KafirGirl

We read the Quran so you don’t have to.

Wednesday morning pre-coffee post. (A comment on a comment. On a comment.)

with 180 comments

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A couple of days ago, I got a comment that I’ve been thinking about a lot.  It was from a nice, moderate Muslim commenter named Nimmy.  No, I’m not being sarcastic — she is quite nice, even though we disagree on pretty much everything about Islam, the Quran and, I imagine, even life.  Case in point: she thinks buttsex will give you infections and diseases, and I say if buttsex is your thing, stock up on lube and wrap that sucker up.

Anyway, it isn’t the buttsex is gross stuff that stayed with me.  What I couldn’t stop thinking about was a different comment.  One that was written in response to something I wrote about moderate Muslims.  How they’re wasting their time quibbling with atheists over one or two Quran verses when it’s the fundie Muslims who are dragging their precious religion through the mud.  Here’s her response to that:

I just wish to tell you that It is not Quran or Islam which is wrong,but its followers,muslims,who are wrong..and i knwo that it hardly makes any difference to the world..Just try not to be over-hate..

And this:

This is the first time i talked with atheists..Believe me..And again,i always talk for this thought of yours..Fat Mullah sitting in air conditioned rooms and issuing fatwas..and instead burning public property in the name of a catrron..Why don’t they come down and talk to people or make protests against sick evil acts by so-called muslims..

That’s what got the old wheels turning.  Ever since Nimmy posted that, I’ve been thinking about it.  I’ve been gnashing my teeth and furrowing my brow, obsessing over it.  OK, fine, not really.  But it’s been there in the back of my mind, slowly gnawing away at my little brain.  Here’s why:  I would have said the same fucking thing 10 years ago.

It’s not Islam, it’s the fundies.  It’s not Islam, it’s the mullahs.  It’s not Islam, it’s the madrassas.  It’s not Islam, it’s American foreign policy.  It’s not Islam, stop blaming Islam, wah wah wah, blah blah blah.  It’s like the official mantra of moderate Muslims: don’t blame Islam.

It took me a long time, a lot of reading and learning, thinking and rethinking, hours and hours of barstool philosophizing for me to finally come to this conclusion:  it isn’t those people that are evil, it’s the fucking religion itself.  And guess what?  Reading the Quran is only making me realize it more.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: indoctrination works.  I’m proof of that just as much as some kid halfway across the world who thinks America is full of kafirs who must be destroyed.  Or the imam who uses Quran verses and hadith to coax that kids into a bomb vest.  Or, hell, Nimmy herself, who was indoctrinated with the kinder, gentler version of Islam like I was.

Nimmy and other moderates are telling us that it’s not the book that’s rotten — it’s the people.  Which, honestly, is no different than something I would expect to hear on Fox Fucking News from some asshole who thinks the solution is to Bomb ‘Em All.  And here it is, coming from a Muslim.

Yes, the fundies are batshitass crazy — we can all agree on that one.  But why are they batshitass crazy?  Where are they getting their ideas from?  Ask them.  I guaranfuckingtee they’ll say it’s the Quran.  And that’s why the book should not be let off the hook that easily.  It’s where the mullahs and the imams are getting their crap from.  It’s how they talk people into blowing themselves up in exchange for an eternity of self-refreshing hymens and couches and fruit.  It is chock fucking full of desert justice and stupid ideas.  It sucks that people buy into that pile of bullshit — but it’s not all that different than the moderates who buy into a less stinky, more palatable pile of the very same bullshit.

The Quran is just a book.  An inanimate object.  It has no rights, no feelings, and it’ll get no respect from me.  If you’d value a book over a human life, then that’s your right.  I think your priorities are way-the-fuck out of whack, but that’s fine.  Me?  I have a hard time placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of the dumbasses who believe the fairy tale that’s been drilled into their heads since they were babies.  They’re victims of geography.  Any of us could have been in the same position if we were born in certain regions.  It’s hard to hate someone when you realize they’re only human.  But hating the fairytale itself?  Now we’re talking.

This is my response to Nimmy and other moderates who think like her:  don’t hate the player, hate the game.  It makes a hell of a lot more sense to me to hate a stupid idea than it does to hate a brainwashed human being.  If anything, we’ve been letting Islam get away with murder — figuratively, but sadly also literally — for far too long.  And I don’t think we’re going to stop until we’ve dragged it out, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.  I’m pretty sure the book will get over it.  Maybe you should, too.

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Written by kafirgirl

September 3, 2008 at 8:38 am

Posted in Rant

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180 Responses

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  1. Amen to that! (phun intended)

    Greymalkin

    September 3, 2008 at 9:07 am

  2. Same here! I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve come across people like that. There’s always the danger though of being perceived as intolerant when we’re speaking to “moderates” like Nimmy.

    Muhamad [pbum]

    September 3, 2008 at 9:46 am

  3. I don’t think you’re quite correct.

    >> But why are they batshitass crazy? Where are they getting their ideas from? Ask them. I guaranfuckingtee they’ll say it’s the Quran <<

    Neither question gets to the crux of the biscuit.

    The question is: Why do ordinary people *follow* the batshit crazy motherfuckers? Why don’t they just point and laugh?

    The reason is because these followers believe that the Koran *establishes truth*. So if someone can justify their batshit craziness according to the Koran, then it must be true. And “true” means it’s true whether you like it or not.

    Every rational person has to say, “This whole business about evolution/quantum mechanics/dark matter/whatever is pretty fucking weird, but it’s established by the scientific method, so it must be true, no matter how weird or counter-intuitive I find it.” And they’re *right* to do so.

    The “moderate” Muslim endorses the same idea about the Koran: The Koran really does establish truth, it’s just that the batshit crazy motherfuckers have made some sort of “mistake” in *using* the Koran to establish truth.

    But they have no actual *argument* that the the batshit crazy motherfuckers have made a mistake. Their only position is that the crazy interpretations are somehow counter-intuitive, which is not actually an argument.

    If you look at the text of the Koran (and you are, of course, looking closely), the batshit crazy motherfuckers have a much better argument than the “moderates”. If the Koran really does establish truth, as the moderates insist, then it is *they* who are mistaken about the truth.

    Every moderate in existence *must* support their moderate position by claiming that the Koran does *not* say what it manifestly *does* say in plain, declarative language. But this position *destroys* the idea that the Koran establishes truth. In a sense, the moderates do *more* violence to rationality than the extremists: At least the extremists have a sound idea of what truth means, even if they have a stupid idea that the self-serving pronouncements of some 7th century pedophile warlord has some sort of cosmic significance.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 3, 2008 at 9:52 am

  4. It’s not Islam, it’s the fundies. It’s not Islam, it’s the mullahs. It’s not Islam, it’s the madrassas. It’s not Islam, it’s American foreign policy. It’s not Islam, stop blaming Islam, wah wah wah, blah blah blah. It’s like the official mantra of moderate Muslims: don’t blame Islam.

    Obviously it is everything except Islam.

    Michael

    September 3, 2008 at 9:56 am

  5. Every rational person has to say, “This whole business about evolution/quantum mechanics/dark matter/whatever is pretty fucking weird, but it’s established by the scientific method, so it must be true, no matter how weird or counter-intuitive I find it.” And they’re *right* to do so.

    The difference is that with the scientific method, we make assertions (hypotheses) and then test them. If they fail, we abandon them. If they pass, they are accepted for now and if (when) we think of new tests, we’ll test them again. As more and more tests are passed, the assertions become more reliable. If they fail, though, they fail and we must re-evaluate why they failed and what is unique about the test that caused the failure. With the scientific method, we are always trying to discover the truth as precisely as we can define it and must be willing to abandon our pre-conceptions when they are proven false. You can’t do that within Islam.

    Michael

    September 3, 2008 at 10:07 am

  6. The conclusion that BB draws has become patently obvious to me over my life (as a muslim turned atheist).

    ….which is why I always have more respect for the clean adversary – the out in the open, saying it like it is, Muslim Fundamentals. We really should give more credence to the actual meaning of words. “Fundos” are not batshitass crazy as regards their interpretation of the sacred verse….they stick to its ‘fundamental’ message without trying to soften it to suit their conscience. Moderates set their own intellect and conscience to work against each other and end up being way more “royally fucked” than the fundos they feel good chiding as fuckers!

    …and yes, they do way more harm. The moderates are the ones to fight…..no question.

    sista

    September 3, 2008 at 11:15 am

  7. Hello Karif!

    “Case in point: she thinks buttsex will give you infections and diseases”

    I have never noticed anything. I’m always in top condition ;)

    More to the point, It’s not the religion is the official mantra around here. I hear it every time religion is discussed. It’s all over the papers in articles concerning religion. Finland is so moderate it always succumbs to the Goldilocks-approach: Not too hot, not too cold. If conspiracy theorists had an official religious-like organization, we’d probably respect that too. “It’s not their wacky ideas that are the problem, it’s extremism.”

    Here’s the usual drill: It’s not the religion, it’s fundamentalism that’s the problem. It’s not the religion, it’s lack of education that’s the problem. It’s not the religion, it’s the Socio-economic situation that’s the problem. It’s not the religion, it’s insert term here that’s the problem.

    But it’s completely forgetting that there’s a direct logical pathway from religion to fundamentalism. Once you’ve admitted that there’s a god, and that he wrote a book, then what are you going to say when someone interprets the texts in a more extreme way? Theologically, you got jack against them, and you can’t really appeal to reason, can you?

    Hannu

    September 3, 2008 at 11:55 am

  8. There is no god, therefore no word of god, therefore the Quran (and the bible and all other god books) are the words of men pretending at being god.

    Surly your not arguing that believing in magic is good and only those who abuse the magic are bad……..

    1 billion moderate Muslims are going round saying how great, wonderful and powerful the magic is, statically some number of those moderates are going to open the magic book and see that it was used and can be used to inflict their will on others, and that must be good because it comes from the magic book that 1 billion moderate Muslims are say is great, wonderful and powerful.

    I understand your point about brainwashing, but you don’t know how many truly believe Vs just want to inflict their will on others for their own purposes. Keep this in mind, a brainwashed person will kill you just as dead as a non-brainwashed one…….

    GAD

    September 3, 2008 at 12:16 pm

  9. I find that this is a common thread among moderate religious people.

    To me, it’s impossible to actually read the Bible or Koran and still come away with the idea that the bat shit crazy fundamentalists are misinterpreting it. They aren’t. Clearly they’re following the spirit in which it was written.

    The people that are misinterpreting it are the ones who promote the “sweetness and light” version. It isn’t that they’re bad people, it’s that they were indoctrinated into it at an early age and can’t let go of it, so they distort it into something that isn’t horrifying. Or they ignore the bad parts.

    My feeling is that if you sat down with most religious people and made them read their holy books cover to cover, they would stop being religious.

    3D

    September 3, 2008 at 12:17 pm

  10. Bitch PhD recently had an enlightening discussion on this very thing, explaining why she “is” a catholic. She lists things she doesn’t believe in, and includes virtually every tenet of catholic doctrine: {original sin, divinity of christ, resurrection…} Then she lists what she does believe in: {charity, ritual, community…} things one can obtain really from participation in any group.
    Commenters talk about how leaving the Church means giving up all your friends, support network, & customary ways of coping. They define two catholicisms: the official version laid out by the priests, and the social version of people like her who hold a completely different set of beliefs not much distinguishable from secularists. Cultural catholics laugh at the Pope, and don’t get their ideas from scripture–if they read it at all. They value their community, and consider it the ‘real Church’. Most hold out hope the officials will eventually change their positions on issues like birth control. And, in 94 comments nobody even mentioned the Bible.

    What is Islam? Is it what the Mullahs say, or is it what the people do? Nimmy isn’t rejecting all muslims: she’s one herself. If catholics can reject the Pope and still be ‘catholics’, Nimmy can reject the Mullahs. If she seriously reads the Koran she’ll reject it too, but will still be a cultural muslim. BB and y’all are right but the fact is, even if people realize it’s wrong there are other reasons to not abandon it.

    watercat

    September 3, 2008 at 12:21 pm

  11. I really think that we should replace the Quran and any other religious book with Star Trek as the source of morality for ourselves. I truly believe that doing so would make the world a much better place

    Randomness

    September 3, 2008 at 1:36 pm

  12. I don’t believe in all of that stuff about taking over the world, or gassing Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals. I’m a cultural Nazi.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 3, 2008 at 1:39 pm

  13. Watercat — Yes! It’s funny: most of us know, for instance, that there are two meanings of “Jew.” It can refer to the religion, or the ethnic/cultural group. You can be a Jew and an atheist, for instance. Many atheist Jews even go to synagogue, seeing it as a part of their cultural tradition and experience. That really happens in every religion. Most of us grow up with this stuff in some form or another. It becomes part of our cultural experience, and thus can be a source of strength and joy and community even when you don’t believe the dogma. Personally, I say that as long as a person is honest with themselves about it, cool. What floats the boat and all that.

    Gregory

    September 3, 2008 at 1:44 pm

  14. I remember a number of other responses to moderate muslims when I read this post. I do not know what i read where so I can not credit the right people. Here are some readings paraphrased, in my own words and with a bit of my thoughts

    Moderate muslims is an oxymoron, one can not moderately follow a religion of hatred and killing.

    I have read articles which are trying to make believe that the punishment for apostasy is not death punishment according to Quran. This claim is based on the single ayat “there is no compulsion in religion.”, and yet the dude in his moderateness has denied the law upheld by muslim countries over many years. And its only now that some countries have made life imprisonment the punishment for it, BIG relief! Another dude was doubting whether Islam condemns non-followers to hell. I can understand the variations in interpretation but this is absurd, these are something which have not been contested and to condone the misunderstanding is condoning the crime.

    A person is not born evil, he is not brought up evil, then where is it coming from? It is coming from the satanic verses of Quran and Islam.

    Another Kafir

    September 3, 2008 at 1:52 pm

  15. I don’t believe in all of that stuff about taking over the world, or gassing Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals. I’m a cultural Nazi.

    Classic! Culture is more or less what we do because others do it because others did it. Just another chain that binds us.

    GAD

    September 3, 2008 at 2:16 pm

  16. Kafirgirl,

    All religion rises from myth, which rises from the collective unconsciousness of humankind. But organised religion reduces the myth to a set of rules, like ISO 9000, to attain God. Therein lies the problem.

    It is not Islam alone.

    nandu

    September 3, 2008 at 2:35 pm

  17. All religion rises from myth, which rises from the collective unconsciousness of humankind.

    Jung’s collective unconscious is bullshit woo.

    If you actually mean collective unconsciousness, however, that human beings are, on the whole, asleep, I’d be inclined to agree.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 3, 2008 at 3:11 pm

  18. Another Kafir said: “Moderate muslims is an oxymoron, one can not moderately follow a religion of hatred and killing.”

    I don’t agree. There is so much hatred and killing in the Old Testament and still there are moderate Christians and Jews. Moderate Muslims just pick some cherries and don’t care too much about religion. And they say “It’s not Islam, it’s the fundies. It’s not Islam, it’s the …”

    They are right. The fundies are worse. But they are wrong too. Because Islam in not exactly what they think it is.

    kereng

    September 3, 2008 at 3:53 pm

  19. Exactly – there is a salient point in all of this. Those Muslims who say that Qu’ran preaches violence, harsh punishments for apostates and intolerance to other religions are on better grounds theologically – because that’s what the book says. Moderates have to twist the meaning of the text and, in debates and arguments their more “pure” rivals unfortunately don’t have a foot to stand on.

    Quentin George

    September 3, 2008 at 4:58 pm

  20. Islam is not exactly what they think it is.

    So what is it? Who decides?

    Four hundred years ago Christians used to interpret verses like “kill them” to mean “kill them.” Somehow this changed, so that now they interpret them to mean “spread love and kindness.” I’m very interested in how they did that, and I think muslims can do the same I’m not prepared to hate one third of the world’s population, nor ask them to give up their entire culture.

    My own indoctrination was Catholic, where there was no wiggle room: the infallible word of the Pope, via unbroken Apostolic Succession through Saint Peter, defined what ‘Catholic’ was: disagree and you burn in hell. Yet even with this monolithic central authority, modern catholics still manage to define for themselves what ‘catholic’ is. Catholicism as defined by the Pope is increasingly going the way of Mithraism, yet Catholicism as defined by its own practitioners is doing rather well. They seem to have divorced themselves from not only the old testament, but even from their own boss.

    watercat

    September 3, 2008 at 5:03 pm

  21. Gregory – the Jewish bit is difference, since they’ve always been a “nation” as well as a religion. In fact, most of the Zionist movement were in fact secular Jews, and they often named their children after figures in the Bible who are considered bad in a religious sense, but good in a “nationalist” sense, such as Omri and Nimrod.

    Quentin George

    September 3, 2008 at 5:16 pm

  22. watercat, I’d submit that those people aren’t Catholics, and that the only reason they continue to claim to be is that Western nations no longer punish heresy or apostasy.

    The idea that the Bible was allegorical rather than literal goes back as far as Augustine of Hippo, so its not a recent innovation. Islam, unfortunately, seems to have adopted the unfortunate tenent that central to Islam is the absolute, word for word, precise “truth” found in the Qu’ran. Trying to ascertain a truthful and realistic guide to twenty-first century life in an ancient religious document is always going to get you into trouble, whether you are a biblical literalist or a Qu’ranic literalist.

    Quentin George

    September 3, 2008 at 5:20 pm

  23. “Four hundred years ago Christians used to interpret verses like “kill them” to mean “kill them.” Somehow this changed, so that now they interpret them to mean “spread love and kindness.” I’m very interested in how they did that, and I think muslims can do the same I’m not prepared to hate one third of the world’s population, nor ask them to give up their entire culture.”

