Religion

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Ruzdur, May 8, 2003.

  1. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    Kharn-

    I am going to elect to disagree with you.

    There have been more attacks by muslims in europe and against europeans then there have been attacks by muslims against americans in the US. Attacks against Americans in the middle east is another matter, but the attacks against europeans needs also to be weighed.

    As for the legal policies supporting or against immigration and inclusion of immigrants from muslim countries, I am going to withhold comment until I get the chance to look at this more.

    However, my visits to Europe have always alarmed me at the displeasure of Europeans to middle easterners (and even each other). This is not only in reference to the Benelux countries, but also Germany, Switzerland, France. I have family in these countries and have spent considerable time there and in Austria and England. I believe part of this has to do with a sense nationalism among Europeans. Often I have heard europeans complain of Auslanders, as well as complain about muslims being a social blight on their country.

    In part I agree that this is because your muslim populations are much larger than found in the US. To discuss the muslim problems of the Europeans is like being Swedish and criticizing the US for its racial problems, one doesn't quite get it until you're there. However, I honestly don't believe that those areas of the US with high muslim populations involve the same level of social distancing that the Muslims experience in Europe.

    French experience with Muslims, Germany's history with Turkish immigrants, the problems of refugees in Europe all make this issue more complex for Europeans than Americans.

    But it is also true that muslim radicals are often radicalized while in Europe, especially in England, France and Northern European countries.

    I also have doubts whether Muslims are more free to become extremists in Europe, but perhaps have a higher sense of being an insular minority, and the insecurities of that lead to higher radicalism. Muslims in the US are not forced to be Americans, but often elect to become more engaged in US culture. Most of the muslim students I know have parents who came here so that their kids could pursue advanced degrees and become successful without having to overcome the social and class barriers found in Europe.
     
  2. Gargantua

    Gargantua First time out of the vault

    54
    May 22, 2003
    Hey Welsh,

    You have any proof to back up your claims?

    oh and what about attempts that fail?
     
  3. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Welsh, you're hitting the whole balance thing here. The thing that makes to muslim societies so seperate in Europe and the reason the non-muslims can be so vocal about the muslims is because we allow them to remain muslims and not adapt at all to our culture, within the confines of the law.

    As far as my information goes, this is not the case in America. If you have less social troubles, it's because you've made the muslims part of your society. We haven't, we've allowed them to keep their own societies within our societies.

    That's the reason there's so much complaining about it in Europe, because that causes a lot of troubles. You're not going to tell me America allows those cultures to co-exist with your rather extremely patriotic American way of thinking and yet have no troubles whatsoever, the thing is that there is a huge difference between our respective systems.

    Now in my opinion, the American system is superior BECAUSE it shows less tolerance to other ways of thinking. You can not systematically uphold several cultures within one nation, it's impossible, if people immigrate, they should adapt. Europe never grew a program to enforce this idea and has been way to forgiving for any social deviations, which is our great historical error.

    PS: I just remembered that Holland, for instance, is world-famous for its overgrown level of tolerance. Most people relate "Amsterdam" with either "weed" or "multi-culture". In fact, "multi-culti" is so incredibly typical for the Netherlands that I could think of no way to keep it out of our politics...I'm very curious where you got these very deviant ideas from, it's the first time I've heard someone put foreward theories like these.
     
  4. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    response

    Ok, in response to Gargantua-

    Until the first attack on the World Trade Center terrorist strikes from Islamic fundamentalists were unheard of. In fact, the first World Trade Center attack was so alarming because it was the first time a group of muslim extremists had hit an american target.

    The Oklahoma City bombing at first was believed to be the work of Islamic terrorists, but later proved to be home grown. Until the 9-11 attacks I cannot recall a muslim attack in the US.

    In Europe you have had Islamists shoot up an airport in Rome, capture airplanes in Germany, seize an embassy in England, plant bombs in Paris, seize an Italian ocean liner, capture Israelis in Munich. These are only some of the most note worthy attacks and this has been going on for decades.

    I am not saying that the US hasn't had its terrorists. The Weather Underground was just one group, but we have had others ranging from Jewish groups to black militants, to marxists and reactionaries. Generally they have been few in number and are disproportional with the fears created in the US.

