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Tue Oct 30, 2018, 07:12 PM

Is There Room for Discourse and Critical Thinking in Islam?

From the article:

I walked by the “Dawah Day” booth of the Muslim student group at my university and read something that I found interesting. Representing the five pillars of Islam were literally five walls that posed as actual pillars with the obligations written on each one. As I stood and read each pillar, I came across the second wall that read, “Praying five times a day in Arabic, the language prescribed to us in the Holy Quran.” In Arabic, I thought. Does it have to be in Arabic?...

Although I understood his point, I answered back, “My perfect emulation of the prophet would be having the deep connection with God that he had while praying and feeling the utmost spirituality that he felt. I cannot do that when I recite in Arabic because I don’t understand most of what I’m saying. I do understand when I read in English.”


To read more:

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/altmuslim/2014/10/is-there-room-for-discourse-and-critical-thinking-in-islam/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Muslim&utm_content=49

42 replies, 1421 views

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Arrow 42 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is There Room for Discourse and Critical Thinking in Islam? (Original post)
guillaumeb Oct 2018 OP
gtar100 Oct 2018 #1
guillaumeb Oct 2018 #6
edhopper Oct 2018 #2
Act_of_Reparation Oct 2018 #3
guillaumeb Oct 2018 #7
trotsky Oct 2018 #4
MineralMan Oct 2018 #5
guillaumeb Oct 2018 #8
marylandblue Oct 2018 #9
Major Nikon Oct 2018 #10
marylandblue Oct 2018 #11
Major Nikon Oct 2018 #12
guillaumeb Nov 2018 #14
marylandblue Nov 2018 #16
guillaumeb Nov 2018 #17
marylandblue Nov 2018 #18
guillaumeb Nov 2018 #19
marylandblue Nov 2018 #22
MineralMan Nov 2018 #23
Bretton Garcia Nov 2018 #13
guillaumeb Nov 2018 #15
Bretton Garcia Nov 2018 #20
MineralMan Nov 2018 #21
Bretton Garcia Nov 2018 #24
MineralMan Nov 2018 #25
Voltaire2 Nov 2018 #26
MineralMan Nov 2018 #27
Bretton Garcia Nov 2018 #31
Permanut Nov 2018 #32
MineralMan Nov 2018 #35
edhopper Nov 2018 #28
MineralMan Nov 2018 #29
Bretton Garcia Nov 2018 #30
MineralMan Nov 2018 #33
guillaumeb Nov 2018 #36
MineralMan Nov 2018 #38
guillaumeb Nov 2018 #39
MineralMan Nov 2018 #40
guillaumeb Nov 2018 #41
MineralMan Nov 2018 #42
Permanut Nov 2018 #34
guillaumeb Nov 2018 #37

Response to guillaumeb (Original post)

Tue Oct 30, 2018, 09:26 PM

1. I have the same response with prayers in Latin and Hindu chants

They can be very beautiful but I like to know the meaning of what is being said too. But I can't imagine Gregorian or Hindu chants in English sounding quite so sublime.

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Response to gtar100 (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 06:44 PM

6. A nice point.

My languages are French and English, but when I listen to songs in other languages the technical qualities of the voice are my focus.

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Response to guillaumeb (Original post)

Tue Oct 30, 2018, 09:31 PM

2. If not

it is everything that it's critics say it is.

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Response to guillaumeb (Original post)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 07:50 AM

3. Is there room for teh lulz in this attempt to stir shit up?

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Response to Act_of_Reparation (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 06:45 PM

7. One of your more eloquent posts.

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Response to guillaumeb (Original post)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 08:00 AM

4. Only if a particular believer allows it.

Same as with every other religion. When it comes down to it, every believer decides where they will allow faith to trump reason. And you have absolutely no problem with them doing so, because you also value faith over reason, g.

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Response to guillaumeb (Original post)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 08:26 AM

5. It seems to me that this is really only an issue for Muslims.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #5)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 06:45 PM

8. We disagree. eom

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #8)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 07:48 PM

9. Why would a non-Muslim care what language a Muslim prays in?

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #9)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 08:12 PM

10. I hope your question was rhetorical

I’m not sure the poster you asked has ever provided a straightforward answer to any question posed.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #10)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 09:27 PM

11. Seemed like a good question. He can answer anyway he likes. Or not.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #11)

Wed Oct 31, 2018, 10:46 PM

12. Sometimes a non-answer provides more info

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #9)

Thu Nov 1, 2018, 06:52 PM

14. Because of this:

Although I understood his point, I answered back, “My perfect emulation of the prophet would be having the deep connection with God that he had while praying and feeling the utmost spirituality that he felt. I cannot do that when I recite in Arabic because I don’t understand most of what I’m saying. I do understand when I read in English.”