    No, I don’t think the interpretation has changed. They just pretend that that particular verse isn’t there. Everyone knows that the bible says to “turn your swords into plowshares” (Isaiah), but very few know that it also contains the opposite verse “turn your plowshares into swords” (Joel). Same with witches. The Bible said there was, so naturally people went about finding and punishing them. Then they found out there were no witches, and, embarrassed, since then have pretty much pretended that bit wasn’t there. But again, neither Jews nor Christians have never made a central plank of their religion one of scriptural inerrancy.

    Quentin George

    September 3, 2008 at 5:25 pm

  24. “Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”

    Saint Augustine of Hippo

    Michael

    September 3, 2008 at 6:31 pm

  25. I concede the ignoring verses bit. Here we are infected with Baptists mostly, who seriously do make inerrancy a plank, and seriously are batshit troublemakers. I often find myself defending muslims, when I hear “they are evil and can’t change because their koran tells them to kill us, and we should nuke the middle east, for Jesus (Blatherations 7.54).” And I’m like, “wait, what? What about YOUR holy book? Have you ever READ the fucken thing?” Most of them are just ignorant saps who haven’t read it and only repeat what their preacher says. Scary-ass preachers, like Fred Phelps. Once they read the book their choices become: a)devout terrorist, b)baby-eating atheist, c)comfortable hypocrite.

    Are the Jews a nation or a community, or a religion? I dunno. Should I argue with catholics and say they are not catholics because they use birth control? Doesn’t seem like it. They call themselves catholics or jews or muslims, I take their word for it. They are all deluded in my view, but I try to understand theirs. So there is Nimmy’s “islam” and there is Osama bin Laden’s “islam”. You’re right, no catholic in Medieval times, or most muslims now, could admit publicly that they disagreed with doctrine. Optimistically I think that the majority are far more attached to community than to doctrine, and with education will come to accept the book as fairy tales. I hope so.

    watercat

    September 3, 2008 at 6:39 pm

  26. “Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”

    Unfortunately all Courage does is whine about how we need to get back to the way things used to be………

    GAD

    September 3, 2008 at 6:53 pm

  27. Sam Harris makes a great point about the fallacy of blaming socio-economic or political considerations for the evils committed in the name of Islam, and the argument that Islam is just used by people to achieve political goals:

    “A lever works only if it is attached to something. Someone, after all, must believe in God, for talk of God to be politically efficacious … Nothing explains the actions of Muslim extremists, and the widespread tolerance of their behaviour in the Muslim world, better than the tenets of Islam”.

    The only way in which Islam could not be a problem is if no-one in the world ascribed to it. I have my doubts about a ‘Muslim Reformation’, as from what we’ve seen of the book so far, if you choose to ignore all the bad stuff a la happy-clappy Christianity, it would pretty much read like this:

    1. God is Great
    2. There should be no compulsion in religion.
    3. Don’t eat pork.

    (And I feel I’m being generous by allowing 1 and 3).

    Lance

    September 3, 2008 at 7:46 pm

  28. Wow, you guys went to town on this one, eh? Fantastic discussion. I’m letting it all digest.

    Muhamed, it took me a while to get the PBUM after your name, and when I got it, I laughed my ass off. Hat tip to you, sir.

    Mr. Bum,

    The question is: Why do ordinary people *follow* the batshit crazy motherfuckers? Why don’t they just point and laugh?

    Absolutely fucking right. And your little comment on being a cultural nazi made me spit my coffee all over my keyboard. No joke. I had to turn the fucking thing upside down to let it seep out.

    Watercat, “Optimistically I think that the majority are far more attached to community than to doctrine, and with education will come to accept the book as fairy tales.” Hear hear! I agree with you on not asking people to give up their entire culture. Hell, there is some good in Islam. Keep that shit. My point, though, was that the moderates are fighting the wrong battle. And, actually, after having read some of the other comments (BB, sista, Lance, QG), I’m convinced that the moderates actually do more harm than good.

    Lance, that list you made is basically me from the age of 14 onwards. And that list has obviously been whittled down to number 2. I think a Muslim reformation is possible. I mean the OT’s got some pretty horrendous shit in it and people were able to move past that. Maybe I’m just back to my old Pollyanna see-the-bright-side-of-things bullshit, but I genuinely feel like it can be done. I know more ex-Muslims now than I ever have in my life. Granted they’re hiding behind a computer screen, but that’s a huge step up. Thanks, internets!

    kafirgirl

    September 3, 2008 at 9:44 pm

  29. It’s interesting that when it comes to e.g. communist or fascist ideology people have no problem saying (correctly imo) that this ideology is wrong and lead to many horrible events. However, when it comes to religion (e.g. Islam) then of course the religion itself must be right and it’s muslims who misinterpret it.

    LB

    September 3, 2008 at 9:55 pm

  30. I love my neighbor because the magic sky god says it’s right.
    I killed my neighbor because the magic sky god says it’s right

    The foundation of both the above is magic and superstition. If magic and superstition justifies one it justifies the other. It just kills me to hear people talk about the good parts of religion and then be surprised by the bad. Their basing whats right and wrong off of magic and superstition for gods sake! How can anyone be surprised when that fails to provide the right answers.

    GAD

    September 3, 2008 at 10:06 pm

  31. LB, that’s because the book came from God but communism, fascism & the like did not come from God. Only, erm, they did, since everything comes from God. At least that’s what the book says and that must be right since it came from God. So yeah. Religion and logic, once again, are not friends.

    True that, GAD. It’s really, really fucking difficult for me to see any part of religion as good these days. Mostly because everything I see is so very, very bad. I’m fine with the love thy neighbor bit — can’t we just fucking leave God out of it?

    kafirgirl

    September 3, 2008 at 10:17 pm

  32. My concern about an Islamic reformation is what does it reform to? I know we’re only up to chapter 10, but it seems to me that once you strip away the bullshit, creationism, misogyny and bigotry from the Koran, you’re left with little more than a diet and excercise program. I just wonder if there’s enough in there to sustain those who are desperate to believe. At least Christians can cherry-pick from the Sermon on the Mount to convince themselves they can get to heaven by generally being nice to people – did Mo ever have a similar moment?

    I also agree with the points made above about the fundies – I have more respect for fundies in a way, because at least fundamentalism is intellectually honest. I just can’t figure out how people can accept that they need to ignore 90% of their sacred text just to be considered a decent human being, and yet can still cherish the remaning 10% as divine.

    Lance

    September 3, 2008 at 10:46 pm

  33. Lance said, “My concern about an Islamic reformation is what does it reform to?” (Others said similar.) I fear that the reformation has already taken place and it is Wahabism, which leads to the likes of Osama bin Laden. Obviously there are nice Muslims out there (selective believers or just cultural), but they are afraid to stand up to the fundamentalist ones (for obvious reasons — they’d be branded apostates and killed).

    KG said, “I think a Muslim reformation is possible. I mean the OT’s got some pretty horrendous shit in it and people were able to move past that.” Keep in mind the NT abrogated the OT and that a good chunk of the violence in the Bible is actually a tale of an event (real or myth) rather than an unending edict to go forth and kill/dominate (descriptive verses prescriptive). (I’m not arguing pro-Bible violence, just pointing out a difference.) Also, the Christian reformation actually brought the people back closer to the teachings of Jesus and removed power from the corrupt church. The Wahabist reformation is bringing Islam back to the teachings of Muhammad. Remember that Quran 9 abrogates the peaceful Meccan verses. We can hope for a reformation, but be careful with those wishes.

    LB said, “It’s interesting that when it comes to e.g. communist or fascist ideology people have no problem saying (correctly imo) that this ideology is wrong and lead to many horrible events.” In all those ‘isms, the despot died and people got tired of that ideology and moved on. Nazism mostly died with Hitler’s death and the Germans were like, “WTF were we thinking?” The problem in Islam is the despot is Allah and is eternal.

    Lance also said, “I have more respect for fundies in a way, because at least fundamentalism is intellectually honest.” I told a moderate Muslim that once and pissed them off. Go figure.

    OK, I think I typed enough now to sufficiently piss everyone off. :-)

    PS. I had bacon again during the day to celebrate Ramadan. Tasty!

    Michael

    September 4, 2008 at 12:39 am

  34. You can call anything bullshit. It is the easiest way to avoid discussion.

    As person who has studied various mythologies (albeit as an amateur), I find the richness of symbols and common motifs highly significant.

    Atheism is never going to replace man’s need for God. As Michael Shermer said, science may make God obsolete: but not belief in God. Look at communist regimes who were officially atheist: they brought in another belief system (in some ways more oppresive) to replace religion, that is all.

    God is not going to go away anytime soon.

    nandu

    September 4, 2008 at 2:10 am

  35. You can call anything bullshit. It is the easiest way to avoid discussion.

    But when you call bullshit, bullshit there is nothing to discuss.

    Case in point

    Look at communist regimes who were officially atheist: they brought in another belief system (in some ways more oppresive) to replace religion, that is all.

    Bullshit!

    GAD

    September 4, 2008 at 2:30 am

  36. Hey Nandu, you might have noticed that we are actually having a discussion, not avoiding one. The outcome of this discussion is so far that a large part of the Koran is bullshit. This is not just a dismissive statement – the justification for this assertion can be found throughout the posts and comments on this site. I am using the word ‘bullshit’ here to encompass statements that appear
    a) patently false
    b) morally abhorrent
    c) all of the above
    I can’t remember anybody dismissing any ‘rich symbols or common motifs’ in this way – I’m interested to know what these are, by the way.

    I happen to believe communism is a steaming pile of bullshit too – possibly because it was an attempt by Marx to couch Hegelian metaphysics in scientific and economic language but still ended up as a millenarian cult that completely subsumed the role of the individual (and their conscience) into a grand redemptive plan. It was effectively a religion with the state as God.

    I agree with you that many people do seem to need a God – of course, that doesn’t suggest even slightly that such a creature must exist, or that any of the books it is alleged to have written are genuine. God may indeed not be going away any time soon, but in the meantime, I’m more than happy to point him in the direction of the door.

    Lance

    September 4, 2008 at 2:49 am

  37. You can call anything bullshit. It is the easiest way to avoid discussion.

    He didn’t call it bullshit. He called it bullshit woo. Which it is. There’s no discussion there to avoid.

    Lance, “My concern about an Islamic reformation is what does it reform to?” Yeah, good point. I think if you took out all the shit in the Quran that causes suffering or is just plain fucking stupid (while still leaving in the plain fucking stupid idea of a God), you’d be left with a pamphlet that says “feed the orphans” and “invite your servants to have dinner with you.” I guess I don’t see that happening.

    Michael, I had bacon, too. Happy ramadan to us! Nom nom nom! You and Michael (and some others) agree that you kind of respect the fundies more for intellectual honesty. I agree. And it burrrrrns me to say that. At least those asshats aren’t deluding themselves about what’s in that book. They acknowledge and embrace that shit. It’s the moderates who are constantly pussyfooting around it and trying to shut us up from even talking about it.

    And to add to what Lance said, God may not be going away anytime soon, but in the meantime, lets go ahead and neuter the fucker.

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 8:22 am

  38. You can call anything bullshit. It is the easiest way to avoid discussion.

    Note that you didn’t actually make an argument for the collective unconscious, so I have nothing to rebut, and I have no obligation to make an argument against. If you want to make an argument, I’ll be happy to evaluate it on its own merits.

    As person who has studied various mythologies (albeit as an amateur), I find the richness of symbols and common motifs highly significant.

    There’s the barest hint of an argument there. Why should anyone find the richness of symbols and common motifs arguments for a collective unconscious? Remember, Jung’s concept went far beyond what would be entailed by just common humanity and shared cultural history.

    That we use symbols and mythological motifs to organize and conceptualize our world is unproblematic for naturalism. That’s what our brains do: they create symbols to represent abstract properties of our perceptual experiences, and then evaluate our perceptual experiences in terms of those symbols. It’s a feedback process.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 4, 2008 at 9:56 am

  39. Regarding fascism and communism…

    An important criterion in looking at any organized activity is evaluating the stated, formal expression of what that activity is (ideology), what people actually do (practice), and how the ideology relates to practice (interpretation). You also want to look at how these change over time.

    One important feature of Islam (and Christianity) is that the formal ideology cannot change. To create a change in practice, you have to make a change in interpretation, not in the fundamental ideology.

    In contrast, human ideologies — classical liberalism, conservatism, humanism and even communism — can change.

    The problem that moderate or liberal religious people have is that they can’t just say, “Well, stoning our disobedient children to death is not a good idea; let’s take it out of the Bible.” In order to not stone their children to death, they have to adjust the interpretation of the Bible; they have to say, “Some simple declarative sentences do not actually mean what they explicitly say.” In this sense, they are doing a grave offense to reason itself: The evidence itself must be adjusted to come to an agreeable conclusion.

    The conflict between the the fundamentalists and scientists is just about what constitutes evidence. That’s bad enough, but the conflict between the moderates and the rationalists is far worse, it’s about whether the evidence should drive our conclusions, or whether our conclusions should drive the evidence. The moderates, to keep the connection between the static ideology and dynamic practice must deny reason itself.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 4, 2008 at 10:10 am

  40. First of all, to barefoot bum:

    I believe we have the beginnings of a fruitful discussion here, but I doubt whether this is the right forum. If you are interested, I’d be happy to oblige.

    Lance, I also agree that a large part of the Quran (or any religious text for that matter) is unacceptable, if taken literally. But I was responding to the statement on Jungian philosophy, not to the Quran, and that matter also has now been clarified.

    The whole point of my first post (which seem to have been lost in translation) was that any religion, when dumbed down to a set of instructions which have to be followed, becomes oppressive. We must bear in mind the fact that religions developed over a period of time, borrowing from the ones which went before, so they are all a mass of contradictions. Literalism has always been a problem.

    Those people who recognise that others’ beliefs are as sacred to them as one’s beliefs are to oneself, do not create a problem whatever religion they belong to. They are the moderates, who try to find the meaning of life within their own religious framework while respecting others. The extremists are the ones who will not tolerate any other belief system than the one they believe in.

    And they are not restricted to the people who believe in God.

    nandu

    September 4, 2008 at 10:31 am

  41. Those people who recognise that others’ beliefs are as sacred to them as one’s beliefs are to oneself, do not create a problem whatever religion they belong to. They are the moderates, who try to find the meaning of life within their own religious framework while respecting others. The extremists are the ones who will not tolerate any other belief system than the one they believe in.

    I dunno if I agree with this. For starters, that definition of moderates sounds more like, erm, liberal Muslims. You don’t hear about them much because they’re the ones who practice their religion as they see fit and don’t interfere with others practicing their religion (or their right to reject religion) in the same manner. I was that kind of Muslim and I have plenty of friends who are that kind of Muslim. So I hear what you’re saying, I just think we’re talking about different people.

    We agree that extremists are on the offense, but I think what you’re missing is that moderate Muslims are on the defense. They’re the ones lobbying to make it illegal for us to even criticize the religion. The extremists might be saying kill kill kill, but the moderates are the ones sticking their fingers in their ears going, “La la la la!”

    P.S. I googled liberal Islam. Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_movements_within_Islam

    Who’da thunk, right?

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 10:46 am

  42. You and Michael (and some others) agree that you kind of respect the fundies more for intellectual honesty. I agree.

    I say 6 of one half dozen of the other.

    If the magic book said: Kill disobedient children, so sayth the lord.

    Moderates: it is not meant literally, it is allegory, it was a scribe error, the original was altered, it was only meant for the time, disobedient has a special meaning etc. etc.

    Fundies: It is gods word and we must follow it, period.

    Hum, now, which to respect………….

    GAD

    September 4, 2008 at 11:39 am

  43. Yup, they both suck.

    Hmm. I just got a comment in my spam box from that teenager who was masquerading as a PhD. He’s asking me to take Jung personality test. Curiously he asks me this while we’re discussing Jung’s collective unconscious woo bullshit with Nandu here. And then it turns out Nandu and our friend Zain ibn Bakari (aka Sona, aka the very first troll I ever had on here, Sammad) have IPs originating from the very same city. I find that….interesting.

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 11:57 am

  44. Some faulty logic is traipsing around. Like, (1) The koran is bad; (2) moslems follow it :: therefore, moslems are bad. But, how can that be if most of them have never read it? You can’t condem muslims because their book is crappy and simultaneously bitch that they’ve never read the book.

    Or, (3)the koran is bad; (4)the koran is islam :: therefore, islam is bad. But how can premise (4) be true? Most followers don’t know what’s in it, and what they hear about it often gives exactly opposite meanings to the exact same verses. To say all these interpretations are islam is to say that everything is islam. Or anything.

    People seem to assume ordinary moslems do or should suspend judgment, objectively study their religion,logically weigh the evidence and reach the most rational conclusion. That might be nice, but it just doesn’t describe human beings. Let’s face it, normal people, unlike us, don’t sit around analyzing scripture in some obsessive quest for the ‘truth’. They go by what they hear, whether its from Osama bin Laden or from Kafir bin Grrl, with their peers having the most weight.

    If all moslems tomorrow at 4 pm admitted their book is not gods literal word, the ummah would still exist as a community and as a culture, just like the Jews and the catholics. I feel a muslim reformation is possible because I see other religions blow off <ihttp://bitchphd.blogspot.com/2008/08/on-being-catholic.html of their faith without any problem. To assume moslems cannot achieve what other groups have done would be bigoted or racist or something, and ditto to assume muslim culture contains nothing beyond the contents of one book.

