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Garpy
07-26-2005, 11:30 PM
....a book that might offend muslims?

Given recent events, I have decided its time to find out what I can about the Muslim faith. To try and understand their point of view about us, the western world. The more I have researched the more convinced I am that the next book I write should look at the yawning gap between us and try to find out whether there is a middle ground that we could all live on. After all there are many core values that I have found that I can identify with within the Islamic faith. For example, how materialism and greed is frowned upon. I personally think that the western way of life has sadly become hijacked by Big Business, and that everything now boils down to making money...and THAT is singularly the biggest problem with the western world. ALL of our social problems, I believe, stem from this, and it does seem that the Islamic faith is the antidote to that with the emphasis of charity, spiritual reward, simple non-materialistic pleasures.

What worries me however, is that I might write something in the future, that could be interpreted by some Imam as being offensive, I might be at personal risk.

Widening the question a little bit....have you felt the need to modify your WIP to fit the current polarized political climate?

Aconite
07-26-2005, 11:40 PM
Garpy, it is impossible to write a book that doesn't offend someone.* The best you can do is to make sure you aren't ignorantly offending reasonable people (defined here as "people who aren't looking for a reason to be offended by your book").

* For example, you might write a book that, miraculously, is embraced by all Muslims, and have your house firebombed by the KKK.

AprilBoo
07-27-2005, 12:04 AM
Rushdie survived a fatwa - you can always hide!

I don't worry about this. Someone is always going to be offended by something. As far as modifying WIPs to fit with the political climate, I think some of the best literature challenged norms and mores of the time, so I don't worry about that either.

It seems like I don't worry about much...why am I so stressed out again?

Sara Rachael Hope
07-27-2005, 12:12 AM
Garpy, it is impossible to write a book that doesn't offend someone.* The best you can do it to make sure you aren't ignorantly offending reasonable people (defined here as "people who aren't looking for a reason to be offended by your book").

* For example, you might write a book that, miraculously, is embraced by all Muslims, and have your house firebombed by the KKK.
Hahahahahaha!
Purpose of offending people?
Please explain.
Religion?
Please explain?
Politics?
Please explain?
Social groups?
(you know what I'm gonna say...I mean, type!)
Oops!
Sorry. Did I need to apologize?
Hope i spelled it write (*with a r instead. I know THAT! So...who cares and does it matter?).
One path to Creator=can u hear him/her/IT?

Good luck w/imeanwith your writing!

Garpy
07-27-2005, 12:18 AM
uh? I didn't really get any of that. Sorry.

La Reine
07-27-2005, 12:22 AM
Every time you write about a people you don't know you risk offending them simply because your understanding of your society will never be as complete as theirs.

Jamesaritchie
07-27-2005, 12:24 AM
....a book that might offend muslims?

Given recent events, I have decided its time to find out what I can about the Muslim faith. To try and understand their point of view about us, the western world. The more I have researched the more convinced I am that the next book I write should look at the yawning gap between us and try to find out whether there is a middle ground that we could all live on. After all there are many core values that I have found that I can identify with within the Islamic faith. For example, how materialism and greed is frowned upon. I personally think that the western way of life has sadly become hijacked by Big Business, and that everything now boils down to making money...and THAT is singularly the biggest problem with the western world. ALL of our social problems, I believe, stem from this, and it does seem that the Islamic faith is the antidote to that with the emphasis of charity, spiritual reward, simple non-materialistic pleasures.

What worries me however, is that I might write something in the future, that could be interpreted by some Imam as being offensive, I might be at personal risk.

Widening the question a little bit....have you felt the need to modify your WIP to fit the current polarized political climate?

Big business isn't the problem, it's just the way people are. Business doesn't want or need anything. It's the people in businesses who want money. So do people outside business. So do Muslims, just as much as anyone else. I think all religions warn against the power of money.

Islam, Christianity, and Judaism all believe in the Old Testament, and Islam generally believes in the New. One of the things Islam holds against the Jewish people is that they believe Jews rejected the Prohpet God sent to them in the form of Christ, while Muslims accepted the Prophet God sent them in the form of Mohammed.

The religions all teach against the power of money, and many of the people of all religions, Islam included, ignore this warning. It is, I suppose, simply human nature. Far more people are interested in profits than in Prophets.

The world has an awful bunch of extremely rich Muslims, including a fair number of multi-billionaires, and as many businessmen as any country, and as many people who want to be as rich as possible as any country or any religion.

Having said this, a writer's job is to write the truth as he sees it. This is what writing is all about, whatever that truth may be, whoever it offends.

Lenora Rose
07-27-2005, 12:24 AM
For example, how materialism and greed is frowned upon. I personally think that the western way of life has sadly become hijacked by Big Business, and that everything now boils down to making money...and THAT is singularly the biggest problem with the western world. ALL of our social problems, I believe, stem from this, and it does seem that the Islamic faith is the antidote to that with the emphasis of charity, spiritual reward, simple non-materialistic pleasures.

To nitpick and go on a tangent both at once:

The Christian faith, (if you study the holy book and what it should be, as opposed to what several branches really are), also emphasises these same things.

And just like Christianity, far too many branches of Islam seem to forget that charity, Spiritual reward, etc. are the areas that should be emphasized and go on to focus on other things.

Jamesaritchie
07-27-2005, 12:41 AM
To nitpick and go on a tangent both at once:

The Christian faith, (if you study the holy book and what it should be, as opposed to what several branches really are), also emphasises these same things.

And just like Christianity, far too many branches of Islam seem to forget that charity, Spiritual reward, etc. are the areas that should be emphasized and go on to focus on other things.

