Islamic Law, God's law?

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hue-man
 
Reply Sun 7 Jun, 2009 10:59 am
I was watching this program on the BBC about women in Islam and the marriage laws of Islam (called Sharia). These people argued for an hour about submitting to God's law and it bothered me that they never once seemed to ask themselves if this supernatural agent exists in the first place, and why a man has to communicate his laws to them instead of God doing it himself.

In the West, during the age of enlightenment, we learned that we needed to separate religion and state because 1. there was no justification for the belief in divine revelation, and 2. theocratic societies never come close to building a just society. It bothers me that people still allow beliefs in divine revelation to pervade their law systems.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 7 Jun, 2009 12:34 pm
@hue-man,
hue, I don't think we agree all that often but...

Quote:
It bothers me that people still allow beliefs in divine revelation to pervade their law systems.


is a great line. I only wish more people thought like this. I really feel it is time for us to shed our bronze age backwards thinking and transcend our ignorance of the invisible friend. Why can't humanity stand without this need?

TT

Transcend theology.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 7 Jun, 2009 02:22 pm
@Krumple,
hue-man;67140 wrote:
I was watching this program on the BBC about women in Islam and the marriage laws of Islam (called Sharia). These people argued for an hour about submitting to God's law and it bothered me that they never once seemed to ask themselves if this supernatural agent exists in the first place, and why a man has to communicate his laws to them instead of God doing it himself.


That people do not tangent off into discussing whether or not God exists while discussing religious law should not be a surprise, or even a bother - these people are applying religious law, and thus they come to the table with the assumption that God does exist. Discussing whether or not God exists while discussing religious law is off topic.

hue-man;67140 wrote:
In the West, during the age of enlightenment, we learned that we needed to separate religion and state because 1. there was no justification for the belief in divine revelation, and 2. theocratic societies never come close to building a just society.


Actually, those two reasons were not the impetus for the separation of church and state in the west. The primary reason for separating church and state in the west was to insure the free practice of religion for people of different faiths.

hue-man;67140 wrote:
It bothers me that people still allow beliefs in divine revelation to pervade their law systems.


Okay.

What needs to be understood is that in some countries, like the UK, people can voluntarily take certain legal issues into Sharia Court. It is completely optional. If two parties with a disagreement freely consent to have their disagreement arbitrated in a religious court, denying them such an option is denying them their free expression of religion (which, in turn, is the reason we have church and state separated in the first place).
 
hue-man
 
Reply Sun 7 Jun, 2009 02:40 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;67191 wrote:
That people do not tangent off into discussing whether or not God exists while discussing religious law should not be a surprise, or even a bother - these people are applying religious law, and thus they come to the table with the assumption that God does exist. Discussing whether or not God exists while discussing religious law is off topic.


So it's off topic to question the foundation of religious law when religious law is discussed. That's a cop out.

Didymos Thomas;67191 wrote:
Actually, those two reasons were not the impetus for the separation of church and state in the west. The primary reason for separating church and state in the west was to insure the free practice of religion for people of different faiths.


Yes, freedom of religion was a reason, but read the literature of the enlightenment. Theocratic dictatorship was another reason, and the rise of deism in the west questioned the claim of divine revelation, which is what theocracy is predicated on.

Didymos Thomas;67191 wrote:
What needs to be understood is that in some countries, like the UK, people can voluntarily take certain legal issues into Sharia Court. It is completely optional. If two parties with a disagreement freely consent to have their disagreement arbitrated in a religious court, denying them such an option is denying them their free expression of religion (which, in turn, is the reason we have church and state separated in the first place).


The fact that the UK, which has a dogmatic conception of social liberalism, have allowed Sharia the co-exist with western law is beside the point. My point is that we shouldn't allow supernatural beliefs to pervade our law systems. Not only is it unjustified, but the consequences can be disastrous. That's what humanism and the enlightenment was all about. Humans can justify and decide what is or isn't right without the claim of divine authority.

Freedom to express religion is fine as long as that religious practice doesn't negatively affect the well being of others. What if it's religious practice to molest children or cut off an unfaithful follower's head?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 7 Jun, 2009 02:51 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;67200 wrote:
So it's off topic to question the foundation of religious law when religious law is discussed. That's a cop out.