    A final, disturbing one, (5)extremists are logical (6) moderates liberals are inconsistent :: therefore…what? extremists are somehow better? The conclusion follows if logical consistency has more value than human decency. No one actually argues this, it’s just in ur subtext, dissin ur religious d00dz.

    watercat

    September 4, 2008 at 12:30 pm

  45. Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_movements_within_Islam..Who’da thunk, right?

    This from Dawkins says it all for me:

    …and if we have independent criteria for choosing among religious moralities, why not cut out the middle man and go straight for the moral choice without the religion?”

    … it is such simple logic that how could one not accept it and would rather spend a lifetime being an intellectual contortionist of the highest order to try to somehow reconcile our conscience with the religious doctrines we are born into and would seemingly disintegrate without!

    sista

    September 4, 2008 at 12:32 pm

  46. up until KG’s last post, the “liberal” muslims has been my idea of “moderate” muslims. I considered anybody who tried to make it illegal to criticize would be just fundies.

    watercat

    September 4, 2008 at 12:49 pm

  47. Watercat, you make good points. I do think a Muslim reform is possible, and I have my fingers tightly fucking crossed that it happens. In my opinion it makes more sense to reject religion altogether and embrace reality, but I realize that for most people, it takes baby steps. I know I’m flip flopping back and forth on this — I’m allowed! — but if my only two options were to live in a world with liberal Islam or live in a world where extremists rule the roost, it’s a no brainer which I’d choose. I still stand by what I say about moderates fighting the wrong people and I still think it’s stupid that they’re trying to shut us up from even discussing the religion.

    Sista, well fucking said, lady.

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 1:02 pm

  48. Watercat, I think a lot of people group the moderates and liberals together. The difference is like night and day. The liberals are perfectly fine with reinterpreting the Quran, seeing it as allegory. The moderates? Nope. And it’s the moderates who are pushing to make it illegal for us to criticize Islam or the Quran while turning a blind eye to the fundies.

    Incidentally, a gay Muslim friend of mine has been to a mosque where men and women prayed together and women did not cover their hair while praying. And the place was packed with other gay and lesbian Muslims. I thought he was pulling my leg at the time. Erm, looks like I owe him an apology.

    Another link:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Muslim_Union

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 1:21 pm

  49. I don’t really understand your distinction between moderates and liberals and extrmemists ??? liberals are live and let live, ala v109, yes?
    Osama bL is an extremists.
    Moderates are ones who try to shut up criticism–just extremeists not as far over on the crazy scale?

    watercat

    September 4, 2008 at 1:22 pm

  50. people don’t sit around analyzing scripture in some obsessive quest for the ‘truth’. They go by what they hear, whether its from Osama bin Laden or from Kafir bin Grrl, with their peers having the most weight.

    While the above may be true, it does not justify the below

    You can’t condem muslims because their book is crappy and simultaneously bitch that they’ve never read the book.

    Not only do I condemn them, I double condemn them! Once for following it and once for not knowing what fuck their following! I double condemn the fundies as well, once for following it and once for knowing what they follow and still following it!

    GAD

    September 4, 2008 at 1:36 pm

  51. I double condemn them! Once for following it and once for not knowing what fuck their following!

    dude, if they don’t know what’s in it, they’re not following it.

    watercat

    September 4, 2008 at 1:44 pm

  52. Watercat, they’re following what they think is in the book. They’re following blindly.

    As for liberals vs moderates vs extremists, this is my take on it.

    Liberals are very live and let live, but they’re more than that: they’re the ones who are pushing for reform and modernization of the religion. The liberals I know will say that the Quran is man-made, but that there is a God and he wants you to pray and be non-violent, etc.

    Extremists are Osamaites, the ones who think the Quran is the literal word of God, the only truth, etc. We’re all familiar with them.

    Moderates are in this weird middle are where they say “live and let live,” and they cherrypick the hell out of the Quran, but they still see it as the literal word of God, etc. They’re the ones who will, say, protest “The Jewel of Medina” before it comes out because it’s offensive to Islam.

    Moderates tend not to look too kindly on the liberals, who are seen as heretics. And, of course, they think the extremists are batshitass crazy. But then they also think the West is ruining Islam’s name and nobody should be able to draw a cartoon of Mohammed or insult Islam.

    The extremists would show up to a protest with guns, the moderates with signs, and the liberals would be at home saying, “There’s nothing in Islam that actually says you can’t draw Mohammed.”

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 1:57 pm

  53. Uh-oh! The perils of internet! I’m a victim of mistaken identity!!!

    Seriously, Kafirgirl, this is the first time I’m posting here: and there is no ulterior motive other than to discuss difficult questions.

    nandu

    September 4, 2008 at 2:00 pm

  54. It’s cool, nandu. I just found it curious that my little troll had to pop back in at that very opportune moment. You haven’t said anything that would make me raise and eyebrow. Jung aside!

    P.S. Difficult questions is right. My brain’s working overtime.

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 2:07 pm

  55. Kafirgirl,

    Why does Jung make you raise your eyebrow? I’m interested. (Or if this is not the forum to discuss that, you can ignore the question.)

    nandu

    September 4, 2008 at 2:18 pm

  56. It’s not Jung — it’s my troll’s timing ;)

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 2:25 pm

  57. If a book with the explicit purpose of teaching you how to live a moral life is not clear enough on such minor details such as whether you should kill all non-believers or not, its no good as a moral guide, regardless of what it preaches.

    David Veksler

    September 4, 2008 at 2:57 pm

  58. Although I have neither the patience nor the tolerance for stupidity and ignorance, I find my self relating to that girl, maybe not sympathizing, just relating to her.

    I use to be a Muslim for 20 years, right up until 5 years ago when I discovered a new way to look at the world; one that didn’t require me putting my head between my ass.

    It’s hard sometimes to accept the truth or sensible logic. It’s hard to explain, but I am sure the following will make a lot of sense, maybe you can relate.

    “Fractal Wrongness”

    The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person’s worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person’s worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview.

    Debating with a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person’s opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of logic, and outright lies, that requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one. It is as impossible to convince a fractally wrong person of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.

    http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/klee/misc/lexicon.html#fractal_wrongness

    s3ood

    September 4, 2008 at 3:16 pm

  59. OK, i got it; them’s some crazy-ass moderates there, all right.

    Re following blindly, compare evolution debates. People follow a preacher who says “Evolution says man descended from monkeys”. His followers make a huge outcry against the preacher’s imaginary figment, which they call evolution. But it has nothing to do with actual evolution, which says humans didn’t descend from monkeys, which they don’t know because they never look it up. If rejecting what that preacher said means “not believing in evolution” then PZ Myers doesn’t believe in evolution either.

    Same way, one imam says “Koran tells us to wipe left handed”, other imam says “Koran tells us to wipe right handed”. Who you gonna believe? Hardly anyone looks it up, they just pick an imam to follow, a decision that has very little to do with theology, and a lot to do with who your friends follow, which mosque is closest, etc. Even if one of the imams was right, they’re only following the book accidentally.

    watercat

    September 4, 2008 at 3:33 pm

  60. David, Word! lol!

    KG, numbered comments were on my screen for a few seconds. Wooo! we lubs yu!

    watercat

    September 4, 2008 at 3:35 pm

  61. Buh? Numbered comments showed up? No clue why — I didn’t change a thing. Unfortunately, this theme doesn’t have numbered comments. I miss them so. But it’s the least problematic theme I’ve found as far as that darn sidebar goes. Maybe I should switch to Intense Debates?

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 3:40 pm

  62. nandu:

    I believe we have the beginnings of a fruitful discussion here, but I doubt whether this is the right forum. If you are interested, I’d be happy to oblige.

    You’re free to comment on my blog. Click on my name.

    Lance, I also agree that a large part of the Quran (or any religious text for that matter) is unacceptable, if taken literally.

    Once you stop taking simple, declarative sentences literally, you’re saying that the whole book is a human invention, a work of fiction. On that basis, it’s completely stupid to form a “religion” in any sense around it, just as ridiculous as it is to form a religion around The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars or Atlas Shrugged.

    [A]ny religion, when dumbed down to a set of instructions which have to be followed, becomes oppressive.

    The italicized portion above is unnecessary. Remove it and the statement is still true.

    Those people who recognise that others’ beliefs are as sacred to them as one’s beliefs are to oneself, do not create a problem whatever religion they belong to.

    In precisely what sense should I recognize the sanctity of others’ beliefs that girls who choose to marry according to their will should be buried alive?

    I suspect that English is not your first language, I ask in all seriousness: do you understand what precisely what “sanctity” means? In this context “sanctity” means that the content of the beliefs are immune from criticism precisely because they are labeled as religious.

    You cannot exempt any belief from either rational or humanistic scrutiny. You either scrutinize them all, or your scrutinty becomes irrelevant.

    In some sense, though, I hold to your requirement: I do hold that others’ beliefs are just as sacred as my own. I am a skeptic: not a single one of my beliefs is sacred in any sense. Not one. Zero. No bullshit. I stand ready to question each and every one of my beliefs, without exception.

    And I will criticize and condemn any belief, held by anyone, that seems to me to be harmful, hateful or egregiously stupid. If anyone is offended by my questions, criticism or condemnation, they can kiss my hairy white western-colonial atheist ass.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 4, 2008 at 3:59 pm

  63. [A]ny religion, when dumbed down to a set of instructions which have to be followed, becomes oppressive.

    Delete the bolded portion for maximum generality.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm

  64. And I will criticize and condemn any belief, held by anyone, that seems to me to be harmful, hateful or egregiously stupid. If anyone is offended by my questions, criticism or condemnation, they can kiss my hairy white western-colonial atheist ass.

    You rock. No seriously. You rock. If you’re ever interested in trading brains, you lemme know. Or better yet, your wife’s brain. I have such an internet girl crush on her.

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 4:13 pm

  65. If this is directed at my statement, let me clarify. Obviously, you cancriticize anything, it’s just that you can’t make a coherent argument out of contradictory premises. My point was that it is faulty logic to say people follow a book, at the same time you say they have not read it and do not know what’s in it. Criticize them for not reading it—that’s a valid point. Criticizing them for following it is valid iff they know what it is. Criticize them for following some second hand interpretation of it—that’s a valid point. Pick one and make your case, but if you combine mutually exclusive premises in one argument, it’s a logical fallacy, or mons pubis or something.

    watercat

    September 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm

  66. The issue is when people talk about “Reformation” they are actually talking about a series of different movements that got western religious practice to where it is now, those include:

    1. The Renaissance
    2. The Protestant Reformation
    3. The Catholic Counter-Reformation
    4. The Wars of Religion
    5. The Enlightenment
    6. Various 19th century philosophical and scientific movements.

    1. After the fall of Constantinople to the Turks, thousands of educated Greek refugees fled to Western Europe, in particular Italy, where they accelerated a movement, already under way, where Europeans were connecting with philosophy and culture from pre-Christian Europe. Discovering their roots, as it were. This was important, as it allowed Europeans to see their could be a moral and philosophical world outside of Christianity.

    2. The Protestant Reformation. This was not so much important for the creation of Protestant movements, who were often more intolerant and fundamentalist than Catholics, but for effectively ending the tight control the Catholic church apparatus had over the suppression of heresy. Now new religious movements were free to move in northern Europe – often encouraged by the rulers.

    3. The Counter-Reformation. This is often left out but is also important. It was not simply a reactionary movement against Protestantism. It was also a move to purge the established church of it worst abuses in a vain attempt to prevent the spread of Protestantism.

    4. The Wars of Religion. In the Thirty Years war, 30% of Germany died in wars between Catholics and Protestants. Such was the bloodshed that this became the last European war over religion, and solidified that citizens would be subject to their nation’s laws, rather than any particular religion.

    5. The Enlightenment ended the taboo on the questioning of religious practices and texts. More and more intellectuals became attracted to the culture of pre-Christian Europe. First stirrings of what would eventually become atheism.

    6. The 19th Century essential saw the apogee of these movements. Darwin proved God wasn’t even needed to explain life. The first atheist took his seat in British parliament. The last religious restrictions of participating in political or intellectual life in Europe disappeared. The French Revolution fatally wounded the Catholic church in France.

    Quentin George

    September 4, 2008 at 5:12 pm

  67. Now as Michael pointed out, there is a reformation going on in Islam. However it is a reactionary one, fueled by Saudi Arabia, flush with funs, who are investing a lot of money and effort into transforming Islam in the Balkans or South-east Asia, where it has typically been fairly mild, into a more puritan and austere version like you see in the Arabian peninsula.

    What then needs to happen to help Muslims escape this fate?

    Well, at the very least, Islamic countries will have to make a few changes for their citizens.

    1. The end to religious identification cards: No one should be obliged to tell anyone else their religion. So many, many problems could be avoided if people weren’t required to have a religion on an ID card, as you do in almost every Muslim country.

    2. An end to religious courts holding sway over Muslims: All should be equal before the law. No exceptions.

    3. The right to apostasy. The right to heresy – probably one of the most important. If you can’t leave a religion freely, without harassment or punishment, then it isn’t a religion, it’s a cult.

    4. Removal of sexist marriage requirements for Muslim females: If Muslim men are to be allowed to marry non-Muslims, so should Muslim women.

    Quentin George

    September 4, 2008 at 5:17 pm

  68. I have such an internet girl crush on her.

    You’ll have to stand in line.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 4, 2008 at 5:33 pm

  69. If this is directed at my statement…

    It’s not. It’s directed at the statement I quoted regarding the sanctity of belief.

    My point was that it is faulty logic to say people follow a book, at the same time you say they have not read it and do not know what’s in it.

    You’re correct, but the reality is even worse. People follow the book itself, not necessarily what’s in the book. All you have to do to get such followers to believe you is to say that the book justifies your position.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 4, 2008 at 5:36 pm

  70. Although they would be nice, the point is not to introduce specific reforms. The point is to introduce a rational basis for reforms. It’s just not good enough to decide that some specific reform is good for some unspecified reason (or no reason at all), and then find a way to interpret the Koran to support it.

    As long as you have to justify reforms according to the Koran, and especially if you have to justify reforms by saying the Koran doesn’t say what it manifestly does say, you’re miring yourself in irrationality and stupidity, no matter how good the reform is by rational, humanistic standards.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 4, 2008 at 5:42 pm

  71. Denis Diderot said it best:

    The arbitrary rule of a just and enlightened prince is always bad. His virtues are the most dangerous and the surest form of seduction: they lull a people imperceptibly into the habit of loving, respecting, and serving his successor, whoever that successor may be, no matter how wicked or stupid.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 4, 2008 at 5:43 pm

  72. Sorry to spam the comments, but I’m at work and thinking in snippets.

    It’s worse in a way to justify a good position by the Koran than it is to justify a bad position.

    The Koran justifies X, X is good, therefore the Koran is a good justification.
    Therefore, the Koran justifies Y, the Koran is a good justification, therefore Y is good.

    This is a very common logical fallacy, and requires some training to spot and refute it.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 4, 2008 at 5:47 pm

  73. Religions don’t kill people. People kill people.

    Rich Hudson

    September 4, 2008 at 6:20 pm

  74. One of the many points that is raised on almost any theology discussion site I’ve yet been on, is this very point that you outline: Logic.

    There is a classic catch-22 in action here. People are taught ‘faith’ from an early age. Faith denies logic. People, being pretty smart monkeys, learn science and life from experience and realize that there are other views. We all know from a young age that we aren’t always agreed with. Learning to disagree is taught in preschool, behaviorally, by social pressures if not formally.

    People who are raised on faith try to co-opt ‘logic’ and ‘science’, taking it on as they do any other view, by “adding it” it to their world view. This is not intentional malice, but a common and social act. Faithers actually believe they are being fair and smart by merging other views with theirs. This is what is still taught in American schools, and part of why the system of education in America is so horrible.

    The problem is that faith can NOT be merged with logic. A frog is not a mammal, to put it clearly. You can’t breed frogs with dingos. Faithers are taught from birth “to believe” whereas scientists and intellectuals [read, atheists, nonbelievers, freethinkers et al] are taught “to question.” These are opposing forces, opposite actions, which will never yield compatible results.

    Thus, a faither will argue with what they “understand to be” science or logic, but they invariably get it wrong. They use part of a theory, but discard the bits that they disagree with automatically. This act of selective thinking is ingrained, and not intentional or even conscious! It is the end result of being raised as a faither in the real world.

    Faithers who quote logic or science do so at great hazard to themselves. They only serve to annoy and further complicate debate from the view of a logical thinker, but in their own sphere they cause tremendous harm. They spread conversion by appearing to be intellectual, they sway people who are -in short- unintelligent, but worst of all they mangle their own faith by introducing any science at all.

    This causes tremendous rifts within sects and thus we get lutherans, protestant, hasidic, sunni, and many thousands of other offshoots of religion. We also get more wars, more division of humanity, and a much higher volume on the disagreement scale about FAITH itself.

    If faithers understood logic more clearly, they would at least stray away from argument and work to build solidarity within their religion. This is what the Jesus myth did, it served to separate man from money and government, and pull people together in unity. It’s too bad that more theologists have failed to learn from this myth.

    I have no problem with people having beliefs, or forming huge organizations to support beliefs, such as PETA, Greenpeace, Catholocism, etc., but I do have a problem when they come to me and tell me I have to change, or that I’m to be arrested, or that I have to respect them. Has anyone on this planet ever had a Buddhist come knocking on your door telling you to convert? Never. Buddhism is one of few religions that either does not have a clear god, or has many, depending upon one’s view. They also disdain recruiting, and for many of the same reasons that I’ve just given.

