What do you think of Islam?

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Re: What do you think of Islam?

Postby Jim B. on Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:33 pm

sgttomas wrote:
Jim B. wrote:I'm starting to suspect that you might know something about this topic. ;) In a Youtube interview, Winter said that Islam could be thought of as "the word become book," whereas Xianity is "the word become flesh."


I'm a total Dr. Winter fanboy :geek:

Jim B. wrote:It sounds like you're saying that this word becoming book is not as foundational as other tenets, like God is one. In Xianity, it is pretty foundational and has been subject to endless disputes of meaning and interpretation. And there are self-described Christians who don't hold the incarnation, even understood metaphorically, as necessary to their faith. Heck, some are even atheists.


Not as foundational is probably the right way to put it. It is a necessary belief, but with caveats.

(Q2:2, WK transl) "This is the Book; there is no doubt in it. It is a guide for those who are mindful of God,"

It's not a hidden or obscure matter that the Quran claims to be revelation from God. Denying that it is "from God" is pretty inexcusable for Muslim...I mean that one would not be considered a Muslim by stating such a denial. But in terms of the Quran as the "word incarnate", well let's use an illustration from, hmmm.....basically the equivalent of the Nicene Creed.

Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah (The Creed of Imam Tahawiyyah)
1. We say about Allah's unity believing by Allah's help - that Allah is One, without any partners.
2. There is nothing like Him.
3. There is nothing that can overwhelm Him.
4. There is no god other than Him.
.
.
.
29. And we are certain that Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is His chosen servant and selected Prophet and His Messenger with whom He is well pleased.
.
.
.
33. The Qur'an is the word of Allah. It came from Him as speech without it being possible to say how. He sent it down on His Messenger as revelation. The believers accept it, as absolute truth.

Give it long enough and a person will have to reconcile with, not just the message, but the Messenger, and then the *thing* itself. If a person were to say it is something invented by a human...that's essentially committing an act of disbelief and it is specifically mentioned in the Quran itself. (Q74:25) But the "how" of it. The "in itself" of the symbol. ....that's not accessible to us in any direct way. (primacy of symbol is a proving a fruitful discussion)

You'll find much in terms of disputes of the meaning of the "incarnation" of the Quran. The Mu'tazilah, or Mutazilites, are probably the most well known and significant. The Tahawiyyah says only that it is necessary to believe it is God's speech, but not necessary to believe the *how* of it. Nor is the physical book itself what is meant by the Quran and God's speech. The physical book is a creation. The vocalization is a creation. The Arabic words??....well, now we're getting at least tangential to the matter.

How about this: the concept of the word being book extends out the universe at large. The entire cosmos is the book of God's signs, in a literal way. It isn't matter at all. It isn't light at all. It's all meaningful signs of God and nothing other than that. When we see a tree and we think of the material functions it has and the economic value it might bring, we haven't seen the tree, we have seen our ego imprinted on something. But it wouldn't take a person outside the fold of Islam to fail to recognize everything in this manner. I mean....we basically all fail at this most of the time. Now, the same is true of the Quran. It is the epitome of signs. But if we aren't overwhelmed by consciousness of God whenever we hear it we don't worry about the state of the heart in that way. But if a person were to say that the Quran is not from God and that it was invented by a man, this is analogous to saying the same thing about the book of the universe and denying a Creator brought all of it forth. God has given us enough in our faculties of comprehension to reach this conclusion. ....though with God is the final affair and God is the best of judges.

Peace,
-sgttomas


One meaning of "logos" that meta told me about years ago stuck with me; "ordering principle." Christ as the eternal ordering principle of God that the man Jesus Christ is the manifestation of. So all of creation can be understood as the expression of this aspect of God, just as you are saying that all of creation is a book of signs, all flows from the same ordering principle that the earthly Quran is a manifestation of. Not meant to reduce the Second Person or the Quran to a principle, which sounds pretty dry and abstract; this is just a possible way to approach it.
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Re: What do you think of Islam?

Postby sgttomas on Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:56 pm

Dude. Logos. I hear ya.

