« Rik's Picks for May 17-21 | Main | WEEKEND OPEN FORUM (Updated) »

Friday, May 18, 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Interesting piece. I would dispute that my response to Taras was any harsher than suggesting my faith is inherently intolerant of others. One other point of contention though. Orientalism was not invented by Edward Said - and has one of the main criticism of Said from within the Muslim community. Muslims writing both in the Islamic world and within Western Islamic Studies put foward very similar views years before Said - a fact never acknowledged by him, who popularised the theory of orientalism by fusing it with literary theory. See Z. Sardar's "Orientalism", which unlike Said's book, is actually accessible to ordinary readers rather than academics steeped in the writings of Foucault!

Ordinal Malaprop

I have been left rather stunned at all of this; I can't remember how my first contact with the Avatars Of Change came about, but in recent weeks I have been involved in scripting the new Oracle, and it has been the most fascinating and rewarding of projects for me.

Judging by conversation within the group last night I would say that many others are also baffled.


Wow, fascinating story, and dilemma.

I'm impressed with Taras's williness to step out of the nicey-nicey comfort zone of "let's all get along and tolerate each other" to try and instigate a dialogue on tolerance in the muslim faith. I'm not sure I agree with his tactic of using a polling mechanism, which seems somewhat technical and non-consensus building. In the Quaker view of things, voting is designed to be divisive not uniting.

I think you can build an inter-faith virtual community based on avatars from all sorts of religious traditions -- even ones with strongly intolerant strains -- by requiring each INDIVIDUAL in their own practice of their faith to be accepting and tolerant of other's beliefs. In my mind, that preserves the community, while also keeping the door open to discussion and debate on the roots of intolerance that can be found in virtually all religions.

Kirk Nabob

Fostering positive discussion my ar*e. I notice Christianity and Judaism, which also have fundamendalist streams, aren't being asked to demonstrate why they are 'tolerant.'

Morgana Fillion

I think that's an excellent point, Kirk. I have a hard time imagining a fundamentalist muslim joining SL at all and if so, occupying his time by joining a group devoted to ecumenicalism.

This looks like picking a quarrel and misaiming it, and further, like flatout bigotry. The organization looks really interesting, but a move like this pretty well puts a lie to what it is supposed to be promoting.

(I do realize the person who started this has left, so it doesn't actually reflect the groups stance - what I mean is, this action served only to poorly reflect the group, no matter how much he says or believes that he was working for its benefit.)

Laetizia Coronet

I dare the Avatars of Change to show me where in the Bible it says anything about being tolerant to other religions.
You see, a recurring theme in the Qur'an is how muslims should be respectful of the 'People of the Book'(ahl al-Kitaab) which are Christians and Jews. They should be given sanctuary in a Muslim state and freedom to practice their religion (albeit not to spread it).
That everyday practice in many Muslim nations is vastly different is no reason to brand all followers of Islam as intolerant.

Taras Balderdash

Since Drown Pharaoh decided to post this on his personal blog, then shut down comments after labeling the United States as the real terrorists (wow, where have I heard that before? Ah yes, from Isamists!):


I will place my reply to his comments in the above blog here:


Lovely string of ad hominems! Thanks! Clearly my doubting your tolerance has struck a nerve.

Regarding the timing of your 'statement' to a group you did not belong to: Grow up! You sent a statement. It was duly published. Try to remember that the world does not actually revolve around you.

I will sum up, and not speak of this again:

If you want to discuss Islamic tolerance for other faiths, there is one place to do it: in a church, synagogue or temple in Saudi Arabia.

Laetizia Coronet

"If you want to discuss Islamic tolerance for other faiths, there is one place to do it: in a church, synagogue or temple in Saudi Arabia."

No. As mr. Pharaoh so eloquently states in what you unjustly refer to as a 'string of ad-hominems', Islam is the faith of 1.4 billion people and as such not one single monolithic entity.
Saudi-Arabia is not representative of all of Islam, just like the Vatican is not representative of all of Christianity.
Taras, if you really have no idea about what you are talking - Islam in this case - I suggest that the wiser thing to do is to not talk about it at all.
Whence comes my authority? I studied Arabic culture and language for a few years, I translated some books about the matter, I have read the Qur'an and the Bible back to back. And I am neutral, since I do not believe in any God.

One final question for you to ponder: there are two people. One is a Muslim who wants to enter an interreligious group, and the other is of a different faith and wants to blankly refuse all Muslims from this group. Now you tell me which of the two is the more tolerant.

Lagerstone Graff

"If you want to discuss Islamic tolerance for other faiths, there is one place to do it: in a church, synagogue or temple in Saudi Arabia."

