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Offline Quesi

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Ramadan Blog
« on: July 22, 2012, 11:17:31 AM »
I think I have a higher tolerance than most atheists here for progressive, mainstream theists.  A huge percentage of my friends, extended family, professional colleagues, neighbors and community, ascribe to one of the world’s major religions.  I don’t really (personally) know the “god hates fags” Christians or the “women are their husband’s property” Muslims or the “god wants us to be in Israel so badly that he wants us to kill Palestinians” Jews.  Most of the religious peoples in my life share my value systems on many levels.

I have really mixed feelings about the role of Muslims in society.  I think that vast majority of Abrahamic teachings are contrary to the values that I embrace.  But most of the Muslims I know don’t embrace the really nasty stuff (stone rape victims to death, be prepared to sacrifice you kid if god asks you to, death to those who work on the Sabbath) any more than most of the Christians I know.   They cherry pick the good stuff, and live their lives and raise their families and care about their communities in a way that is very similar to the way I live my life. 

Much of the media portrayal of Muslims disturbs me a great deal.  My Muslim friends and neighbors and colleagues do not fit the terrifying image of plotting terrorists any more than my Christian friends fit the terrifying image of Jesus Camp loonies. 

And so I find myself defending Muslims a lot.  Even in environments like this one.

Ramadan falls during a really tough time (in the northern hemisphere) this year. I’m going to be especially vigilant during the long, hot days, watching so many people fasting, and even refraining from drinking water during the hours of sunlight.  In spite of the fact that I will want to scream “take care of yourself!!!” when I see lightheaded fasters in the street, I won’t.  But I’ll help anyone who looks like he or she is having trouble walking, or is dizzy or disoriented.

And I’m going to be following a very interesting Ramadan reflections blog that the Huffington Post is publishing.  I don’t know the author, but he sounds like the sort of person I could know, and the sort of person whose company I would enjoy.

So I thought I would share  Ramadan Reflection Day 3: Considering Marriage, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/post_3681_b_1692546.html with the forum. 

If anyone else is interesting in following the blog with me, and discussing it, I would enjoy the discussion.   
 

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2012, 11:56:49 AM »
But most of the Muslims I know don’t embrace the really nasty stuff (stone rape victims to death, be prepared to sacrifice you kid if god asks you to, death to those who work on the Sabbath) any more than most of the Christians I know.

How do you really know that? Considering the Islamic policy of Al-taqiyya, which allows Muslims to lie to further the cause of Islam. They are encouraged to lie to make Islam more appealing to converts. They are encouraged to lie about their policy of killing infidels and apostates. They will tell you to your face that they are against it. It's possible that some are, though I personally doubt it. How can you tell if they are sincere when their holy book tells them to lie about it?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2012, 11:59:55 AM by joebbowers »
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2012, 11:58:44 AM »
I don't much like the idea of Ramadan, nor its Christian equivalent, Lent. The purpose of both is to give the fortunate a taste of what life is like for the unfortunate.

About 30 years ago, I was invited into a fundamentalist Muslim house during Ramadan. Obviously, I was not Muslim and the owner offered me food and drink. As he left to fetch orange juice and a biscuit or three, I found myself reading the Rules of Ramadan printed in English, Bengali and Arabic. Every dietary restriction was laid out in detail, together will all the others. How you can brush your teeth but you must not swallow any of the rinsing water of toothpaste froth, etc. There was also a section on sexual rules; If I can find the rules, I will post them.

I compared it to Lent in which some essential part of your life should be foregone and, as my kind host returned, I realised that the point of both Festivals, although well-intentioned, was ineffective. The rich and poor are free to sleep under bridges, the only difference is that the poor have to and the rich can do it and stop doing it when they wish - So with this sort of thing: it makes the rich and faithful feel holy; feel as if they understand the poor; feel that they know suffering, and yet they do not.

Lent and Ramadan are festivals in isolation and once past, are not memorable, nor had the lesson been learned. If it had been learned, you would only have to do it once or twice in your life. 

I'm sure that it is filled with good intention, but so is the pathway to hell.

I don't think I will be following the blog, (i) it all seems as valuable as reading about someone who is studying Teletubbie Anatomy  and making it sound like a worthwhile occupation. (ii) Like all things, as an opinion piece, it would be as good and nothing would be lost, if all reference to God were removed.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2012, 12:04:05 PM »
I compared it to Lent in which some essential part of your life should be foregone and, as my kind host returned, I realised that the point of both Festivals, although well-intentioned, was ineffective. The rich and poor are free to sleep under bridges, the only difference is that the poor have to and the rich can do it and stop doing it when they wish - So with this sort of thing: it makes the rich and faithful feel holy; feel as if they understand the poor; feel that they know suffering, and yet they do not.

