Trying to reason with people on the existence of moderate Islam

A few days ago, in a thread about the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens a conservative Christian reader of this site, who goes by the name EOS, proclaimed definitively, “There is no such thing as moderate Islam regardless of how much we might wish it were so.” When confronted with facts, and asked to elaborate, he then offered the following.

Al-Takeyya- The Islamic principle of lying for the sake of Allah. Falsehoods told to prevent denigration of Islam, to protect oneself, or to promote the cause of Islam are sanctioned by the Qur’an, including lying under penalty of perjury in testimony before the United States Congress, lying or making distorted statements to the media such as claiming that Islam is a religion of peace, and deceiving fellow Muslims when the one lying has deemed them to be apostates. The word literally means to protect or guard against and conveys the principle that Muslims are permitted to lie as a preventative measure to protect themselves and Islam, especially in life or liberty threatening circumstances. It is important that the Muslim does not mean it in his heart, however.

As with most of his not so intellectually rigorous scholarship, it seems as though EOS plagiarized this from elsewhere, without citing his source. Regardless, though, the rest of the community came forward in good faith, as they often do, and attempted to speak reason to him. The following response came from our friend in New York, Doug Skinner.

Well, I must admit I’m no expert; but as far as I know, takeyya (or taqiyya) is an obscure Shi’ite term taken out of context and promoted by Robert Spencer and other anti-Islamic writers, and many Muslims have never heard of it. Similarly, antisemitic writers used to charge that a passage in the Kol Nidre meant that Jews were encouraged to lie to Christians.

By the way, Christian and Jewish theologians also discuss when lying is permissible. Most agree that the question “Do I look fat in this dress?” need not be answered with scrupulous honesty.

And, EOS, are you unaware that there are different sects of Islam? The fact that they are different means that they’re not all the same.

EOS, I think it’s safe to say, was unmoved by this line of reasoning. In his mind, it would seem, there can, by definition, be no such thing as a moderate Muslim, regardless of the polling data we see from Eastern Libya, for instance, which reveals, in the words of noted historian Juan Cole, “the United States has a 60% favorability rating, while the Salafis or hard line Muslims stand at only 28% favorable.” The filter though which EOS sees the world, it would seem, cannot accept the fact that we’re not facing a monolithic, cartoon-like foe. Pictures of a dying Chris Stevens being whisked away to a hospital on the shoulders of sympathetic Muslims, becomes, in the mind of EOS, and those like him, images of our Ambassador being kidnapped for the purposes of sodomy. There is, in other words, no reasoning with the man. And, the sad thing is, there are millions more like him in our country. In spite of that, though, the evidence to the contrary keeps building, and, I would hope, eventually the tide will turn.

Here, speaking of evidence to the contrary, is a clip from CNN this morning.

Ten days after four Americans were killed in their Libyan city, hundreds marched in Benghazi and took over the headquarters of a radical Islamist group tied to the attack.

Thousands of protesters had taken to the street earlier Friday, loudly declaring that they — and not those behind last week’s deadly attack — represent the real sentiments of the Libyan people.

“I am sorry, America,” one man said. “This is the real Libya.”

In the evening, an offshoot of several hundred people then headed toward the headquarters for Ansar al-Sharia, a loosely connected radical Islamist group.

As militia members fled, the protesters torched a vehicle and took over the group’s building without firing a single shot. Some of those involved claimed to have freed at least 20 captives held inside, and expressed their intent to assume control over other Ansar al-Sharia buildings.

Army General Naji al-Shuaibi said the citizens, whom he referred to as “revolutionaries of the February 17 uprising,” later asked that the Ansar al-Sharia headquarters be handed over to the Libyan army.

“Indeed, we rushed here and we will now take it over,” said the general. “There are also other places that we intend to take over (which belong to armed groups) if the revolutionaries and the people allow us to do so.”

But some of the protesters gathered at locations that house forces loyal to the national authority, he said, including the headquarters of the Rufallah al-Sihati battalion. Gunfire could be heard at the headquarters, but it was not initially clear who was responsible.

Mohamed al-Magariaf, president of Libya’s General National Congress, thanked the protesters for helping evict “armed groups. He also said the Rufallah al-Sihati brigade was actually “under the command of — and committed to — the national authority,” the case appeared to be one of mistaken identity. Magariaf asked demonstrators to stop their activities and go home…

So, I have a question to pose to EOS… Were all of these people, who drove the jihadists from their headquarters yesterday, acting? Were the jihadists firing at them shooting blanks? Was this all an elaborate ruse, justified under Al-Takeyya, and coordinated by our terrorist-loving President, meant to somehow distract us from the global threat of radical Islam?

