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MoEnzyme
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Jake's conversion
« on: 2006-03-22 15:21:52 »
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Hello fellow Virians.  I am today changing my handle in the Church of the Virus.  You can of course still call me "Jake" as I have always been since arriving many years ago.  Lucifer reminded me of several other email addresses and handles I have used in the Church of the Virus for various particular reasons.  So I figured I would take the opportunity to list all the ones I can remember.  memelab@alo.com, and logicnazi@aol.com were mostly just two earlier addresses.  "Loki" was a name I used a bit as a bad-boy mythological archetype.  "Shadow" took the place of Loki and I used it almost exclusively in IRC chat.  And so I've decided to finally draw it all together into one name. 

Mo

What does it mean?  Well for starters its short for "Mohammed Ali", because I want to fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee, but mostly its just short, and can be short for all kinds of things.  I've been talking in IRC lately about my recent interest in Islam, and if and when I do finally "go all the way", I'm sure Mo will have something to do with that.  If things take that course, I expect that I will go through some process of making it my "In Real Life" name as well.  In addition to the name change it is also the begining of some effort to consilidate my online identity so that I'm called by the same name in chat, on the BBS, and elsewhere.  In that respect Mo is already bigger than "Jake".  Far from being a continuation of my "multiple personality disorder" as Mermaid likes to tease me, it is rather the begining of its end.  Mo is the final prophet .

I'm starting a thread in free for all where everybody can comment, suggest, ridicule, criticize etc. on this.
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #1 on: 2006-03-22 15:52:34 »
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Just some topics I've already encountered in IRC, since I first floated my new name there.

Why Islam?  Well, I haven't actually converted as of this moment, but it is something that I'm giving serious thought.  First off for some of the same reasons that I was first attracted to Lucifer.com when Church of Virus was first forming.  I suppose I've always had it in me to want to join some stigmatized group, and right now, in America, Muslims are definitely a stigmatized group.  The most identifiable "enemy" in the post 9/11 US psyche.  Now that churchofvirus.org looks so much more sanitized I was figuring it was time to adopt some more stigma.

Secondly, however, I have through my political activities encountered some of the local Muslim community.  Whatever Islam may or may not have stood for at some other time and place, this group of people so far seems very eager to be seen as reasonable, empathic, and appear to visibly search for some sense of vision in this country that is ready to be hostile with them.  I went to an open house at their mosque where they rather candidly discussed the Mohammed cartoons.  I didn't agree entirely with their approach, but I think that the open house was a very constructive response to the sense of crisis they felt about the cartoons.  And it was about so much more, the cartoons only got some brief attention.  A lot of their message to me sounded over-all very compatible with the virtues (reason, empathy, and vision), and the sins (hypocrisy, apathy, and dogmatism).  The one I heard the least about was dogmatism, so perhaps this shall become a point of some inquiry for me, but I'm already intrigued.  I'm not a complete stranger to Islam.  I was raised Unitarian Universalist, and so I am familiar with the Unitarian theological aspects of Islam, albeit packaged in a liberal Christian memeplex.  As UU's are also universalists, I have studied other religions as part of my upbringing so other cultural and historical aspects of Islam are at least familiar to me.

Oh yeah, and it might piss Joe Dees off.  Well, that's not a real reason, but in a larger sense, I would see converting to Islam as an expression of ethical and political indignation towards the fascist political machine running this country and its ideology of corruption.  Joe just happens to be their CoV whipping boy.  I understand that in the wake of the initial military successes of Islam that it then often spread into new societies through the political indignation of those fighting the corruption and oppression of power.  On that count I feel ripe.

« Last Edit: 2006-03-22 15:54:45 by Mo » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #2 on: 2006-03-23 22:56:25 »
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Dear {Mo, Jake Sapiens, memelab, logicnazi, Loki, Every1Hz, and Shadow} or even, as I think more appropriate, 'Alf a Mo'