Not to mention they only fast during the day. Every night is a feast and they typically eat more during Ramalamadingdong than the rest of the year. Like Catholics giving up meat on Fridays pig out at seafood buffets.
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2012, 12:06:11 PM »
But most of the Muslims I know don’t embrace the really nasty stuff (stone rape victims to death, be prepared to sacrifice you kid if god asks you to, death to those who work on the Sabbath) any more than most of the Christians I know.

How do you really know that? Considering the Islamic policy of Al-taqiyya, which allows Muslims to lie to further the cause of Islam. They are encouraged to lie to make Islam more appealing to converts. They are encouraged to lie about their policy of killing infidels and apostates. They will tell you to your face that they are against it. It's possible that some are, but how can you tell if they are sincere when their holy book tells them to lie about it?
I applaud you sir! A bravura display of blind prejudice and stereotypical belief!

They are all the same these rag-heads, aren't they! Put a bomb under your car and chop your hands off without a second thought! They’ve all got 10 wives you know and they keep them locked up! And have you seen what they do to goats? - Ha! No wonder all the men have beards - it can't be a coincience.

Yeah! That’s it! Bomb ‘em all, then they will become reasonable…

I will keep you in mind and if I see a more prejudiced post, I will inform you, but don’t expect anything real soon.

In the meantime, Quesi is perfectly correct.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Traveler

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2012, 12:09:29 PM »
I just read the blog, and fyi, Graybeard, it was not really about Ramadan or being Muslim. It was about marriage and his feeling about women's rights, and about finding someone who is a good fit for you instead of trying to shoehorn a woman into any particular role. I agreed with your post when I first read it, assuming the blog was a purely religious blog, and having only so much time to devote to reading each day, I was going to choose to give this one a miss. I chose to read one, just to see. And I'm glad I did. His observations could just as easily be made by a christian, or any number of people living in a society that still has some preconceived notions about women. He seems a relatively enlightened man (absent the religion, of course) but he lives in a society where many are not. Not a bad read at all.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2012, 12:13:41 PM »
I just read the blog, and fyi, Graybeard, it was not really about Ramadan or being Muslim.
Yes, I may have strayed too far towards the Ramadan aspect, rather than one of the inextricably linked purposes of Ramadan - Reflection. As far as the latter goes, yes, I did make you wait until the final lines to write
Quote
I don't think I will be following the blog, (i) it all seems as valuable as reading about someone who is studying Teletubbie Anatomy  and making it sound like a worthwhile occupation. (ii) Like all things, as an opinion piece, it would be as good and nothing would be lost, if all reference to God were removed.
I should have edited it and pasted that as the first lines.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2012, 12:14:16 PM »
Smite me all you want, Graybeard. Your sarcasm doesn't hide the fact that you didn't answer the question.
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2012, 12:14:39 PM »
BM
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Offline Timo

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2012, 12:52:24 PM »
How do you really know that? Considering the Islamic policy of Al-taqiyya, which allows Muslims to lie to further the cause of Islam. They are encouraged to lie to make Islam more appealing to converts. They are encouraged to lie about their policy of killing infidels and apostates. They will tell you to your face that they are against it. It's possible that some are, though I personally doubt it. How can you tell if they are sincere when their holy book tells them to lie about it?

The only version of taqiyya I've ever heard of is the one that holds that Muslims can deny that they are Muslims if they are under the threat of persecution.  In other words, unlike the early Christians, there was no expectation that faithful Muslims should be martyred for their beliefs.  I don't think that it really even applies to Muslims living in the West.

Where are you getting your information?
Nah son...

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2012, 01:36:56 PM »
But most of the Muslims I know don’t embrace the really nasty stuff (stone rape victims to death, be prepared to sacrifice you kid if god asks you to, death to those who work on the Sabbath) any more than most of the Christians I know.

How do you really know that? Considering the Islamic policy of Al-taqiyya, which allows Muslims to lie to further the cause of Islam. They are encouraged to lie to make Islam more appealing to converts. They are encouraged to lie about their policy of killing infidels and apostates. They will tell you to your face that they are against it. It's possible that some are, though I personally doubt it. How can you tell if they are sincere when their holy book tells them to lie about it?

You can't know for certain if anybody's being dishonest to you, unless you're able to confirm the facts yourself. Regardless of any principles associated with their religion (because not every religious person follows every principle), it's really a question of an individual's beliefs. Generally you learn to trust people and trust that they are being honest. They're innocent until proven guilty, if somebody betrays your trust, then it will take a lot of work to earn it, assuming it's possible for them to do so.

I don't think I should be so worried about judging somebody based on what other people do, I'd rather judge them by their own merits.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2012, 07:55:06 PM »
How can you tell if they are sincere when their holy book tells them to lie about it?
Smite me all you want, Graybeard. Your sarcasm doesn't hide the fact that you didn't answer the question.
You see to think that I might believe that someone with ingrained prejudice and given to stereotyping might appreciate an answer might be considered a little unrealistic. You seem to think that you can preface your questions by something pulled out of your arse and expect a sensible answer.

You think I should do your thinking for you and then, when you are disappointed, you still refuse to do any work yourself.

