Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Self-Satisfied Ignorance?" Eucharist, Quran, and Atheist Book Trashed

The University of Minnesota, Morris' associate professor Paul Myers does a quite good job of clarifying his views in a blog post of July 24, 2008. In reference to the pages from the Quran and a book by atheist Richard Dawkins, associate professor Myers wrote, "They are just paper. Nothing must be held sacred."

My reaction to the way he demonstrated that opinion is in two posts: To say that I'm upset about this display of disrespect for the beliefs of others is a great understatement.

I'm also disturbed that so little attention has been paid to associate professor Myers' treatment of the Quran (Qur'an, in this Latinization). I don't understand just what the Quran means to a follower of Islam, but have gotten the impression that it is regarded as more than "just paper." (Paul Myers explained that "... I didn't want to single out just the cracker, so I nailed it to a few ripped-out pages from the Qur'an and The God Delusion. They are just paper....")

Repeating a request from yesterday's post, I would appreciate it if a Muslim would explain (briefly, if possible) what significance the Quran has to Muslims, whether or not associate professor Myers' acts are acceptable: and why.

Academic Freedom and Our Tax Dollars at Work

Associate Professor Myers' blog is not connected with the University of Minnesota, Morris. In fact, the U. of M., Morris, removed a link to his blog from their website.

The chancellor of the U. of M., Morris, has termed associate professor Myers' statements and actions "reprehensible." ("I believe that behaviors that discriminate against or harass individuals or groups on the basis of their religious beliefs are reprehensible," as quoted in yesterday's post.)

The chancellor also wrote that the university's policy on academic freedom and responsibility "affirms the freedom of a faculty member to speak or write as a public citizen without institutional discipline or restraint, and the responsibility to make clear that he or she is not speaking for the institution in matters of public interest."

So, associate professor Paul Myers is off the hook. Academic freedom, at least in Minnesota, means that he can insult two world religions, and the 'stupid' people who follow them, and desecrate what about a billion people believe to be sacred.

And, along with other Minnesotans, I get to have part of my tax money used to keep associate professor Myers employed.

I do have sympathy for the chancellor of the U. of M., Morris. As she's defending his right to insult and abuse my faith, he's informing the world that she's overseeing "a third-rate university." It can't be easy, being an administrator with someone like that on the staff. Particularly when the rules don't require the staff member to exercise the sort of mature responsibility that most of us must.

Fresh Eyes, a Questioning Mind, and Nailing the Quran

I thought that these excerpts, from two different blogs on scienceblogs.com, would shed light on associate professor Myers' bit of performance art.
  • "24 hours of silence"
    Greg Laden's Blog (July 24, 2008)
    • "This blog will now engage in twenty four hours of silence as a show of respect for the all those who have suffered at the hands religious zealots around the world and throughout history.
    • "I say this out of inspiration from a post written on Pharyngula by biologist PZ Myers. PZ makes the link between medieval anti-Semitic church law and the original idea that the Eucharist is holy. You must read his post, the best written and most meaningful thing on the internet this day...."
    • [following an enlargement of part of associate professor Myers' photo] "...Jesus' Tits, Margaret! If that ain't a picture of Jesus himself them I'm a monkey's nephew. And I AM a monkey's nephew!!!!
    • "It is almost like the rusty nail is pointing right at the Image Of Christ! I can see the thorns in his forehead and everything. Won't Richard Dawkins be surprised!!!!
    • "Well, clearly, the 24 hours of silence is off... "
  • "The Great Desecration"
    Pharyngula (July 24, 2008)
    • "It is finished.
    • ""I wonder how many of our Catholic friends have heard of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215? This is the event where many of their important dogmas were codified, including the ideas of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, that the Eucharist was the sacrament that only properly ordained priests of the Catholic church could give, and that the Jews were a pariah people, who could hold no public office, had to pay a special Jew tax for their right to exist, and were required to wear special clothing to distinguish them from Christians. The yellow badge marking the Juden was not an invention of the Nazis, but a decree by faithful Catholics in the Middle Ages. That's an interesting juxtaposition, that a symbol of Christian exceptionalism was formalized at the same time that they formally decreed the Jews to be inferior, and a target of hatred.
    • "That combination was useful, too. Declare something cheap, disposable, and common to be imbued with magic by the words of a priest, and the trivial becomes a powerful token to inflame the mob — why, all you have to do is declare a bit of bread to be the most powerful and desirable object in the world, and even if it isn't, you can pretend that the evil other is scheming to deprive the faithful of it. Now you could invent stories of Jews and witches taking the communion host to torture, to make Jesus suffer even more, and good Catholics would of course rise in horror to defend their salvation. None of the stories were true, of course — Jews and infidels see no power at all in those little crackers, and the idea that they were obsessing over obtaining a non-sacred, powerless, pointless relic is ludicrous — but heck, it's a cheap excuse to make accusations illustrated by cheesy woodcuts of hook-nosed Jews hammering nails into communion wafers and lurid tales of blood-spurting crackers and hosts that pulsed like and beating heart, and thereby providing a pretext to encourage massacres....."
    • "...OK, time for the anticlimax. I know some of you have proposed intricate plans for how to do horrible things to these crackers, but I repeat…it's just a cracker. I wasn't going to make any major investment of time, money, or effort in treating these dabs of unpleasantness as they deserve, because all they deserve is casual disposal. However, inspired by an old woodcut of Jews stabbing the host, I thought of a simple, quick thing to do: I pierced it with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus's tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash, followed by the classic, decorative items of trash cans everywhere, old coffeegrounds and a banana peel. My apologies to those who hoped for more, but the worst I can do is show my unconcerned contempt.

