A Palate Cleanser
Sooner or later, it's up to the voters to decide to stop being stupid about their own self-interest, and to stop falling for scams about how the Poors and Browns are the ones stealing all their money.
"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton
"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein
“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson
Sooner or later, it's up to the voters to decide to stop being stupid about their own self-interest, and to stop falling for scams about how the Poors and Browns are the ones stealing all their money.
…examination of the Galileo legend suggests that the scientific culture embraces an ideology of progress that has its roots in a positivist vision of history similar to the one popularized by August Comte in the nineteenth century. Such tales depict science as the vanguard of an evolutionary movement whose march toward the future advances even in the face of bitter opposition from a religious competitor which is destined by nature to be replaced by science. Evolution necessitates a struggle for survival, and thus science’s progressive character can be shown in its ability to outbid religion for existence. Religious culture, by contrast, must then be shown to exhibit features which make it unsuited for survival in a changing human environment. If science is the culmination of evolutionary progress then other knowledge cultures must be shown to be antiquated. Thus science is almost never demarcated against commerce, government, or art. Only other cognitive cultures such as religion and occasionally philosophy can serve as suitable antagonists.The legend is that Galileo was punished for heresy; that he barely missed the fate of Giordano Bruno; and that his story presents us with a parable of the conflict between science (reason) and religion (superstition). I leave it to Mr. Lessl to give you all the particulars of the legend and its transmission; I'm interested more in the implications of that legend for the modern understanding of science, and of religion. (What he has to say in passing about the limits of empiricism, limits identified by the historical truth of Galileo's story, is fascinating; I'd like to spend time just exploring it.)
By making Galileo the definitive founder of modern science, this tradition creates an exaggerated sense of division between secular science and other intellectual traditions. If scientists can construct the origins of science in a way that makes it appear to have arisen out of whole cloth, completely distinct from the other currents of western culture, they can also assure that its institutional autonomy will be respected by outsiders. Science’s honor belongs to itself.
He is therefore, the father of modern times. Whatever we may like or dislike about the age in which we live, its increase in population, its improvement in health, its trains, motor-cars, radio, politics and advertisement of soap—all emanate from Galileo. If the Inquisition could have caught him young, we might not now be enjoying the blessings of air-warfare and poisoned gas, nor, on the other hand, the diminution of poverty and disease which is characteristic of our age.
Either the world of phenomena is a consequence of the regular operation of repeatable causes and their repeatable effects, operating roughly along the lines of known physical law, or else at every instance all physical regularities may be ruptured and a totally unforeseeable set of events may occur. One must take sides on the issue of whether the sun is sure to rise tomorrow. We cannot live simultaneously in a world of natural causation and of miracles, for if one miracle can occur, there is no limit.
White responded to criticism of her Texas Muslim Capitol Day plan in the comments on her Facebook post.Well, since her objection is based on nationalism and not based on religion, that's okay.....
"I do not apologize for my comments above," she wrote in one comment. "If you love America, obey our laws and condemn Islamic terrorism then I embrace you as a fellow American. If not, then I do not."
According to Jon Sobrino of San Salvador's Central American University, compassion must have the central place in the life of the Catholic university. College students and universities themselves must learn to embrace the "preferential option for the poor."Sobrino argues that if the Catholic university is to exist in a world of massive suffering and not function simply as an "ivory tower," it must be committed to the poor. Far from paternalistic philanthropy, the preferential option entails solidarity-identifying with the poor, being converted by them, and participating in movements for their empowerment. If the Catholic university does not actively side with the poor in appropriate ways, it will tacitly side with the status quo and reinforce present structures of injustice, oppression, and exclusion.You want radical thought, there it is. From a Catholic theologian and Jesuit priest; not from Bill Maher or Richard Dawkins or Stephen Weinberg. Sobrino's thought is centered on the question "How should we then live?" and his answer is: in a way that doesn't side with the status quo and reinforce injustice, oppression, and exclusion. It is a way of thought he derives from his Christianity, not in spite of it. You want to curse the darkness, you can join the way of the world: of the Mahers and the Dawkins and the Harrises.