Whatever is going on with you? Which half of your brain has stopped functioning? What is the point in converting to Mohammedanism in a country where this doesn't even buy you multiple preteen sleeping partners, and where the President calls them his good friends and prays with them (when he isn't preying on them). Do you really mean the "There is no god but god and Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him aka PBUH or PooBar) is his prophet", Mohammedanism? Mohammad the goatphile of the "esteemed" Q'orish tribe? Sheriously? You will be in bad company. Aside from the brain damaged Ali, Chef (of South Park fame - see the "So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but..." thread for more) changed his stage name from Jerome McElroy to Abdul Mohammed Jabbar-Raof Kareem Ali back in 2000. Unfortunately, just as for Christianity - or Judaism - or any number of nasty patriarchal cults, A non-hypocritical adoption of Islam requires you to check in some largish number of braincells at the door (notice how the born again invariably suffer brain damage prior to or simultaneous with their "rebirthing") in order to accept the required "beliefs" or even to accept the "holy writings" as being worth reading (they having the usual problem of holy writings in that they require so much "translation" to mean something that they essentially say anything the translator wants them to mean) . I'm mortified that somebody as smart as you would consider suggesting such a thing even in jest. And if not in jest, which half of your brain has stopped functioning? Because if your brain were functioning on all its cylinders you would see that you would have to play the hypocrite to sign-up. Which I'm persuaded you wouldn't have bothered with for any reason, least of all to bath in the soft-glow of group acceptance, in the past.

If you really desperately want to be part of an oppressed minority group, as I have previously observed, and Lucifer has recently confirmed, all you need do is flaunt your atheism. "Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry."..."they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public."

As far as seeming "reasonable, empathic, and ...[searching for] some sense of vision in this country that is ready to be hostile with them...very compatible with the virtues (reason, empathy, and vision), and the sins (hypocrisy, apathy, and dogmatism) goes", this is largely true of what most religions say - Islam, Roman Catholicism, Buddhism, even some small number of Protestants (and even a few atheists). In my experience, this appearance exists only for so long as words and circumstances permit ambiguity. Remove the ambiguity and you will discover that far from slight disagreements that the differences are fundamental and serious. For one thing, a good Muslim is instructed to avoid the company of Q'affir (unbelievers). That automatically eliminates most company that I would imagine you would consider worth seeking (at least for any length of time).

As for Joe Dees, he - and his ilk - are not worth one instant of your consideration when examining your preferred intellectual spectacles. Consider yourself a victim of the Bush anti-reality campaign and mourn the passing of your wonderful mind for a spell before reconsidering. If that doesn't work to dissuade you, just think how bad Joe Dees would feel about his writings here if he ever regained his sanity. Take it from me, I predict that if you follow this path, your embarrassment and even anguish over the loss of your self-respect will be vastly  worse than he could ever suffer - because unlike the NeoCons and NeoConned, I think you really do empathize with others - and yourself. I also predict that you will eventually regain your senses if you follow this path. Cogitate on this vision a little. Then giggle*.

Very kind regards

Hermit

*Then consider taking a laxative. It may do you some good.
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #3 on: 2006-03-24 06:03:13 »
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Hey Mo,

Do you believe in God?

If you do not, then I think you would be insulting Muslims and Islam by converting just for politico-social reasons.

At various times I have wanted to express my solidarity with Jews, blacks, gays, even women, but I have never seriously considered becoming one (even if I could).  Please stop and think about this.

If you absolutely have to convert to something Islamic, then please become a Sufi.

Kind regards

Jonathan
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #4 on: 2006-03-24 12:36:32 »
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Quote from: Jonathan Davis on 2006-03-24 06:03:13   

Hey Mo,

Do you believe in God?

If you do not, then I think you would be insulting Muslims and Islam by converting just for politico-social reasons.

At various times I have wanted to express my solidarity with Jews, blacks, gays, even women, but I have never seriously considered becoming one (even if I could).  Please stop and think about this.

If you absolutely have to convert to something Islamic, then please become a Sufi.

Kind regards

Jonathan

Thanks Jonathan,  I'm answering yours first because its the easier one. I'll have to digest Hermit's objections a little more.  I'll take Sufism under advisment.  As for God, I at least acknowlege God as a powerful anthropomorphism, probably more so than when I used to identify myself as "atheist".  Back then it was just stupid and I didn't care to understand why people think of such things.  I'm not proclaiming anything brilliant about it now, but thanks to my consideration of memetics I recognize the tendency of human minds to perform such cognitive tricks.  Anthropomorphism is the most naturally occuring metaphor for humans, and so it should come as no surprise that in dealing with the unknown, however great that may be in a situation, that humans will turn to or perhaps invent God. 

