Sunday, March 27, 2005

Post on Islamic website

Just for the record

Too often when we philosophize about issues of our day we tend to reflect that hubris of "progressivism". That is, rather than consulting the annals of history, thus of actual living human experience, we over hypothesize various issues so that we can maintain our stances by avoiding experiential proof. After all, those were their problems, whereas we're 'so much more advanced'. I love the pretention as if human DNA morphed into something totally different in a generation or two. This makes sense. It's a lot harder to "prove" someone wrong in a philosophical and abstract setting than it is to make a point incorporated into actual human experience, ie experiential understanding.

I would like to note that our religious texts, be they mine (the Bible), the Jews (Torah/Writings), Zoroastrians (Avesta), Hindus (Mahabarata/ Baghad Gita), or most of nasseb's (The quran), are written first and foremost AS LITERATURE and AS STORIES OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE. That is to say, they more closely resemble Shakespear's narrative of reality than Hume or Kant or Nietsche.

It is my opinion that we should take note of this fact. We are not a creature who lives in a world encompassed only by logical syllogisms and deductive reasoning. On occasion we must apply the experiential test and realize that this isn't in any way "lesser reasoning", but rather a different and equal sphere of knowledge that must be taken into account.In particular, I point to the logical fallacy of "Slippery Slope". It is, and rightfully should be, a logical fallacy as it does not consistently work in syllogisms. Yet, I would offer that indeed it DOES very often hold true with various examples in reality. What makes it a logical fallacy therefore is that it isn't 100% factual, but what makes it useful is when experience has shown that it is 90% useful. We can't just sit smugly behind our prefered outcomes and use logical proofs to deflect reasonable if not absolutly quantifiable/verifiable arguments from life and experience.

Early in my youth I remember playing Dungeons and Dragons with a number of my friends. On the character sheet you had 6 attributes that defined the most basic abilities of your character: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma, Wisdom, and Intelligence. Notice... Wisdom and Intelligence were different abilities entirely, thought to be quite unrelated, and different character professions rewarded the different abilities. Namely, whereas your masters of arcane lord, the wizards, were intelligent, it was the clerics - the religious characters - who's prime requisite was wisdom.As an example of wisdom as opposed to intelligence, I would like to submit (from lack of better example rather than self promotion), my argument against the lady who led prayers in the Mosque - or rather my response to the article about it. I hope that you will see that I have based my argument on what I believe to be experiential wisdom rather than trying to awe the field with my overpowering intelligence (cough cough, wink wink). I am trying to develop this approach as I believe it is one way to confront the nominalist and deconstructionist tendencies of an overly intelligent but unwise population. The method is still being developed, so take me on record as saying this was a test case. Enjoy:

Although this is an Islamic insider quarrel, and I hate to step in from the
outside, I think you should all realize something. Now of course you are free to
reject my slippery slope argument, since technically it's a logical fallacy, but
I believe that it's experientially validated time and time again.

If Muslims in the US want to use their freedom to reshape Islam in ways
that they see fit, without the consensus of a recnogized and respected ruling
body, just realize that you are guaranteeing denominations for the future. First
there will be this split between male/female prayer leading mosques. Second
it'll be about sexual orientation. Then something about leadership style.
Finally you'll start getting splinter denominations like the Jews and Protestant
Christians who can barely even tell you with authenticity that they "are" a Jew
or Christian.

In Christianity it has been those groups, namely the Orthodox and to some
extent the Catholics, who have been unpopular, but who continue to grow - mostly
because they don't sell out to the winds of change. It may help short term, but
schisms hurt future generations and take people out of community and out of
conversation.There may or may not be room for female leaders of Muslims prayers,
but please heed this: If the precedent is set that the way to make the rules is
to break the rules, Islam in the US will be essentially unstructured in any real
sense within 2 generations.


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