Showing posts with label The Qur'an. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Qur'an. Show all posts

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Thinker - A Novel (Chapter 1 Part 2) The Plan


THE NEXT DAY WAS STRANGE. I didn’t have a job to get up early to go to. I could sleep in and consume the day at my own pace. This newfound freedom would allow me to cultivate the many non-professional interests I had. I had always been a deep thinking philosophical person who liked to contemplate all those cerebral dilemmas and mysteries that most of the populace so easily ignored while they instead preoccupied themselves with consumerism and mindless self-indulgence. I was different. It was around this time that I had started getting into the English-American philosopher Alan Watts. He was one of the most high profile propagators to Western audiences of Zen Buddhism back in the fifties, sixties, and seventies. Although I had never been a Buddhist myself, some of his teachings and interpretations of Zen resonated with me. I wasn’t necessarily a "spiritual seeker," per se—but more of a seeker and lover of wisdom and knowledge in the truest philosophical sense. Wisdom was my preferred currency. I had become obsessed with philosophy slowly over the past decade ever since I took my first introduction to philosophy course in college. And I now had all the time in the world to cognitively wrestle with these things and to seek answers to the questions raging in my head.

Sitting around my apartment that afternoon I peered out my window to the world outside. It was a Tuesday and I’d normally be at work. I now had time to do things during the day. There is a funny irony about life when it comes to work. Having a job provides you money, but little time to enjoy it; not having a job provides you all the time in the world, but no money to enjoy it. But money wasn’t a concern of mine. What was a concern of mine was being able to enjoy this newfound freedom that I had. I decided to call up Pete Hernandez, one of my best friends since high school who now worked as a waiter and who had Tuesdays off. He was surprised to get a call from me at this time and day because I was always working. I told him over the phone about getting fired and asked he if wanted to meet for some drinks. He agreed to meet me down by a local pub we sometimes used on Sundays to catch up on and debate philosophy. So I got dressed and made the ten minute walk over there in the warm afternoon sun. I had on my shades and my newsboy hat because I hadn’t done my hair or showered. There was no reason to now. Without a job there was no reason to look professional. It had dawned on me that I now had the freedom to look casual. I could now let my hair and beard grow out as long as I wanted, one of the many things my arduous job prevented me from doing in the name of “professionality.”


Monday, January 4, 2016

"Seven main reasons why I left Islam - Proof Islam is false"

In lieu of writing original content, I've decided to post some interesting YouTube videos that I've seen lately to fill in the silence. I will definitely be blogging in the near future on a wide variety of topics, including finishing up chapter 5 of The Last Superstition which I hopefully should have by February-ish. I will also plan on writing more about regressive leftism, which I've been thinking about a lot lately, and I plan to write some thoughts on Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus. A lot more as well.

Here's an interesting video I saw criticizing Islam. It is very important that we spread these kinds of videos so that (1) believing Muslims can be exposed to criticism of their religion and its truth claims, and (2) so that non-Muslims are exposed to some good reasons to think Islam is false, making it unlikely that they'll ever convert.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Is·lam·o·pho·bi·a — Some Thoughts

I felt like I'm long over due for a blog post about Islamophobia. It's is nooo secret on this blog that I am deeply critical of Islam. I think that Islam is the most dangerous religion in the world today and the greatest religious threat to liberalism and Western Values. This can be thought of two different ways. The first way is that I think the ideology and morality within Islam is more violent than most religions. As far as I can tell, only the Old Testament rivals the Koran in brutality. The second is that I think Muslims today are committing more violence in the name of their religion than any other religion's adherents. And I think this is due, in large part, because the principles of Islam are more violent than most other religions.

When you compare Islam and Christianity for example, when you put the two of them side by side and compare their moral values, I will be totally honest with you, I think Christianity starts looking pretty damn good compared to Islam. (And anyone who knows me or who's read this blog knows I'm not at all a Christian sympathizer). Just about everything bad that Christianity has, Islam also has, and then Islam just adds more bad shit on top of that. And it is in no way "Islamophobic" or "racist" to say say this, or point it out.

It has become a thing now to label all people critical of Islam Islamophobic, or even racist. The racist accusation is obviously nonsense. Islam is a religion and a religion is not a race. There are Muslims of every color around the world. The Islamophobic accusation though, has a racist implication to it. There is, it seems, an implicit assumption that "Islamophobic" can mean the same thing as anti-Asian, or anti-Middle Eastern, or even anti-Muslim. These are often conflated, but they are not the same.

