Me: Regarding internets: Yes. I know what you mean. However, I have been amusing myself with many an athiest blog, pointing out the stupidity of various religious nuts. If you are at all interested, I can send you some links ^^
Her: Organized religions, and those who oppose them, scare me as much as anti-shota fans. I've never understood why, if you don't believe in G*d, would you care if anyone else does?
Me: ugh i could give you an essay to answer that one o0
The long and the short of it is that however much good religion has ever done, it's currently doing far too much bad.
Here's a link to iilustrate some athiest points: why athiests are angry
I mean, at this precise moment in time, there is a young woman in Saudi Arabia facing 200 lashes and six months in prison, for 'being in a strange mans car' - let alone the fact that she was gang-raped 14 times by 7 men IN THAT CAR - all because the predominant religion of their society says women can't be alone with a man unless she's married to or related to him.
Because of said religion, women in that country aren't even second-class citizens, they are thought of as property - which is why the ruling of 200 lashes and 6 months in prison for something she couldn't help, however much she screamed, has been allowed, even endorsed and praised.
*blink* sorry - ranting slightly - but when it comes to the mistreatment of women, combined with idiot religionistas, I just can't contain it.
Her: I think you're confusing the Islamic religion, with Saudi culture? First, you need to separate the religion from the cultural norms and style of the society.
According to Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood,
The Koran is addressed to all Muslims, and for the most part it does not differentiate between male and female. Man and woman, it says, "were created of a single soul," and are moral equals in the sight of God. Women have the right to divorce, to inherit property, to conduct business and to have access to knowledge.
For example, female circumsion is required in certain parts of Africa and Egypt--but it's considered barbaric and criminal by most Muslims. Forced marriages are the norm in some Indian and Pakistani cultures--but this practiced is shunned by Muslim women from other cultures.
You have to be careful when you paint organized religion as the bad guy---it's only as bad as the nitwits who distort it to match their culture preferences. Look at Christianity---before the Romans were converted, there was no monstrosity known as Catholcism. See what I mean?
Me: The problem with culture and religion, in most of the middle-eastern countries, is that they are so intertwined as to be indistiguishable from one another. Yes, there are a fair few moderates who try to paint a prettier picture, but the majority are more inclined to fundamentalism, and they actually Believe in every word of their holy book.
Whether people like to admit it or not, religion has a much harder impact on society than people assume. Without passages like the following, there would be no '200 lashes for being in a strange mans car'.
2:282 “…and call two witness from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not at hand, then a man and two women…”
A woman is worth half that of a man
4:34 “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them.”
Men are in charge of women, because Allah made men to be better than women. Women must obey men, and if they refuse they must be punished. Refuse to have sex with them and beat them into submission.
4:176 “…unto the male is the equivalent of the share of two females…”
I think that one is rather self evident.
64:14 “O ye who believe! Lo! among your wives and your children there are enemies for you, therefor beware of them…”
Your wives and children are your enemies. They are to you only a temptation.
These ideas permeated the very thoughts of all the believers, and when drawing up laws, these of course are where inspiration were found. The same goes for laws in the UK and USA (however much non-thiests hate to admit) luckily, the prevalent religion in the West is Christianity (in it's various forms) which, though still far from espousing equality for both genders, at least didn't inspire such stupid segregation laws.
However, I do agree that it is rarely the religion itself, but the people who profess to follow it. Which is where the problem lies, for the most part. But you have to keep in mind, that if there weren't such passages in the holy books, the people who follow them, would have a much harder time justifying their actions to themselves or the world at large.
(Argh - I don't want to swamp your jurnal - if you'd like to continue the discussion, just PM me)
I'll keep you posted on how it goes, if she decided to keep the conversation going.