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Author Topic: Please stop the religious proselytizing!  (Read 471 times)
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« on: June 27, 2017, 08:44:21 AM »

Assalamu aleikum, holy Ramadan etc.. I feel like this has been a recurring theme lately.

I would be just as bothered by the Christian equivalents. You thankfully don't open with "go with Jesus" etc.. Why do it with Islam?

I love your shows, but please keep your religious affiliations to yourselves. It's great that you give a platform for LGBT etc., but religion is not comparable as it is willful ignorance at best. Please don't use your podcast as a platform to infect more people with religious self destructive beliefs. It doesn't help anybody in he long run. Ignorance shouldn't be tolerated or defended. And it should absolutely not be advertised. Thank you.
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eytanz
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2017, 11:38:56 AM »

Not everything you mention is religious - "Assalamu aleikum" is no more religious a greeting than "hello" is; it's just Arabic for "Peace be with you". As for Ramadan - you say you'd be just as bothered by Christian equivalents, but our podcasts have run Christmas episodes - Podcastle most consistently - for years now, and that doesn't seem to bother you.

But really, that's not the point. EA is an organisation made up of people of different backgrounds, including different religious viewpoints. Allowing hosts and editors to mention their own religion is not the same thing as proselytizing. If you are so anti-religious that someone talking about their own faith from their own perspective offends you, then I'm afraid you'll have to be very selective about your media choices in general.

Listening to a story by a Muslim author, narrated by a Muslim host, will no more encourage our non-religious listeners to pick up Islam than listening to a story by a female author narrated by a female host would encourage our male listeners to change their gender. You might not like religion, but a vast number of people in the world subscribe to one faith or another, and they are just as deserving of a voice as anyone else.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 12:06:57 PM by Ocicat » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2017, 03:17:28 AM »

Thanks for your reply.

Although you are right about your translation of the greeting, it's not really accurate to say it's like hello. It's most definitely a greeting primarily used between muslims. And I do feel the same about Christmas episodes etc.

For me, the point is that religious affiliation should be irrelevant in the context of your podcast. Why mention it? I don't mind Muslim editors or authors at all, I'm not trying limit or defame their work. I really enjoyed the Eid episode. But why call it that?

There is a vast number of racist bigots in the world as well, do they "deserve a voice" on your podcast as well? Probably not, because it's not the right platform.
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eytanz
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2017, 04:46:26 AM »

Thanks for your reply.

Although you are right about your translation of the greeting, it's not really accurate to say it's like hello. It's most definitely a greeting primarily used between muslims.

Sure, because the Arabic language is significant to Muslims. That does not make the use of that greeting itself Muslim, and definitely not "proselytizing" of any sort.

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And I do feel the same about Christmas episodes etc.

Fair enough, but A - You have not complained about them before, and B - The fact that EA has been running them for years may have served as an indication that it's not adverse to religious holiday themed episodes, so pointing it out as a theme "lately" is a bit weird.

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For me, the point is that religious affiliation should be irrelevant in the context of your podcast. Why mention it? I don't mind Muslim editors or authors at all, I'm not trying limit or defame their work. I really enjoyed the Eid episode. But why call it that?

If it's irrelevant for you, feel free to ignore it. Episode Intros and Outros have always been where our hosts bring a personal viewpoint to the episodes. For many of them, includes their religion. As for the authors, they also get to decide what's important about their stories.

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There is a vast number of racist bigots in the world as well, do they "deserve a voice" on your podcast as well? Probably not, because it's not the right platform.

This is a preposterous equivalence you are drawing here, between having a religion and being a bigot. EA gives a place for host and authors to discuss their personal religion and the religious themes in their stories. It doesn't allow religious bigotry. If you can't draw the distinction between someone saying "I am Muslim" or "I am a Christian" and them saying "Everyone must be a Muslim" or "Death to unbelievers", then I don't really understand how to communicate with you at all.