Let's look at a few definitions of Islamophobia. Wikipedia says, "Anti-Islamic sentiment or Islamophobia is a term for prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of the religion of Islam, Muslims, or of ethnic groups perceived to be Muslim." According to UC Berkely's Center for Race & Gender, a 1991 Runnymede Trust Report defined Islamophobia as "unfounded hostility towards Muslims, and therefore fear or dislike of all or most Muslims." These are two interesting definitions. Wiki's definition focuses more on the religion of Islam, and CR&G's definition focuses more on the followers of Islam. Therein lies an important distinction. Now, I'm not going to fuss over definitions here — that's not the point. The points I want to focus on regard the problems I see with the term Islamophobia and its usage.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Debate: Is ISIS Islamic? David Wood (Christian) vs. Osama Abdallah (Muslim)

David Wood is a Christian apologist probably best known for his criticism of Islam. He writes for the blog Answering Muslims and has debated many prominent Muslims on issues regarding Islam and Christianity. I saw one debate recently called Is ISIS Islamic? and I think Wood did a particularly good job in it. He certainly is well educated in Islamic history and theology and knows how to cut through most of the bullshit you often here coming from liberal Muslims who obfuscate their religion and its history to give you the kinder, gentler version of Islam that they want us Westerners to believe is true.

Some liberals that watch this may initially feel the urge to ignore Wood's criticisms and brush them off as the product of fundamentalist Christian "Islamophobia." Yes, Wood is a Christian, but that does not automatically render his criticism of Islam biased and false. Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz also recognize the same problems of the Islamic sources. If you are the kind that feels the need to believe Islam is a peaceful religion that has been hijacked by a small minority of extremists, please try and suspend that reaction and listen to the arguments Wood makes. And then do some research into the verses and their interpretations to see if Wood makes a convincing case that ISIS is indeed Islamic.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Atheism Has No Prescription To Kill

The internet is abuzz with the recent news of an atheist who allegedly killed three Muslims in what appears to be a hate crime. Reports have suggested that the alleged killings by 46 year Craig Hicks were over a parking dispute, but anti Islamic comments made by him on social media have lead many to think he was motivated by a hatred of Islam or Muslims.

First let me say that killing someone over a parking space is extremely stupid, and killing someone because of their religion is perhaps even more stupid. Being an atheist and killing someone because of their religion is perhaps the stupidest, and even more stupid than when religious people kill other religious people because of their religion.

But there is a difference between this incident and the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The Charlie Hebdo murderers were motivated by a religious prescription to not depict the prophet Mohammad in any way, especially not in a derogatory way. And Islam prescribes many situations where non-believers can be killed, beheaded, and forced to submit to Islamic authorities. The killers were avenging the prophet, as they shouted while leaving the scene of the crime. Their crime was clearly motivated by their religious faith.

Atheism by contrast, is just the lack of a belief in any gods. It says nothing about what moral philosophies or prescriptions one should follow. There is no holy book in atheism that says "Kill the believer where ever you find them." And while it is certainly possible for someone to kill in the "name of atheism," atheism and even anti-theism are neutral on violence. They simply say nothing about it.

So while these murders are despicable and should make everyone ashamed, this person's alleged hatred of Islam is not a prescription of atheism. On Hick's Facebook page he has a banner describing his anti-theism. I too describe myself as an anti-theist, but anti-theism, or the "conscientious objection to religion" as the banner defines it, does not entail the unwarranted killing of theists or anyone. Anti-theism is an intellectual battle against religious belief, not a physical battle. I do not condone the killing of anyone based on their religious beliefs, politics, race, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else. And anti-theism doesn't stand for this. Period.

P.S. I'm glad to see so many prominent atheists coming out so quickly to condemn this violence.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Natural Born Skeptic: My Atheist Journey Part 4

Nihilism And The Search For Deeper Meaning

For a while in my early twenties I suppose you could say that I had lapsed into a kind of hedonistic existential nihilism. I started partying more to the point where it basically became my life. Drinking and smoking marijuana became an almost daily routine. The metal head crowd that I had hung out with in high school had fragmented into smaller groups who shared common mutual interests and I had followed along with the ones who were the more heavy drinkers and users. My best friend at the time was a Russian immigrant who came to the US as an early teen. He actually believed in the ancient Norse gods Odin and Thor. Although most of the time we were busy drinking and smoking and going to nightclubs, we occasionally had an intellectual conversation where our world views came into the light. I’d ask him how sincere he was about his beliefs and if he actually thought Odin was real. I’d occasionally attack the logic he used to justify his beliefs and I quickly found out just how irrational some belief systems are and what absurdities they can be founded on. My best friend had came to the conclusion that Odin was real when he was camping one day in the woods and had run out of water. Feeling like he was going to die of thirst, he prayed to Odin and shortly thereafter found a bottle of water sitting in the woods. To him, this was a sign from Odin that he was real, and from that moment onward, Odin was his god. Now mind you, I was probably high when he told me this story, but you can imagine for yourself how utterly preposterous his applied logic was in determining that his god was real.

