The Eighth Day
And on the Eighth Day, the Lord sayeth: "Behold, my mighty balls of fire"
NASA telescopes have captured stunning images of two star-producing nebulae as their solar winds blow cosmic gas and dust across vast reaches of space more than 6,000 light years from Earth. The photos were taken by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, space telescope, which was launched in December on an eight- …
For God, creating, supporting, keeping track of everything creation is not something that is 'a lot of trouble'. It is less than a simple matter for Him. This is a basic misunderstanding of the power God has. For Him to create and sustain an infinite number of universes will not cause a strain on Him.
'Man will never see'. Misunderstanding 2. Creation is not all for man. Even if it were, it is not something that is difficult for Him. God shows His power through His works (for those willing to see). Shows us where our true place is in comparison. We are nothing in time, we are nothing in space. We are nothing in size, or influence, or knowledge.. our true place in relation to Him is as His servants.
'Primitive response mechanism'. Little thought of, much espoused. How clever is the atheistic man, as compared to those poor backward superstitious cavemen.
Man has not changed much, even those poor backward superstitious cavemen thought the same thoughts.. I am real strong, real clever, and just check out how good I look in that pond over there. Check out this new club with the rotating knife attachment, and the electric shock gizmo, do you know its got gps built in, and can kill a rat at 200 miles if I hit this knob on it with a rock. I don't need no one to tell me what to do. Don't need no airy fairy fairy in the sky for sure.
So the Prophets were sent, with messages for man. Man does not accept said messages, so signs were provided, i.e.. I'm telling you the truth, God will do something beyond what you can even contemplate, as a sign of my honesty.
But all those signs were in the past, we can't check them out now.
Sure, but this was also considered, and an enduring sign provided. The Quran claims to be that sign. Claims that its like can't be produced by all of creation. Surely the clever atheist could take up the challenge, a matter of a few moments.
Atheism offers nothing, nothing matters in it, there is no good or evil, there is no law or justice. Heard many an atheist say they find meaning in their family, their cars etc.. random collections of energies, which mean nothing, no intrinsic worth, what to one atheist has 'meaning', to another has none. Atheism leads inevitably to whatever one can get away with right now. Might makes right, and everyone else gets trampled on, since they are only random collections of energies. Worthless if they can't make you money, or serve some purpose. Life is empty, though on the other side of death, life will be far from comfortable without help.
All in all, shows the lack of thought inherent in the position being espoused.
Pretty poor from those that claim to think for themselves.
Hoping that there is a magic man in the sky who'll, after I die and therefore not in a position to relay any of this information where it could be useful to people on this planet, explain where he came from and why and why he built this seemingly pointless universe(s) on such an impossibly large scale without any evidence of his actions.
Yes, clinging on to this hope rather than actually doing anything to discover the world around us
or make life better for everyone is much more satisfactory and enlightening.
The fact is that the Prophets have already provided information about what happens after death. If you choose not to look at it, and still express a view about it, shows that thinking/finding out about a subject is not what you care most about.
I did not say that sitting around and doing nothing about anything was a good idea, or something to be admired etc. Indeed, in Islam it is a duty on the adherent to search the Universe for knowledge. In other words, God Himself is telling us to be masters of this Universe, to search it to learn how it is put together, how it works. It is food for the mind.
He further says that helping others, giving in charity are signs of your faith, that faith without action, are worthless.
Atheists on the other hand have exactly what reason to do anything?
You thought it was a good idea at the time?
Based on what?
Why is it a good thing to help others.. based on the Atheistic world view.. there is no such thing as a good thing.
Why is it enlightened to make life better for others?
I find Atheists use lots of terms such as these, and are basically parroting others. i.e. the whole point of Atheists, their big selling point, is that they think for themselves. Or at least that is the claim. Well, where is your reasoning for helping others is enlightened, or good etc.
My reason for both these would be, God revealed this through His Prophets. Whats yours?
So all you can come up with is, its better to be 'good' because you 'think' its 'right'.
In Atheism, there is no good. There is no 'right'.
Do you not know that?
How can you come up with the above.. from my side, yes, its based on what the Creator of everything says. Not much need to think about it there.
From your side, surely you must have at least thought about it. Its after all what the Atheist claims he is so great at, that everyone else is so bad at.
So back to the point in hand, why is it 'good'? why is it 'right'?
The He term is used because it includes the female as well as the male, there is no preference for the one over the other.. similar to the X, Y of the chromosome, the female part contains only the X, the male contains both.. ie. it includes the female aswell as the male.
God ofcourse is neither. His attributes cover both sides of what are commonly known as female and male characteristics. However, He is beyond all such things. These are techniques used to allow us to touch the surface of what is beyond infinite.
Nothing to be almost flattered about.
Good posts, you make good points. However your arguments are slightly flawed by your own style of logic.
You make sweeping comments about the beliefs of Athiests and then use those comments to support your arguments. It is the principle failure of many a religious discussion and the style of a Zelot.
You come across like you want to discuss, but that's not really true. You my friend, want to preach, and nowadays people don't like to be preached at, especially when they are trying to have a discussion.
