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Poor, Mo. Will he ever don the niqab again?

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Discussion (77)¬

  1. MarkyWarky says:

    There must be plenty of blokes who wish their wives DID look like that (i.e., covered up!)?

    (and of course, and equal number of women who wished that of their husbands).

  2. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Crikey! Talk about a new word every day. Onomatopoetically ‘pulchritude’ sounds wrong. It is not even a beautiful word.
    It is perfectly punchy though!

    But what of Islamaphobia? A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.
    I am not afraid of Islam (perhaps I should be of some of it less well hinged adherents) but I will freely admit that I don’t like or trust or respect or even want anything to do with it. And as that is all perfectly rational how can it be called a phobia?

  3. steeve says:

    I used to think that I had a phobia about snakes… but they really are evil and out to get me, so it’s all rational.

  4. WalterWalcarpit says:

    As in “just because I am paranoid that does not mean they are not out to get me”?

  5. Janis says:

    Shazaam! Well done, author. Belly laughs here. You’ve been watching us in the States again.

  6. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Another instant classic, Author. Thank you.
    So Mo’s quite happy to flaunt his modesty by wearing traditional Islamic women’s clothing, but can’t bear to think he might indeed look like a woman when wearing it?
    Here’s a solution for you, Mo; cut a hole in the front of your abaya for your cock to poke through.

    I’ve just done a quick search to find the name of Mo’s full-length dress, and came across this Islamic fashion site containing the Islamic dress code.
    Apparently, it’s not about the subjugation of women, it’s to protect them. Honest! Take a look, but here’s just a taster (emphasis mine):

    The reason for this strictness is so that the woman is protected from the lustful gaze of men. [.....]Islam protects the woman*; it is for this reason that Allah gave these laws. In today’s society womankind is being exploited, [....]Is the woman really free in today’s society? The answer is obviously no. The constant bombardment by the media as to how the ideal woman should look and dress testifies to this.
    Islam liberated woman over 1400 years ago…….

    But by far my favourite part is rule #5; The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention. Not funny in itself until you see the pictures of ‘accepted’ dresses on the right of that page. In fact, the dress right next to that particular rule is, in my opinion, eye-catchingly beautiful.

    *Islam protects the woman? I don’t recall ever seeing one given a safety helmet before the stoning begins.

    ps. Walter, I’m not an Islamophobe; I’m a Religiousfundamentalismworriesmeenormously-ist. D’ya think it’ll catch on?

  7. Tomas (the doubter) says:

    Nice alliteration, Author!
    And ‘pulchritude’… I’ll have to start using that!

  8. jb says:

    @WalterWalcarpit: You make a perfectly reasonable point about “Islamaphobia.” Yet I notice that the note above the Comment box states that “comments of a racist, sexist or homophobic nature will not be tolerated.” Do you have any idea why it is acceptable to treat dislike, mistrust or lack of respect for homosexuality as a mental illness, while similar feelings about Islam are perfectly OK? I suppose you could argue that homosexuality is good, while Islam is bad. But even if one accepted that, all it would imply is that those who disliked or held non-liberal positions about homosexuality were wrong, not that they had some sort of mental problem.

    Also, I’ve been curious about something. This comic is horribly — and deliberately! — offensive to Muslims, and to a lesser degree Christians as well. Yet the comments section, which doesn’t appear to be moderated (just that little checkbox below), is mostly populated by a relative handful of polite and rational regulars. I would expect it to be flooded with abuse from religious conservatives of all stripes — Muslims in particular! Can anyone explain why this isn’t happening?

  9. MarkyWarky says:

    @jb, maybe the difference between insulting Muslims and insulting gay people is that Islam is a choice, whereas homosexuality isn’t? Plus of course, beyond pointing out that they are wrong, and attacking their false logic, this comic doesn’t insult anyone. Dissagreeing with someone, and saying why, is not insulting behaviour. Muslims may well TAKE offence, but that’s not the same thing by any measure.

    I don’t think homophobia IS treated as mental illness; it’s treated as an unreasonable and immoral position to take isn’t it?

    Bottom line is, while all human beings should be respected, not all beliefs should; not all beliefs are created equal. Would anyone say that Hiltler’s belief that Jews should be slaughtered deserved respect and should have been respected?

  10. JohnM says:

    @WalterW The reason it is termed IsPho, I suspect, is to try and shame us from speaking about the horrors of Islam.

  11. JohnM says:

    @ jb Perhaps because this comic ridicules and mocks religious belief in the most gentle and rational way possible. There is nothing vaguely contentious about the views disseminated here (even yours) :)

  12. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Niqab, modest cultist.
    Feminist Islamic fashion rage.
    Volunteer bag lady.

  13. Aha! It makes Mo look like Jesus’s wife, and hence his subordinate. He doesn’t like that.

    Well guess what, Mo!

  14. Ah, pulchritude. One of my favorite words. My partner says it sounds ugly every time I use it. Thanks Author. Good one.

  15. MarkyWarky says:

    Ooh ooh ooh AoS, I love your Islamic dress code link :)

    Rule 5 says “The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non-believing women.”. I will now make it my life’s work to have all non-believing women dress in the Niqab, which according to that rule will make it unavailable to Islamic women :)

    Also, does that mean that non-believers are free to wear whatever they want, even in Islamic countries? Surely that would be a good thing, as it’d divert men’s lustful gazes away from good Islamic women towards slutty atheists, but I wouldn’t want to be the first non-believing woman to try it.

    Seriously though, surely if we (they) really wanted to protect women, we’d be able to find a sensible common ground somewhere between this: http://highonsex.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/hardcore-newstand-1.jpg and this: http://chinachana.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/woman-with-burka_64.jpg?

    I don’t doubt that Muslims are right when they argue that women are exploited and sexualised in the west, but I don’t think their solution is the right one.

  16. FreeFox says:

    @Marky: Thank you. :)
    @jb: The whole thing about the psychiatric and common understanding of the suffix -phobia has been discussed often enough, and it’s a silly discussion designed to sidetrack. There simply are two uses to that suffix, and while claustrophobia or agoraphobia or arachnophobia can describe actual mental health problems, when used in a social context such as homophobia or islamophobia or even xenophobia it is commonly understood to have a broader meaning.
    @Walter: I agree with previous comments that we should stop fooling ourselves. Homophobia is inacceptable because being queer doesn’t hurt anyone. Islamophobia is – depending on it’s extend – acceptable (to some) because the form of Islam criticised harms people by robbing them of their rightful freedoms or even imposing physical harm. And -phobias do not necessarily have to be experienced as fear (though some sort of fear is usually at the bottom of it), they describe serious aversions or loathing just as much. And they describe (rightfully) that the -phobe lumps all or most members of the group together and judges them on their membership and not necessarily individual acts. If you dislike someone for being a Muslim, before they did anything harmful individually, because you assume they will behave like dicks or idiots simply because they adher to that belief, then you’re an Islamophobe. And I think most of us here are. The same way most of us are fascistophobes, or racistophobes, or sexistophobes, or redneckophobes, or catholicophobes, or creationistophobes… :p (how about any theistophobes out there *waves and grins*)

  17. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    jb says:
    March 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm
    [.....]
    Also, I’ve been curious about something. This comic is horribly — and deliberately! — offensive to Muslims, and to a lesser degree Christians as well[....] I would expect it to be flooded with abuse from religious conservatives of all stripes — Muslims in particular! Can anyone explain why this isn’t happening?