Indeed I'm somewhat inclined to think that considering "God's point of view" in terms of omniscience, might have aided more than just a few humans to develop more of a taste for an objective point of view -- the "way things really are", or the "way God sees it", even when we can only infer it.  At one point in history the church served as the biggest patron of science.  We like to honor Galileo for standing up to the church, but we often forget that the reason he even had to deal with the church at all was because they were paying the bills in the first place.  As I understand it many of the earliest scientists were religiously inspired thinkers.  As much as they had developed an interest in hermenuetics for reading the scripture, they saw science as the hermeneutics of the creation.

Since then fundamentalist strains throughout western monotheism have sought to "put things back the way they were", and have risen to dominate modern religious life.  I'm not so interested in the way things were.  In contrast to that, I'm rather interested in those first religious/spiritual drives that got us here in the first place, and whatever remains of that vision that can help carry us forward in our transhumanist journey.  If there is anything to that, then that is a God I can believe and even reckon in.
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #5 on: 2006-03-24 13:06:33 »
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Here are some chat logs from 3/22 where Lucifer grilled me over similar issues.

16:32:00 Lucifer: heymo
16:32:14 Mo   : Hey, Lucifer!
16:32:36 Lucifer: You hinted that you are considering converting to Islam in your message
16:34:06 Mo    :yes. . . considering. not a done thing yet.
16:34:17 Mo    :any thoughts on that?
16:35:01 Lucifer: a few
16:35:12 Mo   : heh, good. I hope so.
16:36:17 Lucifer: I imagine most virians would assume you are joking
16:36:33 Mo    :I've considered that.
16:36:35 Mo    :I'm not.
16:36:46 Lucifer: so I have to ask why?
16:37:08 Mo   : Indeed I think it was the CoV idea that we should seek to parasitize other establish religions.
16:37:33 Lucifer: really?
16:37:42 Lucifer: maybe you could refresh my memory?
16:38:18 Mo   : Virus? isn't that the metaphor to begin with?
16:38:56 Lucifer: yes, a metaphor for how religions infect people
16:39:02 Mo   : a Virus is not viable by itself, it needs a host. And if it is to deal with religion then it needs religious host(s).
16:39:49 Mo   : Right, but we moved beyond that when we began contemplating a memetically engineered "Church of Virus".
16:41:09 Lucifer: right, I still don't see the connection
16:41:38 Lucifer: Islam is another mind virus
16:41:44 Lucifer: You want to become infected because...?
16:43:34 Mo   : because . . . Islam as a community under seige in US is vulnerable . . . open to new ways of assimilating as its members need to, and in my recent experiences they are open to a message from the left.
16:44:06 Mo   : They have already tried to align themselves with the Religious Right, pre 9/11 and have gotten nothing but grief in return.
16:45:52 Mo   : Mind Viruses are inevitable, I'm just interested in rendering them more compatible with CoV virtues and sins.
16:46:16 Lucifer: So the plan is to infect muslims with virian ideals?
16:46:21 Mo   : or rendering more compatible versions thereof.
16:46:56 Mo   : I think they are already infected to a certain degree. Its just a question of developing those infections further.
16:47:04 Lucifer: * Lucifer nods
16:47:25 Mo   : US muslims. I only deal with the local phenomenon at this time.
16:49:33 Lucifer: My understanding is that to become a muslim you have to give up atheism
16:49:37 Mo   : I agree that there are retrograde "fundamentalist" strains of Islam that will never see the world my way. That's true with all major religions. I just see some possibilities for hope in this particular environment of bigotry that they experience in US.
16:50:44 Mo   : I think I would have to always advocate for more tolerance of disbelief. I think this is easier in US, since its the fundamentalist Xians who are most dedicated toward eradicating their memeplex.
16:51:08 Lucifer: Sure, but can you really believe in Allah?
16:51:16 Lucifer: Or do you plan to fake it?
16:51:56 Mo   : Allah is simply the greatest anthropomorphism, to say that there is only one anthropomorphism is to simply acknowlege that they were all anthropomorphisms to begin with.
16:53:09 Lucifer: Whatever conception of Allah you have to use to say you believe it, I doubt that it is the same as the one in Islam
16:53:21 Mo   : Besides when there are no other applicable metaphor, anthropomorphism is as good as any. As Dennet himself would acknowlege, the universe is full of "as if" intentionality, why not just recognize that a little more explicitly
16:53:56 Lucifer: I can say I believe in God too (while silently substituting "universe")
