Is it fair to judge a religion by their extremists?

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  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Oct. 14, 2014 7:25 a.m.

    Scientist, you are throwing mud against the wall to see what sticks. You ought to go back and re-read 1 Nephi 4 that talks about Laban. Maybe then you'd take it in context of the larger picture being presented to Nephi. A picture that he initially was not a supporter of.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 10, 2014 7:28 p.m.

    @2 bits

    Perhaps you’re right, maybe the universe doesn’t care. Certainly by our time scale (vs. billions of years of evolution) it doesn’t appear to.

    Still, it does seem to want to produce ever more complex life ultimately culminating in conscious and even intelligent beings capable of incredible experiences like love and even understanding the universe itself (who knows, maybe that’s the point).

    But doesn’t it trouble you that virtually everything religion has said about the universe has been proven false (e.g., creation story, geocentric universe, flat earth, etc…). Or that religion has provided no insight into the many realities we understand today (e.g., cosmology, DNA, physics, electricity, math, quantum mechanics, chemistry, etc., etc., etc…)?

    If the universe does mean something in the grand scheme of things, surely there are better ways to understand it than engaging in a superstitious bronze-age conversation, wouldn’t you agree?

    Reached comment limit…

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 3:51 p.m.

    @Tyler D,

    What I'm trying to get at is... when the last human dies (whether it's in 10 years, 100 years, or a million years)... what's the difference?

    If you guys are right... nothing.

    Maybe this little planet is dirtier for awhile. Maybe we will manage to totally explode it! What difference will that make to the rest of the Universe? Nothing...

    We were all nothing before... we're nothing after... what use was it all?

    All the planets will come and go, universes will come and go... what's the use of it all? Nothing...

    Hmmm.... seems pretty useless if you ask me.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 10, 2014 2:52 p.m.

    @2 bits – “... what does it MATTER if we survive the next 100 years?”

    Will it matter in 100 years why you had a great vacation at Disneyland? So why work yourself into a fit while you’re there, or concoct an elaborate story about how Mickey Mouse is going to be with you forever someday if you just pray to him and follow a bunch of rules some previous visitor to Disneyland made up thousands of years ago?

    And since none of this troubled you (or anyone else for that matter) for the billions of years before you were born, why should it trouble you after you’re gone?


    I think you’re right (see my “religion is like cake” comment).

    It would be nice (i.e., make the world a lot less dangerous) if the hundreds of millions who believed every word of these bronze-age books were dictated directly from God felt the same way… hopefully someday.

    And no, there are lots of dogmas that can derange people into killing their fellow man – religion just happens to be the worst of them (because of its “eternal” consequences).

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 10, 2014 2:29 p.m.

    @taylerD - you asked "I’m not sure you’re making the point you wish to. Don’t you think the fact that we find this sort of stuff in scripture in the first place is troubling?"

    Simply put - no. Man has inserted his own finger prints into everything, including religious and non-religious. Are we to presume that if we extract religion from the world that there will be no more conflict, that people will not act selfishly, and that office will not be misused?

    People corrupt religion - not the other way around. I am reasonably comfortable with that. If you decompose most all religions down to their fundamental teachings, it is rather easy to identify those that would corrupt religion for their own personal gain. And being religious does not make anyone that less human... just as being an atheist doest elevate anyone either.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    @Tyler D,

    Re: "I truly believe that if we are to survive the next 100 years"...

    If you guys are right... what does it MATTER if we survive the next 100 years?

    If there is nothing after this... what does it matter if we survive 100 years, or 10 years, or aren't even born at all... it's all the same in the end. Sure you help some people during those those years (for some people) but the things you learned in those years die when you die, so what good were they?

    You go to school. Work your job. Take care of yourself, and provided for your children... why? What use is it if it all ends when you die? When you are gone.. there's nothing. When your children are gone.. nothing. So in the end it was all for nothing... what benefit was your life when you and your children are gone?