      (from PZ Myers, Pharyngula (July 24, 2008), used w/o permission)
    • "By the way, I didn't want to single out just the cracker, so I nailed it to a few ripped-out pages from the Qur'an and The God Delusion. They are just paper. Nothing must be held sacred. Question everything. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet. You are all human beings who must make your way through your life by thinking and learning, and you have the job of advancing humanity's knowledge by winnowing out the errors of past generations and finding deeper understanding of reality. You will not find wisdom in rituals and sacraments and dogma, which build only self-satisfied ignorance, but you can find truth by looking at your world with fresh eyes and a questioning mind."
Related posts, on Islam, Christianity, Religion, Culture and the War on Terror.

Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.

16 comments:

Kobra said...

It's a fucking cracker (Myers' property). The other two are insignificant texts that HE owned.

What's the problem?

Seven Star Hand said...

Hi Norski and all,

RE: "They are just paper. Nothing must be held sacred."

This is wisdom close to my heart...

The world descends towards greater disasters and debacle than humanity has ever known, and clueless people are still fighting over ages-old lies and delusions. If we don't take effective and proactive steps quickly, there will be very little left to haggle over. The only way humanity will survive the great dangers that now loom large is through wisdom and cooperation.

In that spirit, I am taking concrete action, in my own way, to end the rancor and deception. Since I am neither an atheist, skeptic, or a follower of any religion, please don't assume that I am trying to defend any of these groups or their positions. In fact, I'm going to kill all of your sacred cows so we can finally have truth, justice, wisdom, and peace.

Open Letter to Religious Leaders
Open Letter to Atheists and Skeptics

The time for the removal of ignorance has arrived, like a thief in the night !!!

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Kobra,

I can't speak with authority as to how significant, or not, the Quran is - regardless of who owns the particular copy.

As to the Host being Myers' property, it was his only in the sense that he had physical possession of it. It seems to have been stolen from a local Catholic church.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Seven Star Hand said...

I'll give a pass to the wisdom that rejects "ages-old lies and delusions".

Bruce said...

brian, if you have evidence indicating that Myers' communion wafer was stolen, please do present it. So far as I know, it was sent to him by an anonymous reader who presumably got it the same way most people do: it was handed to him by a priest.

In other words, the wafer was freely given to that individual and he or she elected to remove it from the church instead of eating it. Now, you can argue the propriety of taking the wafer from the church, but I think you must admit that, having been freely given, it was not stolen.

Brigid said...

There's a sort of contract that your supposed to consume the host upon receiving it. To do otherwise is an offense and a rather grave one at that.

So perhaps it was not stolen, per se, but it was gained through a gross breach of contract.

By the way, we're supposed to be free to believe what we wish, right? But don't we also have the right to believe these things without harassment?

