Friday, April 14, 2017

What is the scientific basis for Halal?

I was looking up the rules for Halal food, because I was cooking for a Muslim student of mine. One of the things I found online was frequent questions, from Muslims, along the lines of the title of this post.

This just goes to show how deeply scientism has infected the entire world culture. Why in the world would some religious dietary restrictions need a "scientific" basis? Isn't the fact "God told us not to eat this" enough?

And if you're eating a certain way because you're convinced of the health effects of eating that way, than you are no longer doing it for a religious purpose!



11 comments:

  1. People like consilience (sometimes, at least). If God tells you to do X and then it turns out that X has a scientific basis, this could increase your positive feelings about both God and science.

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    Replies
    1. Greg: consilience; me: "told ya so". You say nullam consectetur, I say tomato.

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  2. There is nothing particularly modern about such questions as as far as I can:

    https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/8846735/wwilkenfeld.html?sequence=2

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  3. What they are looking for is post hoc arguments about why halal is the best way to eat, a form of "I told you so". I have seen similar hunts for why science proves 4 is the best number of wives.

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  4. Gene, I can sympathize with these people because as a Hindu, I frequently hear about discussions of the scientific basis of this or that Hindu practice. And the motivation typically isn't that the gods telling you to do something isn't sufficient reason to do it. It's about religious/nationalistic pride. It's about being able to tell Western scientists "You guys think you're so advanced? Our millenia-old scriptures contain all this scientific knowledge that you guys are only discovering how. Nuclear bombs were fired in the Mahabharata war. The traditional Vedic diet is ideal for health, because the gods knew exactly what's needed to properly care for the human body."

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  5. -----
    Why in the world would some religious dietary restrictions need a "scientific" basis? Isn't the fact "God told us not to eat this" enough?
    -----

    Well, yes, in theory "because God said so" should be enough.

    But in fact, many believers want to justify WHY God would say so by showing that God's instructions accord in some specific way with science, common sense, etc. and vice versa.

    "if you're eating a certain way because you're convinced of the health effects of eating that way, than you are no longer doing it for a religious purpose!"

    See 1 Corinthians, chapter 6, verses 19-20 for a Pauline/Christian claim to the contrary. My guess is other religions boast similar religious justifications for seeking good health.

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  6. Islamic preachers often claim that being a Muslim is part of "fitra," i.e., the uncorrupted natural state of a human being. That is why some converts to Islam prefer to call themselves "reverts": they believe they were born as Muslims until external influences led them to "kufr" (disbelief). In St. Thomas Aquinas's terminology, sharia is supposed to be mainly "natural law," while halakha (Jewish law), including kashrut (dietary laws), are "Divine positive law". (The Jewish equivalent of natural law would be the Seven Laws of Noah, which apply also to gentiles).

    In addition, many contemporary Islamic apologists claim that the Koran contains advanced scientitfic knowledge, which supposedly proves its Divine origin. This can easily lead Muslims to suspect that Islamic dietary laws might also contain scientific insights.

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  7. What have you done Callahan?? You got Greg, me, Knapp and Keshav to agree on something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmzuRXLzqKk

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    2. Gene Callahan is a uniter, not a divider.

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    3. Sorry to break the unity party, but I concur with Gene. By adopting scientism or, to a less popular extent, economism (disproportionately popular among economists), society has lost almost all sense of the sacred.

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