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« An Atheist Still | Main | Arguments from Causality »

December 13, 2004

Comments

Staffan Pappila

Does Robinsons historic guilt imply that Friday is forever free of guilt?

This is the question that, according to the social scientists Finkeltraub/Sonderdijk, gives the answer to, in particular, why the western left is caught up with the Zarqawis et. al. In essence, their analysis revolves around "Robespierreian exaggerations" - The Crime and The Virtue in an eternal battle. Dicothomies of black-white, true-false etc. Thus, Robinson (the West)is responsible for all his acts, Fridays alledged guilt is a result of the colonial, capitalist, war-mongering, paternal acts of Robinson. Of course, in terms of the dicothomy, the left is on the virtues side. So, van Gogh killed himself. (Excuse my english, swedish is my native tongue)

Peter Nolan

Staffan, that's a very interesting point. Do you have a reference for articles or books by "the social scientists Finkeltraub/Sonderdijk, [which] gives the answer to, in particular, why the western left is caught up with the Zarqawis et. al." please?

Staffan Pappila

I misspelled the names of the social scientists, Alain Finkielkraut(frenchman) and Peter Sloterdijk(german). They published their book "les battements du monde" last year (2003), in french. Look for a review in some english-speaking magazine, unless you don't read french. I picked up a swedish review. My french is a bit rusty.
Bonne soirèe

lamin

Those who support the idea of cultural relativism could argue that the idea of paedophilia wouldn't apply in M's case since his culture didn't see his actions that way. It would seem that that would be the best way to defend--if true--M's marital choice.

But would it be equally enraging for Christian fundamentalists to hear someone--preferably an editor of a newspaper--write that JC must have been gay or that his mom must not have been a virgin before JC's birth. Of course in the bad old days people were actually killed for Christian blasphmeny--a kind of medieval fatwa in Latin. Recall the classic case of Giordano Bruno.

But more seriously the whole thing raises an important point about the limits of expressed thought regarding the Holocaust, homosexuality, etc.

captainblak

The age of consent in Spain is 12. I wonder whether that's paedophilia and if it is, from whose perspective? It certainly is paedophilia from where I'm sitting but I don't legislate in Spain.

Abiola Lapite

"It certainly is paedophilia from where I'm sitting but I don't legislate in Spain."

No need to be relativist about this; it's pedophilia from where I'm sitting as well, and from where any decent person ought to be sitting, I might add.

Pearsall Helms

I am not certain about the Spanish case but I would be surprised if it wasn't similar to what is usual in America. Generally speaking, ages of consent here are within age bands, so for instance it is ok if a 16 year-old boy sleeps with a 15 year-old girl (unlike in Britain) while it wouldn't be legal for a 25 year-old man to sleep with a 16 year-old girl (as it would be in Britain). 18 is the legal age for someone to sleep with anyone here in the US, unlike 16 in the UK, but below that it's legal within certain age boundaries. Of course, in the US age of consent laws are set at the state level, not federal, so there is a certain amount of variation.

So I seriously doubt that I (24) would, if I were so inclined (and I hasten to add that I'm not!), be able to fuck a 12 year-old in Spain. But I'm pretty sure it would be legal for a 13 year-old.

lamin

In India children are married off at very young ages, though consummation is rainchecked--as one might say--so could that have been the case with M.? If so, then the charge of paedophilia is somewhat stretched.


captainblak

Nah, she was betrothed at 6 and the marriage was CONSUMATED at 9 according to this site:
http://www.muslim-answers.org/aishah.htm

I agree with the rest of what the site says.

MrY

Women reach puberty at different ages ranging from 8-12 years old depending on genetics, race and environment(Women in warmer environments reach puberty at a much earlier age than those in cold environments).Marriage at the early years of puberty was acceptable in 7th century Arabia as it was the social norm in all Semitic cultures from the Israelites to the Arabs.