    If there's nothing after... what does it matter if all humanity exists 100 years or not? Or if we survive this destructive technology you fear? If every human never existed... what would change?? Nothing...

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Oct. 10, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    @ Tekakaromatagi

    "You just have to be broad-minded enough not [sic] to see beyond your own cultural paradigms."

    You miss the point. I'm not the one looking to your sacred texts for wisdom. Any that it contains can be found elsewhere AND where it isn't juxtaposed with the horrific barbarism that is also presented as God-inspired.

    So talk to the people within your own group about "seeing beyond their cultural paradigms." It is they who apparently are confused about which is wisdom and which is barbarism, which is deity-sanctioned and which should be ignored. Or, by your logic, perhaps they're even more broadminded than you and we should be listening to them?

    @ 2 bits

    You might want to consider another analogy. I mean, between atheists and believers, which group returns for a hit once a week, and in many cases multiple times a week?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 10, 2014 12:12 p.m.

    @2 bits – “... the atheism and humanism are like crack.”

    Perhaps you’re right – perhaps what is most needed today is not polemic dogmas but a simple search for truth wherever we find it. As my analogy implied, I believe there are nuggets of truth within the mountain of manure that is most religions (Buddhism seems to have significantly less manure, but that’s another discussion).

    Furthermore, I think (re: Christianity) these truths can largely be summed in Jesus’ basic ethical teachings (e.g., the Golden Rule) and in the terrific passage of Luke 17:21, which to this day still amazes me it wasn’t excised from the Bible by the Church (since they destroyed most of the other early Christian writings that essentially taught the same thing).

    I truly believe that if we are to survive (given modern destructive technology) the next 100 years, we will need to develop a truth seeking albeit scientific mindset that will preserve what is good in religion while jettisoning the 90%+ that is superstition, wishful thinking, tribal (“our god is the true god”), and antithetical to sharing a planet with 7B other people.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    Oct. 10, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    @2 bits

    "the atheism and humanism are like crack. They make you feel good for a while, they ramp you up and make you feel good, but in the end it lets you down,"

    Not the least bit true. When I freed myself from the fog of religion some 43 years ago it was exhilarating and that exhilaration has waned not one iota. When one is not bound to the dogma of working for ones supposed salvation after and often at the expense of this life you are free to focus your energies on the here-and-now; to appreciate yet another sunset for it's pure natural beauty; and, to do good deeds just for the sake of doing good deeds. When my time on the planet comes to a close I'll go knowing it was a great ride and satisfying run.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    @Tyler D,

    If religion is like cake... the atheism and humanism are like crack. They make you feel good for a while, they ramp you up and make you feel good, but in the end it lets you down, and just leaves you empty in the gutter wondering what happened... and where you can get more.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Oct. 10, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    @Karen R:
    "So you pontificate on the weakness of someone else's religion, " I did not. My point was to be open-minded enough not to judge another philosophical tradition by their extremists. My one observation is that I wonder if schools of thought like Wahhabism is based on the absence of a central organization that keeps the extreme views from taking hold.

    With regards to the Old Testament, I can see lots of extremists who have no religious writings committing terrible acts in the name of their dogma (Khmer Rouge, Sendero Luminoso, Stalin, Mao). I can see other cultural traditions who have recent traditions of war and cannibalistic warfare who are quite kind and compassionate.

    I think that when you look at the Old Testament if you are tolerant you can get wisdom, just like looking at Native American or Polynesian or Aztec legends can get you wisdom.

    You just have to be broad-minded enough not to see beyond your own cultural paradigms.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 10, 2014 8:40 a.m.

    @UtahBlueDevil – “To cherry pick quotes out of one sects doctrine is about as fair someone doing so to our own scriptures.”

    I’m not sure you’re making the point you wish to. Don’t you think the fact that we find this sort of stuff in scripture in the first place is troubling?