    In response to Kharn-

    I agree that the Netherlands is unique. But the Netherlands has always been unique as a leading trade and commercial center in Europe. There are other cities that have also had a large multi-cultural history. My understanding is that one also find this is Instanbul.

    I am not sure where the "patriotic" comes from in my message, because I am critical of many US policies, including immigration.
    I think the problem for Europe has to do with the large muslim populations you do have and the inability to reconcile Europeans with the fact that such a large and distinct minority exists. As you mentioned the problem is one of size and understanding. You have a large distinct community of non-europeans that Europe is still adjusting too. Many Europeans I have met deal with this fact with a sense of fear. That the Auslanders are destroying their community.

    However, there is no mandatory "inclusive" policies in the US. I am from New York, and there are neighborhoods were no one speaks english, but were large populations of Russian, Muslims, Indians, Chinese live more or less as they wish. But you will also find Romanian communities in California, Scandiavians in the Midwest, Vietnamese in Texas.

    There are Mosques and temples and shrines. Even in Virginia, where i am currently residing, my muslim friends have little if any frustrations in practicing their religion or ways of life. People form community groups around religion and national origin.

    This is not true everywhere. In some areas people of different ethnicities and backgrounds are likely to find some hostility. We have Nazis and the KKK. We have a fair share of extremists. But generally most people can live how they want to as they want to.

    People are not forced to join some collective understanding. Most people could care less how other people live. That different communities are different is just fine. With the exception of a few, minority WASPs, the entire country is made up of people from different places, speak different languages and do different things. Plenty of racism still, sure. But that's also true in Europe.

    But this is not by coercion. People do not have to send kids to public school, and they can even watch TV in different languages.

    The thing is that generally speaking, in the US no one cares if you are different or if you come from a different place. In fact, I would say that most Americans embrace difference. From my experience, most non-Americans either visiting or residing in the US are often impressed at how open and warm Americans generally are. Americans generally embrace differences, I dont' think this is as true from Europeans.

    The basis of this comes down to legal rules- the First amendment protection of the market place of ideas, the equal protection rules against discrimination on race, national origin or ethncity.
     
  5. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Re: response

    It's not as unique as you might be led to belief. It stands a bit "head and shoulders" above most of Europe in its tolerance, but...oh...read on.

    Wasn't talking 'bout you, was talkin' about "in general"

    True and yet...not true. Here I hit on the same problem as I did with Gwydion. If something is this way in one country in Europe, than it's quite likely it's the other way in the neighbouring country. Gun laws would work in England, not in Holland.

    In the same right, it's not fair to judge Europe on the basis of one country. We have countries with a rather low level of tolerance, most important in those are Italy, France and Beligum and, to a lesser extent, England.

    But look at Germany. Ever since the War, they decided they'd rather not have anything to do with militancy (hence the small army and anti-war attitude) and racism (which is why they're extremely tolerant, only slightly less so than Holland)

    This is strange. I've heard this before from Americans, yet it's not the picture we get here. Over here, we're "supposed to follow America's example and make it mandatory to speak the main language of a country before living in it"

    It's very strange, but the image we always get here is of people in America truly becoming Americans. Loving the country and forgetting about the place they came from. Basically integrating completely.

    Is that image really that wrong? I wouldn't know, as I've never been to America.

    This is very true for most Europeans. My view might be slightly distorted as I do live in Holland, but it's true for a lot of countries. Before I forget; take the Scandinavian countries. They're a role-model in everything good and shiny, including tolerance of other cultures.

    Now it's true a Frenchman won't like it if you ask him something in English, but hell, an American doesn't even know a language besides English!

    I'm curious, though, I can remember reading an article in the newspaper a while back about how America was completely isolated from other countries (like France and the Arabic countries) because of its lack of knowledge of other languages. Now in most European countries, the people speak English next to the main language, and a lot of people speak even more languages.

    How can you be acceptive of other people's cultures if you do not even speak their language? Why do the people NOT get socially excluded from the group, as you paint the image of Europe, if they do not speak English and no American speak Arabic? Because that's the problem over here, groups of foreigners are isolated by keeping their culture and not learning a new language.

