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Interfaith Dialogue
 IslamiCity Forum - Islamic Discussion Forum : Religion - Islam : Interfaith Dialogue
Message Icon Topic: 'Religious Arrogance And Bigotry' Post Reply Post New Topic
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sultan
 
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Quote sultan Replybullet Topic: 'Religious Arrogance And Bigotry'
    Posted: 29 August 2012 at 8:37am
What do you think? For me, it's very hard because religion is faith based so people who hold any religion will hold the view that their religion is correct. So, yes, every religious holder are arrogant. But bigotry is more about tolerance, so no, I don't think that all who believe in a religion are bigots.

Charles Negy, Professor, Says Students Showed 'Religious Arrogance And Bigotry' In A Letter Later Posted On Reddit

HuffPo link

Hello, Cross-Cultural students, I am writing to express my views on how some of you have conducted yourself in this university course you are taking with me. It is not uncommon for some-to-many American students, who typically, are first-generation college students, to not fully understand, and maybe not even appreciate the purpose of a university. Some students erroneously believe a university is just an extension of high school, where students are spoon-fed “soft” topics and dilemmas to confront, regurgitate the “right” answers on exams (right answers as deemed by the instructor or a textbook), and then move on to the next course.
Not only is this not the purpose of a university (although it may feel like it is in some of your other courses), it clearly is not the purpose of my upper-division course on Cross-Cultural Psychology. The purpose of a university, and my course in particular, is to struggle intellectually with some of life's most difficult topics that may not have one right answer, and try to come to some conclusion about what may be “the better answer” (It typically is not the case that all views are equally valid; some views are more defensible than others). Another purpose of a university, and my course in particular, is to engage in open discussion in order to critically examine beliefs, behaviors, and customs. Finally, another purpose of a university education is to help students who typically are not accustomed to thinking independently or applying a critical analysis to views or beliefs, to start learning how to do so. We are not in class to learn “facts” and simply regurgitate the facts in a mindless way to items on a test. Critical thinking is a skill that develops over time. Independent thinking does not occur overnight. Critical thinkers are open to having their cherished beliefs challenged, and must learn how to “defend” their views based on evidence or logic, rather than simply “pounding their chest” and merely proclaiming that their views are “valid.” One characteristic of the critical, independent thinker is being able to recognize fantasy versus reality; to recognize the difference between personal beliefs which are nothing more than personal beliefs, versus views that are grounded in evidence, or which have no evidence.

Last class meeting and for 15 minutes today, we addressed “religious bigotry.” Several points are worth contemplating:
Religion and culture go “hand in hand.” For some cultures, they are so intertwined that it is difficult to know with certainty if a specific belief or custom is “cultural” or “religious” in origin. The student in class tonight who proclaimed that my class was supposed to be about different cultures (and not religion) lacks an understanding about what constitutes “culture.” (of course, I think her real agenda was to stop my comments about religion).

Students in my class who openly proclaimed that Christianity is the most valid religion, as some of you did last class, portrayed precisely what religious bigotry is. Bigots—racial bigot or religious bigots—never question their prejudices and bigotry. They are convinced their beliefs are correct. For the Christians in my class who argued the validity of Christianity last week, I suppose I should thank you for demonstrating to the rest of the class what religious arrogance and bigotry looks like. It seems to have not even occurred to you (I'm directing this comment to those students who manifested such bigotry), as I tried to point out in class tonight, how such bigotry is perceived and experienced by the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the non-believers, and so on, in class, to have to sit and endure the tyranny of the masses (the dominant group, that is, which in this case, are Christians).