    Scientist articulated the real issue quite nicely. Until religious moderates can turn a critical eye to their own teachings and sacred texts, these sorts of anti-social utterances are going to continue to plague our world.

    The fact that Jews & Christians no longer take this stuff seriously (despite the self-affirmations heard from evangelicals about the Bible being the “literal and inerrant word of God”) is little comfort to those of us who see it for what it is – bronze-age barbaric nonsense.

    Religion is like a cake – a small of amount of “nutritious ingredients” mixed in with a whole lot of stuff that looks good and tastes good (to some) but does little more than rot your teeth.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 8:25 a.m.

    Is it fair to judge Mormons --

    Ron Lafferty?
    Warren Jeffs?
    by Mountain Meadows?

    To the outside world, we are ALL Mormons,
    but we can recognize the difference,
    and yet We are out telling the world not judge an entire group of people,
    based a tiny small group of "radicals".

    Same with this...

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 9, 2014 9:04 p.m.

    @ Social Mod Fiscal Con - Do we really need to point to all the sections of the Bible that refer to cleansing the lands of the non-believers. Deuteronomy 13:6, Deuteronomy 13: 13, 2 Chronicles 15:13..... to get you started..... or I could list a bunch of quotes from Journal of Discourses.... but that would not promote the cause here at all. To cherry pick quotes out of one sects doctrine is about as fair someone doing so to our own scriptures. Be really careful about what you choose to use as evidence because it could like wise be used against yourself.

    @ JoeCapitalist2 - couldn't agree with your second set of comments more. Much better stated, and I would think most Muslims would have no issues with those sentiments as well.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Oct. 9, 2014 7:50 p.m.

    @ Tekakaromatagi

    So you pontificate on the weakness of someone else's religion, but when it's pointed out that your observation also applies to a religion nearer and dearer to your heart, you retreat behind, "Well, everyone has their extremists." Which is it: Muslim doctrine is more amenable to extremism than other religions' doctrine or it's really no worse?

    The point remains – and The Scientist articulated this especially well – that the material for religious extremism is often supplied by a religion's very own texts. IMO the Old Testament alone is a wonderful primer for barbaric extremism. When are the moderates going to acknowledge this? Instead we get apologists who explain away and otherwise try to excuse the content and enable it to remain "sacred."

    So, yes, I think it is fair to judge religions by their extremists when the non-violent in the ranks persist in holding as "Godly" the very dogma that fuels extremists' obscene ideals. They aren't making this stuff up, you know!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 6:07 p.m.

    "I did not make a sweeping generalization about anyone other than the extreme. "

    Then why'd you blame the moderates for not "cleaning up"?

    "What part of "openly condemns" do you not understand?"

    I openly ordered lunch today, but that doesn't mean you know what I ate for lunch because you didn't hear about it.

    You both accused me of not reading your comments but you clearly didn't read mine or yours.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Oct. 9, 2014 5:14 p.m.

    I think that the tone of these comments are great. When I saw this article and I posted my thoughts, I thought that I would have to be dealing with the various types saying, "Well, I heard Sean Hannity say that the only difference between a radical Moslem and a moderate Moslem . . . " Or, "I always get my news and insights from Pat Robertson and he said . . . ."

    I am not seeing that. But what I am seeing is a bunch of people who could not resist to bring up the topic of Christians because they want to make comparisons between radicals (I guess there are some out there) and non-radical Christians because they want to tell the world how dangerous Christians and Mormons are.

    There is more to being a liberal than being intolerant to a different group of people than Sean Hannity and Pat Robertson.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 4:49 p.m.

    Have we become a nation of people with a lynch mob mentality? Do we have the right to judge others, or do we have courts that handle that responsibility? Are we required to give a "straight arm salute" and "heil" those who tell us that we must report any unauthorized religious activity? Since when did the government receive the right to decide what is authorized and what is unauthorized religious activity? Are we no different than the 3rd Reich? Will be burn books? Will we round up anyone whose ideas are different that our own? Will we send them to "concentration camps" to be "re-educated"? Will be find some kind of "final solution" if they refuse to be "re-educated"? Have we not progressed from the 1930's? Do we still have a mentality that allows us to tell others how to worship?