[note: Just so we’re clear, I do believe that radical Islam poses a significant threat to mankind. I think, in fact, that, in spite of global warming and everything else, religious fundamentalism is probably the biggest threat that humanity faces at the moment. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m so foolish as to believe that all Muslims are working behind the scenes to impose Sharia law i the West and eliminate all Christians from the face of the planet. And I find it incredibly frustrating that others, like EOS, seem unwilling to accept the fact that we share common cause with a certain percentage of those who consider themselves Muslims, who desperately want to live in countries that protect the rights of minorities, treat women equally, and enjoy a free press, among other things. We can argue as to how big this percentage is, but it’s absolutely ridiculous, in my opinion, to suggest that there’s not one Muslim on the face of the planet who isn’t actively engaged in jihad.]

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  1. Mike Shecket
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Clearly you still don’t get it, Maynard. Maybe what you need is some iron-clad playground logic: “What you say is what you are. You’re a naked booby radical Muslim!”

  2. EOS
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Gee Mark,

    Which one of the more than 40 websites that printed these words verbatim should I have referenced?

    That a few hundred persons calling themselves Muslim are willing to hold signs saying that they are against terrorism is not logical proof that there is such a thing as moderate Islam. Please, befriend a Muslim and question their views and you will see the duplicity of this gesture. Many who would hold such a sign also hold the belief that killing a representative of a government that oppresses their country, denigrates their faith, and does not punish persons who violate Sharia is justified and not a form of terrorism. The rally in Dearborn featured speakers who called for the governments of the United States and France to apprehend and punish those responsible for publishing criticism of Mohammad. I heard these words on NPR this morning just so you don’t think I am making this up or plagiarizing without giving credit.

    I resent the fact that you resort to lies and half truths to stimulate the discussion here. I never stated that I thought that our ambassador was kidnapped and sodomized. I answered a specific question and gave the reference, as I have already explained in a previous post.

    Many Muslims will state that Islam is a religion of peace. And they will quote passages from the Koran that Mohammad made while he was living in Medina. When he left Medina with a couple hundred followers and moved to Mecca, he left his peaceful message behind. While in Mecca, he renounced his peaceful ways and commanded his followers to kill unbelievers and Islam has spread by the sword ever since. There is a principle called abrogation in Islam, that states when there is a contradiction in the Koran, the latter spoken passages take precedence.

    Most of the “Muslims” that I know in America are friendly, kind, generous, honest, respectful, intelligent, and good citizens. They call themselves Muslims out of respect for their parents and elders, but they don’t believe or follow the Koran. The majority are atheists who have fled their homelands because of the sectarian violence. They don’t publicly renounce their faith in the hope that they won’t be rejected by their families or potentially killed for their honesty. They are from a Muslim culture but they are far from the faith. All I am saying is that they are not “moderate Muslims”, they don’t follow the Koran or the commands of Mohammad, so they are not Muslim at all.

    I am open to read the comments of the posters here who can provide evidence to the contrary. I hope they are held to the same high standards and provide proper citations as well.

  3. Oliva
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I didn’t check the forty sites this time, but I did go looking when EOS was writing about our ambassador having been sodomized, and there were many links to that story, most to the same site or to sites that used the identical material. I never did find one credible source, though. Was so sorry to have wasted precious time.

  4. Posted September 22, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Looking through the links that EOS posts is a colossal waste of time.

    It’s a maze that always ends up pointing to some speculative nonsense on a limited number of right wing propaganda websites.

    EOS follows the right wing flavor of the week religiously.

  5. Sparklemotion
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was funny and kind of relevant:!/photo.php?fbid=429234823808607&set=a.152138438184915.39518.150968128301946&type=1&theater

  6. Anonymous Mike
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    So, if Muslims who don’t follow every letter of what’s in the Quran, aren’t really Muslims, EOS, then are Catholics who have premarital sex not really Catholics? And, as you eat shrimp, even though it’s forbidden in the Bible, are you not really a Christian?

  7. Posted September 22, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s hilarious that some lady in Ypsilanti Township, MI gets to decide who’s a Muslim and who’s not.

    Has EOS ever thought of asking a people who consider themselves Muslims what they think?

  8. EOS
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Still waiting for contrary evidence. Ad hominem attacks are indicative of lack of any real argument.

    Search moderate Muslim and see what Muslims write. I’ve already spoke with Muslims and know what they believe. Try it yourself.

  9. Eel
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    EOS speaks for the Muslims.

  10. MrMikesHardCoreSot
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    U. S. imperialism has antagonized Muslims worldwide.

    Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer, 2004, Excerpts

    America has moved from being the much admired champion of liberty and self government to the hated and feared advocate of a new imperial order, one that has much the same characteristics as nineteenth-century European imperialism: military garrisons; economic penetration and control; support for leaders, no matter how brutal and undemocratic, as long as they obey the imperial power; and the exploitation and depletion of natural resources. Muslims have seen this before.