    Putting aside your ‘horribly offensive’ comment (methinks you need to check the definition of ‘horrible’), would it be unfair of me to suggest that the reason we don’t get inundated by frothing-at-the-mouth religidiots is that Author and his commentariat use a lot of multi-syllabic words, so the poor mono-syllabic saps don’t actually realise they’re being mocked?

    Marky, re Seriously though, surely if we (they) really wanted to protect women, we’d be able to find a sensible common ground somewhere between this: http://highonsex.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/hardcore-newstand-1.jpg and this: http://chinachana.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/woman-with-burka_64.jpg?;
    Rather than find a suitable compromise between the extremes, I’d prefer there to be a common acceptance that a woman should be free to pose for Playboy, hide herself away behind her niqab, or do anything in between, as long as it’s her choice and hers alone.

  18. MarkyWarky says:

    @AoS, yes, that may well be the “something in between” I’m hoping for.

    @Freefox, what am I being thanked for? :)

  19. MarkyWarky says:

    @FreeFox, I am an Islamophobe in the way I think you’re implying. Not because I think individuals or even the majority intend any harm, but because I don’t trust people who take things on faith. People who are happy to do that rather than take a pragmatic evidence based view (of anything), limit the human race, and so I have a phobia of them.

  20. omg says:

    jb,

    We don’t hear very often about homosexual beating and killing Muslims because they are Muslims. But we can find multiple examples where Muslims beat and kill homosexual because the way they are. So, yes, we can be concerned about the Muslim community, or some Muslims (or any other religion). That make a very big difference between being homophobe and islamophobe (or phobe).

    Have you ever hear about homosexual threatening you of burning in hell for the eternity if you don’t have sex with somebody from your own gender? :-)

  21. omg says:

    Oops – Please read in the previous :
    That make a very big difference between being homophobe and islamophobe (or ‘any religion’phobe).

  22. I’d never heard of this site, until I watched an edition of 4thought TV, when the week’s discussion was on “Blasphemy”, (what a week that was!). The strips I’ve seen, since then, are what I think can best be described as “equal monotheist mockery”. I’ve met Christians and Islamists that are thoroughly decent people and I’ve met some that have been quite the reverse. I am as equally concerned by Islamic Extremists, as I am by the power, bigottry and hypocracy of the Catholic Church. I don’t think all Catholic Priests are child rapists, any more than any of the Muslim guys I work with, have a bomb belt under their M&S shirts and take “Four Lions” as a documentary on how NOT to carry out a succesful mission.
    The common denominator – people. Some you’ll like, some you won’t.

    Bowing to a “phobia” on religious or sexual grounds for that matter – doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever.

    Religion based fear/dislike – It does an injustice to those that peacefully follow their choice of invisible chap and would (for example) be willing to have a dialogue/challenge to their faith and at the same time, actually aids those that would WANT people to fear them, because of the way they choose to follow their invisible chap, and their violent behaviour.

    I’ll always try & judge people on their actions & behaviours.
    As for homophobes – I think we all know, statistically, what’s said about people that would call themselves homophobic.

    Funny, healthy & interesting – how much discussion four cartoon cells about religion, faith & God, can generate, eh?

    When little kids have an invisible friend that they talk to – it’s kinda cute bur harmless.
    When adults do it…not so cute…at what age do we become incapable of having a “responsible” invisible friend, without disrupting others?
    I don’t think any child’s invisible friend has told anyone else, that they’ll spent an eternity of agony for not believing in them…

    And as for “Pulchritude”, not heard that word since a Russ Meyer trailer I saw…purely for research….in my younger days you understand….keep up the good work – ta ta!

  23. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    The James Christ Story says:
    March 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm
    [.........] at what age do we become incapable of having a “responsible” invisible friend, without disrupting others?

    As far as I’m concerned people can have their invisible friends for as long as they want; just don’t ask me to respect it, obey it, or accept that it’s anything more than a fantasy.

    FreeFox, good to hear from you again. Are things any better for you yet?
    I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, but when you asked “ (how about any theistophobes out there“, I couldn’t help but think that ‘theistophobes’ perfectly describes the faithful rather than us godless bunch. Don’t they all profess to both love and fear their gods? A fear of something for which there is no evidence of existence is classic phobia symptons.

    How did it come to be that a fear of dragons is called ‘phobia’, but fear of gods is called ‘religion’? and talking to god is called praying, but having him answer back is called paranoid schizophrenia?

  24. FreeFox says:

    @AoS: Oh, I agree that most book-based monotheists love and fear their god, the way one “loves” and fears an abusive parent . I’ve known a bunch of polytheistic and myth-based monotheists who had more the sort of relationship to their deities of choice the way some (enviable) people have as adults to their dad: 75% respect and love and 25% headshaking exasperation and helpless, grumbling obedience. As for me, I guess it’s more 40% giddy awe and 60% furious rage with just a dash of gratitude and hatred mixed in for flavour. But I suppose that’s just me. ^_^

  25. FreeFox says:

    *polytheists and myth-based monotheists

  26. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    What, no space in there for doubt? ;-)

  27. @AoS “but having him answer back is called paranoid schizophrenia?” Shame this piece of advice wasn’t around when Mohammed came out of his cave; It would have saved a great deal of ‘un-pleasantness’ and some very silly beards. That said, JandMo’s esteemed author would probably be….? (answers on postcards please)

  28. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    “That said, JandMo’s esteemed author would probably be….? ”
    …treating us to a comic called Jesus and Moses.

  29. Mary2 says:

    I love the way the emphasis is always on the women. We are protecting them, repressing them, objectifying them – whatever. To me this says that the ‘us’ is male and the ‘them’ or ‘other’ is always female. It is men who are the accepted norm and women who are the problem that has to be solved.

    I know this is not a new thought and I am probably expressing it poorly but where the hell is the emphasis on men? Where is the religious thought/website pages listing ‘how to prevent men from raping women’ ‘how to get men to see women as humans first and the means of sexual relief second’ etc.

    And before anyone jumps on me (to use an unfortunate pun) I am NOT suggesting all men are rapists/ all women innocent victims or whatever other tripe is usually thrown at anyone who dares suggest we live in a sexist society.

    As for the terms ‘Islamophobia’ or ‘homophobia’ etc. I am with Free Fox. I think it accomplishes nothing to pull apart a dictionary definition. No one is actually suggesting that people are afraid of Muslims: we used to use the word ‘racist’ until the dictionary-people protested that Islam is not technically a race. Islamophobia is a useful word for describing the hatred of people because they are Muslim – not because they are extremists or because of particular religious doctrines they hold. There are people in our society who fit into this category and I think it is useful to have a word which distances ‘them’ from the ‘us’ who may have legitimate fears about certain religious beliefs.