Kobra said...

[To do otherwise is an offense and a rather grave one at that.]

No, it's not even petty theft. Once it is given to the worshiper, a transaction has been completed and it becomes their property.

If you want to call it an "offense," then you can't be speaking within the scope of US law.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Bruce,

I'll stick to 'stolen.' That's how the local parish put it.

It's clear that Myers received the Host from a third party, who is presumably the same person who illicitly removed it from the church.

The point is that the Host is to be consumed on-site by the recipient. Not carried off-site. There are exceptions to this: but the person receiving a Host for transport off-site must be deputized for the purpose.

No, those aren't the terms used by the Catholic church. I'm using secular terms with nearly the same meaning.

When the Host left the church, that wafer became stolen property, just like a hubcap taken off somebody's car.

Giving the Host to Myers didn't make the Host less stolen, any more than giving a stolen hubcap to someone would make it less stolen.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Kobra,

Sorry, the Host is given to an individual to consume, not to carry off-site.

American law has nothing to do with this. Associate professor Myers has not broken any federal, state, or local law by illicitly receiving that Host.

The rule is church law.

To someone for whom no law exists except that of the United States of America, the Host is not stolen.

To Catholics, it is stolen.

The least I can say for the way in which Myers received the Host is that the process was dishonest.

I don't expect you to like this, but in fact "stolen" is an appropriate term, in this context.

Cashmere said...

First of all, I'm not very good in this but I hope it'll help...

Ok, let's go back in history...
Islam & Christianity have a lot in common... They are very similar. The only difference is that Muslims believe that there's God that cannot be seen (not Jesus or Mother Mary) & Christians believe that Jesus is God. I think Catholics believe that Mother Mary is God.. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway back to the Qur'an, it is actually a very sacred book that is written in Arab that states all the things that will happen in the world before the world ends... Qur'an contains many verses that tells many things to Muslims. It is the words spoken by God that was passed down from the prophet to his followers. It teaches many things...

Islam is actually a very peaceful religion, just like Christianity (as I've mentioned earlier). The one thing that was very misjudged by the public about Islam is because of the terrorists. Islam is NOT equal to war. It's because that the book and religion is so deep that some followers had actually misinterpreted and misunderstood what it actually means... (you know like how they used to speak in shakespearean language and it cannot be translated word to word in English kind)

I'm sure some of you have seen videos of Islam showing them doing many wrong things. I can just tell you one thing, they are all misguided.. Islam is actually really, a very peaceful and forgiving religion..

Oh, I left one thing.. The Qur'an is so sacred that you are not allowed to put it on the floor, step on it, abuse it, etc.. in any way. The only way to dispose the Qur'an is to burn it. It is all about repecting the "papers" and its meaning...

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Cashmere,

Thanks for taking the time to write that comment.

I'm going to reply or respond to points, in the order they appear in your comment. That way, I'm less likely to miss something ;)

"The only difference is that Muslims believe that there's God that cannot be seen (not Jesus or Mother Mary) & Christians believe that Jesus is God. I think Catholics believe that Mother Mary is God.. Correct me if I'm wrong."

The monotheism of Islam and the monotheism of Christianity are a major difference, but not the only one. And, despite the Christian teaching about the Trinity, Christians (Catholics, anyway) believe that there is One God. Three persons, but one God: we don't understand it, which is why it's called a mystery. (I'm oversimplifying here - big time.)

About "Catholics believe that Mother Mary is God." We don't. We respect her, we ask her to pray for us, just like we'll sometimes ask our neighbor, but we recognize that she's human. She's also the woman who bore Jesus, who is the Son of God - and a member of the (here it comes again) Trinity - so she is, literally, the Mother of God. But she's human, herself.

Thanks, by the way, for bringing that up. I've got another blog, A Catholic Citizen in America. You reminded me that I haven't addressed the Mary matter yet. It's a major part of anti-Catholic sentiment in some American sub-cultures.

"Islam is actually a very peaceful religion, just like Christianity...." Bless you for making that comparison. I'll agree, as long as readers understand that in this case I do not see the word "peaceful" as meaning "passive." Christianity, as understood by the Catholic church anyway, is anything but "peaceful/passive" when it comes to confronting evil. But that's another topic.