The male student who stood up in class and directed the rest of the class to “not participate” by not responding to my challenge, represented the worst of education. For starters, the idea that a person—student or instructor—would instruct other students on how to behave, is pretty arrogant and grossly disrespects the rights of other students who can and want to think for themselves and decide for themselves whether they want to engage in the exchange of ideas or not. Moreover, this “let's just put our fingers in our ears so we will not hear what we disagree with” is appallingly childish and exemplifies “anti-intellectualism.” The purpose of a university is to engage in dialogue, debate, and exchange ideas in order to try and come to some meaningful conclusion about an issue at hand. Not to shut ourselves off from ideas we find threatening.

Universities hold a special place in society where scholarly-minded folks can come together and discuss controversial, polemic, and often uncomfortable topics. Universities, including UCF, have special policies in place to protect our (both professors’ and students’) freedom to express ourselves. Neither students nor professors have a right to censor speech that makes us uncomfortable. We're adults. We're at a university. There is no topic that is “off-limits” for us to address in class, if even only remotely related to the course topic. I hope you will digest this message, and just as important, will take it to heart as it may apply to you.

Charles Negy
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Quote Caringheart Replybullet Posted: 16 September 2012 at 9:49am
I think the professor is ridiculous and has an agenda of his own.  I think he is stepping over the boundaries of his position and being disrespectful of his students in sending out the e-mail, thus pushing his agenda. 
His boundary should end with the classroom where certain students had already expressed the view that they did not want to be a part of such a discussion with this professor.
I actually think some disciplinary action upon the professor by the university is warranted.
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Ron Webb
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Quote Ron Webb Replybullet Posted: 16 September 2012 at 3:04pm

Freethought Radio has an interview with Charles Negy on this subject (download the podcast, or go to the Web page if you prefer).  The interview begins at the 21:30 mark.

Negy is not saying that all religious views are bigotry.  He is saying that in the context of a university discussion it is inappropriate to claim that one's own religion is superior to all others, without being willing to defend that claim.  However, the word "bigotry" is an unfortunate choice.  Bigotry was the subject of the discussion, and while I think he may be technically correct to apply it to the students, it really is unnecessarily provocative. 
 
Negy's larger consideration, and the reason he wrote the letter, was to make the point that in a university context all subjects should be open to rational discussion and debate.  At least one of the students tried to shut down the discussion in his class by urging others not to participate.  I can agree more strongly with Negy on this point.  If particular students are uncomfortable joining in the discussion, they should just stay out of it (or if necessary, stay out of the class altogether).  They shouldn't be telling others what to say or what not to say.
Addeenul ‘Aql – Religion is intellect.
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Quote Friendship Replybullet Posted: 19 September 2012 at 2:57pm
Assalamu alaikum.

1. Not only is this not the purpose of a university (although it may feel like it is in some of your other courses), it clearly is not the purpose of my upper-division course on Cross-Cultural Psychology. The purpose of a university, and my course in particular, is to struggle intellectually with some of life's most difficult topics that may not have one right answer, and try to come to some conclusion about what may be “the better answer” (It typically is not the case that all views are equally valid; some views are more defensible than others).
Reflect on Muhammad asking how can Allah have a son while everything in the heavens and the other belongs to him.
2. Another purpose of a university, and my course in particular, is to engage in open discussion in order to critically examine beliefs, behaviors, and customs.
Reflect on the assuming argument of Muhammad Rasulullah of how can one serve someone who cannot hear his call, who can neither harm or do him any good? Were those gods not made of stone, wood. What portion or command of the world have they?
3. Finally, another purpose of a university education is to help students who typically are not accustomed to thinking independently or applying a critical analysis to views or beliefs, to start learning how to do so.
This is what Muhammad said to the then world that they should produce a Book from Allah as a guidance to mankind and humanity better than the Torah and the Qur'an that he may follow it.
We are not in class to learn “facts” and simply regurgitate the facts in a mindless way to items on a test. Critical thinking is a skill that develops over time. Independent thinking does not occur overnight. Critical thinkers are open to having their cherished beliefs challenged, and must learn how to “defend” their views based on evidence or logic, rather than simply “pounding their chest” and merely proclaiming that their views are “valid.” One characteristic of the critical, independent thinker is being able to recognize fantasy versus reality; to recognize the difference between personal beliefs which are nothing more than personal beliefs, versus views that are grounded in evidence, or which have no evidence.
This is explaining the whole life of the Messengers of Allah summarized by Muhammad Rasulullah in a period of 23 years or 22 years 22 days, 22 hours.
4. Religion and culture go “hand in hand.” For some cultures, they are so intertwined that it is difficult to know with certainty if a specific belief or custom is “cultural” or “religious” in origin.
I would refer to use the word Islam other than religion. Let us reflect Muhammad disputing with the Quraysh about Abraham and Ishmael and telling them about Isaac and Jacob. Did he not go round the Ka'ba seven times? Why not eight or six times? He argued that the 360 gods in the Ka'ba were man dae andf that they are ofno use and value to the Quraysh. Was this proved to be so or not? Again imagine Muhammad in Madina and not discussing with his followers the use of the horn and drum or bell for assembling people to prayers! Imaagine him not addresssing the Levi clan with: O Children of Israel! Fear God and be dutiful to Him and Him alone. Imagine when the Levi clan cxlan brought himan adultress and adulterer he stoned them without their approval. There are so many examples.