    Thus, I agree with Dawkins that religion is inherently dangerous to the individual, the family, and to government. It should be strictly prohibited from interfering in laws or the state, and not given any privilege whatsoever. No ‘holy book’ should be given any more weight than any other printed work. The problem is that you will not find any strongly religious person who will fail to attempt to promote, dissent, or harm the free society that Dawkins would have.

    The root problem has been, and will always be, Logic. We can not expect Xians or other faithers to behave within logical bounds. Ever. We must view them as the danger that they are, just like any repeat offender.

    Respectfully,

    Demo

    Demopoly

    September 4, 2008 at 6:55 pm

  75. Religions don’t kill people. People kill people.

    Guns don’t kill people, bullets do.

    Michael

    September 4, 2008 at 7:49 pm

  76. What a fantastic discussion! I wish I got to hang out with so many intelligent people in real life.

    Anyway, as regards the liberals / moderates / fundies argument, I think there are various levels of believers, none of whom should be spared from criticism:

    1. Absolute fundies. They have read the book, swallowed it wholesale and will accept no criticism of any of it. This is at least intellectually consistent, but at the same time intellectually bankrupt as to hold this position one must be wholly impervious to evidence and reason. These guys are happy to see the whole world burn over what is effectively an argument about whether Gandalf or Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard.

    2. Backsliding apologists. Have read the book, but will cherry-pick or rationalise (“argue that some simple declarative sentences do not actually mean what they explicitly say”, to borrow BB’s excellent phrase) anything that doesn’t sit too well with their conscience. This is really just intellectual cowardice: as soon as you’ve accepted that some of your sacred book is actually immoral, you have implicitly agreed that your sense of morality comes from somewhere outside the book. Please just take the next step and accept that the book is no more sacred than any self-help book you can pick up at Borders.

    3. HAVEN’T EVEN READ THE FUCKING BOOK!! These guys I find it the hardest to understand. You believe that the all-powerful, all-wise, all-benevolent creator of the universe has actually written a book for the benefit of mankind, but you can’t make time in your busy schedule to actually read the fucking thing?? Too busy with the latest Jackie Collins? To busy picketing against equal rights for homosexuals to notice that Leviticus also denies church entry to the blind, dwarfs, cripples and people with funny noses?? (There is also a danger of these guys joining group 1, on the basis of what someone from group 1 has told them is in the book).

    4. Those who don’t really believe, but hang on to the trappings of religion out of a sense of tradition or community identity, for example “Wearing this burqa helps define me as an individual”.

    The problem is that groups 2 and 3 can be just as dogmatic as group 1, and try to impose their views on others despite their views being built on little more than denial, ignorance and wishful thinking. They also work as a buffer around group 1, by perpetually bleating that their denial, ignorance and wishful thinking should be immune from criticism.

    Rant over.

    Lance

    September 4, 2008 at 10:17 pm

  77. I was reading Sam Harris’ slam on Sarah Palin and it fit in with the earlier discussion.

    Sarah Palin apparently believes that the universe is only 6000 years old, and in the rapture. Neither of which are actually stated in the bible. Does this mean I can’t condemn her because she doesn’t know whats in the book she says she follows and guides her, maybe even as the VP of the US.

    GAD

    September 4, 2008 at 10:32 pm

  78. Lance, me too. I learn so much from you guys, it makes my head hurt. I think you’ve broken down the levels of belief pretty well. I like Dawkin’s 7 point belief scale (http://www.futureofthebook.org/mitchellstephens/archives/2006/10/dawkins_belief.html), and I think 1-3 on your list would be 1-4ish on his scale. And I think I’m being pretty liberal with that 4.

    Incidentally I’d put myself at a 6. Maybe even a 6.5. Just in case ya needed to know.

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 10:34 pm

  79. Religions don’t kill people. People kill people.

    Guns don’t kill people, bullets do.

    Bullets don’t kill people, the sudden impact does.

    GAD

    September 4, 2008 at 10:34 pm

  80. Religions don’t kill people. People kill people.

    Guns don’t kill people, bullets do.

    Bullets don’t kill people, the sudden impact does.

    Sudden impact doesn’t kill people. God kills people.

    ….wait, what?

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 10:37 pm

  81. In this day and age, “Moderate” and “religious” should not be used in the same sentence. It is a pathetic statement about humankind that the majority still follow the words of people who had no knowledge of history, no inkling of the direction of human advancement, nor any idea of how to approach the mysteries of the world through the rational thought of science.

    People are basing their lives on the words of men who thought the earth was flat.

    Matt

    September 4, 2008 at 10:46 pm

  82. Religions don’t kill people. People kill people.

    Guns don’t kill people, bullets do.

    Bullets don’t kill people, the sudden impact does.

    Sudden impact doesn’t kill people. God kills people.

    God is a bullet? The NRA could so market this!

    Michael

    September 4, 2008 at 11:39 pm

  83. Shit, you know who does kill people? Me when I don’t have my 2 cups of coffee every morning. And I just realized I’m out. Out! Of coffee! Heads will roll.

    Matt, some of those people actually believe the book over good, solid evidence. Like this awesome guy, for instance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STPACh1wY_o&feature=related

    kafirgirl

    September 4, 2008 at 11:50 pm

  84. Michael said:
    “I fear that the reformation has already taken place and it is Wahabism, which leads to the likes of Osama bin Laden.”

    This quite true. It clearly smacks of a arab agenda. Quran was compiled to further arabic agenda. Now arabs feel that this compilations have lots of loopholes, so they are plugging them up with Wahabism. It is downright medieval and full of hatred. How they are achieving spread of Wahabism is by controlling mosques and madrasa. Their laboratories are in India and Pakistan. Takeover by more radical mullahs is making fundies rear their heads more strongly and in a definitive manner. Offshoots of Deoband and SIMI; LeT, IM, HuM and all sundry organisations are driven by Wahabism. In Kashmir, you can often see goons from these organisations collecting “Zakat” from people waiting for buses or buying vegetables. This “Zakat” is over and above the funding they receive from oil rich arabs. Islam has been an Arabian agenda and is going to become one more forcefully in near future. Only way out is strong economics.

    KK

    September 5, 2008 at 12:36 am

  85. Hatred kills people.

    nandu

    September 5, 2008 at 1:38 am

  86. I strongly believe that accepting others’ belief as sacred to them, however unpalatable they may be to oneself, is the only way out of the vicious circle of hate that the world finds itself in. Demonisation of Islam is one way the West has found to wash their hands of all responsibility for the misery which they themselves have created. It would be helpful to look inward.

    Swami Vivekananda said that when you point a finger at somebody, don’t forget that three are pointing back at you. How true.

    Judge not, lest thou be judged.

    nandu

    September 5, 2008 at 1:45 am

  87. “Demonisation of Islam is one way the West has found to wash their hands of all responsibility for the misery which they themselves have created.”

    Blaming all their ills on the rhetorical Western boogeyman is a rhetorical trick many apologists for Islam like to employ, as far back as hundreds of years.

    It stunk then, it stinks now.

    Quentin George

    September 5, 2008 at 2:24 am

  88. When we criticise a fundamentalist for trying to impose his view on the world, we forget that is what we ourselves are trying to do. A fundamentalist believes that stoning somebody to death for adultery is absolutely the RIGHT thing: a liberal human being believes it is absolutely the WRONG thing! The right and wrong here are absolute; the other’s worldview is rejected outright.

    What we tend to forget is that these rights and wrongs are based on belief systems which are considered absolute by their followers-but they have no sanctity beyond their minds. The law of the land is always modelled on the beliefs of the majority, so in a country where the majority believes that people should be stoned to death, they will be. I know this will be unpalatable for any rationalist to digest, because for them, rationalism is the only TRUE viewpoint-a characteristic shared by the fundamentalist.

    I believe that human beings are essentially good. Both God and Devil exist within ourselves. But remember that the Devil is only a fallen angel. Likewise in Hindu myths, the demons when they are slain by the Hero, attain their original form of angels. Where we make the mistake is when we look for God outside of us-as Jesus said, “the Kingdom of God is within us”.

    nandu

    September 5, 2008 at 2:30 am

  89. “Blaming all their ills on the rhetorical Western boogeyman is a rhetorical trick many apologists for Islam like to employ, as far back as hundreds of years.

    It stunk then, it stinks now.”

    Like the “International Muslim Conspiracy Theory” stinks to Muslims worldwide.

    nandu

    September 5, 2008 at 2:33 am

  90. A glance at world history would show that the human maximum misery has been created by the white man eager to spread his “civilising influence”. The latest in line being the USA with its “war on terrorism”.

    nandu

    September 5, 2008 at 2:41 am

  91. “I strongly believe that accepting others’ belief as sacred to them, however unpalatable they may be to oneself, is the only way out of the vicious circle of hate that the world finds itself in”.
    What if the belief someone holds sacred is based on hate, or inspires them to hate? What if their belief is that I should be killed for mine?
    Would the “white man” be more civilised and serve to minimize human misery by watching stonings, honour killings and suicide bombings without raising a voice in protest?
    Is it imperialism to suggest to people that they kindly stop butchering and dehumanising other each other(and us).
    And to say that we should respect the barbarism of some Islamic practices because ‘it is OK for them’, is to suggest that they are moral infants incapable of knowing better. That is patronising in the extreme.
    And if it is the white man’s imperialism that is to blame rather than Islam, why are Mayans, Native Americans and Australian Aboriginals not strapping bombs to themselves and flying into buildings?

    Lance

    September 5, 2008 at 2:57 am

  92. “And if it is the white man’s imperialism that is to blame rather than Islam, why are Mayans, Native Americans and Australian Aboriginals not strapping bombs to themselves and flying into buildings?”

    Here’s a point to chew on. Number of non-Muslim Palestinian suicide bombers….is zero. Terrorists do not come from the poorest countries. Osama Bin Laden is a multi-millionare. The September 11 bombers were all middle-class, university educated who were given a wealth of opportunity in Western society. The only commonality is religion.

    “I strongly believe that accepting others’ belief as sacred to them, however unpalatable they may be to oneself, is the only way out of the vicious circle of hate that the world finds itself in”

    And I find that a disgusting, abhorrent ideal which will do nothing except perpetuate the cycle of misery many find themselves worldwide, purely because you feel it is somehow “wrong” to question something someone holds on faith.

    “When we criticise a fundamentalist for trying to impose his view on the world, we forget that is what we ourselves are trying to do. A fundamentalist believes that stoning somebody to death for adultery is absolutely the RIGHT thing: a liberal human being believes it is absolutely the WRONG thing! The right and wrong here are absolute; the other’s worldview is rejected outright.”

    I’m sorry…are you for real? That is what you seriously think is acceptable? If you believe that the right thing to do is respecting someone’s “belief” that stoning someone for adultery is somehow “moderate” then you are a fool, and a moral coward. You are acting as a shield for murderers and fascists, I hope you realise that. Thank you for illustrating another commentator’s point that the true problem is the so-called moderates of this world.

    For pity’s sake, save us from the “moderates”.

    Quentin George

    September 5, 2008 at 3:25 am

  93. Yes, I believe I am a problem for people who think in black and white.

    I do not accept many of the fundamentalist practices of any religion: but the point is that, my rejection and acceptance counts for nothing outside of me. The fundamentalist does not accept my view either.

    I do engage in debates with religious apologists, presenting my viewpoints as my sacred beliefs, and I get the same reaction from them as I got from you.

    The comment about Palestian suicide bombers is a case in point as regards Western bias. The Palestinians have been thrown out from their homeland in the name of a mythical country “Israel”, created by Britian based on the Bible, and supported by the USA. The Palestinians consider themselves freedom fighters, fighting against a continuously expanding Israel which is choking them… but of course for the West, Israel is the blue-eyed boy, and anybody who raises a finger against it is a “terrorist” (if Muslim) or “Anti-Semite” (any other religion). And the atrocities committed by the Israeli army are blissfully ignored.

    “Good” and “Evil” are relative, however unpalatable this may be.

    nandu

    September 5, 2008 at 4:05 am

  94. I don’t agree that most Muslims have not read the quran, I’ve found the opposite to be true. Most I k ow have read the Quran and they have been schooled well to twist it’s meanings to be more moderate, sometimes. I was sitting in on an elementary school religion class that was taught by the local imam. I was shocked at what I heard being taught to the children. He was drilling I to their heads that being Muslim makes them better than anyone else, they are after all Allah’s best creation. He taught them that nonmuslims are to be feared and that you should never befriend them, all they want is for you to be like them and they are going to hell, you don’t want to go to hell just to be friends with them do you? He said that they should never be afraid to fight and die for Allah (this scared crap out of me). He said a lot of crap, and I should mention that all of this was not in one religion class, I made a habit of sitting in on his classes to be able to counteract what he said.

    I tried my best,once he would leave, to impress upon the kids the importance to question everyone and everything. At this time I considered myself a very moderate Muslim growi g very close to agnoticism, so I also twisted around what the imam said to fit into a more socially acceptable version (instead of telling them it was all crap, which I really wish I could have done).

    I also think that a lot of Muslims that may seem moderate on the outside are in fact Quran-thumping fundies deep down, but they do well to cover it up. The best way to learn what a person believes is to listen to the things that come out of their young children’s mouths. I was shocked at what I learned. Most are unapologetic Jew haters, many made comments that the US brought 9/11 on themselves, they were asking for it, most of the children insisted they were syrian or lebanese or egyptian, no way were they americans (how could i say such a thing? Americans were evil afterall) even though most of them were born in the US. My experience there is what helped open my eyes and bring me to where I am now.

    Emmy

    September 5, 2008 at 5:16 am

  95. “…many made comments that the US brought 9/11 on themselves…”

    Did they?

    From infoplease.com:

    “The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan galvanized bin Laden. He supported the Afghan resistance, which became a jihad, or holy war. Ironically, the U.S. became a major supporter of the Afghan resistance, or mujahideen, working with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to set up Islamic schools in Pakistan for Afghan refugees. These schools later evolved into virtual training centers for Islamic radicals.”

    Then, Communism and the USSR were the Devil: anybody who was the enemy’s enemy was a friend. Once the USSR became history, the monster had nothing to devour…so it turned on its creator.

    Just like Frankenstein.

    nandu

    September 5, 2008 at 6:17 am

  96. “The comment about Palestian suicide bombers is a case in point as regards Western bias. ”

    I remember watching a TV program in which Palestine terrorist women were interviewed in jail. There was this beautiful woman who used to be a news anchorwoman at the Palestine TV station while also being part of a terrorist cell. Matter of fact, she drove a guy with a belt bomb to a restaurant, left him there, headed for the station, entered the set and went into air with the exclusive news that there had been a bombing in the very restaurant she just had left with a bomber heading towards it.

    Afterwards, she was caught and sent to jail. During the interview she was asked whether she knew how many children had been killed in that attack. She said that maybe two or three. And when the interviewer told her that it had been six, she opened her face just beamed wit joy at knowing that she had killed more than the three children she had originally thought as the only child victims.

    Now, I understand the claim that the Palestine people’s land has been taking from them for whatever reason; I know that the Jewish army is as bad as any occupying force can be; but these can not be arguments in favor of killing inocent people, specially children, and be overjoyed by it. And all because a damn book sanctions this type of actions.

    Brg

    brg

    September 5, 2008 at 7:00 am

  97. “A glance at world history would show that the human maximum misery has been created by the white man eager to spread his “civilising influence”

    Hmmm… can you tell us something about the positive influence that Muslims, for example, have created recently in behalf of the world, specially within their area of influence? Technology? Arts? Biology? Music? Education? Health?

    How come rich countries like Saudi Arabia are not leading the world out in any of these areas, taking into account that they have plenty of money to invest in any or all of them? How come they do not invest in Palestine, creating first class companies, universities and hospitals? In that way, Palestines could still fight diplomatically for their land, but in a much better shape, without all the hassle, sorrow, and self low-steem complex they seem to have now. Believe me, Jews and Americans would think twice about being arrogant towards a well educated, rich country.

    Perhaps Saudi Arabia and other influencial Muslim countries are not interested in this approach, and rather have Palestines blowing themselves up while crying over the misery brought by other’s “civilising influence”?

    Brg

    brg

    September 5, 2008 at 7:35 am

  98. Well, I’m going to resist being dragged into another debate on these topic (which seem to be a diversion from what kafirgirl is actually blogging on here) but I will say this:

    The longer Muslims continue to blame all their woes on the big, bad West, and refuse to undertake a bit of mature introspection and critical self-examination, the longer the Islamic world is going to languish in sub-optimal conditions, the longer free-thinking people in the Islamic world will be repressed and the longer the potential of such people will never be recognized. They’re not children, they’re adults, so perhaps its time they start being treated as such.

    “Useful idiots” like our friend Nandu here are holding them back.

    Quentin George

    September 5, 2008 at 7:59 am

  99. They’re not children, they’re adults, so perhaps its time they start being treated as such.

    Agreed x a million.

    I’m putting the kibosh on this debate. It’s veering off course to the point of insipidity. No offense, Nandu, I’m pretty sure we’ve heard it all before. Anyone interesting in continuing the argument should feel free to take it to a forum or email.

    Shanks so much.

    kafirgirl

    September 5, 2008 at 8:12 am

  100. nandu:

    I strongly believe that accepting others’ belief as sacred to them, however unpalatable they may be to oneself, is the only way out of the vicious circle of hate that the world finds itself in.

    Do you accept as sacred the belief that women who choose to marry at their will should be buried alive?

    If you accept that belief as sacred, you cannot criticize that belief; you’re complicit and a monster.