    Dude, you'd be hardpressed to find a West-European constitution that DOESN'T forbid all forms of racism. The first Act of the Dutch Constitution, which has been carved into the steps of our government's building, reads that you may not treat a person differently on the basis of their religion, sex, race, sexual preference, etc. etc.
     
  6. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    response

    Dear Kharn-

    I agree with you that the low ability of americans to appreciate if not learn an alternative language is disgraceful. Most americans do not learn a foreign language until secondary school, in which case they usually study one language- Spanish is the popular favorite, but also German, French, Italian, and sometimes Japanese. Other school districts may offer more.

    It's an improvement but appalling. I credit this problem to geography. The US is more or less an island country and there is a strong feeling that what happens elsewhere is "out there". Other countries demonstrate similar vibes. Even Brazil, because of its geography and language, has some what ignored policies of its neighbors.

    In the interest of following this, I came across this article and abstract-

    International Migration Review, Summer 1991 v25 n2 p355(20)
    The integration of Muslim minorities in the Netherlands. W.A. Shadid.
    Author's Abstract: COPYRIGHT 1991 Center for Migration Studies of New York, Inc.

    Due to factors such as the permanent presence of nearly 400,000 Muslims in the Netherlands (3% of the total population), the interest of broader societal circles in Islam has been evoked. The government strives to integrate these minorities into the "multicultural" society. In spite of the Dutch "pillarization system" and the fact that the constitution grants freedom of religion, several structural barriers inherent to the groups concerned, as well as to Dutch society, impede this integration process. Due to these obstacles, the emergence of a "Dutch Islam," as well as of important fundamentalist groups among Muslims in the Netherlands, are not to be expected in the future. Furthermore, the accomplished changes in the Dutch regulations and guidelines in favor of Muslims indicate a disbalance between the pace of integration in the juridical sphere on the one hand and in the socioeconomic sphere on the other. The flexibility in the juridical sphere is mainly due to the pillarization system, while socioeconomic integration of Muslims in Dutch society is impeded by the existing prejudice and discrimination.


    Also-
    Roy, O. (1994), "Islam in France: religious ethnic community or social ghetto?", in Lewis, B. and Schnapper, D. (Eds), Muslims in Europe, Frances Pinter, London, pp. 54-66.

    Also- another abstract-
    Current Sociology, Nov 2000 v48 i4 p1(13)
    Muslim Communities in Europe: Reconstruction and Transformation. F. Husain; M. O'Brien.
    Abstract: This article introduces issues relevant to the presence of Muslims in Europe. While European nations are still in the process of acknowledging the diversity and rich cultural heritages of Muslim communities, Muslims are adjusting to living as minorities within a non-Muslim society. The predominant 'us'/'other' dichotomy embedded in historical and political encounters has raised significant issues affecting mutual integration and acceptance. On the one hand, European essentializing of both their own and Muslim cultures has fixed the integration debate in static stereotypes. On the other hand, Muslims in search of social cohesion are increasingly attracted to the concept of a fixed, homogeneous supranational ummah. However, both majority and minority communities are undergoing transformation and restructuring that is centred around the negotiation of new composite identities, changing family patterns and relationships, political activism and the fight against social exclusion.

    - International Journal of Politics and Ethics, Spring 2002 v2 i1 p83(5)
    Muslims in Western Europe: Bridging the Gap between Integration and Marginalization. Allah in the West: Islamic Movements in America and Europe, Muslim Communities in the New Europe, A Heart Turned East: Among the Muslims of Europe and America, To Be a European Muslim: A Study of Islamic Sources in the European Context. (Review Essay). (Book Review)_(book review) Robert J. Pauly Jr..


    Please don't think I am bashing Europe. There are a lot of things I like about Europe that Americans should appreciate. One of them being that Europeans overall have a higher quality of life with fewer of the social ills facing Americans.

    However, I think this issue of exclusion needs further consideration.
     
  7. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    While I do agree that the whole exclusion issue needs consideration, I do not agree with the viewpoint that America is better at inclusion than Europe. Also, you have yet to explain HOW exactly America manages to include other cultures into its own without the cultures sharing languages AND without integration of those cultures, because integration is adaptation.