  30. WalterWalcarpit says:

    FF, was your 40/60 split relating to your father or your deity?
    And if phobia is taking on a broader meaning I think one should take steps to resist that if one cares about it. The way Author used it is quite pertinent because that is the charge used to shield against criticism and along with (misplaced) multicultural correctness prevents decent folk from challenging outrageous behaviour. <for example.

    I have just been watching an interesting exploration of comedy & christianity by Ann Widdecombe on BBC1. It was good to hear perspectives I don’t have, but as we know there’s so much material so it is little wonder most comedians turn out Athiest. However this is indeed a country of multiple peoples and faiths and, while it was a UK show and for most comedians’ material necessarily comes from their own experience and it is unsurprising therefore that Christianity is the principle target, I cannot understand why there is such an aparant dearth of humour inspired by the wellspring of Islam (and others of course) – unless it is being held back by the fear of being identified as culturally insensitive or even racist.
    And perhaps that is what Islamophobia has become – the fear of being called an islamophobe.

    Ironically this leaves the crazies on the far right to say things, often because they positively celebrate their hatred, some of which we might want to say, but all of which gets discounted as islamophobic rant and things that do need to be said get left by the wayside on the proverbial stony ground.

    Right! Enough, that’s it. I am not going to use that word nor distinguish it again. AoS, how about fundamentophobe?

  31. MarkyWarky says:

    @Mary2, I think the “men/women” thing is far more complex than you imply. Speaking in general, men DO see women as “them” when thinking about certain issues, just as women see men that way, and it’s impossible to avoid using the term “them” when talking about either men, or women, or even humanity. Our language simply can’t cope with speaking about any group and yet treating them as individuals at the same time, but it doesn’t mean the speaker sees the group as inferior.

    How do we improve things for women (and hense IMHO for everyone), without talking about “them”?

    Men do see women as human beings AND as sex objects, not either/or. I don’t think that can be changed; I think it’s how we’ve evolved, though if it’s any comfort I think most men would agree that the best sex is with someone you regard as an equal. I’m sure that there’s an equivelant the other way around, where women perceive men as both equal humans AND as something less, or more generic, but it’s just not as easy to define. But that’s not to say that secular morals can’t ensure that those fundamental differences don’t disadvantage either sex.

    I’m a father of three girls, two 21 and just making their way in the world, the other 9, and I want nothing more than for them to see no disadvantage to being female. I don’t just want them to succeed despite being female, and I don’t even want them to BECAUSE they are, I want whether or not they are to be completely irrelevant to their opportunities. I do NOT want them to be the same as men – I don’t believe equality has to mean sameness – but I do want them to feel entirely equal.

    However, women ARE disadvantaged in general (though I also think there are dissadvantages to being male which are rarely recognised), and I have no idea how we fix that if we don’t talk about women as a group?

    By the way, on one level only, I think you’re wrong to say that all men are not rapists. I think if there were ZERO negative consequences, including for the woman, most men would have sex with as many women as they could, whereas women would not; that’s the evolved difference I mentioned above, which makes men see women as sex objects. But there ARE negative consequences, and even if they were only for the woman (I actually think especially because of that), they’re enough to stop most men from doing it. That’s the moral dimension; it’s the part of our makeup that comes from evolving as social animals. I don’t mean we don’t rape just because we might get caught, I mean that we instinctively regard things that harm other humans as immoral, and so don’t do them EVEN IF, on one level, we’d like to.

    I don’t think I’m explaining this very well, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that I and I believe most men DO look at an attractive woman and think I’d like to have sex with her, probably before thinking anything else about her, where maybe women don’t do that (as much), but it’s not all there is to being a man, and it doesn’t define how I perceive or treat women.

    Which is why I don’t think the hijab does any good, even if it was intended to protect women. On the one hand, men WILL think of a woman sexually no matter what you do, while on the other it simply isn’t the ONLY or even the main way men regard women, making covering them up unnecessary. In fact, I don’t see how it’s possible to regard people as individuals once you’ve deliberately made them all look the same.

    Re the various phobias, isn’t the problem that “phobia” suggests you are against something? I’m against faith of the religious kind, because I think it’s dangerous, so as I said above I am an Islamophobe (and Christianophobe, etc), but wouldn’t it be better to define that by what I’m for rather than what I’m against? Wouldn’t it be better to describe myself as a pragmatist and someone who values evidence, rather than as a “faithophobe”, even though they mean the same thing?

  32. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Mary, 

    I agree with much of your last paragraph however it remains the case that I have no hatred of the people because they are Muslim but I am outraged at what some do because they are, and who knows, if I was of another time, place or gender I might have a rational fear of some too.  While I posed my original question with my tongue somewhat if not firmly in my cheek I am glad I did so for the dialogue it has provoked. As JohnM pointed out more succinctly than I reiterated above the term is most widely used, just as Mo tried, to prevent discussion of any real issue.

    But it is your second paragraph that hits the nail on the head.   If this works it says it all. The whole discussion should be about men not women and I think that is significantly what the Femen protests are about.

    Having said that lets return to this quote from the Islamic Boutique: Is the woman really free in today’s society? The answer is obviously no. The constant bombardment by the media as to how the ideal woman should look and dress testifies to this.

    I agree fundamentally with Acolyte that whatever a female wears must be a free and fair choice of hers and hers alone and I agree with Marky’s notions of  finding a sensible common ground somewhere between two extremes. However as societies we all have to step back and take a long hard look at ourselves and if ours has come to men  
     selling lingerie to girls with phrases like “I dare you” written on them.
    Is it really any wonder that others think there might be safety behind a hijab? Or that some declare such behaviour as evidence of a moral decline coincident with a decline of a religious paradigm?

    I strongly believe that it is secular males that have to pick up this baton and run hard with it.  We must not sit back with complacency to wait for the dust to settle or a pendulum to swing while we argue that morality has nothing to do with religion. We should be actively seizing that moral ground from underneath the hypocrites, misogynists and cowards who consider allowing half of humanity anything less that full equality to be acceptable whether or not it is done in the guise of a divinely ordained act of compassion. 

    It is not that all men are rapists it is simply that any are at all. And that has been the case for far far too long.

  33. Mary2 says:

    MarkyWarky, I don’t disagree with anything you say. On the contrary. I will try to explain better what I was getting at but may fail again – if so the failure is mine.

    Of course men see women as sexual beings and prospective conquests/partners/playmates …trying to find a word that is not loaded … just as women do with men (don’t kid yourselves – we look too) – and men with men and women with women etc. I think the emphasis is on the word ‘object’ – you hear young men saying “I’d tap that”, which I know is only the latest lingo, and this generation is no different to previous ones, but the view is about me getting off rather than me getting with that other person – my needs are all that matters and they could be satisfied just the same by a woman or a watermelon.