Yes, Christianity actually warns against the corrupting power of money and materialism stronger than does Islam.

But certainly money/materialism is not the root cause of all social problems. Not by a long shot. Would that it were this simple, but money/materialism is only one tree in a very large forest.

Nor is there anything wrong with having money, even when you have a lot of it. It's how you earn the money, and how you use it, that make the difference. There is no nobility in being poor, and no sin in being rich. It's the actions of the person, teh values that person subscribes to, that makes him good or bad, not the dollars in his pocket, or the lack thereof.

Garpy
07-27-2005, 12:50 AM
Sorry guys...wasn't impuning christianity, which I know has pretty good core values too....just having a moan at the rampant world of Big Business, the all encompassing pursuit of the Big Buck and the general misery that seems to cause for the world's poorest workers, aspirational dreams that can never be met by the vast majority of us, insipid marketing/commercial mind-programming...that kind of stuff.

I must also add the caveat that that it's not a dig at the American Way, since corporatism pervades ALL our western nations.

Aconite
07-27-2005, 01:03 AM
I must also add the caveat that that it's not a dig at the American Way, since corporatism pervades ALL our western nations.
It's not just the West, and it's nothing modern.

Long, long ago, in the mists of prehistory, an archaeology prof of mine told us a story of capitalism as human nature. US soldiers moved into frontier territory, built a fort, and fired cannons to scare the natives into submission with a display of force. A few hours later, the natives showed up, offering to sell the canonballs back to the fort.

Jewish tradition tells the story of what happened when that part of human nature was removed from people. Essentially, people weren't motivated to do anything, and things got bad until that part was put back. The lesson there is that the instinct isn't bad, but how it's manifested can be.

Garpy
07-27-2005, 01:14 AM
Yes, I agree that there needs to be the freedom in which one can trade. But, I feel the whole free market thing has gone a little too far. As with most things, the best solution lies somewhere in the middle of two extremes....for my money that would be a moderately...dare I say....socialist, libertarian, secular society. And one can point to several Scandinavian countries that have roughly got it right.

Tirjasdyn
07-27-2005, 01:24 AM
I don't think there is a yawing gap between us, I think as you study it more you'll realize that.

That is from personal experience.

Too many are focusing on the religion and not on the politicans, both Iraqi and US politicos are creating the gap. Notice how I said Iraqi and Us NOT Islamic and Christian. People forget that there are Jewish and Christian Arabs, Iraqis and Afgans etc. People forget that the Baathist's were a Christian organization.

Having said that I see no point in "modifying" writing to please the politcos. What would be the point. Either write it or don't, Don't waffle around cause then you're just wasting time.

Jamesaritchie
07-27-2005, 01:56 AM
Yes, I agree that there needs to be the freedom in which one can trade. But, I feel the whole free market thing has gone a little too far. As with most things, the best solution lies somewhere in the middle of two extremes....for my money that would be a moderately...dare I say....socialist, libertarian, secular society. And one can point to several Scandinavian countries that have roughly got it right.

It isn't about socialism, libertarianism, and certainly not about anything secular. It isn't about Christianity, Islam, Catholicism, or any other religion. If people actually followed the teaching of any religion there would be few problems of any kind. I know all your complaints about money/materialism would disappear overnight. But it simply is not about political systems or religious systems, it's about human nature.

And would you really want to live under any system, political or religious, that forced people to live in a certain way? I wouldn't. Freedom always brings problems, and yu handle these problems as best you can when they arise. But whatever the problems of freedom, the problems of force are always far more damaging, and far more difficult to handle.

Every system of goverbnment has it's problems, and I wouldn't trade the problems of democarcy and capitalism for the problems of socialism on a bet.

Free trade may have swung too far, but if so, it will probably be corrected. And much depends oon which side of the window you're looking trhough. I strongly suspect there are a lot of third world countries, and a couple of billion dirt poor people therein, who believe free trade is still nowhere near free enough

It's about the people. Some people will always do bad things, and that's just how it is. Some poeple will always abuse power and prviledge, and that's just how it is. When that abuse reaches a certain point in a certain area, teh laws take over.

But I am hard pressed to say freedom is ever wrong, or that people as a whole need controlled by government or by religion.

And to be perfectly honest, I do not, for example, give a rat's whisker about how much money someone like Bill Gates has. Good for him. Nor do I think the people who have received portions of the billions he's given away care how much money he has. I'm certain all those suffering from aids in a frica are very thankful someone had enough money to give them, and had the willingness to give it.

But I don;t care whether or not he gives away his money or keeps it. It's his money, not mine. I think it noble of him to give so much away, and our local librray has 60K in new computers because of him, but either way, I don't care.

The poor are not poor because Bill Gates is rich, teh suffering are not suffering because Bill Gates is rich, and all the problems and ills of society do not in any way belong on the doorstep of money and materialism. There are far worse problems in the world, both socially and politically.

But in the end, it all boils down to a simple checkpoint for me. . .should people be free, or should people be controlled? And if they are controlled, then just what is it about the people doing the controlling that makes tham any better, any more trustworthy, than the people they are controlling?

As someone once said, you can't change human nature, but you can change the nature of a human. I just do not like the idea of any group of people sitting on high, telling me what I can do and can't do, how much I can earn and can't earn, who I can do business with and who I can't. I think we all deserve freedom, not control.

And even if you eliminated every social ill caused by money/materialism, you'd only find you've also stopped all teh ways it can help people, and that a hundred or a thousand other social ills and probelms were still facing you.