    We cannot talk or negotiate our way out of this mess; the enemy has listened for thirty years and believes U.S. promises of fairness for Muslims have been lies. The military is now America’s only tool and will remain so while current policies are in place. No public diplomacy, presidential praise for Islam, or politically correct debate masking the reality that many of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims hate us for actions, not values, will get America out of this war.

    While U.S. leaders will not say America is at War with Islam, some of Islam is waging war on the United States, and more is edging closer to that status. The war is being waged against us for specific, quantifiable reasons and not as our leaders claim because a few Muslim fanatics hate democracy and freedom. This claim belittles the Muslims opposing us and thereby weakens America’s ability to resist by underestimating the brains, patience, and religion-based fortitude of our foes.

    U.S. Policies and Actions
    Corrupt Regimes
    Bin Laden Islamic Hero
    Economic Objective
    Description of Al Qaeda
    Blinded Elites [See also: Power Elite Series]
    Failed Civilization Argument

    General Sherman [Civil War, 1861-1875]:
    “A fatal mistake in war is to underrate the strength, feeling and resources of an enemy.

    See also: Opium Series

  11. Posted September 22, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink


    Try going somewhere where Muslims live. Though I guess that might be too much trouble for you.

  12. SparkleMotion
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the problem with using Michael Scheuer in anything – 1) He was a vocal opponent of US involvement in the Libya rebellion, which as we have seen has instead turned into a potential turning point of view on America in the Muslim world, and 2) he supports Ron Paul for president, which puts him on firm standing with tin foil hat wearing paranoid southern racists.

  13. SparkleMotion
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Hey EOS, here’s the reality btw:

  14. Taco Farts
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    There is no such thing as a moderate EOS. I disagree with this effort to directly address the EOS problem with logic and discussion, and I demand that the only true solution – digital domination through total banhammer superiority – be swiftly enacted. It’s not fair to EOS, he is like a pet here at, keeping the sane people entertained as we cup our hands and roll him over and over, trying to understand how his brain works. He also clearly comes from a culture that is not as developed as this one, and therefore should not be allowed to partake in the wonders of as he will never be able to maintain the decorum we expect here.

  15. Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I agree with Mark that the devolution into fundamentalism is one of humanities biggest problems. Christian, Muslim, Shinto and Hindi fundamentalist are practically identical in the results they strive for ie. separateness, my god is better than your god, the other is evil we are the chosen ones, they are damned we are saved, follow me I speak for the godhead. The rank hypocrisy of all of these folks is the same regardless of the culture from which they come. EOS and others of his/her ilk are busy burning American flags and cursing the great Satan of the US. EOS is their ally and friend because their goals are substantially identical. Without folks like EOS, the foreign fundamentalist would be seen as what they are, relics of a time and place that humanity is moving away from.

    The web sites that EOS post from are examples of some of the most despicable misinformation campaigns. The latest one is clearly an example of a Mossad provocation. The Mossad ties to the fascist christian community in Lebanon goes back 30, 40 years now. The Phalange which seems to be the source of the “sodomy” story is about on par with neo-nazi and white power groups in the US. EOS would have you believe that these sources are some how “unbiased” and worthy of utilizing to form ones thoughts and opinions.

    The Aryan Nation is similar to the Phalangist, but they have the additional flavor of being followers of the “Christian Identity” movement. EOS shares many similarities. I would be more interested in EOS talking about how his/her believes are different from what the Aryan Nations believes. I already know the similarities between his/her believes and radical Islam, but not his/her believes are different from the racialism of the Aryan Nation/Christian Identity religion.

    We have had at least two recent terrorist strikes in this country by White Christian Terrorist. Is EOS an Alwakki want to be?

  16. anonymous
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    EOS’s ability to judge the differences between conspiracy theories on the net -v- actual fact is equivalent of a elementary school student. Combine that with EOS’s backward view of the “how it should be”… I’ve wasted enough time just typing this. NEXT!

  17. EOS
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Still waiting for a shred of evidence that a person can follow the commands of the Koran and still be moderate.

  18. Mr. Y
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I would argue that education is the biggest problem that we face, as stupidity leads directly to these kinds of world views. The dismantling of our public schools, and the spread of these kinds of beliefs go hand in hand.

  19. EOS
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

  20. Mr. Y
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    EOS, do you eat shrimp? Do you think it’s OK to sell your daughters into slavery? I’m still waiting for a shred of evidence that you’re a Christian.

  21. Mr. Y
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    And did you ever answer Mark’s question? Do you believe these people in Libya who risked their lives to force the radical Muslims from their lair were acting?

  22. Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    EOS doesn’t need to go anywhere that Muslims live because she has the internet.