Most of my other friends were atheist, agnostic, or lapsed Catholics. I did however have one Muslim friend who was one of the heaviest partiers of us all.  One day after driving me home from a party he gave me a book entitled, A BRIEF ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING ISLAM. He told me that he was meaning to give it to me for some time because he recognized in me that I was smart and a thinker about some of the bigger and deeper issues. It was one of those books that tries to use modern scientific discoveries to show that they were predicted in the Qur’an hundreds of years ago before anyone else could have known. This is offered as a case that the Qur’an is “proof” that it was divinely inspired and therefore that Islam is the one true faith. Now the skeptic in me has looked at this supposed “proof” and concluded that it is a ridiculous stretch of the imagination. The Qur’an is so vague in its descriptions of these purported “facts” that it take great leaps of faith to reconcile them with modern science, and on top of that, it gets many of its “facts” flat out wrong. But at that time, I wasn’t fully aware of this, and after briefly looking through the book, I literally threw it down on a shelf and it collected dust for about 5 years.

During this nihilistic party phase in my early twenties I just wasn’t that interested in religion and philosophy. That early spark of intrigue had faded and became replaced by hedonistic indulgence. Living in New York City where there are thousands of bars and clubs, my life revolved around bar hoping and club hoping, chasing after the next one night stand, and getting fucked up on beer, liquor, marijuana and the occasional club drug. I was a nihilist living in the moment, working the odd job here and there, with no deeper purpose, meaning or direction. The occasional discussion about metaphysical worldviews always involved me articulating my skepticism and disbelief but it was almost never seriously challenged because most of the people in my social circle either weren’t believers, or if they believed, they weren’t religious about their beliefs. Although I had an affinity for indulgence myself, as the years went on I started gravitating towards deeper more intellectual topics. I wanted to have intellectual conversations with my friends instead of just talking about whatever gossip and drama happened to be going on at the time. I started growing tired of the mindless self-indulgence that I saw going on everyday amongst my friends. I stopped caring about the silly one-upmanship that we were all trying to pull on each other to gratify our precious egos. I was searching for something deeper and more intellectually satisfying in my life but unlike those people who are susceptible to religion, my natural born skepticism wouldn’t steer me towards god.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Moving The Goal Posts

It's amazing to see Christians and Muslims debate the existence of god today, especially the formidable ones. They have to concede that evolution is now a fact and that it happened, and that Big Bang cosmology accurately describes the history and evolution of our universe - meaning that it is not thousands of years old, but billions. And in order for them to make the case for the Kalam Cosmological Argument, they must use science that actually disproves their own religions, at least in their literal contexts.

This is particularly problematic for Muslims, because they must show their own Qur'an to be false on its claim to scientific "facts" to argue the Kalam. For example, the Qur'an says that the heavens and the earth was made in 6 days in chapters 7:54; 10:3; 11:7; 50:38; & 57:4, then it says it was made in 8 days  in chapters 41:9-12. A Muslim might then say that a "day" might mean a period a lot longer than a literal 24 hour day that we experience, but luckily we also have in the Qur'an the definition of just exactly how long a "day" is for god. The Qur'an says that a day for god is the equivalent of 1000 years for us in chapters 22:47 and 32:5, and then it says that a day for god is 50,000 years for us in chapter 70:4.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Road Towards Antitheism

Christopher Hitchens introduced the word antitheist to me years ago when I began listening to his debates. It struck me kind of oddly at the time for me to consider if I was one myself. I've always been an atheist or an agnostic as far as I could remember, and I always remember being highly skeptical towards religious claims whenever they confronted me. Before my mid-twenties though, I cannot remember being openly hostile towards religious faith other than simply being skeptical. I did occasionally at times mock the creationist viewpoint of religion but I don't recall ever going out of my way to chastise the religion or its believers.

That is, until I started paying attention to creationism/evolution debate, which sparked my interest in the theism/atheism debate, to which I naturally sided with the atheists. Around this time I began reading the Bible and the Qur'an, which I had several copies of thanks to my religious mother. It was only when I began familiarizing myself with what religions actually say, that I began travelling down the road towards antitheism. Perhaps I could say that the Bible and the Qur'an made me an antitheist, but I don't think that's the full story. Christopher Hitchens' and Richard Dawkins' polemics helped give me the final push. Considering these religions are pushing to create a world that I do not want to see actualized at any time while I'm alive or even after I'm dead, I was naturally destined towards antitheism.

So you could say that before when I was ignorant towards what religions actually say, I was merely an atheist, but after having known what they're about and what they stand for, I became an antitheist.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Does Militant Atheism Help Or Hurt Atheists?

As our culture becomes more accepting and hospitable towards atheists, agnostics and the like, there is certainly an increase in what can be described as militant atheism. Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris for example are described by many as a militant atheists. First, let's clarify exactly what is a militant atheist. From Urban Dictionary, we get several examples:

A militant atheist is one who is hostile towards religion. They differ from moderate atheists because they have the desire to propagate atheism and also hold religion to be harmful. Militant atheism was an integral part of the French Revolution, Soviet Union, Cultural Revolution, and is expresses itself today in the ideas of the New Atheist authors.  
An atheist who has become insufferably elitest. Unlike a majority of most atheists, he has decided that it is his duty to rid the world of all religion. Ironically, he never shuts up religion, putting him into the same level of irritation as most religious fundamentalists.

