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Monday, March 13, 2017

Question, on its Knees, Begging to be Asked

The NYT presents us with another thumb sucker about Islam:

ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands — Like many Muslims, Ahmed Aboutaleb has been disturbed by the angry tenor of the Dutch election campaign. Far-right candidates have disparaged Islam, often depicting Muslims as outsiders unwilling to integrate into Dutch culture.

It is especially jarring for Mr. Aboutaleb, given that he is the mayor of Rotterdam, a fluent Dutch speaker and one of the country’s most popular politicians. Nor is he alone: The speaker of the Dutch Parliament is Muslim. The Netherlands also has Muslim social workers, journalists, comedians, entrepreneurs and bankers.

“There’s a feeling that if there are too many cultural influences from other parts of the world, then what does that mean for our Dutch traditions and culture?” said Mr. Aboutaleb, whose city, the Netherland’s second largest, is 15 percent to 20 percent Muslim and home to immigrants from 174 countries.

Or, perhaps, there is is feeling that Dutch traditions and culture are centered upon the Judeo-Christian Enlightenment and, as such, are completely antagonistic to the aspirations, by definition, of pious Muslims. After all, one might think, and be terribly disappointed if having once entertained the thought, that an article in the Newspaper Of Record, would spend even a syllable upon that seemingly intractable problem.

Nope. Its all down to those damn deplorables.

26 comments:

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey Skipper said...

Thanks, erp. Fixed.

Clovis e Adri said...

Actually, someone writing "Judeo-Christian Enlightenment" clearly does not understand any of the words he wrote.

Bret said...

Clovis, yeah, that seemed pretty odd or quite a stretch to me too.

erp said...

Slightly o/t, but light-years worse than what I saw in my granddaughter's AP World History book five years ago.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Actually, someone writing "Judeo-Christian Enlightenment" clearly does not understand any of the words he wrote.

Really?

(Pro-tip: don't be a Harry. If you have a point to make, then make it.)

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

I did make a very clear point. You did not understand it for the same reason you used those words together in the first place.

I could reference to you any of the many books on the history of the Enlightenment, but it suffices to display this (a bit in error, but close enough of the original) quote of Denis Diderot, one of Enlightenment's notables:

"Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."

Quite a Judeo-Christian thought, isn't it?

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."

Quite a Judeo-Christian thought, isn't it?


There are many reasons why the Enlightenment happened in Europe rather than, say, China. And a great many more why the Islamic world -- all of it -- is moribund.

Athens and Jerusalem. Read any of those links.

Learn about St. Augustine's approach to natural knowledge and Biblical interpretation.

Remember that Christianity explicitly provided separation between the sacred and the profane: Give unto God that which is God's, and unto Caesar's.

That Christian - Judeo concepts ended up providing the rope that hung them is ironic, but as your quote should demonstrate, beside the point.

Harry Eagar said...

'Remember that Christianity explicitly provided separation between the sacred and the profane'

Did it?

The Dutch Enlightenment did but that was in opposition to Christianity.

As for the Judeo part, Dutch Jews have to explain their condemnation of Spinoza.

Which was more enlightened, Toledo in 1200 or Paris in 1700? Explain why

Hey Skipper said...

[Hey Skipper:] 'Remember that Christianity explicitly provided separation between the sacred and the profane'

[Harry:] Did it?


Yes.

As usual, Harry, you are at the train station wondering why you've missed the boat.

Let me reiterate: The Enlightenment was a world-unique period that occurred only in a culture that had nearly exclusively Christian-Judeo antecedents.

Which is more enlightened, Islam in 1200, or Islam in 2017?

erp said...

Skipper, not a fair question especially for a brainwashed -- sorry to be redundant -- lefty. Islam was never enlightened, nor is it likely to be enlightened in the future.

Harry Eagar said...

No, it didn't. David Bromwich summarizes what happened (London Review of Books, 22 Sept 2016):

"As far back as one can trace the vicissitudes of public speech and its suppression, the case for censorship seems to have begun in the need for strictures against blasphemy. The introductory chapter of Blasphemy, by the great American legal scholar Leonard Levy, covers ‘the Jewish trial of Jesus’; it is followed in close succession, in Levy’s account, by the Christian invention of the concept of heresy and the persecution of the Socinian and Arminian heretics and later of the Ranters, Antinomians and early Quakers. After an uncertain interval of state prosecutions and compromises in the 19th century, Levy’s history closes at the threshold of a second Enlightenment in the mid-20th: the endorsement by the North Atlantic democracies of a regime of almost unrestricted freedom of speech and expression."

The Enlightenment was a reaction against Christianity. That's why it emerged in a Christian society: Christianity was the least tolerant of all societies.

erp said...

Harry, it happens that I agree with you that Christianity is intolerant and worse than that, it asks believers to look to the next world for relief and to meekly accept their lot in this one. I find that unacceptable, but that said, there are no longer witch trials and people aren't put to death for their views on heliocentric orbits.