    Are we certain that Islamic clerics are instructing their followers to kill us, or have we just assumed that the entire Islamic religion has taken leave of its senses and has decided to destroy anyone who is not a member of Islam?

    Be careful.

    One finger pointing out leaves four fingers pointing in.

  • Ronite Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 4:33 p.m.

    Islam isn't just a religion.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 4:13 p.m.

    First you would need to define "Fair". "Fair" means different things to different people and in different contexts.


    I denounce radicals in my religion.... I would expect nothing more or less from people of other faiths.


    Re: "We need to address the crime, not the religion of the criminals"... (Mike Richards)

    I agree.

    Unless their faith is what's causing them to commit such atrocities their religious background is irrelevant.

    In SOME cases their religion IS what caused them to commit the crime. Then it's relevant.


    Religion doesn't USUALLY cause people to commit terrible crimes. In fact... most religions encourage exactly the opposite.

    Maybe we should take THAT into consideration while we debate this subject.


    There are radicals in ALL walks of life. Religion isn't the determinant thing. We have had atheists who have committed terrible crimes. Religion doesn't usually encourage people to commit crimes.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    Hmm. Question: Why are all the leftists on here crying about how we need to not judge all Moslems; that there are plenty of good people, etc in Islam (all true), yet.... why do they not extend the same courtesy to, say, the "Tea Party" and conservatives?

    They defend Moslems as poor innocent picked on souls, but savage people who want their government to leave them alone. Ask them who is more dangerous: a Mormon or a Moslem, and they will answer the Mormon every time.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Oct. 9, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    @Karen R:
    "This is true for Christianity too. I think it's endemic to religion. When there's no requirement to prove your claims, the possibilities become endless."

    Let's not stop there. I think everytime I talk with someone who is politically correct, their conclusions are always based on some poorly defined dogma that can't be easily identified. I am asking myself if there is a PC holy book that I haven't ever heard about?

    Atheism also has had its extremists throughout history. Stalin, Mao, the Khmer Rouge.

    If you believe in socialized medicine then that's socialist. Hitler was a national socialist.

    When I attended the University of Utah there was a gay right activist who thought that the Jews deserved the Holocaust because the Old Testement condemned homosexual behavior. Then there was the guy who got a list of 'hate groups' from the Southern Poverty Law Center and walked into an office of the American Family Association and shot a security guard.

    There are extremists all over the place. Not just Moslems and Christians.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 3:31 p.m.

    All religions are extreme. Though they may vary somewhat in the manner of gaining new members and the manner of control of those members, the purpose of religion is to gain control over people.

    None of the major religions can claim any virtue when all have participated in killing people. It would be hard to judge which one who has killed the most or the in the most cruel manner. Beheading and being burned at the state might be the worse ways to die. But poverty and starvation are also pretty bad.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 3:14 p.m.


    I don't personally know many Muslims. Most of my perceptions come from what I see in the news. I don't hate Muslims or think that a majority of them hate me or other Christians.

    I also know we have white supremacists groups like the Klan here in America but they represent a tiny fraction of 1% of our population. Every time they march, an equal or bigger group is there to shout disapproval of their actions.

    I don't think a large percentage of Muslims support terrorism, but even if it is only 1%, that is way too many. If one percent of Mormons supported terrorism (about 150,000 people) I would consider that a huge problem. One percent of Muslims represent millions of people.

    There are certainly too many of them supporting Jihad to pretend that it isn't a huge problem. Until the Muslim community actively gets their numbers down to something like .00001% by treating them like we do the Klan, it will remain a huge problem.

