Religion and interpretation

My original posts on religion were about what i saw as people’s unwillingness to discuss it and instead falling back on tropes. It did generate some brief discussion which took place in the form of facebook comments, a forum that doesn’t lend itself to meditative discourse. I did a follow up without using specific quotes to continue the conversation without addressing anyone personally because I thought that would be polite. I ended up using generalizations like “people say” more than I like to. I reached out to the people who commented on my posts and agreed on the best way to continue the conversation. And just to be perfectly clear I’m not doing so to be confrontational or critical of anyone personally, but in the spirit of open and exciting intellectual conversation.

So the first point I want to address is when someone said “There are crazies everywhere, the Muslim extremists take parts of the Quran and take certain phrases wrong and twist them to fit their extremist ways.”

My question is: Why the assumption that religion is benevolent? And that so-called extremists are misinterpreting it? The Quran has passages about never killing innocents and it has has passages about chopping off the heads and fingertips of non-believers. Like all religious texts, at its core it’s a bunch contradictory nonsense. Who are you to say which is correct and which is a misinterpretation?

And the fact is extremists usually refuse interpreting at all, usually they’re being literal. That’s the absence of interpretation. The bible has a passage about not permitting witches to live and I’ve heard a lot of discussion about how it can be interpreted in this or that peaceful way but what it actually is is a statement about killing people. Like I said in my first post Extremists are people who believe god means what he says. And if someone doesn’t believe that why are they in a religion at all?

A second commentator said “Many terrible things have been done In the name of a religion , but those murderers, child molesters, crusaders etc, are just evil messed up people who would have done those things anyway.

I don’t see that as a defense of religion. Whether or not religion made a person bad isn’t as important as the fact that it didn’t make them good and/or it didn’t protect us from them.

I know some believers who are very good people and I feel the same as this commentator that they would be the same very good people they are if they weren’t in the church.

If good people are good and bad people are bad then what’s the need for religion at all?

I don’t disagree with the statement “Everyone should be able to believe what they want as long as they don’t push it on anyone else.” What I’m asking is How do we push back against those who are pushing?

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Singer/songwriter, jerk.

Posted in Pop Culture, Pragmatism

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