No, the foundation is already assumed. If the foundation were not assumed, there would be no reason to discuss the religion law in the first place - you would still be concerned over the foundation.

hue-man;67200 wrote:
Yes, freedom of religion was a reason, but read the literature of the enlightenment. Theocratic dictatorship was another reason, and the rise of deism in the west questioned the claim of divine revelation, which is what theocracy is predicated on.


Yes, read the literature. Read those letters of Jefferson. Read the Federalist Papers. Freedom of religious expression was the impetus, fear of a theocratic dictatorship was little more than imagining the extreme reverse of free religious expression.

hue-man;67200 wrote:
The fact that the UK, which has a dogmatic conception of social liberalism, have allowed Sharia the co-exist with western law is beside the point. My point is that we shouldn't allow supernatural beliefs to pervade our law systems. Not only is it unjustified, but the consequences can be disastrous. That's what humanism and the enlightenment were all about. Humans can justify and decide what is or isn't right without the claim of divine authority.


I agree with most of what you say. But I think you have missed my point. My point is that religious law can co-exist with secular law. Case in point: Sharia in the UK. Denying consenting parties the ability to have their disagreement arbitrated in a Sharia court is denying those consenting parties free religious expression - a religious expression that does not cause harm to anyone (were not talking about eating babies, here).

hue-man;67200 wrote:
Freedom to express religion is fine as long as that religious practice doesn't negatively affect the well being of others. What if it's religious practice to molest children or cut off an unfaithful follower's head?


What if it's a secular law to have children molested and cut off religious people's heads?

Obviously, those practices are denied based on long standing tradition. However, when the practice does not harm others (as is the case with Sharia in the UK) then there is no reason to disallow the practice. Consenting parties, no one is harmed. To deny it is oppressive.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Sun 7 Jun, 2009 05:23 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;67204 wrote:
No, the foundation is already assumed. If the foundation were not assumed, there would be no reason to discuss the religion law in the first place - you would still be concerned over the foundation.


I understand that the foundation is already assumed. I'm saying that they should question that foundation if they care about the legitimacy of their beliefs.

Didymos Thomas;67204 wrote:
Yes, read the literature. Read those letters of Jefferson. Read the Federalist Papers. Freedom of religious expression was the impetus, fear of a theocratic dictatorship was little more than imagining the extreme reverse of free religious expression.


The separation of religion and state in the west was inspired by the writings of enlightenment philosophers like Thomas Paine, and the humanism movement of the enlightenment. I'm not saying that freedom of religious practice wasn't the impetus; I'm saying that is was inspired by scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism.

Didymos Thomas;67204 wrote:
What if it's a secular law to have children molested and cut off religious people's heads?


My point was that you can't justify a law based on freedom of religious practice if it violates equal rights, and you seem to agree.

What if the law is changed so that only Mormon men can have more than one wife, and so that they can marry underage girls because it's their freedom of religion?
 
William
 
Reply Sun 7 Jun, 2009 05:59 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;67191 wrote:

The primary reason for separating church and state in the west was to insure the free practice of religion for people of different faiths.


DT. How can a state do that? That state is made up of people. People have their different faiths. Agreed there are different tenets and beliefs and perceptions, but having a faith has it's rules to "live" by. How can a statesman become a statesman and deny his faith. If he can deny his faith then he doesn't have faith in that faith. I guess what I am saying is the impetus to become a statesman must be so strong if he is to abandon his faith to become a statesman. There is a disconnect here. The only way there can be a perfect union, or state is to completely abandon all faith.
Now we have to govern people of faith and if people of no faith that do the governing how can they govern the people of faith if their faithless governing goes against those faiths of those they are governing. That means the faith of those they are governing must not be taken into consideration. Or, ELIMINATE THE FAITH IN THOSE YOU ARE GOVERNING. How in the hell can that be done. That means there is no such thing a freedom of religion. It can't be. The only way is to eliminate all faith both in state and the people you are governing.
William
 