Jamesaritchie
07-27-2005, 04:05 AM
Onelast note on this. I don't think a good writer insults or flatters, condemns of condones, except indirectly.

Nor do I think a good writer intejects his opinion, or makes statements. NOt a fiction wirter, at any rate.

I believe the job of a fiction writer is simply to tell a true story. He siomply shows something that actually happens, an dthen he lets readers make up their own minds abut what this story means. The writer doesn't answer questions, he asks them. It's up to the reader to answer them.

The reader sees a true story, and the question that's asked is, "Do you beieve this is a good or a bad thing?" The reader answers this question and answers accordingly.

If you tell the story of poor migrant workers, of illegal aliens who slip across the border, you do not fill that story with your opinion on anything. You simply tell the story, you show the reader what these people face, what these people feel, what these people dream and hope. The reader then makes up his own mind about what it all means, and whether or not changes should be made.

Doing this will insult and enrage some people, and fill others with hope.

But just like "show, don't tell" in technique, yu have to show people how things are, not tell them. Telling people how you think something should be done just makes them made. Telling peole how to fix problems just makes them mad. Telling people you think something should be this way and not that just makes them mad.

But showing people how things really are, and letting them reach their own consclusions, can bring about change.

It's almost a cliche now, but I really do believe the job of a writer is simply to hold up a mirror to society, to let people see their own reflection. After this, people make the decisions. If you've done your job properly, you can help them make the "right" decision, but you do so by showing, not by telling.

GPatten
07-27-2005, 08:49 AM
Given recent events, I have decided its time to find out what I can about the Muslim faith. To try and understand their point of view about us, the western world. The more I have researched the more convinced I am that the next book I write should look at the yawning gap between us and try to find out whether there is a middle ground that we could all live on.


Garpy:

I say, write it.

You’re thinking of writing about group of people who represents almost half of the world’s population and territory. Though they are multi facetted, there different facets are quite different from each other. We have on one hand, the true Muslims who are peaceful; on the other hand, we have the radical Muslims, who really don’t follow the Koran as the peaceful ones do.

The radical ones have fought with each other and their neighbors since time began. They are, and have been at war and will ever be at war. There’s no way anyone will be able to step half way up to the plate and play ball with those who have refused to live a peaceful life with the world since long before Christ was born.

We have the peaceful Muslims in our neighboring cities that get married, raise children, have jobs, and go to church on Sunday, just like us. Out of their ranks we may have a radical member, or members who chose another path of life. It is almost the same with the wondering Bedawin, or Bedawi tribes of Syria and the bread maker in Kabul Afghanistan and those who habitat the teahouse in Karbala Iraq. It would seem it is the same with everyone, but there is one slight catch. Comes now the PLO of Israel and Lebanon, the Lebanese Hezbollah, The Taliban, the al Qaeda, and we can go on and on. For goodness sake, write your book, but realize that there is no way any person is going to get right up next to these people who war, and have been at war with the world for so long and refuse to settle in and life peacefully. It took two World Wars in my lifetime to see the Huns settle in and I don’t know how long that will last.

I fully expect to see those crazies lob a bomb in on the Hopi Indians of Arizona; after all, the Hopi’s (the ancient ones) (The Peaceful People) are infidels too.

But I’m not talking about my Muslim friends. I’m talking about those radical Muslims who will kill my Muslim friends, our neighbors, and their children.

It is for this reason I’ve taken on the task to write my novel, “The Life of a Terrorist Assassin”.

---------------------------------------------

The FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group labeled Ara Hasimi, The Ghost, and the ghost came alive, appearing suddenly, here and there, wreaking havoc, and then disappearing into the depths of the cities of England and the US...hiding.

At the age of 16, Ara Hasimi fled from the Israeli forces in Beirut Lebanon during the end of the Lebanese Civil War in the 1980s. Her life changed significantly as she fled in the night, running in the shadows, reaching for safety over the Lebanese mountains to the Syrian boarder. She was directed to Sab Abar Syria and then on to a terrorist training camp at Karbala Iraq, for training. It was there they had learned of her abilities, she had become an assassin for the Al-Qaida Network. Her assassin pursuits were all successful, her destructive pursuits failed drastically. To end her prohibited destructive activities, her own people assassinated her, thus saving America from a nuclear death. She died on her 28th birthday.

---------------------------------------------

Perhaps it will open the eyes of the non-believers that there is nothing that will detour those who have taken on a life of destruction. The question is, are we to be killed, or do we kill to keep from being killed?

Garpy
07-27-2005, 12:57 PM
And would you really want to live under any system, political or religious, that forced people to live in a certain way? I wouldn't. Freedom always brings problems, and yu handle these problems as best you can when they arise. But whatever the problems of freedom, the problems of force are always far more damaging, and far more difficult to handle.

I knew using the word 'socialist' would trigger some kind of response about control. It's not about control, it's about putting some responsible limits on capitalism, which I liken to a bull in a china shop....you've got to calm him down a bit otherwise a lot of plates get broken.

And to be perfectly honest, I do not, for example, give a rat's whisker about how much money someone like Bill Gates has.

I forget who orginally suggested this idea...it might have been Churchill, but he suggested a stable and fair society was one where the richest man in the society was never more than 100 richer than the poorest. It's a great principle, and if you do the maths, you'll realise that only the tiniest percentage of people....the super-rich would find their grotesquely lavish life styles would change. And frankly, for the better - you do read every now and then of super-rich celebrities troubled with money-guilt....I suspect that's why so many of them feel compelled to publicly do charity work. If you imagine the lowest salary is what....$20k?....so, the biggest salary you'd be allowed was $2 million!