I understand that your own views are anti-religious, and I respect those views. But part of the values that EA explicitly espouses - diversity and tolerance - is the ability to understand that just because you may fundamentally disagree with someone, doesn't mean that their viewpoint is an attack on yours. Which isn't to say that there isn't a line where someone's viewpoint doesn't become bigotry - there very much is - but at the moment, you are arguing that being greeted in Arabic is being proselytized to, and that people should avoid mentioning their personal faith or the context for their stories if it's in any way religious. In this situation, it's not our hosts and authors that are trying to enforce their own worldview onto others.
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2017, 05:30:05 AM »

According to the Hadith, it is not permissible to initiate the greeting of salaam to a Christian or Jew. However, a Muslim should reply if a non Muslim initiates. How then can this not be religious? Regardless, I agree that this alone is not proselytizing.

The fact that I haven't been on this forum before should be irrelevant to this discussion. I've been listening for a few years, and I feel that religious talk has become more prevalent lately. I don't see how that's weird.

Personal viewpoints? Well, that's the root of the problem. If one cannot separate oneself from ones religion  one should not hold office or lead secular functions. In my opinion, of course. I realize this is a strange thing to consider if you're e.g. American.

I realize my example was extreme, but I feel the same principle applies. One could even argue that organized religions are inherently bigotous. But forget bigotry for now. How about flat earthers? My point is why should irrational infalsifiable beliefs be respected and tolerated as if they were valid?

Despite what you write about me, I honestly don't mind what people believe in private. What is said in public is a different matter entirely. Especially when given credence in the name of tolerance. That's when it becomes close to proselytizing for me.

Edited for typos

« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 05:32:17 AM by Pod fan » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2017, 08:39:29 AM »

The fact that I haven't been on this forum before should be irrelevant to this discussion. I've been listening for a few years, and I feel that religious talk has become more prevalent lately. I don't see how that's weird.

It's weird because, as eytanz accurately pointed out, religious-holiday-related episodes have been a popular mainstay of the podcast for many years, but you say that religion has been more prevalent lately.  Eytanz has data to point to--the annual Christmas episodes (the Easter werewolf also comes to mind).  I can't dispute that you feel that religious talk has been more prevalent, because you feel what you feel.  But since there is clear evidence of a history of noting religious holidays on the podcast, without some evidence that the recent behavior has changed, it does give the impression that "religious talk being more prevalent on the podcast" is not a fact.

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eytanz
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2017, 09:02:43 AM »

According to the Hadith, it is not permissible to initiate the greeting of salaam to a Christian or Jew. However, a Muslim should reply if a non Muslim initiates. How then can this not be religious? Regardless, I agree that this alone is not proselytizing.

I believe that this issue is a controversial one amongst Islamic scholars. But regardless of the specifics of the issue, if it's prohibited by any faith to use a particular greeting to non-members of this faith, then using that greeting in a public forum that's addressed to many non-members of the faith (e.g. a podcast intro) is by definition not an act of that faith. As a Jew, I'm prohibited from eating pork, though as a non-observant Jew I do it anyway. By your logic, if I eat a ham sandwich in public, I'm committing a religious act.

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The fact that I haven't been on this forum before should be irrelevant to this discussion. I've been listening for a few years, and I feel that religious talk has become more prevalent lately. I don't see how that's weird.

Topics come and go for many reasons. I didn't check how common religious themes are lately, so you may be right about them being more common. But religious observations and hoidays have been marked for years.

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Personal viewpoints? Well, that's the root of the problem. If one cannot separate oneself from ones religion  one should not hold office or lead secular functions. In my opinion, of course. I realize this is a strange thing to consider if you're e.g. American.

I'm not American, and have never been. And I'm actually a strong advocate of the separation of religion and state. But Escape Artists is a private podcast, so that's irrelevant.

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I realize my example was extreme, but I feel the same principle applies. One could even argue that organized religions are inherently bigotous. But forget bigotry for now. How about flat earthers? My point is why should irrational infalsifiable beliefs be respected and tolerated as if they were valid?