William
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 05:13 am
@William,
William;67230 wrote:
DT. How can a state do that? That state is made up of people. People have their different faiths. Agreed there are different tenets and beliefs and perceptions, but having a faith has it's rules to "live" by. How can a statesman become a statesman and deny his faith. If he can deny his faith then he doesn't have faith in that faith. I guess what I am saying is the impetus to become a statesman must be so strong if he is to abandon his faith to become a statesman. There is a disconnect here. The only way there can be a perfect union, or state is to completely abandon all faith.
Now we have to govern people of faith and if people of no faith that do the governing how can they govern the people of faith if their faithless governing goes against those faiths of those they are governing. That means the faith of those they are governing must not be taken into consideration. Or, ELIMINATE THE FAITH IN THOSE YOU ARE GOVERNING. How in the hell can that be done. That means there is no such thing a freedom of religion. It can't be. The only way is to eliminate all faith both in state and the people you are governing.
William


DT: Now take the above post and substitute the word morality for faith.
William
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 05:33 am
@William,
I oppose any religious courts,sharia courts in the uk undermine the secular courts by setting a precedent and who knows how the individual is not being coerced into attending them.Its faith driven agenda by stealth.
 
William
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 05:57 am
@hue-man,
Xris, That is what I am saying. it is religious interpretations that have cause so much of the problems in the world. That's why I used the word faith and then morality and was eventually going to subsititute that to good. I guess what I am saying to know "what is good" is the root of all religions. And it is in those so varied intrepretations, we learn to hate. If we could substitute the word "good" for what is religion, then we could evolve from religion entirely. All religions have "some good" to them. You just can't discount all of what they say and just trash it. I find inspiring thought from all of them but I belong to none of them. None!
Now apply the good in my post and what does that tell you? If a governing body has to be totally neutral and dismiss their own feelings as to what is good in order to govern. What does that mean? How can we eliminate that which is "bad" when we have to eliminate any concept any governing individual has regarding what they think is good.

William
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 04:20 pm
@William,
The sharia courts, even as an optional extra, are utterly unacceptable. Islamic women filing for divorce will 99 times out of a 100, I guarrentee, get pressured into going through a sharia trial, which will inevtibly be biased in favour of the man, and usually grants them custody of the children. Any civillised society recognises that though a farther has a right to play a part in a childs life, there can be no worse thing than to take a child from its mother, which is what usually happens.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 03:48 pm
@avatar6v7,
hue-man;67225 wrote:
I understand that the foundation is already assumed. I'm saying that they should question that foundation if they care about the legitimacy of their beliefs.


And you're right - they should doubt. I agree: doubt is good. Let's question our beliefs. However, to object 'oh, but they never discussed whether or not God exists' every time religion comes up is redundant. Essentially, by bring up the issue, you assume that they have not already questioned the foundation.

hue-man;67225 wrote:
The separation of religion and state in the west was inspired by the writings of enlightenment philosophers like Thomas Paine, and the humanism movement of the enlightenment. I'm not saying that freedom of religious practice wasn't the impetus; I'm saying that is was inspired by scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism.


Yeah, I've read my Thomas Paine. I'm unabashedly patriotic. And yes, separation of church and state was inspired by scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism. But "scientific skepticism" and "enlightenment humanism" do not translate to " no justification for the belief in divine revelation" and "theocratic societies never come close to building a just society."

We agree on the aforementioned inspirations, but that agreement does not solve our initial disagreement.

hue-man;67225 wrote:
My point was that you can't justify a law based on freedom of religious practice if it violates equal rights, and you seem to agree.


Absolutely. And the Sharia Court does not violate equal rights - you only go to Sharia Court in the UK if you so choose to go to Sharia Court.

hue-man;67225 wrote:
What if the law is changed so that only Mormon men can have more than one wife, and so that they can marry underage girls because it's their freedom of religion?


I would oppose the law. However, such a case is not analogous to the Sharia Court as it exists in the UK. There are manifestations of Sharia Law that I oppose - completely oppose.

avatar6v7;67810 wrote:
The sharia courts, even as an optional extra, are utterly unacceptable. Islamic women filing for divorce will 99 times out of a 100, I guarrentee, get pressured into going through a sharia trial, which will inevtibly be biased in favour of the man, and usually grants them custody of the children. Any civillised society recognises that though a farther has a right to play a part in a childs life, there can be no worse thing than to take a child from its mother, which is what usually happens.


You know all of this because you have researched past UK Sharia decisions? Or is this all an assumption based on your general view of Sharia and not at all related to the Sharia Court in the UK's actual work?