  • skrekk Dane, WI
    Oct. 9, 2014 2:48 p.m.

    Is it fair to judge a religion by its homophobia, racism and misogyny?


  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 1:51 p.m.

    There are extremists in every religion. Let me repeat that, EVERY religion has extremists.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 9, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    @ JoeCapitalist2 - your comment would be spot on if that were what was actually going on in Mosques around the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. I spend a 1/3 of my time in the middle east. I work with average Joe's who work in my industry on a regular basis. I was in Indonesia the day of 9/11. I was trapped there for 2 weeks until international flights were restored out of that region. There was no cheering for what happened. There was no joy or celebration for that acts of these terrorist - by average people.

    Sure, there are the few groups who are at the extremes of society who acted out. Heck, we still have clan marches in this country. We still have white supremacists groups that are not shy about their beliefs. But they do not represent society at large, and neither do these headline grabbers used by the media represent average muslims.

    So please, before you start branding Muslims as preaching support for terrorism and genocide from their mosques, be really sure what you are claiming.

    Do you know any Muslims? Do they hate Christians? Your brand of hate-batting has no place - anywhere.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 10:54 a.m.


    Not just homicide. Genocide, fascism, totalitarianism, sexism, racism, incest, infanticide, theft, deception, imperialism, political and military occupation and revolution, pedophilia, coercion, blackmail, fraud, hypocrisy, and so many horrible things.

    These are all found to be justified and/or exemplified in scripture and the history of peoples who claim those scriptures are "the word of god".

    We should judge religions based on their official doctrines and teachings throughout history. Ideas have consequences. The ideas must be judged on their own merits as well as on the consequences that have been extrapolated from them.

    Once a "standard" has been declared, believers must be judged against that standard. But the standard must also be judged against humanity's ethical and moral sensibilities. And on both counts, believers are found to be failing to live up to their standards, and their standards are found to be unethical, immoral, and downright terrible.

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    to The Scientist

    Isn't interesting how the Words from God have several examples of justifiable homicide?

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 9:40 a.m.

    The so-called "extremists" ground their activities in extreme doctrines found in the so-called holy books/scriptures. Your Holy books are filled with extremism. Your gods are extreme, and their commands are extreme (kill your only son, kill the Amalekites, kill Laban, kill the infidel).

    If religions do not want to be judged by their extremists, rip the extremist doctrines and stories out of the holy books, immediately, thoroughly, and unapologetically. Disavow them. Deny that they are "the word of God".

    Every word or verse or concept that could even be remotely interpreted as violent, inhumane, or contrary to peace, must be expunged completely. Remove the dominionism that preaches world domination and its implicit as well as explicit threats against non believers. Denounce it all, publicly and repeatedly. There must be no possibility for misunderstanding.

    Until you do so, it is legitimate and fair to judge you by the actions of your extremists. They are your most "faithful" adherents!

    And as Brigitte Gabriel pointed out, it is they who are driving the "Islamic Agenda".

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    to BYUalum

    Your last sentence is the 1st step in what David (6:26 p.m. Oct. 8) cites in his 1st sentence.

    The examples you use are so rich in irony.

    Therein lies the problem w/ ALL organized religions (maybe not Buddhism)... there is 1 size must fit all mind set & an unwillingness to compromise.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Mike Richards:

    But if in LDS wards all around the world, sermons were being preached every Sunday about how heroic that hijacker was and how all our children should look up to him and admire his actions against the "evil airlines" (or whatever the hijacker was fighting against), then it would be completely rational for the media and citizens in general to criticize the church even though only a single member commited the crime.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 9, 2014 7:59 a.m.

    Great comment Mike... spot on.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 9, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    Many of us clearly remember the media reporting that a "Mormon Sunday School teacher" hijacked a 727. That hijacker was an "extremist"; however, nothing taught by the LDS Church could be construed as a directive to Sunday School teachers (or anyone else) to hijack an airplane.

