Friday, October 10, 2014

Generalizations: Nazis, Muslims, and Nicholas Kristof

Generalizations are the currency of scholarly debate and decision-making. For instance, one study, attempting to measure the impact of pornography on rape, observed:

  • Victimization rates for rape in the United States demonstrate an inverse relationship between pornography consumption and rape rates.

While there has been an array of anecdotal evidence that the rapist first used porn before raping, generalizations based on this kind of study are quite germane. Another study found that:

  • A preschooler living with one biological parent and one step-parent was forty times more likely to be sexually abused than one living with two natural parents.

From this study and others like it, we can generalize that preschoolers are safer with two biological parents.

To claim that there is something the matter with making generalizations is to silence debate and inquiry. Even more fundamentally, such a proscription starves and blinds the mind. However, this is just the thing that multi-cultural (religious pluralistic) dogma is doing. It claims that, since we lack any absolute standards, we cannot judge other cultures, religions, or ideologies.

Others assert that we cannot make generalizations about the people who ascribe to a given ideology. However, while it is true that every Nazi might have believed differently in some respects, it would be wrong-headed to conclude that we should not speak about Nazis in general. Why:

  1. The majority still shared many beliefs.
  2. The evils of Nazism were almost universally experienced in every nation Nazis entered.
  3. Even though they only represented a minority of the German people, their violent tactics were able to commandeer the entire nation.
  4. To refuse to make generalizations about Nazi Germany would have defused, de-motivated, and de-focused the Allied effort to stop this horrible evil.

We need generalizations, but we must use them wisely. However, columnist Nicholas Kristof argues against the use of such generalizations. In essence, he claims that all religions are basically without behavioral distinctives, and therefore, we cannot make such generalizations about them:

  • Beware of generalizations about any faith because they sometimes amount to the religious equivalent of racial profiling. Hinduism contained both Gandhi and the fanatic who assassinated him. The Dalai Lama today is an extraordinary humanitarian, but the fifth Dalai Lama in 1660 ordered children massacred “like eggs smashed against rocks.” Christianity encompassed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and also the 13th century papal legate who in France ordered the massacre of 20,000 Cathar men, women and children for heresy, reportedly saying: Kill them all; God will know his own.

There were also Nazis who performed heroic and noble acts, but does this mean that we cannot make any generalizations about Nazism? However, Kristof claims that:

  • The caricature of Islam as a violent and intolerant religion is horrendously incomplete.

Should we also apply such a conclusion to Nazism because there were good people fighting under the Nazi flag? Instead clarity requires us to distinguish between “Nazis” and “Nazism,” and to examine the overall thrust of Nazism.

Likewise, we need to recognize that there are good and peaceable Muslims like the small-minority Sufis. However, they do not reflect the ideology and overall trust of Islam as German individuals, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, did not reflect the Nazi ideology.

How then should we make generalizations about Nazism? By focusing on their ideology, interpretation of this ideology, and impact! What can we safely say about Islam? For one thing, it is a religion of world domination under Shariah Law and the Islamic Caliphate. Ibn Khaldun, the 15th century Tunisian historian, wrote:

  • In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force... The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense... Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.

Here’s some of the Koranic basis for this teaching:

  • “Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion (Islam) reigns supreme, (Koran 8:37)
  • “When the Sacred Months are over, kill those who ascribe partners [like Jesus] to God wheresoever ye find them; seize them, encompass them, and ambush them; then if they repent and observe prayer and pay the alms, let them go their way’.” (Koran 4:5)
  • “…kill the disbelievers wherever we find them” (Koran 2:191) and “murder them and treat them harshly” (Koran 9:123), and “Strike off the heads of the disbelievers” (Koran 8:12, cp. 8:60).
Kristof and others admit that there are many violent verses in the Koran but claim that these are little different from the Bible. Therefore, we shouldn’t denigrate the Koran and the Sayings of Mohammad because of the many violent admonitions in the Koran and Hadiths.

However, it doesn’t seem matter how many times the secularists, like Kristof, are told that the violent verses of the Hebrew Scriptures do not apply to us today, they refuse to drop their equation likening Koran to the Bible. But what does the average Muslim believe about the violent teachings of their holy books? Recent surveys provide the answer:

  • Polling data released (April 24, 2007) in a rigorously conducted face-to-face University of Maryland/ interview survey of 4384 Muslims conducted between December 9, 2006 and February 15, 2007—1000 Moroccans, 1000 Egyptians, 1243 Pakistanis, and 1141 Indonesians—reveal that 65.2% of those interviewed-almost 2/3, hardly a “fringe minority”-desired this outcome (i.e., “To unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or Caliphate”), including 49% of “moderate” Indonesian Muslims. The internal validity of these data about the present longing for a Caliphate is strongly suggested by a concordant result: 65.5% of this Muslim sample approved the proposition “To require a strict application of Sharia law in every Islamic country.”

This "strict application of Sharia law" is not only utterly incompatible with Western liberties and protections; it rejects them! Sharia subjugates everyone, regardless of religion, to Islamic law. Forget about equality or freedom of religion!

And how about the Muslims the USA had liberated from Sadam Hussein and the Taliban? Would they also seek to subjugate their liberators?

  •  The Pew Research Forum report, “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society,” released April 30, 2013, confirms the broad appeal of the totalitarian Sharia, across Islamdom. Specifically, 91% of Iraqi Muslims and 99% of Afghan Muslims supported making Sharia the official state law of their respective societies, after both nations were liberated at the expense of much priceless U.S. blood, and great U.S. treasure.

In the face of such findings, Kristof responds:

  • Let’s not feed Islamophobic bigotry by highlighting only the horrors while neglecting the diversity of a religion with 1.6 billion adherents — including many who are champions of tolerance, modernity and human rights. The great divide is not between faiths, but one between intolerant zealots of any tradition and the large numbers of decent, peaceful believers likewise found in each tradition.

Truly, there is diversity within the Islamic community. However, the “moderates” seem to be irrelevant in the face of the great and violence-prone Islamic masses. The proof of this is ubiquitous. Everywhere, in Islamic nations, non-Muslims live in subjection and fear. If there was but Islamic country where non-Muslims live as equals beside Muslims, we might have cause for hope. If there could be found in any nation a sizable Islamic community that is willing to adopt Western values, allowing non-Muslims to live as equals, or where Muslims are not attempting to institute and impose Shariah laws, we might have hope.

However, these findings tell us that Muslims interpret their holy writings in just the way these writings seem to speak – as commands to bring the world under Islam, and, if necessary, with the most extreme forms of violence.

We cannot blind our eyes to these generalizations. One European recently admitted to me:

  • Well, we now know that we have a big problem, but what can we do? Everyone is still too comfortable. We can still live with the occasional outbursts of violence and intimidation.
Comfort can kill! However, Kristof and the secularists are still in denial mode.

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