Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"Kazim"? What does that mean?

I just want to clear up a couple of things about the title of this blog, so I'm putting this in a sticky post on the front page.

I wish I could tell you a fascinating story about how deeply significant the word "Kazim" is to me, but the fact is I made it up as the name of a character in a video game. The character looked somewhat Middle Eastern, so I stuck some syllables together that sounded good. Since the character wound up very powerful, I started re-using the name. So there you go.

It was only later that I found out that "Kazim" is a real Arabic name which means "restrainer of anger". Now I didn't plan that, but I kind of like it. I'm often worked up and filled with righteous indignation when I write, but I think that being angry is usually counter-productive and clouds your judgment. People tell me I am very laid back, and I often play the role of peacemaker among friends and family.

As for the Arabic origin, let me say that I am just about as white as they come. The picture that I used to use for my avatar made me look a bit more exotic than I do in person -- it was me as drawn by my first wife in charcoal. I'm also not usually that sinister.

Muslims today have a perceived reputation of being the violent extremist religious thugs of the world -- not surprising, considering that bit of unpleasantness in 2001. However, to my mind the thing that makes religion dangerous is not the particular kinds of invisible beings you believe in, but how fanatically devoted to the cause you are. There are plenty of moderate, liberal Muslims, and I consider them to be far, far less scary than your average Christian fundamentalist. And let's not forget that for a while, the Islamic world was a major center of culture and enlightenment.

I'm an atheist. I am not speaking in favor of Islam; I personally think that religions are fairy tales. My point is, it's a huge mistake to believe that the country, culture or religion that happens to be on top at the moment is destined to stay on top forever, which is why it's important to continue to use logic and reason, prop up elements of your culture that are good, and try to change things which are not so good. And if you can do all this while restraining your anger, so much the better.

I am Kazim.

20 comments:

  1. I like your philosophy.

    Can I be Kazim too?

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  2. Sure, let's all be Kazim!

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  3. bonhoeffer9:50 AM

    We are all, after all, just doppels of Kazim.

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  4. Hey wait a second--*I'm* Kazim!

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  5. Anonymous3:24 PM

    My name is kazim too! No joke. My friend found your blog and forwarded me the link asking me, "is this your secret blog that you don't tell anyone about?" I said, no, me no write as good as him :-(

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  6. Anonymous5:34 PM

    the last comment was left by my brother, who im pretty sure didnt know what his name meant. and yeah, i seriously doubt he has a secret blog because he doesnt have internet at home. get back to work kazim!

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  7. While I understand that you are an atheist, I'm curious about your comparison of moderate Muslims to fundamental Christians. Why not moderate vs. moderate or extremist vs. extremist.

    Truly, extreme fundamental Christians scare me too, same as extreme fundamental Muslims.

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  8. John I didn't compare "moderate Muslims" to "extremist Christians" in order to unfairly weight the comparison against Christianity. My point was that people in our culture often seem to jump to the conclusion that "Christian"="good" and "Muslim"="evil". I simply wanted to make the point from my atheistic perspective, it's not the particular religious flavor that that determines character, and the "extremist/moderate" axis is a much more useful determinant.

    If you want me to make this more explicit: "Moderate Muslim" is less scary that "Extremist Christian"; "Moderate Christian" is less scary that "Extremist Christian". "Extremist Christian" is somewhat less scary than "Extremist Muslim", if only because most Christians tend to be tempered by western culture and less inclined to commit suicide as a fast track to heaven (with a few notable outliers). "Moderate Christian" and "Moderate Muslim" is a tossup in my opinion, and requires more data for each case.

    There, that should cover all possible configurations. ;)

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  9. Anonymous10:28 PM

    bro..im kinda educated as well annd i have taken course in university about evolution and etc. and i still don't believe it...i read your story about Amway...i am almost exactly in the same situation today about quixtar canada...whats your background..WHy do you think religion is a fairy tale....I have posted something on your site about amway today august 11, 2007...so you can e-mail me back at that e-mail posted on your site....I don't think any religion, well major religion, preaches violence....but there are other factors that cause people to use God's name to justify their actions...We are all humans after all...we are not perfect...reply soon..thanks

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  10. Anonymous10:32 PM

    by the way...im a muslim and i wanted to add that god does not allow u to kill yourself for any reason or others that are innocent or civilians....It's in the Holy Quran....one other I want to add the Quran shouldn't be taken out of context...because u may pick a random verse and be like "what is this saying"...and be all confused and in a critisizind mode and etc..

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  11. Anonymous9:00 AM

    Kazim !!!!

    Hi all,

    I am Kazim, and m a pure muslim, i wud not agree with u completely, u 've a very positive view abt the cultures v all r living in, but i wud say dat, religions are not fairy tales, there is a creator who gave us the instructions (religons) to know the basic concept of his creation. since the begining of life there are two forces good n evil, good leads to a simple n harmonic way and evil leads to voilence n distruction. there is no such religion who teaches us voilence. if u study religions, u wud admit it. evil's reprsentatives are used to fulfil their desires in this way, so religions are not teaching this, we all should be extrimist against evil in our thoughts not by force or by voilence. There is a very simple rule to survive, live n let live. V the human beings, r facing alot of hurdles to sustain our existance on this planet earth, let us face the challenges for our existance. n kick out the racism, faciasm, and nationalism. v r supposed to secure our existance not to finish.

    Humble Regards,

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  12. Hi-

    I wanted to add a female perspective to the mix. My name is... KAZIMAH!!! Enjoyed the blog and I believe what you said. Although the Quran does not preach the extremism that is practiced by some, the Bible also does not preach the violence enacted by some also. There are two sides to every story. Before people get extremely upset one should just look at Christianity/America and how religion is distorted to justify the actions we do to many.
    Peace and Love
    Kazi(mah)

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  13. I can.... feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred, and your journey towards the Dark Side will be complete.

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  14. Anonymous3:50 PM

    First, i'M Turkish and i thought that you were mocking a name of my country, cause i know some people named Kazım. Oh by the way its Kaz(ı)m. Pronounced kinda like Kuuzam in english. whatever, i've found out that you actually had a really objective and intelligent sight of muslims and absolutely wasnt mocking the name. It soothed my anger, so you really are a Kazım for me :)

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  15. Anonymous11:25 AM

    i like the name SHAZAM better

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  16. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Asalaam-alaikum. I'm named Kazim as well. Just wanted to shout out all the Kazims in the commens section. word up. -kazim ali

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  17. that was basically the same way i came up with this name, except that it doesnt really mean anything, as far as i know.

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  18. my sons name is Kazim ali

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  19. My name in the real world is Kazim, and your right about the meaning. While I am not Arabic, I am northern Sudanese and was raised a Muslim, so I have an Arabic name. I deconverted to an atheist at the age of 14 and love your show, it has given me lots of confidence and taught me a lot about debating.

    I guess I just am very glad that someone finally has the same name as me. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a person named Kazim in Canada.

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  20. My Name is KAZIM SHAIKH.I am form PAKISTAN and Global Marketer by profession.
    I know my name meaning but sometimes I am AGAINST OF MEANING especailly with hypocrite and liars.Its really a PLEASANT SURPRISE to see this KK and I feel proud of my name!!!!Hope to go long and positive discussions with people around!

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