Thus the decision of the RCC to allow the Mass to be celebrated in languages other than Latin.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 1, 2018, 07:15 PM

16. Well that's just putting a turtle on top of a turtle

What does the RCC's decision have to with this Muslim's opinion?

Please don't tell me it's turtles all the way down.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 1, 2018, 07:17 PM

17. Recitation in a language that one does not speak

is rote memorization.

Similar to some who recite the US pledge even as they work to suppress the rights of non-whites.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 1, 2018, 07:39 PM

18. For some. For others it is spiritual magic, especially when chanted or sung.

Operas are performed in the original language, not in translation. Now they have subtitles for in opera houses, but the old way was to read the English libretto or synopsis first, then just let the music take you away. You can do the same for prayer.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #18)

Thu Nov 1, 2018, 07:43 PM

19. Very true.

But prayer can be personalized, and that, in my view, requires being done on one's one language(s).

We saw the Passion Play in Germany. There was a synopsis available in numerous languages. The play was incredible.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #19)

Fri Nov 2, 2018, 09:17 AM

22. The problem for religion is it has to be one or the other

If you like the traditional Latin mass, they still exist but are hard to find. If you are an immigrant or traveler, you may have a hard time finding a mass in your native language, making the vernacular mass no better than Latin.

It's not really my fight in any case, but it's not an easy change for any religion to make and it has its drawbacks.

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #22)

Fri Nov 2, 2018, 10:15 AM

23. One of the benefits of the Latin Mass was the teaching

of Latin in Catholic schools. As a base for language learning, Latin has many advantages. It is an almost fully-inflected language, which forces the student to learn about grammar. I took French in high school, which gave me some of the same advantages. Then, I learned Russian, which is actually a truly fully-inflected language.

By adopting Latin as the official language of the liturgy, the RCC at least spread language learning around.

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Response to guillaumeb (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2018, 07:27 AM

13. I lived in moderate Turkish secular/ Muslim territories for many years

The nice thing about Turkey - until recently - was that Ataturk based modern Turkey on modern western principles; including the strict separation of the church, from the state. Until recently, you could not even be admitted into government buildings wearing religious clothes, hats.

That made for a more moderate, tolerable government, than what we see in say, Saudi Arabia; where the head of state just murdered a dissident, and had his body dismembered for smuggling out of an embassy.

So are there better Muslim governments than others?

Or rather? Having read the Koran from start to finish, and having studied Islam in a scholarly way, and having lived in Turkey for a time, I'd say that Turks probably did well, because though nominally religious, they simply ignored their own religion.

But the religion itself, like all religions, is bad. And it was only by ignoring their religion, that Turks - for a while - did so well.

By the way? There isn't room for critical discourse in Christianity especially. Because Christianity's core emphasis on raw "faith," is inherently antagonism to reason, and criticism.

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Response to Bretton Garcia (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 1, 2018, 06:54 PM

15. Thank you for the personal insight about Turkey.

Kemal Ataturk was a very secular person, and his position on strict separation mirrors my own, as well as probably all of DU.

And on that, we agree.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #15)

Fri Nov 2, 2018, 07:52 AM

20. Some Christians are superficially but not deeply rational on religion

In ways Augustine and Aquinas liked the "rational soul"

But deeper down they were too faith-based

Some denominations to be sure are more rational
than others.

And reasoning works better on some than others.

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Response to Bretton Garcia (Reply #13)

Fri Nov 2, 2018, 08:39 AM

21. I lived in Turkey for 15 months, courtesy of the USAF.

I quickly learned enough Turkish to be polite, carry on simple conversations, and to occasionally make a purchase on the local economy. Then, I set about learning more and exploring the area near the base where I was stationed.

In that process, I met many Turks, both urban and rural. I found them to be cautiously friendly, for the most part.

There was a mosque about 100 yards beyond a fence from my barracks room, so I got to hear the call to prayer five times a day for 15 months.

What I didn't ever encounter was any animosity towards me. Never. Curiosity, yes. Animosity, no. I enjoyed my time in Turkey, at least from the perspective of learning about a culture very different from mine. Discussions of religion were never involved.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #21)

Sat Nov 3, 2018, 07:01 AM

24. Yup. Turkey was OK. I was in Izmir

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Response to Bretton Garcia (Reply #24)

Sat Nov 3, 2018, 08:47 AM

25. I was in Samsun.

In '67-8, things were pretty peaceful between the US and Turkey. I did meet a number of Turks who had some English, as well, and they helped me learn more Turkish.