The poor are not poor because Bill Gates is rich,

I believe we have a finite amount of resources on the planet. If one group/nation/person is immensely rich, in a world of limited resources that means somebody else is going to be poor. Now I'm not saying that Bill Gates has made some poor 3rd world farmer even poorer just because Windows XP is doing well....but there is a general diffused effect where wealth gathers, povery gathers elsewhere.

I agree with you on one thing though James, and that is the danger of self-censorship. I believe its my duty to write from the heart.

stranger
07-27-2005, 01:35 PM
I believe we have a finite amount of resources on the planet. If one group/nation/person is immensely rich, in a world of limited resources that means somebody else is going to be poor.

I don't think this makes any sense. I think the opposite is true. That when there are rich people, then the people around them will become richer. It just takes time. There are millions upon millions of people very well off in the western world. Think back only 100 years- how many were well off then. The finite resources in the world lead to a certain amount of wealth a hundred years ago and the same resources today lead to, what, a hundred times more wealth. Places like India, China, Thailand have started becoming a lot wealthier over the last 20 years. I think there will always be a wealth divide but that there can be a situation where no one lives in poverty at the same time. I think Western Europe, in particular, is a good model for this. It's not there yet though.

Islam teaches against wealth. So does Christianity. You still have some pretty wealthy oil barons in the middle east and you have big business in the western world.

In terms of writing your story, I think it is a very challenging for anyone from the western world to understand the psyche of the muslim world, to get inside their heads. To therefore write a true story. I remember reading a book called the Raj, by Leon Uris (who normally writes about the Jewish struggle) and was impressed at the way he did it.

Aconite
07-27-2005, 03:04 PM
Islam teaches against wealth. So does Christianity.
No, they don't. They take stands against greed, not wealth.

GPatten
07-27-2005, 03:35 PM
Riches and Greed?

They want to control the world.

Right now, there’s a brutal Muslim Al-Qaida Network in Somalia who have brutalized and murdered many Foreign run aid workers and pirated a ship at sea.

These are a bunch of brutal Muslims I don’t want to get close to them and give em a hug. Not long from now, they could have the world in their power...walking down your street, doing whatever they want. Telling you, how they want you to do. Right now, they’re roaming the streets of the US and London’s streets.

>> See more <<

http://www.isn.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?ID=12233

http://menewsline.com/stories/2005/july/07_18_4.html

http://menewsline.com/index.html

stranger
07-27-2005, 03:42 PM
No, they don't. They take stands against greed, not wealth.

Well, I don't know a huge amount about Islam and there are many flavours of Christianity but it's harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven according to one famous person.

brinkett
07-27-2005, 04:06 PM
Well, I don't know a huge amount about Islam and there are many flavours of Christianity but it's harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven according to one famous person.
No, according to whoever wrote the gospel (not Jesus), and every theologian worth their salt will tell you that greed is the problem, not having money per se.


In terms of writing your story, I think it is a very challenging for anyone from the western world to understand the psyche of the muslim world,

Tell that to Karen Armstrong.

Garpy: If you're interested in the similarities between the three big monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity), read The History of God by Karen Armstrong.

Katiba
07-27-2005, 05:24 PM
I think it extremely unlikely that you will be in physical danger from Muslims, no matter what you write. Patricia Crone wrote a book that argues that Mohammad never existed, John Wansborough claimed that textual evidence shows that the Qur'an was compiled many years after Mohammad's death and Joseph Schacht basically proved that the Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet, the second source of Islamic law) are unreliable. All these people used historical sources to argue against the basic tenets of Islam, and none of them ever had a fatwa issued against them. No matter what you write in a novel, I don't believe it could be as controversial and dangerous (from the standpoint of a believer) as what these scholars have written.

And I believe - although I'm not 100% sure - that the fatwa against Rushdie was based on his apostasy from Islam, not some kind of blasphemy. I know this is true for other authors whose writings have been banned in various places, and for the professor in Cairo who lost his job. Whether it's true or not in Rushdie's case, in Satanic Verses, the source of revelation is, at least partly, someone other than God. Again this is something that goes to the very heart of Islamic beliefs. I'm not sure exactly what your novel is about, but there have been many, many novels written in English that have portrayed Muslims and Islam in an unfavorable light - and none of those authors have ever had fatwas issued against them.

That said, I think it is very possible to offend Muslims through a novel that is unsympathetic (not saying you shouldn't write this, just pointing it out) or inaccurate, in the same way that you could offend anyone else. But really, there's no more reason to think you'd be in physical danger than if you wrote a book about Native Americans, or the Chinese community in Vancouver or Germans - or for that matter, New Yorkers - without doing proper research.

Garpy
07-27-2005, 05:41 PM
Thanks to most of you for your measured comments. It is a tricky thing. I think given that terrorism on a wholly new scale is going to be with us all for decades to come, there are going to be many books that demonize the muslim faith....I hope what I write next is a little more reflective.

My research is basically to find out what the genuine end goal of moderate muslim majority is. If it is to ensure the world is a little less rampantly capitalist, and libertarian, where any faith may be tolerated, where no one is forced to understake the Islamic faith, then maybe there's hope for us all to find a middle ground...BUT...if the goal of the silent muslim majority is to eventually turn the world into one giant Caliphet...then I might conclude that a line must be drawn in the sand and we're all going to have to pick which side of it we're going to stand.

My hope is that my research will prove (in my mind) the former rather than the latter. I'm hopeful, as the Qu'ran as a text preaches an incredibly moderate, tolerant, modern, forward-thinking form of religion.