16:54:07 Lucifer: it is still a trick
16:54:12 Mo   : Is the one is Islam all that coherent anyway? Its really just a hodgepodge of various pre-scientific anthropomorphisms, just like Xianity.
16:54:41 Lucifer: Duuude, you're going level-3 now!
16:54:50 Mo   : heh. maybe.
16:55:16 Mo   : Isn't all of human culture built on just such tricks?
16:56:15 Lucifer: Is that how you rationalize it?
16:56:58 Mo   : In my opinion, Islam is simply the latest upgrade to western Judeo/Christian so to rationalize it is no more (and probably less) of a stretch than any other major monotheism.
16:57:02 Lucifer: I'm not doubting you could infiltrate the muslims
16:57:26 Lucifer: I'm just thinking they would likely feel betrayed if they discovered what you really believe
16:58:52 Mo   : beyond the hocus pocus, I have found many of them eager to be thought of as embracing reason. I can embrace a god (anthropomorphism) of reason simply on the grounds of ideology if not theology. There is no betrayal in that IMO.
17:00:33 Mo   : I believe (even reckon) in Allah to whatever degree such reckoning reflects Reason, Empathy, and Vision, and avoids Hypocrisy, Apathy, and Dogmatism.
17:00:37 Lucifer: There god is supernatural
17:00:43 Lucifer: Their^
17:01:08 Lucifer: I know reason is part of their ancient culture
17:01:09 Mo   : less so than Xian god.
17:01:20 Mo   : they don't see Jesus as god.
17:01:25 Lucifer: * Lucifer nods
17:02:04 Lucifer: Are you saying Islam is entirely logically consistent with science?
17:02:09 Mo   : no holy spook, no godlike son, they are 66.7% less supernaturally inclined than Xians.
17:02:23 Mo   : I think it could be.
17:02:47 Mo   : The key issue will be dogmatism for me.
17:04:13 Mo   : * Mo is not seeking perfection in his conversion, practicality will work better.
17:04:57 Lucifer: Sounds like a fascinating experiment
17:05:00 Mo   : Perfection is better worked out on a personal level.
17:05:04 Lucifer: book worthy even
17:05:17 Mo   : heh
17:05:29 Mo   : We will see.
17:05:50 Mo   : not a finished deal yet. but I'm sticking with "Mo" either way.
17:07:32 Lucifer: Mo power to you ;-)
17:08:29 Lucifer: I would have been slightly less surprised to hear you'd decided to join the neocons
17:09:20 Mo   : Reeeeeeeaaaly. . . . 
17:09:45 Lucifer: * Lucifer scootles
17:09:49 Mo   : After all my tirades with Joe?
17:10:27 Mo   : The neocons are much more anti-thetical to CoV ethics than Muslims IMO.
17:10:53 Lucifer: except for the Muslims minority that bomb stuff
17:11:45 Mo   : of course . . . they are antithetical to everything . . . but so also are the fundies who bomb abortion clinics and the federal building in OKC.
17:11:55 Lucifer: * Lucifer nods
17:12:21 Mo   : They just aren't brown enough to trigger an enemy response out of most US citizens.
17:13:14 Mo   : Not to mention the fundie neocons who invde other countries and cause civil war.
17:13:56 Lucifer: hey no argument here
17:14:05 Mo   : Bush has killed far more innocent people than Timothy McVeigh could have dreamed of.
17:15:12 Lucifer: I'm sure the price is not too high in his little mind
17:17:23 Mo   : His mind isn't his own.
17:17:30 Lucifer: Someone should have asked what the expected price was before the war, and what he would do if the real price exceeded his expectations
17:18:13 Mo   : That would assume he gave a shit. He decided to invade Iraq before he was ever elected.
17:18:39 Mo   : If the real price was too high we would simply lie about it, as he already has.
17:18:51 Lucifer: Sure, but there should have been consequences for taking the nation to war under false pretenses
17:19:31 Mo   : obviously as a nation we have failed on the consequences.
17:20:03 Lucifer: au contraire, your nation rewarded him with re-election
17:20:19 Mo   : so now I'm more excited about joining the "enemy" and seeing if they can do any better.
17:20:28 Mo   : worse yet.
17:21:26 Mo   : so we are stupid on purpose? Whatever the "enemy" has to offer can't be worse than that.
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #6 on: 2006-03-25 05:46:15 »
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i say, vaya con dios! whatever keeps you centred. congratulations and keep us posted.
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #7 on: 2006-03-29 17:06:28 »
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I have read Hermit's concerns, and I was thinking about adressing them, but instead of going into it all, would it make him feel any less concerned if I decided to become a Sufi?  As I understand they are more tolerant than many other kinds of Muslim I could become and probably more open to my liberal political points of view.
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #8 on: 2006-03-29 18:03:29 »
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I'm not sure how this suggestion is intended to improve my understanding of your thinking.

