……neither should Pakistan. BOTH states were founded after World War II by followers of a specific religion who wanted to establish a society in which that religion would dominate it. Pakistan excluded Hindus and remains a hotbed of Muslim extremism to this day (which is why it was stupid for President Bush Jr. to accept Pakistan as an ally in his “War on Terrorism”, when in fact Osama Bin Ladin was hiding out in Pakistan for years until President Obama finally had him killed). And Israel continues to violate the rights of Palestinians by building and keeping Jewish settlements on the West Bank, thus stealing land the United Nations said was not theirs in 1947. Yet the United States also continues to support Israel, no matter what. Why is Jewish extremism more acceptable than Muslim extremism? Either accept both and the states made from them or condemn both and the states made from them. Not only one or the other, unless you are a religious bigot.
This understanding came to me after reading this:
While other countries are “Muslim” or “Islamic” because they just so happen to have a large Muslim population, Pakistan was founded by Muslims as a Muslim country in rather deliberate fashion.
Likewise, Israel was founded by Jews as a Jewish country in rather deliberate fashion. If one is illegitimate, so is the other. Can you discuss this too?
That isn’t at all part of my focus or within my scope as a blogger. There are plenty of critics of Israel and Zionism who can speak to such matters better than I can.
I understand. My actual point is that I know of no anti-Zionists that also attack Pakistan for its existence as a Muslim state founded to separate its people from mostly Hindu India. Proving that they are more biased towards Islam and against Jews than any just person should be.
As an non-theist, I’m one of those “a plague on both your houses” people that gets it from both sides.
Take a look at this video:
There are several issues here that the video does not address.
First, Islamic immigrants who come to a Western nation tend to be more moderate in their views even upon arrival, and their children and grandchildren may become even more liberal in turn. The only reason why some Muslims may become radicalized later is because they are treated as second-class citizens in a country they were born in because they are Muslim.
Second, immigrants are allowed into a European country because its native population is falling or not growing fast enough already, and such a situation results in workers becoming more valued for their labor, thus labor movements become stronger and workers’ wages will increase, making it harder for business owners to get extremely rich. To counter this, corporations that dominate an industry will seek to increase the workers’ population through encouraging immigration. But doing this means introducing new people with different cultures. And this is a problem? Only for bigots.
Third, European nations seemed to have no problem invading and taking over Islamic parts of the world in the past. In particular, France not only conquered areas like Algeria and Tunisia, it legally made Algeria a part of France, not just a colony, and the Algerians had to fight long and hard to throw off French rule.
Note that immigration of Latinos to the United States is also mentioned in the video. Bigotry against Hispanic culture also fuels immigration restrictions in the USA. Also, the USA conquered and still holds land once controlled by Mexico.
You cannot take in millions of people to lower workers’ value, then turn around and scream about those workers being different from you. That sort of crock needs to be put down.
If you expel the Muslims from Europe, then the workers remaining will demand greater wages because there are fewer of them. Are you prepared to pay them more?
If you keep the Muslims in Europe, then treat them as equals, and accept that your demographics will change.
Also, people raised in Muslim families do not necessarily stay Muslim forever. There are plenty of former Muslims:
Need I also mention that the idea that a culture will die out because its population growth drops and reverses itself is bull$#it? You can have a culture evolving and prospering no matter what the size of the families that make it up. You just pass on that culture to the fewer children you have, period.
For the sake of argument, I define “orthodox” in Islam as including the beliefs common to both the Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, though the Sunnis themselves say only they are orthodox (much like orthodox Christians may be defined as including much more than the denominations called “Orthodox”, including Catholics and most Protestants).
There are several issues in Islam I find contradictory and thus I would never become a Muslim, even if I were to ever believe in a god again.
- Islam is said to be a world religion, appropriate for all peoples of the world to follow. This is absurd because Islam also makes Mecca the city that all Muslims must pray to five times a day and to make a pilgrimage to at least once in their lives. Islam also makes Arabic the default language for the Quran and for Muslim prayers and calls to prayer. Even Roman Catholicism no longer makes Latin the default language for Mass around the world. A truly worldly religion would have NO default language, no one city as the center of prayer and pilgrimage, and would see holiness in all places. We Unitarian Universalists might regard Boston as a place of historical significance to us, but we don’t pray to it!