But it doesn't take much sleuthing to uncover the Republicans' distaste for the centers and institutes dotting the UNC landscape that were created to explore issues of poverty, civil rights, the environment and energy policy. Places like the Center for Work, Poverty and Opportunity at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. Central University's Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change. The board of governors has 34 such centers under scrutiny. Why? The explanation is found in a paper published two weeks ago by conservatives at the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy-a nonprofit named for Art Pope's father. The paper is entitled "Renewal in the University," and it sings the praises of academic centers which "restore the spirit of inquiry." But not centers that look into poverty. No, they are the problem, writes author Jay Schalin, because they threaten "thousands of years of Western thought." What we need instead, Schalin argues, is to replace such disruptive centers with new centers paid for by rich people like Pope-"privately funded academic centers" that reinforce for students the traditional values of "liberty" and "free-market economics."I would exhaust my day looking for examples in the "thousands of years of Western thought" that are examinations of the problems and solutions to poverty, starting with the Greeks (who were making statues of the poor, to draw attention to the failures of Greek social order), coming up through the work of Dr. King and Dorothy Day (to name just two). The bulk of those arguments would be from, or informed by, the Christian church, an institution also responsible for the very idea of a university system. William Buckley famously argued that the university should return to its religious status in order to regain its moral authority. I never really agreed with him, but at least he was more sensible than this.
In a world of scarce resources, a slightly higher mortality rate is an acceptable price to pay for certain goals — including more cash for other programs, such as those that help the poor; less government coercion and more individual liberty; more health-care choice for consumers, allowing them to find plans that better fit their needs; more money for taxpayers to spend themselves; and less federal health-care spending. This opinion is not immoral. Such choices are inevitable. They are made all the time.Especially by the people in power. Consider these quotes as a partial response to the presumption of AEI:
People nowadays interchange gifts and favors out of friendship, but buying and selling is considered absolutely inconsistent with the mutual benevolence which should prevail between citizens and the sense of community of interest which supports our social system. According to our ideas, buying and selling is essentially anti-social in all its tendencies. It is an education in self-seeking at the expense of others, and no society whose citizens are trained in such a school can possibly rise above a very low grade of civilization -- Edward BellamyStart with Bellamy's idea of education that must be something other than an education in buying and selling. He calls that "an education in self seeking at the expense of others, and no society whose citizens are trained in such a school can possibly rise above a very low grade of civilization." No education today reflects Dewey's idea: "the production of free human beings associated with one another on terms of equality." Education today is all aimed at getting a job, and being a consumer and a producer of goods, at seeking at the expense of others. The most desirable lot of human beings is reflected back to us in "The Wolf of Wall Street" or the celebrity of Donald Trump and the Kardashians. As Robert Kennedy points out, the GNP does not allow for the health of our families; indeed, the AEI says it can't: resources are too scarce. Triage must be performed. Some must die, and so decrease the surplus population. People are too expensive; the are just too damned many of you!
The ultimate aim of production is not production of goods but the production of free human beings associated with one another on terms of equality. -- John Dewey
I confess that I am not charmed with the ideal of life held out by those who think that the normal state of human beings is that of struggling to get on; that the trampling, crushing, elbowing, and treading on each other's heels, which form the existing type of social life, are the most desirable lot of human beings -- John Stuart Mill
The gross national product includes air pollution and advertising for cigarettes, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors, and jails for the people who break them ... It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of thier education, or the joy of their play. -- Robert F. Kennedy
We must recognize that we can't solve our problems now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power....[What is required is] a radical restructuring of the architecture of American society. -- Martin Luther King, Jr
After a while the stream dried up, for there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go now to Zarephath, a village of Sidon, and stay there; I have commanded a widow there to feed you.’ He went off to Zarephath, and when he reached the entrance to the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks. He called to her, ‘Please bring me a little water in a pitcher to drink.’ As she went to fetch it, he called after her, ‘Bring me, please, a piece of bread as well.’ But she answered, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no food baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a flask. I am just gathering two or three sticks to go and cook it for my son and myself before we die.’ ‘Have no fear,’ Elijah said, ‘go and do as you have said. But first make me a small cake from what you have and bring it out to me, and after that make something for your son and yourself. For this is the word of the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of flour will not give out, nor the flask of oil fail, until the Lord sends rain on the land.’ She went and did as Elijah had said, and there was food for him and for her family for a long time. The jar of flour did not give out, nor did the flask of oil, as the word of the Lord foretold through Elijah. 1 Kings 17:7-16 (REB)
The odd thing about Dawkins’s work, considering his job description, is that it does not itself seem the product of a mind informed by the physics of the last century or so. A reader might find it instructive to start with his last chapter, in which he does acknowledge the fact of quantum theory and certain of its implications. This chapter is an interesting lens through which to consider the primary argument of the book, especially his use of physicality and materiality as standards for determining the real and objective existence of anything, along with his use of commonplace experience as the standard of reasonableness and — a favorite word — probability. He does this despite his awareness that the physical and the material are artifacts of the scale at which reality is perceived. For us, he says, “matter is a useful construct.” Quoting Steve Grand, a computer scientist who specializes in artificial intelligence, he offers these thoughts on the fluidity of matter: “Matter flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to be you. Whatever you are, therefore, you are not the stuff of which you are made. If that doesn’t make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, read it again until it does, because it is important.” Earlier, Dawkins attributes the origins of the illusion that we have a soul to the persistence of a childish or primitive tendency toward dualism — “Our innate dualism prepares us to believe in a ’soul’ which inhabits the body rather than being integrally part of the body. Such a disembodied spirit can easily be imagined to move on somewhere else after the death of the body.” Yet the image of deeper reality invoked by him here suggests a basis for the ancient intuition of the persistence of the self despite the transiency of the elements of its physical embodiment.