It therefore follows that, if you want to discuss Christian tolerance for other faiths, the only valid locations are mosques and pagan holy circles in, say, rural Georgia.

Patroklus Murakami

And the atheists among us chuckle, declare 'a plague on both your houses', dust off our copies of Dawkins' "The God Delusion" (a Christmas present, of course :)) and recall why we're glad we left religion behind in this world and the real one.

I started off reading this piece with high expectations, a hope that The Avatars of Change might be an arena for interfaith debate, discussion and understanding - God knows you religious types could do with some :) - but instead we see the same old intolerance, application of double standards and lack of good faith. Hey, it's carried you all through several millenia of religious genocide, why stop now?

Now then, what have we learned?

Qyxxql Merlin

Greetings to the bloggers and readers of New World Notes,

This has been a very interesting article. Both the Oracle and the Dragon seem to understand the true nature behind this crisis.

There is no one really to blame here but our own RL selves for allowing these mutual misunderstandings to fatally escalate.

I am hoping that from the ashes of the Avatars of Change, we can rise up in a Phonenix-like way and continue the genuine aspects of inter-faith polylogue(s).

This article raised a wonderful point which should not be overlooked...all the residents in SL have at least one thing in common - there is something in common in our individual personalities that attracted us to SL in the first place...

Should this not be the true foundation for our mutual spiritual understanding?

Why cause sectarian divisions when we are all part of a Second Nations community?

We now share a common (second) ancestry and from this point onwards, we finally have the opportunity to form common kinships with each other...

We are in a very rare situation where people of all faiths and non-faiths have something in common - the transcendental experience of living as embedded avatars in Second Life.

Let us leave behind the sectarian pettiness of RL religious institutions and learn to connect with each other as virtually empowered avatars living in a "Super"natural metaverse.

If we do not let RL to get the best of us, we may finally be in a position to fulfill the blessing of being given a second chance to live our second lives :-)

Nobody Fugazi

Funny. When I think of intolerant religions, Islam is not the first to come to mind. It comes in second in my book. :-)

Seven Shikami

I find it utterly hilarious that the article started talking about peace and interfaith and new views and tolerance and joy and suddenly, whammo, "Islam sucks!" It's like those old Sesame Street bits that starts "One of these things is not like the other..."

If Avatars of Change is intended to be an open and free dialogue between faiths EXCEPT for one specific faith, the whole concept is made of fail. Burn it down and try again and this time stick to your guns instead of being selective in who you make nice with.

By the way, is the Oracle program open source? That could be a fun and interesting way to ponder life even beyond the trappings of a failed "religion."


Islamic fundamentalism is a wonderful way to see the world, and then, the afterlife. How could anyone choose intolerance to Islam, when Islam has always been tolerant of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and the Jewish state of Israel?

It is preposterous to single out Islam as a religion with particularly bloody borders (eg Thailand, Nigeria, Lebanon, India/Pakistan, the French banlieus, etc.) In fact, I challenge anyone who says that Islam is more violent or more intolerant than other religions, to meet me at my mosque near Medina, and repeat those biases aloud.

I am ashamed that second life allows such bigotry and hatred toward the holiest of all religions, the religion that stands head and shoulders above all other religions in terms of tolerance and purity. Such bigotry and religious hatred as is exposed in this posting cause me to wish to purify! Everything must become pure, you must see that, no?

But you will. Yes, you will and soon.

Brenda Archer

There's a type of religion that is incapable of tolerance, no matter what it says. This type is not any specific religion, but a developmental level within any religion.

There are two exits from this hall of twisted mirrors. One is to give up religion and become empirical, while retaining a strict ethical code. The other is to separate spirituality from membership in any social group and make it inclusive by basing it in the individual.

Groups in general tend to fail at being tolerant. Our primate, hierarchial emotional repertoire betrays us. Even if the leadership sincerely wish to include everyone, they eventually will come under attack from a faction that has found someone to hate, someone they want to omit. The faction will demand the leadership leave out the hated ones or else! The motive is often selfish or acquisitive. The cycle of phobia, hatred and scapegoating repeats itself. Truly open groups fragment into closed pieces, bonded by emotion.

I do think there is a better way, but the people who are already able to do it, have done it. It's still pretty rare.

Patchouli Woollahra

The tendency to make people outside of a group the 'other' and something to be defended against is unfortunately a very common human silliness. The stories we are told as children start this habit, when real life is actually significantly more complex, and less easy to parse.

I wasn't happy of this occurrence. I have known tolerant Muslims in my time, and had hoped before I left that this would be understood by others... Unfortunately, the nature of monotheistic religions tends to encourage such intolerance. On one hand, it speeds up progress and development in these places (ostensibly as a means to prove to the 'others' that their ways are superior), but on the other, it encourages war rather than brotherhood.

