Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How To Talk To A Muslim: Debating Homosexuality Part 3

Continuing from part 2 of my dialogue and commentary over homosexuality with a hard line Muslim Gareth Bryant which basically turned into a written debate, we address deeper issues of morality within the Islamic framework. Gareth basically comes to the conclusion that he is in a way forced to take as a fundamentalist Muslim, which is that the Qur'an has the final word on what is right and wrong, and that any critical thinking that can be used to justify better moral alternatives are the result of selfish acts of "ego & desire".

I present to you this debate as an example of how trying to have a rational debate with a fundamentalist Muslim on almost anything is futile, because when it comes down to the detail, they just invoke the Qur'an as the supreme authority on what is right. As atheists, we all know how difficult dealing with fundamentalists of all religions can be. Tactically, we must force them to justify their beliefs using reason and science because we know that on most points of disagreement, whether scientifically or morally, they have no case outside of their religious texts. Even if you never win them over through argument, it is important that it is made apparent to them that their beliefs are not justifiable outside their religious texts and that using those texts to justify their texts is not a valid method in the realm of logic and reason.

The debate stemmed from Gareth's critique of gay-friendly mosques. He doesn't acknowledge that they should even exist since he believes homosexuality is a sin and that it is un-Islamic to name a mosque after a sinful act. What I care about is how he justifies the sin of homosexuality in Islam, but is OK with forcing prepubescent girls into arranged marriages with older men which Islam condones. He never makes a rational argument to support his position even after many attempts by me to squeeze one out. Please enjoy this insight into the mind of a fundamentalist Muslim.

ME:

Islam is probably the last bastion of absolute intolerance towards homosexuals. It is because Islam has not gone through an enlightenment period. It probably will eventually as Western influence and modernity forces it to. Tariq Ramadan has voiced a slightly more modern view a Muslim could have towards homosexuality that I personally think is a step in the right direction, but not quite there yet. He says although you might not personally agree with the homosexual lifestyle, it can be acknowledged that people have the right to freedom, and privacy, and to live their lives differently than what Islam says is true. But if Muslims think that homosexuality is a choice, and think they can cure it somehow with Islamic philosophy, their efforts will be a waste of time and hopelessly futile and instead should best be used towards alleviating the poverty and suffering, that of course you believe allah willed for, created and designed.

GB:

Firstly, Homosexuality is, just like any other sin that people choose to do, a choice. I know people personally, whom have become Muslims, and they were Homosexuals, before they became Muslims. And, they have admitted, publicly, that Homosexuality is a choice & sin.

ME:

What kind of evidence is that for anything? Anecdotal evidence is not science, it is about as scientific as revelation. I can just as easily say I know someone who heard the voice of an angel named Maroni telling him that Mormonism is the one true faith. Would that make Mormonism true? Your friend could be bisexual, in which case they can be both gay ad straight at the same time, or they could’ve been faking their homosexuality, or are faking their heterosexuality now. They’d have to be hooked up to a machine that measures whether they get aroused or not when exposed to homosexual imagery. Saying they are “straight” means nothing, anyone can lie about anything. Religious people like you base far too many “facts” on what a few people say.

GB:

You claim that Homosexuality is normal & natural. Now, if this were true, then: one, how do you explain the fact that there is no such thing as a “Gay-Gene”; two, how do you explain a straight man, in prison, who gets raped, and because of whatever reason (most probably pressure from fellow-inmates or shame), decides to be Homosexual. Are you saying that all of these men, whom have succumb to rape were all Homosexual from the very start, they just needed to get raped, in order to activate their Homosexual nature that was hiding inside of them, dormantly?

Or, better yet, how about a young person, regardless of being male or female, whom was sexually-molested as a child; are you saying that they were really Homosexual, all along, but just needed to be sexually-molested, in order to activate their Homosexuality?

To really believe this would be utterly retarded.

ME:

To believe you would be utterly retarded. Most homosexuals were neither raped, nor molested, so this victimization does not activate homosexuality. Homosexuality is not a button that can get turned on like a light switch.

How do you explain unabused young children, growing up in conservative religious heterosexual families and environments, who exhibit behavior like the opposite gender, and soon thereafter feel same sex attractions?

How do you explain hermaphrodites? It seems obvious that our gender and sexuality is due to a complex variety of hereditary and hormonal factors, that can result in the existence of all kinds of sexualities. But of course your close minded ignorant religious world view will never allow you to see that because anything that contradicts your Koran you think must be a lie.