    Also, that '91 article is retarted. The others looked good, but any person that still mention "pillerasation" and "the Netherlands" in one breath in the '90's needs to redo high school, the pillerised society is something that ended back in...dunno, 'round the end of the '70's, I suppose, and refers to the segregation of 4 main groups (socialists, protestants, catholics, "neutrals"), which was how our culture was shaped between the end of WW I and...well, there's a lot of debate about the end of the pillerisation. The earliest estimates are at "provo", halfway through the 60's, the latest put it at the end of the Cold War.

    That's not much concerned with segregation, though, just with the validity of that particular article.

    Anyway, let's get back to the essence of the debate; Europe has a problem, the problem is that "other-cultured" are not forced to adapt. Whether or not they are forced to adapt in America is besides the point, the issue here should be about the difference between Europe and America.

    Now, if you were to ask me, I'd say the main difference is that other-cultured people in America adapt pretty quickly. I never get the impression of American immigrants that they think of their home nation as "their nation", but rather that they think of America as "their nation". This is the image I've always gotten from America, and it might be way off.

    Europes, or at least Hollands, biggest problem has always been that the immigrants do not bother to learn the language of the country they live in (even if they live there all their lives), nor do they adapt much to our culture. I think this is the main cause of the segregation, and I don't see how America would manage not to make the cultures change (integrate) and still prevent segregation.

    Social exclusion, though, always ties to racism. Racism has always been a sensitive issue over here (even in Holland) and I would like to believe that it doesn't exist much. Of course, it does, but perhaps not at the level that seems implied. For instance; 8 years of government from 1994-2002 always had a muslim amongst their ranks, and at almost all times about 3% of our Congress consists of muslims or other immigrants. 'course, that's a bit hard to compare, since the US doesn't have equal representation (which, btw, I think makes you a joke of a democracy, no offense).

    Racism is an issue, though, but I'm afraid I'd have to drop out at an advanced debate about that, as my knowledge of the state of racism in countries outside Holland en Belgium is practically nihil.

    Well, to side-track just a tad bit, I noticed a while back while leafing through the international statistics of the CIA that while the average income of America is about $36.000 and that of Holland about $26.000, 13% of the Americans live below the povery line! 13%!!! 5% of the Dutch live under the poverty line and everyone already considers that a roaring outrage.

    PS: if a lot of the above seems a bit incoherent, I'm sorry, I really need a rest.
     
  8. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    On the US

    Kharn-

    You're not going to get an argument from me about income disparities in the US. The fact that so many people are so damn rich and yet so many are so damn poor is terrible. I think this is due to a couple of reasons. First, the US has had a weaker social welfare system than Europe. For example our unemployment insurance policies and welfare policies are ridiculously inefficient and have only gotten worse since the Clinton administration moved this a federal concern to a state concern. The other reasons have to do with the low power of labor. While European governments have strong labor parties, the US does not. The political power of our Unions is very weak, in part because the US overall is anti-union.

    Weak unions means weak labor interests advocating for political change. Since the 1970s the purchasing power parity of americans has gone down. For example in the 1970s a single parent could keep a house on a salary of $27K a year. Now the same house costs $200,000, salaries have only gone up to about $50-70,000 in the same neighborhood and most families require two working parents. Essentially, factoring in inflation and income growth, Americans are making less money and living a lower quality of life today then then did 30 years ago. Some areas of the country have been very hard hit, with factories moving abroad and economic sectors closing and without the time needed to adjust.

    And the current president seems bent on increasing the difference between rich and poor. The middle class is shrinking.

    But I doubt Europe will be able to escape these same problems.

    As for the integration, segregation problems-

    The hard realities for immigrants coming into the US is that if they want their kids to be educated, they have to speak English. If they want to work, they have to speak English. This isn't really a political policy, although there is no bi-lingual education, but a hard reality. If you want to survive, you have to adjust.

    Bi-lingual education was raised as a possible issue, primarily the idea of incorporating Spanish in schools. The same matter had actually been considered at the turn of the last century when peopl were considering German as a language. Both times the matter was one of immigration. Previously we had a lot of German immigrants. More recently it has been an influx of hispanics. In neither case did the second language pass.

