Friday, August 12, 2005



Fundamentalists usually turn out to be sex-maniacs controlled by the CIA and its friends.

Militant Moslems and the CIA

Christian evangelicals and the CIA


Karen Armstrong, in the Guardian 11 August 2005, wrote about fundamentalism.

She explains:

1. the early Christians were not fundamentalists.

2. it was not until the late 19th century that some Christians began to think that the Bible was literally true in every detail.

3. Before the modern period, Jews, Christians and Muslims saw scriptures as being like poetry, full of parables to be interpreted.

"The word of God was infinite and could not be tied down to a single interpretation."

4. All the verses of the Qur'an are called "parables" (ayat);

its images of paradise, hell and the last judgment are also ayat, pointing to things that we can only glimpse through signs and symbols.

Armstrong writes: 'People do not robotically obey every single edict of their sacred texts. If they did, the world would be full of Christians who love their enemies and turn the other cheek when attacked.'

With the Qur'an, 'one teaching is always qualified and supplemented by other texts, and cannot be seen in isolation.'

When the Qur'an is recited, the words that people hear again and again are not "holy war", but "kindness", "courtesy", "peace", "justice", and "compassion".

Armstrong points out that Christian fundamentalists concentrate on the aggressive Book of Revelation and pay no attention to the Sermon on the Mount, while Muslim extremists rely on the more belligerent passages of the Qur'an and overlook its oft-repeated instructions to leave vengeance to God and make peace with the enemy.

The Qur'an insists that its teaching must be understood "in full" (20:114).

Armstrong writes: 'Muslim extremists have given the jihad (which they interpret reductively as "holy war") a centrality that it never had before and have thus redefined the meaning of Islam for many non-Muslims. But in this they are often unwittingly aided by the media, who also concentrate obsessively on the more aggressive verses of the Qur'an, without fully appreciating how these are qualified by the text as a whole. We must all - the religious and the sceptics alike - become aware that there is more to scripture than meets the cursory eye.'


Karen Armstrong is the author of The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism


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