GB:

Being a Hermaphrodite has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s inherent sexuality. Sexuality is not genetic, we don’t inherit our senses of sexual-self from a gene-pool, there’s no such thing as a sexuality-gene; sexuality is something that is largely influenced by external-environment; and, generally, people are in fact products of their environments. No person just wakes up one day, and say, “You no what, I wanna be a Homosexual, one day.”, real-life don’t work that way. And, if what you’ve mentioned about how people’s sexuality are affected by “chemical-imbalances” or “hormonal-factors”, then, why is it that a man could live out his entire life as a Heterosexual, then, get locked-up, raped, eventually conforming to a Homosexual-lifestyle, as a result of being pressured to do so? Are you saying that this person was indeed suffering from a “chemical-imbalance”, all along, or was hiding his sexuality from his very self? Explain that!!!

And, also, referring to your claim of “existence of all kinds of sexualities”, the only Islamically valid sexuality is Heterosexuality, really simple. This is the only Islamically permitted sexual-lifestyle, and anything/everything else, contrary to Heterosexuality is a sin, just like any other sin, that has been established as such, in both the Qur’an & Prophetic-Tradition.

ME:

I don’t know of any men who became gay after years in prison. If that would be true, why isn’t every guy who spends years in prison gay? According to your theory that would happen. Instead, men who get out of prison, go crazy over women and getting vagina is often the first thing on their menu. So your false belief is not true.

If a hermaphrodite can exist, and they do, this explains that nature can sometimes make a host of different models besides the standard hetero male/female combination. People can be born feeling like they are the opposite gender, while not having two sets of genitals. These people might have a sex change or not, they might be gay or not, but they don’t choose their sexual identity, it is in their nature.

If you still maintain sexuality is “influenced by external-environment” you still haven’t explained the 7 scientific points I gave you indicating physiological factors in sexual identity and you have not explained why almost all homosexual people come from heterosexual families often in conservative environments where no one influenced them to be gay at an early age, and they exhibit their sexual behavior at a very young early age (i.e. acting like the opposite gender).

*****
So Islam forbids consenting adult homosexuality, but it allows slavery, and forcing underage girls into marriages with 30,40 or 50 year old men. Wow some moral standard that is. Please justify this Mr. Islamic scholar. I love a good challenge.

GB:

1. To answer your question about slavery, yes, Islam allows slavery, but, at the same time, Islam does not condone taking someone whom is born as a free person & placing them into a state of slavery, unless they are military-captives of war.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.8, Surah al-Anfal/Spoils of War/Conquest)

2. Regarding the marriages of women, at teenage-years, yes, Islam allows anyone, after they’ve reached the age of puberty, to marry. This is because manhood & womanhood, Islamically, is determined at the age of puberty, which could be at any age for a Human being, from 8-16 years of age.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.4, V.6 & Chpt.24, V.33)

ME:

Gareth you are telling lies. Islam allows men to marry girls who have not reached puberty yet.

Behold [Qur'an 65:4]

“And those who no longer expect menstruation among your women – if you doubt, then their period is three months, and [also for] those who have not menstruated”.

From WikiIslam:
Since this is not negated later, we can take from this verse that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl. The Qur’an is not like the books of jurisprudence which mention what the implications of things are, even if they are prohibited.

This verse is talking about the proper ways Muslims can divorce their wives, whether they have had their periods or not. C’mon Gareth you know you can’t get away with lies in the information age.

Now how do you justify prepubescent girls who are married? How could they consent to such an act at an early age? And if this is somehow OK in your world view, how is this *more* moral than slavery and consenting homosexual adults? I seriously cannot understand the Islamic view on morality. A Saudi Arabian friend of mine who is an ex-Muslim told me that Islamic “morality” is insanity and from an insane mind (Mohammad) and I totally agree. Please prove me wrong.

GB:

The easiest way to prove you wrong is the following:

One, you don’t have any knowledge of classic Islamic-texts, according to authentic commentaries.

Two, you don’t have any knowledge of these things, according to the Arabic-Language.

Fortunately, I do. This verse, regarding how a man can divorce a woman, Islamically, is exclusively referring to women whom have experienced menopause, as well as women whom are currently pregnant. As for women whom have reached menopause, or even presumed as reaching menopause, this particular verse is stating that regardless to whether they’ve truly reached the biological-state of menopause, they (man and wife) are to stay in a period of `Iddah/Separation, for three menstrual-cycles (basically, 3-months), in oreder to do two things: one, to reconcile any differences & try to salvage the marriage; two, to find out whether the wife in-question is pregnant, because, Islamically, you cannot divorce a woman while they are pregnant, unless they have a miscarriage, or have already given birth. And, this is clearly indicated in the later section of the verse, where it is clearly stated that to divorce a pregnant-woman, one has to wait until that woman gives birth to the child (i.e. the regular `Iddah, instead of only being 3-months, is now extend to however long the woman ramains pregnant, unless she has a miscarriage or gives birth).