According to paranoid Christians with a persecution complex, anyone who is openly an atheist and has the gall to express a desire for the same rights and privileges as any other group.

As you can see some of the definitions are humorous, but the second one caught my eye. It doesn't exactly cast the militant atheist in a nice light. Is there truth to this definition of militant atheism and would I consider myself one who fits this description? Well, there definitely is a certain amount of pride with being philosophically and scientifically knowledgeable especially when amongst people who clearly lack any serious knowledge in those departments, but it is better to educate rather than to mock. Also, I definitely would like to spread atheism and see it grow to larger numbers but do not ever see the whole world being rid of religion. I have been accused of talking too much about religion by some friends and being too "intellectual" and pugnacious. I can see how this could be annoying to those who do not want to constantly engage in intellectual battle over whether god exists or not. The key is to surround yourself with others who want to. Other than that, there is a time and place for everything.

Everything in moderation is what I always say. I don't walk around and go up to strangers and proselytize for atheism, but in the right social situation, I do tend to steer the conversation towards matters of religion and philosophy. At work I almost never brought religion up because I knew that it wasn't the right time and place for it. Come to think of it, I never really had a job where the culture was welcoming to controversial topics like religion and politics.

So does being militant about atheism hurt or help the spread of atheism? Well it is hard to say for sure, I guess it all depends on the situation. Sometimes it might help, sometimes it might hurt. I would definitely say that being vocal and open about atheism certainly helps. Simply being open about being an atheist alone can spark very interesting conversations, raise awareness and allow an opportunity to engage in conversation. Atheists are obviously doing something right since atheism has been growing, and religiosity is on the decline. What I'm afraid of is that our recent success may backfire if we start becoming as annoying as street preachers.

It's easy to take pot-shots at the Bible and Koran. While I am not above doing so myself, I am trying to engage in a more sophisticated critique on religion by trying to understand the world's major religions as much as I can, and then picking apart what problems I see in them. For example, I'm not one of those atheists that blames all of the world's problems on religion. Religion certainly causes some problems in the world, but there are plenty of other reasons why people kill and harm each other. I don't think someone can justifiably say that religion is the source of all the world's problems, and by acknowledging that it doesn't in my critique of faith, I think I am helping atheists sound more rational.

I have to admit that I kind of like the times we are living in. It has never been a better time to be an atheist in America. Our country is more secular now that it has ever been and we have a president in the White House who is favorable to our cause and acknowledges us. Given this welcoming playing field, we can't screw it up by becoming as annoying as the Mormons who come knocking on your door to spread the "good news". So no I would never like to see atheists knocking on doors or going up to people in public like theists do. But I fully support atheist student clubs in colleges, and for atheists to be engaged in intellectual discourse with those who hold opposing views. Atheists should remain vocal but remember that there is a time and place for everything.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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)


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.


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)


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.


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)


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Do Atheists Have Faith In Science?

One accusation of those who have religious faith in god, is that atheists too have that same faith in science. However, this is not true. Science is just the method by which we build and organize natural explanations for everything based on testable evidence and predictions. So having faith in science would be like having faith in math. Math is the method we use to determine and calculate numeric representations and the relationship between them.

No one will argue that math is not a very reliable way of dealing with numbers; our modern world depends on it, and even animals can use it. Science, likewise is a very reliable way of finding information about our world, because it has proved its reliability time and time again. All of our modern technology is the result of science, and one doesn't require any faith to understand its brilliance.

Furthermore, no atheist justifies evolution by saying it is true because "Darwin says so." I have debated with theists whose last resort at reasoning is to say "because the Bible says so" or "because the Qur'an says so." The idea that a supposed "holy" book merely saying something in and of itself makes an assertion true, without any credible evidence to back it up, is reasoning gone bankrupt. That is faith, plain and simple.

Now science cannot explain each and every aspect of our universe and it might be impossible for our body of knowledge to contain everything that there is to know. Theists jump on this and assert the hand of god where there is a gap in our knowledge. And if that gap is ever closed, they then have two gaps that they fill with the hand of god. The god of the gaps method is a very weak way to assert the existence of any deity. It is best that theists simply do what they do best, which is to maintain that believing in god is a matter of faith.

"Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It’s nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith, and enable and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders, keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction. Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don’t have all the answers to think that they do."
                                                                                                                                    -Bill Maher

"Where there is evidence, no one speaks of 'faith'. We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence."