The student in class tonight who proclaimed that my class was supposed to be about different cultures (and not religion) lacks an understanding about what constitutes “culture.” (of course, I think her real agenda was to stop my comments about religion).
4. Students in my class who openly proclaimed that Christianity is the most valid religion, as some of you did last class, portrayed precisely what religious bigotry is. Bigots—racial bigot or religious bigots—never question their prejudices and bigotry. They are convinced their beliefs are correct. For the Christians in my class who argued the validity of Christianity last week, I suppose I should thank you for demonstrating to the rest of the class what religious arrogance and bigotry looks like. It seems to have not even occurred to you (I'm directing this comment to those students who manifested such bigotry), as I tried to point out in class tonight, how such bigotry is perceived and experienced by the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the non-believers, and so on, in class, to have to sit and endure the tyranny of the masses (the dominant group, that is, which in this case, are Christians).
Unfortunately the claim of Reverend Moon of South Korea did not materialize of uniting the Church as the Messiah! He laid and left billion of dollars. It is expected that his sons will go to court. What is wrong then in the teaching of the Bible?
4.  The purpose of a university is to engage in dialogue, debate, and exchange ideas in order to try and come to some meaningful conclusion about an issue at hand. Not to shut ourselves off from ideas we find threatening.
This is the purpose of Qur'an for it discusses issues and events from Adam to Jesus son of Maryam.  Muhamamd achieved this for in Makka he discussed with the Quraysh about Abraham and Ishmael and in Madina about the written and oral law with the Levi clan of the children of Israel. He did a discourse with those who caleed themselves christians for 14 days and they went back with an arbitrater from him - Ibn Jarah.
5. Universities hold a special place in society where scholarly-minded folks can come together and discuss controversial, polemic, and often uncomfortable topics. Universities, including UCF, have special policies in place to protect our (both professors’ and students’) freedom to express ourselves. Neither students nor professors have a right to censor speech that makes us uncomfortable. We're adults. We're at a university. There is no topic that is “off-limits” for us to address in class, if even only remotely related to the course topic. I hope you will digest this message, and just as important, will take it to heart as it may apply to you.
The first school established in Madina was the mosque of the holy Apostle. This is the ahadith schools. For example a sahaba asked him about his son having a black skin. The holy Aposlte asked him if in his faamily there is  no one with that skin color. The sahaba replied that there is someone.
Please let us join hand in establishing justice and freedom of speech and helping each other. The way is to study and analyse the scriptures. Visit sbpra.com//allamadrsanisalihmustapha and<> http://108.167.148.69/OB_WD/384598/excerpt.htm  for a stimulus package.

Who is afraid of the truth?

Friendship.

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