    One reason, and an interesting one, was that most spanish speaking immigrants did not want their kids to speak Spanish as their primary language. For these parents, learning English was part of becoming Americanized and taking advantage of the opportunities present.

    And those opportunities come through education. Just about anybody with a high school diploma can go to university, and almost anyone who goes to a university can have a professional degree. Furthermore, you generally don't have to university to do well. There are plumbers, electrician, and other tradesman that have done remarkably well in the US. But generally you need to speak the language.

    That said, there is representation. Not only is this a matter of appointment at the federal level (such a blacks on the supreme court) but there are also local elections. With each voting district electing their representative, one has a variety of different ethncities being elected to office. In pridominantly latin areas, you have latin reps, Asian reps from pridominantly asian areas. How voting areas are divided is another issue, and that discrimination does exist has led to extensive litigation to end that discrimination. But there is no quota of 3% muslims leads to 3% representatives, as that is felt to sustain discrimination as an official policy.

    You are also right to say that generally immigrants integrate quickly. I'm first born american and consider myself american with few real ties to Europe anymore. Even my wife, a Brazilian, is rapidly becoming americanized. But there are folks who retain their culture and ties, such as german-americans who think of themselves as Germans.

    In some areas these are especially pronounced. As mentioned before there are areas where one doesn't hear English, but Russian, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Hindi. Some of the ethnic ghettos are long-lasting as people take time to get out. In some situations, the immigrants do not integrate and the ghettos are sustained. Chinatown in New York has grown and shrunk,while the Chinatown in Phoenix is supposedly the largest in the country. But German town and little Italy in New York have disappeared. Last time I was in Jamaica, NY I noticed the change towards more Indian. Ghettos die out, they don't offer long term protection.

    In a sense, you are right, people are forced to integrate. Not because of government policies but because of lack of incentives to stay in an ethnic ghetto and the opporutunities to escape and lead more productive lives. It is remarkable how many 'success' stories one finds among the immigrant kids who go to college, get great degrees because their parents push them hard, and then lead great lives. The old cliche of the "land of opportunity" still exists, but that opportunity requires a lot of hard work, perhaps even harder now. Its more that opportunity for advancement that pushes people to escape then any govenrment inspired social policy that coerces integration.
     
  9. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Re: On the US

    Yet, let's not forget, it was you, with Roosevelt (*salutes*), that invented the welfare system in the first place.

    "Anti-union"...What a strange concept.

    Anyway, the weakness of the Labor parties is mostly because of your election system, which I really do not like. Though I'm not too big a fan of democracy, I would think that if you do have a democracy, you might as well do it right.

    It'll be a miracle if we don't get bigger problems. I read an interesting article a while back about America's current international policies (i.e. war with Afghanistan/Iraq) lead to what is known as "over-stretch", which leads to the collapse of our civilization (in time, though I'll be surprised if it doesn't happen within my lifetime).

    Aye, and that's the strength of the American system. People have to adopt and integrate, there's not much else to do but starve. We have centres for immigrants, big wellfare checks that are easy to get, etc. etc.

    Basically, Europe's too kind, it's too easy for immigrants to keep their culture, turn to crime and never bother with a job. Crime is more wide-spread amongst immigrants, but it's taboo to say so or do anything about it. It's a stupid situation, here, basically.
     
  10. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    responding

    Actually I think it was the Germans who picked up on a social welfare system in the 19th Century. Americans at the turn of the 19-20th century were generally anti-social welfare policies in favor of laisse faire (free trade) and social darwinism. In fact the notion of "freedom of Contract" led Supreme Court to invalidate many of the social welfare programs up until F. Roosevelt's New Deal. That succeeded only because of the Depression.

    Personally I think social welfare systems are essential, especially where they help labor adjust to changes in the international market. A year of unemployment insurance at full salary is a bit crazy, but some govermental intervention is necessary unless you want to leave much of labor out in the cold. Labor can either work for a country's prosperity or against it, which depends on the policies of the state.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the "clash of civilizations" argument. Huntington wrote some great stuff, but that's among his high points. The wars in the middle east are little more than colonial wars and primarily geared towards US oil policy, which benefits Europe in the long run. Since the US has had little stomach for colonial conflicts and doesn't seem to be doing a great job yet, I doubt these policies will have great ramifications over the long haul.