    If you refuse to accept that belief as sacred, you’re a hypocrite.

    If you neither accept nor refuse to accept, you’re a retard.

    When we criticise a fundamentalist for trying to impose his view on the world, we forget that is what we ourselves are trying to do.

    You’re correct: we should not criticize fundamentalists just for trying to impose their views on the world; as you note, this is common.

    We criticize fundamentalists for trying to impose stupid and horrible views on the world.

    I have written time and again against the retarded notion among some liberals that tolerance by itself is a virtue. “Tolerance” is just what we do with certain kinds of views. Deciding which views ought to be tolerated or ought not to be tolerated is the meat and potatoes of any ethical philosophy. An ethical philosophy that tolerates everything is no philosophy at all.

    Note that the dichotomy between western imperialism and violent Islamic fundamentalism is a false dichotomy, a case of a massive fallacy of the excluded middle. Just because I have contempt and disgust for Islamic fundamentalism (and even moderate Islam) doesn’t mean that I endorse western imperialism (and Western imperialism does exist, it is pervasive, and it is horrible). Likewise just because I condemn western imperialism doesn’t mean I endorse Islamic fundamentalism.

    I’m simply not interested in comparing degrees of evil and throwing my lot in with those who might be slightly less evil. I condemn both western imperialism and violent religious extremism as evil, and I seek the good, which is to be found in neither.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 5, 2008 at 8:48 am

  101. nando: Do you accept as sacred the belief that women who choose to marry at their will should be buried alive?

    I really want to know your views on this specific belief. I also want to know if you’re using “sacred” in its ordinary English meaning, i.e. to be immune from criticism.

    Indeed I want to know if means anything at all: Are all beliefs “sacred”? If so, then “sacred” doesn’t add anything to “belief”. If only some beliefs are sacred, should we treat sacred beliefs any differently than we treat mundane beliefs?

    More importantly, I’d like to know if you can think and speak with precision and clarity, or if you can speak only in vague generalities and platitudes.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 5, 2008 at 8:56 am

  102. Sorry… didn’t read your “kibosh”. Delete my comments if you wish.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 5, 2008 at 8:56 am

  103. Oh hell no, I’m leaving your comments. I like what you say and I like the way you say it. Nandu, go ahead and answer. Screw my kibosh. I like where this is going.

    kafirgirl

    September 5, 2008 at 9:01 am

  104. I strongly believe that accepting others’ belief as sacred to them, however unpalatable they may be to oneself, is the only way out of the vicious circle of hate that the world finds itself in.

    many before me have stated this and refuted this but still.
    lets take an example how do you react to this: if someone ‘believes’ that earth is flat and not spherical do you leave his/her ‘belief’ as is? or do you say that thats stupid?
    or do u leave it as their ‘sacred belief’ and go about your life?
    if the person with flat-earth-belief were to design a satellite how do you think it is going to work when his basic premise is flawed?

    that is the difference we are talking about. belief in god is different belief that whatever is written in a book since the book says it is the truth is different. That’s what KG, BB, Watercat, QG, Georgory have been trying to tell you. the belief itself is fucked up.

    my 2 cents / paise.

    Shashi

    September 5, 2008 at 2:52 pm

  105. First of all, accepting someone’s belief is sacred to that person does not mean accepting that belief yourself. It only means that you accept the fact that beliefs are subjective, and that while you are judging his belief from your frame of reference, he is judging yours from his. Which one is right? Who can say?

    “Do you accept as sacred the belief that women who choose to marry at their will should be buried alive?

    If you accept that belief as sacred, you cannot criticize that belief; you’re complicit and a monster.

    If you refuse to accept that belief as sacred, you’re a hypocrite.

    If you neither accept nor refuse to accept, you’re a retard.”

    I accept that the belief is sacred to the person who holds it. As for myself, I reject it. I would fight tooth and nail against the implementation of such a law, but I understand that the fundamentalist would fight as hard to get it implemented. I think his mind twisted; but I understand that he thinks the same about me.

    We look on the world through the small window of our senses, and assume that it is the whole universe.

    “We criticize fundamentalists for trying to impose stupid and horrible views on the world.”

    “Stupid” and “horrible” from our viewpoint: but rational and justified from his.

    nandu

    September 5, 2008 at 3:14 pm

  106. so this is rational and justified? http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=27668

    fucking bullshit.

    Shashi

    September 5, 2008 at 5:21 pm

  107. Nandu advises us to accept that others hold their beliefs to be sacred. We do. No one questions the fact that certain fuckwits hold their tribal tradition of burying girls alive to be sacred. We accept that as fact. We also hate them for it, but the ‘vicious circle of hate the world finds itself in’ is a figment of his imagination. There is no circle of hate as hatred has no effect on its object.

    Violence does effect its object, and there is a cycle of violence that begins when hatred is implemented in action. He inconsistently claims, that he, like us, would fight against this implementation. We would fight them in accordance with our sacredly held belief—that they are evil—in full awareness that they fight us in accordance with their sacredly held belief that—whatever, who cares. So his stated argument is no different from what we’ve all been saying, and is totally pointless.

    His continual harping on the irrelevant and obvious fact that murder is sacred and rational to some fuckheads exposes his real position. It disingenuously advocates accepting those evil beliefs and implies we should stand aside and let them murder these girls out of deference to the murderers’ sacred beliefs. It is telling that instead of staying on the topic, girls being systematically murdered, he drags in an unrelated new topic, western imperialism, as the source of how human maximum misery has been created. One gets a strong impression that the 50% of the world’s population that has been systematically oppressed due to these “sacred” beliefs is not included in his definition of “human”, and his advocacy of “accepting others’ belief as sacred” does not extend to these women and girls. I suspect he would stand by and let these women die because their sacredly held belief in not being buried alive is of less value to him than the beliefs of their murderers. That’s the only way I can make sense of his posts, but even if he could make a coherent argument, anyone who asks “who can say?” if such acts are wrong, is evil, regardless of tradition or scripture.

    watercat

    September 5, 2008 at 6:55 pm

  108. He said he accepts that is their belief but would fight them tooth and nail to stop them from doing it. It seems like pointless semantics to me.

    GAD

    September 5, 2008 at 7:17 pm

  109. Nandu advises us to accept that others hold their beliefs to be sacred. We do. No one questions the fact that certain fuckwits hold their tribal tradition of burying girls alive to be sacred. We accept that as fact.

    Right. We can accept that THEY hold their beliefs to be sacred without having to pander to them and without us having to accept those beliefs as sacred. So……what’s his point, exactly? Am I missing something? Dude makes no sense to me.

    He said he accepts that is their belief but would fight them tooth and nail to stop them from doing it.

    The fuck? I don’t get it either.

    kafirgirl

    September 5, 2008 at 7:34 pm

  110. The problem here is that we are talking about extreme beliefs, held only by a minority. They can be dismissed as “evil” in a generalised sense, without the majority raising an eyebrow. But beliefs span across a spectrum-once we start dismissing beliefs not held by us as “wrong”, we start sliding down the slippery slope of fundamentalism.

    Now let me get back to Kafirgirl’s original comment that nobody can accept the Quran and be a moderate: it is not the fundamentalists, it is the Quran itself which should be rejected (the original topic was that, not girls being buried alive,watercat). Now I find nothing to differentiate between this position and the fundamentalist’s position that the Quran is the absolute literal revealed word of God.

    “We would fight them in accordance with our sacredly held belief—that they are evil…”

    My point is that nobody is evil. The concept of good and evil is a very hazy one, defined differently by different people. For example, for some people abortion is murder and capital punishment acceptable: for others, the exact reverse holds true.

    Once we start hating, it does not stop. You hate the fundamentalists who kill people in the name of religion: you then begin to hate members of that religion who holds the same beliefs as those fundamentalists: and pretty soon, you are the same league as those misguided people who want to wipe you out. This is the circle of hatred I am speaking about. I find this a lot in the society around me, and it pains me a lot-the creation of “The Other”, as a scapegoat for all the ills of the world. Today, this is what the West is doing with Islam.

    My aim in life is to always try to see the world through another’s eyes. And when I fight for my beliefs, do it without hatred.

    nandu

    September 6, 2008 at 1:03 am

  111. I believe I made it explicit in my post that I do not hate people, I hate their belief system. And that the book doesn’t deserve my respect. And in fact, I was saying that the moderates are the ones using the extremists as scapegoats that protecting their precious little book.

    It seems like you missed all of that.

    kafirgirl

    September 6, 2008 at 1:15 am

  112. “I believe I made it explicit in my post that I do not hate people, I hate their belief system.”

    Hate in any form is dangerous, in my opinion. Sooner or later, it leads to violence.

    nandu

    September 6, 2008 at 1:39 am

  113. You’re not making a very good argument for your opinion. At all. And repeating it over and over again isn’t going to change my mind about that.

    kafirgirl

    September 6, 2008 at 2:20 am

  114. Wow..113 comments dedicated to a single comment of mine!!Im honoured:-)

    Kafirgirl,Thanks for your cooment..Lol..im not nice..just moving on…Sorry I don’t have anything to add to this discussion..But I stand by what I say,It is the followers,and not the religion which is wrong..and now why followers are wrong,there are hell lot of reasons..Im trying to know more each day:)

    Good day..

    Nimmy

    September 6, 2008 at 8:36 am

  115. It is the followers,and not the religion which is wrong

    Sigh. No offense, Nimmy, but that type of comment is exactly what is wrong. The moderates, by trying to deflect honest intellectual criticism of Islam/Muhammad, by denying what is in their holy books, by getting enraged (either verbally or physically) at any hint of something being wrong with Islam, are simply trying to place Islam “off limits” in public discourse. It is a whitewashing that can only help the fundamentalists, who are not trying to deceive the non-Muslims. Intentionally or not intentionally (and I don’t think you are intentionally trying to do it), that kind of behavior only aids the fundamentalists. When the moderates lie to non-Muslims (and even to themselves?) about Islam/Muhammad, they help the agenda of the fundamentalists by pulling the wool over the trusting infidel’s eyes. In the end, this harms the moderates, too.

    Michael

    September 6, 2008 at 9:23 am

  116. nandu:

    First of all, accepting someone’s belief is sacred to that person does not mean accepting that belief yourself. It only means that you accept the fact that beliefs are subjective, and that while you are judging his belief from your frame of reference, he is judging yours from his. Which one is right? Who can say?

    Ok: You’re not using “sacred” in its ordinary English meaning. By “sacred” you mean “subjective”.

    I actually agree with you completely. The sorts of value judgments we’re talking about here are indeed subjective, and we are all judging each others’ values from the perspective of our own value judgments.

    But so what? Like you, “I reject it. I would fight tooth and nail against the implementation of such a law.” Me too.

    Indeed, were such a thing happening where I could have any personal influence over the outcome, I would kill and risk my own death to stop it.

    Frankly, if the United States were to say to Pakistan, “Stop this practice yourselves or we will go to war to stop it,” I would be hard put to disagree. Some things really are worth going to war for, and stopping children from being buried alive and suffocating to death is very near the top of that list. The only reason I would oppose such a war in practice would be the recognition that the US government is so deeply corrupt and immoral that even the most egregious moral offense would serve only as a pretext for imperialist conquest. (Can you say “Iraq”? Sure, I knew you could.)

    Hate in any form is dangerous, in my opinion. Sooner or later, it leads to violence.

    The world is a dangerous place, and violence is a part of it.

    Had I been in Pakistan when those girls were buried, I would have picked up a gun and said, “You will harm these girls over my dead body, and several dead bodies of your own.” I would have been filled with the hatred of a thousand white hot suns; ready and willing to do the most grievous violence. I say this openly, directly and without a shred of guilt or shame.

    Would you have done the same? What does “fight tooth and nail” mean except that when push comes to shove you will pick up a gun to impose your moral values on others?

    “We criticize fundamentalists for trying to impose stupid and horrible views on the world.”

    “Stupid” and “horrible” from our viewpoint: but rational and justified from his.

    First of all, “rational and justified” do not stand directly in opposition to “stupid and horrible”. I agree that value is subjective, but rationality is not. Indeed the fundamentalists’ viewpoint is indeed irrational from every point of view, because his beliefs are presented as facts about the world, which — like prosaic scientific truths — must be accepted whether you like them or not.

    Every religious fundamentalist believes that moral and ethical values are facts about the world, ordained by God just as absolutely and definitely as the law of gravity. In this sense, even the agreeable moral and ethical beliefs of the religious rest on an irrational foundation.

    [Note that irrationality about the objective truth of moral and ethical values is not limited to the religious (cough Ayn Rand cough).]

    But beliefs span across a spectrum-once we start dismissing beliefs not held by us as “wrong”, we start sliding down the slippery slope of fundamentalism.

    Bullshit.

    It is moronic and asinine to dismiss a belief as wrong only because it differs from our own. But to dismiss, criticize, or hold any belief as abhorrent entails that it does indeed differ from our own. It’s just as moronic and asinine to tolerate a belief only because it differs from one’s own. Every normal person tolerates some beliefs that differ from his own, and refuses to tolerate other beliefs (or, more precisely, the behavior that such beliefs entail).

    But even being completely intolerant of any difference of belief does not even put one foot on the slippery slope of fundamentalism.

    You step onto the slippery slope of fundamentalism when you assert that any moral value, however amenable, comes from God.

    The religious moderates are the ones on that slippery slope, held up from actual fundamentalism only by clinging to secular, humanistic morality… all the while undermining the that selfsame secular morality by protecting their fundamentalist brethren from the one criticism that destroys the basis of their horrible, abhorrent morality: God does not determine moral value because there is no God. All moral value is determined by human beings.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 6, 2008 at 9:32 am

  117. @Micheal,yes I understand..but can you tell me a single thing..Why mor than 1 billion people follow Islam..Let us assume that 25% of them are just for the name sake.and another 25% are extremists..blasters.What about the remaining 50% ?What makes you think that this much people are deluded or brainwashed..

    Now again let us assume that 25% of rest are just brainwashed or like.What about the large amount of remaining ones..We can’t rule out people as being ignorant or unscientific..For instance,Im a software engineer and a business school student..Do you think im simply dumb enough to believe in crap..Maybe i am stupid..still there are many out there who are well educated and religious..

    I won’t say that you(atheists) are wrong..Its just a matter of perception and how you see it..The same way you are free not to believe,why am I not free to do so?

    Just by saying “Allah is moon god,Muhammed is pedophile” 10000 times will not make it sensible..

    Im not being offensive..

    good day to all

    Nimmy

    September 7, 2008 at 10:15 am

  118. Nimmy,

    Why mor than 1 billion people follow Islam

    Indoctrination. And geography has quite a lot to do with it, too. If you’d be born in, say, Kansas, you’d be sitting here saying, “How come X many people are Christians?”

    You’re basically using an argument to numbers — 1 billion people follow Islam, how can they be wrong? Well, by that logic, you should be a Christian since there are more Christians than Muslims. How can they be wrong?

    For instance,Im a software engineer and a business school student..Do you think im simply dumb enough to believe in crap..Maybe i am stupid..still there are many out there who are well educated and religious..

    Another logical fallacy.

    There are plenty of otherwise intelligent people out there who believe in Scientology. I guess they’re right too? And I bet you could search and easily find some doctor who believes that The Secret is going to cure your cancer. I guess he’s right, too? Same goes for flat earthers, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, cults, etc. etc. etc.

    Otherwise intelligent people can believe in stupid things. To say otherwise is just….stupid.

    The same way you are free not to believe,why am I not free to do so?

    Nobody said anything about you not being free to believe in whatever you want. That doesn’t mean that a) we have to accept your belief system or b) we can’t talk about it.

    Just by saying “Allah is moon god,Muhammed is pedophile” 10000 times will not make it sensible..

    And saying Allah is God and Mohammed is his prophet 10000 times doesn’t make that sensible either. But, hey, that’s how indoctrination works. Bury shit in a child’s head deeply enough and they’ll believe anything. No matter how stupid or illogical it is.

    kafirgirl

    September 7, 2008 at 10:35 am

  119. A religion is an instrument, with flat surfaces and sharp spikes. Islam seem to have more sharp spikes than others, and it’s there to be used to whack the whole world with it if necessary. Saying that it has ideas of peace and mercy makes no more sense that saying that a sword has a flat surface too.

    Seing that it’s impossible to give a man a sword and pretend he’ll only use the flat of it, I like better religions (like buddhism) that has never (to my knowledge) been used to harm.

    Stenli

    September 7, 2008 at 1:13 pm

  120. Why mor than 1 billion people follow Islam..Let us assume that 25% of them are just for the name sake.and another 25% are extremists..blasters.What about the remaining 50% ?What makes you think that this much people are deluded or brainwashed..

    What makes you think that more than 1 billion people cannot be deluded or brainwashed? Frankly, I find it implausible that a tenth as many in the whole world are not deluded or brainwashed.

    We can’t rule out people as being ignorant or unscientific..

    Why not?

    For instance,Im a software engineer and a business school student..Do you think im simply dumb enough to believe in crap..

    I’m a software engineer too. 80% of my colleagues are dumber than a box of hammers about software engineering; 99% of the rest are complete retards about almost everything other than software engineering.

    And the fact that you would mention business school as a reason for us to think you’re not dumb is completely fucking retarded. It’s not by accident that a large number of scholarship athletes get degrees in business. (The other typical bullshit degree is communications.)

    I won’t say that you(atheists) are wrong..Its just a matter of perception and how you see it..

    And the religious accuse us of relativism? Sorry. The existence of god is a matter of truth, not “perception”. One of us is correct and the other is mistaken. (Spoiler: We’re correct; you’re mistaken.) As Joe Biden said, “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.”

