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"Koran" - Narrative Argument about a social issue

calvinphoon 2 / -  
Apr 19, 2007   #1
hello, my name is calvin and i need help with my essay. Basically, what I need to do here is make a causal argument (identify a social issue and pick out and prove the reason it exists), and use a narrative from my personal life to help "frame" the story. overall, how can I improve the general quality of my writing (diction, vocabulary, etc.), are my points consistent with each other? does the paper flow nicely? Any help will be greatly appreaciated. Thank you.

Narrative Argument about a Social Issue

As a child, I was raised in a very traditional, catholic environment. As early as I can remember, I was sent off to a day care center in St. Lawrence's Catholic Church, where I spent my early years making macaroni and finger art, watching Barney, and picking my nose with all the other catholic children. Due to my sheltered childhood, I was seldom exposed to other religions. All that changed however, when I moved into my tranquil tree-lined neighborhood of Providence on the then-largely-rural outskirts of Houston. Since the day I moved in, I had been curious to see who our neighbors in the house next door would be; it turned out to be a couple from Iran and their daughter Nadira, who was about my age. It wasn't long before She and I began to become very good friends. Every afternoon after school, we would go to her house to watch Power Rangers and munch on the Oreos her mom always bought us. However, one day while I was over, I noticed that somebody had left a book on the coffee table. I picked it up, and while thumbing through it, saw that it was written in an elegant curving script of gold.

"What's that?" I asked, gazing at the pages full of foreign characters.

"It's the Koran," she replied, with a hint of incredulity, "don't you have one in your house?"

"No, we have a Bible at our house, what's the Koran?"

"It's my family's holy book."

"You mean it's not the same as the Bible?"

"No, we don't believe in Jesus."

From there, our short amicable friendship had come to an unfortunate close. The argument that followed was an inflamed, childish squabble over who was "right" and which religion was "better", probably more a thorough berating and an exercise in pettiness than an actual discussion. Strangely, this is an occurrence ironically mirroring the actions of today's religious adults, and bears an especially striking resemblance to the current strife that currently exists between Christianity and Islam, which is largely a product of the clash of cultures associated with the two religions, as well as in part having its beginning in previous historical events like the Crusades, as well as being intensified by current ongoing events, such as the War On Terror.

Though it's obvious that Islam and Christianity have significant theological differences, it seems that the tensions existing between these two faiths stem from far more than just religious dissimilarity. One contributing factor to this friction is the differing cultures associated with the two religions. While Islam has been a long-established religion in the Middle East, in countries such as Pakistan, Mauritania, Iran, and Afghanistan, as well as some areas of Africa and Southeast Asia, Christianity has had a strong centuries-old foothold in the West, largely consisting of the Americas as well as most of Europe.

One area of dissent between Muslim and Christian societies is in the arena of politics. For example, in the 2006 Democracy Index issued by the Economic Intelligence Unit, many Western Democracies with predominantly Christian populations were ranked under the category of "full democracies", for instance Belgium, the U.S., U.K., France, and Canada. In contrast, many nations populated by Muslim majorities tended to be under more dictatorial governments, with countries like Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, and Egypt being grouped under the class of "Authoritarian Regimes". Generally in western cultures, democracy is commonplace, and society by and large is more autonomous, but a greater amount of authority is exerted over the lives of citizens in the Islamic states, at times bordering on human rights abuses, such as when the Ba'ath government in Iraq under Saddam Hussein imposed famines and widespread butchery during his last ten years of leadership. While many Islamic nations claim to be democratic, some criticize that this is claim is just that, a claim, an assertion that arouses suspicion given the very names of the countries in question, such as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, when one of the principles of democracy is to advance the separation of church and state, as well as personal freedom, both of which many theocratic Muslim countries lack, as indicated by their imposition of the Sharia on society, , a legal structure governing the most mundane and ordinary aspects of everyday life, including sex, politics, economics, business, and numerous social issues.

Another matter causing the rift between the two religions is the issue of secularism in our societies. While the citizens of most Western democratic states would hardly bat an eyelash at the thought of a society that embraces a secularist dogma, many Islamic societies see non-religious Western culture and materialism as a threat to morality and spiritual ideals. Principally Christian societies however, especially those of Europe and the Americas, do have significant consumer cultures, possibility giving greater credibility to claims that these societies are "money-oriented and decadent". It is probably for this reason however, that many Muslim states have to some degree or another, embraced socialism, in favor of the idea of greater egalitarianism for their people over greater economic production, a capitalist ideal that most of Western civilization seems to aspire to. This is demonstrated by the fact that the highest-ranked Muslim majority country on the Index of Economic Freedom for 2006 seems to be Bahrain at a measly number thirty-nine, with nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates ranking even appallingly lower at 150, 85, and 74 respectively.

Contrary to what many believe, this Islamic-Christian friction is not new and not even remotely recent. History has clearly had an effect on the current state of conflict between the two religions, very possibly having some ancient origin in the Crusades, at first a move to expel the last Muslim dynasty from the Andalusia region of Spain, and later a bloody task handed out to Europe by Pope Urban II in an effort to take back the Holy Land from "that vile race". Even now, the War On Terror that America is currently waging is contributing significantly to this inter-faith tension. All the while, religious zealots from both sides continue to compound and exacerbate the situation, with Jerry Falwell hatefully preaching that Muhammad was a "demon-possessed pedophile", even as Osama Bin Laden proclaims "The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies - civilians and military - is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it..." Clearly, this kind of abhorrent speech only piles more wood onto the fires of hatred and ignorance.

It seems, contrary to popular opinion, that it is not religion that is so divisive, it is culture, as well as an unwillingness to let the offenses of the past die. If we are ever to obtain peace in the world, religious conflict, especially between Islam and Christianity, must be quelled through a mutual willingness to understand and accept each other.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Apr 20, 2007   #2

I'd be glad to give you some input on your well-written essay!

I notice that when you use "Catholic" as an adjective, you do not capitalize it. My understanding is that it should be capitalized when referring to the religion; when not capitalized, the word means "something wide-ranging in tastes or of interest to everyone."

I like the way you start off with an anecdote from your life; however, you really need to bring your thesis into the opening paragraph, and the segue from the childhood experience to talking about the social issue was quite abrupt. Try beginning with a thesis that is similar to your last sentence, then use the childhood story as an illustration of how these arguments get started.

You say that "Contrary to what many believe, this Islamic-Christian friction is not new"; I don't think very many people believe that it is. You say it is "very possibly having some ancient origin in the Crusades"; there's no "possibly" about it. That's what the Crusades were all about. The Christians were going to stamp out Islam and take back the Holy Land for Christianity. You should be more definitive in your statements about that; no need to dance around it! :-)

Other than those points, I think your essay is very good, and yes, it flows nicely! Good job!


Sarah, EssayForum.com

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