You can't really think that there was never a society less tolerant that the Christian one and BTW - to which Christian society are you referring?

Harry Eagar said...

Specifically, the Christian society that existed during te perid when the Enlightenment developed.

The only reason there are no longer witch trials is that the US is a secular society; there would certainly be witch trials again if the hgristians again obtained civil power.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] The Enlightenment was a reaction against Christianity. That's why it emerged in a Christian society: Christianity was the least tolerant of all societies.

Bollocks. Pure bollocks. Islam is the least tolerant of all religions. You live in an intellectual fun house of distorted mirrors.

Somehow, in your world, the Enlightenment arises in the least tolerant of religions, while Islam, apparently so much more tolerant, culturally ground to a halt around 1200. I can't help but notice you dodged this: Which is more enlightened, Islam in 1200, or Islam in 2017?

I'm not making claims for Christian European tolerance, but rather that all other religions, and societies, were even less open to tolerating any ideas that strayed ever so slightly from accepted shibboleths. China certainly invented things sooner. None of which went anywhere. Islam was certainly ascendant through 1200.

Unasked by Harry, due to his complete lack of curiosity, is how it can possibly be that such a supposedly intolerant religion could tolerate more than another so much more tolerant. The cognitive dissonance must drive you nuts.

erp said...

Harry, that's why our FF made separation of church and state an integral part of our Constitution. They knew that: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Harry Eagar said...

Christianity never tolerated any other religion, except judaism, which it persecuted mercilessly. Proof: every Muslim community in Europe was exterminated, while Christian communities thrived within Islam.

erp said...

Where to start?

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,


----
[Harry:] The Enlightenment was a reaction against Christianity. That's why it emerged in a Christian society: Christianity was the least tolerant of all societies.
[Skipper] Bollocks. Pure bollocks. Islam is the least tolerant of all religions. You live in an intellectual fun house of distorted mirrors.
----
I suggest you pay attention to the verb, Skipper. Harry used the past, you came to the present.

The major religions all took turns into the dispute of which could be more intolerant.

There was a time when math and science (in the ancient form previous to the industrial revolution) thrived under Islam, while it died in Christian societies all over Europe. There is a reason you call algebra by such name.


---
Remember that Christianity explicitly provided separation between the sacred and the profane: Give unto God that which is God's, and unto Caesar's.
---
You do have a point, though it is still a far stretch, in my opinion, to coin a phrase such as "Judeo-Christian Enlightenment".

And I think you will be in serious difficulty to explain China's lack of Enlightenment in thix context, since you invoked them up above. If anything, religion was far less of a counstraint for them then it was to Europeans or Islamic people.

erp said...

Clovis, ... math and science (in the ancient form previous to the industrial revolution) thrived under Islam because of Jews living the middle east, many of whom converted during that period. Islam has no history of scholarship before or after that period. At one time, we were also told by pundits that algebra was invented by African tribesmen, the earth was flat and the sun orbited the earth among other similar fallacies.

China was enlightened well before the west.

Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
math and science (in the ancient form previous to the industrial revolution) thrived under Islam because of Jews living the middle east, many of whom converted during that period.
---

No, it was way better than that: they thrived because of Jews, Christians, Hindu, and other people whose religious background was no reason for their contributions not to be valued. And many of them *did not* convert, it was not necessary. Back then, Islam was a bit more enlightened than Europe. Didn't last forever though.

erp said...

Clovis, not exactly right, but closer than I expected. I'll take it.

Bret said...

That's my understanding of that bit of history as well, more-or-less.

That Islamic world was well ahead of Europe, but it looks to me like they had a really, really hard few centuries with plagues of Mongols and plagues of black death starting after 1200 from which they basically never recovered.

erp said...

Bret, well-ahead is relative.

You may remember the Islamic aka Arab conquest of Spain and the Sicilies (my husband's ancestors) and their siege of the gates of Vienna and then there's the Ottoman Empire that enslaved my Albanian ancestors for over 600 years -- and we ain't got no reparations. They also spread Islam onto the African continent when they converted the tribes that captured slaves for them to bring to the slave markets in England. Obama's tribe, the Luo, were among those who captured their fellow Africans and sold them to Arab traders. They also spread into Asia ...

Harry Eagar said...

'Islam has no history of scholarship before or after that period.'

'Edmond Halley learned Arabic just so that he could reconstruct the lost eighth book of Appollonius's "Conics." '

-- Dmitry Levitin reviewing David Wootton's "The Invention of Science."

The ebb and revival of science and technology does not not speak well for Christianity. As Charles Singer points out ("History of Technology"), southwest Asia-northeast Africa was the source of most technological innovation up to about the time of Alexander's destruction of Persia. Then nothing for a thousand years, until the coming of Islam.

There was then about 600 years of revived innovation in tht area. This came to an end in 1368 with a decision of the ulema. (This last sentence is not based on Singer.)

The scientific revolution began in 1440 when Valla destroyed the authority of the Church.