1) That relies on one specific definition of peace. Why does a religion of peace curb aggressive instincts rather than, say, develop a warrior culture and kill all of its opponents to achieve "peace through lack of enemies". Granted, that sounds more like a DnD religion than anything that could exist in the real world, but the fact remains that yours isn't the only definition of peace.
Peace: A state or period in which there is no war
Whilst I agree that peace CAN be achieved through killing everybody who disagrees with you, I highly doubt that that was the intent of the question, or the meaning of the phrase, haha. I mean, can you really call a religion "peaceful" if it seeks to murder everybody who refuses to agree with them? Because what if they fail? Then they've just got one great whopping war on their hands, and they have failed to bring about peace. I don't have my own specific definition of peace; I use the actual definition. Words have meanings, and as soon as we start throwing them about as if they could mean other conceptual things, that's when words start to lose their impact as a whole. I grant you that "peace" needs better definition, but in my mind, something that seeks to gain peace through visiting violence upon others is not an ideology of peace. Within the Quran specifically, there are justifications for attacking other people. If it was a religion of peace, it would say something more like "Leave people alone unless they attack you first." But it doesn't say that; it actively condones killing the infidels.
2) Most Western religions believe in man as a direct product of God. Unless we allow an imperfect God, those aggressive urges are there "deliberately". Why would a religion seek to minimise them? To phrase it another way, why do religions seek to minimise them. Or at least condemn them. Once again we find ourselves at "Why does sin exist", the question that won't die.
The Abrahamic religions by and large don't teach that violence was a intention of God/s; Adam and Eve ate the apple against God's wishes, and then Cain murdered Abel against Gods wishes, etc etc etc. The easy answer to your question is that very few religions (western, at least) were written in one sitting by the same author, so there are a lot of plotholes and contradictions within these texts. The cynical answer is that the Abrahamic religions in particular (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) seek to make their followers feel guilty about their impulses in order to exploit that guilt. To offer an analogy, religions like Islam and Christianity tell you that they've poisoned you, and then offer you what they claim is the cure. To answer your second question, "why does Sin exist," I will go on record and say that I don't think it does - the idea of "Original Sin" is utterly abhorrent and immoral to my mind - but it exists within religion to give them a way of manipulating their followers. Might not have been the original intention, but it's how it's used far, far too often. When people deconvert from religions, the fear of hell stays far, far longer than the disappointment of "losing" heaven.
3) Does a religion have to be 100% peaceful to be a "religion of peace"? The US is a capitalist society despite not everything being 100% capitalist, Bangladesh is a poor nation despite not everyone being poor.
This is true, but when one of the central tenants is "You believe in this god or you die," it can hardly be called a peaceful religion. To flip the table, not all Romans were warmongering Imperialists; many of the peasants couldn't give a fig leaf over what was happening in Gaul, they had fields to till. And yet we still say that the Roman Empire was imperialistic because it took part in imperialistic actions more often than not. Similarly, Islam preaches war and intolerance more often than it preaches the opposite. It preaches peace within
Islam, but only so that they can better wage war on the non-believers.
4) Is Islam purportedly a religion of peace or the religion of peace. I've seen it both ways but it makes a massive difference.
I would say neither. And the second option - the
- suggests unflinching determination to convert everybody. It makes it sound like it's the only way, which automatically puts them at odds with everybody who disagrees with them...which therefore makes it less peaceful. A peaceful religion would seek to increase tolerance and understanding between different groups, not exacerbate those differences to the point of open conflict.
5) Not in the bit I quoted, but "it just gives groups you can be violent to" strikes me as a mighty weird way to look at things. Are you genuinely claiming that a purpose of Islam is to create non-Muslims? That's...that really couldn't be less true - do you think one of the purposes of the police is to create criminals? If not that, though, how does Islam give those groups?
No, that is nowhere near what I was implying. The first recourse is to attempt conversion. But the Quran - like the bible - actively says that if they don't convert or try to convince you that this religion is wrong, you are to execute them. The hardline Muslims in Afghanistan? They are following the Qoran to the letter. First: Convert. If that doesn't succeed? Kill. That doesn't sound like a just, fair, peaceful ideology to me. "Murder everybody who disagrees with me" is not tolerant in the least. There are two purposes of Islam: Create new Muslims, and kill the ones who refuse to become Muslims because they're evil. Rather than "Create non muslims," one of the purposes is to "KILL non-Muslims that refuse to convert."
6) It is, obviously, a minority of Muslims involved in systematic violence. Does the fact that that majority can exist within the umbrella of Islam mean that Islam itself can't be peaceful? Is this a failure of Islam to curb those aggresive instincts in that group as it has for all other Muslims?
Doesn't matter. We're not talking about whether Muslims
are peaceful, we're talking about Islam itself,
absent its followers. What does Islam actually teach? The fact that there are Muslims that do good are more a testament to the fact that there are good people that are Muslims, rather than the wholesomeness of the Muslim Faith itself. The followers are largely irrelevant to the discussion; as I say, the question isn't "Are Muslims Peaceful," it's "Is Islam
a peaceful religion?" And the only way we can judge that is by looking at what it actually says rather than how people justify it...and when you look at what it teaches, you cannot come to the conclusion that it's a nice, tolerant, peaceful and progressive religion. It's misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, intolerant and violent. That is what the Qoran teaches in regards to the "Non Believers," and that is how it should be judged.
I want to make clear here: I'm not having a go at Muslims. I'm having a go at Islam. I can dislike an ideology and not mind the practitioners, much like I don't really rate Christianity either, but don't really have anything against most Christians. Just thought I would clarify, haha.
The Same thing is what we have been saying for Muslims. Because if a few thousand people are killing they do not represent the religion Just as few Criminals or Warlords, don't represent All of humanity.
I agree, but as I mentioned above, what the followers do is largely irrelevant to the intent and teachings of the ideology itself. I will happily admit that it's only the minority of Muslims killing people, but that minority is right about what the Qoran teaches.
And I would say that this argument of "Well, that's only the minority" enables that minority. Because the more the moderates defend their religion and say "Oh no, it doesn't REALLY say that," the more it acts as a shield for the religion to continue spreading and radicalisation to continue happening. I'm not saying get rid of religion - that would be stupid and oppressive - but I am saying that we should recognise that the Abrahamic religions, at least, are not nice, fluffy, tolerant things that should be held up as paragons of virtue and morality. Because regardless of how modern apologists twist the words to try and make it seem that way, they are archaic, regressive, oppressive teachings that we would largely be better off without. *shrug*
But back to the topic at hand:
The fact that Muslims do good does not mean that Islam is good. The Qoran, when read in isolation and discounting the hoops that people try and jump through to make it seem nice, is a very brutal and bloody book.