Also, this verse is not at all referring to women whom are prepubescent, it’s referring to women whom are not currently menstruating. I don’t know how the Hell you got that from this verse; there’s absolutely nothing which indicates that, neither from the actual text, nor from any of the authentic commentaries. And, for the record, WikiIslam is not at all any sort of religious-authority, over any religion, so, to quote this site, which randomly picks translations of Islamic-texts, without knowing any nuances of texts, nor of any authentic commentaries, nor of the linguistic-dynamics of the Arabic-Language, is very unfairly biased, it it’s purposely done on your part, to push your agenda against Islam.

If you wanna learn about any religion, out of Universal-Respect, learn it from thos whom are actually ascribers to that particular religion. And, ex-members of that particular religion don’t count as religious-authorities either, by virtue of the fact that they will never be objective enough to comment on the respective religion that they’ve abandoned.

Moreover, you’ve mentioned how is prepubescent-girls allowed to get married, then, it’s very simple:

The consummation of the marriage is not allowed to take place, until/unless the prepubescent person in-question reaches puberty. The proof of this is in the Prophetic-Tradition of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), when he married our mother,`A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her), at the age of 6, and the marriage was not consummated until she had reached 9, because it was confirmed that she had reached puberty at age 9.(al-Bukhari) Then, we have the fact that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was, in deed, a Prophet. Now, as a Prophet, he along with any & all Prophets before him (Peace be upon them all-together), had been given a special type of protection, directly from Allah, from committing any type of sexual-offenses, because if any Prophet would’ve committed any sexual-offenses, even before they became Prophets, their missions would’ve been compromised. No one would take them seriously, as Prophets, had they committed any sexual-offenses during their lifetimes, even prior to Prophethood.

Furthermore, all of the religious-actions of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), along with the religious-actions of all the Prophets (Peace be upon them all-together), were exclusive, direct, commands from Allah, they had no choice. So, when it comes to marriage, Muhammad didn’t have a choice as to whom he was to either marry or divorce, as Allah clearly states, in His book.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.53, V.2-4 & Chpt.33, V.37) By the way, Muhammad was not the first and/or only Prophet whom had been slandered, accused of a sexual-offense: There was Lot (Peace be upon him), accused of committing incest with one of his daughters(Genesis), as well as David (Peace be upon him), accused of sending a man to the battlefield, to die, so he could have the man’s wife, and he’s even accused of getting this woman pregnant, before he married her, after her previous husband had died.(Samuel 1 & 2)

ME:

Well you admit that prepubescent girls can be married to men, which is pretty much against their will since they are too young to consent. When is the freedom and dignity of the underage girl ever considered? It is my belief that Islam is a religion where there are many “morals” that lead to unnecessary harm to those affected by them.

If you believe that morality can be commanded solely by god, regardless of whether that commandment’s actions will unnecessarily hurt people affected by it, then you have no moral standards. You are only blindly following the words of a man who lived 1400 years ago. You are not even willing to consider if there are better alternatives that produce less harm to those involved. Example: slavery.

You keep coming to the point where you have to say “the Koran says so” and then you seem to stop thinking about it. I’m asking you to use your own words to justify this morality of allowing prepubescent girls to marry, and tell me why this is better for overall human well being when compared to adult consenting homosexuals. I just do not understand how one can be rationalized to be worse than the other.

Furthermore, since there isn’t a single line in the Koran forbidding the marriage of prepubescent girls, it is allowed. Mohammad could’ve adopted Aisha, instead he committed what today would be pedophilia.

GB:

1. Yes, that’s exactly the point: Allah, alone has the right to determine what is moral & what is immoral, because He is the Creator & Lord of everything. And, by virtue of this, He & He alone knows what best for us, when we don’t even know what is best for ourselves.

2. The marital-consummation between `A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) & Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was not Child-Molestation, because the Islamic definition of Child-Molestation means to have sexual-contact with someone whom has not reached Puberty. As long as a person has actually reached Puberty, Islamically, it cannot be considered Child-Molestation.

3. Child-Molestation is relative to societal-norms, and political-agendas. Even in the United States, previous to the 20th century, the average female was married before she reached 18; yet know, marrying someone under the age of 18 is considered “Pedophilia”, or “Stachatory-Rape”. You get my point? This modern concept of “Pedophilia” is very biased, socio-politically.