                                                                                                                         -Bertrand Russell

Sunday, October 14, 2012

How To Talk To A Muslim: Debating The Existence Of Allah, The Validity Of The Qur'an, & Evolution

Further seizing upon the opportunity to debate with a conservative Muslim, who stands for just about everything I am against, I challenge him on some of the Qur'an's known contradictions using a section from The "Infidel's" Guide to Islam. It all started when Gareth linked his post titled "There is a god, and His name is Allah (My personal gift to Atheists & Anti-Theists)" on the Non Believer Nation Facebook page. I read it and took it upon myself to inject some more intellectual critique, rather than just the usual hyperbole. In his post the argument is made that in the Qur'an, Mohammad gives information about things that were not scientifically known at that time, and could only have been known if this information had been revealed to him by Allah. The "revelation" in question here is a vague line in the Qur'an mentioning that iron was given from above and descended to Earth.

“We have descended Iron, within it contains great durability, as well as benefits for Humans.” Surah 57:25

This is offered as the "proof" that Allah is the one true god and that Islam is the one true faith. As you can easily imagine, I call out this naivety for what it is: bullshit. There were many other comments on the post, some congratulating, some critical, and so I decided to weigh my two cents in so that the anti-theist perspective could be heard. What ensued was a very heated exchange between me and Gareth where I pointed out the contradictions in the Qur'an to make the argument that it is far from revealed wisdom. His only rebuttal when cornered with these apparent facts, is to say that all of my English translations are incorrect, even through I have several of the most popular English-translated Qur'ans.

I ask him for the correct translation directly from Arabic and to include references, but he doesn't reply. About halfway through we get into debating the validity of evolution, which he denies, insisting that the Qur'anic retelling of the Adam and Eve creation myth is how it all happened because "Allah says that it happened, period." So I introduce him to some of the evidence in favor of evolution and he seems to concede, although not admitting it, and retracts back into his talking points, insisting that Allah is all powerful and that I only disbelieve in him because I want to worship my "ego & desires". I close by trying to make amends, in a way, to see how best people like him and me can coexist in the long term. Our debate and the link to his blog are below. His words are in bold.

"There is a god, and His name is Allah (My personal gift to Atheists & Anti-Theists):

Look man, as an atheist and anti-theist, I do respect your right to have your own opinion and to be vocal about it. After all, I hope that you, as I do, respect freedom of speech going both ways. I just can’t wait until the Muslim majority countries practice this.
Over the years I’ve had a few Muslims try to point to some vague references in the Qur’an that when twisted, accurately describe science. But you must be aware, that for skeptics like us, such vague references will never be enough, because all religious books have some truth to them, and they can’t all be correct in their entirety.
On top of that, all religious books are full of scientific and historic inaccuracies, which would of course defeat your objective since your holy book must be perfect. There is no religious text, that accurately describes the universe as science does, because of course no one writing them knew anything about science. You must be aware that the Qur’an contradicts itself many times. How do you reconcile this when the Qur’an is supposed to be absolutely perfect in every way?

How To Talk To A Muslim: The Nature of Allah

It is very rare that I come across an actual believing Muslim that I can debate with in my life, but recently I came across a blog made by an African American Muslim who writes about many hot button issues from the point of view of his Islamic faith. He had advertised his blog on the Non Believer Nation Facebook page, and that's what caught my interest. So I checked out a few of his blog posts, and naturally, as an atheist I had to take issue with many of them. So on several of his blogs, in the comment section, me and him went back and forth debating various topics, including his description of the nature of Allah, the atheistic position, and homosexuality as seen from his 7th century narrow-minded view. 

His name is Gareth Bryant, and he is an unapologetic conservative Muslim. He wrote a blog explaining his enduring love and respect for Allah and the anti-theist in me had to call out some of his brainwashed bullshit. Below is the transcript of our debate going back and forth. His blog post is linked below so you might want to read what he wrote before reading our debate. I start out apologizing to him for bugging him because this comment came after several heated back and forth comments we had on other posts. His words are in bold.

Reality of the Nature of Allah:


Sorry man I gotta bug you again. But you did say you want honest feedback from your readers…

So I have some issues with how you describe Allah. I have a problem with how the god of monotheism is portrayed in general, but in no particular order:

You mentioned that Allah is not created but is eternal. Doesn’t that mean Allah has an eternal past? Many monotheists believe God is timeless, but I don’t see how that is possible. Even the Qur’an says Allah’s day is a certain measurable length of time, whatever that may be. If Allah has an eternal past, wouldn’t it have taken him an eternity to get to the present?
Does Allah have free will since he knows everything he is going to think and do, forever? Isn’t that kind of like being an actor and having to go along with a script forever knowing that you could never deviate from it?

You mentioned that “Allah never plays practical-jokes upon people”. Really? Ever heard of the story of Abraham? Talk about practical joke. Whatever the lessen to be learned there, commanding someone to kill their son, and then saying it was all a test, is one hell of a joke. Can you imagine Abraham’s face when he found out it was all a test? Not to mention the look on his son’s face. This whole story is Allah’s intentional deception.

