I am a postgraduate student, and will start my studies in Europe by the next two months. As you may know, it is prohibited in Islam to touch people of opposite sex (regardless of their faith) except

Source: etiquette – As a Muslim student, how to refuse to shake the opposite sex’s hand without offending them? – Academia Stack Exchange

At least one of the men who did this for “God” slept with a sex-worker while gearing up for the attack


This is an interesting question. The discussion which follows in the above-linked site outlines two main threads in terms of how people tend to think about issues like this.

Do we simply accept everything in a given group – including our own group – as “cultural” or “religious” and not question what’s happening or do we strip down and, as the academics say, “deconstruct” a particular group’s beliefs and practices?

Part of the problem with deconstructing is that we can never be sure we are fully dismantling our own or others’ beliefs without harboring some unconscious bias or agenda. However, to naively accept everything and never make an individual assessment of certain beliefs and practices seems foolish and possibly dangerous.

So what do we do?

If we happen to believe that spiritual matters are on a higher level and not really subject to deconstruction, a problem arises there too. So many folks say “The Holy Spirit told me to do it! “or “I do it for Allah.”

Holy hijackers used call girls before attack

We all know about Muslim terrorists but some Christians still ‘murder for God’ too.

Man who was often seen reading the Bible in a Texas town lured 3 people to his motel room and ‘sacrificed’ them, say police

Of course, these violent murderers appear to be deceived or, to put it in more secular terms, mistaken. Some say they are influenced by evil, others that they are mentally ill. And another more integrated group would say both.

However, it is conceivable that some folks do get it right when claiming to discern God’s will. As any philosophy teacher will tell you, some errors do not necessarily entail perpetual errors. If that were the case, mankind would still be trying to invent fire, the wheel or perhaps strapping homemade wings on the arms hoping to fly.

Note – Featured image on cover page is from Blackbear, “Hot Girl Bummer” (via Stingray Music)