Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Religion: The One Issue That Just Won't Go Away (For Me)

Hmmm. How long has it been since I wrote about religion? Not that long. It seems most of my posts are about god and religion. I dabble in other subjects as well, but god and religion are my main themes. After all this blog is entitled "Atheism and the City," not "Atheism and the City and Other Things."

Islam today is with out a doubt the most controversial religion out there. I just wrote a critique about its beliefs in my last post "The 'Infidel's' Guide to Islam." I intend to make it into a pamphlet or a booklet to be passed out. The Islamic concept of god and the universe is one I have tremendous antagonism for. A Muslim friend of mine once gave me a book called A Brief Illustrated Guide To Understanding Islam by I. A. Ibrahim. He told me it has scientific explanations that "prove" the Qur'an is true. I took it home and threw it on a shelf were it sat, collecting dust for almost 5 years. Then, when my infatuation with religion and god sprang front and center a few years back, I took it off the shelf, blew several layers of dust off of it, and began reading it.

The guide is basically a vain attempt to try to convince the modern, post-scientific, yet impressionable individual, that Islam and the Qur'an can be scientifically proven to be true. It cites evidence in climatic, geographic and biological realms, that point to verses in the Qur'an that explain some previously unknown information. It asks how could Mohammad have known this before science confirmed it? Well the Greeks and Chinese made some hypotheses that later turned out to have been true before the advent of modern science. That doesn't prove any of them were prophets. In short, if you throw a lot of mud at the wall, some of it is going to stick. What about all the contradictions in the Qur'an (that you can read about in my last post) and all the beliefs it gets wrong? I'm not going to dwell too much on the supposed "proofs" in the guide because they are so superficial, that they are laughable to any person with reason and a tiny bit of skepticism.

The guide further explains some concepts about Islam that I had not previously known. It mentions that if one converts to Islam, all their previous sins are forgiven by Allah, just for converting. I see this as an obscene attempt to bribe believers of other faiths, that they can start out on a clean slate and suffer no consequence to any immoral action they might have performed, no matter how great. From the book it says "The Prophet said: Didn't you know that converting to Islam erases all previous sins?" What can be more immoral that that? You mean I can be a thief and a rapist, perhaps committed one or two murders, and my responsibility to these actions will simply be deleted, like so many useless spam emails, upon conversion to Islam? I guess the Muslims is forced to believe that whatever Allah does is moral, and is granted no opinion on the matter.

Another problem I have with the Islamic concept regard attitudes aimed at the non-believer, which I have already mentioned in my last post, but I'll add further. In the Islamic concept, no non-believer can ever be moral. The way to salvation in Islam is toward Allah. An analogy would be as if we are all on a giant highway headed toward Allah, who is at the end. There are various exits to the left and right that lead to sin and lead away from Allah, some of them being other religions. This is an example I heard from one Islamic scholar. There doesn't seem to be a path one can take that is righteous, that doesn't involve Allah. Take a person, for example, who volunteers with out pay to help those less fortunate, stays committed to their spouse, and never hurts anyone else intentionally, basically an all around morally sound person. But, they don't believe in Allah. Where is this person on the highway analogy? They haven't deviated with sin and hedonism, they just don't accept Islam. According to Islam, to my humble knowledge, Allah has no mercy for those who disbelieve, and he affirms this over and over again. I don't think he makes an exception even for those righteous, noble and humble. No, rather the Islamic concept of non-believers is that they are all filthy, corrupt, evil-doers who deserve to be thrown in the hellfire forever.

Finally, the idea of eternal hellfire is another concept, though not unique to Islam, that I have tremendous disdain for. The idea of anyone, being tortured in the most horrible ways imaginable, for eternity is something I just can't wrap my head around. The most horrible, evil person I can think of from history would have to be Joseph Stalin. He organized the mass murder and torture of tens of millions of his fellow countrymen, and then some. And all of this, with complete and utter indifference to their suffering. Stalin was a megalomaniac sociopathic madman. But even he in my opinion would only deserve a finite amount of torture and misery for what he did, say, a life sentence for everyone he had killed. But the idea, that an atheist child who happens to die in an accident, who was not a believer, gets the same amount of torture for the same amount of time, as Stalin or Hitler, is somehow justice under an infinitely intelligent and moral supernatural being, is I think itself, immoral. Recently Christians and Muslims have negated this by saying god makes exceptions, and judges individuals by what they know, and their overall morality. This stands in stark contrast to what theists have been saying for hundreds of years, and that is that the only way out of hell is through one religion and the teachings of one prophet. Now, some theists are backing away from this in light of our modern liberal moral ethics. Furthermore, if god made frequent exceptions that righteous non-believers can get into heaven, then there is really no real need to be a Christian or a Muslim, or religious at all. All one would need to be would be morally sound. So the theist who takes the new approach on divine judgment, is in a way negating the advantage of their faith. Hmm. These are problems for the theist to reflect upon, not the atheist.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The "Infidel's" Guide to Islam