You said “It is impossible for Allah to be a tyrant”. Excuse me. Allah is the tyrant of tyrants. It’s his way or the highway. He demands to be loved, worshiped and feared. That sounds to be a lot like Stalin and Kim Jung-Il. Nearly every line in the Qur’an mentions this. All the verse you pointed out says is “And thy Lord wrongs not anyone.” But the Qur’an justifies slavery, sexual slavery, and Allah even uses the role of the slave to show their masters how much higher Allah is to them. I don’t think a “perfect” being would justify human slavery, don’t you?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Islamic War on Free Speech

Once again the forces of radical Islam are waging war on the expression of free speech. On this passed September the 11th, several Americans including a diplomat were murdered at the U.S. Embassy in Bengazi Libya. Let's not forget that the U.S. has just helped rebels overthrow the dictator Muammar Gaddafi who ruled the country with an iron fist for 40 years. The murder of the Americans was allegedly sparked by an anti-Muslim film made in the U.S. Sources say that there have been attacks towards American embassies in several other Arab countries.

We have seen this type of reaction from the Islamic world over Western expressions of free speech in years past. There was the 1980s Salmon Rushdie affair over The Satanic Verses; the Danish Cartoon Controversy in 2006; and the recent accidental book burning of Qur'ans in Afghanistan, to name a few. It is incidents like these that better help me make my argument that the Western world, who cherishes free speech, and the Islamic world, who clearly does not, are not capable of living side by side with out inevitable conflict.

In Libya, you cannot say that the enraged Muslims are protesting a military occupation of the country by the U.S.(there is none), or that this is all over the state of Israel. I have a friend who blames every conflict that the U.S. has with the Islamic world to be over the state of Israel. I have acknowledged before that Israel is certainly a part of some conflicts the U.S. has had with the Islamic world, but it is definitely not the only one, and the current American embassy attacks going on now are not.

It seems to me that extremists in Islam want us in the West to compromise our freedom of speech, so as to not offend sensitive aspects of their faith. But I have always insisted that freedom of speech, inscribed in our first amendment, is not negotiable. It is not on the table for discussion. Freedom of speech must come with the license to offend, or else there is no point to it in principle. The idea that we can say whatever we want, as long as it does not offend Muslims, is to bend the constitution to the will of a theocratic fascist ideology. Why should we have to compromise our freedoms to those who want to see it disappear under the flag of Islam?

One of the criticisms of the West by some Muslims, is our anything-goes culture where people can say and do things deemed impious by Islamic standards. But freedom gives you choice. I can live a number of different lifestyles, but no one of them should be imposed on me. A Muslim in the West can refrain from every indulgence offered to them, and live a traditional lifestyle, and they are perfectly in their right to do so--as long as it doesn't impinge on my freedom and lifestyle. But if radical Islamists, like many of those violently protesting outside of U.S. embassies had their way, I would not have the right to life my lifestyle as I choose, which at times calls for a public discourse critical of many religions. This is the objective difference when one asks what are the philosophical underpinnings of my position on free speech against radical Muslims: If I have my way, we all can live our lifestyles as we wish; but if they have their way, I cannot live as I please, while they can. This imbalance is where I hold the moral high ground.

Free speech means being offended is guaranteed. If Muslims cannot stand criticism of Islam, too bad. There are parts of the Qur'an that offend me as a non-believer, that insult my character and status as a human being, but do I have the right to go into a mosque and kill dozens of Muslims when these verses in the Qur'an are read aloud or printed in books or on the internet? What about my feelings after being offended? I do not expect Muslims to be censoring their holy books out of respect for my feelings and others like me any time soon, and I wouldn't expect them to. The Islamic world should be free to criticize any and all aspects of the West as much as they please, and they do. I would not condone an atheist like me burning a mosque or killing Muslims if their feelings were hurt by Islamic doctrine, as I do not condone the violence coming from Muslims in this latest episode of conflict over free speech.

The idea of both of us compromising our freedom of speech, as a compromise, is itself appalling when you consider it: What would be on the table for limitations of criticism and who would decide and enforce it? Who could ever be trusted with the creation of legislation designed to tell us what we can and cannot speak about? It is obvious that large swaths of the Islamic world are no where near ready for a Western-style democracy with freedom of speech as one of its central principles.

In Europe, there is the small Mohammad is a Pedophile movement, designed to educate people on some of Mohammad's wives. The fact that Mohammad married a 6 year old girl is not denied by any Muslim, and this detail is considered part of the commonly believed life of Mohammad and is regarded as truth. So what is wrong with critiquing a historic figure, when that criticism is accurate? Muslims seem to not want truthful aspects of their revered prophet's life even mentioned in public if it is not done with fawning praise. Now I believe that nothing, especial religion, should be off the table for criticism. This is part of having a civil and rational society. The Islamic war on free speech means that we will have conflicts with people of this faith for generations to come.

So what can we do to mitigate conflicts with the Islamic world if we do not compromise our freedom of speech?

