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The Forum > Article Comments > We need interfaith dialogue to establish mutual understanding > Comments

We need interfaith dialogue to establish mutual understanding : Comments

By Kourosh Ziabari, published 4/7/2012

In this interview Oliver Davies explores questions of religion and interfaith dialogue.

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"But the meaning of both Christianity and Islam as they are passed on across the generations is that ultimately it is the open, inclusive and hospitable community which survives in all contexts."

Ah, so all the massacres, witch-hunts, Crusades and Jihads were all just a mistake, then? And the zealots currently destroying ancient tombs in Mali are not really Muslims but.. something else not religious at all? Like all theists, Professor Davies believes a made-up story that he cannot support with evidence and so -- like most theists -- has to make up other evidence-free stories to support it.

Theology is a discipline without a subject. And anyone who hasn't read The Courtier's Reply should do so immediately:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/12/24/the-courtiers-reply/
Posted by Jon J, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 7:47:55 AM
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Kourosh Ziabari asked: Why has secularism extended its roots such deeply in the political structure of Western societies? As a professor of theology, do you believe in the separation of religion from state? Don't you believe that secularism in politics will lead the youths to a kind of identity crisis and undermine their moral and ethical values? Let me make it clearer. Religion is an instrument for promoting modesty. If religion is removed from the society, the people will go astray and lose their values. Religion has always been an important part of culture and civilization. Why do the Western societies insist on limiting the role of religion and endorsing secularism?

The above question contains erroneous implications. Secularism in no way undermines moral and ethical values. Moral and ethical values do not have to have a religious base at all. Morality existed before religion or even humanity. A wolf may help a wounded or sick member of the pack. The assumption that religion is necessary for morality is rubbish.

It is not borne out by reality. The societies with the least degree of corruption, the greatest degree of political and economic freedom and the smallest gap between rich and poor are the Scandinavian societies. They are also the most irreligious.

Western societies have endorsed separation of religion and state because of exacerbation of conflict due to religion and the oppression by religion.

One factor that led to the separation of religion and state was the burning at the stake of dissenters. Servetus was burned at the state for doubting the Trinity. Castellio who believed in the Trinity opposed the persecution of those who didnít believe.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=10725 contains my essay on that.

Possibly the first advocate of the separation of religion and state in North America was Roger Williams, a Baptist Minister, who believed that religion should not use coercion. The founders of the United States were for separation of religion and state because they wanted to avoid the horrible religious conflicts that had gone on in Europe.

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=10790 contains my essay on that.

Ziabari promulgates much nonsense.
Posted by david f, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 10:15:14 AM
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Jon J,

Yes, indeed, this is a dialogue from a parallel universe. The idea that religion is necessary for morality was refuted by the Ancient Greeks and the "proof" of the existence of God presented by Ziabari is specious. However, there's more to this discussion than the usual theological nonsense in defence of the indefensible.
KZ's 'interview' is really an exercise in "Moslems as Victims" propaganda and is transparently tendentious, the prejudice that Western Moslems suffer is trivial relative to the persecution of infidels in Islamic nations.
Posted by mac, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 10:19:52 AM
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John J. and David F - you are very harsh and judgemental people. More proof that fundamentalism is a human condition and one that does not only stem from religious belief.
Posted by Ian D, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 11:04:20 AM
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Dear Ian D,

Rather than making a counter argument or contributing to the discussion you prefer to call names. I think secularism has contributed greatly to western society and gave instances of why it was adopted. That is neither harsh nor judgmental.
Posted by david f, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 11:12:49 AM
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Religious freedom is most likely to occur in a secular liberal democratic state, so religious people should support its values. By undermining secular values, religiots are really endangering their own freedom--there's no guarantee that supporters of their particular superstition will achieve power in a theocratic state.
Posted by mac, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 12:00:42 PM
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