- Islam is said to be the final religion, the Quran is Allah’s final revelation and Muhammad the last of the Prophets. This contradicts the idea of Allah as an all-knowing, all-powerful, and thus totally sovereign deity. If Allah wills another revelation by a new Prophet, as Baha’is have claimed, it is not for anyone to deny this. The argument that past revelations have been corrupted is pointless, since Islam is still divided into various sects. A truly pure and uncorrupted revelation from Allah would never have allowed this.
- Islam condemns idolatry. Really? Then Muslims should stop regarding the Quran as the Word of Allah. Even official histories of Islam admit that it wasn’t put together until some years after Muhammad’s death. Why didn’t Muhammad himself do this? Also, walking seven times around the Kaaba in Mecca during pilgrimage looks too much like idolatry to me! It’s just a building! Also, see point 1 above.
- Islam teaches that men can have no more than four wives at a time. Then why did Muhammad have nine or ten wives at the time of his death? Muslims should make up their minds; you cannot hold Muhammad as a supreme example of Muslims to follow and then ignore that he himself broke a basic rule of marriage!
Religions as tools for social cohesion are indeed valid reasons for having them, since people are by nature social beings. However, using any religion that has demonstratively false dogmas as that tool is by nature unethical because you are encouraging people to lie to others about reality. It is even worse when you have a government take that religion and use force to make everyone follow it. All this does is make many people into hypocrites who act a certain way in public while privately doubting or denying the religion. This results in greater corruption. It is no coincidence that the ones who often come across as the most moral and are also deeply religious also turn out to be the most hypocritical. I think the reason for this is because their moral values are simply not based on anything real and things that are not based on reality are themselves not real. If you need to believe in the Bible, the Quran, or some other scripture to believe in God, to be moral or function in a social order, then you are actually a dangerous person because you will resort to all sorts of dishonest arguments, claims and assertions to keep your faith. Likewise, getting a government to enforce your religion on everyone merely makes the government dishonest. We shouldn’t tolerate this any more than we should tolerate mob bosses taking over a government.
Thus, Islamic states like those of Saudi Arabia and Iran are contemptible and should be condemned and opposed at every turn, and the concept of Sharia (Islamic law) should be completely thrown out in all societies. They are simply phony by nature!
Christianity is the most popular religion in the world, with about 2 billion followers all over the world. Islam is the second most popular religion, with over a billion followers. Part of the reason Christianity is larger is because it is older, since it is about 2000 years old, as compared with Islam being only 1400 years old.
Another reason Christianity is more popular is because of its association with imperialism. First, it took over the Roman Empire. After the Roman Empire fell in 476 AD, the religion continued as the dominant ideology of the Byzantine Empire, which was a direct offshoot of the Roman one. Later, the Arabs built a vast empire using Islam as their unifying force, challenging the Byzantines. Finally, the Turks, another Islamic power, destroyed the Byzantine Empire.
Then the European powers spread their empires all over the world, taking Christianity with them. Islam remained relatively weak until two things happened to make it more powerful: European imperialism fell apart and oil was discovered in most parts of the Middle East. Suddenly, the Arabs became extremely rich due to their oil revenues, and with that wealth came the ability to spread Islam around the world. But in Europe, Christianity declined as the people became increasingly secular. The tragic events of World War II probably did more to destroy Europeans’ faith than anything else. Today, the USA is the most powerful Christian dominated nation in the world, but it is still secular in its government. And even here, religious influence is slowly declining.
I suspect that within another generation, Islam will surpass Christianity as the most popular world religion, but its power cannot last long, because oil is a nonrenewable resource. And when that oil runs out, the economies of the Middle Eastern states that depend on oil will break down, and so will Islam.