    The same way you are free not to believe,why am I not free to do so?

    You’re an adult. You are “free” to believe any damn fool thing you care to belief, from a flat Earth to shape-changing lizard people. But if you don’t want to be laughed at by those of us with two brain cells to rub together, I recommend you keep your retarded beliefs private.

    If you make your beliefs public, then we are equally free to express our own belief that your beliefs are not just retarded but that is is actively harmful to promulgate them and indoctrinate them into the minds of defenseless children.

    Maybe i am stupid..

    I think most intelligent readers of these comments would find the word “maybe” to be superfluous.

    still there are many out there who are well educated and religious..

    Since when did education have anything at all to do with intelligence?

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 7, 2008 at 1:23 pm

  121. I’m not trying to turn people toward buddhism (I’m quite an atheist still), just pointing how you can be religious and not a harrassment to others that aren’t.

    Women are considered a distraction to holy men trying to meditate and reach Nirvana (misoginy was trendy in the olden times). If, by accident of life, one of these men should come in contact with a woman, it’s not the woman who is required to cover all of her sinful body, but rather it’s the holy man who is required not to take notice of her, even if she is completely naked and dancing.

    Not all the schools preach the same, but I find the anecdote pretty much representative of a basic idea: “If your view distracts me, I shall not call you satan’s whore till you’re duly covered, but rather look the other way”.

    Stenli

    September 7, 2008 at 2:15 pm

  122. I’m not partial on buddhism only. Let me quote something from Wicca:

    “If you take a copy of the Christian Bible and put it out in the wind and the rain, soon the paper on which the words are printed will disintegrate and the words will be gone. Our bible IS the wind and the rain.” Herbalist Carol McGrath as told to her by a Native-American woman.

    I’m quite ignorant in it, and describing the body of their credencies is like herding cats, but it seems that it consists mostly in loving the nature, the natural manifestations, and all the beings that crawl, swim, jump, fly or walk on earth. Maybe they have done evil things too, but I haven’t found any, and I assure you I have looked hard.

    Stenli

    September 7, 2008 at 2:23 pm

  123. Or maybe you’d like shintoism better? I shall just leave a wiki link.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinto

    They give the impression of clean, decent chaps that don’t worry much about hell or heaven, but just about making life livable for themselves and others.

    Stenli

    September 7, 2008 at 2:28 pm

  124. Some of the most illuminated christians has also reached the same conclusion (as an overall idea of sin and punishment).

    Don’t sin, not because God shall punish you, but because you shall feel bad about it, and shall punish yourself about it. Examples? Dostoevskij and the figures of Raskolnikov (Crime and punishment) and Stavrogin (The demons).

    Stenli

    September 7, 2008 at 2:50 pm

  125. “Nobody said anything about you not being free to believe in whatever you want. That doesn’t mean that a) we have to accept your belief system or b) we can’t talk about it.” Fantastic retort kafirgirl.
    Nimmy you should take some time off of soft engineering and brush up on some literature on political liberty. The Koran, apparently, tells the Muslims to read, so, go and read Isaiah Berlin’s Two Concepts of Liberty, and then you might find out why your “The same way you are free not to believe, why am I not free to do so?” is just ridiculous.

    Muhamad [pbum]

    September 7, 2008 at 5:16 pm

  126. I meant ‘software’. :-)

    Muhamad [pbum]

    September 7, 2008 at 5:16 pm

  127. KG, i seriously hope there is an Islamic reformation, but i don’t think there will be one for quite some time. If there is one, it probably won’t sit well with many fundamentalists and it will take some time for it to spread. That is of course if it is a more liberal movement, the worst case scenario would be a stricter Islam, which would fuck things up grand.

    Priest

    September 7, 2008 at 9:39 pm

  128. Nimmy,

    I agree with you 100% that it is a matter of perception.

    I am not a believer of your religion. However, I can understand your emotional attachment to your beliefs. Naturally you are hurt when somebody says that anyone who believes in the Quran necessarily has to be a fundamentalist.

    Fundamentalists are there in all belief systems. It does that mean that you have to be one to believe in a particular religion.

    And don’t make statements like “maybe I’m stupid…” You are not. You do not become stupid because someone calls you stupid.

    nandu

    September 8, 2008 at 4:48 am

  129. @Kafirgirl,

    >”Bury shit in a child’s head deeply enough and they’ll believe anything”.</blockquote.
    How do you see the increasing number of ADULT reverts to Islam(or whatever religion)..So,your logic fails..Not only born-muslims,there are large number of coverts/reverts..

    Nobody said anything about you not being free to believe in whatever you want. That doesn’t mean that a) we have to accept your belief system or b) we can’t talk about it.”

    Lol..You said the other day that “I am not worried of offending you as i don’t respect you”..Well,I take it the otherwise..Give and take love and respect..If you take shitty way,don’t be bothered when people talk more shitty about you..Then you may say ,”I don’t care”..Lol..You guys are very consious and care for yourslef nad that why you are out here explaining yourself and doing autopsy of something that is not of your concern..

    I often wonder what makes you do so with Quran,spent so much time..I’ld guess”We are doing it for mankind,when no more people are deluded to believe moon god”..But then again,something is missing..

    @Stenli,

    I like better religions (like buddhism) that has never (to my knowledge) been used to harm.

    Islam is not a polished hi-fi religion,but a simple down to earth way of life..Allah teaches us to fight back when enemies attacks and not go chant or eat pizza standing in front of a gun..Islam lays down rules on how to conduct a marriage,teaches how to pay zakat forn the betterment of society and so on..Then again,Budhism maybe a great religion.But how does that make Islam a crappy one????

    @Barefoot Bum

    If you make your beliefs public, then we are equally free to express our own belief that your beliefs are not just retarded but that is is actively harmful to promulgate them and indoctrinate them into the minds of defenseless children.

    duh,what makes you think you re right?If i am deluded,u r equally deluded..

    I think most intelligent readers of these comments would find the word “maybe” to be superfluous.

    still there are many out there who are well educated and religious..
    Since when did education have anything at all to do with intelligence?

    That funny and strange..Sorry,no comments..

    @Stenli,

    Not all the schools preach the same, but I find the anecdote pretty much representative of a basic idea: “If your view distracts me, I shall not call you satan’s whore till you’re duly covered, but rather look the other way”.

    Islam asks men and women to lower their gaze .Isn’t that the same as what you told!!!!

    @Preist,I disagree..I see it otherwise..Until now,most muslims ,including me,were not bothered to read and know for themselves,what their own religion is talking about..Rather,they just followed mullahs..Time has changed and people are knowing it for themselves the truth and rejecting extremists(I don’t like that term,as there is no such thing as going to extreme,either you follow it,or you twist it)

    @Nandu,Thanks for the comment…Yes,crappy people are there in all sectors,even in atheists,(eg,Maoists are shitty people who kill people for no reason,Can somebody tell me which god they follow)????

    Nimmy

    September 8, 2008 at 5:36 am

  130. How do you see the increasing number of ADULT reverts to Islam(or whatever religion)..So,your logic fails..Not only born-muslims,there are large number of coverts/reverts..

    You’re comparing apples to oranges… and doing it poorly. First, we can assume a revert was indoctrinated as a child. As to converts, well, that some adults convert to Islam doesn’t falsify childhood indoctrination in the least.

    ou guys are very consious and care for yourslef nad that why you are out here explaining yourself and doing autopsy of something that is not of your concern..

    But it is of our concern on several levels. First, Islam threatens us personally, because even moderate Muslims support universal Sharia law. We want to live under secular democratic laws, not Islamic law. Second, Islam offends our humanistic values with its oppression and exploitation of our fellow human beings, especially women.

    “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” — John Donne

    duh,what makes you think you re right?

    I’m right because my beliefs stand up to rationality and sensibility. Yours do not. You must deny or “transcend” rationality and sensibility for your beliefs to even be meaningful, much less true.

    If i am deluded,u r equally deluded..

    Now, that’s just stupid. What are you, twelve?

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 8, 2008 at 7:55 am

  131. How do you see the increasing number of ADULT reverts to Islam(or whatever religion)..So,your logic fails..Not only born-muslims,there are large number of coverts/reverts..

    Well, you remember how I said earlier that Muslims can be intelligent and stupid all at once? Same goes for everyone else. There are many people who leave Islam only to join Christianity. They trade in one set of superstitions for another. And vice versa for people who join Islam. By the way, the “increasing” number of adult converts to Islam seems to be a myth. The number of Muslims in the world has remained pretty steady at 20%. And lucky for us in the U.S., the fastest growing “religion” is not Islam. It’s the non-religious. I would love to see that happen in the rest of the world.

    Also, none of this changes the fact that you’re using an argument ad populum. X many people are converting to Islam, therefore Islam is right. That’s a logical fallacy, or in more colloquial terms: bullshit.

    Lol..You said the other day that “I am not worried of offending you as i don’t respect you”..Well,I take it the otherwise..Give and take love and respect..If you take shitty way,don’t be bothered when people talk more shitty about you..Then you may say ,”I don’t care”..Lol..

    What you do not understand — and this is what the entire fucking post was about — is that we are not insulting you. We are insulting your stupid religion.

    It’s like if you met someone who believed that underwear gnomes lived under her dresser and she had to sacrifice a pair of panties to them every day at 4:00 or else they were going to kill her. And she believes this because her parents told her. And they read it in a book. Even though there’s no evidence that these gnomes exist and she takes in on faith. In that situation, a sane person would most likely find that the belief is fucking stupid, but not necessarily the person.

    What you religious types don’t get is that there is a difference between a belief and a human being. And that your rights end where mine begin. And vice versa, so you can go ahead and think atheism is stupid, etc. It won’t hurt my feelings any. You certainly won’t see me strap a bomb to myself to go out and defend my lack of belief.

    You guys are very consious and care for yourslef nad that why you are out here explaining yourself and doing autopsy of something that is not of your concern..

    Not of our concern? That’s like saying, “Don’t talk about China, it’s none of your concern.” Or “Don’t talk about earthquakes, they’re none of your concern.” We live in this fucking world too, Nimmy, and the actions of retards who believe the Quran (and the Bible, etc) are literal words of God DO AFFECT US. None of our concern? You should tell that to anyone who lost a family member in 9/11. And those girls who were buried alive in Pakistan recently. And to the gays and lesbians who are hung just by virtue of who they choose to have sex with. And to the women who are buried up to their chests and stoned or have acid thrown in their faces. Maybe you don’t give a shit about the way people are treated in this world — especially in the name of your genocidal, sexist, piece of shit God — but we care. None of our concern. You’re making an excellent fucking case for the moderates, Nimmy. Well done.

    I often wonder what makes you do so with Quran,spent so much time..I’ld guess”We are doing it for mankind,when no more people are deluded to believe moon god”..But then again,something is missing..

    Have you read the FAQ? Have you read why I’m doing this? I can’t speak for the rest of the people here but I’m sure they’ll chime in. I do this because Muslims like you close their eyes, stick their fingers in their ears and go “LALALALALALA!” while Islam hijacks the world. While Christianity hijacks our government. While religion hijacks my freedom of speech and my rights as a human being. Open your fucking eyes.

    Thanks for posting, by the way. You just set the perfect example for everything I said about moderate Muslims.

    kafirgirl

    September 8, 2008 at 8:12 am

  132. Hey hey Kafirgirl..pls don’t put words down my throat dear…When did i say that stoning people are ok..when did i say that hanging apostates is ok..When did I say that 9/11 was ok..When did I say that so called honour killing is ok..When did I say that homosexuals should be stoned..Did I say any of these..Then why are you trying to imply so??

    Yeah,i agree lot ot what you say,religion has made people shut their mouth..Even when I am clear about what my religion says about the above said,I am afraid to talk loud as fundies have highjacked islam and its totally male dominated and shitty stuff..

    There is no stoing to death of apostates or forcinators in Islam,its man made..
    There is no killing of people,simply in the name of religion..its men who advocate such evils..Yes,Islam,and all religions ahve plenty of provisions/loop holes for such people..

    I never said that you isnulted me..In fact you talked good of me..I was talking about other religious people who mock/bash atheists..I don’t have any issues with you,else i’ld not have been talking to you all..I accept people the way they are..

    And finally,i guess there is no point in me arguing,as I find lot of crappy things with muslims today,as a few mentioned above..Since you are fighting against those ones,I can’t provide their perspective..I hate fundies and I hate people who force hijab,i hate those crappy ones who say,”no matter how good a person is,don’t pray behind him if he dn’t have a beard” uh…bla bla bla..

    To me,islam is something else,and to me,it is the best bcoz i perceive it that way,with my own logic and reasoning..

    But it is not the same outside..and i know that..But again again and again i’ll say that Allah and Muhammad(pbuh) is not wrong,but humans who went wrong,in course of centuries,and it is in worse stage today..More and more people are knowing /reaching out for the real truht and sooner,the beared fat guys will be thrown out and there will be peace on earth..

    But all of you forgetfully forget that Islam/muslims are not the main issue of trouble..

    Are you telling me that if all muslims die out,there will be peace on earth?Pl share your though as an unbiased person..

    Nimmy

    September 8, 2008 at 8:55 am

  133. Even when I am clear about what my religion says about the above said,I am afraid to talk loud as fundies have highjacked islam and its totally male dominated and shitty stuff..

    Funny, I thought the moderates were trying to hijack Islam. Good luck with that.

    Are you telling me that if all muslims die out,there will be peace on earth?

    Humans will always find a reason to fight at various times (natural resources, etc). Muhammad found many reasons, too (greed, hatred, wanting women, etc). If Muslims really want to reform Islam (away from what the Quran and Muhammad taught/practiced), then the first step is to admit there is a problem. Right now, Muslims are like alcoholics who deny they have a drinking problem. You have to admit there is a problem before you can treat the problem. And if you can’t do that, you are deceiving the non-Muslims (which makes you not trustworthy) and enabling the true fundamentalist Muslims. Nothing personal, just the way I see it.

    Michael

    September 8, 2008 at 9:19 am

  134. There is no killing of people,simply in the name of religion..its men who advocate such evils..Yes,Islam,and all religions ahve plenty of provisions/loop holes for such people..

    pure transparent horse shit. did you even read what KG wrote in a couple of posts ago? And this is from the Quran, FYI:

    (5) But when these months, prohibited (for fighting), are over, slay the idolaters wheresoever you find them, and take them captive or besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every likely place. But if they repent and fulfil their devotional obligations and pay the zakat, then let them go their way, for God is forgiving and kind.

    so what do you call this? no killing of people? load of crap.

    Shashi

    September 8, 2008 at 10:16 am

  135. Nimmy, this is EXACTLY why KG started blogging this.

    But again again and again i’ll say that Allah and Muhammad(pbuh) is not wrong,but humans who went wrong

    to see if the book is wrong or the people who follow it are wrong.. and i dont see anything in the book that refutes the fact that the book is in itself screwed up.

    Shashi

    September 8, 2008 at 10:19 am

  136. @Micheal,of course I agree and i have said that things have gone wrong..and that realization has made me look into my religion all by myself..

    @Sashi,you are just picking up rants again..Bother to look at me comments for that verse..Afterall ,don’t think its smart enough to pick at things that have been explainded again and again,just for the sake of it..

    Nimmy

    September 8, 2008 at 11:34 am

  137. Any religious text is full of contradictions. They have to be: they have been compiled over the years from different sources, each religion borrowing from the ones that went before. When we look a religion from a modern viewpoint, we find many things which are unpalatable.

    But we must remember that religion has been fed to us along with our mothers’ milk. It is not a rational thing; then, love is also irrational. Religion fills some deeply felt need for the majority of human beings in the world (of course, I know it does not apply to the esteemed atheists in this forum and elsewhere: but they are a minority). People try to make sense of their religion, try to find a meaning for life within its framework. And the majority succeeds-peacefully. The extremists are a minority everywhere.

    I am always amused by the atheists’ position that “We are rational. The believers are not. What we say is true. What they say is false.” They are nothing but a religion: a highly intolerant religion without a God.

    nandu

    September 8, 2008 at 2:28 pm

  138. @Nimmy

    Kudos to you for sticking around and having a level-headed conversation. Unfortunately, it appears to me that the communication between yourself and other commenters here is not 100% effective.

    There is a very important point that I didn’t see you address in any of your comments. Both Kafirgirl and other commenters have used the phrase “logicall fallacy” when referring to parts of your argument. Can you answer the following questions? I’ll start from the ground up to establish a common baseline, not to imply anything about your understanding:

    (1) Do you know what a logical fallacy is?

    (2) Can you recognize one when you see one (either in your own or other people’s arguments)?

    (3) When someone points out a logical fallacy in your argument, assuming they are correct, are you willing to admit your mistake and either abandon your argument or try to repair it?

    A simple example is the ad populi fallacy that was pointed out by Kafirgirl in response to some of your comments.

    Also, there are like to be some points that you’ve made but no-one else has picked up on either. Maybe you can take an opportunity to mention what you think they are.

    ki

    September 8, 2008 at 2:39 pm

  139. Any religious text is full of contradictions.

    The intelligent person stops there, and needs no more reason to treat the religious text as anything but a work of human literature.

    But we must remember that religion has been fed to us along with our mothers’ milk.

    You say that like it’s a justification, not a condemnation.

    [Religion] is not a rational thing; then, love is also irrational.

    Fallacy of equivocation. Religion is irrational in the sense that it makes false statements about the world. Love is “irrational” in the sense that it’s an subjective emotion.

    People try to make sense of their religion, try to find a meaning for life within its framework.