Go back and look at your question: the answer is obvious is it not?

Let me ask you a question by way of a hint, “How can you tell when anyone is sincere?” When you answer that question, you will have answered your own question.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Quesi

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2012, 08:35:55 PM »
Thank you Greybeard, for addressing Joe’s questions.  I greatly appreciate being relieved of that responsibility. 

I also really enjoyed your analysis of both Ramadan and Lent as ineffective attempts to better identify with the poor.  I don’t think that I had ever made that connection. 

Timo, I would be interested in hearing an answer to your question about sources of information, but I’m not holding my breath. 

Seppuku, I agree about judging people on their own merit.  Which is one of the reasons I started this thread.   This man sounds much more like the Muslims I know in my life, than the portrayal of Muslims that I usually see in the media. 

Traveler, I’m delighted that you enjoyed the article.  Although his religious beliefs clearly play a central role in his life, his value systems, and his wife’s social priorities are very similar to mine.  His wife is clearly a powerhouse, and their relationship is so far from the frequent portrayal of Muslim women as subservient to their husbands.  But their relationship is not unlike the reality that I have seen among the Muslim families in my community, in which smart, independent, capable women become advocates for causes they are passionate about. 

Let’s see what insights tomorrow’s blog brings. 

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2012, 11:12:24 PM »
How do you really know that? Considering the Islamic policy of Al-taqiyya, which allows Muslims to lie to further the cause of Islam. They are encouraged to lie to make Islam more appealing to converts. They are encouraged to lie about their policy of killing infidels and apostates. They will tell you to your face that they are against it. It's possible that some are, though I personally doubt it. How can you tell if they are sincere when their holy book tells them to lie about it?

The only version of taqiyya I've ever heard of is the one that holds that Muslims can deny that they are Muslims if they are under the threat of persecution.  In other words, unlike the early Christians, there was no expectation that faithful Muslims should be martyred for their beliefs.  I don't think that it really even applies to Muslims living in the West.

Where are you getting your information?

My understanding is that lying to protect oneself is only applicable to Shia Muslims. They are also the ones that allow temporary marriage. Four months, four days or four hours. Wink wink. ;)

Re: Ramadan.

One of my favorite students is a young Somali woman. She is a highly intelligent and very pretty girl with a great sense of humor.[1] She was casual about her faith until she went to live with relatives in Europe. There she decided to wear the full hijab cover (not the face veil, however) and to try to follow the Five Pillars, including the Ramadan fast.

In the US she stands out because of the cover, and her unexpected outspokenness. I have been counseling her to go to law school and do immigration law for her community. Anyway, she drank a Starbucks latte every day and told me giving that up was the hardest part of Ramadan: "Girl, I'm gonna die without my latte."  ;D
 1. She told me that her career goal is to marry into the royal family in Dubai...
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

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Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2012, 12:06:57 AM »
Before I deployed to SWA for Desert Storm we were given all kinds of warnings on behaviors that the Muslims/Saudis/Iraqis would find offensive and us women especially were warned that our presence in general was offensive.  While I was working in a refugee camp myself and some other soldiers were telling some of the Iraqis who spoke English about some of the warnings we were given.  They cracked up laughing about most of them, they were either super-archaic, exaggerated or just wrong. And I was not treated rudely, coldly or inappropriately by any of the men I came in contact with.  They seemed more curious than anything. But they probably didn't see the likes of me very often (blond, very light skinned, nearly 6' tall in all my combat crap)
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2012, 01:34:55 AM »
^ ...  ...  ...oh sorry, what was I going to say?

Oh yeah... I work at a place with a great number of all kinds of folks, muslims included.  They work side by side their female coworkers, take direction from their female supervisors and so on.  In the entire time I've worked here, I've never heard complaints, either from muslims or those that work with them.

Add to this that I don't know any self-professed atheists, so I must assume that the majority of people I know are either xian or some other faith.  They're much like me.  We never talk about religion, and if we do talk about the meaning of life or god, they usually reveal a very liberal attitude towards their faith.  There are a few exceptions, but most seem to be this way.

Nevertheless, LoriPinkAngel's experience is a bit surprising and heartening as well.  I tend to think that my circle of acquaintances is formed by some form of selection bias which accounts for the lack of crackpots and lunatics around me, but Lori served in the supposed home of such people and reports behavior we would expect in any far away place, rather than a hotbed of radicalism and terrorism.  Very interesting.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2012, 11:18:20 AM »
The only version of taqiyya I've ever heard of is the one that holds that Muslims can deny that they are Muslims if they are under the threat of persecution.  In other words, unlike the early Christians, there was no expectation that faithful Muslims should be martyred for their beliefs.  I don't think that it really even applies to Muslims living in the West.

Where are you getting your information?