What can freethinkers, atheists, and secular humanists do to overcome this situation? They must do everything possible to end the dependence on oil, and indeed all other fossil fuels, and establish societies based on renewable and sustainable sources of energy such as wind, water, the sun and geothermal sources. Once at least some parts of the world are free from needing resources that are doomed to run out, we will have even less need for religions like Christianity and Islam.
After a brief discussion with a Muslim friend in Facebook about religious tolerance, I noticed she often used the word “revert” in reference to herself and certain other Muslims. I’d never heard of that term before, so I googled the phrase “Muslim reverts”. I then found this:
Revert A person who returns to a religion they previously had; Muslim custom is to apply this term to converts to Islam as well, on the grounds that Islam is the religion that every person was born into, but their parents made them another religion. (Emphasis mine)
Gee, I wonder where that delusion came from. As I stated earlier, I don’t accept that babies are born atheists either.
Some atheists have gone further and asserted that atheism merely means “lacking belief in a god”, but that is illogical since what would follow from that is all newborn babies would therefore be atheist (they are born with NO beliefs at all) and this actually makes the term atheist useless for statistical purposes as well. It is ideologically useful (you can thus argue that atheism is a child’s natural state and thus religious indoctrination violates the child’s “true” nature), but has no empirical foundation.
An empirical case against the idea that a person can be born a Muslim is that babies do not practice any of the five pillars of Islam from birth; they must be taught those rituals by their parents and others.
Why can’t babies just be considered blank slates? Then one could argue that the default religious position of any child would be the religion his parents agree to raise him in. I was raised a Southern Baptist, so that was my default position. I later deconverted from Christianity, joined a Unitarian Universalist church, converted to the Baha’i Faith, and finally reverted to Unitarian Universalism.
But no matter what else I do in my life, my past memberships in both the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baha’i Faith will always be a part of my existence. As I told my Muslim friend: “I will pick fights with Christian extremists, atheist extremists, and even Muslim extremists. That’s because I figured out long ago that religion cannot be about objective truth, but about what fits your soul and identity. Whether there is one God, a billion gods, or no God, we all must live by what we know and can accept. To demand otherwise is to violate the very nature of what it means to be human.”
And to the end of my life, I know that my soul and my identity always will be linked to:
- Agnosticism (my view of God)
- Unitarian Universalism (my religious allegiance)
- and Honorable Skepticism (my ethical philosophy)
NOT ISLAM OR ANY DOGMATIC GOD-CENTERED RELIGION!
Look at this article:
Egyptian reform leader calls for Mubarak to resign
CAIRO – Egypt’s most prominent democracy advocate took up a bullhorn Sunday and called for President Hosni Mubarak to resign, speaking to thousands of protesters who defied a curfew for a third night. Fighter jets streaked low overhead and police returned to the capital’s streets — high-profile displays of authority over a situation spiraling out of control.
Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei’s appearance in Tahrir, or Liberation, Square underscored the jockeying for leadership of the mass protest movement that erupted seemingly out of nowhere in the past week to shake the Arab world’s most populous nation.
Asked if Washington supports Mubarak as Egypt’s leader, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton avoided a direct answer, telling Fox News: “We have been very clear that we want to see a transition to democracy, and we want to see the kind of steps taken that will bring that about.”
The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which wants to establish an Islamist state in Egypt, has made some statements that it was willing to let ElBaradei act as point man for the movement. But it also appeared to be moving for a more prominent role after lying low when the protests first erupted.
On Sunday evening, the presence of overtly pious Muslims in the square was conspicuous, suggesting a significant Brotherhood representation. Hundreds performed the sunset prayers. Veiled women prayed separately.
A senior Brotherhood leader, Essam el-Erian, told The Associated Press he was heading to Tahrir Square to meet with other opposition leaders. El-Erian told an Egyptian TV station that the Brotherhood is ready to contact the army for a dialogue, calling the military “the protector of the nation.”
Clinton suggested there were U.S. concerns over the possibility of the Brotherhood seizing direction of the movement. She warned against a takeover resembling the one in Iran, with a “small group that doesn’t represent the full diversity of Egyptian society” seizing control and imposing its ideological beliefs.
