusively.  It is slow but rewarding work.  I take the time to copy passages into my journal so that I can better argue with the ideas themselves.  When I read, I argue.  If I don’t argue, I am not engaged.  The fact that I am arguing much with the Quran means that I am very engaged by what it says.  When I get to the end of the 114th surah, I will have the basis for my for the article I am writing.  I won’t be done.  But I will be on my way.

I want to explain why I cannot embrace Islam.  Idealogical differences motivate me.  More than a quarter century ago, I left the Catholic church.  My reasons for rejecting Christianity were just as valid then as they are now.  But they apply equally well to Islam.  I am convinced more than ever that religion misrepresents God.

Ineffectual

In the wake of the attack in Nice, Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, said the following:

One could refuse to face facts, we could forget, move on.  But I must tell the truth to the French people, terrorism will be a part of our daily lives for a long time.

Does terrorism really need to be a part of people’s daily lives?  Or are the wrong people getting elected?

ISIS

Last night I dozed to sleep listening to the radio.  At one point, the voice behind the microphone expressed thoughts and prayers for the people of Nice, France.  That was my first realization that ISIS had reared its blasphemous face again.  What is ISIS?  A collective for moral zombies.  They have surrendered their minds to a blasphemous interpretation of Islam.  They have surrendered their souls to an anti-human ideology.  Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel left this earth as a mass murderer for an evil illusion.  He does not deserve a grave.  He has already claimed his place on the trash heap of wasted lives.

 

Stand up to political violence

The world is on edge.  Violence is spreading.  This past weekend, white supremacists held a rally in California.   They were met by a large contingent of counter protestors.  Violence broke out.  At least five people were stabbed.  This was avoidable.

Emergent facts implicate the counter-protesters as instigators.  “Some protestors came dressed for battle, several seen carrying wooden batons and some wearing plastic shields.  ‘They came ready to fight, said [California Asemblyman Jim] Cooper.’“ A television crew was accosted by some of these counter demonstrators.  One kid slammed his skateboard into a reporter’s gut.

What is the point of bringing a violent heart to a protest against hostile, anti-social views?  What kind of values are you fighting for?  Nothing positive came from these actions.  Was there a message, or a point, to be made?  To the extent that there was, you failed!

Violence has no place within American political discourse.  The non-violent must take an unequivocal stance against violent actors, regardless of the views they hold.  People who bring violence into our politics must be held accountable.  The non-violent should do everything in their power to ensure non-violence.

It could be that the perpetrators  are nothing more than misguided youth, looking to improve their self-image by taking on bullies.  …  By being bullies.  Fucking ignorant!  …  But, this is an election year.  It is also entirely plausible that foreign political operatives are infiltrating political youth movements for nefarious purposes.   There are no good reasons for masks, shields, or weapons when publicly confronting hateful positions.