When asked, “Is Islam a religion of peace?” what should one reply? We are often told by the politically correct western media, that Islam is a religion of peace that has been hijacked by extremists who have perverted it, and have used it to justify violence. In a way that’s the media’s job, but those who aren’t in the position of having to make everyone happy, as our news media and politicians often are, can say with confidence that the aforementioned assumption is simply not true. Islam is clearly not a religion of peace by definition, because it justifies violence and unfathomable hatred. A religion that ever justifies violence cannot be considered a religion of peace.

The purpose of The “Infidel’s” Guide to Islam is to educate the nonbeliever or “infidel” (as some Muslims say), to the truth about Islam and what it says. Here you will find the information you need to contradict the lies often told by those who profess the faith, and its sympathizers. This pamphlet is not urging any violence or discrimination towards Muslims in any way, shape or form. Rather, this pamphlet will arm you with knowledge and debate as your primary weapon over the false claims made that are used to spread this religion, and lie to its critics. Do not be the stereotypical ignorant westerner who knows nothing of Islam or its history. Muslims are counting on you being ignorant of the truth of Islam, its history and its culture. This guide is designed as an introduction for non-Muslims to be educated for the ideological debate between Islam (submission) and western liberal democracy (freedom) that simply have irreconcilable differences. How long do we have to tolerate the intolerant?

-Surely the vilest of animals in Allah's sight are those who disbelieve -Surah 8:55

Islam on “Infidels”

What does Islam say about those who don’t blindly submit to the “revelation” of Mohammad? Islam contains two sacred texts, one is the Qur’an, the central book considered by Muslims to be the literal word of god (Allah), and the other is the Hadith, which are the written sayings and teachings of the Islamic “prophet” Mohammad. When one reads the “holy” Qur’an he or she will quickly find a plethora of insults, hatefulness, and utter disdain towards all non-Muslims. In the Qur’an, Allah has absolutely no tolerance or sympathy, and has reserved a special place in hell for the infidel. All the good deeds any non-believer does is worthless in the eyes of god (5:5). Behold what this supposed “religion of peace” says for the fate of non-Muslims:

Those who deny their lord, for them will be cut out a garment of fire: over their heads will be poured out boiling water. With it will be melted what is within their bodies, as well as their skins.

The Qur’an further says, as if that’s not enough torture:

In addition there will be maces of iron (to punish) them. –Surah 22:19-21

Only the sickest, most sadistic reader gets pleasure by contemplating the torments of non-Muslims, and rejoices in their discomfort. I wonder what goes on through the mind of the Muslim when he or she reads these verses.

When it comes to Jews and Christians the “holy” Qur’an says:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled. The Jews say, "Ezra is the son of Allah "; and the Christians say, "The Messiah is the son of Allah ." That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?  
 –Surah 9:29-30

The Qur'an says that Christians and Jews are to be trusted or tolerated (2:109) but also says numerous times that they are not to be trusted and association with them will lead to unbelief (3:100) and that it is better not to befriend them (5:51). These contradictions are more evidence that the Qur'an is man-made and comes from the mind of one deluded man.

And to polytheists the message is somewhat more severe:

Fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers, and pay Zakah (charity), then open the way for them, for Allah is oft-forgiving, Most merciful.              
-Surah 9:5

There is a complicated relationship we are told in the Qur'an of how Muslims are supposed to deal with polytheists. Before Islam, Arabia was mostly full of polytheists, and when Islam got started it castigated the perceived idol worship of many pagan traditions. This lead many to see Islam as a threat to their ways and conflict inevitably broke out. Treaties were created and the Qur'an says that if the pagans honor the treaty they are not to be harmed (9:4) but as Surah 9:5 says above, once the treaty period is over, the pagans are to be killed if they do not submit to the codes of Islam.