Mac H.
07-27-2005, 05:44 PM
The more I have researched the more convinced I am that the next book I write should look at the yawning gap between us and try to find out whether there is a middle ground that we could all live on.

It might be an idea to co-write this with someone who considers themselves Muslim. Not only will it halve the amount of writing to do, but it will also provide built-in research and differentiate this book from the writings of the other ten thousand political pundits.

If I look at discussions of evolution by creationists, it is clear that they have NO idea of what the other side truly believes. The same applies to evolutionists discussing creationism. I suspect my views on Islam/Muslims etc are the same.

Another problem to avoid is the assumption of a uniform 'us'. Even a simple question as to whether Christianity teaches against materialism will give ten different opinions - and that's a religion that most of us are reasonably familiar with!

Someone who has grown up in a Muslim community will be able to distinguish the wheat from the chaff a whole lot easier - and have credibility to talk on their half of the issue.


It's harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven according to one famous person.

I can see the cause of the mixup now. You are confusing the teachings of Christianity with the teachings of Jesus. A simple mistake, but a mistake that is rarely made these days ...

Mac
(And yes - I appreciate that there are a thousand variations of Islam, just like 'Christianity' varies from David Koresh to Quakers to people who don't actually believe in God, but still are emphatic that they are 'Christian'. And that's before we get to the variations of Western Civilization which aren't even Christian!!! And yes, the KKK believe that they are a Christian organisation too!)

loquax
07-27-2005, 05:54 PM
If people actually followed the teaching of any religion there would be few problems of any kind.
I used to think this too. Although I've never actually read the Bible, I've heard lots of stories, and they all seemed to give good messages. But it's often the most spiritual and orthodox followers who turn out to be nuts. Here's (http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/%7Eslocks/babble.html) a quirky little site that brings attention to the bits of the Bible you don't hear preachers singing in the streets.

Jamesaritchie
07-27-2005, 06:55 PM
[QUOTE=stranger]

Islam teaches against wealth. So does Christianity. You still have some pretty wealthy oil barons in the middle east and you have big business in the western world.

[QUOTE]

No, neither teaches against wealth. Both simply warn that wealth has dangers associated with it. You can't take a single verse like Mat. 19:24 and say this means Christanity says wealth is wrong. You have to look at context, and at other verses. It isn't even really warning against money there, but simply against loving anything more than God. The Bible is full of rich men favored by God. It is really saying that it is impossible for any man to get into heaven, but that with God, all things are possible. And as one preacher I know says, even God wants his ten percent.

What Christianity teaches against is greed, the love of money. It teaches that a poor man who loves a dollar is as guilty as a rich man who loves a million dollars. It teaches that a rich man who loves God and who tithes and is generous is far more favored by God than a poor man who does not love God and who is stingy with his money.

Christianity specifically teaches that increasing your money is a good thing, because how else can you give to God and care for widows and orphans? It also teaches that you do not make less because another man makes more, and that any man is worthy of his hire.

Neither Christianity nor Islam teaches in any way that Stephen King is evil because his books have earned millions of dollars.

Nor does either, in any way, teach that it is noble to be poor.

And oil barons and big business do not begin to account for all the people who are wealthy, either here or in the Middle East. Those who rail against money do not usually think things through and look at alternatives. They are not pretty. They do not work.

As for Islam, Mohammed himself married a rich widow and became very rich himself. It is very difficult to say that Islam teaches against wealth when the founder of Islam was rich.

I also don't really understand calling Islam a religion of peace. Mohammed himself was widely known for raiding caravans, and for murdering and stealing. And such verses directly from the Koran such as "Fight those who neither believe in Allah nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and do not embrace the religion of the truth, being among those who have been given the Book (Bible and the Torah), until they pay tribute out of hand and have been humiliated." (Surah 9:29)

and : "...restrain their hands, take them and kill them wherever you find them." (Surah 4:91)

And from Mohammed: "I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity..." (Hadiths Vol.1, 2:24)

And, of course, Sura 9:29-33 “Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe not in God, or in the last day, and who forbid not that which God and His Apostle have forbidden, and who profess not the profession of the truth, until they pay tribute out of hand, and they be humbled.”

The Koran teaches peace and love toward Muslims, not toward anyone who is an unbeliever. And nowehere in the Koran does it say this attitude should ever be changed.

There are certainly a great many peaceful, loving Muslims, but the religion itself is not one of peace, and the Koran does not teach peace toward anyone except other Muslims, or even against Muslims who have fallen away from the true teaching of Mohammed.

Tirjasdyn
07-27-2005, 07:25 PM
That sounds like a conspiracy novel. The moderate muslim majority is probably more concerned with where their next meal is coming from like the rest of us rather than to ensure either of those points.

Perhaps reading some muslim blogs might help. Here's a good one from an Iraqi woman. She has links to many others. But do a search too.

http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com

Thanks to most of you for your measured comments. It is a tricky thing. I think given that terrorism on a wholly new scale is going to be with us all for decades to come, there are going to be many books that demonize the muslim faith....I hope what I write next is a little more reflective.

My research is basically to find out what the genuine end goal of moderate muslim majority is. If it is to ensure the world is a little less rampantly capitalist, and libertarian, where any faith may be tolerated, where no one is forced to understake the Islamic faith, then maybe there's hope for us all to find a middle ground...BUT...if the goal of the silent muslim majority is to eventually turn the world into one giant Caliphet...then I might conclude that a line must be drawn in the sand and we're all going to have to pick which side of it we're going to stand.