I do not wish to recruit science to the cause of religion. My point is simply that Dawkins’s critique of religion cannot properly be called scientific. His thinking is reminiscent of logical positivism. That school, however, which meant to carry out a purge of language it considered meaningless, specifically metaphysics and theology, by subjecting statements to the “scientific” test of verifiability, plunged into all sorts of interesting difficulty, as rigorous thought tends to do. Dawkins acknowledges no difficulty. He has a simple-as-that, plain-as-day approach to the grandest questions, unencumbered by doubt, consistency, or countervailing information.
“There is something breathtakingly condescending, as well as inhumane, about the sacrificing of anyone, especially children, on the altar of ‘diversity’ and the virtue of preserving a variety of religious traditions. The rest of us are happy with our cars and computers, our vaccines and antibiotics. But you quaint little people with your bonnets and breeches, your horse buggies, your archaic dialect and your earth-closet privies, you enrich our lives. Of course you must be allowed to trap your children with you in your seventeenth-century time warp, otherwise something irretrievable would be lost to us: a part of the wonderful diversity of human culture.”
Amid a fledgling primary campaign, rural Iowa state lawmaker Joni Ernst crafted a quirky hardscrabble persona that propelled her to both the forefront of the race and, eventually, the United States Senate....The truth about her family’s farm roots and living within one’s means, however, is more complex. Relatives of Ernst (née: Culver), based in Red Oak, Iowa (population: 5,568) have received over $460,000 in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009. Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, was given $14,705 in conservation payments and $23,690 in commodity subsidies by the federal government–with all but twelve dollars allocated for corn support. Richard’s brother, Dallas Culver, benefited from $367,141 in federal agricultural aid, with over $250,000 geared toward corn subsidies. And the brothers’ late grandfather Harold Culver received $57,479 from Washington—again, mostly corn subsidies—between 1995 and 2001. He passed away in January 2003.
"When we're insulted, and when we've had an image, then I think we'll have to sue, I think we'll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed," Hidalgo told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced."
Hidalgo's comments about a lawsuit came after a series of Fox segments suggested there are parts of Paris and other European cities where Islamic law is practiced and where police are fearful to work. The "no-go" zone segments were widely mocked and challenged as inaccurate, particularly by French media outlets.Free legal advice to FoxNews: claim it was an attempt at humor.
Some critics have accused the network of using the controversial "no-go zones" idea to perpetuate a fearful narrative about Muslims, particularly in the days since terror attacks in Paris.
One Fox show, for example, displayed an inaccurate map of the alleged "no-go zones" in and around Paris. On another show, a guest who was identified as a security expert claimed that Birmingham, England is a "totally Muslim city where non-Muslims don't go in."
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Don't pass judgment, so you won't be judged. Don't forget, the judgment you hand out will be the judgment you get back. And the standard you apply will be the standard applied to you. Why do you notice the sliver in your friend's eye, but overlook the timber in your own? How can you say to your friend, 'Let me get the sliver out of your eye,' when there is a timber in your own? You phony, first take the timber out of your own eye and then you'll see well enough to remove the sliver from your friend's eye.