    This is what I meant by the us and them. We all separate things into ‘us’ and ‘them’ when we want to compare – very difficult to do otherwise. But there is a difference between us/apples and them/oranges when apples and oranges are different but equal. What I was aiming at is that our society is set up from the men’s point of view – we see things only through men’s eyes. (Both women and men do this – this is not a ‘men are the big bad patriarchy and women the long-suffering innocents’). Let’s look at the problem the niquab is designed to solve. Is the problem that women are getting raped or that men are raping? It could be equally looked at from either direction – it’s the same issue but do we focus on the problem cause or the problem outcome?

    The same when we talk about sex. It is always described as ‘penetration’ i.e. what the man-bit is doing. Could vaginal/penis sex not equally be described as ‘envelopment’ or something similar? Yet, even as I type that it sounds silly – but why? There are two bits doing – not just one doing and the other being done to (at least, that’s the way it should work :) )

    I realise the world is more complex than I am making out but I still think this is a valid point that may come some way to explaining ‘victim blaming’ and the kind of mentality that says ‘men can’t control their urges therefore women should be covered up’. (I totally agree MarkyWarky that this kind of thinking is equally as offensive to men and that there are many instances in our society in which men are the disadvantaged by cultural sexism).

    The one thing I do disagree with you about is your all men are rapists paragraph. I understand your logic but think you undermine your own argument and actually agree with me! To say that all men would be rapists if there were no negative consequences but they aren’t because there are, is as nonsensical as saying that all women would bite the heads off their lovers if we were praying mantises: we’re not, and they don’t.

    I think you make a damn fine point about the hijab too. I’ve never understood how covering someone up was supposed to make them less desirable – most people look better in some clothes and not seeing anything but a flash of tempting skin and leaving the rest up to your imagination ….

    WalterWAllcarpet – I agree that the term Islamaphobe is sometimes used to shut down any criticism of Islam and I agree that one can passionately hate the Qu’ran, what some Muslims stand for, fear what an Islamic state might look like etc. without being an ‘Islamophobe’. I still don’t think that totally negates the value of the word. After September 11 we did see a rise in racist-type violence and hatred against people merely because they were Muslim – even if in heritage only. As the word racist wasn’t quite accurate to describe these people, Islamophobe was invented. It is also not quite accurate and, I agree, often misused, but it’s the best we’ve got.

    WalterW, I would add one point to your exhortation to action. It’s not just men who need to act, although they do, it is women also. We all take part in the shaping of our culture and, just as it is women who take their granddaughters to be ‘circumcised’ it is women who have surgery or inject cow diseases to look younger and it is women who cripple themselves with ridiculous high-heels to look sexier. I very much agree with your point that people looking from the outside at a culture which promotes the idea of humans risking their lives to have bags of silicone/saline implanted in their bodies to fit a photoshopped ideal of beauty should be forgiven if they shake their heads and say thank Allah our women don’t have to go through that!

  34. Mary2 says:

    Jesus Christ (if you’ll all forgive such an expletive)!

    I apologise for the length of my rant: typing in the little box misleads me into thinking I am being succinct!

  35. MarkyWarky says:

    Hi Mary, I did say I wasn’t explaining it well! The point of my “all men are rapists” paragraph was that the reason most men are NOT rapists is that as humans we have an inherent morality connected to not doing harm to other humans. I was trying to point out that covering women up, stopping them from flirting, making men look away, etc etc etc is not likely to reduce rape because it’s not this things that make some men rape in the first place. It’s a malfunction in the morality of “do no harm” that does that.

    I don’t think the young men saying “I’d tap that” are any closer to raping a woman than the rest of us are. As someone with daughters I wish they didn’t do that, but at the same time I’d be lying if I said I never looked at a woman and said to a mate “Wow, what wouldn’t you give eh?”, even at 50. The point is you need to have a complete breakdown of your instinctive morality before that comes anywhere near to rape.

    So I don’t think we solve rape by hiding women or sexuality away, or by assuming it’s a men’s OR women’s problem; it’s societies’ problem. I think we solve it by reinforcing morality and “curing” people who’ve lost it.

    In that respect, I don’t think rape is any different to racist attacks; both result from disregarding the consequences for the victim.

    In this respect I do think the religious might have it right. I think maybe there IS a decline in moral standards, and that it is possibly a result (in part), of a decline in religious belief. Not because god gives you morals, but because structure and close social groups can help to reinforce them (call it a sense of community if you like), and we’re losing the unquestioningly accepted structure provided by the church. All good, but I think maybe we need something to replace it?

    Re penetration, I get what you’re saying, but isn’t that heading towards a condition where we ban the word blacklist because it’s racist? I don’t think we can or should completely de-gender our language. And don’t we talk about the man “doing it to” the woman partly because it does tend to be naturally the man persuading the woman to allow it (by wooing her I’d hope, not by any other method), as men’s instinct is to spread his genes while a woman’s is to select carefully, and partly because the man has to be in a specific physical state whereas the woman doesn’t?

    Flash of tempting skin? No, it’s the eyes. There’s nothing sexier than a beautiful psi of eyes when you can’t see anything else!

  36. MarkyWarky says:

    “psi” – wassatmean? “pair”.

    Bloody hell though, I could have put most of that so much more simply!:

    In men, there’s a balance. On one end of it is “have sex have sex”, on the other is “social animal, social animal”.

    The weight at the “have sex” end isn’t going to reduce no matter what you do, but the “social animal” end remains heavier in most people, even though it’s not a conscious decision (it’s failing if it is). What we have to do to reduce rape is maintain that healthy balance and restore it in people who’ve lost it.

    IMHO, obviously. I can’t cite any research to back up what I’m saying; it’s just how I know I am myself.

  37. Undeluded says:

    I’m surprised nobody raised the issue that most rapes are done at home (mainly by the husband, but also by close family members, including incest). Especially in communities where women are born “inferior.” Could it be that the hijab is a used to cover up bruises or worse when in public?

  38. UncoBob says:

    WalterWalcarpit: Re the question of the dearth of Islamic comedians – I’d assume the main problem is the audience. Coming up with a good joke and being stoned, beheaded, flogged or bombed for it tends to inhibit the creative process. Quite a few of the things that underlie Islamophobia, really. Or to coin a word that gets us out of the medical arena mysIslamy.

  39. MarkyWarky says:

    Undeluded, I think that illustrates my point. Rape at home isn’t the stereotypical “phoaarr look at that, can’t help myself” uncontrolled lust that might result if it was caused by short skirts or seeing a woman’s shape. It’s a failure to see consequences for the victim, probably with a bit/lot of control thrown in.

  40. Second Thought says:

    MarkyWarky,

    Regarding your response to Mary2 about the word penetration, you said, “Re penetration, I get what you’re saying, but isn’t that heading towards a condition where we ban the word blacklist because it’s racist?”

    I think that is a misreading of what Mary2 was saying, or at least it isn’t what I got from her comment. I think she brought up penetration as an example of how so much in our culture views things form the male perspective. She wasn’t proposing a ban but was rather raising awareness. We are so immersed in our culture and language and just think that’s the way it is, that we can easily miss actually seeing it.

    Thanks, Mary2 for sharing that language insight.