My hope is that my research will prove (in my mind) the former rather than the latter. I'm hopeful, as the Qu'ran as a text preaches an incredibly moderate, tolerant, modern, forward-thinking form of religion.

Garpy
07-27-2005, 07:42 PM
I'm not sure what I'm writing next....whether even it will be a novel. I've decided that I have spent enough time arguing about issues like terrorism, the Islamic religion, growing 3rd world problems.....ect...etc....without really going and doing the homework first. I find so many people spouting 'facts' off to each other, and when you scratch the surface these 'facts' are usually culled from skim-reading the papers, or listening to soundbites from radio talk shows. I want to find out a little more about these issues, and perhaps inject what I learn into what I write next.

Jamesaritchie
07-27-2005, 08:30 PM
I used to think this too. Although I've never actually read the Bible, I've heard lots of stories, and they all seemed to give good messages. But it's often the most spiritual and orthodox followers who turn out to be nuts. Here's (http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/%7Eslocks/babble.html) a quirky little site that brings attention to the bits of the Bible you don't hear preachers singing in the streets.

I wouldn't pay much attention to that site. Like most, it shows a clear lack of knowledge. There isn't a quote there that even makes sense if you have read the Bible, and preachers talk about these points all the time. Those points are actually laughable, and sad. Not one is actually a Biblical point at all, and, in fact, every quote there is explained in he Bible, and makes perfect sense.

And, no, it isn't the most spiritual and the most othadox who turn out to be nuts, it's merely ones who claim to be the most spiritual and orthadox who are nuts. And "nuts", of course, is in the eye of the beholder. We tend to thnk anyone is nuts if we disagree with them.

You really should read the Bible, and the Koran, and the text of every religion you can get your hands on. Religions, right, wrong, or indifferent, have been the greatest influence on civilization for the last five tousand years, and like much of everything else, second hand accounts teach little.

maestrowork
07-27-2005, 08:48 PM
No, neither teaches against wealth. Both simply warn that wealth has dangers associated with it.


Or more specifically, the danger of accumulating wealth on Earth but not in God's Kingdom...

I also don't really understand calling Islam a religion of peace.

The same could be said about Christianity, or the Bible. The Bible has many passages of war, fights, and death. Moses himself waged a war in God's name... granted, he just wanted to set his people free... still, the Bible is hardly about peace. And many Christians have waged wars against the "non-believers" in man's history... even today.

Katiba
07-27-2005, 08:54 PM
I agree that 'religion of peace' is not comprehensive of Islam as a whole which, like other long-established religions, has many complex and varied interpretations. I suspect that this moniker has come about partly because Islam and salaam (the Arabic word for peace) share the same root (s-l-m). Islam literally means 'submission' or 'submission to God.'

However, I can't agree with this statement:

"the Koran does not teach peace toward anyone except other Muslims, or even against Muslims who have fallen away from the true teaching of Mohammed."

What about the following verses:

"It may be that God will grant friendship between you and those whom you now hold as enemies. For God has power over all things. God enjoins you to deal with kindness and justice to all, except those who fight against your faith and turn you out of your homes. For God loves those who are just." (Q.60:7-8)

"And nearest among them in love To the Believers you will find those who say, "We are Christians": Because amongst these are people devoted to learning; and people who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant." (Q. 5:82)



"But if the enemy inclines toward peace, you should also incline toward peace" (Q. 8:61)


Like most other religious texts, the Qur'an is complex and can be interpreted in a myriad of different ways. To claim that there is nothing in it enjoining peace towards non-Muslims is just as incorrect as to claim it enjoins nothing but peace to non-Muslims.

brinkett
07-27-2005, 09:14 PM
Like most other religious texts, the Qur'an is complex and can be interpreted in a myriad of different ways.
Yes. And it's useless to pluck individual verses out of context to make a point (this isn't directed at you, just a general comment). Everyone can do that, no matter what position they're trying to support.


You really should read the Bible, and the Koran, and the text of every religion you can get your hands on. Religions, right, wrong, or indifferent, have been the greatest influence on civilization for the last five tousand years, and like much of everything else, second hand accounts teach little.

I agree, however they should be read with an understanding of the motivations of the writers, who they were trying to reach, and the political and social climate at the time they were written.

MadScientistMatt
07-27-2005, 09:44 PM
I wouldn't pay much attention to that site. Like most, it shows a clear lack of knowledge. There isn't a quote there that even makes sense if you have read the Bible, and preachers talk about these points all the time. Those points are actually laughable, and sad. Not one is actually a Biblical point at all, and, in fact, every quote there is explained in he Bible, and makes perfect sense.

That site reminds me of a classic joke about trying to piece together teachings based on extremely short, out-of-context quotes from the Bible. By just taking single lines like that, you could put together a teaching along these lines:

"Then Judas went and hanged himself."
"Now go and do likewise."

The Bible contains enough comments on different subjects, not to mention characters who simply tell stories, bluster from characters who are neither Jewish nor Christian, and even just plain rants and tirades such as David screaming that he would like to see someone pick up his enemies' children and smash their heads against rocks. It's pretty easy to pick quotes that seem to contradict each other from such a work if you only take a few sentances.

Jamesaritchie
07-27-2005, 10:22 PM
I agree that 'religion of peace' is not comprehensive of Islam as a whole which, like other long-established religions, has many complex and varied interpretations. I suspect that this moniker has come about partly because Islam and salaam (the Arabic word for peace) share the same root (s-l-m). Islam literally means 'submission' or 'submission to God.'

However, I can't agree with this statement:

"the Koran does not teach peace toward anyone except other Muslims, or even against Muslims who have fallen away from the true teaching of Mohammed."