Indeed, if the Muslim Brotherhood does seize control of Egypt, it could easily become just as destructive to Egypt as the Taliban was to Afghanistan before it was overthrown in 2001.
The protesters should be supporting freedom, justice and peace. Any ideology that is based on religious bigotry is the antithesis of these ideals. The people of Iran replaced one tyrant, the Shah, with another, the Ayatollah Khomeini, in 1979, and now Iran’s government is a fraud, supported by rigged and phony elections.
We must also remember that Mubarak’s predecessor, Anwar El Sadat, was assassinated by army members opposed to peace with Israel. Most likely they were similar to the Muslim Brotherhood members in their political views.
I don’t care if one chooses to follow Islam as a personal religion, but I urge Muslims to stop trying to make it the basis of a government!
As critical as I am of the Baha’i Faith, I am equally critical of orthodox Islam, which the Baha’i Faith evolved from. The reason is simple: If you truly believe in an all-powerful and sovereign God, then the very idea that anything, like the Quran, can be the final revelation of God for all time is blasphemy. It is man telling God to be silent forever. So why not become atheist, then? I addressed this before:
A YouTube non-theist and feminist known as ScouseCaspaXS decided to investigate Islam.
….why can’t we also burn Bibles?
Look at this:
Pressure rises on pastor who wants to burn Quran
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The government turned up the pressure Tuesday on the head of a small Florida church who plans to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11, warning him that doing so could endanger U.S. troops and Americans everywhere.
But the Rev. Terry Jones insisted he would go ahead with his plans, despite criticism from the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, the White House and the State Department, as well as a host of religious leaders.
Jones, who is known for posting signs proclaiming that Islam is the devil’s religion, says the Constitution gives him the right to publicly set fire to the book that Muslims consider the word of God.
Gen. David Petraeus warned Tuesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press that “images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence.” It was a rare example of a military commander taking a position on a domestic political matter.
Jones responded that he is also concerned but is “wondering, ‘When do we stop?’” He refused to cancel the protest set for Saturday at his Dove World Outreach Center, a church that espouses an anti-Islam philosophy.
“How much do we back down? How many times do we back down?” Jones told the AP. “Instead of us backing down, maybe it’s to time to stand up. Maybe it’s time to send a message to radical Islam that we will not tolerate their behavior.”
But atheists say that Christianity is just as corrupt, abusive, and bogus as Islam. Therefore, if this Christian pastor wants to burn the Islamic holy book, then atheists should feel just as free to burn the Bible, the holy book of the pastor’s religion. What goes around, comes around.
Of course, it would be better to burn no books at all. Not even Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Studying the books’ contents and refuting their claims is always better.
My response to it is as follows.
First, the Quran was not revealed in one piece, but in bits and pieces over several decades and was not even assembled in its final form until some years after the passing of the Prophet Muhammad. Thus we need not assume it is totally accurate in its statements. See these earlier blog entries:
Second, who is to say that Muslims have to assume that the “later” verses of the Quran that teach intolerance for non-Muslims have abrogated the “earlier” ones that preach tolerance? Only those who either want to promote Islamic extremism or those who want to destroy Islam itself. Ironic, that these two factions would have that in common, even while opposing each other as well as moderates among both Muslims and non-Muslims. This alone shows the absurdity of their positions. Also, who says we have to follow every detail of the barbaric Sharia law when adopting Islam? Shouldn’t it be enough to simply follow the Five Pillars of Islam?
- Proclaim publicly, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet.”
- Pray five times daily.
- Give alms to the poor.
- Fast during the daytime at the month of Ramadan.
- Make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in your lifetime.
Anything beyond that seems irrelevant. Sharia Law seems to be a man-made addition to the original Islam. If it is indeed from Allah, why do Muslims leaders specify only Five Pillars and not more? These Five Pillars certainly do NOT imply attempts to subvert and destroy other religions and secular societies.