It's fairly common knowledge for anyone who has studied Islam. There is a good and well-sourced article on Wikiislam.com

From the article:

Quote
Islam is the only world religion which allows, encourages, and even demands[1] lying by its followers. Lying for Islam is generally referred to as Taqiyya (???). Many Muslims will claim that this is not an Islamic, but a Shi'ite practice. Unfortunately, this is a lie. There are many verses in the Qur'an which condone lying and deception,[2][3][4] and several classical and contemporary Sunni scholars have validated its place within main-stream Islam.[5][6] In the inquisition mi?na during the Caliphate of al-Ma’mun, a number of Sunni scholars used taqiyya, attesting to the Qur’an as having been created despite believing the opposite.[7] Given these facts, some will go on to attack the strict definition of Taqiyya and claim that it is “only allowed to save one's own life” or that its "restricted to its use in war". Again, these statements are false. In sahih (authentic) hadith, Muhammad admits to being a liar[8] and advises its acceptable for Muslims to do likewise,[9] allowing his followers to use deception to silence critics.[10] One of the 99 "holy names" of the Islamic deity is Al-Makir (the Deceiver),[11] and in the Qur'an Allah refers to himself as the 'best deceiver',[12][13][14][15][16] and admits to deceiving Muslims[17] and creating Christianity through deception.[18] With all things considered, the simple fact is Islamic teachings as a whole breed dishonesty like no other religion and even elevates it to a holy status.


http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Islam_and_Propaganda#Lying_is_Permitted_to_Further_the_Cause_of_Islam

For those of you who think you have Muslim friends, Koran 3:28 tells Muslims not to take those outside the faith as friends, unless it is to “guard themselves.”

It's not politically correct to say anything bad about Islam, and their propaganda and brain-washing have been quite effective. They are gaining more converts and power, and forcing their will on more people everyday, yet we continue to apologize for them and we're afraid of offending them. Even on a forum dedicated to atheism which often discusses the dangers and atrocities of religion, I get scorned for saying something negative about Islam. That's how effective their propaganda campaign has been.

You don't have to believe me, you can do a search for taqiyya yourselves.

All religions come from the desert, but only Islam creates them. Keep your guard up or your wives will be fitted for a hijab before you know it.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 11:30:12 AM by joebbowers »
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2012, 11:43:29 AM »
Thank you for your link, Joe.  I'd never seen wiki/islam before.  It is clearly an excellent source of well-researched and unbiased information. 

I think it offers a balanced view on various historical and cultural issues, and shows no fundamentalist Christian bias whatsoever.  Here is an article from the site that you might enjoy, Joe.  None.

Yes. Muhammad was undoubtedly a pedophile.

One of the most disturbing things about Islam is that it does not categorically condemn pedophilia. Indeed, it cannot, for to do so would draw attention to the pedophilia of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Muslims cannot categorically condemn pedophilia without denouncing him as a false prophet. In addition to Aisha, he had planned to marry a baby, but died as a result of a poisoning before he could do so.


http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Was_Muhammad_a_Pedophile%3F

Or maybe just a little bit of fundamentalist Christian bias. 

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2012, 12:04:14 PM »
Mohammad consumated his marriage to his wife when she was 9. He was a pedophile.

Maybe the information in Wikiislam seems anti-Islamic because the truth is that Islam is horrible.
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Offline Quesi

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2012, 06:36:04 PM »
I enjoyed today's post less than yesterday's.  But I thought I would share it anyway.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-day-4-sustaining-the-experience_b_1694271.html

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2012, 07:40:27 PM »
Quote from: Joebbowers
It's not politically correct to say anything bad about Islam, and their propaganda and brain-washing have been quite effective. They are gaining more converts and power, and forcing their will on more people everyday, yet we continue to apologize for them and we're afraid of offending them. Even on a forum dedicated to atheism which often discusses the dangers and atrocities of religion, I get scorned for saying something negative about Islam. That's how effective their propaganda campaign has been.

Islam has come under fire on these forums. Not as much as Christianity, but the site is dedicated to Christianity. We've had Muslims before and we've gone into as much depth as we possibly could. What you're saying about Aisha (the nine year old wife) is true, we did some quote digger with a previous Muslim and we challenged them on that. I can't remember the exact response, but naturally they tried denying it. I remember AFadly, now he was a nightmare and despicable as far as Muslims go. He even believed that it's okay for Muslims to rape non-Muslim women. Saying that, I do miss him, it was fun destroying his arguments, he was one of my early experiences of the forum. :) Maybe I'm looking back with rose-tinted glasses because I do remember finding him really frustrating.

I don't think you're being scorned for saying something negative about Islam. It's implying that you can't trust Muslims because of this one teaching. Granted, there's probably some Muslims who abide by that teaching as you describe it. But if we know ANYTHING from our discussions with Christians is that religious folk are good at pick and choosing. How would you know a Muslim isn't deceiving you? If they're good at it, then it'll be difficult, but it's the same with anybody. I mean how many liars for Christ do we see? Also, how many honest Christians do we seem to see?