"I'm sure some of you have seen videos of Islam showing them doing many wrong things...." I think I know what you mean, but: I've never seen a video of Islam doing harm to someone.

I have seen videos showing the destruction done by terrorists who say they follow Islam.

I've also seen videos of burning crosses and a bunch of guys wearing white sheets.

The Ku Klux Klan didn't convince me that Christianity kills black people, Jews, and Catholics.

Al Qaeda isn't likely to convince me that Islam kills people that Muslims don't agree with. (The often lukewarm criticism of 'Islamic' terrorism by Muslims is another matter.)

"The Qur'an is so sacred that you are not allowed to put it on the floor, step on it, abuse it...." That sounds familiar. Details are a little different, but it does seem that traditional Christianity and Islam have very similar policies, when it comes to the Bible and the Qur'an.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Cashmere,

Thanks for taking the time to write that comment.

I'm going to reply or respond to points, in the order they appear in your comment. That way, I'm less likely to miss something ;)

"The only difference is that Muslims believe that there's God that cannot be seen (not Jesus or Mother Mary) & Christians believe that Jesus is God. I think Catholics believe that Mother Mary is God.. Correct me if I'm wrong."

The monotheism of Islam and the monotheism of Christianity are a major difference, but not the only one. And, despite the Christian teaching about the Trinity, Christians (Catholics, anyway) believe that there is One God. Three persons, but one God: we don't understand it, which is why it's called a mystery. (I'm oversimplifying here - big time.)

About "Catholics believe that Mother Mary is God." We don't. We respect her, we ask her to pray for us, just like we'll sometimes ask our neighbor, but we recognize that she's human. She's also the woman who bore Jesus, who is the Son of God - and a member of the (here it comes again) Trinity - so she is, literally, the Mother of God. But she's human, herself.

Thanks, by the way, for bringing that up. I've got another blog, A Catholic Citizen in America. You reminded me that I haven't addressed the Mary matter yet. It's a major part of anti-Catholic sentiment in some American sub-cultures.

"Islam is actually a very peaceful religion, just like Christianity...." Bless you for making that comparison. I'll agree, as long as readers understand that in this case I do not see the word "peaceful" as meaning "passive." Christianity, as understood by the Catholic church anyway, is anything but "peaceful/passive" when it comes to confronting evil. But that's another topic.

"I'm sure some of you have seen videos of Islam showing them doing many wrong things...." I think I know what you mean, but: I've never seen a video of Islam doing harm to someone.

I have seen videos showing the destruction done by terrorists who say they follow Islam.

I've also seen videos of burning crosses and a bunch of guys wearing white sheets.

The Ku Klux Klan didn't convince me that Christianity kills black people, Jews, and Catholics.

Al Qaeda isn't likely to convince me that Islam kills people that Muslims don't agree with. (The often lukewarm criticism of 'Islamic' terrorism by Muslims is another matter.)

"The Qur'an is so sacred that you are not allowed to put it on the floor, step on it, abuse it...." That sounds familiar. Details are a little different, but it does seem that traditional Christianity and Islam have very similar policies, when it comes to the Bible and the Qur'an.

Cashmere said...

Wow! that's a very, very long comment.. Hmm ok, what I wanted to say is yes, of cos these religions have many differences. The only main thing I know is that, we believe in different things but the teachings, the guidance, the heaven, life after death, etc.. are similar.. =)

What I heard is that these religions came about at the same time and somewhere along the road, the path was diversed. Thus, these religions were formed.. something like that..

Honestly, I'm not very good at this.. but I'm trying..
I hope you don't hold me against anything I said which may be wrong.. And thanks for enlightening me & for correcting my mistakes.. =)

Fyi, I'm very glad that you do not discrimate Islam/Muslims like the way others would honestly.. I seriously think that the world should be more educated & informed on this.. 100 or more bad christians or Muslims does not mean Christianity/Islam is a bad religion..

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Cashmere,

I'm glad you got back, and clarified some of what you said.

Agreed: the major religions have strong similarities - at some levels. Although the Buddhist and Hindu and Christian views of the nature of the soul, and what happens to us in the long run are not alike, for example, all appear to teach practical ways for people to live together.