Given that the Sufi are "acceptably non-aggressive" to suit even the most ConTroll oriented NeoContaminated bigot, would this serve your asserted purpose to find the most repudiated group better than being a Virian? Can you substantiate - or even articulate - why this should be?

Would you feel comfortable playing the belief game viz the big bad monotheistic god and his camel knowing that the people you are playing mindgames with comprehend your assertions differently? Would issues of hypocrisy not concern you? Would you really become a person of the book and do what is expected? Donate money, stay away from unbelievers, perceive dogs (and bleeders) as unclean etc, etc. You would have to consider the grape as cursed - and I really recommend you try to find and read the brilliant parody of the encounter between Mohammad and the grape as seen from the grape's perspective before you make a final commitment (you shouldn't read works like that after "converting" or you will offend some of your new friends - unless you hypocritically hide it) - realizing that as far as your Muslim friends would be concerned, it would be a final commitment - or they would - rightfully IMO - regard you as a very impolite hypocrite. Rightful because I'm quite  sure they did not encourage you in any way to convert (unless perhaps they are members of some very strange group I have never encountered that has adopted some probably harmful Christian notions), so this action, should you take it, is a clear statement on your part to adopt the rules by which they live their lives (Islam does not require "belief") without reservations on your part. Reservations that you may already have expressed in some of your previous communications on this thread.

While mentioning issues, you might consider some practical considerations which should possibly give you pause for thought. For example, it might be very difficult to disprove an accusation that your charity towards widows and orphans had ended in the hands of the family of e.g. a suicide bomber (particularly if they did - and I am not persuaded that this is - from a religious or social perspective wrong), but according to current American law, this would make you a supporter of terrorism and thus a terrorist and not eligible to lay a shingle anywhere useful. Or would you be careful only to donate non-transferable food-stamps to the unexceptionally needy? In which case, I suggest you watch "My Fair Lady" and pay particularly careful attention to what Eliza Doolittle's father has to say about the merits of the deserving poor.

I like and respect you too much to tell you what to do. But I also like and respect you personally - and your contribution here - enough to want to invite you to stay. And greatly fear that if you take this path that you will end up leaving here and having to avoid our company - or kicking yourself for your hypocrisy. The former would leave me poorer, the latter leaving me unhappy for you. Neither of which appeals to me as an outcome.

Given the number of years that you have lived, and the very many more I hope you will live, I suggest that there is and should be no urgency in this potential or even threatened process. I hope you will take your time to think seriously on this, at least as seriously as those whom you are joining might understand you to be committing to be (which is likely very serious, consider the implications of the fact that some brands of Islam regard apostasy as deserving of death), particularly if you are feeling pressures which might not be leaving your mind as razor-like as it can and ought to be in making changes which I at least see as being very serious and pretty enormous in their scope.

Festine lente

Hermit
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #9 on: 2006-03-31 08:17:52 »
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Quote from: Hermit on 2006-03-29 18:03:29   
I like and respect you too much to tell you what to do. But I also like and respect you personally - and your contribution here - enough to want to invite you to stay. And greatly fear that if you take this path that you will end up leaving here and having to avoid our company - or kicking yourself for your hypocrisy. The former would leave me poorer, the latter leaving me unhappy for you. Neither of which appeals to me as an outcome.

I would like to second this.

JD
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #10 on: 2006-03-31 13:14:37 »
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For what it is worth, I have always been a bit of a devil's advocate.  Indeed some might say that as an attorney it has become a bit of a professional habit for the right compensation.  I wouldn't cease being myself.  Whatever religious jersey I end up wearing, I don't think I would stop checking in at the Church of Virus just to see how the damned are doing.    Indeed I think whatever religious program I end up adopting would have to be compatible with the Virtues and Sins, or will end up getting made compatible if executed on this wetware.
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #11 on: 2006-04-07 15:35:16 »
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Quote from: Hermit on 2006-03-29 18:03:29   
I'm not sure how this suggestion is intended to improve my understanding of your thinking.