Generally a trust is formed when you get to know somebody, if they betray that trust it's hard for them to earn it back. If I find somebody is deceiving me, I'll have a problem with it, but I'm not going to be paranoid that I can't trust any Muslims because they might believe it's okay to liar for Allah as to try and win me over. Generally I find it's better to accept the term, "innocent until proven guilty", otherwise I might just be paranoid of everybody out there. Even paedophiles trying to raise kids. I would put aside trying to judge people as a group and understand them on an individual basis. But it is often harder to do that and I think maybe many of us are lazy in this respect. If you try to wipe people with the same brush then you will end up with prejudiced judgements about a person. Yes, you can't determine a person's honesty with absolute certain.

You can't even determine that I'm absolutely honest, I probably give that image as I've never been smited for being dishonest, for dodging or trying to distort and I perceive myself as not trying to do such things. It could also be I am a true Iago (if you've ever read Othello), you only think me honest, but I could be the most deceptive person in the room and trying to use my image of honesty to influence others, after all, it's what Iago did. In the end I could try and kill HAL to get revenge. Maybe I am a theist he previously hurt and getting close to him just so I can strike once I've got all the necessary dirt to do so. He likes model railways, so that's definitely ammunition.

Point is, anybody out there could believe it's okay to be deceptive and we would know because they're being so good at being deceptive. But it doesn't necessarily mean those who seem most honest aren't. Or maybe I'm a secret Muslim trying to convince you that we're not all bad.  :P
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 09:12:08 PM by Seppuku »
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2012, 08:13:13 PM »
I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again. 

I really don’t see much difference between Christianity and Islam.

Sure, there are fringe lunatic Christians and fringe lunatic Muslims.  But most Christians and most Muslims go about their lives and work hard and worry about money and hope their kids do well in school and have family feasts at holidays.

Both Christians and Muslims (and Jews) love the Ten Commandments.  They disagree on which day is the Sabbath, and Muslims take the “engraven images” stuff much more seriously.  But they claim that they don’t like stealing or killing, and mostly they don’t.  Unless they get to be CEO’s of corporations or oil barrens or join the military.

Most Muslims teach their kids to pray and bow to Mecca.  Most Christians teach their kids to kneel by their bedsides and pray to god to take their souls in the event they die in their sleep.

Both Christians and Muslims believe that Noah put a bunch of animals on an ark and saved all life on the planet.  Or they believe it is a metaphor.  And they believe that Lot’s wife looked back to Sodom and turned into a pillar of salt.  Or that it is a parable.  And they believe that god was really merciful when he told Abraham he could kill a goat instead of killing his son.  Muslims think it was his first son, Christians think it was the second son.  For the life of me, I cannot begin to understand why anyone things this is a story that represents a god that they would want to worship.  But a huge percentage of humanity do. 

Greybeard pointed out the similarities between Ramadan and Lent.  Muslims are really into charity.  Christians are more obsessed with sin.  Both groups believe that god listens to their prayers.  Both groups have adherents who waiver between a god who has set out their destiny, and a god who has given them free will. 

Muslims and Christians think that Jesus was born to a virgin mother.   Christians think he died on the cross and then came back to life.  Muslims think he ascended into heaven directly.  Both Christians and Muslims believe that the morals contained in their holy books were given to them by god, and most Christians and most Muslims believe that in the absence of their holy books, there would be no morality. 

Most Muslims and most Christians strive to be moral people.  The cite their holy books as the sources of their morality, but they cherry pick their scriptures, and mostly don’t like stoning women to death for adultery or bringing disobedient sons to the town elders to be stoned to death.  Mostly they hope their marriages are strong, that their kids become accomplished, happy human beings, and that all of their loved ones live long, productive lives. 
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 08:15:22 PM by Quesi »

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2012, 10:04:31 PM »
You don't see a difference between Christians and Muslims? Ok let me ask you this, how many developed nations are predominantly Muslim? How many developed nations are predominantly Christian? How many of the world's best universities are in those countries? How do the crime rates of those nations compare? How do women's rights in those countries compare? How about gay rights, or the right to choose your religion?

This is not individual extremists giving Islam a bad name, but entire nations of Muslims showing us how Islam at it's core is a rotten, violent, intolerant religion.
"Do you see a problem with insisting that the normal ways in which you determine fact from fiction is something you have to turn off in order to maintain the belief in God?" - JeffPT

Offline Quesi

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2012, 11:00:17 PM »
You don't see a difference between Christians and Muslims? Ok let me ask you this, how many developed nations are predominantly Muslim? How many developed nations are predominantly Christian? How many of the world's best universities are in those countries? How do the crime rates of those nations compare? How do women's rights in those countries compare? How about gay rights, or the right to choose your religion?


Well that is a baffling set of questions.  Are you suggesting a correlation between Christianity and "developed nations?"  Between Christianity and crime rates?  Between Christianity and education?

Gay rights are abysmal in most in most Islamic theocracies.  But in my neighborhood, my openly gay City Councilperson enjoys strong support from his large Muslim constituency.  Women's rights are also pretty limited in most Muslim theocracies.  I don't think I would be very happy living in Saudi Arabia.  But I don't think I would be very happy living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo either.