It seems to be that the wager one must make, given a powerful Islamic force is: Islam, or death. True the restrained infidel has a choice and is not physically forced to convert, for it must be sincere. However, given the circumstances, who can argue that this is really a free choice, when the alternative is death? So as you can see, there is clear justification for violence and war against non-believers, and lethal intimidation for conversion to Islam.

Sure you’ll hear the opposing view that in the Qur’an it says “if any one slew a person…it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people” (Surah 5:32). I’m not denying that there are messages of peace in Islam, but the messages of hate toward the non-Muslim far out-weighs the few messages of mercy. In truth the Qur’an is full of contradictions to its own claims, which I will address in a later chapter. The Islamic god is a god who hates, whose love is purely conditional. One can literally pick a random page of the Qur’an and start reading and within a few pages or so, hit a sour note on Allah’s view toward the non-believer where sadistic details ensue. Eventually it gets to the point of utter redundancy.

If you’re a non-Muslim, it means that Muslims worship and condone a god who quite literally gets off on the idea of you being sadistically tortured forever upon your death. Some Muslims no doubt rejoice on the thought of the infidel’s fate. So can I be accused of misrepresenting the Qur'an? Can I be told that I’m making this all up? That I’m taking it out of context? I urge all of you to read for yourselves the full verses to get the full story. There are dozens of not hundreds of more quotes I can use to make my point. I don’t expect you to read the entire Qur'an, that’s why I’m summarizing it for you. Be educated and learn.

As for those who have converted to Islam and choose to leave it (apostasy) the Hadith unequivocally states the penalty for those who leave Islam:

Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him. -Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57

This is said to have come from the mouth of Mohammad himself, a man considered so noble and honorable in his ways, that he was chosen by god to reveal to the world his final and unalterable revelation. I think it’s pretty clear that Mohammad had a pretty warped sense of morality, as you will find out more about later. Now let’s see what this “prophet” said about the fairer sex.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Got My Hitchens Tickets!!

My tickets to see the Hitchens/Ramadan debate just arrived in the mail today and I'm so excited!

Plus there is another video of Hitchens kicking Dr. David Berlinski's ass in a debate entitled, "Does Atheism Poison Everything?" In it Hitchens appears a bit weak from the chemotherapy, but he still has his signature articulate atheistic audacity, which appears to be stronger than ever. This will make his debate over Islam all the more interesting.

Watch here:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The "Infidel's" Guide to Islam Coming Soon

I got an idea recently, to write a short pamphlet addressing the question "Is Islam a religion of peace?" After researching into Islam, and the Qur'an, I can tell you for a fact that Islam is no religion of peace. I'm writing the pamphlet to expose to a non-believing audience, the true horrors contained in Islam's doctrines. Its purpose will be to educate the reader on what Islam actually says of "infidels", and what Islam says of the treatment of women, as well as its views on slavery. There will also be a section detailing contradictions in the Qur'an, which we are told is the "perfect" word of the creator of the universe.

The "Infidel's" Guide to Islam will be designed to shock the reader, with sarcasm and humor, but will be fair in portraying the various sides to Islam, including its messages of peace. I also include a disclaimer urging the reader not to discriminate or commit violence of any sort towards Muslims, just in case, because words can be fatal after all.

I've gotten extremely excited over this, even though there is already a book full called The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran. My pamphlet however, will be my personal critique of Islam and is designed as a light read to quickly educate the reader on what I think is a very immoral philosophy. I'd like to pass them out to young people, in many different languages, so that they become educated enough about Islam to see past the lies told about it, and not convert to it.

I will post the entire guide as soon as it's done.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Economic Darwinism

I've been struggling to find an economic policy that I can agree with. I was flirting with socialism recently but I don't think I can ever call myself a socialist. I've been a capitalist but I have issues with the problems that cut throat capitalism brings, like monopolies. Essentially, I'm a capitalist, but a liberal capitalist. I'm a populist. I believe there's nothing wrong with someone profiting from a clever idea, and hard work. The issue I have is what happens when that business becomes too powerful and starts crushing the ideas and opportunities of others. It becomes a monopoly, or part of a duopoly, and then eventually we're living in a Corporatocracy, like we are now.

My friend is a die hard capitalist. He follows the more conservative line of capitalism, traditionally held by Republicans. He's all for globalization, outsourcing, tax cuts for the rich, and the cut throat tactics used by many corporations. He justifies all of this by the idea of economic Darwinism. Survival of the fittest, or the cruelest. He seems to acknowledge that many of these tactics are somehow immoral, or have negative consequences, but he feels they are necessary in order to succeed. It's very Machiavellian. It's very Wall Street.