Given that the Sufi are "acceptably non-aggressive" to suit even the most ConTroll oriented NeoContaminated bigot, would this serve your asserted purpose to find the most repudiated group better than being a Virian? Can you substantiate - or even articulate - why this should be?


I was actually trying to find the Muslim flavor most closely compatible with my way of looking at the world and god/allah ideas.  So far I find the Sufi programming the least dogmatic of Muslim strains.  From the point of view of honoring my upbringing (parents etc.) as a Unitarian Universalist, so far I find it the most compatible.  I didn't consider this choice for the sake of neo-con fuckwits at all.  Indeed on social issues, I think the Sufi would probably be the least compatible with fundamentalist thinking, even though they might fall within their "enemy of my enemy" (or dissenter from my enemy) mode of thinking.  Reckoning back from ultimate consequences in a collective sense, I actually view the wahhabi/taliban strain more of a political ally to the neo-con fuckwits.  Even though they represent their intentions as in conflict with each other, in consequence they consistently reinforce the political power and pseudo-legitimacy of each other.  The wahhabi/taliban strains get a hypocritical enemy against which to demonstrate a pseudo-moral/ethical superiority that they would otherwise completely lack in comparison to the rest of humanity, and the neo-con fuckwits get a chance to peddle the fear of a violent enemy in order to financially profit.

I discussed this here --> http://www.churchofvirus.org/bbs/index.php?board=67;action=display;threadid=34614;start=0
where I said:

"I personally view my take on Bush vs. Bin Laden as they are both really bad
guys (or hopelessly in league with really bad guys) who are dependent on
each other for their very political survival; neither would be successful
without the other.  As this is a war of intelligence and perception, Bin
Laden and company clearly have the more advantageous side of the formula in
terms of being able to drive international events more or less in their
favor, while Bush and company have the more advantageous side in terms of
enriching themselves financially in very personal and more often than not
corrupt ways.  Of course the big losers in this equation are the US voting
public as their credibility, influence, financial well being, and economic
well-being are undercut more precipitously each day through the actions of
these malignant parasites.  We are the ones getting our asses kicked at the
end of the day, whom I keep hoping will say "enough" sooner rather than
later."


Quote from: Hermit on 2006-03-29 18:03:29   
Would you feel comfortable playing the belief game viz the big bad monotheistic god and his camel knowing that the people you are playing mindgames with comprehend your assertions differently? Would issues of hypocrisy not concern you? Would you really become a person of the book and do what is expected? Donate money, stay away from unbelievers, perceive dogs (and bleeders) as unclean etc, etc. You would have to consider the grape as cursed - and I really recommend you try to find and read the brilliant parody of the encounter between Mohammad and the grape as seen from the grape's perspective before you make a final commitment (you shouldn't read works like that after "converting" or you will offend some of your new friends - unless you hypocritically hide it) - realizing that as far as your Muslim friends would be concerned, it would be a final commitment - or they would - rightfully IMO - regard you as a very impolite hypocrite. Rightful because I'm quite  sure they did not encourage you in any way to convert (unless perhaps they are members of some very strange group I have never encountered that has adopted some probably harmful Christian notions), so this action, should you take it, is a clear statement on your part to adopt the rules by which they live their lives (Islam does not require "belief") without reservations on your part. Reservations that you may already have expressed in some of your previous communications on this thread.

While mentioning issues, you might consider some practical considerations which should possibly give you pause for thought. For example, it might be very difficult to disprove an accusation that your charity towards widows and orphans had ended in the hands of the family of e.g. a suicide bomber (particularly if they did - and I am not persuaded that this is - from a religious or social perspective wrong), but according to current American law, this would make you a supporter of terrorism and thus a terrorist and not eligible to lay a shingle anywhere useful. Or would you be careful only to donate non-transferable food-stamps to the unexceptionally needy? In which case, I suggest you watch "My Fair Lady" and pay particularly careful attention to what Eliza Doolittle's father has to say about the merits of the deserving poor.

I like and respect you too much to tell you what to do. But I also like and respect you personally - and your contribution here - enough to want to invite you to stay. And greatly fear that if you take this path that you will end up leaving here and having to avoid our company - or kicking yourself for your hypocrisy. The former would leave me poorer, the latter leaving me unhappy for you. Neither of which appeals to me as an outcome.