Third, if Muslims are allowed to lie in order to spread Islam, isn’t that a logical reason to conclude that Islam itself is full of lies and thus not worth following by anyone? One must wonder if Christians and followers of other faiths pull the same sort of stunts. See this:
The references to the Quran that are supposed to be so shocking are not specified in the video above. So where are they and what do they really say? Until those are revealed, that video should be held as skeptically as Islam itself may be.
The notorious VenomFangX finally came to his senses and left YouTube for good, but there are other deranged religious extremists out there that are just as horrible and rediculous. Case in point, this absurdity:
It’s not just anti-evolution, like most fundamentalist Christians would be, but vehemently anti-Catholic too. And it is obsessed with hell also. It looks like a YouTube version of Jack T. Chick’s publications.
This is an open letter to all those who profess the Islamic religion, including some that may be friends of mine.
Do you REALLY beleive in Allah, who is described throughout the Quran as ”the Merciful” as well as “Forgiving”? It seems that many of your comrades in faith do not and merely use His name to destroy people’s lives and freedom!
I have not forgotten how some of you threatened the life of Salman Rushdie in 1989 for writing his novel The Satanic Verses. Did it ever occur to you that if Allah really found what he did to be that offensive, he would have struck down Rushdie Himself? The fact that He never did is evidence to me that either Allah could not do it (why worship such a weak god?) , or that he didn’t see fit to (why do yourselves what He would not?). In short, Allah willed the act of “blasphemy”. So why not condemn Him too? Why is your faith in Allah so weak, that you deem yourselves to be more of a judge of what is worthy of death than Allah Himself? Note that the one who passed the death sentence on Rushdie with a fatwa, Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, died soon afterwards, while Rushdie still lives today! It seems clear that it was Khomeini who was the blasphemer, not Rushdie!
Do not be so foolish as to make anyone or anything, including the religion of Islam and the deeds and words of the Prophet Muhammad, above criticism! Remember that Muhammad himself strongly criticised the Jewish and Christian religions, even while stating that their followers were “People of the Book”. Likewise, allowing criticism of Islam in public is in keeping with the verse in the Quran that declares: “There is no compulsion in religion.” (Sura 2:256). How can there be no compulsion in religion if you threaten critics of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad with death, you hypocrites!?
Islam is not superior to any other religion. If you think otherwise, then why would Allah will the existence of other faiths? Why is Christianity still the most popular religion at nearly two billion followers? Is it not possible that Muhammad intended Islam for Arabs only rather than for all the peoples of the world? Why insist on one truth for the whole world when science cannot even find the existence of Allah anywhere, let alone the dogmas of Islam?
The Quran is but a book, revealed by Muhammad. To say that it is equal to Allah himself is blasphemy, yet I always get the impression that you seem to think every word of the Quran should be beleived in and obeyed absolutely. NO! Don’t you know that the Quran was not even completely assembled until several years after the death of Muhammad? How can we be sure all of it is accurately transcribed and really from the Prophet?
I am disgusted by the practice of older Muslim men marrying girls as young as 12 and making them fall pregnant. What a violation of the girls’ dignity! Yes, I know Muhammad married a nine-year old girl. I also know that he and Aisha never had children, so it is possible that the marriage was never consummated. I’d rather beleive that than assume that he was a pedophile, as some have alledged! In any case, are you forgetting that the Prophet was a man and not to be seen as equal with Allah himself? Why assume that if Muhammad did something 1400 years ago, it must be right to do even today? Have you no minds of your own? If you are given brains by Allah and do not use them to determine truth from falsehood and morality from what is immoral, those brains are wasted and thus Allah is dishonored. If your only sources of truth and morality is Islam and the actions of Prophet Muhammad, what will you do if it is revealed to you on the Day of Judgement that Muhammad was not a Prophet at all? Honorable Skeptics like myself don’t worry about that, because we have morals that do not depend on any faith.
It is said among Muslims, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his Prophet.” But an atheist would say, “There is no god and Muhmmad was no prophet.” If a Muslim denies Hinduism, the Baha’i Faith and atheism, why can’t the atheist and the Hindu deny Islam (the Baha’i would not; all Baha’is see Muhammad as a Prophet)?