Check it out.... viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4656&p=33850#p33850
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")
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Re: What do you think of Islam?

Postby met on Sun Dec 25, 2016 2:41 pm

sgttomas wrote:
met wrote:Last time you were around, you were talking about a new interest in Derrida. In view of this, it's east to see why too, with D:'s "writing is primary" thing. But D means it as an aporia, of course, cuz, for him, meaning is never fixed. It always exists (if at all) only in relation to a non-written, non-delineated context. But then, so do you, it would seem, from previous comments?


How about this, for a start?
(Q3:7, MQ transl) "It is He who has sent down to you the Quran. Some of its verses are clear, they are the Mother of the Book; while others are open to interpretation. Those with swerving in their hearts pursue what is open to interpretation, seeking to create dissension, and seeking to explain it. Yet none knows their explanation except God. Those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, "We believe in it; it is all from our Lord." But only people of understanding really heed."

met wrote:How do you add this up? This seeming-paradox between the literal (fixed) Word of God in the Quran, and the unfixed set of practical meaning(s)/messages from God? It seems to me like in view of the latter, as best I can wrap my thoughts around whats been said here, the medium IS the message? The fact that it's Gods literal words has a message of its own, but doesn't restrict what the text could mean in some given context? Unlike the way the similar idea in Xianity - "the Word of God is clear" - usually evokes, not the words of the texts themselves, but a hierarchical reading of them that has already predetermined and limited what could be meant by them?


That's pretty fair.

A criticism levied by Dr. Winter (among many scholars) is that so many (most?) modern flavours of Islam are so shallow in their reading of the Quran compared to the possible depth of meanings in it. Those who deviate, as described in the verse I quoted, are doing so to limit the interpretations to something they or their sect favours.

So, how's this?
(Q31:7 WK transl) If all the trees on earth were pens, and the sea [were] ink, with seven [more] seas added to it, the words of God would not be exhausted: for, truly, God is Almighty and Wise.

Peace,
-sgttomas


st, what do you think of this Maggie Ross quote? (She is an Angican "anchorite" - a contemplative in Julian of Norwich's tradition - who also lectures sometimes at Harvard and Oxford.)
These problems are but irruptions of a more fundamental problem: in any human population there are those who are far more interested in accruing power and control than living in an integrated way that requires a certain tolerance of, if not reliance on, uncertainty and ambiguity. They are interested in short-term results, even if is at the expense of long-term survival. Institutions, especially religious institutions, tend to follow a trajectory that might generally be described as moving from vision to consolidation, and then through institutionalization, encapsulation, fragmentation, and finally to decline.

The religion is finally reduced to strategies to make people feel safe and confirm them in their own prejudices, instead of .... leading them into the true security of what may feel like free-fall into the love of God.
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
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Re: What do you think of Islam?

Postby Jim B. on Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:57 pm

met wrote:
sgttomas wrote:
met wrote:Last time you were around, you were talking about a new interest in Derrida. In view of this, it's east to see why too, with D:'s "writing is primary" thing. But D means it as an aporia, of course, cuz, for him, meaning is never fixed. It always exists (if at all) only in relation to a non-written, non-delineated context. But then, so do you, it would seem, from previous comments?


How about this, for a start?
(Q3:7, MQ transl) "It is He who has sent down to you the Quran. Some of its verses are clear, they are the Mother of the Book; while others are open to interpretation. Those with swerving in their hearts pursue what is open to interpretation, seeking to create dissension, and seeking to explain it. Yet none knows their explanation except God. Those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, "We believe in it; it is all from our Lord." But only people of understanding really heed."

met wrote:How do you add this up? This seeming-paradox between the literal (fixed) Word of God in the Quran, and the unfixed set of practical meaning(s)/messages from God? It seems to me like in view of the latter, as best I can wrap my thoughts around whats been said here, the medium IS the message? The fact that it's Gods literal words has a message of its own, but doesn't restrict what the text could mean in some given context? Unlike the way the similar idea in Xianity - "the Word of God is clear" - usually evokes, not the words of the texts themselves, but a hierarchical reading of them that has already predetermined and limited what could be meant by them?