What about the following verses:

"It may be that God will grant friendship between you and those whom you now hold as enemies. For God has power over all things. God enjoins you to deal with kindness and justice to all, except those who fight against your faith and turn you out of your homes. For God loves those who are just." (Q.60:7-8)

"And nearest among them in love To the Believers you will find those who say, "We are Christians": Because amongst these are people devoted to learning; and people who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant." (Q. 5:82)



"But if the enemy inclines toward peace, you should also incline toward peace" (Q. 8:61)


Like most other religious texts, the Qur'an is complex and can be interpreted in a myriad of different ways. To claim that there is nothing in it enjoining peace towards non-Muslims is just as incorrect as to claim it enjoins nothing but peace to non-Muslims.

I'd say you have to read the entire Koran. For instance "except those who fight against your faith" is usually taken by scholars to mean anyone who claims your faith is wrong. The mere statement that Islam is wrong, and that Mohammed was not a Prophet, is grounds for claiming someone is fighting against your faith.

The Koran does teach that Muslims should not be the ones to start trouble. But the difinitions it gives of what constitutes startng trouble is itsefl troublesome. It also says flatly not to be friends with Christians or jews.

It is not, in my opinion, anything like a peaceful religion, anymore than the Old Testament is one of peace.

Not, mind you, that I have a problem with this. I have never assumed that peace is always a good thing, or that war and violence are automatically bad things. There is a time and a place for everything, including violence.

But in reading the Koran a few times, I agree with those who believe the Islam version of living in peace is dependent on a great many things that to me seem to make peace nearly impossible.

Sara Rachael Hope
07-28-2005, 12:23 AM
These r all just books...hope i didn't offend anyone!
Can u 'hear' the book? DON'T Read or Write...BE silent! Who's speaking? IT created U and
U r 1 of the great books (ya know?)!
D.

Caty
07-28-2005, 01:26 AM
Stranger made the "eye of the neeedle quote" earlier on and it reminded me of a school R.E lesson when a Rabbi came to our R.C school.

He said that the Eye of the Needle was one of seven gates into Jerusalem in the time of Christ. It was a very narrow gate hence the nickname. It was NOT impossible to take the camel through this gate but if it was heavily laden you'd probably have to do a bit of unloading.

It puts a new slant on the parable if this is true, not impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven, but more difficult if he didn't shed at least some of the wealth.

Kasey Mackenzie
07-28-2005, 01:35 AM
These r all just books...hope i didn't offend anyone!
Can u 'hear' the book? DON'T Read or Write...BE silent! Who's speaking? IT created U and
U r 1 of the great books (ya know?)!
D.

No offense, but no, I don't know. I have absolutely no idea what you were just trying to say. Care to repeat a bit more coherently?

SeanDSchaffer
07-28-2005, 05:47 AM
Well, I don't know a huge amount about Islam and there are many flavours of Christianity but it's harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven according to one famous person.


Hello Stranger,

You've read that part of the Bible too, eh? Cool! Then you must know where that same famous person said, "For the love of money is the root of all evil."

Notice He did not say 'money' is the root of all evil. Rather He said 'the love of money' is the root of all evil. Greed, not money, is what Christianity teaches against.

As far as other religions go, I couldn't say; I've never studied them. But Christianity teaches against greed, not wealth. Wealth, in and of itself, is not a sin.


Now, I believe the original question was whether or not to write a book that would offend Muslims. Well, I would agree with many here that no matter what you write, it will offend someone. With the Earth's population at more than 6 billion individuals--last time I heard--there is no way an individual writer can write something that shall not offend someone, somewhere.

The best thing to do, in my humble opinion, is to write what's in your mind, and not even worry about offending people. As long as it doesn't offend you, the writer of your work, there should be virtually no reason not to write it.

aruna
07-28-2005, 04:44 PM
Hello Stranger,

Now, I believe the original question was whether or not to write a book that would offend Muslims. Well, I would agree with many here that no matter what you write, it will offend someone. With the Earth's population at more than 6 billion individuals--last time I heard--there is no way an individual writer can write something that shall not offend someone, somewhere.

.

But I think the problem is not so much offending Muslims, but risking a death warrant, as Rushdie did, so that you may have to go into hiding. As much as we all love freedom of speech, I can imagine that some will think twice before ranting against islam publicly in such a way as to consciously invite trouble.

GPatten
07-28-2005, 05:07 PM
I’d love the chance to have one of them telybuns in my sights. LOL

Bring em on.

If I were younger, I’d volunteer to go over to Iraq and kill them Al-Qaida Bas****ds.

They don’t deserve to be living in this world. They kill their own peaceful Muslim brothers and sisters.

stranger
07-28-2005, 05:09 PM
Hello Stranger,

You've read that part of the Bible too, eh? Cool! Then you must know where that same famous person said, "For the love of money is the root of all evil."

Notice He did not say 'money' is the root of all evil. Rather He said 'the love of money' is the root of all evil. Greed, not money, is what Christianity teaches against.

As far as other religions go, I couldn't say; I've never studied them. But Christianity teaches against greed, not wealth. Wealth, in and of itself, is not a sin.



It puts a new slant on the parable if this is true, not impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven, but more difficult if he didn't shed at least some of the wealth.


Okay, okay, I misspoke when I said that Christianity teaches against wealth.

The parable of the rich man tells that the rich man was not willing to put all his possessions aside and follow Jesus i.e. he put his possessions before God in life. If he was a poor man, he would of found it easier to do that. He never said it was impossible--for God, getting a camel through the eye of a needle was possible. Or so my vague recollection of religion class tells me.