Don't pass judgment, and you won't be judged; don't condemn, and you won't be condemned; forgive, and you'll be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you; they'll put in your lap a full measure, packed down, sifted and overflowing. For the standard you apply will be the standard applied to you.
As Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency, noted in its report released last year, the vast majority of terror attacks in Europe were perpetrated by separatist groups. For example, in 2013, there were 152 terror attacks in Europe. Only two of them were “religiously motivated,” while 84 were predicated upon ethno-nationalist or separatist beliefs.I just pause to point out three gunmen in Paris riveted the world's attention, perhaps because they claimed to act in the name of Islam (and on behalf of Al Qaeda), while rocket attacks against two French cities drew no international attention at all (probably not even from "Charlie Hebdo").
We are talking about groups like France’s FLNC, which advocates an independent nation for the island of Corsica. In December 2013, FLNC terrorists carried out simultaneous rocket attacks against police stations in two French cities. And in Greece in late 2013, the left-wing Militant Popular Revolutionary Forces shot and killed two members of the right-wing political party Golden Dawn. While over in Italy, the anarchist group FAI engaged in numerous terror attacks including sending a bomb to a journalist. And the list goes on and on.
Have you heard of these incidents? Probably not. But if Muslims had committed them do you think you our media would’ve covered it? No need to answer, that’s a rhetorical question.
France ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and glorifying terrorism, announcing Wednesday that 54 people had been arrested for those offenses since terror attacks left 20 dead in Paris last week, including three gunmen.
France has been tightening security and searching for accomplices since the terror attacks began, but none of the 54 people have been linked to the attacks. That's raising questions about whether President Francois Hollande's Socialist government is impinging on the very freedom of speech that it so vigorously defends when it comes to Charlie Hebdo.
Among those detained was Dieudonne, a controversial, popular comic with repeated convictions for racism and anti-Semitism. Like many European countries, France has strong laws against hate speech and especially anti-Semitism in the wake of the Holocaust. In a message distributed to all French prosecutors and judges, the Justice Ministry laid out the legal basis for rounding up those who defend the Paris terror attacks as well as those responsible for racist or anti-Semitic words or acts. The order did not mention Islam.
Dieudonne, a comic who popularized an arm gesture that resembles a Nazi salute and who has been convicted repeatedly of racism and anti-Semitism, is no stranger to controversy. His provocative performances were banned last year but he has a core following among France's disaffected youth.
In the Facebook post in question, which was swiftly deleted, the comic said he felt like "Charlie Coulibaly" — merging the names of Charlie Hebdo and Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who killed four hostages at a kosher market Friday, a day after he killed a Paris policewoman.
In a separate post, the comic wrote an open letter to France's interior minister.
"Whenever I speak, you do not try to understand what I'm trying to say, you do not want to listen to me. You are looking for a pretext to forbid me. You consider me like Amedy Coulibaly when I am not any different from Charlie," he wrote.
6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; 8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: 9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. 20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Oscar Romero, who was a bishop in what Bill Maher assures us is a stupid and dangerous institution, now is fast-tracked to sainthood because his life is finally being recognized as the blessing it was to the people of El Salvador. If Papa Francesco really canonizes him in that country, there won't be a dry eye in the hemisphere.
"My church comforts the sick and the dying. My church feeds the hungry. What does your church do? Oh, that's right, you don't have a church!"
Terrorists rarely have territory under their control. They have no structures to which they can point. Their clandestine existence means that the only way they can demonstrate their existence is to act. In doing so, they communicate not only with their adversaries but also with their supporters and their followers throughout the world. By reacting, governments communicate for them, too. By bombing their training camps or labeling them public enemy number one, governments also demonstrate the existence and strength of their terrorist adversaries. Any government that refused to react, however, would soon be dismissed as weak...In South America civilian governments were replaced by the military when they were perceived as weak in the face of terrorism...In both Brazil and Uruguay, the brutal behavior of the military state did succeed in destroying the terrorist movements, but the costs were far higher than any democracy could pay. Part of the genius of terrorism, therefore, is that elicits a reaction that furthers the interests more often than their victims.
In English churches, state-selected priests would merely incant the liturgy. Upon hearing the words "Hoc" and "corpus" (in the "For this is my body" passage), newly literate and impatient artisans in the pews would mockingly whisper, "Hocus-pocus," finding a tough slang term for the religious obfuscation at which they were beginning to chafe. (Ed. Note: prior to reading this piece, I had no idea that was the origin of the term. History is so cool.)Emphasis in original. And n.b. to Mr. Pierce: no. Not at all.