That's pretty fair.

A criticism levied by Dr. Winter (among many scholars) is that so many (most?) modern flavours of Islam are so shallow in their reading of the Quran compared to the possible depth of meanings in it. Those who deviate, as described in the verse I quoted, are doing so to limit the interpretations to something they or their sect favours.

So, how's this?
(Q31:7 WK transl) If all the trees on earth were pens, and the sea [were] ink, with seven [more] seas added to it, the words of God would not be exhausted: for, truly, God is Almighty and Wise.

Peace,
-sgttomas


st, what do you think of this Maggie Ross quote? (She is an Angican "anchorite" - a contemplative in Julian of Norwich's tradition - who also lectures sometimes at Harvard and Oxford.)
These problems are but irruptions of a more fundamental problem: in any human population there are those who are far more interested in accruing power and control than living in an integrated way that requires a certain tolerance of, if not reliance on, uncertainty and ambiguity. They are interested in short-term results, even if is at the expense of long-term survival. Institutions, especially religious institutions, tend to follow a trajectory that might generally be described as moving from vision to consolidation, and then through institutionalization, encapsulation, fragmentation, and finally to decline.

The religion is finally reduced to strategies to make people feel safe and confirm them in their own prejudices, instead of .... leading them into the true security of what may feel like free-fall into the love of God.


People need some kind of cultural structure as a 'way in' to the sacred. The problem is that the structure tends to follow its own logic as do the people who adopt that structure. The institution tends to become sacred as well, or at least regarded that way. Maybe this isn't all bad and it's probably unavoidable. The down-side is you get the ossifying of the structure, which is why reform movements periodically crop up, like new shoots breaking through the concrete. If only the cultural artifacts could be kept as provisionally or liminally sacred .
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Re: What do you think of Islam?

Postby sgttomas on Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:27 pm

met wrote:st, what do you think of this Maggie Ross quote? (She is an Angican "anchorite" - a contemplative in Julian of Norwich's tradition - who also lectures sometimes at Harvard and Oxford.)
These problems are but irruptions of a more fundamental problem: in any human population there are those who are far more interested in accruing power and control than living in an integrated way that requires a certain tolerance of, if not reliance on, uncertainty and ambiguity. They are interested in short-term results, even if is at the expense of long-term survival. Institutions, especially religious institutions, tend to follow a trajectory that might generally be described as moving from vision to consolidation, and then through institutionalization, encapsulation, fragmentation, and finally to decline.

The religion is finally reduced to strategies to make people feel safe and confirm them in their own prejudices, instead of .... leading them into the true security of what may feel like free-fall into the love of God.


I think there's some insight there, but what are the human population forces that tend to keep thing stable? There's a balance at play. Why prejudice chaos over stability? Just because we have created fragile systems and so those are all of our cultural and ecological cues at the moment, discounts the reality of that vision and consolidation that gives meaning to people's lives and equips people to establish good and resist evil.

Also, on the longest time scales everything dies. So...I dunno. Not much really being said there, I guess.

Peace,
-sgttomas
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")
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Re: What do you think of Islam?

Postby sgttomas on Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:28 pm

Jim B. wrote:People need some kind of cultural structure as a 'way in' to the sacred. The problem is that the structure tends to follow its own logic as do the people who adopt that structure. The institution tends to become sacred as well, or at least regarded that way. Maybe this isn't all bad and it's probably unavoidable. The down-side is you get the ossifying of the structure, which is why reform movements periodically crop up, like new shoots breaking through the concrete. If only the cultural artifacts could be kept as provisionally or liminally sacred .



I think this is a more genuine view of the cycles of religious belief and institutions, because it acknowledges the "internalist paradigm". Also, I think it's more accurate to say that cultures evolve and the institutions of culture need to have the capacity to address the broader culture. Decline isn't the result of a bunch of vengeful assholes but just from irrelevancy.

Seems legit.