  41. MarkyWarky says:

    @ Second Thought, you might be right about what Mary meant, but I think it’s a distraction from the real issues, and one that allows people to trivialise the matter in a “political correctness gone mad” kind of way. I don’t think the use of the word penetration says anything at all about male dominance, it’s just the most fitting description of the act, and if we want to tackle male dominance in our culture there are far bigger fish to fry.

    We even use it in a non-gender specific way; we say “they had penetrative sex”, not “he did penetrative sex to her”. We never talk about fabric “enveloping” the needle, because that’s less descriptive of what actually happens.

    Anyway, we also talk about “getting your leg over”. Isn’t that more a description of what a woman does than a man?

  42. JoJo says:

    @FreeFox

    Sorry, but you’re talking bollocks when you say this:
    ………..
    And -phobias do not necessarily have to be experienced as fear (though some sort of fear is usually at the bottom of it), they describe serious aversions or loathing just as much. And they describe (rightfully) that the -phobe lumps all or most members of the group together and judges them on their membership and not necessarily individual acts. If you dislike someone for being a Muslim, before they did anything harmful individually, because you assume they will behave like dicks or idiots simply because they adher to that belief, then you’re an Islamophobe
    ……

    BECAUSE:
    Saying ‘all homosexuals are the same…’ is not supportable. Homosexuality is a sexual orientation.
    Islam is an ideology. It has a set of beliefs. Describing yourself as a Muslim means you are telling the world you share that ideology and its belief set. And you really, really mean it. It is a deliberately self imposed stereotype to which the Muslim has willingly attached himself. Accordingly, when someone introduces himself as a Muslim, it is not prejudice or Islamophobia to assume he has just told you he believes the Koran is literally true and is the word of Allah as communicated to Mohammed, Allah’s Prophet. You can also assume he believes absolutely all the nasty things about Jews and non believers. As well as the dodgy stuff about women. Calling out the Muslim on the abhorrent stuff in Islam is is not prejudice – he just told you what he believes. There is the distinction: Islam – as any other ideology – is a self defining stereotype to which the adherent signs up and so should be open to criticism. Stereotypes based on skin colour or sexual orientation are imposed from outside upon a group who’s ‘membership’ of that imposed categorisation is not a choice. Imposition of those stereotypes on groups or individuals is prejudice and not acceptable.

  43. JoJo says:

    Oh – and if the Muslim then goes on to say “Oh, I’m not one of *those* Muslims. I don’t hold with that nasty stuff”, then he’s a cherry picker. Which makes him a good person and a bad Muslim.

  44. MarkyWarky says:

    JoJo, well said, nearly :)

    Cherry picking scripture does not make you a good person, it makes you a dishonest one. You now not only align yourself with a self imposed stereotype where it suits you, but you also make it impossible for anyone to tell WHAT you believe.

    At the bottom of it, you are still taking stuff on faith, which is simply wrong and reason enough to mistrust someone.

    I can say with complete conviction that I mistrust and therefore have a “phobia” of anyone who is happy to believe stuff that is completely unsupported by evidence, even if ALL they believe out of their declared religion’s doctrine is that there is a god. As you say, that is not anything like having a phobia of someone because of what they look like.

  45. MarkyWarky says:

    Maybe I should say that my phobia of these people only extends to their beliefs and how they act as a result of them. There still can be plenty of the person left to like.

  46. FreeFox says:

    @JoJo: Um. Yes. Thank you. Exactly. I agree. How was I talking bollocks? :p

    @Marky: Thanks were for being the first to explain to jb the difference between homophobia and islamophobia. It’s just really nice to have a straight bloke tell someone off for comparing liking to snog chaps to liking to stone chicks. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. ^_^

    @Walter: It was towards my deity. Towards my father things are way more complicated. But probably related. As for the -phobia, I kinda like answering someone asking me if I am an Islamophobe by saying “Why, are you an Islamophobephobe?” As I said, I think the debate would profit from more honesty and less posturing. It is one thing to demand of “the state” to treat all people equal no matter their beliefs, and only judge them on their deeds and only in relation to the laws. States should do that. But we’re not states, we as individuals do not have the power imbalance and impartial duty to care for every other citizen. So we can say, yes, some people I like, other I don’t. Some beliefs are awesome and others suck congealed vomit through a thin straw. Being a member of some groups make you a potential hero in my book and membership in others make me assume you’re a dick (or cunt.) I can’t stand homophobes or xenophobes or racists or sexists while I don’t mind antifascists, liberals, rationalists, and moderate Islamo-, Catholico-, Mormono- and Fundamentalist-Christianophobes. That doesn’t make me a bigot, just someone with a clear set of ethics in favour of mutual tolerance and freedom.
    I’m not sure about fundamentophobes… I would consider our esteemed Darwin Harmless a fundamentalist atheist. And while I disagree with him on the subject, I vastly prefer his company and would defend his position towards any koran- or bible-thumping preacher who would want to shut him up or persecute him for his opinion. I know fundamentalist liberals or fundamentalist pacifist who I consider maybe mistaken but mostly very admirable. It’s not the fundamentalism I despise, but the blind and violent defense of something vile and despicable.

    @Mary et. al.: I think it’s clear that there is a lot of sexism, in some societies more and in some less, but I’ve never met any that doesn’t have any. And it’s clear that for most part that sexism favours men and especially where wealth or physical power and safety are concerned it usually massively disfavours women. But I think there is a bit that is usually tabooed and that includes that there is a sort of moral high-ground/”righteousness” sexism from women towards men (it exists both ways, but I think often it favours women, like in the old “drunken man comes home to nagging wife” type cliché that I’ve encountered in all societies from Germany and England, Scandinavia, Balkans, to the Near East. Basically, while often women are afraid of a man’s beating, men are afraid of a woman’s scolding. That may not be much, you might say, but it sours free and open conduct from both sides as much, and it reinforces the stupid dualism (or schism?). And it has to do with the fact that women are considered to be “basically” angelic (all the worse when the go “slut”) and all men at their core “animalistic” – so much that they are actually direspected not only from fellow men but also from most women when they go “pussy”. Men may be (and perhaps rightfully) attacked for being sexist pigs – but they are actually more shunned and despised when they are not. Including from a lot of women. And as long as being not a sexist pig is equated with being a faggoty whimp… it’s not going to change. Start fawning over gentle spoken skirt wearing gentle blokes en masse and sexism will disappear very quickly. (That Mo is aftraid to be seen as Jesus’ wife isn’t just homophobic – it’s also very sexist in a lot of ways.) I really don’t want to blame women for their own problems or anything like that. Just point out that “strengthening” the women’s side alone isn’t going to change the pattern, just up the ante. It will only work if “feminising” men is going to be cool, also. (I honestly believe more women would be turned of by your “enveloping” idea then men. Don’t you think so? – As for the “tapping” type comment – it’s really not about water melons. Even those men who’d use a rubber doll would still give her a personality in their heads. Otherwise none of us would need more than our hand and some crisco. What your exemplary young man really means is “I want to be a manly man who gets to take that ass and have her melt under my charisma and animal attraction.” And that isn’t really all that far from the cover painting of an embossed romance novel… unfortunately for both.)