    Some would smear the LDS Church because of the actions of one of its members. Some people are smearing Islam because of the actions of some of its members.

    If we checked, we would probably find that almost every criminal is a member of a religious organization. And, if we checked, we would surely find that none of those religious organizations advocated criminal activity on the part of members.

    We need to address the crime, not the religion of the criminals.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 7:17 a.m.


    I said:
    "Until a majority of the Muslim world openly condemns the actions of the terrorists"

    You replied:
    "What if they do and you just don't hear about it ..."

    What part of "openly condemns" do you not understand? If the whole Muslim world was openly condemning terrorism, there would not be any question in your or anyone else's mind about it.

  • Incite Full Layton, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 6:41 a.m.

    Why do Moderate Muslims have to denounce fundamentalist Islamic fighters? Why can't orthodox, or conservative, or devout muslims do the same? It seems to me we're seeking to soften a religion that has some fundamental issues to work through, because they can't do it themselves. The fact that we can only work with Moderates is a problem.

    You cannot compare this to Christianity, because the most devout Christians pale by comparison. And the implications of the final quote in this article are terrible. Mr. Aslan believes that it's the people who are to blame, not the religion. Imo, that's bigotry. That's suggesting that there are people just born bad and violent and that regardless of their religion they'd just be bad and that religion plays no role. If that's true, he just claimed that people born fighting in ISIS are just born bad. Ridiculous.

    Something is rotten in Islam today, I really hope they can work it out...

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Oct. 9, 2014 6:36 a.m.

    Hey BYUAlum -

    " [We are] not alert and awake to the dangers of the radical groups . . . "

    Well, some obviously are not alert to the dangers of radical groups . . . Like the "Conservative" organizations that have grown increasingly more radical over the years.

    Republicans increasingly criticize the Federal Government. HATE for the federal government is growing. ANTI-government sentiment is becoming more the rule than the exception within Right Wing circles, as embodied especially within the Tea Party and its offshoots.

    Anti-government Cliven-Bundy supporters gunned down cops in Las Vegas and defiled their bodies with a Republican Tea Party Flag and a Swastika banner. And they assumed they would go down in history as patriots and heroes.

    Why would they assume that? It's because their anti-government, increasingly radical and violent attitude is constantly reinforced on Right Wing Radio and RW internet sites. Sure, it's all a fantasy. And it's not real. But in their little alternate universe, their ideas are very real and valid.

    "[History is] repeating itself. Can't we for once put political correctness aside and just look at history?"

    I don't know. Can we?

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Oct. 9, 2014 6:21 a.m.

    Tekakaromatagi says, "I think that the difficulty with Islam is that it is so diffuse that anyone can make up anything as Moslem doctrine so there are all these schools of thought..."

    This is true for Christianity too. I think it's endemic to religion. When there's no requirement to prove your claims, the possibilities become endless.

    I don't believe organizations like ISIS would be avoided if religion didn't exist. Humans have always been susceptible to extremist dogma, regardless of its nature, because it is adept at exploiting fear, privation, and ignorance.

    But how many religious sects, even moderate ones, can say they don't do this as well? Isn't a primary reason for religion's existence to mollify the human fear of death? Isn't teaching that belief without evidence is a virtue a promotion of ignorance? And how many religions use the human need for community as leverage to keep them in the fold?

    So, IMO, moderate strains of religion do bear some responsibility for extremist strains. They utilize the same materials and have no more justification for doing so than the extremists on their wings.

  • nicholdraper West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 9, 2014 5:38 a.m.