I'll google some data for you tomorrow Joe, because I need to go to sleep. 

But if you are up for a googling project, why don't you make a list of Muslim women who have been heads of state in say... the past 20 years.  And compare that number to the number of Christian women who have been heads of state in the past 20 years.  And then you can do some mathematical calculations about the percentage of predominantly Muslim countries that have had women heads of state, and the number of predominantly Christian countries that have had women heads of state. 

Offline Timo

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2012, 12:57:02 AM »
Joe, I tried to have an open mind about your source, but picking through some of their citations, I have a hard time seeing this site as some sort of unbiased authority.  Let me just go through a few.

Alright, so they start off with this:

Quote from: wikiislam
Islam is the only world religion which allows, encourages, and even demands lying by its followers.

To back this claim up, they cite a text called Reliance of the Traveller.  Right off the bat, they're making a mistake.  According to the wikipedia entry, this is not exactly something that Muslims in general find authoritative.  It represents the thinking of one school of thought within one legal tradition within Sunni Islam, Shafi'i.  Anyway, the bit they cite from the manual is this:

it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (N:i.e. when the purpose of lying is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory..

This is actually kind of misleading.  When read in context, the offending passage seems a bit more reasonable than they're making it out to be:

This is an explicit statement that lying is sometimes permissible for a given interest, scholars having
established criteria defining what types of it are lawful. The best analysis of it I have seen is by Imam
Ghazali. If something is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish it
through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by
telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (N:i.e. when the purpose of lying
is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if
the goal is obligatory.
When for example one is concealing a muslim from an oppressor who asks where he
is, it is obligatory to lie about his being hidden. Or when a person deposits an article with one for
safekeeping and an oppressor wanting to appropriate it inquires about it, it is obligatory to lie about having
concealed it, for if one informs him about the article and he then siezes it, one is financially liable(A:to
the owner)to cover the article's cost.


I really don't see what the problem with this is supposed to be.

In any case, their claim that Islam is the only religion in which this sort of thing is considered permissible reflects either bias on wikiislam's part, poor research or both.  For example, in the book of Joshua (chapter 2) Rehab is depicted as heroic for hiding some Israelite spies and claiming not to know their whereabouts.  (Which is not unlike the example the manual uses.)  For this, she and her family are spared when the Israelites take the land.  This would seem to be an example of permissible lying in a text considered sacred to both Jews and to Christians.  Indeed, in the New Testament (James 2:25) she is used as an example of how one can be "justified" by their good works.

Moving on:

Quote from: wikiislam
Lying for Islam is generally referred to as Taqiyya (???). Many Muslims will claim that this is not an Islamic, but a Shi'ite practice. Unfortunately, this is a lie. There are many verses in the Qur'an which condone lying and deception

To begin with, as nogodsforme pointed out, taqiyya is indeed mostly associated with Shia Islam.[1]  It's also a more narrow idea than lying for Islam.  It's lying about one's faith to avoid persecution, not for the promotion of the faith.  With respect to the claim that the Qur'an condones deception more broadly, I found their examples of acceptable deception in the Qur'an to be mostly confusing:

Surah 2:225 relates to marital expectations and divorce, Surah 3:28, the passage you cited, really has nothing to say about lying, and then there's Surah 16:106 which is:

Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief... except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith. But those who [willingly] open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is wrath from Allah , and for them is a great punishment;

Like the concept of taqiyya the lying here relates only to those that faithful Muslims use to avoid persecution or who are relenting under the burden of persecution.  But maybe I'm missing something here.  Feel free to offer me a correction.  I'm not claiming to be anything like an authority on Islam.

Another example they use is the case of a Jewish poet, Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf.  They write that in dealing with the poet, Muhammed "[allowed] his followers to use deception to silence critics":

Quote from: wikiislam
Muhammad permitted a Muslim to “say what he likes” i.e. to lie in order to kill Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf, a Jewish poet who wrote an anti-Muslim poem which offended him. This is a clear case of Lying endorsed by the prophet in order to achieve the objectives of Islam, therefore Muslims are permitted to lie and kill in defense of Muhammad, his character and Islam.

What's being left out is that he was not simply a "critic."  According to ye olde wiki machine he was also an opponent in war.  That seems like kind of an important detail given that most of these questions about when it is or is not appropriate to lie in various schools of Islamic thought seem to hinge on whether or not the truth would bring about adverse consequences and especially physical harm or death to Muslims.

With respect to your point about Surah 3:28,

For those of you who think you have Muslim friends, Koran 3:28 tells Muslims not to take those outside the faith as friends, unless it is to “guard themselves.”