  47. MarkyWarky says:

    @ FF, warm and fuzzy is good. I aim to please :)

  48. Mary2 I’m still processing this discussion, but I did want to tell you that I appreciate your thoughts on how we see things from the male point of view. I had never thought about that before. So many of our assumptions are unconscious.

    Your comment reminded me of an old story you probably know. It illustrates your point. or at least it used to, it may not any more. A man and his son who were in a car accident. The man was killed instantly and the son was rushed to emergency at the hospital. But the doctor who was called in to operate said, “I can’t operate on this boy. He’s my son.”

    How is this possible?

    I’ve seen people totally baffled by this puzzle, unable to think how, if the boy’s father was killed, the boy could possibly the doctor’s son. Of course the answer is that the doctor is his mother. Maybe now, with more and more women being admitted into medical schools, this assumption that all doctors are men has changed. Recounting the story, it’s hard for me to believe that anybody would hesitate to figure out the answer. But we all did hesitate. And some didn’t get it until they were told, even when they knew there were many women doctors.

  49. Okay, just ignore that extra “who” okay. My grammar is better than that. But my revisions are simply not careful enough. Damn. I hate sounding like English is my second language.

  50. MarkyWarky says:

    Oh come on DH, how is assuming women can’t be doctors anything like using “penetrate” to describe one thing going into another? Mary does make a good point that we need to think about language, it’s just that “penetrate” isn’t a good example to support it.

  51. I’ve seen some language evolution on Mary’s point in my lifetime. Fireman, policeman, mailman and hardware man have become firefighter, police officer, mail carrier and hardware folks. When I was a child we used to say stupid stuff like “female fireman”.

    JoJo and MarkyWarky,
    I think all Christians HAVE to be cherry pickers. The bible is anti-murder and pro-murder (pro-genocide even). It is anti-slavery and pro-slavery. Anti and pro drinking, rape, forgiveness, xenophobia and lying. Both of you are speaking as if the bible COULD actually be used as a guide for morality and cherry picking is involved if one doesn’t follow all of the tenets therein. I don’t think their cherry picking is a problem. I think they are just ignorant of the useless nature of their book.
    FKS

  52. MarkyWarky says:

    Not at all FKS. I’m talking about cherry picking to sidestep valid accusations of their faith as its generally declared to be now. Of course all religions have had to update themselves to keep up with secular moral reasoning, but I still think it’s dishonest to align yourself with a cult, then say it’s nothing to do with you when you’re challenged on some of the more contentious things it teaches even today.

    Cherry picking IS a problem, even as you describe it (to ignore the contradictions), because its used to defend untenable faith based positions.

  53. I think I agree with what you just said as a hypothetical. And because of agreement with the hypothetical, I tentatively accept that you can come up with an example that shows what you are talking about. Here is an example that shows what I am talking about: A person would logically say that islamaphobia is justified because the Muslim religion allows Muslims to blow themselves up along with a school bus filled with small children because of their god. A devout Muslim will say that is not part of their religion and in fact one of their holy books says “Though shalt not kill”. Therefore you should hate and fear the exploding Muslim but not all of Islam.

    I personally hate exploding Muslims, but I know there are non-violent Muslims and I know they really do consider the old testament a holy book and it literally does say “Though shalt not kill”.

    Now we both agree that this is cherry picked. They ignored the verse that says to kill the man that commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife (and other verses). But I am claiming that this cherry picking is not a problem and is in fact necessary. Kind of like in the USA I have the right to free speech, but that does not give me the right to break into your house in the middle of the night and tell you what is on my mind.

    Is this next thing an example of what you are talking about? I am a Catholic and I believe that birth control is ok but I realize that my church thinks that if anyone ever sees a condom, it is straight to hell with them. But I personally disavow any responsibility for the spread of AIDS in Africa. Is that what you are talking about?

  54. MarkyWarky says:

    Close FKS, but I don’t think my point is quite as specific as that. Your last example is valid though, because “your” cherry picking has allowed you to hold onto an untenable position which I believe holds humans back (collectively), and because just by aligning yourself with the Catholic church you’ve helped underpin them and their evil work, despite not agreeing with it.

    If you were honest about your beliefs you’d reject Catholicism because of your views on birth control.

    Here’s another example:

    Woman A is CoE and as nice as pie because she cherry picks to avoid the bits of the bible she doesn’t like. She brings her kids up to believe. One of those kids later converts to Catholicism because he’s uncomfortable with a lot of what the CoE stands for, but can’t bring himself to walk away from faith because his Mum’s ingrained it in him so deeply. As a nice aid worker he persuades mothers in Africa not to use condoms. Several people die as a direct result.

    My conclusion: Woman A is not to be trusted because she’s using her cherry picking to maintain her own untenable faith, and using it to indoctrinate her kids to do the same. Her converted offspring is not to be trusted because he’s used cherry picked scripture to maintain his faith as his Mum did, AND has used it to justify a position on condoms which it’d be next to impossible to convince people of if it weren’t for faith.

    Even if all a believer ever does is teach others to use faith to make decisions, fully expecting that to be used for good, they cannot know what vile decisions others will actually make. They should be teaching people to make pragmatic evidence based decisions, and until they do, I distrust them.

    My sister in Law falls into exactly this category. I love her because she makes my brother happy after far too long on his own, but I can’t trust her decision making process.

    Of course there may be believers who always make decisions in exactly the same way as I do, bending their faith to fit what are actually secular evidence based decisions, but they still underpin the rest of their religion, and anyway are they true believers?

  55. At this point we are very close to complete agreement. The mother in your example is a completely useful member of society because she cherry picks. You even proffered the possibility that she cherry picks based on evidence and logic the same way you and I cherry pick. Your problem with her is that she teaches that faith is good. We both agree that faith is at best dumb and at worst evil. Faith allows/ makes people believe stupid things. You have a problem with faith not cherry picking. Me too. You think she should quit the church. Sure. Everybody should quit every church.

    Here is our last point of disagreement: You say she should quit the church if she has to cherry pick around things she disagrees with. I don’t see how this logically follows and this is in spite of the fact that I wish you were correct. She might be in agreement with ninety percent of what her church teaches, but she should quit and see if she can find a church where she is higher than ninety? She should become an atheist and now be in agreement with thirty percent? In the states I feel pretty good about the election if I agree with sixty percent of the position of the guy I am voting for. So my position is that her problem is not that she disagrees ten percent. My position is that her ENTIRE problem is that she AGREES ninety percent.
    I actually think that is your position too. ?
    FKS

  56. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    JoJo, I think you misunderstood the point FreeFox was making, or I’m misunderstanding your response to him.
    You’re right, of course, to say that being Muslim is different from being black or gay or disabled because religion is a choice whilst the others aren’t, but the fact remains that to simply lump all Muslims together as fundamentalists just waiting for a chance to blow thenselves up on a bus or in a train is Islamophobia, just as viewing all gay men as limp-wristed mincers, or all lesbians as dungaree-wearing, crew-cut sporting bull-dykes is homophobia.
    The truth is that the vast majority of Muslims (particularly those living outside of the Middle East, ie. the Muslims we are most likely to encounter) don’t want a martyr’s death; don’t think all non-Muslims should be put to the sword; don’t want to stone their women to death for showing their faces in public (as can be seen by the many Muslim women who don’t wear the traditional Islamic cover-alls). OK, they may still be largely male-dominated but that hardly sets them apart from most of Western society – in fact, I’d venture that there’s a whole lot of non-Muslim men who would just love to have the kind of control over ‘their’ women-folk that they perceive Muslims as having.
    So, it’s as irrational to think all Muslims share the same worldview as Abu Hamza as it is to think all gay men are as devastatingly witty as Oscar Wilde, all black men can run like Usain Bolt, all Italians are Mafia, all Christians think like Fred Phelps, etc. etc.
    In fact, you almost contradicted yourself in your second post;

    Oh – and if the Muslim then goes on to say “Oh, I’m not one of *those* Muslims. I don’t hold with that nasty stuff”, then he’s a cherry picker. Which makes him a good person and a bad Muslim.