The renowned sexologists, R.E.L. Masters and Allan Edwards, in their study of Afro-Asian sexual expression states the following:
"Today, in many parts of North Africa, Arabia, and India, girls are wedded and bedded between the ages of five and nine; and no self-respecting female remains unmarried beyond the age of puberty"

The Prophet's contemporaries (both enemies and friends) clearly accepted the Prophet's marriage to `Âishah(R) without any problem. We see the evidence for this by the lack of criticism against the marriage until modern times. However, a change in culture has caused the change in our times today.

Abiola Lapite

"Women reach puberty at different ages ranging from 8-12 years old depending on genetics, race and environment(Women in warmer environments reach puberty at a much earlier age than those in cold environments)"

This is nonsense. A quick search of PUBMED will tell you that age of menarche is not at all dependent on weather or latitude but rather on quality of diet, and that it tends to fall as diet quality increases. In other words, puberty would have begun LATER in 7th century Arabia than it does today in the West, MUCH LATER, as a matter of fact.

"Marriage at the early years of puberty was acceptable in 7th century Arabia as it was the social norm in all Semitic cultures from the Israelites to the Arabs."

So what? Eunuchs and the sodomization of slaveboys were acceptable and the social norm in the Greco-Roman world, but that doesn't mean we view such practices with anything other than disgust. This is relativism in the service of apologetics, pure and simple.

"The Prophet's contemporaries (both enemies and friends) clearly accepted the Prophet's marriage to `Âishah(R) without any problem. We see the evidence for this by the lack of criticism against the marriage until modern times."

Again, so what? That something was thought acceptable at some point in history is no argument for thinking it acceptable now. Those were earlier and more barbaric times, and we have every right to view them with disgust.

"However, a change in culture has caused the change in our times today."

Yes, and very much for the better. Having sex with children deserves to be lumped in with throwing slaves to the lions and other savage practices of the past that every decent person should view with contempt.

I must say that your arguments are saturated with a time-dependent relativism that is strangely out of keeping with a faith whose moral code is supposedly of a timeless quality. If the revelation preached by Mohammed was the final and perfect word on what morality ought to be, and if he was an exemplar of said morality in his own life, then no good Muslim can possibly argue that having sex with 9-year old girls is wrong even today; if, on the other hand, you accept that it IS wrong, then you can't avoid concluding that Mohammed's actions were also wrong.

eoin

There is that bastard Lavoisier, and Samuel Pepys too, make me sick.

MrY

My argument of climate influencing the menarche may be wrong,but the fact remains that it normally varies between the ages of 8 to 17yrs.
There is no evidence to say this was not the case at Aisha's time.

"Eunuchs and the sodomization of slaveboys were acceptable and the social norm in the Greco-Roman world, but that doesn't mean we view such practices with anything other than disgust."
- I'm sure the sodomization was not acceptable by the slaveboys!
However, Aisha lived for about 40yrs after the prophet (pbuh). She always spoke highly of her husband, despite having a very powerful political/islamic role which included a civil revolt!

Any marriage is considered as legal and successful, if three conditions hold good:
1. The marriage should have the blessings of one/both parents.
2.State/Society should not take any offense and acknowledge the matrimony.
3. None of the spouses should live to repent or convey his/her displeasure at the decision of his/her parents/guardians to bind him/her in such an alliance, long after the marriage has taken place. The husband and wife should be happy of being married with each other, till they die.

What the prophet did at his time, with respect to his marriages, has not been critised until recent times by the west.
As there are no guidelines for social norms in a Godless society, who knows what we will find acceptable tomorrow!

dsquared

I'm hardly a Muslim theologian, but my understanding is that it would be heretical to suggest that Mohammed was himself a man without flaws, and thus potentially not heretical to suggest that he was a disgusting pedo, as long as one did not criticise the Koran. George Bush used "Rock and Roll Parts I and II" by Gary Glitter as his warmup music on the campaign trail, so it's all a matter of degree.

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