Questionable Motives

December 14, 2009

How to justify religious belief but disclaim its abhorent practices: Is this the best explanation a bishop can do?

The Rt Rev Stephen Venner called for a more sympathetic approach to the Islamic fundamentalists (in Afghanistan) that recognises their humanity.

“The Taliban can perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other.”

Besides their attacks on the armed forces, the Taliban have also been responsible for public beatings, amputations and executions and have launched bomb attacks on the civilian population in Afghanistan.

The bishop said that some of their methods of combat are not honourable or acceptable, but argued that it was unhelpful to demonise them.

“We must remember that there are a lot of people who are under their influence for a whole range of reasons, and we simply can’t lump all of those together.

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander in Afghanistan who has written about the insurgency, said the bishop was being naïve.

“We clearly need to understand our enemy but that is more of a military issue rather than a religious one,” he said.

“There are elements in the Taliban who do not act from a religious perspective and it is important to understand and turn them around.

“But there are many others who will not be persuaded. Their central creed and ethos is about violent oppression which comes from a politics of extreme religion that has very little to commend it in terms that we would recognise or appreciate.

“In many ways it is a mistake to compare their faith of extreme holy war with the kind of religion of peace and understanding that the bishop follows. They certainly wouldn’t show understanding of his faith.”

From the article here.

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1 Comment »

  1. So now the bishop apologizes at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8411574.stm

    Bishop Venner said the way the interview had been written up had made his comments look “incredibly insensitive”.

    Insensitive is such a nice word, isn’t it? Could happen to anyone – causing offense where none was intended. But the bishop has done much more than this: he has allowed an anti-human group to be worthy of at least some respect because of the depth of their allegiance to an archaic, brutal, and demeaning religion that motivates their anti-human atrocious behaviours.

    So his words are not just insensitive but very revealing: it’s the depth of faith that matters to this nit and not so much the actions that empower them; hence, these theological bullies in the bishop’s eyes are worthy of some respect. That’s a disgusting attitude for anyone to hold… especially a coddled fool like he is ‘blessed’ to be protected from these same theological bullies not by his pathetic god or a shared love of superstitious nonsense but by the secular state of a western liberal democracy who can by the sacrifices of other citizens to afford him the right to believe what he wishes without fear of being beheaded for his blasphemy. Too bad he doesn’t understand the grave offense he has freely given to those willing to spill their blood in defense of his human rights. That’s religious gratitude for you.

    Comment by tildeb — December 14, 2009 @ 8:52 pm | Reply


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