    I just found this interesting article from Egyptian blogger (and Muslim) Mahmoud Salem:

    “First of all, given that this is a Muslim country, one should call Egyptian “Islamists” on who they really are: a bunch of shrill, patriarchal, misogynistic, violent extremists who are using Islam as a cover for their behaviour. That in reality we don’t have “islamists” as much as people with unresolved sexual and personal issues that have found in certain Islamic schools an excuse to carry out their convoluted fantasies about sex, control and mental lock-down. That their so called fundamentalism is synthetic and created primarily to excuse their behaviour, and that their “back to basics” mantra that romanticises a time where they believe that their social rules, intellectual walls and sexual fantasies were part of society’s norm and wishes to bring it back is obviously a crock and wishful thinking.

    Secondly, one should establish that calling them up on it doesn’t make someone less of a muslim, but rather a defender of Islam from those who are actually tarnishing its image, for what they are doing is more damaging to Islam’s reputation than a thousand so called “Islam –attacking films”. And finally, that their aggressive drive to push their vision on the Egyptian population with its diverse Islamic beliefs and modes of behaviour will not only end up with creating an unbridgeable chasm in Egyptian society amongst its muslim population, but will lead many people who are perfectly good muslims to walk away from the religion and its practices all together.”

  23. Elf
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Great comments, Peter and Wobblie. Thank you.

    EOS, when will you answer the questions posed by Mr. Y? I know you’re out there.

  24. Posted September 23, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Willful ignorance is dangerous. Please take a look at the very, very bloody history of Christianity. The crusades. The inquisition. The KKK. As Mr. Maynard said, religious extremism is perhaps the biggest threat to our safety on this earth.

  25. EOS
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Yes, I eat shrimp.

    Matt 15:10-11, 16-20a
    10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

    16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person…”

    No, I don’t think it is O.K. to sell my daughters into slavery.

    I don’t know the motivations of the Libyans. If they were acting, it was not as Muslims.

    Still waiting for a shred of evidence. Anyone?

  26. Posted September 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Oh, EOS, people have provided you with plenty of evidence, but you’ve brushed it aside. That’s because you posit that all Muslims are extremists, and that therefore anyone who is not an extremist is not a Muslim. This is just the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. If you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s the basic example:

    A: Scotsman never eat quiche.
    B: Hey, I’m a Scotsman and I eat quiche.
    A: No TRUE Scotsman eats quiche.

    “If they were acting, it was not as Muslims” is about as “no true Scotsman” as it gets.

    I could easily say that no true Christian ignores Jesus’ scriptural commands to give all your money to the poor, live by begging, hate your mother and father, make yourself a eunuch, etc. But I assume most Christians will prefer to define their faith for themselves, not by what I type on the internet.

  27. Oliva
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    We’re blessed, so to speak, to be so close to the Arab-American National Museum (part of the Smithsonian system), which is going to host an exhibit beginning in Oct. about Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture:

    Wednesday, Oct. 10-Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012
    AANM Library & Resource Center
    Free and open to the public

    Dr. Jack G. Shaheen (below left) has dedicated his career to identifying and contesting damaging stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims in American media. He has connected their development to the portrayals of other marginalized groups including Jews, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and African Americans. His research analyzes the origins of these visual caricatures, reveals their very real ramifications for innocent people, and presents solutions to counter them effectively.

    From October 10-28, 2012, the Arab American National Museum (AANM) presents a fascinating primer on Shaheen’s work with the new exhibit A is for Arab: Stereotypes in U.S. Popular Culture. The exhibit, in the AANM’s Library & Resource Center, is free and open to the public.

    Powerful, accessible and compelling, A is for Arab, which features images from The Jack G. Shaheen Archive at New York University (NYU), reveals and critiques the stereotypical portrayals of Arabs and Muslims in U.S. popular culture. Providing historical context about these images which range from film stills to comic books to editorial cartoons, this traveling exhibition aims to educate and stimulate discussion about the impact of stereotypes on both individual perceptions and national policy.

    Shaheen is the leading expert on Arab stereotypes in Hollywood films, television shows and elsewhere in popular culture. He is the author of four books: Nuclear War Films; Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture; The TV Arab; and the award-winning book and film Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People. He is a member of the AANM’s National Advisory Board, and co-hosted Arab Images on Film on cable TV’s Turner Classic Movies in June 2011. Read more about his work HERE.

    The exhibit, presented by NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute and its Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, premiered February 23, 2012 at NYU, where Shaheen is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar. A is for Arab travels next to Indiana State University for display Nov. 1-14, and then to the 2012 Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting in Denver Nov. 17-20. Those interested in bringing this exhibit to other venues will find information HERE.

    Additional information on the stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims, including video interviews and blog posts, is available on the AANM website, guest curated by Dr. Evelyn Alsultany.

    13624 Michigan Avenue
    Dearborn, MI 48126
    (I added the boldface type.)

  28. kjc
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I love Doug Skinner.