I'm a big fan of Darwinism. I regard Darwin as a genius. He made some mistakes in his original theory, and as a result, Darwinism, has been improved upon with modern evolution. Regardless, Darwinism's essential principal is the same however, and that is of course, survival of the fittest. This plays out pretty evidently in the animal kingdom: The strong and cunning survive, and the weak, the slow and foolish die. I'm very weary of applying Darwinism to other areas of the world, such as economics. Survival of the fittest in economics means the strong will dominate the weak because they can, and the weak will have no choice than to submit to the will of the strong, or die. The strong will make it so that the weak cannot get into power and become strong like them, but they will dangle an illusion of opportunity just far enough in front of the weak so that they'll chase it, but can never reach it. There are always going to be those who do not make it in capitalism, and what about them? I've argued with my friend for hours about the fact that our current economic policies create more of the losers who won't make it in this system. He says they can always get another job that will pay more and I respond by asking where that job is going to come from. Is it going to be created out of thin air, like most of our money is?

Economic Darwinism scares me. Do we have to apply Darwinism to everything? I understand it existing in nature, in that it's not necessarily how I want things to be, but I'm willing to accept its existence based on the evidence derived. I don't expect every species of animal to care for the weak, although some actually do. But we are human beings. We have the ability to reason and apply logic to the toughest problems that face us. We created our economy, it's man-made and not natural. The forces of greed have taken over as I feel they inevitably would under capitalism. Can't we have a free market with some protection mechanisms placed in that ensure the poor and middle class aren't exploited by the rich? Can't we have some common sense policies that undermine or prevent tactics that increase short term gains for some, but will punish and create losses for the many in the long run?

I say no to economic Darwinism. I am not that strong financially and I've pretty much accepted the fact that I'm most likely never going to be rich. My friend is positive that he will one day join the upper crust in the top percentile of money makers. That's why he supports economic policies that favor the rich and powerful: he thinks he'll be one of them someday. That's the illusion the rich have dangling in front of our eyes just out of reach, while they do everything they can to make it harder for the poor and middle class to grow economically.

So I ask, what's wrong with just being middle class? Is the whole purpose of life to be rich? Is being middle class as embarrassing as begging for money on the street nowadays? Should one be ashamed to only have one car, or only two computers? Our goals in life have been warped by the hood of economic Darwinism pulled over our heads, blinding our sight with meaningless consumption that leads to debt, and the destruction of our natural world, all to make the rich a little more of what they already are.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Short Days, Long Nights

It's that time of the year, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. I can see the sun setting lower in the sky. This is the time of the year where one has to take full advantage of every pleasant day if you live in northern latitudes. In my beloved New York that is especially true. For a long cold winter is almost certainly ahead. Maybe this winter won't be so bad. I hope not. It was a decent summer. I'm not sure what my best summer was. Maybe the summer of '99. I partied a lot that summer and had my first sexual experience. It was a hot one. I always want to show off my body that I've sculpted all winter long in the summer, but this past winter I did no such thing. Consequently, my summer body this year was just as scrawny as it was for many past summers.

I didn't go shopping this summer to show off any new looks. I had the same old same old wardrobe. There have been clothes that I've fantasized about having, and that having it will make me happier. I too am not immune to materialistic pleasure. I usually never get that item of clothing, but in fantasy I wear it and rock that look I so desperately want. I constantly evolve and so does my look. Now that I'm getting older I've changed and matured my look a bit. I no longer dress like some 20 year old pot head. I want to fashion myself as an intellectual. It doesn't always go with my company or environment. I don't want to dress too square. I want to be stylish yet sophisticated. To do this I need to be creative since buying a new wardrobe is a little out of the question.

No summer love this year. I think I already mentioned that in a previous post. My friend keeps convincing me to go to this local bar that I can't stand. I hate the girls that go there and the general atmosphere. I only ever go there because it's closest to me. I barely went out "bitch hunting" as we used to say, this summer. I went to the South Street Sea Port several times where I did meet one pretty young European girl that I briefly dated that quickly went nowhere. I didn't really hit my usual stomping grounds or the bars most favorable for meeting single ladies. Come to think of it I barely went bar hopping this summer. I guess on the account of how expensive it is.