4. Now, referring to the actual marriage of `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) to Muhammad (Peace be upon him), this was a known practice, not only in Arab-culture, but in other cultures, around the world, during this particular time. And, even the Pagan-Arabs, who hated Muhammad, and tried innumerable times to thwart the progress of his prophetic-mission, had never accused him of committing any such sexual-offenses, because during the lifetime of Muhammad, these types of sexual-offenses were in fact committed, having sexual-contact with persons under the age of puberty; but, Muhammad, himself, was never personally accused of this, because he never did it, even before Prophethood. As a matter of fact, the first woman that he was ever married to was 25 years older than he was, 15 years before he became a Prophet, and they were married for a total number of 25 years, before he had even married anyone else.(al-Bukhari, ar-Rahiq-ul-Makhtum/The Sealed-Nectar, Safiyy-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri)

ME:

Then you would have to believe that the abolishment of slavery that every country has adopted, is wrong, because it oversteps allah’s morals for us. Instead, all nations should have just regulated their practices of slavery in order to conform it to Islam. Do you honestly think we should reverse our laws on slavery to conform to Islam?

Since you think mankind cannot even think for himself and even attempt such a thing as a moral philosophy, most of our laws according to you are wrong. The failure of Islam in the long run will be probably on this issue: Islam forces its believers to believe morals that are only justified “because the Koran says so.” Meaning the Muslim has no other justification, and the more educated and critically thinking the world becomes, the less and less they will adopt the Islamic way of thinking.

Which brings me to the pedophilia issue. You are criticizing the West for raising the age in which a person can legally marry, because we have determined that being 6 or 9 years old is too young. If you are going to make the case to justify any moral, do you honestly think that saying “because the Koran says so” is a valid conclusion and equal or better to using reason?

GB:

Referring to the abolition of slavery, this is actually a noteworthy action, Islamically, even to the extent that if slavery is abolished in a place it is Islamically prohibited to re-establish slavery ever again thereafter.

Referring to your claim that I think that Mankind cannot think is simply foolish, because, in the Qur’an, itself, there are countless references to both intellect/intelligence & learning/knowledge. So, you’re dead-wrong on that one.

Refering to the raising of the age of marriage, this is one of many proofs of how Allah has supreme entitlement to tell us how to function in the Mundane, and that we, by ourselves, don’t know what we’re doing, when it comes to governing ourselves, based upon Human-Logic, outside of the regulation of divine-revelation.

And, I say this, because, whenever the mood for Humans to just change laws, to either suit their egos, desires, etc., or to suit socio-political agendas, they will just change whatever they want, just to suit the time, not because it’s even better for Mankind, but, for the soothing of ego & desire.

ME:

I cannot understand your belief in thinking that the arranged marriage of prepubescent girls, and slavery are morally good, when compared to consenting adult homosexuality. Please outline a rational argument for this that does not appeal to scripture. If you cannot make this case, then you admittedly only believe so because it is in the Koran.

Allah could’ve said consenting homosexuality is right and you would think so to. How ignorant is it to accept something is right or wrong without thinking critically about it. The problem here you must admit, is that Islam stops critical thinking and the logical conclusions it can lead to. That is no religion I want to be a part of, never ever ever, and it is a good thing that anti-critical thinking people like you seem to be declining in numbers.

If we can’t think critically, which is one of our most important gifts as human beings, than Islam hinders the full potential of the human mind.

GB:

The problem with you, and all people like you, is that you’re so incredibly arrogant, that you would rather follow your whimsical ego/desires, rather than to admit & submit to the fact that there is someone whom exists, whom is greater than you are. The only reason that you’re even an atheist has nothing to do with you not believing in a divine-creator, but the fact that you don’t want to have anyone dictate to you how to function within the Mundane. Your ego/desires are your gods, and you’d rather worship those things, as opposed to the one who created them for you.

In fact, there’s really no such thing as a true atheist, because at the end of the day, everyone worships someone or something, whether they worship Allah, the true, divine, creator of the Universe, a false-god, themselves, via their own egos/desires, etc. It’s just like Allah says that a person takes their desires as their gods, and, you, as well as people like you (Daayiee Abdullah included) fit this description, that Allah gives, in the Qur’an itself, perfectly.

ME:

You are the most arrogant Muslim I’ve encountered in quite a while. You don’t know me, and you have no justification saying I’m a fake atheist.