If the UK Sharia Court is consistently passing misogynistic judgments or committing some other unacceptable act, let's mention that and go from there. I'm not going to defend this court for no reason, and I especially will not defend this court when it errs. However, I will defend the court if the only argument is 'I don't like it'.

That 'I didn't hear them question God' is no argument.

That this violates separation of Church and Stat, even in spirit, is false (go read the Danbury Letter, don't take my word for it).

If you say this court violates equal rights, give an example.

If you say this court is misogynistic, give an example.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 07:29 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;68381 wrote:
Yeah, I've read my Thomas Paine. I'm unabashedly patriotic. And yes, separation of church and state was inspired by scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism. But "scientific skepticism" and "enlightenment humanism" do not translate to " no justification for the belief in divine revelation" and "theocratic societies never come close to building a just society."


Scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism led to the conclusion that there was no justification for the belief in divine revelation, and the Dark Ages led to the conclusion that theocratic authoritarianism isn't conducive to a just society.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 08:07 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;68435 wrote:
Scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism led to the conclusion that there was no justification for the belief in divine revelation, and the Dark Ages led to the conclusion that theocratic authoritarianism isn't conducive to a just society.


So what?

Scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism led to the conclusion that there was no justification for the belief in divine revelation as well as the conclusion that church and state should be separated.

Rejection of divine revelation and opposition to theocracy played a role in drumming up support for the separation of Church and State. However, casting rejection of divine revelation and opposition of theocracy as the two causes of the separation of Church and State is to ignore the body of work regarding the debate. It's a terribly misleading claim from the historical perspective. Did you read the Danbury Letter?

Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists (June 1998) - Library of Congress Information Bulletin

Or you can look into Locke's arguments about the issue; he argued that such a separation was necessary as the government has no right to interfere with such private decisions, like how to worship, and in order to defend the right to make such decisions government and church must be separate.

Or you can check the Wiki for this great Madison quote:

"We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt."
 
hue-man
 
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 12:48 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;68442 wrote:
So what?

Scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism led to the conclusion that there was no justification for the belief in divine revelation as well as the conclusion that church and state should be separated.

Rejection of divine revelation and opposition to theocracy played a role in drumming up support for the separation of Church and State. However, casting rejection of divine revelation and opposition of theocracy as the two causes of the separation of Church and State is to ignore the body of work regarding the debate. It's a terribly misleading claim from the historical perspective. Did you read the Danbury Letter?

Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists (June 1998) - Library of Congress Information Bulletin

Or you can look into Locke's arguments about the issue; he argued that such a separation was necessary as the government has no right to interfere with such private decisions, like how to worship, and in order to defend the right to make such decisions government and church must be separate.

Or you can check the Wiki for this great Madison quote:

"We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt."


I think that we've reached a consensus, Didymos; but to say 'so what' in reference to my point about the role of scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism's role in this historical event is unnecessarily dismissive.
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 03:42 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;68435 wrote:
Scientific skepticism and enlightenment humanism led to the conclusion that there was no justification for the belief in divine revelation

Actually the enlightenment led to nothing of the sought- you don't 'discover' that there is no justification for divine revelation, you decide it, and in this case without real justification when they did, which they did less than you think.
hue-man;68435 wrote:
the Dark Ages led to the conclusion that theocratic authoritarianism isn't conducive to a just society.

The 'dark ages' led to no such conclusion, if you actually know anything about them. Theocratic authortarianism was implicit to Islam, but hardly the case in Christendom, where secular and religous rulers were in balance.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 09:21 am
@avatar6v7,
avatar6v7;68497 wrote:
Actually the enlightenment led to nothing of the sought- you don't 'discover' that there is no justification for divine revelation, you decide it, and in this case without real justification when they did, which they did less than you think.


Actually, enlightenment humanism did lead to it, just like the renaissance and the scientific revolution lead to the enlightenment. The justification for the position that there is no justification for the belief in divine revelation stems from the fact that there is no evidence for the existence of the supernatural, and no actual evidence that a God has revealed his ethical theory to us.

avatar6v7;68497 wrote:
The 'dark ages' led to no such conclusion, if you actually know anything about them. Theocratic authortarianism was implicit to Islam, but hardly the case in Christendom, where secular and religous rulers were in balance.


