People don’t learn their values from religious teachings, according to Reza Aslan. During an appearance Wednesday night on The Daily Show, the religious scholar argued the situation was reversed — people infused scripture with their own personal values.
“There is obviously a serious problem with religious violence, and particularly with Islam and in the Middle East,” he remarked. “But if you’re going to blame religion for violence in the name of religion, then you have to credit religion for every act of compassion in the name of religion, you have to credit religion for every act of love in the name of religion, and that’s not what people usually think. They focus very much on the negative.”
“Part of the problem is that there is this misconception that people derive their values from their scriptures,” Aslan added. “The truth is it is more often the case that people insert their values into their scriptures. I mean, otherwise, every Christian who read the Bible would read it exactly the same way. In this country, not 200 years ago, both slave owners and abolitionists not only used the same Bible to justify their viewpoints, they used the same verses to do so. That’s the thing about scripture, it’s power comes from its malleability. You can read it in any way you want to.”
“If you are a violent misogynist, you will find plenty in the Koran or in the Bible to justify your viewpoint. If you’re a peaceful feminist, you will find just as much in those scriptures to justify your viewpoint.”
“What if you’re a Jew who loves a bacon egg sandwich?” host Jon Stewart interjected.
“I would recommend the Book of Mormon,” Aslan jokingly replied. “The point is that without interpretation scripture is just words on a page, it requires somebody to read it, to encounter it for it to have any kind of meaning, and obviously in that transaction you are bringing yourself, your views, your politics, your social ideas into the text. How you read scripture has everything to do with who you are. God did not make you a bigot, you’re just a bigot.”
In the extended portion of the interview uploaded online, Aslan said trying to completely divorce religion from violence was also wrong.
“We need to resist saying ISIS has nothing to do with Islam or that violence in the name of religion has nothing to do with religion. Of course it has to do with religion. If ISIS calls itself Muslim, we should probably take them seriously,” he said.
“I’m OK with you saying ISIS is Muslim as long as you realize that the tens of thousands of people that they kill are also Muslim, and the tens of thousands of people fighting them are also Muslims. So if ISIS is Muslim, and their victims are Muslim, and the people fighting them are Muslim — that doesn’t really say anything all that interesting about Islam itself.”
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Lincoln Project releases harrowing new video of the future if Trump wins re-election
The Lincoln Project, the group of former top GOP strategists seeking to beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, released another new video on Monday evening.
Unlike other videos, the latest release did not feature Trump saying crazy things. Instead, it is more like a 60-second short film.
It features a mother listening to election night returns. She goes into her son's bedroom and lovingly awakens him.
"Hey honey, you asked me to wake you and tell you what happened in the election," she says.
"Who won?" the child asked.
"Trump," she replied. "Trump won."
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On CNN Monday, anchor Anderson Cooper played clips of President Donald Trump making fun of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and deliberately mispronouncing her name.
"By the way, you know who's further left than Bernie is Kamala," said Trump in the clip. "She's the most liberal senator in America. Kamala. Kamala. Senator Kamala Harris is a sponsor of the Green New Deal, Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris. You pronounce her name wrong, she will go crazy. Kamala, like a comma. You like Kamala?"
"Obviously, not something he's done once or twice," said Cooper. "It's like Kindergarten, remember? When everyone used to make fun of people's names. It happens again and again and again, much like how, to this day, he still emphasizes President Obama's middle name, Hussein."
Trump has become ‘The Incredible Shrinking President’ as Americans tune him out: Pennsylvania AG
On Monday, Pennsylvania's Democratic Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, hit back at President Donald Trump's threats that he would be "watching" the state for signs of voter fraud.
"What's your response to the president, who made those allegations without any evidence at all in your state?" asked anchor Wolf Blitzer.
"He says he's watching, about the only thing I have seen here in Pennsylvania is that Donald Trump has gone 0-5 in court challenges against us here," said Shapiro. "Court challenges where he has alleged widespread voter fraud, and yet never was able to back it up with a shred of evidence. That's why courts have dismissed these baseless lawsuits that he's filed. Apparently, now that he's lost in court time and time again, he's gone into the public square to spin a tale and tell these lies and attack our governor."