What I did notice is that you did not even attempt to justify why slavery and forced prepubescent marriage is good, while consenting homosexuality is wrong. You have no argument, other than to say that a book containing the ideas of an epileptic and illiterate cave dweller says so. Wow. What a great method of critical thinking for mankind.

If secular humanists like myself want to *raise* the age of consent, and agree with the abolishment slavery (unlike you), how could we be acting in our selfish ego and desires? If we were, we would drop the age of consent to 0 so that we could have sex with children. You make no sense even on your own ignorance. It is your religion that forbids raising age of consent – that feeds the ego of men who like to rape children within the confines of “marriage”. Furthermore why would we forbid polygamy? According to you, all our laws should cut restrictions, not impose them.

The idea that we cannot use our intellect – our greatest ability – to solve problems and come up with solutions based on reason and evidence, means as I’ve said before and as you’ve confirmed, that Islam is a religion that retards humanity.

You are proud of not using your mind to think about anything. This is because you know in your heart that Islam’s rules lead to unnecessary harm, and are not at all based on critical thinking, but one man’s ramblings. The more educated people are, the less likely they will subscribe to your way of thinking, because it is obvious from your ramblings that you are not even trying to have a serious, rational and scientific discussion on these issues.

GB:

1. Explain how am I arrogant…Did I push a button, when I mentioned that everyone worships someone and/or something? Did that cause a dent to your ego or something? You’re getting real antsy about that, I wonder why. It’s simple…your souls knows that I’m telling the truth, but, you’ve allowed your ego & desire to control you, as opposed to the other way around.

2. Allah, as I’ve continually mentioned, makes the rules, so that’s that. Whatever He wants us to do and/or not to do is just what it is. And, it is He alone, who has the divine-option to tell us what to do/how to do, as well as what not to do/how not to do, period.

3. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was not an Epileptic. He was, however, illiterate, which is actually one of the standard proofs that the Qur’an is purely revelation from Allah, and not an invention of any created-thing, especially not from an illiterate man from the desert of the Arabian-Peninsula, whom received no formal-education.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.7, V.757 & 158)

4. Allah commands, and encourages us to use our minds, to observe the wonders of the Universe, and all creation which is within our limited-scopes.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.3, V.190; Chpt.86, V.5-7; Chpt.88, V.17-20) So, your insidious claims that Islam retards Humanity are just venomous lies.

ME:

My ego dented? Please. You haven’t even tried to make a case based on reason and science why you think you are right about homosexuality being worse than slavery and the forced marriage/rape of underage girls to older men as your religion condones.

The only thing you have said is that your religious text says so – “so that’s that”. Using the Koran to justify the Koran is as stupid as using the book of Mormon to justify the book of Mormon. You have to use evidence from outside this limited scope. If you can’t, it demonstrates the weakness of your position, but you already know that.

So what has our dialogue established:

1. Islamic “morality” does not seek to prevent unnecessary harm to humans as best it can.

2. Many Islamic morals cannot be adequately justified using science, logic and reason.

3. Islam considers the use of critical thinking when it is used to find better, and less harmful moral alternatives to be full of “ego & desire” and therefore “harem”.

4. Therefore, our critical thinking faculties, which is what separates us from all other animals, is at least in part, retarded by Islamic dogma.

5. It is pointless to continue having a debate with someone who is so blinded by dogma, that he refuses to acknowledge that his way of thinking (1) leads to unnecessary harm, and (2) is not rationally justified and therefore is unqualified within the realm of logic and reason.

All these reasons stacked up are the reasons why the future of Islam is not like you, rather it is the more liberal and moderate Muslim who will represent the face of Islam. We all hope your kind disappears as soon as possible – and the trend appears that way. Soon your kind will be like the republican party – on the verge of extinction.

THE END

Conclusion

If I could I would have debated him on every point he made, but within the confines of such limited space, I had to stick to the main argument and steer clear from going off on tangents. I think in my last response I pretty much summarized the debate adequately: Islamic morality is irrational and hinders critical thinking. Not that I didn't know that already, I just wanted to see if Gareth was going to try to make an attempt at a rational justification of his morals. And also, I enjoy rubbing it in his face.

I surely do hope that fundamentalists like him become less and less influential and that Islam has an enlightenment and modernizes with the rest of the world. It is too naive to think that there will be a mass outbreak of atheism in Muslim majority countries anytime in the near future so the best we can hope for is moderation and the adoption of secularism. Therefore, it is critical that we engage in debate and dialogue and constantly force the fundamentalist to recognize their own irrationality. That will help move significant numbers of fundamentalists into moderation and we will then live in a more rational world.

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