There's more to it than this, but I don't intend to write another long comment.

Thank you for your kind words.

Also, thank you for pointing out topics that I may have missed in that "Catholic Citizen" blog.

akhter said...

Is English law related to Muslim law?

Old Bailey
One of the mainstays of English justice

By Mukul Devichand

In London's historic "Inns of Court", barristers practise law in the shadow of the distinctive medieval Temple Church. But does English law really owe a debt to Muslim law?

For some scholars, a historical connection to Islam is a "missing link" that explains why English common law is so different from classical Roman legal systems that hold sway across much of the rest of Europe.

It's a controversial idea. Common law has inspired legal systems across the world. What's more, calls for the UK to accommodate Islamic Sharia law have caused public outcry.

The first port of call when looking for an eastern link in the common law is London's Inns of Court.


"You are now leaving London, and entering Jerusalem," says Robin Griffith-Jones, the Master of the Temple Church, as he walks around its spectacular rotunda.

The church stands in the heart of the legal district and was built by the Knights Templar, the fierce order of monks-turned-warriors who fought Muslim armies in the Crusades.

London's historic legal district, with its professional class of independent lawyers, has parallels with the way medieval Islamic law was organised.

In Sunni Islam there were four great schools of legal theory, which were often housed in "madrassas" around mosques. Scholars debated each other on obscure points of law, in much the same way as English barristers do.

There is a theory that the Templars modelled the Inns of Court on Muslim ideas. But Mr Griffith-Jones suggests it is pretty unlikely the Templars imported the madrassa system to England. They were suppressed after 1314 - yet lawyers only started congregating in the Inns of Court after the 1360s.

Perpetual endowment

This doesn't necessarily rule out the Templars' role altogether. Medieval Muslim centres of learning were governed under a special legal device called the "waqf" under which trustees guaranteed their independence.

In an oak-panelled room in Oxford, historian Dr Paul Brand explains the significance of the 1264 statute that Walter De Merton used to establish Merton College. He was a businessman with connections to the Knights Templar.
Graves in Temple Church
The Templar link to Islamic law seems unlikely

The original 1264 document that established Merton has parallels with the waqf because it is a "perpetual endowment" - a system where trustees keep the college running through the ages. It's been used as a template across the Western world.

Dr Brand says many branches of Western learning, from mathematics to philosophy, owe a debt of gratitude to Islamic influence.

Advanced Arabic texts were translated into European languages in the Middle Ages. But there's no record of Islamic legal texts being among those influencing English lawyers.

And Dr Brand pointed out the Knights Templar were, after all, crusaders. They wanted to fight Muslims, not to learn from them, and they were rarely close enough to observe their institutions at work.

But the fact remains that England in the Middle Ages had very distinct legal principles, like jury trial and the notion that "possession is nine tenths of the law". And there was one other place in Europe that had similar legal principles on the books in the 12th Century.

Jury trial

From the end of the 9th to the middle of the 11th Century, Sicily had Muslim rulers. Many Sicilians were Muslims and followed the Maliki school of legal thought in Sunni Islam.

Maliki law has certain provisions which resemble English legal principles, such as jury trial and land possession. Sicily represented a gateway into western Europe for Islamic ideas but it's unclear how these ideas are meant to have travelled to England.

Norman barons first invaded Sicily in 1061 - five years before William the Conqueror invaded England. The Norman leaders in Sicily went on to develop close cultural affinities with the Arabs, and these Normans were blood relations of Henry II, the English king credited with founding the common law.

But does that mean medieval England somehow adopted Muslim legal ideas?
Merton College
Merton College was founded on principles similar to Islamic law

There is no definitive proof, because very few documents survive from the period. All we have is the stories of people like Thomas Brown - an Englishman who was part of the Sicilian government, where he was known in Arabic as "Qaid Brun".

He later returned to England and worked for the king during the period when common law came into being.

There is proof he brought Islamic knowledge back to England, especially in mathematics. But no particular proof he brought legal concepts.

There are clear parallels between Islamic legal history and English law, but unless new historical evidence comes to light, the link remains unproven.

Below is a selection of your comments.