I went to a local meeting of atheists the other day and got into a discussion over atheistic evangelism. The question was whether atheists should be vocal and spread our beliefs like the religious do. I say yes, but not in the same annoying, guilt-inducing ways. I think that it is undeniable that the world is locked into a permanent ideological debate over politics, philosophy and religion among other things. If you want to win an argument, you've got to be vocal. There is a sizable population in the Islamic world, sympathetic to Western ideals and they have shown their public support recently countering the anti-U.S. demonstrations. This is due in large part to us in the West making our principles heard in the Islamic world. There is a silent opinion war for the minds of over a billion Muslims that is being waged that we must win. When enough Muslims embrace the types of freedoms that we cherish in the West, there will be a significant reduction in outbursts of violence over exercises in freedom of speech.

I am extremely critical of U.S. foreign policy towards the Islamic world, and want Muslims treated with dignity and their sovereignty respected. The forces of radical Islam will never succeed. It's the death metal of political philosophies--no matter how many people you try to convince to like death metal music, you will never get significant numbers because it's just too extreme. Therefore, the only realistic long term solution for better relations between the West and the Islamic world, is a steady embrace by the Islamic peoples towards Western-style democracies that include freedom of speech.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Refuting William Lane Craig: "Is Good From God?"

In 2011, author and neuroscientist Sam Harris debated evangelical Christian apologist William Lane Craig on the topic of morality and god entitled, “Is Good From God?” The debate, largely was an attempt by Dr. Craig to critique Dr. Harris’ book The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. As you may know, I have a bone to pick with Dr. Craig regarding his attempts to rationalize the more troubling aspects of his Christian faith, and in the debate he offers several examples which I will criticize.

Dr. Craig opens the debate with his two primary contentions. First, that if god exists, he offers a sound foundation for the existence of objective morals and duties, and second, that if god does not exist, then we do not have a sound foundation for objective moral duties and values. Dr. Craig defines “objective” morality as being valid and binding, independently of human opinion. Both Dr. Craig and Dr. Harris assert the existence of objective morals and duties, and only disagree with what is its foundation. On my blog, I have written repeatedly about how I believe there is exists a certain core of values that are objectively true, and are not relative to anyone’s opinion. And I have argued against the idea that the existence of god is what these objective values are founded in. What I want to do is critique line by line, the objections that Dr. Craig makes against Dr. Harris’ argument that science can offer us a foundation for objective values.

Right off the bat in Dr. Craig’s opening remarks he asserts the ontological foundation for goodness:

11:20 On the theistic view objective moral values are grounded in God. As St. Anselm saw, God is by definition the greatest conceivable being and therefore the highest Good. Indeed, He is not merely perfectly good, He is the locus and paradigm of moral value. God’s own holy and loving nature provides the absolute standard against which all actions are measured. He is by nature loving, generous, faithful, kind, and so forth. Thus if God exists, objective moral values exist, wholly independent of human beings.

One of the problems I have with this statement is the fact that the greatest conceivable being is a highly subjective expression. For example, Muslims and Christians have distinct beliefs on the nature of god. Muslims disagree with Christians that god had to rest on the seventh day after he created the universe because resting is not a property of an omnipotent god. If a god who needs to rest is less great than a god who doesn’t, than it follows that the Muslim concept of god may be better than the Christian concept. So a greatest conceivable being to a Muslims, is different than that of a Christian. And what if a psychopath’s idea of the greatest conceivable being would be that of a sadistic dictator? Could the greatest conceivable being then an aggregation of all these diverse concepts by taking the best from each? God’s nature consists of many things and jealousy is one of them. He is also wrathful, and capricious. Are these the characteristics of greatness?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Does Islam Condone Unjustified Violence?

Over drinks a few weeks back, I had a great debate with a friend over the reasons why the West has such a big problem with the Islamic world. He maintained that our problems are all due to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and Western militaries being on Muslim lands committing injustices. While I whole heartedly agree that the Israelis have committed human rights violations in their treatment of the Palestinians, and that the U.S. military's blunders in the Middle East, (usually backed by the needs of U.S multinational corporations in their insatiable thirst for profit), have no doubt contributed to the hatred by some in the Islamic world toward the West. But what I do not agree on, is this notion that these are the sole reasons why we have terrible relations with so many in the Islamic world.

Rather, I argue that the primary reason the West has this "beef" with radicalized Islam, is due to our mutually incompatible cultures. Traditional Islam is so radically different in terms of values when compared to the moral progression and modernity of the West. It is, I argue, the forces of cultural modernity more than anything else, that are at the root of many of our problems with Islam. Even if the Israeli/Palestinian conflict did not exist, and even if the U.S. was not on any "Muslim lands", we would still have conflict, because our cultures are so different.

My friend steadfastly argued that it is all politics at the root of our problems and that religion is not at all a part of it, or at the very least it plays a minor role. He argued that he just cannot imagine, someone killing in the name of their religion. I tried to point out to him, with little success, that people throughout history, have killed in the name of their religion, and that killing in the name of religion is historically something quite common. But he could not believe that when a Muslim blows himself up, that it could be in the name of religion, but is always motivated by personal or political conflict.