    But the framework of religion is false statements about the world: God exists, and God wants you to do this and doesn’t want you to do that.

    I am always amused by the atheists’ position that “We are rational. The believers are not. What we say is true. What they say is false.” They are nothing but a religion: a highly intolerant religion without a God.

    Of course we’re intolerant. Have you not been reading this thread? We are intolerant of lies. We are intolerant of bullshit. We are intolerant of human beings’ suffering, harm and death.

    We’re proud to be intolerant.

    To call tolerance itself a virtue is to subscribe to the most despicable cowardice.

    It is to say you can witness human suffering and shrug and say, “None of my business. Who am I to judge?” You can witness the torture and murder of children and babies, shrug your shoulders and say, “Who am I to judge?” You can witness people living their whole lives in terror and unreasoning guilt and say, “Who am I to judge?”

    Only if you have no compassion for human beings, no pity, no sympathy, no empathy can you accuse another of “intolerance” as if it were an insult.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 8, 2008 at 3:29 pm

  140. Nimmy said, “of course I agree and i have said that things have gone wrong..and that realization has made me look into my religion all by myself.”

    The thing is, Islam derailed beginning with Muhammad. It is going to be hard if not impossible to put that locomotive back on a peaceful, tolerant, and inclusive track. Not all Muslims are bad, but the example set forth by Muhammad is atrocious. No amount of apologetics can really justify it. When Muslims choose to follow in the example of their prophet is when the non-Muslims of the world and the women in Islam have problems.

    Michael

    September 8, 2008 at 7:53 pm

  141. Damn, I missed the debate, very interesting.

    Old point but the reason why 1 billion ppl are still muslim is also because of censorship rampant in Islamic countries and apologist dhimmi countries like India.

    Nandu rocks, I love how the delivers crap with a straight face. Sarcasm apart, I’d think that critical questioning of a belief system can only be good and when it fails criticism and spreading awareness is the only refuge. I too, and I am sure many others, know and appreciate that it causes Nimmy pain to evaluate the religion she has embraced, Islam.

    Also I agree with Michael, its most important that the problem be admitted first. The muslim govts and the muslims have denied all along the atrocities committed for the expansion of their religion on innocents, women and cultures. They would not admit that it was wrong to give to women half the inheritance and testimony rights. Remove and replace the verses that incite violence with their supposedly true interpretation of it. (the misunderstanding is not just ours, if you read the emails that were sent after the blasts in India recently, they contained the same things that we know seem to incite hatred., also most of the terror suspects in India have been scholars in Arabic, Quran and have been mullahs for a large part of their lives). If you maintain that the Quran is immutable and should not be interfered with, then you are aiding the same misunderstanding that caused innocents to be killed and you are no different from them. To obstruct justice is also injustice. Thats why I would couple all those who believe in Islam to be a part of the problems caused “in its name”.

    Another Kafir

    September 9, 2008 at 7:56 am

  142. AK: It isn’t just those who believe in Islam who are obstructing the issues and enabling the fundamentalists, but also non-Muslims. Now, I know not everyone (especially non-Muslims) has read the Quran, but Western governments should know by now the source of the problem — hell, the terrorists quote the Quran for us whenever they attack. When George Bush, right after 9/11, went to the mosque in DC and declared “Islam is peace” (Islam is actually submission), he missed a HUGE opportunity to spread some truth about the fundamentalists and what drives them (the Quran, Hadith, and Muhammad). I understand part of what he was trying to do is prevent an angry backlash against Muslims in the USA. I’m OK with that — after all, there are tons of peaceful Muslims and I don’t want harm to come to them, but he could have also told the truth about Islam (unless no one in the government knows anything about Islam?) and encouraged debate instead of spreading more deception. I suspect the next president (Democrat or Republican) will also continue the same path of Islamic deception. It is time for some tough love (hopefully non-violent). We learned the hard way what appeasement does in WWII. We need more courageous leaders and not more Chamberlains.

    Peace. :-)

    Michael

    September 9, 2008 at 8:21 am

  143. @Ki, :-)

    There are many cases..sometimes,I skip addressing a person when i feel that he/she is simply ranting..someitmes i skip answering bcoz i simply don’t know what it is all about and i don’t want to argue just for the sake of it and sound dumb..

    Also, there are like to be some points that you’ve made but no-one else has picked up on either. Maybe you can take an opportunity to mention what you think they are.

    I don’t understand..pls clarify..

    @Barefoot Bum,you make a sweeping generalization that atheists alone care for others..I don’t know about the rest of the world..But I do care for fellow human beings irrespective of caste colou and creed and i am proud that i ahve done whatever i could within my small framework..

    @Micheal,i agree to a major extent of what you siad..It has derailed since long..but not when muhammed came,but since when Muhammed passed away..Since then,each time period has added or subtracted their own wills from in and out of islam..There are many crppy hadiths..Afterall they were written only after 200 yrs after Muhammed’s death..Whenever we find something fishy,look into Quran,bcoz Quran is what remianed unaltered..Most of the anti-women and stoning laws are based on hadiths which are subject to error..When you find contradiction or incomplete ruling,look into Quran and act accordingly..that is what is right..

    @Another Kafir,I understand..But why do you delude yourself into thinking that mullah is what islam is..In fact they dn’t know much,except some selective pnes,which they roll over again again and again..im not insulting the while scholars..But there are many crappy ones out there and they are the ones causing trouble..Do you see Zakir Naik asking peopel to blow up.(he is not infallible) It is the uneducated bread mullahs who stir up things…And finally yeah,Muslim/Arab nations have never accepted that something is wrong..If they had,it would have made much difference..

    But it is not going to happen any near day as Saudi is controlled by concervative wahabbis who klnow nothing of human rights and they have their own cultures injected into Islam..

    Still i’ld say there is a way out as more and more people are getting out of this mafia…

    Nimmy

    September 9, 2008 at 8:32 am

  144. Wow, again, this discussion is just going nowhere. No offense, Nimmy, but it’s like talking to a broken record. You accused us of saying Islam is bullshit 10000 times, but here you’re doing the exact same thing in reverse. I think we’ve given sufficient arguments for the Quran being altered and chock full of violence, desert justice, inconsistencies, unfairness and great big piles of bullshit, and all you can say in return is that it isn’t.

    When you make claims, the burden is on you to prove them. And instead, all we get are your opinions. You’re entitled to them, of course, but don’t mistake them for facts. And repeating “The Quran is unaltered” a thousand times over isn’t going to win any of us over. t’s getting boring and repetitive and leading to a whole lot of nothing.

    P.S. Some links for anyone who might be interested:

    Zakir Naik, by the way, is the very same guy who said, “The pig is the most shameless animal on the face of the earth. It is the only animal that invites its friends to have sex with its mate. In America, most people consume pork. Many times after dance parties, they have swapping of wives; many say ‘you sleep with my wife and I will sleep with your wife.’ If you eat pigs then you behave like pigs.”

    And this little gem: “Suppose there are twin sisters. While walking down the street, one of them is wearing a mini-skirt, while the other is wearing the hijab with everything covered with loose clothes except the hands up to the wrist. If there is a hooligan who is waiting to tease a girl, which girl will he tease? He will tease the girl wearing the mini-skirt.”

    Right. Rebuttals to Zakir Naik:
    http://www.wikiislam.com/wiki/Rebuttals_to_Zakir_Naik

    Still i’ld say there is a way out as more and more people are getting out of this mafia…

    Sources, please. Everything I’ve read as of late suggests that fundamentalist Islam is growing. And those adult converts you were boasting about earlier — a hell of a lot of them are attracted to Islam because of the fundie / conservo aspect.

    kafirgirl

    September 9, 2008 at 8:48 am

  145. Also, Nimmy, you say that it’s “right” to look in the Quran for answers as it is the unalterable word of God. I’m curious as to why you think saying “the Quran is infallible” would make an ounce of difference to us. And for that, you need to explain to me how the Quran is infallible. Why should be believe it’s the unalterable word of God? Explain that to me, and please be aware that saying, “The Quran is true because the Quran says so,” is a logical fallacy. And saying “You have to take it on faith” does not an argument make.

    kafirgirl

    September 9, 2008 at 9:00 am

  146. Lol..you are right..We are just playing hide and seek..and its getting boring..

    I had a nice time here,learned from from you all..thanks..and good luck with bashing..lol..

    I’ll be here,and sharing my rants whenever I find a scope for myself:)

    Nimmy

    September 9, 2008 at 9:03 am

  147. Aha, the moderate pulls out the word bashing! That’s a fucking shocker. What’s next? Islamophobia??

    kafirgirl

    September 9, 2008 at 9:14 am

  148. ha ha..no offence meant really..Didin’t you see the smiley…

    Nimmy

    September 9, 2008 at 9:53 am

  149. To argue that the Koran is simply a victim of misinterpretation is to implicity accept the following:
    1) The creator of the universe is incapable of writing prose with the clarity one would expect in any legal document
    2) The creator of the the universe was incapable of putting out a second edition of his book, with a foreword containing some handy pointers to correct those that have misinterpreted his words. (Maybe he was on a one-book-only deal).

    Another option is that he was capable of doing the above, but chose not to. He would rather people flew planes into buildings in his name.

    Another option is that he doesn’t exist.

    So, if Muslims are the problem rather than Islam, then Allah is either incompetent, uncaring, or non-existent.

    (I’m banking on option 3, but numbers one and two would hardly inspire me to kiss the carpet 5 times a day either.)

    Lance

    September 9, 2008 at 10:06 am

  150. Religious fervour (same as patriotic fervour) is equivalent to love-people lose themselves in it. It is not that it’s good or bad, it’s there. It fills a deep-seated need. Actually the books are less important than the feeling.

    When one is born into a particular religion, one accepts it unconditionally at first. Then as one grows up, one’s relationship with it changes, ranging from extremism at one end to atheism at the other. But majority fall in the middle of the spectrum. They take succour from their beliefs: they think “it must be the truth!”: then when they find something they can’t stomach, they evolve their own ways of dealing with it. The moderates are in these category, ranging from apologists at one end to liberals at the other.

    One thing I learnt from these conversations is that there is very little to separate the atheist from the extremist, attitude wise. Both thrive on the absolute infallibility of their beliefs (yes, I know the atheist would say these are “truths”, but so does the extremist), and for both, hating the other is a way of life.

    I come from a society where tolerance is the way of life. I have seen that tolerance crumbling in recent years, and nobody has benefited because of it. Erasing the hated “other” from existence to create heaven on earth is a fool’s dream.

    nandu

    September 9, 2008 at 10:39 am

  151. Nandu, judging by the name, I come from the same society.
    Gandhi hated Nazi ideology, he even hated violent methods towards the same end as his, was he causing violence because of this hatred. And Gandhi was wise enough to blame the ideology and not the perpetrator, he even wrote a letter trying to explain to Hitler how he should leave the war and such. His hatred was both justified and necessary, we think the same about our hatred of blind faiths.

    I do not deny that we should all be tolerant, but of people, and normal vagaries but not mass-dementia. To save a ideology from review and criticism is to allow a lie to remain, because in free speech only truth can emerge victorious. Isn’t victory of truth the statement of the national symbols?

    And truth will hurt, we may have to bite the bullet, the hindu society had to take it from the govt. when the personal laws for them needed modification, it was only beneficial in the end. One cannot abandon the truth because it hurts, the bullet has to be bitten, it may take time but speaking against irrational beliefs and statements of violence can only benefit the people.

    @KG : my last post, sorry for starting the debate again.

    Another Kafir

    September 9, 2008 at 11:05 am

  152. “there is very little to separate the atheist from the extremist, attitude wise.”
    You don’t consider that trying to get your point across by reasoned argument rather than by setting fire to buildings and beheading people consistutes a major difference of attitude?
    And I’m sorry, but religious fervour, patriotic fervour and even love CAN be good or bad. Love can become an evil when it leads you to stalk or murder the object of your affection, when love of your leader sends you off to work each day at the gas chamber, or when love of a desert prophet and his imaginary friend sends you flying a plane into a skyscraper.
    I do agree, however, that ‘erasing the hated “other” from existence to create heaven on earth is a fool’s dream’. What you describe iis the dream of a religious fundamentalist. what atheists would like is for religion to become no more relevant to society than the practice of alchemy, so the world would be – not heaven – but a nicer and safer place to live in.

    Lance

    September 9, 2008 at 11:13 am

  153. You are arguing about if or when it is OK to believe in and live your life based on a magic book that was written by men who were directed by visions, dreams, and magic beings. No one should be surprised at anything in such a debate, only that it’s debatable at all.

    I think this is basically Nimmy’s argument;

    A) Real Islam don’t hurt anyone, B) Real Islam doesn’t forces it self on you, C) Real Islam— my personal belief— doesn’t infringe upon your rights.

    Even if the above were true would it make living your life based on a magic book reasonable, rational or justified……..

    GAD

    September 9, 2008 at 11:17 am

  154. Nandu, I just re-read your post, and fully realised quite how objectionable it is.
    You say that atheists ‘thrive on the absolute infallibility of their beliefs’. Erm, atheism is a LACK of belief, it is NOT a belief system. The atheistic mindset does, however, tend to go hand-in-hand with an outlook that suggests NO ideas are infallible, and all (including our own) should be subject to scrutiny.
    And again, in the hope that it sticks this time, we are talking about hating IDEAS, and the behaviour those ideas engender. I am saying the Koran is a fucking awful choice of a book to choose to base your life on (I’d say that basing it on any one book is a pretty poor choice, but that one in particular is an exceptional stinker). To suggest that this outlook makes ‘hatred of the other’ my way of life is so wide of the mark it actually defies metaphor.
    As I said before, the day an atheist flies a plane into the Kaaba in the name of atheism, let’s pick up this discussion again.

    Lance

    September 9, 2008 at 12:00 pm

  155. Lance, I should have elaborated more, I feel. I was talking about the attitude as regards beliefs of others (“it is wrong”)-behaviour wise, all atheists “do not fly planes into Ka’aba”. However, let’s not forget that churches were banned and priests persecuted in the Soviet Union during its heyday, based on communism, an atheist philosophy. All atheists do not persecute believers: then, all Muslims do not fly planes into buildings either.

    This whole discussion started on KafirGirl’s comment that the Qu’ran itself promoted terrorism, and it was not the individuals, but the belief system that was at fault. This implies that anyone who believes in the Qu’ran is necessarily a fundamentalist or a supporter of fundamentalism. This wholesale branding of one religion as evil is what creates alienation and the hatred of “the other”. This is the same technique that fundamentalists use. Sadly, it is on the rise in the world.

    There are a few Muslims who use their beliefs to foment terror: there are a million others who just want to be left alone to lead a quiet life. And they all believe the Qu’ran. To be a Muslim (or a Hindu or Christian or Buddhist) one need not necessarily be an extremist-but one can be if one chooses to be.

    For me, a world without any spiritual endeavour would be a barren one indeed.

    nandu

    September 9, 2008 at 12:37 pm

  156. Nimmy:

    you make a sweeping generalization that atheists alone care for others..

    I made no such generalization; please do not put words in mymouth.

    I said that people who advocate the tolerance as a virtue in itself do not care about others. If tolerance itself is a virtue, then it is just as virtuous to tolerate another’s suffering as to tolerate her happiness.

    But why do you delude yourself into thinking that mullah is what islam is..

    Everyone tells me what Islam is not. But nobody tells me what Islam is. What is Islam? Is it just what each person who calls himself a muslim personally believes? Is Islam anything at all?

    nandu:

    When one is born into a particular religion, one accepts it unconditionally at first.

    Right there we have a big problem. Religions teach false statements about reality as true. There is no God, and therefore there is no God who cares about how or how often you pray, what you eat, what you wear, who you have sex with, how you go to the bathroom, how you bathe, or what you think or what you say. The only people who care about such things are other human beings.

    One thing I learnt from these conversations is that there is very little to separate the atheist from the extremist, attitude wise. Both thrive on the absolute infallibility of their beliefs (yes, I know the atheist would say these are “truths”, but so does the extremist), and for both, hating the other is a way of life.

    So the only way to avoid extremism is to say there are no truths, that everything’s a matter of opinion, that no person’s opinion about anything is better than another’s. If it’s my opinion that I should shoot three young girls and bury them alive, well, that’s ok, I’m entitled to my opinion, and who are you to judge?

    I asked you a question, which you still have not answered:

    If you had been present when those girls were buried alive, would you have killed and died to stop it? Or would you have shrugged and said, “Who am I to judge?”

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 9, 2008 at 12:37 pm

  157. Please read my comment again : “the day an atheist flies a plane into the Kaaba IN THE NAME OF ATHEISM”. Stalin did not commit his atrocities in the name of atheism, it was in the name of another totalitarian ideology, albeit a secular one. There is no such thing as an atheist philosophy – atheism is just the disbelief in gods.
    And for the last time, I am criticising IDEAS rather than people – I have never suggested that all Muslims fly planes into buildings, but that Islam is an ideology that does inspire people to do things like that.
    And a world without ‘spiritual’ endeavour would indeed be dull – all fields of human experience should be pursued with rational vigour. However, it is quite possible to pursue ALL fields of human enquiry without recourse to 7th-century dogma.
    (Do try reading ‘The End of Faith’ by Sam Harris, an ardent atheist who is also deeply interested in the phenomena many people call ‘spiritual’- I think you’d find it quite enlightening).

    Lance

    September 9, 2008 at 12:57 pm

  158. atheism is a LACK of belief, it is NOT a belief system.

    Only if you disbelieve for no reason. Ask any atheist why they lack belief and they tell why they believe lack of belief is the right belief……..