Given the number of years that you have lived, and the very many more I hope you will live, I suggest that there is and should be no urgency in this potential or even threatened process. I hope you will take your time to think seriously on this, at least as seriously as those whom you are joining might understand you to be committing to be (which is likely very serious, consider the implications of the fact that some brands of Islam regard apostasy as deserving of death), particularly if you are feeling pressures which might not be leaving your mind as razor-like as it can and ought to be in making changes which I at least see as being very serious and pretty enormous in their scope.

Festine lente

Hermit


Thanks for all your concerns, Hermit.  Perhaps many of the problematic fundamentalists/reactionaries of Islam display the concerns you suggest.  Once again here is my starting point, which I think stands in greater contrast to these problematic Muslims than your typical neo-con Christers:

"Since then fundamentalist strains throughout western monotheism have sought to 'put things back the way they were', and have risen to dominate modern religious life.  I'm not so interested in the way things were.  In contrast to that, I'm rather interested in those first religious/spiritual drives that got us here in the first place, and whatever remains of that vision that can help carry us forward in our transhumanist journey.  If there is anything to that, then that is a God I can believe and even reckon in. "

If I were to choose some non-Sufi/reactionary strain of Islam, your charges of hypocrisy in continuing to associate with you and virian ilk would seem more pressing, however I think that even greater issues of hypocrisy would prevent me from cutting associations with www.churchofvirus.org.  To recycle more, I said, "For what it is worth, I have always been a bit of a devil's advocate.  Indeed some might say that as an attorney it has become a bit of a professional habit for the right compensation.  I wouldn't cease being myself.  Whatever religious jersey I end up wearing, I don't think I would stop checking in at the Church of Virus just to see how the damned are doing.    Indeed I think whatever religious program I end up adopting would have to be compatible with the Virtues and Sins, or will end up getting made compatible if executed on this wetware."

I appreciate your bringing up these concerns and objections, and I count on your continuing do so.  That's why I brought this up here in the first place.

« Last Edit: 2006-04-07 15:40:01 by Mo » Report to moderator   Logged

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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #12 on: 2006-04-15 13:55:17 »
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Why Islam?  Well, its the latest major "upgrade" to Western monotheism.  It reflects a slightly more advanced time in human history compared to previous versions.  For one literacy was more widespread at the time.  Compared to Christianity it was less obsessed about garden variety supernaturalism -- they reject the holy ghost and the divinity of Jesus.  If I were to sell it to an atheist (in jest of course) I might plaster a huge "66.7% LESS Supernatural" across the cover of the book.  Muslims would never dream of sitting around discussing transubstantiation seriously.  Perhaps some of the reason the Muslims were less transfixed by supernaturalism was the greater literacy.  Since supernaturalisms serve as memory hooks in the more oral traditions, with the arrival of greater literacy they became less necessary, if still somewhat fascinating as all supernaturalisms can seem by their nature.  At least that's my "just so" story.  It does however comport with Pascal Boyer's theory of memetics expounded in Religion Explained.  I think this also made Islamic culture more susceptible at that time to memes about science, making it an excellent repository of human knowlege until the rest of the world was ready for it again.
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #13 on: 2006-04-15 14:16:54 »
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Another thing that fascinates me is the more positive attitude of Islam towards the perfectability of humans, whereas Christianity seems to focus more on the sinful nature of man.  Mohammed (pbuh) after all is just a man, and so were all the prophets.  In an odd sort of way it promotes hero worship, even in spite of the stronger injunctions against idolotry.  If this person is alleged to be so perfect and yet still only human, then why not me?  Of course the prophethood is supposedly closed post-Mohammed (pbuh) but emulation is still otherwise encouraged.  I see very few Christians seriously taking it upon themselves to act Christlike.  Christ after all is the son of God, so why should we even try?  Even if one rejects that, he got nailed to a post and hung to dry at the end and enjoyed only momentary successes during his life.  Do we really want that for ourselves?  Oh sure there is the resurrection and all, but the rest of us are mere mortals.  It doesn't make for as compelling an emulation formula although Islam certainly bestows prophethood on him as well.
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Re:Jake's conversion
« Reply #14 on: 2006-04-15 14:20:51 »
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So I'm not yet sold on this conversion thing, although I'm definitely liking the new name.  Right now, I'm getting more involved in my masonic lodge.  Then again, there are Muslim freemasons, so its all still on the table.  I think I will just let it process for a while.  Maybe I'll visit a few mosques in the meantime.
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