Russell Brand v Sam Harris – Knowledge Beats Verbosity

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5 Responses

  1. Having listened to the podcast, dating a muslim man and knowing many, many, many muslims I found the podcast and Harris’s point of view to be completely ignorant. His attitude struck me as being very generalist and has the approach of “all muslims are terrorists” which is completely wrong, damaging, and gives rise to all this Islamophobia. Does Harris not know that the Quran and the Bible share the same God?? The only differences arise from the messengers and prophets.

    The Quran was MADE to be read in Arabic, and the English translation is so inaccurate and skewed, it’s not fair for him to say “I understand Islam cos I’ve read the Quran”, it’s more of a cultural thing, rather than a religion. I found it scary to listen to his nonsense. The Quran states “killing one innocent person burdens you with the same sin as killing the whole world”, and every muslim person I have ever had the honour of meeting, have treated me with respect, courtesy and love.
    I totally see where he’s coming from, in that yes, perhaps there is an issue in the interpretations of the Quran and how a rather unfortunate amount of terrorists are formed from ‘Islam believers’, but they’re not true believers of Islam, nor are they real Muslims.

    Hitler was a Christian, does that make all Christians mass murderers and antisemitic? No, definitely not. What about all these white kids in America shooting up schools? Are they not terrorists? They can’t all be crazy surely???? (reference to the ‘the muslims aren’t crazy, they just kill people’ sort of statement)
    The majority of people who are recruited by ISIS are vulnerable people, and that whole part of the world is so heavily medicated by drugs, amphetamines, who knows what they believe and what they’re thinking?

    Islam means surrender, there is no intention of evil within that religion, and people that don’t see that haven’t experienced it properly, or taken the time to learn.

    (I am a strong atheist and don’t believe in religion, so it has taken me a lot to say this)

    • admin says:

      Hi there,

      My parents are Muslim. I grew up Muslim. I have spent a lot of time around Muslims. This does not in any way lessen how terribly violent the Quran is. Some sections are so clearly violent that to interpret them as anything other than that would be delusional.

      Sam Harris has spoken and written a great deal about the extreme violence also found in the Bible. In fact, I believe he has a book that focuses solely on this. Sam believes that religion causes great deals of violence. History shows us this time and time again. But the difference between Islam and Christianity is that, to many Muslims, Islam is at the centre of who they are – it defines them. The same is not true of most Christians. Which is why Christians (in general) can take a joke about their religion and Muslims (in general) cannot.

      Apparently, the Bible’s about twice as violent than the Quran. And Christianity certainly had its time of violence. But now, within Western Society, Christianity has taken somewhat of a backseat – even amongst believers. Islam is responsible for a great deal of violence RIGHT NOW. Christianity isn’t. That’s the difference.

      An organised religion that says that the believers of another religion must be killed denies the fact that what religion you choose is based on your environment. Where were you born? Who were your parents? And on and on. So how can a religion that denies this be true?

      Islam wants you to surrender. And it wants everyone else to surrender too. And what does an army do when another army refuses to surrender? Destroy them.

      Hitler is one Christian and he has been dead for 73 years. Let’s talk about the current situation. Look at the situation in prisons all over Europe. Look at the astronmomical number of isis sympathisers there are. If you choose to ignore what is going on, that’s up to you. If you want to use the anecdotal evidence of your friends and family to attempt to deny the overwhelming data, that’s up to you. But it’s out there. Islam is one of the greatest modern-day threats.

      That’s not to say that you can’t be a good Muslim. Of course you can. There are many great Muslim people. But organised religion often breeds tribalism and ignorance, which often breeds violence and hate. Also, Islam is an incredibly suppressive religion. Look at how women are treated in Muslim countries – like subordinates.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Mohammed Ali says:

    Fully agree with what you’re saying. I wasn’t addressing the ‘bigger picture’ so to speak, and my response and thoughts that came from listening to the podcast were thinking about Muslims living in Europe, more Western cultures and more peaceful countries. In that aspect, I stand by what I said in that Harris’ ideas are damaging, and support Islamophobia. Just because there are bad factions, does that mean all the good should be ignored? I look at Muslim communities around where I live, and their sense of community is so much greater than any I’ve ever seen, and I think that’s mirrored in most places. I come from the UK, and the Manchester bombing attack devastated the Muslim community here and there was a sudden social media cry of “not in my religion”, and I guess that’s where my thoughts stemmed from.