Maher's atheism comes down to little more than pure Ivy League snobbery -- he's smarter than you are, you superstitious git. His movie, Religulous, shows Bill being smarter that [sic] a collection of religious grotesques. His criticisms are obvious, his conclusions easy and glib.Replace Maher's name with Hitchens', and drop the movie reference; you don't have to alter anything else in that statement.
But their work featuring Mohammed could be sophomoric and racist. Not all of it; a cover image of the prophet about to be beheaded by a witless ISIS thug was trenchant commentary on how little Islamic radicalism has to do with the religion itself. But often, the cartoonists simply rendered Islam’s founder as a hook-nosed wretch straight out of Edward Said’s nightmares, seemingly for no purpose beyond antagonizing Muslims who, rightly or wrongly, believe that depicting Mohammed at all is blasphemous.Now, if the drawing of a "hook-nosed wretch" is clearly meant to portray a Jew, no one would hesitate to call it racist, even "anti-semitic." But a "Semite" can be an Arab, so even the term is not really limited to the descendants of Abraham; except that we insist it is. And why? Mostly because of the Holocaust; which is a good reason; but it is not good reason enough to render all things Jewish as sacrosanct, while all things semitic but not Jewish are treated as "other."
I often feel like someone trying to catch a slippery eel when following those debates. It slinks about, hides behind stones and water-weeds, dashes across some open water, the sun glints on it, I attack, and the eel is gone. Take the way the term "racism" is used here. It doesn't have its usual definition of applying to people who "look different" from one's own racial group (however that is determined). It applies to people who might or might not "look different" but who certainly have a different religion.It's hard to say the term is incorrect in light of comments like this:
The term is incorrect. I'm not sure what the correct term is, but it's not racism, and calling it racism makes the analysis more difficult. Clearly people who "look different" can face the usual type of racism and it's also possible that the religion of those people will be labeled because the people are seen as "other."
"That's my question about these guys because if we know they were speaking unaccented French and they had, you know, ski masks on, do we even know what color they were," Bream said. "What the tone of their skin was. I mean what if they didn't look like typical bad guys?'Or sweeping statements by people like Bill Maher that all religions "are stupid and dangerous." What, really, is the difference between saying that, and saying that all members of a racial class (and what is the race of Jews, pray tell? Do all Jews really "look different"? From whom?) have characteristics which automatically make them both stupid and dangerous? Is the reasoning behind that statement, or behind those of Richard Dawkins, really distinguishable from the reasoning behind white supremacist remarks? Those kinds of sweeping generalizations are the very definition of racism, and it wasn't that long ago that some "white" Europeans were considered separate (and inferior) "races" from more "advanced" Europeans, namely the ones establishing the categories. We can't really argue that racism is all about clear physiological differences without first establishing a wholly indefensible basis for those differences; and how that reasoning differs from Bill Maher's comments, or Richard Dawkins', is a mystery to me.
Or has, say, the specific history of Europe caused changes which now mean that Europeans are out of step with large chunks of the rest of this globe? What was the role of reformation in Christianity? What was the role of getting the church out of absolute power? When did literal interpretations of the Bible become the minority voice? And what is happening in that sense inside Islam? I'm also intrigued by the somewhat similar situation in the US. Is the slippery eel I'm trying to catch something that is similar in Islam and, say, right-wing US Christianity
My theory is that the conditions are three (the first of them not being a condition at all but the usual state of things): First, you must have a holy book from several thousand years ago which describes the mores and rules of the society then. Second, you must have a rule (either real or self-determined) that the book is the literal word of a divine power and must be interpreted that way: literally, never changing, never referring to some local circumstances then. Third, your religion must be non-hierarchical enough so that no higher level of the faith pyramid can tell you what the correct interpretation of god's words should be.The "holy book" of Jews and Christians describes mores and rules of the society then; on the other hand, so do Shakespeare's plays. As the French say, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Scripture may describe those things (what literary work doesn't?), but it doesn't necessarily prescribe them. Even the most rabid literalists, for example, don't use Philemon to justify slavery today. And in the same way that the Koran guides Islam, haditha informs interpretations of the Koran; it's an idea the Muslims got from Jewish midrash. Christians, of course, have commentaries dating to the first century and continuing to the present day (pretty much what every sermon on Sunday morning is).