Questions for Charles Wooley’s Secular Reasoning

“Islam is yet to start the journey towards reformation” …. From a position radical secular the journalist Charles Wooley slashed at Christian fundamentalist claims as well as those espoused by the Islamic faithful. This position has been questioned in reasoned ways by several readers of The Australian who are not necessarily believers in religious dogma — that is, by individuals working within the body of intellectual discourse spawned in the world over the years. I present these comments together with one of my own as an encouragement to Sri Lankan and other readers to participate. 

Ken Moncrieff, Stafford Hts, Queensland: …. Its time for believers to ask why do I believe what I believe? Then after consideration why do I believe that? If thye are honest, answers based on their indoctrination must come to the fore. And that is the key to solving the world’s dilemma with terrorism in its present form–a full analysis of religious indoctrination. Religious fanatic should remember that the holy books they follow were written at a time when superstition, supposition and myths formed the basis of all beliefs and were written by men with little understanding of natural phenomena or of science.

Neil Chambers, Greensborough, Vic:…… I would love Charles Wooley to knock on my door for a rational discussion. It may be a little difficult, but we would probably get there. Difficult because he seems to fail to recognise distinctions, believing that because some religions share common features, they are all the same. Differences between faiths are important if you are thinking about their propensity for violence. Compare, for example, the life of the founder of Christianity and the life of the founder of Islam. He is also selective in his evidence when it comes to the contribution, and rational engagement, of a faith in society. Further, to attribute the risk of religious people doing violence to some shared belief in the afterlife is surely reductionism and a classic fallacy of causation, the fallacy that mistakes correlation for a cause. I might as well argue that the violence of atheists is attributed to their lack of belief in judgment after death, and be equally wrong.

Ian Jones, Mackay, Qld :……..Charles Wooley was refreshing in saying what many of us think every time we are confronted with religious dogma spouted by zealots (“When blind faith crosses out reasoning”, 2/6). He missed one important point about the unprovable but powerful case for submission through the claim of life after death. The concept of soldiers dying in a righteous cause and going straight to heaven was invented by Pope Urban II in 1085 when calling for Christian volunteers for the First Crusade. This was repeated by Pope Gregory VIII and by Pope Innocent III.

In 1245, Pope Innocent IV went one better by granting Inquisitors absolution for whatever “violence and torture they deemed necessary” to root out and silence heretics. These historically recorded facts support Wooley’s view that most religions, not just Islam, have promoted the same things as we are seeing now from the Islamist terrorists. The only difference is that the Reformation allowed the West to break free of the earthly powers of the Christian religion, so that thought and reason could begin again after a millennium of darkness. Islam is yet to start that paticular journey.

Vincent Hodge, Paddington, Qld: ….. Whether we analyse myth, religion or science, human thought has always prided itself on being rational. Myth, religion and science never claim to be right. They can only claim to be rational for their time. And historians tell us that those who do not know history are prisoners of history. Charles Wooley is such a prisoner. That is why we refer to scientific method rather than simply science. Myth, religion and science are methods to overcome the irrational. As Francis Bacon said: “Truth emerges more quickly from error than from division.” It is when myth, religion and science become answers in themselves that irrationality reigns as a god of destruction.

When Abraham took Isaac to the mountain to sacrifice him in accord with the will of his god, he was acting rationally. When people got up in the morning and believed the world was flat, they were acting rationally.

Rationality is no more my rock than irrationality. It was because the method of religious people that led them to stop burning witches that the scientific method was allowed to develop, not the other way around.

Ian Jones, Mackay, Qld..…………Charles Wooley was refreshing in saying what many of us think every time we are confronted with religious dogma spouted by zealots (“When blind faith crosses out reasoning”, 2/6). He missed one important point about the unprovable but powerful case for submission through the claim of life after death. The concept of soldiers dying in a righteous cause and going straight to heaven was invented by Pope Urban II in 1085 when calling for Christian volunteers for the First Crusade. This was repeated by Pope Gregory VIII and by Pope Innocent III.  In 1245, Pope Innocent IV went one better by granting Inquisitors absolution for whatever “violence and torture they deemed necessary” to root out and silence heretics.

These historically recorded facts support Wooley’s view that most religions, not just Islam, have promoted the same things as we are seeing now from the Islamist terrorists. The only difference is that the Reformation allowed the West to break free of the earthly powers of the Christian religion, so that thought and reason could begin again after a millennium of darkness. Islam is yet to start that particular journey.

Esther Anderson, Surrey Hills, Vic: …………………Charles Wooley’s views would carry more weight if he got his facts right. The IRA has always been a political entity, not a religious organisation, formed with the aim of fighting to free Ireland from British rule. He would be welcome to join the IRA as long as he supported its political aims.

   ***  ***

Michael Roberts: On one or two occasions Fundamentalist Christian evangelists have knocked on my door and i have turned them away gently by telling them I am a Buddhist (though I am not). Where I question Charles Wooley is his inattention to one fundamental fact in the distribution and power of the Christian and Islamic fundamentalism today.  The various Pentecostal and other fundamentalist bodies in Western countries are a small minority – even when added together. In contrast the Salafi (Wahabi) strands of Islamic thinking seem to constitute a majority in several Middle eastern countries and hold state power in a few locations, not least within Saudi Arabia and Yemen…. 4 June 2017

NB: Moncrieff’s Letter it appears was edited  [interesting THAT] Here is the full text:

Charles Wooley in his revealing article  “When blind faith crosses out reasoning.”  (TA 6/1) asks in fact, “”How we can have rational discussions with the irrational to starve of terrorism?” And to that question, the answer obviously is that we can’t, as it’s impossible.
But we must therefore identify the sources of any religio-ideologically based terrorism ourselves and openly debate it with rational adherants to that source. In the case of Islamic terrorism, that means  debate and reconciliation with all the theologians, scholars, and intellectuals of Islam as well as Muslims in general. Logic should tell all of them, as it does us, that Islam can’t continue as it is in the World with segments of it reigning terror on everyone including themselves, in an attempt to assert Islamic supremacy over all.
 It’s time surely also for ALL believers of every religion, to ask themselves, “Why do I believe what I believe?”, then after consideration, “Now why should I believe that?” If they are honest in this questioning, answers based on their own indoctrination’s validity must come to the fore. And that is the key to solving the World’s current dilema with terrorism in its present form. A full and valid analysis religious Indoctrination!
Wooley concludes his article with “Everywhere the dark tide of (religious) fanaticism is rising”. Those fanatics involved should remember (if that is possible?) that the holy books they follow so dearly, were written at a time when superstition, supposition and myths formed the basis of all beliefs and were written by men with little understanding of natural phenomena or of science.  However, despite all that today, a real accommodation must be made, and the ball is in Islam’s court to play this game honestly for all Humanity, despite the claimed wishes or directives from any god or prophet.
Sincerely,
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, cultural transmission, heritage, historical interpretation, Islamic fundamentalism, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, tolerance, world events & processes, zealotry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s