Polytheists have it so much easier as Avatarians, wouldn't you say?

Brenda Archer

Would that polytheism was an answer. As it is, I've heard one too many stories of "witch wars" in the polytheist neo-pagan subculture to believe it would be.

Postmodern groups are still groups. The requirements for true membership can be very arbitrary, especially since the image of relativism requires that the true dogma be kept obscure.

What I'm thinking of is a few stages beyond this.

Tleva Caballero

This is ridiculous.

Islam is a religion, not a personality trait. All Muslims do not display "belligerent intolerance". And if there are Muslims who are not tolerant of other faiths, then I doubt they would want to join this group.

Don't christians believe that all non christians shall burn in hell? Isn't that a little intolerant?

A group embracing all faiths is such a beautiful idea, it's such a pity it's controlled by such ignorant, racist people.

Tleva Caballero

"One final question for you to ponder: there are two people. One is a Muslim who wants to enter an interreligious group, and the other is of a different faith and wants to blankly refuse all Muslims from this group. Now you tell me which of the two is the more tolerant. "
-Laetizia Coronet

Nuff said.

Ceeq Laborde

They can keep their order or faith or whatever they call it. It is outrageously biased and blatantly pushing a certain point-of-view.

How can you summarise individual muslims as belligerent or not?

As it is very clear in ancient and recent history, all religions all intolerant against each other.

The 'Avatars of Change' is a terribly silly name for such a group with an ignorant agenda. If Fox News were to start a group, this would be it. They should ask for funding.

I urge them to get out of their cockoons and travel for a fair bit. In RL.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Making a Metaverse That Matters Wagner James Au ad
Please buy my book!
Thumb Wagner James Au Metaverse book
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
Wagner James Au Patreon
Equimake 3D virtual world web real time creation
Bad-Unicorn SL builds holdables HUD
Dutchie Evergreen Slideshow 2024
AWE USA discount code
Juicybomb_EEP ad
My book on Goodreads!
Wagner James Au AAE Speakers Metaverse
Request me as a speaker!
Making of Second Life 20th anniversary Wagner James Au Thumb
PC for SL
Recommended PC for SL
Macbook Second Life
Recommended Mac for SL

Classic New World Notes stories:

Woman With Parkinson's Reports Significant Physical Recovery After Using Second Life - Academics Researching (2013)

We're Not Ready For An Era Where People Prefer Virtual Experiences To Real Ones -- But That Era Seems To Be Here (2012)

Sander's Villa: The Man Who Gave His Father A Second Life (2011)

What Rebecca Learned By Being A Second Life Man (2010)

Charles Bristol's Metaverse Blues: 87 Year Old Bluesman Becomes Avatar-Based Musician In Second Life (2009)

Linden Limit Libertarianism: Metaverse community management illustrates the problems with laissez faire governance (2008)

The Husband That Eshi Made: Metaverse artist, grieving for her dead husband, recreates him as an avatar (2008)

Labor Union Protesters Converge On IBM's Metaverse Campus: Leaders Claim Success, 1850 Total Attendees (Including Giant Banana & Talking Triangle) (2007)

All About My Avatar: The story behind amazing strange avatars (2007)

Fighting the Front: When fascists open an HQ in Second Life, chaos and exploding pigs ensue (2007)

Copying a Controversy: Copyright concerns come to the Metaverse via... the CopyBot! (2006)

The Penguin & the Zookeeper: Just another unlikely friendship formed in The Metaverse (2006)

"—And He Rezzed a Crooked House—": Mathematician makes a tesseract in the Metaverse — watch the videos! (2006)

Guarding Darfur: Virtual super heroes rally to protect a real world activist site (2006)

The Skin You're In: How virtual world avatar options expose real world racism (2006)

Making Love: When virtual sex gets real (2005)

Watching the Detectives: How to honeytrap a cheater in the Metaverse (2005)

The Freeform Identity of Eboni Khan: First-hand account of the Black user experience in virtual worlds (2005)

Man on Man and Woman on Woman: Just another gender-bending avatar love story, with a twist (2005)

The Nine Souls of Wilde Cunningham: A collective of severely disabled people share the same avatar (2004)

Falling for Eddie: Two shy artists divided by an ocean literally create a new life for each other (2004)

War of the Jessie Wall: Battle over virtual borders -- and real war in Iraq (2003)

Home for the Homeless: Creating a virtual mansion despite the most challenging circumstances (2003)

Newstex_Author_Badge-Color 240px
JuicyBomb_NWN5 SL blog
Ava Delaney SL Blog
my site ... ... ...