September 13, 2007

Fair and Balanced About Unbalanced Folks

It's often enough that I rip on various and sundry religions (and usually with excellent reason, frankly: click on "religion" below if you don't believe me) so it's only fair to point out moments when I'm impressed by people of faith.

Here's two:

I had never heard of the word "ijtihad" until reading "The Trouble With Islam" by Irshad Manji. In the talking heads and interviews I've seen, it's either never been mentioned, or been presented in such a dull fashion that the word blipped past without making a dent in my consciousness: it is an Arabic word, and it means "independent thinking".

And it's simply not one I've heard ever mentioned.

What Ms. Manji does is ask the question: why not? Why isn't ijtihad the tradition that gets discussed among not only the Muslims of the West, but Muslims the world over? Why is a religion that is truly as global as Christianity demanding the rigid thoughtlessness of the Arabic Imams?

What is the desert doing in Malaysia?

In response to the book, she has launched a website with a great name ( where you can get the book free - if you read Persian, Arabic, or Urdu at least.

Read the book, read the site. Some great questions, and even better debate.

Item two:

A lot of my problem with religion (for me, at least) is the bald hypocrisy with which many of the supposed representatives live: bible thumping con artists and gay bashing homosexuals and flat out adulterers and church protected paedophiles are paraded out with alarming regularity, and for some reason that turns me off.

I'm funny that way.

Another is the constant prostelysing, demanding we all live in a world of their own making, individual freedoms be damned (guaranteed)! It's reason enough to be friendly to Jewish neighbours.

But I do have some respect for those folks who live by their codes, bizarre or backwards though they may be, at least it's their own life.

The Amish congregation at Nickel Mines has just moved to the top of the list.

If you don't remember them, they had a nutbag lock himself in a small school and butcher five young girls before (as these cowards invariably do) killing himself. They have received over $4.3 million in donations from around the world... and they've given a contribution to Marie Roberts, a widowed mother of three.

She is widowed because her late husband, Charles Carl Roberts, shot himself almost a year ago after first shooting ten Amish schoolgirls, killing five.

A new school has been built (the old was demolished after the incident), and is expected to close on the anniversary of that day, but no ceremony will be observed.

Reading that, is anyone not embarrassed by people celebrating the 20th anniversary of Diana's death?


posted by Thursday at 8:18 pm


Anonymous Tom Hanson said...

I too wrote about this gesture by these amazing people: However, I was not aware of their time spent in Blacksburg counseling the families of the Tech massacres as was noted on the Politics As Usual website. I wish I had been as that only adds to the view that these people do "set an example for all of us."
Tom Hanson

4:56 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

My mother spent some time with the Mennonites for her thesis a few years back, and she was very impressed with their gentle natures and community strength.

But I do still think they're more than a bit nuts. Nice folk, but buttons being the devil's work is, frankly, whack.

Not that that's stopping me from spending WAY too much on Lehman's non-electric catalogue...

Thanks for commenting.

9:35 pm  

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