08. October 2006 · Comments Off on From Ignorance Into the Light · Categories: History, Iran

I have been unable to stop thinking of Sgt. Mom’s recent post suggesting that the outrageous behavior we have seen from the many who are so aggrieved at any insult to the Muslim faith is based on some inner realization that they are losing power and relevance. I was particularly impressed with the link that addressed the issue of whether the Koran, in its present form, accurately depicts the original visions said to have been revealed to Muhammed. This is significant because the followers of Islam insist upon a very literal interpretation of their holy book – an interpretation that would seem to defy the premise that it is a religion of peace and tolerance (a premise that is well supported both in recent and in distant history). The author suggests that the book in its present form is perhaps as accurate a reflection as one would see if the message was passed via 150 – 200 years of playing the game “telephone”. He points out that this does not render the religion irrelevant, rather, that it should be subject to a scholarly review of the type that changed our perception of Christian teachings after the dark ages. It seems to me that this is the key to preventing the final gasp of mankind due to the clash of civilizations currently being incited by Mahmoud Ahmednejad and his ilk. Such scholarly reviews seem to be moving forward, albeit in very quite way.

While in Washington D.C. on business last week, the hotel where I stayed (Capital Hilton – sucky Internet service but nice location) hosted a conference attended by editors of a number of major newspapers (L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, etc.). While unwinding at the bar Thursday evening, I met a number of these editors and we engaged in some lively discussion related to the print media vs. web logs. I deliberately steered the conversation toward the above point, asking them why this sort of perspective can only be found on-line. I pointed out that, given the importance of the issues surrounding this, it would be more helpful to bring it into the light than the continual hand wringing about the “Arab Street” response to the most recent slight or perceived slight. Although they were polite and at least made some effort to consider my point, the general response was unsurprising – “How could you, a blogger for God’s sake, deign to tell us how to do our business?”. I did collect some business cards, and plan to follow up (and be a nuisance if need be). Don’t be overly optimistic that the quality of coverage of these issues is likely to change though. I heard that the L.A. Times publisher was fired the very next day for his refusal to make staff cuts. Given the staffing choices that his successor must make, I would bet that they’ll choose editors inclined to publish the lame progressive liberal crap that we have come to know and love over storoes that would offer insightful commentary that illuminates the issues of our time.

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