  29. Anonymatt
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, EOS, for posting Bible verses that show Jesus was OK with oral sex.

  30. EOS
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink


    It’s not like the “no true Scotsman” fallacy at all. Eating quiche is not a defining characteristic of all Scotsmen. The premise is false. However, following the commands of Allah as written in the Koran is a defining characteristic of all Muslims.

  31. Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    It is exactly like like the “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

  32. Posted September 23, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I think your false premise is that all Muslims interpret the Qu’ran identically, and apply it to their practice identically. They don’t; which is why there is a huge literature of exegesis, and many sects. The Qu’ran itself states, “none knows its interpretation except Allah” (3-7). All religions have an extremist contingent, and others of the same faith disagree with them.

    I think another false premise is that your interpretation is the correct one, especially given your comments on Taqiyya.

  33. EOS
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    How many ways can you interpret “Slay the infidels where you find them.”? I don’t think all Muslims interpret the Koran identically but I know of no sect that interprets all the commands to violence in a nonviolent manner.

  34. Posted September 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Well, you can interpret the verse in context, where it refers to a specific war. Google is great; it took only a few seconds to find this:

    It’s a long article, but worth reading, It makes a couple of points that are relevant here: that the Qu’ran advocates both peace and war at different times, depending on the context; and that you can find a verse in either the Bible or Qu’ran to support whatever you want.

  35. EOS
    Posted September 23, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    An excellent post Doug. It is reasoned and logical and the best evidence yet for your point of view. Thanks for posting this!

    It is a bit convoluted and the writer has to do extensive mental gymnastics to accommodate a moderate interpretation, but is fairly successful. Even still, he writes at one point, “A Muslim living where she or he finds Islam constantly reviled, the Prophet perpetually vituperated, and the Quran persistently misquoted may respond apologetically by declaring Islam as an “obviously” pacifist religion, ignoring anything in the Quran and the Prophetic traditions testifying to the contrary.”

  36. Posted September 23, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Whether you find it convoluted or not, that’s how some practicing Muslims interpret that verse. I’m not sure why you say “even still,” though: the author isn’t recommending the cherry-picking, just saying it happens, because we’re all human. Earlier in the article, he defines Islam as a religion of peace, but not of pacifism. As is Christianity, of course.

  37. Brad
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    Christian extremists exist too (… and they’ve been responsible for a majority of this country’s terrorist attacks). And would probably, likely, feel it necessary to incite the same kind of violence that extremists from other religions exhibit should any non-Christians portray their idols as caricatures. Wouldn’t put it past some reader(s) here.

  38. R2Me2
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    By EOS’s reasoning, there’s no such thing as a bad doctor.

    Doctors all agree to the Hippocratic Oath, which states that they will do no harm. So, if someone does harm, either purposefully of not, he’s not a doctor. Therefore, there are no bad doctors.

  39. EOS
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    The “even still” is added to point out while the author is relatively moderate as compared to a radical Islamist, he himself concedes absolute moderatism. In contrast, Christianity is a religion of both peace and pacifism. You cannot commit acts of terrorism while following the tenants of the Christian faith- Turn the other cheek, Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, etc. That is not the case with Islam.

  40. Muslim Rage
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

  41. anonymous
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    More evidence proving EOS to be xenophobic hate monger.

    All Muslims are not the same. Here are 500 Afghans staging a peaceful protest against the anti-Islam film. They aren’t getting news coverage on FOX though.

  42. Posted September 24, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I don’t know what you mean by “concedes absolute moderatism.” Explain, please.

    The only pacifist Christian denomination that I know of is Quakerism. As practiced, most denominations accept the necessity of warfare and self-defense, and many American Christians are ardent supporters of the 2nd Amendment. The history of Christianity is certainly filled with wars, massacres, and inquisitions, as well as periods of peace.

    You can also find anti-pacifist sentiments in the Gospels, like Jesus’ “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against his mother in law.” (Matthew 10: 34-35) That, too, could be taken out of context, and used to represent Christianity as a particularly warlike religion.

  43. Eel
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I feel bad for EOS going up against Mr. Skinner. It’s like watching a really smart person debate a really dumb person. (I tried to come up with a better analogy, but ran out of time.)

  44. Mike Shecket
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I think the question is whether someone can sincerely and truthfully identify as a Muslim while not literally believing that the Quran is literally true and/or divinely inspired, OR if someone can believe that the Quran does, in fact, say that you should lie and kill all infidels immediately etc. but yet choose not to do those things. There are plenty of people who identify as Christian, Jewish, etc. who don’t believe in the literal truth of the Bible or even don’t believe in God.

    The question is: what makes Islam special? How is it that, uniquely, when you’re raised as a Muslim or you decide to become a Muslim you magically are forced to do everything the Quran literally says, unlike every other religion?