    A bad Muslim, maybe, but still a Muslim, and to lump him in with the fundamentalists would be akin to phobic behaviour.

    All of which is why I an not an Islamophobe; I’m fundamentally sceptical of all religions.

  57. MarkyWarky says:

    I think we’re just playing semantics now though FKS. Cherry picking is part of faith, essential to it because faith is untenable otherwise. I distrust people who rely on faith, and so distrust the cherry picking that it requires. That’s it; I don’t think the two can be separated. Cherry picking might mitigate the worst of fundamentalist faith and even make the person appear beyond reproach, but if that delays the death of faith by giving it an acceptable face, then I actually might prefer to suffer a few decades of fundamentalism.

  58. Agreed. May have been nothing but semantics all along.

  59. UncoBob says:

    FKS and MarkyWarky: I don’t think you were into semantics, but touching on some important issues.

    One which I think I am summarising accurately was MW’s: If you aren’t a fundamentalist, then you have to be cherry picking. If you are cherry picking, you can’t be a good member of your religion and should leave it. But to be a fundamentalist, you must be able to believe mutually inconsistent things simultaneously. This ignores the ability of believers to justify why they cherry pick e.g. how they come to a theological position that permits them to eat pork, but overall it shows why religious belief isn’t such a good idea.

    I’d see it as impossible to be consistent about everything in the real world in any case. There’s a lot that doesn’t work by Euclidean logic. I understand even physics can’t (yet?) produce a grand unified theory of everything that is consistent at both the quantum and the macro scales, so there’s no point in getting too het-up about the approximations believers make to make sense of their world in the domain of abstractions and fantasy.

    The real issue for me is the dichotomy between religion as harmless self-soothing, and a way of pretending that life has a cosmic purpose on one hand, and a damaging and evil force on the other. The best option would be not to have a religious belief, but given the number of believers, that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

    Overall, my philosophy (if you can dignify it as that ) I picked up from reading Albert Ellis and similar writers: it’s not a good idea to get too upset about what we think others ‘should’ be doing. It doesn’t stop us from arguing rational views, passionately even, in public and other forums, but it does mean that it’s not appropriate to demean our opponents when doing so, but it’s a waste of effort to get too upset about why others can’t see the bleeding obvious.

  60. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    UncoBob says:
    March 28, 2013 at 11:47 pm
    [............] If you aren’t a fundamentalist, then you have to be cherry picking. If you are cherry picking, you can’t be a good member of your religion and should leave it………

    I’d go a step further and say that believers in any of the Abrahamic religions who are not absolutely fundamentalist – or in other words, a massive majority of Christians, Jews, and Muslims – are atheist in all but name.
    The holy books are supposedly the ‘Word of God’, that all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful deity whose word is perfect, yet save for a very few fanatics no self-identifying believer really follows the rules in their holy book – rules passed by revelation from their god directly to the prophets (or in the case of JC, directly from God to the masses) – to the letter.
    By not following those rules, they are saying that their god was wrong about those particular parts that they choose to ignore or deliberately disobey, and that they know better than their god how their lives should be lived, but by doing so they are saying that their god really isn’t all that clever after all. Yet a god that is not as clever as- or can be outwitted by- a mere human is quite literally no god at all, so what do they really believe in?
    My guess is that they believe whatever they want to believe; their god is the god they want to believe in, it wants things done just the way they want things done, it likes what they like and it hates what they hate, and as this is quite clearly not the autocratic, dictatorial, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent deity of their books, then they cannot, by any definition of the word, believe in the God / Allah / Jaweh; they believe in their own infallibilty: their god is themselves writ large.

  61. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Too much bold script there; it was only supposed to be the word ‘not‘.
    Ah bollocks!

  62. WalterWalcarpit says:

    I just wanted to say this before I to dive back into the discussion:

    This place is a phenomenon.

    I am coming to realise that among the praise this site deservedly receives (and I too am fascinated that it apparently receives few real trolls and very little flaming) the observation has not been made that unlike most conversations between people that have much to say we here are able to complete a sentence, paragraph even a significant postulation without being interrupted. And that the number of people that can join a conversation is not limited either and that one can return a full day later and pick up right where one left off – or more likely continue the inevitable development of whatever that conversation might have been about.
    Very little of that could happen in any pub other than the Cock & Bull.
    Sometimes I want to leap in simply to exclaim how much I have been brought to laughter, moved sideways if not to tears , or just to say how much I love you lot.

    If any of you happen to be visiting Northern Ireland while I am living here, Author hereby has my permission to put us in touch.

    In the meantime here are my two missing links:
    https://twitter.com/PakistanAtheist/status/316235634601758721/photo/1
    and
    http://www.change.org/petitions/victoria-s-secret-pull-bright-young-things-campaign

    I have no idea why they did not work but it probably has something to do with the internet collapsing just as I had almost, but not quite entirely finished writing my post.

  63. Holy exploding thread, Batman, I can hardly keep up. MarkyWarky, you wrote “DH, how is assuming women can’t be doctors anything like using “penetrate” to describe one thing going into another?”

    It seems you took my example and applied it to the wrong concept. I wasn’t saying anything about the use of “penetrate” or other word usage. I was commenting on the fact, and Mary2′s statement, that we collectively tend to see the world from the male point of view, and make assumptions of gender automatically and unconsciously.

    By the way, the people who would stall on answering that question about how the boy could be the doctor’s son were just as likely to be women as men.

  64. botanist says:

    Walter :-)
    Yes yes yes. You are all so lovely, so interesting and SO polite it’s brilliant being here.

  65. Mary2 says:

    Freefox, I agree entirely with your response to me. I think all people are trapped within unfortunate boxes of ‘correct’ gender behaviour and I think it is as restricting for men as for women. Good point about Mo not wanting to be seen as a wife = sexist. Reminds me of a quote from Iggy Pop: “I’m not ashamed to be seen in women’s clothes because I don’t think there is anything shameful about being a woman.”