I offered several examples that show Muslims can be more than willing to kill in the name of their religion. First, Muslims kill each other all the time. Sunnis and Shites have been killing each other off and on for 1,400 years. These killings have nothing to do with Israel or Westerners being on Muslim soil. Second, Muslims have been on the offensive conquering lands in the name of spreading Islam. They took the whole of the Iberian peninsula beginning in the year 711, and the Ottomans marched their way up to siege upon the city Vienna in Central Europe in 1529 and in 1683 (the latter of which was retaliated on September the 11th). This wasn't over Israel or Westerners on Muslim land, indeed this was before the Western imperial powers had colonized the Middle East and North Africa. But my friend argued that the Muslims were motivated by power, not by religion. Well it is certainly true that empires have economic aspirations for expanding and conquering. The funny thing is, Islam even has a chapter detailing the spoils of war in the Qur'an (Sura Al-Anfal) for those victorious Muslims who fight for its cause. Since Muslims put so much emphasis on the Hereafter, Earthly rewards will always pale in comparison to those awarded by god. And no action is deemed more respectable in honor than dying in the name of Islam. For it is this sacrifice, that the pious Muslim can expect his 72 virgins. Since dying in the name of Islam is its highest honor, we can infer that Muslim sieges onto what was previously non Muslim lands, were very likely motivated primarily by a spread of the faith. But I am not denying that there could have been other reasons too.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Does God Have Compassion For The Damned?

Dare I for a moment, question the will of god? It's late on a Friday night, and I want to write something. I have been awash in a serious Winter hibernation as of late. About the only light I see is on my way to work. Thinking for a moment about the god hypothesis from our great monotheists, I recently wondered whether Yahweh, or when he is revealing himself to the Arabs, Allah, being the all knowing, all seeing, and morally perfect deity that he is, has any compassion what so ever for those he's damned. He is after all, the greatest conceivable being; the unembodied soul of moral perfection, infinite love and wisdom.

This could be a fatuous question to the pious; for god has, in his impeccable arbitration, given us free will that the damned chose to exploit, and thus they are deserving in their fate. He judges not with bias, and his rulings are permanent and unchallengeable. But think about for a moment, the actual method Yahweh decides to judge us. One of the moral arguments defenders of faith like to claim, is that with god, justice is coming to those wronged in this world. The bad guys may get away from the law, but sooner of later they will have to face god. The faithful can rest assured that what goes around, truely in the end will come around. But they seem to forget that, with Christians, Jesus died for all of all of our sins. This means that every single one of the most unimaginable atrocities that one can do in one's lifetime and get away with, with the exception of blasphemy, will be forgiven to those who believe. The serial killer who gets off on the torture of others, need only to come to god in repentance and will be forgiven. But his victim, who prayed to the wrong god, or perhaps worse, didn't pray at all, gets not only a violent end in this world, but eternal conscious torment, courtesy of god's judgement, in the next.

I ask then, with genuine emotion, how is this justice? How is this morality and judgement at its best? Some of the most liberal and enlightened of the faithful refuse to believe "their" god would do such a thing. I say that they should take another look at their Bible or Qur'an, and read what "their" god really teaches. Although religious moderates might like to deny it, suppose this to be true; that the one and only god is committed to the torment of those who didn't prostrate themselves and believe, while pardoning some of the worst and most depraved among us. Wouldn't the screams of the tormented in hell, who are, according to Islamic descriptions, being burned continually on their renewable skin, and having boiling water poured down their throats, entice even the slightest hint of compassion from the most moral conceivable being?

The answer is no. God is utterly indifferent to the damned. God does not think twice about his judgement. The best definition of evil that I have heard, is having a lack of sympathy or compassion. After thinking about this definition, I agree with its conditions. Every "evil" situation that I can thinking of, involves a human being demonstrating a lack of sympathy or compassion towards another living being. So an earthquake that kills 10,000 children would not, therefore, be evil because the earth is not alive, it is not conscious, it just has tectonic plates that rub up against each other. The Earth is nature and nature is morally neutral on every issue. Thus the lion that kills the cubs of another lion is cruel, but not evil. For in order to be evil, you must lack the ability for empathy and compassion. It takes a certain level of conscious development, and rational thinking, that can divorce itself from emotion and impulse. Not even all of us homo-sapiens posses this trait.

The god of monotheism is evil because of his lack of sympathy and compassion towards the damned. Who can send a child who happens to have been born into the wrong religion, and who dies, to a sentence of eternal conscious torment? It's not like god can't change this at any time, he is the master of all things. He designed such a system, and he enforces its rules. The most slavish of the faithful accept this as god's will and dare not to question. The logical implausibility, and frightening impression of such a moral monster ruling the universe, is part of what convinces me that there is no such god. And what a relief that is, because to contemplate having to be subject forever to such a being, one would surely have had personified the soul of evil.

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.


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