    GAD

    September 9, 2008 at 1:14 pm

  159. @Nimmy

    You haven’t answered my questions, and unfortunately your reply wasn’t very helpful. As things stand, we still don’t know whether you have not address your ad populi fallacy because you don’t know what it means or because you are not willing to admit that you’ve made a mistake in your argument. The first possibility is fairly harmless and can be easily remedied through further discussion. The second possibility is much worse, as it show that you lack intellectual honesty in your arguments. Which is it?

    In my first post, I showed an important point brought up by other commenters, but never addressed by you. Now, you have a perfect opportunity to turn the tables as well. So, is there an important point that you’ve made that, in your opinion, has not been adequately addressed or even acknowledged by other people here?

    ki

    September 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm

  160. “Right there we have a big problem. Religions teach false statements about reality as true. There is no God, and therefore there is no God who cares about how or how often you pray, what you eat, what you wear, who you have sex with, how you go to the bathroom, how you bathe, or what you think or what you say. The only people who care about such things are other human beings.”

    Again, this is your opinion, and it carries no weight for someone believes God exists. For him, your statement is just as false as his religious beliefs are to you.

    “If you had been present when those girls were buried alive, would you have killed and died to stop it? Or would you have shrugged and said, ‘Who am I to judge?’ ”

    I believe I would have tried to stop it, based on my belief system, same as the others who were doing it based on theirs. But there is still no judgement. I firmly believe I am nobody to judge. We all act equally honestly based on our beliefs. But whenever that hatred wells up in my mind (and it does, I assure you) I keep telling myself it is this very hatred I am fighting against.

    I believe that religious tolerance is the only way for peace in the modern world. Even if the whole world was to forsake religion (the atheists’ dream), I don’t think the world would be a better place to live in. It is as foolish as the Islamists’ idea of converting everybody to Islam, or the communist ideal of a classless society.

    And pardon me for saying this, I find very few atheists to be open-minded people, ready to question their own beliefs.

    nandu

    September 10, 2008 at 12:27 am

  161. Nandu, please feel free to raise questions about our “beliefs”. You will only discover that we are in disbelief and not in belief. You can still question our disbelief but you will have to prove God or Quran to us. And if you should provide any logical proof, we are open to changing our mind.
    The difference is that I have seen a lot of the religious arguments and have not found anything that holds weight, so far. You can change that, I shall be the first one to be baptised into whichever religion you prove.
    Besides, disproving the religious truths does not mean being against morality or religiousity for that matter.
    With all the due “respect”, you are the one who is not ready to question beliefs by avoiding questions on the pretext that the questions hurt you or others.

    Another Kafir

    September 10, 2008 at 3:38 am

  162. GAD – ” atheism is a LACK of belief, it is NOT a belief system.
    Only if you disbelieve for no reason. Ask any atheist why they lack belief and they tell why they believe lack of belief is the right belief……..”
    I disbelieve because I am a rationalist. My atheism is a by-product of my rationality, as is my afairyism and ahobbitism, which are not belief systems either. I stick by my original assertion.

    Nandu: Tolerating religions that promote the extermination and subjugation of non-belivers is no more the route to peace than was the toleration of Nazism in the 1930s (unless your idea of peace is to lie unjudgementally as the tanks roll over you). Your statement that that “very few atheists [appear] to be open-minded people, ready to question their own beliefs” rather ignores the fact that most atheists came to their current position exactly by questioning the beliefs they were brought up with – the author of this blog is a fairly obvious example.

    If God took out an advert in the sunday papers to proclaim his existence and provided a testable experiment to back it up (for example announcing a verifiable miracle in advance), then I would admit I was wrong and cease to be an atheist. Is there a similar event that would cause you to reject your beliefs?

    Lance

    September 10, 2008 at 4:54 am

  163. Disclaimer:

    I hereby state that Im not intellectually competent,and that I don’t have much knowledge or know how on how and what to answer to some of your questions..

    I guess that answers lot of qstn..lol..

    sorry for that…

    Nimmy

    September 10, 2008 at 6:54 am

  164. I hereby state that Im not intellectually competent,and that I don’t have much knowledge or know how on how and what to answer to some of your questions..

    Maybe it’s just me, but I detect a subtle undertone of sarcasm.

    The Barefoot Bum

    September 10, 2008 at 7:28 am

  165. “Tolerating religions that promote the extermination and subjugation of non-belivers is no more the route to peace than was the toleration of Nazism in the 1930s (unless your idea of peace is to lie unjudgementally as the tanks roll over you). ”

    This is the very point Nimmy was trying to make-most Muslims don’t subjugate and exterminate non-believers. In fact, I’d bet that if you take a survey the percentage who’d express extremist views would be a pitiful minority.

    “Your statement that that “very few atheists [appear] to be open-minded people, ready to question their own beliefs” rather ignores the fact that most atheists came to their current position exactly by questioning the beliefs they were brought up with – the author of this blog is a fairly obvious example.”

    They question the beliefs they were brought up in: but they don’t accept the fact that others may find succour in the beliefs they rejected. It is a matter of “The Qu’ran sucks for me. So it must suck for everybody. If it doesn’t, then that person is either a hypocrite or an extremist.”

    “If God took out an advert in the sunday papers to proclaim his existence and provided a testable experiment to back it up (for example announcing a verifiable miracle in advance), then I would admit I was wrong and cease to be an atheist. Is there a similar event that would cause you to reject your beliefs?”

    Very difficult question… because I don’t believe in a God separate from myself. The God within me (and within each atom of the universe) cannot be denied, because it springs into existence when one believes, and ceases to exist one does not. However much you deny it, it will be nonexistent only for you.

    nandu

    September 10, 2008 at 8:42 am

  166. New rule: KafirGirl must ALWAYS have her morning coffee before posting. :-)

    Michael

    September 10, 2008 at 9:02 am

  167. […] been participating in a comment thread at kafirgirl’s blog.[1] In it, commenter Nandu states that, “[B]eliefs span across a […]

  168. New rule: KafirGirl must ALWAYS have her morning coffee before posting. :-)

    Whaaa? Wha’d I do?

    kafirgirl

    September 10, 2008 at 10:13 am

  169. Nandu,
    The fact that a majority of Muslims (and Christians) manage to ignore those huge sections of their sacred books in which God orders them to behave like sociopaths is hardly a defence of the books themselves. And the point being made here is that moderates who claim the sanctity of the texts by pointing out the palatable parts implicity claim the sanctity of the whole – this is the petri-dish in which extremism is grown.

    Also, even if only 0.5% of the world’s Muslims believe that God wants them to kill or subjugate me and my family, then I feel I have every right to criticise the ideology that inspires them. The fact that some people may also find these myths comforting also affords it no more immunity from criticism than someone’s taste in comforting music.

    Lance

    September 10, 2008 at 10:15 am

  170. @Bum..lool…Trust me,no sarcasm intended..I really don’t know how to answer some of the qstns here..Nor am I interested in knowing more than what I knwo..Religion to me is my personal business..It is between me and mot God..Neither you nor my mom is going to talk for me on the day of judgement..

    Then regarding the claim that Islam/Quran is the root cause of all troubles in the world around today,sadly,all of us,knowlingly or unknowingly mistake the fact that all ‘bomb blasters happen to be from poiltically distrubed places..Can you give me a single instance of otherwise case?

    Just read this and tell me your comment

    “I feel there is a lie being told about Muslim suicide bombers in Iraq and what country is it happening in now all of a sudden? Oh, the one the U.S. would like to invade next. Of course. The Sunni and Shia are are blowing each other to pieces, we will have to invade to save them from themselves right? And if our oil companies end up being allowed to steal all their oil as a consequence, and if we happen to open the door for all types of Western capitalism to flood in and corrupt the people and destroy their religion and culture while the West gets richer, well that’s our just reward, right?

    They are not suicide bombers, it is a made up story being given out by the U.S. military and/or CIA. The bombs go off in market places because that is where the recruits for the opposition militias gather to meet whoever is supposed to show up and take them to their indoctrination. The bombs are planted the night before after the intelligence comes in from the infiltrators/spies about where and when the meetup is.

    I feel the Muslims of the Middle East who do not already understand this should learn from this that they cannot defeat evil with violence. When the good try to use violence to defeat evil, evil has won and will make the good pay in blood, lots and lots of blood. A massive non-violent resistance movement is the only way for Islam’s victory. ”

    All of you had always been telling me that Quran is all about slaying slaying and slaying non-muslims..And i am bored of telling you again and again and again that the verse was and is intended during times of war,when muslims are attacked first..Nobody answered me whether all you secualr humane atheists would stand humming and eat pizza if somebody was coming to kill you with guns..

    I’ld have agreed that Quran is bullshit and violence promoting if there weren’t similar verses like these

    (2:195) You shall spend in the cause of GOD; do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction. You shall be charitable; GOD loves the charitable.

    (4:29) O you who believe, do not consume each others’ properties illicitly – only mutually acceptable transactions are permitted. You shall not kill yourselves. GOD is Merciful towards you.

    (4:30) Anyone who commits these transgressions, maliciously and deliberately, we will condemn him to Hell. This is easy for GOD to do.

    I know and agree that there are many suicede bombers all over the world and many of them are muslims..Think of how victimized people are in those regions. Afghanistan has been a battleground for over a generation, Palestine for even longer.
    Now imagine you’re displaced over and over and over again, family members murdered, sons kidnapped and forced to fight, daughters and wives raped – all over political (not religious) reasons. You can’t feed your family as you watch them starve and suffer before your eyes.
    Imagine the anger, imagine the hopelessness.

    Are you telling me that at a stage,a person is being religious by blowing up..Both you and me know what follows..Bcoz they are not like you and me who is sitting and blogging drinking coffee and typing while crunching chips as I do..The life is not the same for them..Maybe we can never understand ..

    See,we are going to gain nothing by this balme game..People balme west for making war against islam..West balmes islam for crashing planes into thieir kitchens..there is no end product to this blame game..

    Either all of us accept that theer is problem on both sides and start rectifying it..else continue playing hide and seek till all of us bang heads to each other and die out..

    I’ld like to hear your opinions on this comment of mine..x

    Nimmy

    September 10, 2008 at 10:43 am

  171. @Nimmy, if you’ve got a few minutes there’s a very simple explanation for what a “logical fallacy” is.

    A logical fallacy is a faulty application of logic in an argument trying to justify a certain conclusion or position. Some fallacies are blatant, while others are much more subtle. It takes practice to recognize and point them out. However, this skill is invaluable to having a productive debate on any topic.

    Here’s an obvious example: Alice and Bob have only two sons and only two daughters, therefore they have a total of five children. The logical fallacy in this statement is a simple mathematical error; 2+2 equals 4 and not 5. If you make such a statement, and someone points out the arithmetic error, the proper thing to do is to admit the error and change your conclusion to “they have a total of four children”.

    Here’s another example: It is impossible to breathe on the Moon because of the noxious vapors from the green cheese that covers its surface. The fallacy here is the implicit assumption that the Moon is made up of green cheese, which is false. If someone points out this fact, again the proper thing to do is admit the mistake and concede that the conclusion that it’s impossible to breathe on the Moon does not follow. However, the conclusion is still true and the argument can be repaired by starting with a true premise: It is impossible to breathe on the surface of the Moon because it has not atmosphere.

    I will now jump to a much more subtle example. If you find something is not clear or you don’t follow the analogy with the above two examples, please ask and I will clarify. In a previous post, you made the argument that, since there are over 1 billion muslims in the world, Islam must be true. Just because many people believe something, does not make it true. For instance, in the past pretty much everyone in the world believed that the world was flat; the were still wrong. This fallacy is known as the ad populi fallacy (Google that for much more information). The fallacy in your argument was immediately pointed out by Kafirgirl.

    Now, that the situation is hopefully clearer. What is your response?

    ki

    September 10, 2008 at 11:25 am

  172. All of you had always been telling me that Quran is all about slaying slaying and slaying non-muslims..And i am bored of telling you again and again and again that the verse was and is intended during times of war,when muslims are attacked first..Nobody answered me whether all you secualr humane atheists would stand humming and eat pizza if somebody was coming to kill you with guns..

    We’ve trudged through this several times, even presenting evidence that Mohammed did not always go to battle in self defense. And also explaining that while YOU may see it this way, fundies do NOT. And they use that very verse to go out and kill innocent people.

    We get it. You think the Quran is the word of God and you cherrypick verses as “proof” to justify your beliefs that Islam is a peaceful religion. We take the Quran as a whole and see that it is full of contradictions, errors and a whole lotta violence — not to mention any peaceful verse in the Quran can be abrogated with a violent verse that came later. We do not agree on that. Fine.

    The argument at hand is that A) fundies read the Quran literally and use those verses to justify murder and B) moderates are too busy defending their personal interpretation of the religion against outside scrutiny to do a fucking thing about it. There’s plenty of evidence for both — evidence, not opinion. You do no agree with that either. OK. Discussion over.

    You refuse to believe the evidence without giving anything to counter it. That’s fine, but it doesn’t do anything to make a sound argument. No amount of repetition will make your argument work. I highly suggest you drop it, because honestly, the redundancy is boring me to tears. See comment policy about insipidity.

    These links might help:
    http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismatheiststheism/p/HowDebate.htm
    http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismatheiststheism/tp/DebateKillers.htm

    Nor am I interested in knowing more than what I knwo..Religion to me is my personal business..It is between me and mot God..Neither you nor my mom is going to talk for me on the day of judgement..

    Great. So why not go live in a vacuum instead of trying to defend your beliefs here? If none of this matters to you, why argue? I do find it interesting that you say you’re interested in learning — that’s something I never understood about people. Ignorance is bliss, some say, but I can’t get past the word ignorance.

    I’m not really sure why you get the impression that we (and I’m speaking generically for myself and some of the people who comment here) support US foreign policy or the way the US government treats people. Regardless, it’s a red herring. I think what you’re asking is actually diverting from the discussion going on. And there’s a hell of a lot of appeal to pity and a little bit of appeal to consequences of belief in your post. You never explained to us whether you understand what a logical fallacy is, and though I gather you’re not really interested in knowing, I’ll post a link anyway. You can look it up if you feel like it.

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

    It might help you clarify what it is you’re trying to say, because at the moment it’s getting really repetitive and insipid.

    kafirgirl

    September 10, 2008 at 11:30 am

  173. I will now jump to a much more subtle example. If you find something is not clear or you don’t follow the analogy with the above two examples, please ask and I will clarify. In a previous post, you made the argument that, since there are over 1 billion muslims in the world, Islam must be true. Just because many people believe something, does not make it true. For instance, in the past pretty much everyone in the world believed that the world was flat; the were still wrong. This fallacy is known as the ad populi fallacy (Google that for much more information). The fallacy in your argument was immediately pointed out by Kafirgirl.

    Now, that the situation is hopefully clearer. What is your response?

    Phew..Logical fallacy is driving me crazy :roll:

    Yeah,my argument on numbers was not a good one..In fact I didn’t think so complicated as you guys did..Whetever,I am tired of arguing :-) Let us continue in our own beliefs..

    @Kafirgirl,
    ” highly suggest you drop it, because honestly, the redundancy is boring me to tears.”

    Ok..Fine..bye bye…Good day to all……….

    Nimmy

    September 10, 2008 at 12:46 pm

  174. See, secular humanists, but did we ever tell we’re pacifists? Nimmy, we’re the Kufr, we got our own way of doing stuff.

    jasminefrompakistan

    September 10, 2008 at 12:58 pm

  175. That stuff about imagining ure so oppressed and the only way out is to become a suicide bomber is just nonesense. In Pakistan PK Taliban is killing hundreds of people, u think it’s cos they’re oppressed and want democracy. These people, by their own statements want to seize power and oppress others. Suicide bombers don’t believe in democracy, they’re not part of some liberation movement.

    jasminefrompakistan

    September 10, 2008 at 1:10 pm

  176. Lance said:

    I disbelieve because I am a rationalist. My atheism is a by-product of my rationality, as is my afairyism and ahobbitism, which are not belief systems either. I stick by my original assertion.

    Your in good company, that’s the popular view/chant. But per this view children, the mentally challenged and people who have never heard of god are atheists. That’s convenient but I disagree with that view, atheism is the denial of gods, fairyism, hobbitism etc. not lack of belief, knowledge or understanding of them.

    GAD

    September 10, 2008 at 1:21 pm

  177. @Nimmy

    Yeah,my argument on numbers was not a good one..In fact I didn’t think so complicated as you guys did..Whetever,I am tired of arguing :-) Let us continue in our own beliefs..

    Thanks for being honest, Nimmy; you did the right thing. Sometime it’s hard, but highly rewarding. BTW, in this case it is not the complexity of thought that is at issue, rather its clarity.

    Phew..Logical fallacy is driving me crazy :roll:

    That’s too bad. Logical fallacies are only, but very, important if you care about making a coherent sound argument for whatever your position is. Being able to recognize them can also show you when your own position is unsound and needs to be changed. If you do care to pursue this topic further, I second Kafirgirl’s suggested link:

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

    ki

    September 10, 2008 at 1:41 pm

  178. Well said, Jasmine.

    In case anyone is interested in continuing the discussion, Barefoot Bum just made a post about it titled Slippery Slopes. http://barefootbum.com/blog/slippery-slopes

    kafirgirl

    September 10, 2008 at 11:43 pm

  179. In case anyone is interested in continuing the discussion, Barefoot Bum just made a post about it titled Slippery Slopes. http://barefootbum.com/blog/slippery-slopes

    That link doesn’t seem to work – it looks as thought the domain name has expired?

    kics

    September 16, 2008 at 5:11 am


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