Right, the Muslims were the only ones who practiced theocratic authoritarianism :sarcastic:. The church was a ruthless dictatorship during the Middle Ages, and to deny that fact is to be in denial.
 
xris
 
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 10:42 am
@hue-man,
Can i add that sharia is not law its a way of life.There has been occassions when it goes beyond its remit and by its nature is biased against women.On one occasion a son was given more than his sisters in a sharia tribunal when a will was questioned.A stabbing in London was handled by them and the victim and the criminal chose to treated by the so called sharia court.Who knows, with the attitude of Islam towards its women, if the wives are not coerced by the family to have sharia act for them in a divorce settlement.
We must maintain Justice by secular methods, its the principle that must be adhered to.Would it ever be conceivable that a priest acted as a lawyer in a christian divorce settlement? its bizarre to think lay preachers are acting as lawyers with no legal precedent for them to refer to.
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 03:12 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man;68553 wrote:
Actually, enlightenment humanism did lead to it, just like the renaissance and the scientific revolution lead to the enlightenment. The justification for the position that there is no justification for the belief in divine revelation stems from the fact that there is no evidence for the existence of the supernatural, and no actual evidence that a God has revealed his ethical theory to us.

No the justifications for the existance of God were rejected because of their own unjustified empiricist assumptions. When of course they were rejected, as a number of prominent enlightenment figures, including some in what we would now call the scientific community, were quite mystical in bent.
hue-man;68553 wrote:

Right, the Muslims were the only ones who practiced theocratic authoritarianism :sarcastic:. The church was a ruthless dictatorship during the Middle Ages, and to deny that fact is to be in denial.

The church was not a ruthless dictatorship in the dark ages, where it was struggling for survival, and though it gained greater measures of control by the 11th century, it was constantly struggling against the ambitions of secular rulers. Islam, at least in the area relavent to the terms dark ages and middle ages, was the only form of theocratic auhtoratarianism. The Christian church had to work through secular rulers to get what they wanted, whereas in Islam one ruler would dictate both secular and spiritual rule. That is a matter of historical fact. Was the Church's use of power authotarian? That would be a generalisation, but not an unassertable one. However it was not theocratic in nature as its exercise of power was not due to direct control over the instruments of the state, in as much as the state even existed in any sense in the Latin West.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Fri 12 Jun, 2009 05:34 pm
@avatar6v7,
avatar6v7;68618 wrote:
No the justifications for the existance of God were rejected because of their own unjustified empiricist assumptions. When of course they were rejected, as a number of prominent enlightenment figures, including some in what we would now call the scientific community, were quite mystical in bent.


Empiricist assumptions??? I assume that by empiricist assumptions you mean assuming that we can only acquire knowledge through our senses. The empirical method has long since proven itself to be the only useful method to acquire knowledge and truth. The human race has relied on faith and mysticism for hundreds of thousands of years and we've acquired absolutely no knowledge from it. Fideists assume that faith (wishful thinking) is more important than knowledge; an idea that is as delusional as it is dangerous.

avatar6v7;68618 wrote:
The church was not a ruthless dictatorship in the dark ages, where it was struggling for survival, and though it gained greater measures of control by the 11th century, it was constantly struggling against the ambitions of secular rulers. Islam, at least in the area relavent to the terms dark ages and middle ages, was the only form of theocratic auhtoratarianism. The Christian church had to work through secular rulers to get what they wanted, whereas in Islam one ruler would dictate both secular and spiritual rule. That is a matter of historical fact. Was the Church's use of power authotarian? That would be a generalisation, but not an unassertable one. However it was not theocratic in nature as its exercise of power was not due to direct control over the instruments of the state, in as much as the state even existed in any sense in the Latin West.


You're basically presenting excuses for the behavior of the church during the Middle Ages, but you're perfectly willing to accept the fact of theocratic dictatorship in the history of Islam. Muslims make the same excuses for theocratic dictatorship in their history that you make for theocratic dictatorship in the history of Christendom. Ignore the inquisition, ignore the persecution of Jews and Muslims, ignore the persecution of 'heretics', etc, etc.

Criticism of the Roman Catholic Church - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 

 
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