I had a debate of sorts in my last talk to the Dorset Humanists on Thursday night. It was really interesting, and I am thankful to DH for inviting me and providing a thoroughly stimulating environment to discuss these things. As mentioned in previous posts, my talk was based roughly on my blog post about”True Islam” and violence, and I spoke first with DH’s David Warden following me and countering my view with a more liberal and accepting approach to Islam.
Essentially, I was arguing that religious violence in the name of Islam DOES have causal recourse to the Qu’ran, Muhammad and the religious content. As a result, reforming the religion is necessary, but due to the provenance of the Qu’ran, this is fraught with issue and might be pragmatically impossible. David favoured the more forgiving and accepting approach of liberal Muslims, looking to them for hope for driving Islam to being more liberal and progressive, citing certain Islamic figures in history as precedence. The main point form me, though, is that the content of the Qu’ran and the life of Muhammad will always be there, immutable, and you can only overcome the dehumanising impact of this to non-believers by dropping them. And that ain’t gonna happen.
After our two half hour speeches, we interacted and disagreed a fair bit, and then opened it up to the audience for some Q and A. People were very much into it, and the discussion flowed, with point and counter point. I would like to think I did pretty well, and that seems to be the feedback. It has been video-ed and I’ll post it as soon as I can get hold of it.