I think my problem with this sort of thinking is that it seems like you're asking me to entertain the thought, in some cases disregarding over a decade of experiences, that my mostly not very observant Muslim friends are in such deep cover that they've been pretending to be my friend since we were teenagers.  I'm just scratching my head at how someone would have the audacity to write something like: "For those of you who think you have Muslim friends"?  Do you realize how insane that sounds to people who have close Muslim friends?  I mean Joe, I've got family members that are Muslims.  We're not enemies.  In most cases the entire extent of our religious conflicts (and here I'm talking about family) is about me telling dudes to get their tropical ass off the cooler like Cane in Menace II Society.

It's not politically correct to say anything bad about Islam, and their propaganda and brain-washing have been quite effective. They are gaining more converts and power, and forcing their will on more people everyday, yet we continue to apologize for them and we're afraid of offending them. Even on a forum dedicated to atheism which often discusses the dangers and atrocities of religion, I get scorned for saying something negative about Islam. That's how effective their propaganda campaign has been.

Here's where I'm coming from.  I have no problem with saying that Islam is false or that Islam can be dangerous.  I have no problem with saying that there are many instances in which attempts to adhere to Islamic law result in just absolutely barbaric results.  I just said it.

What I do have a problem with is singling out Islam as if it is uniquely dangerous, especially in the context of American life.  I have a problem with you questioning my Muslim friends' loyalties based solely on your interperetation of an aspect of their faith.  I mean, we often criticize people of faith for "cherry picking" and rightly so.  But what does that imply?  It implies that there are people out there that pick and choose what they want to take away from their holy books.  It implies that this passage that you're citing might not be something that many Muslims actually believe to be true.  We often criticize people of faith for being ignorant of what's in their own holy texts and rightly so.  But what does that imply?  It implies that there are people that aren't even aware of the passages you're citing.  We often accuse believers of engaging in SPAG, and again, rightly so.  But what does that imply?  It implies that people are interpereting their holy books to mean what they want it to mean rather than their authors intended.  It means that they can dismiss offensive passages as being outdated, nonapplicable, out of context, etc.  We often roll our eyes at this sort of thing.  We marvel at the contortions that people are willing to go through in order to make a particular passage acceptable.  And we get frustrated when believers seem to decide what passages are or are not literal, seemingly based on nothing but the degree to which they find the passage difficult to defend.  Some of us even mock them for this, joking that they've put on their magic decoder ring.  But we often times just as quickly fail to grapple with what this actually implies about the way these people are experiencing and interacting with their religious faith.

Really, this is my problem with a lot of atheist critiques of religion.  They rely on a sort of fundamentalist understanding of a given religion.  That's fine if you want to argue about what's actually in the Bible or the Qur'an.  But it's not particularly useful if we're trying to have a discussion about the ways that people of faith actually interact with them.  I doubt, for example, that there are very many Muslims in this country that are going through their lives pretending to be friends with non-Muslims.  If I'm right about that, then even a knock down case that this is contrary to Islam wouldn't change that.  It would just mean that Muslims in this country relate to their holy texts in more or less the same way that other religious people in this country relate to theirs.  And I don't see why this should be such a strange thought.  I mean, it's not like there aren't Jews that eat pork.

Finally:

Keep your guard up or your wives will be fitted for a hijab before you know it.

Can I ask what exactly you mean by this?

I live in Southern California.  Do you think I should be worried about sharia coming here?  Should I also be deeply suspicious of Huma Abedin and Keith Ellison?

What do you mean?
 1. To be honest, I sometimes gloss over the distinction because most of my friends that come from Muslim families come from Shia families, which probably has to do with the fact that I came up in LA.
Nah son...

Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2012, 01:08:48 AM »
You don't see a difference between Christians and Muslims? Ok let me ask you this, how many developed nations are predominantly Muslim? How many developed nations are predominantly Christian? How many of the world's best universities are in those countries?  [snipped].

In regard to the above quote, Muslims will remind us that while Xian Europe was in the dark ages, the Islamic world was the abiding center of western civilization.  As I understand it, most of the classical greek works that were discovered, and which, in part, triggered the Renaissance, came to Europe through contact with the Islamic civilization, who had preserved those works.  The point being, that it is not Islam nor the Koran which are responsible for the disparity in civilizations you noted.  They may be used to legitimize destructive and regressive behavior but there must be other reasons why the Muslim countries lag behind.  Those reasons could be the topic of a more in depth discussion.

NB: I see the use of fundamental xianity being used in the US to legitimize very similar destructive and regressive tendencies.  The book and the religion are being used by regressives to serve their ends.

Offline joebbowers

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2012, 01:47:32 AM »
Joe, I tried to have an open mind about your source, but picking through some of their citations, I have a hard time seeing this site as some sort of unbiased authority.  Let me just go through a few.

You're wrong about it, but I'm not surprised. As I said, their propaganda has been very effective. They lie about lieing, and you buy it.

Quote
Keep your guard up or your wives will be fitted for a hijab before you know it.

Can I ask what exactly you mean by this?
Exactly what it says.

Quote
I live in Southern California.  Do you think I should be worried about sharia coming here?
Yes.

