Sunday, May 20, 2007

On Gingrich and On Islam..

Early news first.

I woke up early enough to watch an entire episode of Meet the Press this morning. Newt Gingrich was one of the featured guests (along with Senator Dodd) for the first half of an hour and absolutely shined. I am not going to assess his discussion point by point (not today, at least) but his overall resolution was absolutely decisive. He sounded, to me, clear cut and stoic on every issue. I hesitate on his candidacy because of past ethics scandals in which he was found guilty, but his platform (if today’s discussion on Meet the Press represented a platform indeed) sounds solid.

Newt Gingrich’s platform sounds solid? What I am saying? We knew that. Now, we just have to figure out when the real heavyweights are going to announce their official presidential candidacy. Fred Thompson, Mr. Gingrich… the American Right is anxiously waiting on you!!

To this end, Gingrich did make news on Meet the Press. He announced that he will decide on whether to officially run for the land’s highest office following this year’s September 29th American Solutions workshop. Furthermore, he sounded almost giddy at the foresight of that coming day. The candidacy of Mr. Gingrich is definitely developing

Now, on to a subject that has been brewing in my head lately.

I am only going to touch on the following subject briefly because its controversial nature requires more of an educated perspective than I can currently offer. However, these thoughts have been developing recently for dual reasons. First, a recent discussion with another university student, military buddy of mine delved into the topic. And, secondly, I am taking a class (Comparative Religions: Judaism and Islam) that, in some ways, touches on the subject. I mention the following topic here because this is a blog about my views on political issues, especially those that pertain to Iraq. This pertains to Iraq.

This above-mentioned buddy and I had a conversation about whether Islam is a truly a religion of peace as seems to be the current consensus. I offered my take at the time: Islamist extremists are akin to KKK extremists of Christianity. My buddy disagreed. He countered that Islamic belief is rooted in violent history and that those that deny this history are either ignorant or the ones on the fringe themselves.

Wow. This was certainly a dangerous argument to consider.

However, for a class assignment, I had to read about the history of Islam. I did so with an open mind. Upon reading, though, I can almost see my buddy’s point. There sure was a lot of violence during the religion’s creation period. And this is not to say that other religions didn’t experience violence during their beginning eras, but not to the extent that I am reading about now. Mohammad wasn’t just a prophet but a warlord. He continued the Arabian tradition of raiding parties as sport. And certain translation of Qur'anic scripture definitely leads one to believe that violence has at least some place in the Islamic consciousness.

Now, I don’t want this to read like an Islamic hate text. First of all, this is being totally subjective. I, myself, am without religious faith and instead believe in scientific theories concerning death and development of life both. This is probably why I didn’t relate to the death of Jerry Falwell on any notable level. I am simply trying to make an assessment towards an issue that may be the most pertinent of our times. And I am not against a differencing of opinion. In fact, my opinion is yet to be formed, it is only developing. I wrote my Religion professor about this very fact that I write about here to find his subjective, non-biased view and I will be happy to report as he does. I am also open to comments here.

All I want is education and a wholly true worldview. I am not afraid to tackle the difficult issues in these pursuits.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

On Newt: I'll be watching the Republican primaries with a very close eye. In Gingrich and Thompson you have "Reagan mold" neoconservative candidates. Meanwhile in Giuliani you have a "post 9/11 mold" neocon who mostly discards the call for family values that have echoed across conservative quarters for the last 30 years, favoring a mildly fascist approach that favors being tough with national defense at nearly any cost.

I think many of the so-called pundits took it for granted that the white lower middle-class citizens that make up the majority of the Republican base put there sense of morality on the back burner after 9/11 in favor of homeland security. However after Giuliani's recent abortion nightmare I think we're all seeing that Republicans will cling to their "Reagan mold" for as long as Democrats have clung to their FDR and JFK molds.

On Islam: I would just like to point out that the early history of a religion should never be confused with the beliefs explictly portrayed in a religion's scripture. Many Christians reject summations such as the Nicene and Apostles' Creed because they feel it includes beliefs that formed in the centuries immediaetly following the life and death of Christ, not explicitly portrayed in the Bible.

Similarly, Christians have many interpretations for the same words and verses. Likewise, Muslims are entitled to their own individual interpretations. For instance, the word "jihad" most accurately translates to the vague term "struggle" and appears no more than 20 times in the Qur'an. To many Muslims this represents an entirely internal struggle between the Righteousness of God and the sinfulness of the everyday world. For another group of Muslims it means something a little closer to what Americans have become accustomed to, including but not limited to acts of violence.

Thus I must step atop my liberal pedestal and say that an interpretation of Islam that claims it is singularly a "peaceful" or "violent" religion is rudimentary and uninformed. Rather, the complexity of Islamic scripture and of its History create a religion that is more diverse than most Americans would even like to imagine.