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Member since: Thu Jul 24, 2008, 05:59 PM
Number of posts: 5,018

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Saying Islam has nothing to do with the Paris attacks...

Or that the terrorists that carried out the attacks are not "true" Muslims, is like saying that institutional racism doesn't exist, or that white privilege isn't real. And it should be treated as such, but it's not, even on DU, because it turns out something called religious privilege exists.

Quite like how right wing conservatives will equate any criticism of our societal structures or real problems as "reverse racism", many on here and certainly around the world equate criticism of Islam automatically with an ethnic or racial attack. Both are deflections from even aknowledging a problem exists.

And both are fed by privilege. The vast majority of the world is religious. No one wants to be associated with people who do bad things they disagree with in the name of their same religion. And, because the vast majority of people want to have their privilege without confronting troublesome issues within their own belief system, the idea that religions are by definition good, and any bad act is by definition not religious, is a wildly popular and accepted idea embraced most everywhere, as it is a great boon to anyone religious, as the vast majority of the world is.

This privilege is so widespread that liberals seem to exhibit almost as much as conservatives, if not more so. Especially as liberals want to believe in a world where everyone gets along, the idea of any "true" religion being inherently good is a tempting one. Religion has such a powerful and protected status, it's much easier to go along with the status quo and not challenge religious ideas, but instead simply redefine religion to fit whatever worldview a person holds.

This idea ignores fundamental problems in religious ideas.

Islam, as described in the Koran and Hadiths, says a lot of things which most here would fervently disagree. Many people define all the bad parts of these books out of their definition of Islam. But that's not how religion works. The bad ideas of Islam must be addressed, because many people do in fact take them to be true, and a lot of these ideas are very mainstream in the world as a result, with no challenge to their foundations, but instead efforts by liberals to redefine the religion rather than challenge the ideas, because of religion's power and privilege.

Few seem willing to question these bad parts because it ultimately leads to questioning the whole thing. And so many people are so scared at the idea of a religion not being true they will jump through as many mental hoops as needed to maintain their belief while discarding all the parts they disagree with. This is where the privilege of religion most stands out.

Religious privilege means being able to identify with a belief system that has a holy text which endorses bigotry, homophobia, genocide, misogyny, etc. and not expect anyone to think you actually subscribe to said beliefs, in fact, to be offended by anyone who would associate your relief system with the horrible proclamations made within your own holy texts. It means being able to flat out state that anyone of your same belief system who acts badly is simply not a "true" whatever.

This is where moderate believers uphold and support religious power and privilege, which only helps religious radicals like ISIS remain relevant elsewhere. After all, ISIS also believes quite a few Muslims aren't true Muslims, as anyone can use that idea to work to their advantage.

If you identify with a religion whose official dogma or text supports bigotry, homophobia, etc., think about why you continue to identify that way. Chances are, the power and privilege of religion will have a lot to do with it. Maybe you like the community or the opportunities provided to help their people. But again, if you continue to identify or even indirectly support a system that you fundamentally disagree with, question whether the privilege you are helping uphold is good for the world. Because I don't think it is.

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