    I grant you that this isn’t EVIDENCE, per se, but the point is that the burden of proof is on you, EOS, to show that Islam is magically different from all other religions in somehow foreclosing the possibility of acting like a regular human being who picks and chooses and interprets and doesn’t always behave in a way that 100% conforms to a particular religious text.

    I am an atheist who identifies ethnically as a Jew. Do you believe there is such a thing as a moderate Jew? There are people out there who believe that certain Jewish texts of binding religious significance (including the Old Testament and the Talmud) command me to deceive, cheat, and kill Gentiles. Do you believe I’m a radical Jew? Are you afraid of me?

  45. EOS
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Islam is special and I don’t fear Muslims or Jews. For instance, if a person engages in premarital sex, uses birth control, and has abortions when the birth control fails, then they are not Catholic. They may have been baptized as a Catholic, their family may have taught them Catholic doctrine, but if you are an adult and you don’t abide by the precepts of a particular faith, then you shouldn’t claim to be an adherent of that faith. That’s not to say I’m not aware of the fact that there are many who identify as if they are a member of a particular faith without practicing that faith. There is no value in believing 50% of a religious doctrine. A lukewarm Christian is lost.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your initial question. It has been my perspective from the start of this discussion that you cannot truthfully and sincerely identify as a person of any faith without living a life that adheres to the tenants of that faith. Sitting in a pew on Sunday does not make anyone a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes one a car. It is my perspective that you are either an atheist or a Jew, but you can’t be both. You can truthfully say that your family is Jewish but you have departed from the faith. Or as you said you identify ethnically as a Jew, but it is not your religious affiliation.

    Having said that, I also believe that nobody can behave in a way that 100% conforms to a particular religious text. However, in spite of our inability as humans, it should be the goal to which we strive.

  46. EOS
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    You’re right – “concedes absolute moderatism” is an awkward phrase that I should have avoided. What I was trying to convey is that while the writer of your link appears much more moderate than a radical terrorist, he still concedes that there are non-moderate commands in the Koran or commands that advocate violence. In the same sense, someone who murders another individual may be more moderate than a serial killer who murders many (relatively moderate) but I would be hard pressed to call any murderer moderate.

  47. Posted September 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    “I don’t think Islam is special and I don’t fear Muslims or Jews. For instance, if a person engages in premarital sex, uses birth control, and has abortions when the birth control fails, then they are not Catholic.”

    Can I erase my childhood now?

    What gives you the right to decide who is and is not Catholic?

  48. Posted September 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I’ll answer the question for you:

    No one.

  49. Mike Shecket
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    It sounds like the disagreement, then, is a matter of semantics. If a lapsed Catholic is not a Catholic, and an atheist Jew is not a Jew, then you would admit the existence of people who we would call moderate Muslims, except you would say that they are not truly Muslims and should not call themselves Muslims.

    Say, for example, someone grew up in Dearborn and went to a mosque as a kid but got out of the habit as an adult, who drinks beer and eats bacon, and who thinks some of the things the Quran says are silly. They may identify with Islam in a cultural way–maybe they eat with family on Muslim holidays.

    But, if I understand you correctly, you would say that this person isn’t a Muslim, and in fact cannot properly be identified with any religion at all. A Muslim, by definition, is a fundamentalist Muslim.

    It seems like you would argue, by contrast, that Christianity is inherently moderate because, in the Gospels, Jesus says (to oversimplify): “Don’t worry about all the stuff from the Old Testament anymore. Just be nice to each other and believe in Me.” Does seem this like a fair characterization to you?

  50. Posted September 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Well, yes, EOS, the Qu’ran advocates violence at some times. Nobody contests that. What has me puzzled is that you seem to think that’s unique to the Qu’ran, or unique to Islam. The most dogmatically pacifist religions that I’m aware of are Quakerism and Buddhism. Many Quakers have questioned absolute pacifism, particularly in the face of terrorism (NPR newscaster Scott Simon, most conspicuously). And even the Dalai Lama is on record as saying that violence is sometimes necessary.

    (And before you blame all terrorists on Islam, let me remind you that terrorism has also been perpetrated by Irish and Basque separatists, Christian white supremacists, misanthropic mathematicians, and many others. Just in case.)

  51. EOS
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I think it is a matter of semantics to some degree. But I don’t think Christianity is inherently moderate at all. It is a total surrender of your will to God. It is death to self and new life in Christ. It is a life of radical obedience. It is giving up everything in order to obtain that which cannot be bought. And it’s a lifelong process along the narrow path where there is often slow progress. But those who pick and choose a few parts to believe won’t make any progress and may well miss the final destination.