    As for crime among the non-european community, Americans have a similar tendency to see race and crime as related. In fact, it probably is more a matter of income distribution. In the US, African-Americans usually, but not always, are among the lower income groups. Recent studies by the World Bank indicate that high crime correlates with income disparities and poverty. Primarily begun around Latin America, these finding seem to have global scope.

    My cousin is a cop in Aachen, and when I asked him about this he said that generally speaking the immigrants take jobs that Europeans don't want and wouldn't take if offerred. During periods of hard times, europeans get angry why the immigrants are working jobs while europeans are not, despite the fact that Europeans didn't want those jobs. There is also the matter that you point out, that Europeans don't like the fact that immigrants are getting the juicy social welfare checks that they feel they worked for. Because of the high density of immigrants in cities its easy to target immigrants.

    But the immigrants are probably there to stay, unless you can immagine xenophobic right wing groups taking over. The problem then is allow for greater social mobility of immigrants out of the lower classes and into the higher classes, as well as greater income growth for all sectors. I don't know if many muslim immigrants see that opportunity as existing in Europe.

    That creates a problem similar to that in the US. While many immigrants have been able to move out of the ghetto, some don't. That you have long-term and durable african-american ghettos in the US is a problem. As these areas get fewer social services (lower quality schools, harder and less effective law enforcement- because lower income means lower taxes leads to lower public spending) there is less opportunity for social growth or escape.

    There is a lot that both the US and Europe could probably learn from each other in this case.
     
  11. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Re: responding

    That last part I know. And what do you mean with "Germany"? They were a bit...spread out in the olden days.

    Yes, but welfare systems can get out of hand, as proven all over Europe in the 80's, when few governments could afford the welfare state anymore. Think Thatcher.

    I'm not "worried". Civilizations come and go, rise and fall, I doubt the falls of Western civilization is anything anyone should cry about. It is going to happen, though, I mean, it's inevitable, and the course America is taking isn't exactly the best to prevent the fall of the civilization (which, by the way, wouldn't have to be violent by definition, lots of societies just fall).

    Well:

    1. Xenophobic right wing groups are never unlikely to take over. The attitude "this won't happen to us" is what the Germans had in the Depression and it was as stupid then as it is now. And a fact; one of the biggest parties in Belgium is "het Vlaams Blok" a right-wing party that proposes seperation of Belgium into Vlaanderen and Wallonië and basically kicking out all immigrants.

    2. "If man defines situations as real, they are real in their consequences" as the classic anthropoligical line goes. As long as locals believe all immigrants are criminals, there's no way they can clime the social ladder.
     
  12. Stranger

    Stranger First time out of the vault

    39
    May 24, 2003
    Damn, you're all getting long winded.

    I'm Apathetic Agnostic. I'm an ordained priest, actually.
    We have a website: www.uctaa.org
     
  13. bob_the_rambler

    bob_the_rambler Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    443
    May 3, 2003
    I think its interesting that a simple post on religion can be taken and turned into a post about welfare and union in the USA and Europe
     
  14. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    It's all interesting how a post about Prisoners Of War can turn into a discussion about weed.

    That's the way the world keep spinning

    Hiyuck
     
  15. Choro Ex

    Choro Ex First time out of the vault

    29
    Apr 15, 2003
    Heh...heh... Think we are talking bout religion...

    Well, there were some interesting discussion recently in my Mosque.

    "Before being appointed a prophet, what are Mohammed's religion?"

    He's definitely not a Pagan, not worshipping old Arabian God's, not an atheist, and not a jew.

    Some said Mohammed follows Isa's (that's islamic name for Jesus Christ.) teaching, so guess what is his religion......

    Hah...hah...

    Speaking about religion, there were a good examples about tolerance. One member of NMA, though not an active one, Mr. Zwitter (ask Frank for translation. It's Germans!) came from a famous family in Indonesia. One of his cousins is Indonesia's most famous young actress. In javanese culture, only great royal family wore family name while high-class (such as village leader or lesser Royal family) didn't wore family name but got three word name (Like me). The peasants only bear one word name like our former President "Suharto" is came from peasant family. well, this guy wore family name.