I've never been back there, though, although I've thought about it from time to time.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #25)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 08:34 AM

26. Well now Turkey is in a long slide into

Religious authoritarianism. There is no room there for critical discourse, not in Islam in general and pretty much not in any of the other major religions.

Oh there are exceptions of course. All religions have their Unitarians. But the general pattern is irrational decrees by stern mullahs.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #26)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 09:57 AM

27. Islamic fundamentalism is a powerful agent.

Turkey resisted it for a long time, but it appears that fundamentalists have now gained the upper hand. We should pay close attention to this in our own country. Similar forces here have similar goals.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #27)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 08:38 AM

31. Turkey's Erdogan headed into right wing religion

Probably due to fear of, appeasement of, a nuclear Iran, in my theory

To be sure, the Turkish army often overthrew the government

Still it was good when I was last there c. 1996

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #25)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 09:12 AM

32. I was in Turkey in '67, courtesy of the US Navy..

Istanbul and Izmir. Incredible experience for a young Oregonian. The Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, complete with camels, bought a carved meerschaum pipe about a foot long for a few lire. Or was it lirasi? It's been a long time, but I also remember the Turks being curious and cautiously friendly. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I still have some Turkish currency and coins somewhere.

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Response to Permanut (Reply #32)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 09:19 AM

35. Samsun wasn't much like Istanbul.

I passed through Istanbul, spending one night there on arrival in Turkey, and saw nothing of the city. I had the flu and barely made it to the hotel.

At the time, Samsun was more a Black Sea shipping destination than a tourist city. It was interesting, in its own way, though, and offered many opportunities to meet Turkish people. I also enjoyed the rural areas around that city, and hiked to small villages in the area many times. In those, I was an object of great curiosity and hospitality. As my Turkish improved, I found my visits to them very educational. Some of them were like stepping back in time 1000 years or so. Fascinating.

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Response to guillaumeb (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 10:00 AM

28. In Pakinstan

the discourse is on who should be killed over blasphemy.

Do you consider that rational?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #28)

Sun Nov 4, 2018, 10:39 AM

29. But, see...someone on the Patheos blog is being reasonable, maybe.

There is reason for hope. All religion is good. All belief has a positive effect on society. The "Creator" will protect us. Don't pay any attention to the evils connected with religion. That's "Fake News," see.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #29)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 08:31 AM

30. The Patheos blog is always pathetic

Always full of sentiment, bathos, and short on Reason

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Response to Bretton Garcia (Reply #30)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 09:14 AM

33. It's not a frequent visiting place for me.

I see a few articles there through links here, along with the religionnews.com site. On both places the quality of content varies widely by author. I don't go to those sites looking to be informed, though. Others' mileages may vary.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #29)

Wed Nov 7, 2018, 01:46 PM

36. The sarcasm is far outweighed by the straw.

Straw has no nutritive value. I suggest that you abandon it.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #36)

Wed Nov 7, 2018, 01:48 PM

38. But it makes a serviceable bed to lie in, straw does.

Sarcasm, however, makes a very uncomfortable resting place for most.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #38)

Wed Nov 7, 2018, 01:49 PM

39. So you line your bed with straw for comfort?

I understand.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #39)

Wed Nov 7, 2018, 01:53 PM

40. No, not as a rule.

I sleep on a memory foam mattress, due to my age and sometimes infirmities. However, I have slept on a straw bed a few times in my life. In Turkey, while on some of my walkabouts through the countryside, I was sometimes offered such a bed for the night. I found it acceptable, but I would not choose a straw bed for daily use.

One note about straw beds: They sometimes contain vermin, such as fleas, as I learned to my dissatisfaction a couple of times. Still, the hospitality was welcome.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #40)

Wed Nov 7, 2018, 01:55 PM

41. We tried the memory foam but did not like it.

And it did NOT help either of us to remember things.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #41)

Wed Nov 7, 2018, 01:59 PM

42. I didn't like it at first, but changed my mind after

I had much less back pain after using it. It seemed too firm and unyielding, but now I realize that it offers unmatched support by conforming to my body shape, whatever position I sleep in. Now, I'm quite committed to using it. It certainly is superior to any straw mattress I've ever slept on.

I will say, though, that the cost of a real Tempurpedic mattress is daunting. Ours was a gift, though.

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Response to guillaumeb (Original post)

Mon Nov 5, 2018, 09:15 AM

34. When you join a faith-based organization..

you must leave critical thinking at the door, at least as regards the beliefs of that organization. So, a qualified "no".

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Response to Permanut (Reply #34)

Wed Nov 7, 2018, 01:46 PM

37. Not at all true. eom

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