How dare you claim Islam is Allah’s final religion! Why put any limits on the Word of Allah? Why tell him to be silent and speak no more? Isn’t that also blasphemy? I think so!
Remember what the Quran also says, in Sura 109: “Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.” Follow THAT, and you will follow the example of Allah, who is Merciful.
There are four religions in the world that are classed as “Abrahamic”, being descended from the original work of Abraham. Abraham himself left no writings of his own and he may have been only legendary, as much as Greek myths are thought to be. He founded no religion that survives today.
Judaism: Considered to have been founded by Moses. He was credited with writing the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), but this is incorrect; He may have written the laws detailed in the Torah, but not the Torah itself, since his death is recorded at the end of it and it is implied that it was made several centuries after Moses’ time. So the foundation of this religion is uncertain.
Christianity: Considered to have been founded by Jesus, but he himself wrote nothing that we have and the stories and quotations of him are entirely second-hand. In addition, most Christian doctrine was formulated by Paul, who was not even an original desciple of Jesus, but joined the Christians later after being their enemy. Thus the foundation of this religion is highly uncertain.
Islam: Founded by the Prophet Muhammad. He was said to be illiterate, and dictated most of the Quran to various scribes rather than write it directly. It wasn’t until after his death that the Quran was assembled in its final form, and it was not assembled in chronological order.
The Baha’i Faith: Baha’u'llah, the founder of this religion, is said to have written his own books. But he too relied on personal secretaries to do most of this, including Mirza Aqa Jan, who later would be condemned as a “Covenant-breaker” for opposing Abdu’l-Baha, the son and immediate successor of Baha’u'llah.
The credibilility of the Baha’i Faith is dependent on Islam, the credibility of Islam is dependent on Christianity, and the credibility of Christianity is dependent on Judaism. Yet all these religions also claim that the earlier ones were corrupted over time, making the new ones necessary. Does this make sense? What if all four religions were flawed from the beginning, because their means of recording their teachings were flawed? Their founders could have written and edited their writings all by themselves and not allowed others to make unauthorized editions after their time. Thus any possible errors or contradictions in those teachings would have been prevented. Outsiders could have been prevented from polluting the original faith with foreign concepts. Disputes between followers could have been settled without assuming blindly that the leadership was never to be questioned and that others could “agree to disagree” without being treated as traitors.
None of these were done, except by the most liberal branches of these faiths, and thus they have been sources of tyranny and ignorance rather than liberty and enlightenment. And as this essay shows, there is really no reason for ANYONE to be certain that any of them are absolutely true, especially since modern science has completely debunked the creation myth that was said to be the very root of all of them.
I just found a blog that is so outlandish in its statements that I question the blogger’s mental state.
A decade ago, I was a member of a religion known as the Baha’i Faith. This religion teaches that God is called by various names but is still the same all over the world, that all religions teach the same basic message, and that humanity is one and is destined to unite under the banner of the Baha’i Faith in a new age of peace and unity.
2000 years ago, Jesus warned his early followers: “Not everyone who calls to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do my Father’s will may enter. On the Judgement Day many will say to me, ‘Lord, didn’t we prophesy, cast out demons, and do many miracles in your name?’ But I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you that do evil!’ ” (Matthew 7:21-23)
I would suggest that the thing which will condemn someone to hell, even though they profess to believe in Jesus, will be the person’s placing the Bible above God Himself. Fundamentalists have claimed for over a century that the Bible is the Word of God and is therefore infallible. This claim has no support whatsoever. Attempts to support it by references to the Bible are circular reasoning. Only God Himself should ever be seen as infallible, and since we have no direct contact with Him, we have nothing that may be considered infallible. The Bible, the Quran, and other religious books may be inspired by faith in God, but they are still human products, and are thus prone to error like all other human products. The Quran itself condemns the tendency of man to make partners with Allah, so should it be acceptable for any Muslim to make the Quran a partner with Allah?
In this physical world, there is NOTHING and NO ONE that may rightfully be called infallible!