Sara Rachael Hope
07-28-2005, 05:27 PM
No offense, but no, I don't know. I have absolutely no idea what you were just trying to say. Care to repeat a bit more coherently?
Sorry...
That which created you created a book...just like a tree.
Books are just 'things' and essentially not as valuable as the real thing: that which created them.
I don't want to offend anyone but i'd much prefer to do torah than read it (still wish i could though!) and all religious 'gospels', yet the only real gospel (can't find a better term right now) is that which is in your head and heart.
Does that make sense?
And i just want to add...money has no energy.

Tirjasdyn
07-28-2005, 06:09 PM
But I think the problem is not so much offending Muslims, but risking a death warrant, as Rushdie did, so that you may have to go into hiding. As much as we all love freedom of speech, I can imagine that some will think twice before ranting against islam publicly in such a way as to consciously invite trouble.
I really don't think there is that much of a problem. There are thousands of books written about islam by non-muslims. Rushdie was pretty famous for showing the middle east and india in a bad light plus he had influence.

In order to get a death warrent you'd,
Have to be famous
Have to have clought
Have to have a truely offensive book.

There is this great four volume set on this muslim heretic, the author questions all kinds of beliefs about islam, he even wonders if the Heretic was right.

The author never had a fatwa against him. (The heretic was burned to death in bagdad over 1000 years ago...he ran downtown and begain claiming he was god, which he actually had a good arguement for, but not the best way to start a conversation if you want to live).

Edit: too quick on the send:
I wrote a paper on it where I agreed with the arguement presented by the author and the heretic. It was my final paper for Islamic Philosophy taught by an Islamic professor from the same tradition as Yassir Arafat.

He loved it. I got a B in the class but only because I did poorly on a test early on. Last I checked I was still alive.

aruna
07-28-2005, 06:31 PM
You're right; being a very famous writer does help!

WannabeWriter
07-28-2005, 06:52 PM
I had the same idea sometime back. I wonder if you write a novel that has topics related to Islam in recent years, but include the good side of it along with the bad, would that help even a little?

Kasey Mackenzie
07-28-2005, 08:56 PM
Sorry...
That which created you created a book...just like a tree.
Books are just 'things' and essentially not as valuable as the real thing: that which created them.
I don't want to offend anyone but i'd much prefer to do torah than read it (still wish i could though!) and all religious 'gospels', yet the only real gospel (can't find a better term right now) is that which is in your head and heart.
Does that make sense?
And i just want to add...money has no energy.

Yes, I was able to follow your point much more easily that time around. Thank you.

SeanDSchaffer
07-28-2005, 10:06 PM
But I think the problem is not so much offending Muslims, but risking a death warrant, as Rushdie did, so that you may have to go into hiding. As much as we all love freedom of speech, I can imagine that some will think twice before ranting against islam publicly in such a way as to consciously invite trouble.


Yes, that could be a major issue. I hadn't thought of it that way. The point, though, that I was trying to make, was that no matter what one writes, they're going to offend someone, somewhere. All I was stating was that there really is no chance of a writer not offending, what with the massive amount of people living today.

Personally, I would try not to rant against any religion, because I don't like offending other people. But with as many different religions, and sects of those religions, as are in the world today, I cannot imagine being able to not offend others.


Case in point: Baptists. I was raised Baptist, in several different Baptist churches over the years. I have had some of those Baptist churches preach against other Baptist churches because they were "Not right with God," etc.

A chaplain in the US Army, who attended a Fundamental Baptist church I also attended, told me there were (In 1992 or 1993, I can't remember the exact year) more than 120 different kinds of Baptist sects in the world at the time according to the US Army.

With all those different kinds of Baptists, it is virtually impossible to not offend someone within those Baptist circles when you write a book.


Now multiply that number of 120 different kinds of Baptists by how many different denominations of Christianity there are.

Once you're done there, think about all the other religions in the world (Islam, Judaism, etc.) that also have different denominations within them, and then different divisions of each denomination. Once you're done there, try to figure a way to write something without offending any of those people.

It cannot be humanly done, at least in my opinion. The numbers are so huge and so gigantic that the likelihood of writing something without offending different religious groups is almost nonexistent.

Again, I always strive to not offend others, but deep in the back of my mind I know that no matter what I write, someone, somewhere, will be offended by it. So that's why I gave my advice to write whatever is in your mind. Offending people cannot be avoided. It's a matter, in my opinion, of (Like Uncle Jim has said a few times) writing what you want to write, instead of writing what you think others want to read.

aruna
07-28-2005, 11:25 PM
Again, I always strive to not offend others, but deep in the back of my mind I know that no matter what I write, someone, somewhere, will be offended by it. So that's why I gave my advice to write whatever is in your mind. Offending people cannot be avoided. It's a matter, in my opinion, of (Like Uncle Jim has said a few times) writing what you want to write, instead of writing what you think others want to read.

It's something I have to live with myself, given the field I've chosen to write in. All of my books have something to do with social history, and those set in my own home country have a particularly volatile background as any story set there simply cannot avoid racial issues - ever since the country erupted into racial violence a couple decades ago everything that goes on there seems to be seen through the eyes of race. That's why I have to walk a particuarly fine line - not out of political correctness - I say things the way I see them - but because I believe it is time people came to their senses. I feel as a writer I have to stand back; I can't take sides. I have to be truthful, and for that I have to be neutral; and yet my characters have to take sides, be racial, violent, bigoted etc - and also, above all that.