  52. Oliva
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    This doesn’t exactly belong here, but I was struck by part of EOS’s post about Christianity. It sounds like what Obama was saying in his Inaugural Address about the road Americans are on, a majority having chosen him, and his administration, to lead us in our quest for something much better: “narrow path where there is often slow progress.” Given the power of moneyed interests and the sorry choices of the GOP establishment to diminish the party in exchange for access to great wealth for a tiny fraction of its members, the path has become almost strangulating narrow. But we can get out our big yellow diggers of stubborn hope and determination and widen the path so that it’s a highway, a big broad American highway, with some appealing side roads still of dirt and wildflowers and wild forests–not expecting perfection or miracles but a genuinely nicer, more livable country w/o so much rancor and ugliness and well-coordinated efforts to create harm, sadness, and near-constant stress–and to dismiss the value of having a thoughtful, engaged, educated citizenry.

  53. Posted September 25, 2012 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    EOS, Your ignorance of Catholic doctrine (and I suspect Christianity in general) is only surpassed by your ignorance of Islam. You state, “For instance, if a person engages in premarital sex, uses birth control, and has abortions when the birth control fails, then they are not Catholic.” This is utter rubbish. It means you are a sinner, and sin is an essential believe for most Christians. No sin, then no need for forgiveness, no need for penitence. The woman you described above is the perfect catholic, and individuals like her make up (minus the abortions) half of the US catholic faithful. Since the geriatric men who run the church have deemed birth control to be counter to god’s law, there is no moral difference between birth control and abortion. After all sin is sin, and the need for redemption is the foundation upon which Christianity has been built.

    I am still waiting for EOS to explain how her/his believes are different than the Christian Identity movement.

  54. EOS
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink


    You tell me. what does the Identity movement believe?

  55. Mr. Y
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I’d like to thank EOS. Despite the abuse, he keeps coming back, and I appreciate that. I don’t agree with anything that he says, but I know that he represents a huge demographic in America, and I welcome the opportunity to glimpse into it every day through his comments. I wish there were others who share his perspective that would engage with us here.

  56. Posted September 25, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Until I get my excommunication letter (which I would proudly hang in my living room), for better or for worse, I am stuck being Catholic according to the Church.

    You’d like Chritian Identity EOS. Check it out.

  57. Sandy D.
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the exhibit link, Olivia – it looks fascinating.

  58. Eel
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    As a Christian would not judge his neighbor, I submit that EOS is not a Christian.

  59. EOS
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Y,
    Thanks. I also learn a lot from reading comments of persons who have a totally different point of view. Why do you think there is so much blow back from me writing that Islam is not moderate, yet no one seems to mind in the least the despicable things that are said about Jesus Christ and Christianity? Why do we walk on eggshells with Muslims yet ridicule Christians?

  60. Posted September 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Always the victim.

    I find all of the Abrahamic religions to be equally detestable. Christianity is every bit as backward and destructive as Islam or Judaism. That’s a personal view, however.

    However, I also know that there are well meaning people who just want to go about their lives (most people in the world), and extremists, who wish to use either policy of violence to insure that others conform to their twisted and paranoid social ideas.

    I also believe in religious freedom. If believing in Santa Claus gets you through the day, then so be it. It’s no problem to me. That’s your business. Start influencing policy toward getting my kids to believe in Santa Claus, dictating sexual practices and restricting the bodies of women, then we have a serious problem.

  61. Eel
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Acknowledge me, EOS! Validate my insightful comment!

  62. Posted September 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I maintain that EOS is a Christian that selectively picks and chooses what, when and how to follow religious teachings, making EOS no different from all the other followers of Abrahamic religions in the world.

  63. EOS
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I will Eel. As soon as you make one.

  64. Eel
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    But I proved that you are not a Christian.

  65. Posted September 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Well, EOS, in my case I thought your assertions about Islam needed fact-checking, whereas the remarks about Jesus were just rudeness.

    Personally, I don’t think mud-slinging accomplishes anything except the movement of mud. Remember, this is what it looks like:

    One other point here, though: Most religions have a scripture and a praxis; and the praxis is not necessarily a literal following of the scripture, for any number of reasons. These include the importance of context, and the vagaries of language, especially archaic languages. For example, I think most Christians accept Jesus’ injunctions to pluck out your eye, cut off your hand, and make yourself a eunuch as rhetorical flourishes, not a call for actual self-mutilation.

  66. Oliva
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    We must unequivocally denounce and remain vigilant against terrorist attacks, whether from Al Qaeda, loners or states like Iran and the proxies it sponsors. But we must also defend against those who peddle hate, who would impose the sins of the extremists on more than a billion Muslims. They not only offend Muslims and those of us who value religious diversity and liberty for all; they pollute America’s own public square at a time when our society is desperate for civility and respectful discourse.


