Sunday, September 12, 2010

Islarme, Religion of Tears V: Everyone Loves Stockholm

Continuing my thoughts on Islarme, using The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Koran, by authors Sarwar and Toropov, as a provisional guide. Here I skip a few chapters that discuss some details of Muslarme theology, about which I think I am still too ill-informed to comment. I slow down a bit to review Chapter 14, entitled "Women and the Family", where the authors attempt to challenge preconceived notions about the abysmal status of women in Islarme, and Chapter 16, which makes a couple of interesting points about jihad.
  • We start off with a claim that Muhammadanismist "women, when asked about 'women's liberation', respond by saying that 'Allah already liberated women in the seventh century!'" Go look up Stockholm Syndrome. The fact that oppressed women think that their lot in life is entirely appropriate and ordained by the Supreme Being is meaningless.
  • The authors try to defend Islarme by saying that it's not directly responsible for women being oppressed. They say that the Qur'an "places no requirements upon a wife to perform housework, avoid work outside the home, breastfeed children, or perform other such tasks." I must be missing something; since when did anyone ever include breastfeeding under the rubric of oppression? But that's an aside. The real point comes when the authors continue, "There may well be cultural or family traditions that encourage decisions" concerning these issues. Nicely dodged. It's not Allah's fault if women are mistreated. It's the fault of the practitioners of the faith. If your faith can't make you a better person, can't make your society better, then why adhere to it?
  • Sura 4, Ayat 34 says that if a man fears desertion--wait, disloyalty? No, rebellion? The Arabic word here is ambiguous. Well, at least the required action is clear: beat a woman, even if the circumstances requiring a beating seem to boil down to "whenever a man feels like it." The authors flaunt their hideous lack of shame when they justify wife-beating by pointing out that it was common in Smokin' Mo's day for Arab men to kill women. So Allah doesn't have to be good, as long as it is better than seventh-century barbarians, is that it? It gets even worse when they claim that Smokin' Mo "spoke out passionately against the practice of wife-beating," but concluded that "what God has willed must be best."
  • The authors claim that "The Koran does not advocate the physical or emotional abuse of women." I hate to tell you this, guys, but violence of any kind, except when it is absolutely necessary for self-defense against a dangerous attacker, is indeed physical and emotional abuse.
  • At the end of Chapter 14 there is a mention of the "weakening of the institution of marriage...that has accompanied the acceptance of various feminist schools of thought." Brace yourself for this one: divorce certainly is an indicator of the health of a culture, but in exactly the opposite way that most people seem to think. Divorce rates are highest in societies where the status of women most closely approximates that of men. They're lowest in societies where women are utterly dependent on men for their own well-being. If a man is the "protector and maintainer" of a woman, then he can be as much of a bastard as he wants, knowing that the woman has nowhere to go. If a woman knows that she doesn't need him, that she can go out and get a job that sustains her and her children, that she can prosper without his help, then the man has to behave. Lots of people seem to believe the mawkish, naive assertion that children need both parents. What children need is good parenting, or at least good enough parenting. If they have both parents, and dad is a prick to mom and/or the kids, then they're better off without him poisoning their minds. Yes, the process of divorce is difficult for the kids, but so is junior high school. If they're better off after the dust has settled, then it's the right thing to do. Possibly the worst part of a divorce is the effect on the kids of seeing their parents at each other's throats. But that is not a necessary result of divorce. Sure, we as a society need to learn how better to handle divorce so it won't be so hard on the kids, but that's a problem of execution, not of principle.
  • Chapter 16 discusses jihad and its true meaning. Don't you just love it when religious people start tossing around the word true as a criticism of each other's behavior? It mentions Sura 2, Ayat 190, "Fight for the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress, for God does not love the transgressors." I assume that "transgress" here refers to violating the laws of the land, but it's not clear, at least to me. Perhaps Muslarmes allow themselves to interpret "transgress" to mean "to sin against Allah," giving themselves carte blanche for any kind of atrocity. Also, although no particular Sura is mentioned, the authors say that combatants are forbidden, among other things, to engage in suicide attacks. Well, Jesusianismists ignore their holy book all the time too, sometimes with positive results, such as the admonition in James 5:14 to expect sickness to be cured by prayer and anointing with oil; sometimes with negative results, such as the admonition in Galatians 6:10 to do good to all people as the opportunity arises. The holy books themselves are only part of the problem. It is primarily the practitioners of Jesusianism and Muhammadanismistism that make these faiths two strains of the same pox.

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