It’s raining, I’m coughing and watching “The Office” since I have the DVD boxed set – of the original BBC version.

I am now in possession of 2 of 3 key ingredients for pie-making this weekend: real bourbon vanilla extract and lots of nice pecans. All I lack is the heavy cream, but that’s getting purchased tomorrow.

Apparently, you know you’re a Democrat/liberal if you can refer to one of your friends as “my Republican friend.” I have more than one friend who is a Republican, but only one with whom I engage in these crazy conversations/arguments. Tonight, my Republican friend and I were driving to Trader Joe’s for the third time in two weeks – he’s addicted to the granola and juice drink thingies, while I am trying a little bit of everything since I experiment like that – and he started off the conversation with the statement, “Muslims are crazy. I bet that most, like the greatest percentage, of the violence committed in the name of religion or God is performed by Muslims.”

Of course, when I started to poke at him with questions (which is my argumentative strategy – finding out where my opponent is coming from and then tearing away at that foundation if I can…) he had to narrow down that statement to reflect what he was actually trying to argue: that, in modern times, specifically post-September 11th, the majority of violent acts committed in the name of religion have been committed by Muslims, of whom the majority are fundamentalist Muslims who are all suicide bombers or shooting at U.S. planes or blowing up hotels to kill both innocent people and “infidels.”

Actually, he started off by saying that “the biggest percentage of violence in the name of religion” is committed by Muslims… about which I had to correct him on right then and there since Islam is the most popular single religion in the world and any percentage of that huge number (1.1 billion) is going to be a smaller percentage number just based on the size of the “sample group.”
Fifty people out of a hundred = 50 percent.
Fifty people out of 1 billion = .0000005 percent (right? 5/1,000,000,000 = .00000005 X 100 [to arrive at percent] = .0000005%)

With over 1.1 billion adherents, Islam is the world’s most popular single religion. Following Islam, Catholicism, Hinduism, Protestantism, and Buddhism round out the top five. However, there are almost 2 billion Christians in the world – divided into several subsets of Christianity. Almost one billion people (one-sixth the world’s population) are agnostic, atheists, or indifferent to religion.

Anyway – after that whole mathematical debacle, it was time to get into the nitty-gritty, and since he was discounting all historical violence committed by other groups in the name of their religions or because of a difference in religion (such as the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, etc.) stating that only modern events counted, I had to take a step back since the scope of his argument was getting soooo narrow that his view could’ve been collapsed even smaller and an argument could be fought stating that – I don’t know – all bearded Muslim men over the age of 40 living in an agricultural society have an 85% chance of committing murder in the name of Allah in the next 37 days. Or something equally ridiculous.

When I brought up the fact that the fundamentalists of any religion can’t be used to describe, much less judge or draw conclusions about, the main religion as a whole, the point was disputed. I mentioned the Branch Dividians and other fun cults/sects that committed strange and violent acts in the name of God/religion… but according to my friend, those can’t be counted since they are too cult-like. I explained that the fundamentalist Muslims ARE, basically, the Branch Dividians of Islam. That sort of violence and hatred is not something that the religion of Islam supports or endorses… if that were the case, the world would be MUCH more f’ed up since over a sixth of the world’s population would be adhering to that mentality and ideology.

His retort was, “Well, if they’re the minority, where are the moderates stepping in to keep them in check?” and I replied with, “Where were the moderates who should’ve stepped in during the Holocaust or where were the moderates who should’ve stepped in during the Crusades?” Given a choice between quietly going about your business and NOT being killed, or speaking your mind and risking murder, torture, etc., it’s a RARE human being that will stand up and “do the right thing.” That’s why there are heroes and martyrs.

I’m going to have to read this article more fully later – check it out and see what you think…

There’s also a pretty clear outline of what exactly a “holy war” is on the BBC’s “Religion and Ethics” site.

Enough of that for tonight. I am coughing and need to down some more lemony yellow death with delightful chalky aftertaste (TheraFlu for colds and severe congestion.) I performed two nasal irrigations to prevent sinus infection from happening, so at least I have that on my side.

Also – I got an email today stating the following:

Our Associate Dean is recommending to the FSU Office of Admissions that you be admitted to our master’s program to begin Spring 2006. Your official letter of admission will come from that office.

Wooo-hoo!!!!!

So the only thing that remains to be seen is how to get the financials in order by the deadline. I’ll be printing all sorts of stuff tomorrow night. Tonight, I actually emailed myself some work from work since my computer here has a scanner and cool software that I don’t have at work – yet, anyway. I’d best finish that off while I am feeling creative and fired up.

This weekend, I have some major site maintenance to do since I received an email today from someone notifying me of several broken links throughout the site. I’ve been lazy. Boo. Hiss. Time to fix everything. Sometimes, though, it means basically starting from scratch 🙁

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