I'm noticing that I'm writing too much about my personal life here. This blog is not suppose to be a personal blog. I guess the fact that I'm writing period is a good sign of productivity, since I can on occasion, go long periods without writing.

I'm reading C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity now. He is a writer most know probably for writing The Chronicles of Narnia. He is a Christian often cited in religious debates and he is credited with bringing a slightly more modern interpretation of his faith to the masses with his book. Even though I see through his arguments in favor of his faith and god like a fishnet bra on a hooker. I guess that if I wasn't educated in the new atheist's philosophies that have made my atheism stronger and unbreakable, I might possibly fall for some of Lewis' arguments. Perhaps if I was younger.

Lay Bored Day

Today is Labor Day. Last year I was camping upstate, it what was I think the only camping expedition that went with any incident of some sort. I sit home alone today, on the internet. The weather has cooled down quite a bit from our last heat wave just a few days ago. A slight chill is in the air indicating the inevitability of fall just around the corner. But it is nice and sunny out.

I am excited about going to see Hitchens even though I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch. I'm scared he could have a medical emergency in the meantime that could cancel the event. I hope not.

Other than my addiction to making 3D building models for Google Earth, I am still addicted to my philosophical atheism. I'm constantly pondering theistic, deistic, and atheistic concepts of life and the universe all the time. It's still a huge obsession of mine. I ought to read a great deal more about it. I've been extremely lazy for the past two days. Saturday night I went out drinking but I didn't get that drunk. I still however, felt like I woke up from a nasty hangover on Sunday morning as if I had really gotten hammered the night before.

Today I'm equally lazy. I could roll over and take a nap right now if I want. Sometimes what really helps me get out of this sloth-like mood is stepping out on my porch and breathing is some cool fresh air. I really should work out too. I can feel my muscles shrinking. I never get where I want physically. All I ever wanted was to build was 15 pounds of muscle, just to bulk up a little. But even that was too hard for me, for laziness took over and I embraced apathy as my solution.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm Going to See Hitchens!!

A random web search for "hitchens" (which I rarely do), led me to, a site that keeps tracks of all his writings and news. There, I saw an advertisement for an upcoming debate starring Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan entitled "Is Islam a religion of peace?" I couldn't believe it, it was upcoming and I now had the chance to see Hitchens live! So I quickly got my tickets. I can't wait to see Hitchens live in action. I really thought that after he got diagnosed with cancer that I would never get the chance to see him. Now I'm excited and relieved knowing I'll get a chance to see my hero before he dies. I just hope he doesn't die before the debate.

I'm excited about the topic of the debate too. "Is Islam a religion of peace?" is an interesting question. I'm already convinced that it's not. I have long discussions with friends about the utter disgust that the Qur'an has for Jews, Christians, and most importantly, non-believers. It's no wonders there is so much fanaticism among Muslims. I hope that chemotherapy has not dulled Hitchens' intellect and wit and I hope that he brings it to this debate. I wonder if he'll be signing autographs afterward, I have two of Hitchens' books that can be signed, but I'm nervous because he has a tough criteria for signing books. He wants a receipt present as proof that you bought the book. Also I don't have his new memoir and I wonder if he'll only want to sign that. Anyhow I'm really excited that I'm actually going to be seeing my hero Christopher Hitchens! This is like seeing your favorite band or celebrity level satisfaction.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Summer's almost gone.

While studying and sharpening up my IT skills I've burned out a little bit and need to take a writing break. There's a heat wave blanketing the city. Temps are in the mid-90s. I've been stuck home for the past several days. There really is no reason to go out in this oppressive heat. Why would I want to swelter outside in the heat and humidity? The only reason I can think of would be to rejoice in what will probably be the last time temperatures are in the 90s until next summer. Heat waves always make it feel like summer. I've always liked the way summer felt. Some of my greatest memories have been during the summer. I like warm weather. I have a new appreciation for the fall but it's never an easy transition from hot to cold for me. I always want summer to last a little longer.

Don't go away summer! Last until October please!

I used to think really hot summers meant really cold winters followed. I hate especially cold winters. A little snow is OK. I don't have to drive and I don't live in a house so I don't have to shovel anything. We want it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. NY in the winter appears more urban. There aren't any green patches to contradict the concrete. The concrete wins. I'm in so much debt that I might not even be able to go shopping this fall to get new clothes. I'll have to come up with new ways to recycle my old looks. I kind of gotten out of the whole fashion thing recently anyway, but the urge does pop up from time to time.


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