    Are the Mormons not criticized for the Mountain Meadows Massacre? What did they do about it at the time, Brigham Young excommunicated the the leaders who perpetuated the crime. Today although settled by Mormons Salt Lake City is only 30%-50% Mormon. People are free to leave the Mormons and Mormons actively excommunicate extremists. Now consider Turkey, a supposed example of moderate Islam. They are criticized for creating the term genocide for their treatment of Christians. Today Turkey's population is 92% Islam. I'm not sure how the moderate Islamists treated the perpetrators of the genocide of Christians, but I have a hard time believing that 92% of any free population would willingly agree to the same religious beliefs or any beliefs. Moderate Islam only publicly denounces extremist. They do not excommunicate and not only are members of the Islamic faith not allowed to leave Islam, but adherence to Islam is enforced by many governments. For any moderate to be real they must allow people to leave the Islamic faith.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 8, 2014 11:32 p.m.

    "Is it fair to judge a religion by their extremists?"

    No, of course not.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 8, 2014 10:54 p.m.

    The Germans didn't take the Nazi movement in 1930 seriously until it was too late.

    The Japanese didn't take their imperialistic leaders seriously in 1940's until it was too late.

    Same for the Russians and many other countries who were not alert and awake to the dangers of the radical groups that too soon took over their countries and destroyed many, many lives.

    Can't we for once put political correctness aside and just look at history? It's repeating itself. If we don't take care of ISIS, they will be taking care of us. And don't look to the U.S. government to do anything. They have made that perfectly clear.

    We, the people, must rise up at the polls on 11-4-14 and vote all these liberals and RINOs out of office.....period. Clean house! The people must awaken and speak!

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Oct. 8, 2014 9:31 p.m.

    "What if they do and you just don't hear about it because there's more important things in the news than some sermon at a mosque in Tennessee, Spain, Ethiopia, or Jordan?"

    Sermon is the correct term. About 10 years ago in Saudi Arabia there were some Al Qaeda types who were trying to start a revolution. A Saudi woman journalist wrote a piece condemning them. I didn't know that you could curse someone so strongly without resorting to swear words. She said something to the effect, "It isn't enough to put their pictures in the newspapers. Put their photos on billboards, on telephone poles, in the corner stores until ever the mute stones have memorized their appearance. Can there be any hiding from what they have done?"

    It isn't fair to judge a religion by the extremists, simply because it isn't accurate and it isn't fair. People are guilty for what they personally do.

    I think that the difficulty with Islam is that it is so diffuse that anyone can make up anything as Moslem doctrine so there are all these schools of thought. Some have gone off the deep end.

  • Social Mod Fiscal Con West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 8, 2014 7:38 p.m.

    The problem with moderate clerics denouncing the behavior of ISIL and other extreme versions of Islam, is that the would have to directly contradict the teachings of the Quran in doing so.

    Yes, there are moderate Muslims in the world, and Imams who teach peace, but they have to be very careful in how they phrase their message. For instance, they can't directly teach that all men are equal and they should love all people regardless of their religious beliefs, as that would come in conflict with Quranic teachings:
    Quran (2:191-193)
    Quran (3:151)
    Quran (8:12)
    Quran (8:39)
    Quran (9:5)
    Quran (9:29)
    (these are only a small sampling of this type of teaching in the Quran)

  • BigRich Orem, UT
    Oct. 8, 2014 7:13 p.m.

    Until the Islamic world, who seems to remain silent and inactive concerning all extremism, determines to take action, these groups will always be a problem. And it will be a problem that will, in the end, do more damage to Islam than anyone else.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Oct. 8, 2014 6:26 p.m.

    ISIL is a brand of Islam that has turned their terror upon anyone that doesn't agree with them. They declare that all must either convert to their views or die. They carry out this demand upon all religions, even upon fellow Muslims with more moderate views.

    So is ISIL not Muslim? It seems to me that it is absolutely Islamic, just a very violent and demanding form of it. Their brand if Islam is certainly not held by a majority of Muslims, but it is incumbent upon Islamic clerics, Islamic Imams, Islamic observers and believers, Islamic political leaders, and Islamic nations to speak out and oppose this brand of Islamic terror--or that terror that is carried out in the name of Islam and Islam's god. If not, then those Imams, clerics, leaders, people, observers and nations absorb the risk of being labeled in passive agreement.