    There were some religion in his family. Most of his family is Muslim, his GrandMa is a Spanish, several family members are Catholics, a Buddhist, propably some Christian, and A JEW!!!!
    Yup, one of his uncle is a jew, rare in this region. Well, one day he left his wifes taking with him several hundred thousand dollars, and never heard again (heh...heh...heh...).
    Funny thing is his sisters, only 15 years old girl. One day she and her close friends (a girl, her classmates) walking in front of a mall. At that time, some Hooligans (here we call them "Bobotoh". Football team supporter. Bandung Hooligans are the most notorious in my country) passed by and try to tease bystanders by try to touch them. She is shocked and annoyed so her friends said "Lets swicth place with me. I'll walk near the road."
    The hooligans try to tease her friend and she just walked to the middle of crowded roads and gave the Hooligans (There were truckloads of them and the roads were crowded with their truck) the "finger". Yes Siiiiiiirrrr, the MIDDLE FINGER!!!!! And those hooligans just drop dead silence seeing an innocent girl gave them finger... Hah...hah...hah.......
     
  16. The Deliverator

    The Deliverator First time out of the vault

    44
    Jul 31, 2003
    Almost all of Western theology is rooted in rationalism, which is basically the use of words/symbols/numbers to express reality. Since reality is more complex, overwhelming, horrific, beautiful, etc. than could possibly be explained through the use of symbols, any attempts to summarize it thusly fall flat to varying degrees. For example, *shudder* more recently the Objectivist movement. These people think that reality and emotions are entirely objective, and that beyond the symbols invented by man for reality, nothing or nothing of importance exists. Also they're a bunch of laissez-faire assholes, but that's besides the point. Western thought is an attempt to understand the universe by distancing yourself sufficiently from it through the use of increasingly abstract symbols.
    Western thought relies often upon science, which also makes extensive use of symbols (duh.)
    Contrasting Western thought, Far Eastern thought tries to bring you into complete harmony with the universe.
    For example, Hinduism. Hinduism is impossible to summarize entirely, but basically revolves around the worship of literally thousands of various deities, all of which exist to teach you how to live, act, think properly, and bring you into contact with Brahman- the mother consciousness.
    Taoism tries to abolish all rationalism and advocates acting on whimsy while observing nature in action. I am a Taoist, but not very 'devout,' in any case. The Tao is the central path, way, or proper method of existence in Taoism. T’ai Chi Ch’uan was invented by Taoist priests.
    Budhism tries to abolish the 'ego' which can be expressed as the walls of consciousness that keep the rest of the universe out. The cost of 'manning' these walls is expressed in suffering, which is the result of desire. Buddhism tries to bring you to Nibbana, which is a sort of heaven state in which only compassion exists- no desire, no suffering.
    Zen is an attempt to impart the ways of the world through various poems, sayings, epics, etc. leaving the student to divine the nature of reality through both study and empiricism. Koans, if you have ever heard of them, originated with I believe the Zen masters of Okinawa. Also, Okinawan monks invented the nunchakus, or rice-flails, and the sai, or threshing fork, as weapons, and also developed aikido.
    Confucianism (Confusionism to the Taoists) attempts to structure society and try to bring it in line with the model society of heaven.
    Confucianists try to balance family, government, agriculture, etc. and basically make everything turn out best for everyone.
    Taoism and Confucianism are Chinese, Zen is primarily Japanese, and Buddhism is dispersed evenly throughout Asia, especially in Cambodia, Tibet, and parts of Japan. Hinduism, of course, is exclusively Indian.
     
  17. Kexpakki

    Kexpakki First time out of the vault

    24
    Jul 27, 2003
    Im a atheist and proud of it
     
  18. Vikingsoldat

    Vikingsoldat First time out of the vault

    92
    May 1, 2003
    I am also an atheist and proud of it.
     
  19. Loxley

    Loxley Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    911
    Apr 11, 2003
    I am also an atheist and proud of it.
     
  20. Malky

    Malky Lived Through the Heat Death
    Orderite

    May 7, 2003
    I'm a democrat and proud of it.

    :wink:

    -Malky