I thought British law and juries came from Saxon law, while continental law came from Napoleonic law, which derived from Roman law. That's why they are so different.
Martin, Plymouth UK

There must be some degree of compatibility between British and Islamic civil law, otherwise British companies doing business in Islamic countries would not be able to sign contracts based on the local laws. The banning of any element of gambling in financial dealings, looks like an area where we in the West might possibly have something to learn from Islamic finance. Also, large numbers of Westerners visiting and living in Islamic countries submit themselves voluntarily to Islamic law every year, so it can't be totally incompatible with "our way of life".
Paul , Crawley, UK

Even if we did take some ideas from Islamic schools of thought, Sharia law as it stands today is absolutely not compatible with the laws of any EU country.
Franchesca Mullin, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Strangely the article neglects the (surely?) most obvious possible line of influence. That is the huge influence of the Arabic philosophers (like Averroes, Al Farabi, Avicenna) on the dominant Medieval thinkers in the western tradition, like Aquinas. They even were the ones to provide Aquinas and co. with their access to Aristotle. Legal theory and jurisprudence was a big area of medieval academic interest. So, I'd have thought this would be the obvious route.
Eudemus, West Yorkshire

A real thought provoking article. If we go into more detail, I am sure we can find more closeness, like our "welfare system" was introduced only after detail study of welfare system used by Muslim's second caliph - Umar. Like it or not, its history.
Daniel, Manchester

The middle east in the dark ages was a multi-layered melting pot of cultures, fresh ideas, laws and design. I think it's inevitable that during differing periods of occupation by opposing armies it is inevitable that some echoes of previous regimes remained either through the practical obstacles of obliterating all trace of their predecessors or just simply because something actually sounded like a good idea so remained. I think Dr Brand is a touch short sighted to think "they wanted to fight Muslims, not to learn from them". A good idea is a good idea after all and social order is a pre-requisite of any prolonged occupation. Sharia Law is something evolved from those ages in a different direction to our own. I know many liberal Muslims who laugh at it in the same way as I laugh when I see American Evangelicals healing the sick on prime time while sitting on a million bucks.
Keatzey, Turkey

It is true that many "Advanced Arabic texts were translated into European languages in the Middle Ages." However, as Bernard Lewis argues in his history of the Middle East, most of these translations were carried out by Christians rather than Muslims.
Dan, Oxford

My guess is that most similarities would come from both systems drawing from Judaic law.
Daniel, Guildford

Possibly more relevant was that the Normans were descended from Danish Vikings that conquered both Normandy and Sicily. Viking legal custom involved the choice for a trial by community elders, useful when settling feuds or inheritance disputes. Sicily had been Islamic, many Muslims remained and Sicily continued using Islamic law; this included the right to be judged by a group from the community. The Vikings would have been used to the concept of group judgment and not found this strange. It's also argued the idea of juries was emerging in Saxon Britain prior to the Norman invasion, a Danish influence, from Canute onwards, may again have played a part.
Tim Dennell, UK

It is a fact that Islamic history and civilisation lead to centuries of advanced knowledge in so many different spheres; mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy to name but a few. The Arabs pursued and encouraged knowledge as ordained to by the principles of their faith. Europe did indeed learn much from their knowledge and it is a shame most people are ignorant of the richness and depth of Islamic learning.
James Kingsley, Cambridge

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Akhter,

Your post started with "Is English law related to Muslim law?" - and goes with customs in London, and later the Knights Templar.

First - although this blog is in English, and the country I live in speaks English (of a sort), America has not been part of England for over 230 years, and has its own, distinct, legal system.

Second - I would not be surprised to discover points of similarity between the British legal system, American law, and Islamic law.

Most European legal systems, and Europe's offshoot cultures in the Americas, are based, more or less closely, on concepts from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

And, since that tradition goes back to Abraham, it's no great surprise to me that a root of Western law has much in common with Islamic law - which also may (as I understand it) be traced back to Abraham.

(I know - I probably spelled Abraham 'wrong.' I'm using what I learned - and what many readers will find familiar - to identify that great patriarch.)

Third, I've found that all legal systems are similar in some respects. It's no surprise to me, since one of my working assumptions is that there is a moral law, written into the universe. Human societies have the option of paying attention to this natural law, or tearing themselves apart.

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Blogroll

Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.