  67. Thom Elliott
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Xtianity is the majority belief system (meaning it is hopelessly corrupt) which is seeking the same thing it accuses Islam of seeking; total world domination. Its your duty as an xtian to spread the good news to the whole world, and along with it the ancient misogyny, and as you put it, a total surrender of your will to god, which is actually what the word ‘Islam’ means. You want the same things, but from different angles, for vaguely different gods. If you could silence all dissent from xtianity, you and your ilk would, no problem. You’d have scientists, atheists, jews, muslims, and mystics imprisoned, or converted by force like the Marranos of 17th century Amsterdam, which is all Islam wants as well. You surely want no cartoons of Jesus, or mocking films, just like the Islamic world, this is exactly how xtianity would have acted 500 years ago, Islam has yet to go through a renissance that allows for seccularization like xtianity did, it is right where xtianity was. Xtianity is thoroughly modern, Islam isn’t, they riot in the streets killing people, we use robots to hunt you down from the sky and bomb the whole block to kill one person.

  68. mark k
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Moderate Islam? Have you seen this, . Democratic New York state Senator Tony Avella gets it, whats wrong with the rest of you Democrats?

  69. kjc
    Posted September 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    mark k, whatever you do, don’t join the debate club.

  70. Posted September 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink


  71. Muslim Rage
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

  72. dot dot dash
    Posted April 16, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    My private eye finally came through with a photo of EOS.

  73. gadabout44
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    I reserve judgement on moderates, but I can tell you guys this. I have worked around muslims from Yemen. They hate Jews and believe the Jews are to blame for practically everything bad–including 911. Alot of them are very promiscuous, but they won’t eat pork–I’m not judging, just giving you what I’ve observed. But my question is this: If they hate Jews, what would motivate them to love America, when America and Britain have historically supported Zionism?

    I’m not saying there are no peace loving muslims, but I know there are enough radicals that WE HAVE LET IN AMERICA that 911 and Boston happened!! That’s data. If I have a country with 20x number of moderates and x number of radicals, then someone is lying for Allah!! I’ve done enough research on Islam to know that what EOS said about Islam by the sword is accurate. I don’t trust most muslims because of the Qua’ran. It does teach that violence is okay against Jews and other infidels. So would you trust a moderate Ku Klux Klan member, or a moderate Nazi? The problem is the muslim you trust is the only one who truly knows he’s moderate, or waiting for his big brother to come back from Russia and turn him into a radical!!

  74. gadabout44
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I would like to answer Thom Elliot concerning his last post. I think this is the heart of your error concerning Christianity.

    “this is exactly how xtianity would have acted 500 years ago, Islam has yet to go through a renissance that allows for seccularization like xtianity did, it is right where xtianity was. ”

    First, let me say this as an aside but very important. You are using the crusades as evidence of the secret desire of Christians to conquer the world. Using this reasoning, I can take the words of Jeffery Dahmer and use them against Darwinists. Dahmer attributed his worldview as the reason for his mass murder. He believed he would never be accountable to a creator at the time of his murders. But I would never be so rash as to think every humanist is a murderer.

    Second, you are mixing truth with a lie. There are “Christians,” or those who call themselves that, who would like to blow up abortion clinics, or kill blacks, or muslims, or whites, etc. But YOU DO NOT see a mass movement of such number 1. And number 2, there is nothing in Christ’s teaching that remotely suggests, and I have read the New Testament multiple times. In Luke 9:51-56 Jesus rebukes the wish to destroy men who did not believe His word. He told his disciples He “came to save men’s lives, not to destroy them.” He said to Ponteus Pilate, the one who sentenced him to the cross, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:3

    Third, you attributed the renissance exclusively as the reason for a human rights enlightenment. It was the rather the reformation leaders like John Wycliffe and Martin Luther that rebuked an oppressive and darkened “church” that enlightened people. Before the reformation no one had a Bible except the preist. After the reformation, there was “sola sciptura” — only scripture. 2 Tim 3:16;

    Without a Bible there was nothing to “check” church leaders, which led to complete centralized control over the people. Along with challenges in science and other fields came a challenge within the church itself. Proliferation of the scripture gave the people the ability to spot error, and repent of it. ONE OF THE ERRORS WAS SPREADING THE GOSPEL BY FORCE.

    According to scripture, our only weapon to spread the good news is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 says “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” And contained within that word is the gospel itself, that Christ, because he so loves us, gave his body as a sacrifice for us, but yet overcame death and sin through his work at the cross, and his ressurection. And to “whosoever will” they can come, not YOU MUST COME OR ELSE.

  75. gadabout44
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Just a note. The link I gave on sola scriptura, while containing the info, is a bit all over the place. Please refer to wikipedia,

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  1. […] share it. (I also think it’s a great followup to our conversation of this weekend concerning the debate as to whether or not moderate Islam exists.) Over a long period culminating in recent years, Muslim fundamentalists dedicated to establishing […]

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