Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Feeding The Soul

I’ve heard that food feeds the body, books feed the mind and music feeds the soul. Tonight our souls are well fed. We attended our fourth live outdoor concert on the Redondo Beach pier. These concerts are held every Saturday and Tuesday nights all summer long for a total of 19 concerts. No two concerts have the same genre and they always include audience dancing. The genre tonight was Zydeco and one of the audience dancers was almost as entertaining as the live music. What a great benefit of Southern California living.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Extremism (what I believe)

One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of extreme is: “exceeding the ordinary, usual, or expected” I note lately that it is increasingly difficult to discuss the “ordinary, usual, or expected” without being contradicted by well meaning but misguided people who focus on the extremes. I am as guilty as anyone else. We tend to be the product of our environment that forms our beliefs and our judgments. Some people are influenced by daily newscasts, some by pop culture, some by their personal daily contacts, some are influenced by all or a combination of the above. A case in point is the impression of Muslims. If you watch daily newscasts you see suicide bombers, kidnappings and beheadings by Muslims on a daily basis. It would be reasonable to conclude that Muslims are violent fanatics. If you are exposed to Muslims in the US on a daily basis you see peaceful, gentle, hardworking people. It would be reasonable to conclude that Muslims are peaceful, gentle and hardworking people. I believe both of these views are in the extreme and do not represent the “ordinary, usual, or expected”. I believe that Muslims in the US are not representative of the vast majority of Muslims who happen to reside in countries that are governed by Islamic law. All of these countries are autocracies and most are theocracies. (Note that some of these countries CLAIM to be democracies but they are no more democratic than was soviet Communist Russia in the 60s that also held elections periodically but surprise, surprise, the communists always won.) This is what I believe: 1. I believe the vast majority of Muslims are very religious and feel so strongly about their religion that they are contented to be governed by people of a like mind. 2. As such, they do not crave freedom as we know it (i.e. freedom of religion and speech). 3. They hate (may be too strong a word) the west because we are non-believers and tolerate decadence. 4. I believe that some verses of the Qur'an in their historical and literary context sanction military action against non-believers as a whole. I also believe some verses of the Bible condone the same thing but there are fewer strict Bibelists (new word) than strict Islamists. This is what I believe based on my environment. What do you believe?