    Peaceful Islam must join the world in opposing terroristic Islam.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Oct. 8, 2014 6:22 p.m.


    How can you possibly miss the point that I made that there is legitimate criticism of extremist elements that ought to be made, with the corollary that "moderates" don't need to be. That is the entire context of my comment, that "moderates" of any religion should reclaim their faith from the extreme.

    You are making a victim where none is intended, and in my opinion I did not make a sweeping generalization about anyone other than the extreme.

    Are you trying to say that no criticism can be made of extreme religious points of view? Is religion above comment?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 8, 2014 5:28 p.m.

    "We become known as bigots and intolerant when we criticize these extreme elements. "

    No, it's when someone brands an entire group as those extreme elements, that's when one is considered bigoted or intolerant.

    "Until a majority of the Muslim world openly condemns the actions of the terrorists"

    What if they do and you just don't hear about it because there's more important things in the news than some sermon at a mosque in Tennessee, Spain, Ethiopia, or Jordan? (Btw, I have no idea how Muslim services work, so sermon might be totally an incorrect word to use).

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Oct. 8, 2014 4:39 p.m.

    While it may not be fair to judge any large group (country, organization, or religion) for the bad behavior of just a small percentage of its members, you can judge the whole group based on how it treats those bad seeds.

    If the Catholic Church was behaving today like it did during the inquisition while claiming to be following the will of Christ and if all the other Christian denominations either supported those actions or remained silent against the autrocities; then it would be fair to say that Christians in general are to blame.

    Until a majority of the Muslim world openly condemns the actions of the terrorists and teaches against that behavior within their own communities, it is fair to lay a large portion of the blame at their doorstep.

  • Shane333 Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 8, 2014 4:30 p.m.

    Interesting topic. Brigitte Gabriel gives a fantastic answer to it. You can look her up on youtube.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Oct. 8, 2014 4:27 p.m.

    One of the problems with all of the world's religions is that these religions allow themselves to be defined by the extremist (and generally fundamentalist) elements. I do not understand how and why the average religionist of any sort allows his/her faith and traditions to be hijacked by the creepy dogmatism of a few. And worst still is the absolute silence that takes place from the average religionist on the subject of extremists in their faith traditions. Why is it so hard for non-dogmatic Christians, Jews or Muslims to call out the crazy?

    To the outsider of all these faith traditions, it would appear that the ability to criticize one another for extremism is taboo. And then, those of us on the outside, are asked to tolerate what inevitably happens when extremism is tolerated. We become known as bigots and intolerant when we criticize these extreme elements. Frankly, it is a no win situation.

    So I say to any religionist, clean up your act within your faith tradition, then go out in the world to proselytize, evangelize or proclaim the purity of your belief.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Oct. 8, 2014 4:23 p.m.

    Radical Islam is to the Islamic religion what anti-semitism is to Christianity. Muslims should loudly denounce Radical Islam, just as Christians should denounce hatred for the Jews.

    Of course, Radical Islam hates the Jews, the Christians, moderate Muslims and every person who is not a Radical Islamist. They are at war with the world, and simply denouncing them offers no protection against their vitriol.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Oct. 8, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    Should we or even someone in government decide what is acceptable in a religion? Don't we have laws that punish those who kill or torture or cause terror? Can't those laws be enforced without defining the doctrine of a religion?

    We have a Constitution that allows all religions to have whatever doctrine that they want. The question of whether that doctrine is of God is between the leaders of that religion and God. God has warned us about taking His name in vain. That applies to using His name to justify non-doctrinal actions or activities.

    If we allow government to define doctrine, then the 1st Amendment is moot. I don't think that that is what we want. I think that we want to punish anyone who uses religion as an excuse to harm others. There are sufficient laws on the books to handle that responsibility without setting aside the 1st Amendment.