I'm not going to get into a debate on whether religious beliefs are falsifiable. And I'm not in charge of Escape Artists' policies. But if one of our hosts was a Flat Earther, and those beliefs informed their reaction to a story, I wouldn't expect them to be silent about it. To give an actual example - Alasdair has, in different times, expressed a belief in the possibility of ghosts in his Pseudopod outros. I don't agree with his metaphysics. I do, on the other hand, find listening to his comments interesting and valuable even if I don't share his beliefs.

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Despite what you write about me, I honestly don't mind what people believe in private. What is said in public is a different matter entirely. Especially when given credence in the name of tolerance. That's when it becomes close to proselytizing for me.

I don't know what to suggest here - you could stop listening, or you could listen and accept that you won't like everything you hear. I don't think anyone on the EA staff agrees with your viewpoint of what's acceptable and what's not, so I wouldn't expect anything to change on our side.
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Khaalidah from Vega
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2017, 12:21:37 PM »

If we may, let's go back to Pod fan's original comment, because the resulting thread has gone a little off topic, I think.
To say that our Eid episode was proselytizing is quite a stretch. As salamu Alaikum (peace be with you) is a greeting, said the world over, by Muslims and non-Muslims and is not equivalent of "Go with Jesus". You say you love our shows, so I'm wondering if you have ever listened to one in which I have hosted? I always open with "Salam, good people..." And will continue to do so.
How exactly is saying "peace be with you" equivalent to proselytizing by its correct definition? So to restate, what was said in this episode that could be construed as an attempt to convert others to Islam, as apposed to simply recognizing that Muslims exist? Or is it the recognition that you take particular issue with?
You say that this has been a recurrent theme lately. How so? Please show your receipts.
PodCastle gives the platform to diversity of thought, belief and existence provided it is not harmful to others. You are entitled to your opinion and as such, even you have the platform right here to discuss that opinion. I assume based on this post that you won't be tuning in for our Christmas episode later this year or the Eid episode next year. Fortunately calendars clearly mark the dates of these holidays so you will know when to tune out.
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K from Vega
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2017, 12:26:17 PM »

Thanks for your reply, and thanks for bringing us back on track.

First things first - I do love your shows and have enjoyed yours just as much as the others. My rant wasn't directed at you specifically.
The source of my frustration is the need to declare religious affiliation like it's part of ones name. When more and more people do this on platforms like yours, over time it becomes an even more defining property both for oneself and for others. It normalizes the notion that it's important that you, for example, are a great Muslim host instead of just a great host.

My problem with this, among other things is that actively making religion a thing in unrelated contexts over time is akin to "positive reinforcement training" and therefore a kind of proselytization.
I admit that what you're doing cannot be compared to active missionary work or anything like that, but I hope you see my point.
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Fenrix
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2017, 01:02:12 PM »

I remember some of the sound and fury (signifying nothing) that would pop up occasionally when Dave talked about his religious beliefs in the PodCastle endcaps. I'm pretty sure there was some of that on either side of Parable of the Shower, which was back in 2011. And Eley talked about it even farther back with his pink unicorns religion before PodCastle was even a thing. Nothing new here.


The source of my frustration is the need to declare religious affiliation like it's part of ones name. When more and more people do this on platforms like yours, over time it becomes an even more defining property both for oneself and for others. It normalizes the notion that it's important that you, for example, are a great Muslim host instead of just a great host.


Religion is frequently part of identity, much like race, ethnicity, regionalism, gender, sexuality, work, hobbies, and fandoms. Your identity is integral to who you are and informs your viewpoint. What parts of identity are required to be hidden in the public sphere? And who gets to decide those rules?

Since we're here in a spec fic fandom space, maybe it might help you to approach religion like a fandom. Would you be annoyed if someone on PodCastle talked about Harry Potter? Would that be normalizing British fantasy to look more like the School Story subgenre? [as opposed to the True and Proper Tolkien!] Would this be akin to weaponizing our youth into becoming Death Eaters? Or inciting the children to attend House Elves Matter marches?
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2017, 03:05:46 AM »

Since we're here in a spec fic fandom space, maybe it might help you to approach religion like a fandom.


Ha! Well said. That's how we handle things in the Pagan community, since there's so many different groups and sects within groups. Helps us have fun with it and balances out the solemnity.
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