SMacEachern2 - instead of dealing with every example of sophistry you present, I would like to ask you a direct question, related to the point of the original Spine post: Regardless of Americas intervention in Iraq (which I think was wrong but certainly does not implicate the US morally in Iraqi on Iraqi violence), do you think that the problems in the Arab world today (and there are unfortunatley VERY, very many, enumerated partially by Mr. Peretz) are a result of their own dicisions, actions, and culture, in that, however you want to describe it, they are primarily responsable for their own cultural corruption, or is the cause of their problems primarily the fault of the US, Israel, and others in the West?
Fair enough, I should say "Arab/Muslim cultures in Iraq." I am sure Islam in different countries is expressed in different ways. Haven't there been polls of Muslims about attitudes towards religiously oriented violence, suicide bombers, and the like?
I don't thik I said Islam is a religion of violence. I don't even know what that means; a religion is whatever its adherents make of it, with each adherent claiming his/her is the true version. I would say there are plenty of violent versions of Islam, but plenty of peaceful ones as well.
As for democracy, I find representative government to be only one factor; right now, Iraq lacks a necessary tolerance for plurality.
Islam is the first recorded codification of an attempt to trump the metaphor of Christ. There have been many others since. Most notably communism.
Contemplation of Christ is messy and ambiguous and consequently subject to the ravages and very imperfect souls one and all. So dissatisfactions manifest in Islam.
I'll say this; I respect a degree of honesty inherent in Islam and yes, it does make allowance for sanctioned brutality.
One is not allowed quite as much assured comforts in its triumverate counterparts. One is free to pick and choose those criterion for satisfaction but will always find a counterpoint modifier. The Koranic trump is a hard one to get past. If I were an adherent to Islam I could well see clearly defined justifications and call to and for violence. By my lights its an unhappy clarity.
Certain meditations have suggested inner jihad as the contemplative touchstone but clearly this is not the view which is currently prevailing among the more passionate adherents. I wish it were not so. Jihadists wish to prosecute hypocrisies enroute to consolidating a disseminating their particular brand of clarity. Its a mindset which is doomed to failure which is not to say they cannot bring hell along the way to this discovery.