    DH, Thank you. That’s exactly what I was trying to say. If only I could think of a better example than the my description of sex because that has too much baggage and too many red herrings to be entirely useful. By the way, I fell for your doctor story – so even rabid femo-nazis can assume that all doctors are men. :p

    AoS, I don’t know about all theists who are not fundamentals being closet atheists, but I agree that being a theist at all takes a huge amount of cognitive dissonance. I have never been able to get past the point where I think, ‘OK, let’s assume this god is real for arguments sake. How could you worship this monster any more than I would worship Adolf Hitler. I may have to do as he says because he has power over me, but worship the evil bastard?’ I have always had a soft spot for Jehovah’s Witnesses for reasons you suggest. If I believed that everyone who didn’t agree with me was going to hell (alright, I know JWs don’t believe in hell but you know what I mean) and that Jesus really wanted me to spread the word, I would be spreading the word. How could you not want other people to know this amazing truth and save their souls? On the other hand, I am very, very glad that most religious types do not feel the burning need to knock on my door!

    Your bit about being more clever than god reminds me of the Jewish relationship with their god which seems to be a battle of one-upmanship with the people always trying to get around god’s commandments – not disobey them exactly – just obey the letter of the law i.e. you are not allowed to light fires to warm your house on the sabbath – but it is perfectly OK to employ a gentile to light fires for you.

    We are not made in God’s image; we make God in ours.

    Walter, Not sure I agree with you that one can leave the Cock and Bull for a day and come back and join in the conversation. It’s like leaving Narnia and coming back to find that 300 years have passed! I might never be able to leave the computer again.

  66. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Mary2 says:
    March 29, 2013 at 11:03 am
    [.......]
    AoS, I don’t know about all theists who are not fundamentals being closet atheists,….

    I wouldn’t say ‘closet’ atheists exactly; that implies a deliberate concealment. It’s more a case of them not thinking their cherry-picked religious ideas through to the natural conclusion that whatever it is they are worshipping, it clearly isn’t the god as described in the books – the books that say ‘this is the one and only God, and it cares not whether you’re squeamish about some of its more sinister attributes; it cares not whether you’d rather have a fluffier, less strict god, or one that is powerless to prevent suffering but who’ll make it up to you when you die. It doesn’t do compromise and doesn’t claim that it’s ‘all things to all men’; it doesn’t care what you want it to be, it is what it is and you’d better believe it…or else’.
    So, the moderates may indeed genuinely believe that their trimmed-down and sanitised version of god is real, but it isn’t the Bible god, and since Bible god is the only god (it says so in the book, and the book is the Word of God, remember, so I’m sure it must know what it’s talking about), then what they are actually worshipping is an idealised figment of their own imagination.
    In short, if the god they claim to believe in isn’t the genocidal, infanticidal, tribalist, ethnic cleansing, mysogynistic, nightmare-inducing Bible god, warts and all, then they really do not believe in god.
    Which is why, whenever anybody tells me that ‘the god I believe in doesn’t…….’, I tell them that they cannot therefore believe in god; they’re simply just arrogant enough to believe that they themselves would make an ideal god and so have deified their ego, effectively positing a god that conforms to their own moral and ethical codes.

  67. MarkyWarky says:

    @AoS, that’s one of the best explanations of religious beliefs I’ve heard. Of course I already know the rationalisations that will shoot it down in flames, one of which I was presented with very recently; “god had to behave as he did in the OT to protect his chosen people in tough times. He rewrote the rules in the NT and gave us a new covenant, so those are the ones we have to follow.”. Why on earth or in heaven he allowed the tough times in the first place is beyond me, but it’ll be something to do with free will or humanity deserving it, or some such bollox.

    @WalterWalcarpet, your two links pose a question I think. This is not an opinion, it’s a serious question:

    If on the one hand we’re saying that rape is purely a man’s problem, and that women can do and dress however they want, why is there any problem at all with young girls entering puberty (i.e. teens and tweens), wearing clothes that have a sexual implication?

    On the other hand, if we do need to protect young girls from sexuality and objectification, and so must control what they can choose to wear, why are we arguing that certain cultures are wrong to cover their women, or to blame how women dress for rape?

    The point is that instinctively I agree with BOTH campaigns, but they do appear to contradict each other at least on some level, don’t they?

    I should say too that I don’t think rape IS a problem for just men to solve. I don’t think women need to change their behaviour or dress to prevent it, though I do think that in general the trivialisation of sex is a problem, just not one that’s anything to do with rape. I think it’s a problem for society as a whole to solve, just as any other breakdown in our instinctive morality is. The fact is that our society has some people in it who don’t see/connect with the consequences for the victim, and we need to fix that no matter whether they’re men or women.

  68. MarkyWarky says:

    BTW, it’s not about “teaching” men not to rape, at least not here in the UK. Men already know they shouldn’t do that, both because instinctively it’s abhorrent, and because society reinforces that it’s wrong. What we have to do is “cure” those who are missing that instinctive abhorrence.

  69. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    MarkyWarky says:
    March 30, 2013 at 9:58 am
    @AoS, that’s one of the best explanations of religious beliefs I’ve heard. [Thanks. AoS] Of course I already know the rationalisations that will shoot it down in flames, [.....]god had to behave as he did in the OT to protect his chosen people in tough times. He rewrote the rules in the NT and gave us a new covenant, so those are the ones we have to follow.”.

    Which works as long as they follow all of the rules of the new covenant as well as the ones from the OT that weren’t superceded by the new.

  70. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Whoops, sorry Author. How in Hell did I get my own email address wrong?
    Oh yes, it’s half-past medication ;-)

  71. AlexanderTheGoodEnough says:

    And Walter, in addition to all of the great linguistic and dialectical joy that this site brings and as you so well note, I must say that I take great delight in the fact that someone here uses, and properly so, the impersonal pronoun “one.” Well done chap.

    As for “pulchritude,” that’s a word I’ve commonly used since my days as a Latin scholar. In fact I’ve even gone one further and been heard to utter the word “pulchritudinous.” Of course, that may also be why people often look at me funny and shake their heads a lot…

  72. Chris says:

    Sorry to be catching up on this so late but if it is all about protecting women from men’s lustful thoughts, why do they sell the same things for children? Only for girls, though, so there seems to be an assumption that even girls under 12 incite men to lustful thoughts.
    [/url]http://www.islamicboutique.com/girl-abaya.asp[/url]. Hope the link works.

  73. fenchurch says:

    @Chris– don’t forget to include the diaper burkas for infants– a girl under 12 was married and deflowered by the prophet, so that shouldn’t raise an eyebrow– consider the cultural message that one needs to shield oneself from a naked infant.

    A shame, since men who participate in rearing and diapering their infant children are statistically far less likely to sexually objectify/abuse them later.

    Islam in practice can’t seem to get a single effing thing right.

  74. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Nail on the head, Fenchurch.

  75. Mo without his burka… now I can’t control my lust.

  76. Cephas Atheos says:

    Wow. You guys say things that’ve been in my head, trying to get out in conversations and dialogue, but which have been limited by my language skills. And possibly sentence length. And being slapped or stared at.

    I’m nearly caught up. I’m so glad I found you.

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