:mrgreen:

Peace,
-sgttomas
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")
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Re: What do you think of Islam

Postby met on Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:05 pm

sgttomas wrote:
met wrote:st, what do you think of this Maggie Ross quote? (She is an Angican "anchorite" - a contemplative in Julian of Norwich's tradition - who also lectures sometimes at Harvard and Oxford.)
These problems are but irruptions of a more fundamental problem: in any human population there are those who are far more interested in accruing power and control than living in an integrated way that requires a certain tolerance of, if not reliance on, uncertainty and ambiguity. They are interested in short-term results, even if is at the expense of long-term survival. Institutions, especially religious institutions, tend to follow a trajectory that might generally be described as moving from vision to consolidation, and then through institutionalization, encapsulation, fragmentation, and finally to decline.

The religion is finally reduced to strategies to make people feel safe and confirm them in their own prejudices, instead of .... leading them into the true security of what may feel like free-fall into the love of God.


I think there's some insight there, but what are the human population forces that tend to keep thing stable? There's a balance at play. Why prejudice chaos over stability? Just because we have created fragile systems and so those are all of our cultural and ecological cues at the moment, discounts the reality of that vision and consolidation that gives meaning to people's lives and equips people to establish good and resist evil.

Also, on the longest time scales everything dies. So...I dunno. Not much really being said there, I guess.

Peace,
-sgttomas


Well, yeah, I chose her because she IS a mystic (instead of a social critic or a religious leader or politician) & is actually required to spend a good part of the year meditating somewhere in solitude. (Her most interesting point academically is probly her repudiation of the concept of "mystical experience", which she thinks is dead wrong & a modern concept that we read into the ancient/medieval mystic literature, just (basically) reiterating the same old, self-reflective "self" who-as the old texts she studies say - needs to be forgotten/relinquished in mystical pursuits....)

What I was thinking about here was religious studies scholars' concepts of "locative" vs "excessive" versions of religion - similar to your juxtaposing of chaos & stability just now, & Jim's "open and closed religions" above. Is Xianity (at least in its core narratives) an "excessive" religion .... in comparison to Islam's "locative-ness"?

Is there an "inside/outside" duality between them?

Really, I suspect this is NOT true, andonly a lame straw man, but you kinda agreed with what Jim said above, so....
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
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Re: What do you think of Islam?

Postby met on Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:34 pm

Why prejudice chaos over stability? Just because we have created fragile systems and so those are all of our cultural and ecological cues at the moment, discounts the reality of that vision and consolidation that gives meaning to people's lives and equips people to establish good and resist evil


Hmm, st, I'll answer this for you now cuz I found a pertinent Malabou quote and you were asking about her on another thread... I think there's an issue with thinking "the truth" exclusively as an unchanging reality, be cuz, whatever that ultimate stasis is, eg a Platonism or a science/mathematical thing, it CANT be personal, since the personal, the living, accd'ing to Malabou anyway, IS change, or at least always implies the potential for it.

She said this.....
“it is in so far as whatever the difference of their approaches, there nonetheless appears to be a consensus regarding a definition of essence as stability, self-presence, and nature, in both the ontological and biological meaning of the term.”


So, given a static, "orderly" concept of truth, a person--a living, sentient, relational being--can ONLY fit in as a process, a part of a telos that's ultimately expected to arrive at a finished, perfectly "orderly," unchangeable state, and not as an end in itself, n'est ce pas?

(So sim'ly as our comments about afterlives? We weren't happy with the thought of "an infinity of the same" - eternally continuing just as limited as we are now - but we also thought any kind of more Eastern "merge into godhead" was just as static and unsatisfying?)
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
Dr Ward Blanton
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Re: What do you think of Islam?

Postby met on Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:57 pm

And here is somebody's theologization of Malabou

Hope because this presumed natural order contains only the most superficial understanding of nature: nature void of culture, stripped of choice, opposed to freedom and creativity; nature void of life insofar as it precludes resistance, and resistance void of nature insofar as it poses insurrection as an unnatural violation of the natural order.

Whether gods or mortals, to be is to change—which means not only to have the capacity to change but to have the capacity to make change......

Excerpt From: "An Insurrectionist Manifesto: Four New Gospels for a Radical Politics" - "Mortals" essay - by Jeffery W Robbins
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
Dr Ward Blanton
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