Quote
Should I also be deeply suspicious of Huma Abedin and Keith Ellison?
Yes.

Quote
What do you mean?
I mean keep your guard up or your wives will be fitted for a hijab before you know it.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2012, 01:50:17 AM by joebbowers »
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Offline Timo

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2012, 01:56:28 AM »
Would you be so kind as to tell me where I'm wrong?
Nah son...

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Ramadan Blog
« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2012, 07:18:00 AM »
You don't see a difference between Christians and Muslims? Ok let me ask you this, how many developed nations are predominantly Muslim? How many developed nations are predominantly Christian? How many of the world's best universities are in those countries? How do the crime rates of those nations compare? How do women's rights in those countries compare? How about gay rights, or the right to choose your religion?

This is not individual extremists giving Islam a bad name, but entire nations of Muslims showing us how Islam at it's core is a rotten, violent, intolerant religion.

The difference is Christianity has had its reformations. Islam had one in the Ottoman empire in the 18th Century and people are calling for it again. All you have to do is look throughout History and you will see little difference. Heck, Christians in developing countries can be just as fucked up.

But lets talk about developing countries:
Uganda is 84% Christian. Uganda has a lot of poverty, particularly among women and has government rated as being very corrupt - lets not forget Kony's army either.
Rwanda is 56% Catholic, 26% Protestant, 11% Seventh Day Adventist. I'm sure we can remember the 1994 genocide.
79% of the population in South Africa is Christian, we know what kind of rocky History they've had. Particularly with apartheid.
Liberia is 85% Christian. A country that was torn in civil war not so long ago with atrocities to its own people.


 I picked a sample of countries I could think of where something outrageous has occurred. I picked Uganda because of the whole Kony business, Rwanda because of the film Hotel Rwanda (based on a true story), South Africa because I learned about apartheid in school and Liberia because of the film Lord of War (fictional, though based on real events). If I did some digging I could probably find more.

But we don't even need to look to third world countries to see how fucked up Christians can be or have been. I mentioned history, but stuff in the present can even be found closer to home. Not just Christians denying people their rights or preaching the 'good' word or indoctrinating their children or even just the laws made in favour of Christianity. Discrimination and even violence occurs - something atheists and homosexuals are familiar with. Do they stone people to death? No, it'd be hard for them to get away with it these days. The law simply wouldn't allow it. We don't get Muslims stoning people in the UK either. I suspect many wouldn't want to either - there are Islamic groups against Sharia law and pro-reformation groups too. Whilst you suggest there's that Islamic law asking them to be deceptive, Christians have one asking them to obey the law of the land. If you're that paranoid about Muslims deceiving us, you should be as equally paranoid about Christians who do get their hands on the law and their influence on Christian law. Just look at History to see how non-secular law in favour of Christianity has resulted, look how Christian values have affected people in developing countries like Nigeria or Uganda or Rwanda (Christianity did play a part with the genocide).


The reason developed countries are so well developed doesn't come down to Christian values or Christianity, it comes to reason because it wasn't God or the bible who called for a reformation. It's people and people using reason. It's understanding that many of the things we are taught are sick and wrong, it is seeing the effects of those teachings, it is seeking some way out of this dilemma between what's right and what the bible says is right and developing religious values to accommodate what you've reasoned to be right and wrong. You'll notice in developed countries interpretations of the bible have been metaphorical for a long time, aside from minorities. The main issue Victorians had with the theory of evolution wasn't that it challenged Christianity, it was more or less the idea that it suggested nature was cruel, violent and chaotic as opposed to the harmonious and ordered view. Not every Christian was teleological. The teleological argument (argument from design) is only one of many philosophical arguments used in Christianity. Another is the Cosmological argument, which actually allows room for ideas like Evolution and the Big Bang and pertains more to something a deist might believe. Whilst the Cosmological argument is something that stems from Plato and Aristotle, it was later worked into Christian theology by Saint Thomas Aquinas. I point this out, because Thomas Aquinas is a big name & influence in Christian theology and he wasn't so literalist - he couldn't be in order to use the Cosmological Argument.  Though the literalist views of Christianity are getting bigger.

There are literalist Muslims too, but there's also Muslims who aren't so much. Who view their religion in much more modern terms. The Bible and Koran aren't so different. Christianity and Islam aren't so different. In developed countries, people have relied on reason and even modernised their views. In developing countries, this isn't so much the case and Sharia Law reigns supreme and unfortunately, yes, some Muslims are seeking to take over the world. The Ottoman empire may have had its reformation, just as Christians had theirs, it has mostly been forgotten[1] and Muslims want to see another, because said Muslims are a part of the developed world and would like to see other Muslims join them. They feel peace and equality is very much what Allah is about. Of course, not all Muslims in developed countries are like this, just as not all Christians are like this in developed countries.
 1. I suspect so as Turkey committed genocide on the Armenians in the early 20th Century. Though today, they do tend to be more moderate than say, Iran. But I do believe they still suffer from Muslim related problems
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
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