    I also find it difficult to get how a religion can solely be responsible though, when there are peaceful, good Muslims out there? Surely if the religion was the cause of it all, all Muslim countries would be the same? But they’re not, and as you may know, there are many different divisions of Islam – Sunnis and Shias for example. It’s too easy to say “Islam is a threat”, when there are so many other considerations to this. I think there needs to be a stronger focus on how the governments and leaders act in these countries, because they are individuals enforcing ideals, and I don’t think they can all come from the Quran?
    A maybe stupid example, but my friend was stuck waiting for a flight in Qatar and was told she wasn’t allowed to sit down in the smoking area because she was a woman… She outright asked why and his response was “because that’s how it is here”, she had a chat with him (resulting in telling him to f*** off) but this man wasn’t Muslim, just followed the countries ideals.

    I get it’s repressive, I get it is a threat, but that’s not the case everywhere. There’s a lot of good in Islam, and it’s sad that nowadays it’s ignored. The world is such a juxtaposed place, it’s hard to fully understand the cause and effect of everything. I guess I find it hard to get my head around it, the whole topic makes me want to scream. The world is a truly savage place in parts, but can that really all be down to religion? Money and power must surely count for more?

    • admin says:

      You spoke of Hitler. Let’s go back to him for a moment. He was responsible for the killing of many millions of innocent people. He was also a vegetarian. He had both good and bad in him – as we all do. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore the bad. The Quran has many valuable teachings within its pages, but it also has a lot of poison. And it’s that poison that leads lost souls to believing peace will come from violence and hate. Some people argue that it’s all about interpretation. I agree. Lots of it is all down to interpretation. That’s incredibly dangerous. Why are Buddhists so peaceful? Because the Tipitaka is a peaceful holy book whatever way you read it, in whatever language you interpret it. We don’t need to take the good and bad that comes from Islam because we have perfectly peaceful beautiful holy books like the Tipitaka.

      The media in the west aims to ignore the many atrocities caused by Islam because they fear being called racist. Look at the grooming gangs in the UK. The police were aware of these Muslim grooming gangs but didn’t intervene for fear of being called racist. Look at the problems with Muslims gangs taking over the prison systems throughout Europe. Why don’t we hear about these things?

      Religion is not solely responsible. Those Muslims that become extreme are looking for some way to deal with some form of pain/anger/hate/sadness. And what causes this will be different from person to person. Our societies are sick. Communities are being destroyed all over. We still have wars. Prisons don’t heal criminals, they make them permanent criminals. The social welfare system doesn’t provide support, it comatoses people. Our values have been skewed. We value looks and likes and views and subscribers above all else. We have become so individualised we become lonely. And on and on. There are many reasons that lead people to do terrible things. But Islam convinces people that if they kill ‘the enemy’ they will go to heaven and get 72 virgins. So there is salvation for mass murder. THIS is the real danger. So the dejected, lonely, angry soul is given a manual for causing incredible destruction and getting rewarded for it. Why would they not take this path?

      I find that Muslims even in the West tend to be far less respectful toward women. These cultural differences take generations to be ironed out and if your children are reading the same holy book as you and it tells them to treat women like second-class citizens and then they have these strong communities that mean they don’t have to assimilate = they don’t ever have to change. *Now remember, my parents, are Muslim. More than half of my family is Muslim. I have a great deal of experience with Muslims. I was Muslim for the first 20 years of my life. I’m not saying this from the outside. I lived it. Islam is not the answer. It just isn’t. I’m religious, but I don’t follow any organised religion.*

  3. Mohammed Ali says:

    There’s a lot in what you said that I wasn’t as aware of as I could have been. The media is atrocious. I’m always trying to find better sources to find out what is actually going on in the world.

    Really thank you. These conversations are so important to have and I’m always looking to learn and understand more.
    I really appreciate you taking the time to write a coherent, well rounded response without slating my perhaps slightly ignorant / limited views.
    I’m taking on board everything you’ve said and will come back and refer to this in the future.

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