Thursday, September 14, 2006

Final Thoughts on Terrorism/Polls

This is a reference to the post down below.

I'm going to offer my final thoughts and be done with it.

The issue at hand was how terror support rallies were protected free speech while handing out "anti-gay" religious pamphlets was not. Instead it turned into a debate about how British muslim support for terror is the same as American Christian support for violence against homosexuals.

The statistics about terror-support amongst British muslims is based on polling data. You can argue that the polls were not conducted properly in some way or another, but the data is there.

On the other hand, there is no polling data offered to suggest that Christians are just itching for somebody to show those nasty gays a good what's-for. None is offered, and I doubt it exists. So then what is the evidence that such an undercurrent of violent sentiment exists? Opinion and a misinterpretation of Christian scripture. That is a level of proof that is usually classified as "laughable."

Incidentally, I and the rest of mainstream Christianity believe that violence against homosexuals would not be Biblically condoned, and would in fact be a very bad thing. Shouldn't this be considered a good thing?

What do I base my opinion on for that? Connection to the culture. I have been in churches all over the country. I read and listen to some of the most influential people in the American Christian culture. Never have I heard anybody advocate violence against homosexuals. I'm not even sure pyschopath Fred Phelps advocates it, though I know he applauds it.

That being said, you can understand why I do not take that claim seriously in the slightest. But I'll give the benefit of the doubt; what if that statistic was true? Well, compare the situations:

Britain: ~16% Muslim support for terror, history of terror attacks and terror arrests.
America: ~10% Christian support for violence, statistically insignificant history of attacks against homosexuals.

If you can't see the difference between those two situations, then you are beyond my help.

7 comments:

steve the troll said...

Misiniterpretation of scripture!?! It's not open to interpretation, brother...I read literally, right off the darn page! How can you argue with what the text says?

I don't think you, or anyone for that matter, should be trying to spin God's inerrant words. Read what's on the page. Don't interpret it. If it's there, then it's true, and if it's not there, don't infer or read between the lines, because you're not God.

steve the troll said...

Did I miss the British Muslim terror attacks? Are you talking about the bombings on the Underground?

Why are we talking about British Muslims when we could be talking about the American Muslims who took control of domestic airliners?

Also, I don't think one British Muslim incident by a few people implies a larger percentage of violent British Muslims than the existence of the KKK in the US. I would guess the numbers are about the same. You need to spend some time in the southeast or Montana or Idaho.

-Murphy said...

but the data is there.

But if the polling was done improperly, or presented without context, the data is meaningless.

there is no polling data offered to suggest that Christians are just itching for somebody to show those nasty gays a good what's-for. None is offered, and I doubt it exists.

That no one has cited a poll in recent discussion does not mean that it doesn't exist/couldn't be created/isn't actually true. I'm not saying it is true, but the absence of a poll doesn't mean that sentiment is impossible.

So then what is the evidence that such an undercurrent of violent sentiment exists?

None exists in the absence of at least some kind of polling data, though I personally tend to be distrustful of such data.

Opinion and a misinterpretation of Christian scripture.

Occasionally by people professing to be Christian who would read it as "I must personally kill Persons X, Y and Z for sins 1, 2 and 3." I

I and the rest of mainstream Christianity believe that violence against homosexuals would not be Biblically condoned, and would in fact be a very bad thing. Shouldn't this be considered a good thing?

The fact that 84% of British Muslims polled would indicate that most of those in mainstream British Islam believe the attacks should not be condoned by the Qu'ran, and that they're a very bad thing.

Never have I heard anybody advocate violence against homosexuals.

The problem is that the mainstream is almost never the problem. Phelps condones violence, though he's careful about actually calling for it as that would not be first amendment protected speech (which would go against his whole first amendment martyr complex) and won't actually perpetrate it for the same reason, that he would be made to shut up if he did. Several organisations that are far out of the mainstream (white supremacist organizations, neonazi organizations, WBC) claim to be Christians, which is where you'd rack up that 10%. Which is why I said earlier that I could probably guarantee that you could get that number to agree, given that you polled in the right places. Like right outside of a klan meeting.

Are they truly Christians? Probably not, and they certainly don't represent the mainstream, but

But I'll give the benefit of the doubt

While I can't claim to know what Steve's goal was upon introducing the hypothetical, I'm thinking of it as a discredit to the use of polling. If that's the case, why not equalize the numbers, or at the very least, at least use the midpoint of the range you provided earlier (11.5% of British Muslims thinking the attacks were justified) as opposed to the maximum who consider the perpitrators "martyrs". Since it's hypothetical, since we don't have solid numbers to go on.

More than that, if we're talking pure numbers, it's not unreasonable to say that there have been at least an equal number of people being killed for being gay, hitting on the wrong person (Ray Davies and Shane MacGowan are just two celebrities that this has happened to within the last three years) and so on as modern terrorist attacks by Muslims in Britain. So attempting to discredit the attacks against gays as "statistically insignificant" is dishonest, as, once again, the hypothetical he threw out there is that 10% of Christians wouldn't mind too much if gays were attacked.

Not that the number of attacks is relevant, as the hypothetical poll is proposing a certain subset of a subset of the population would support attacks, not that they've carried them out.

One note: The "f" in the word verification doesn't look like an f. Which is sad.

steve the troll said...

Murph: my point upon proposing the hypothetical wasn't to discredit polling...I think polling is very important. I was actually just trying to show Hal how we're no better off here across the pond than they are over there. We both suffer from extremism, whether polls have been conducted that address extremist issues or not (which is usually the case).

I think we should consider it a virtue that the poll of British Muslims was done. I think it says a lot about this country that we rarely (if ever) poll religious groups about the intricacies of their beliefs in old books and how those beliefs are applied to a very different world than the writers ever knew.

Religious freedom is good, but we shouldn't shy away from studying its inner workings in public or private spheres. I want to know the how, why, when, and where of cancer, and I also want to know the how, why, when, and where of religion.

steve the troll said...

You might recognize this as the word of your lord.

* "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." Leviticus 20:13. "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." Romans 1:32.
* See also Leviticus 18:22, Genesis 19, Romans 1:18-32, I Corinthians 6:9-11, I Timothy 1:10, and Jude 7.

Anonymous said...

to steve the troll:
The first few scriptures you pointed to were from the Old Testament, of which, many of the "laws" were thrown out when Jesus came.
The verse from Romans doesn't condone any killing. I'm not sure what translation you are looking at, but from the literal Greek the verse in questions (32) says close to, "who knowing the righteous order of God, that those practicing such things are worthy of death, not only do them, but also approve those practicing them." It is taught that all sinners are worthy of death, but only by the grace of God are we given life. None of the other verses mention killing anyone, and have to do with unrepentant sinners not inhereting the Kingdom of God. Not sure where you're getting your argument from, but I would recommend reading the Scriptures more closely next time.

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