However, I follow no formal religion, neither do I claim to be Athiest, I'm a hopeful Agnostic (if anything).
If there is a god, then that would be the best thing ever (to make a massive understatment) and I really want it to be true, but I can't beleive it. Why? I don't know.
On the one hand they are good points, on the other they are flawed. Which is it?
The sweeping comments are made by Atheists themselves. Do you deny that there is any such thing as 'good' or 'evil' in Atheism? The terms are only used to brow beat others as in the case of the God and the existence of evil in the world argument.
Using comments to support ones arguments, what should I do, make comments to break my arguments? makes no sense. That's the job of the clever Atheist.
My apologies if I come across as a Zealot.. must have a hidden talent.
I never said I wanted to discuss. I don't want to preach either. However, for the short time I am reading these messages, I will push back.
Trying to have a discussion, you can't be reading this site.. its not a discussion. Whenever anything comes up, God gets it in the neck, so to speak.. there is no 'civilised' discussion. Lots of name calling, the oh so clever jokes and put downs, same old nonsense gets regurgitated.
As to wanting something to be true, its a matter of looking. There are plenty of people in your shoes, who when they have a good look at Islam, see past the common misconceptions etc. in the normal media. Islam has nothing to fear from science, or history etc. indeed has allot to offer the world.
I ment that the points you made were good ones, but the arguments you put forward were flawed, like I said.
I do get and understand your frustration though, especially about the same old tripe being casually spewed forth as some kind of solid and considered argument against your beliefs. It would be hard to not find it insulting.
But that's people for you.
"Atheism offers nothing, nothing matters in it, there is no good or evil, there is no law or justice. Heard many an atheist say they find meaning in their family, their cars etc.. random collections of energies, which mean nothing, no intrinsic worth, what to one atheist has 'meaning', to another has none. Atheism leads inevitably to whatever one can get away with right now. Might makes right, and everyone else gets trampled on, since they are only random collections of energies. Worthless if they can't make you money, or serve some purpose. Life is empty, though on the other side of death, life will be far from comfortable without help.
The above is YOUR interpretation of Atheism, nothing to do with any Atheist’s viewpoint.
"All in all, shows the lack of thought inherent in the position being espoused."
The above is the conclusion you arrive at (from your own thoughts about atheism)
"Pretty poor from those that claim to think for themselves"
The argument you are putting forward is that atheists can't think for themselves and if they could / did then they would arrive at a different viewpoint.
But it's based on YOUR views of atheism, not the views of an atheist and that is where the flaw lies.
You might think, well, how else am I supposed to discuss this? But you can't put forward an argument against someone's viewpoint when your opinion is based on YOUR interpretation of their beliefs and not theirs. This is why most religious discussions are doomed to failure, because most religious people (of any religion) can't accept the opposing view as valid and the discussion quickly spirals downards into nothing productive.
For example , if an atheist says "I have a good instinctual knowledge of right and wrong", you have to accept that. Trying to convince them that they don't is never going to get anywhere.
You have to accept what they say is a valid point of view, anything else is just you trying to convince them of their wrongness and that they should just think like you. I.e. Preaching.
You probably don't agree, it's just my point of view anyway.
Firstly, thanks much for the time you have taken with this.
Next, your right, I do indeed disagree.
What I have said, I stick to, I got from the horses own mouth. I have had many conversations with Atheists, watched many of their youtube and other vids and read some of their literature. This is indeed what has come out of all that.
No good, no evil, no morality..
"Unexceptional? But aren't atheists less moral than religious people?"
That depends. If you define morality as obedience to God, then of course atheists are less moral as they don't obey any God. But usually when one talks of morality, one talks of what is acceptable ("right") and unacceptable ("wrong") behavior within society.
"Is there such a thing as atheist morality?"
If you mean "Is there such a thing as morality for atheists?" then the answer is yes, as explained above. Many atheists have ideas about morality which are at least as strong as those held by religious people. See "More research concerning atheist morality."
If you mean "Does atheism have a characteristic moral code?" then the answer is no. Atheism by itself does not imply anything much about how a person will behave. Most atheists follow many of the same "moral rules" as theists, but for different reasons. Atheists view morality as something created by humans, according to the way humans feel the world 'ought' to work, rather than seeing it as a set of rules decreed by a supernatural being.
If one merely follows whatever the society dictates, or one makes it up on a whim as one goes along, one has no morals.
I have asked on several occasions questions of the type, on what basis do you decide that helping people is good.. nothing much has come back.
If one says, just because others are doing it. Well thats not much of answer, especially one who prides himself on not following the crowd, of thinking for oneself.
Atheists believe that when they die, there is nothing more.
That ofcourse means that whatever you do in this life has no meaning, since as soon as you become nothingness, its as if you never existed. You helped this or that person, or you didn't. You butchered a million people, you saved a million lives, they will die eventually, matters not.. it will be nothingness for all.
Such a universe view is full of injustice.
Add to the above that we are only a certain form of animal, just atoms in a certain arrangement.. and you have the potential for dealing with human beings as objects, resources, numbers. Which is exactly what is happening.
Lack of thought..
Atheists are very fond of telling eveyone about how much they think for themselves. So exactly what do these Atheists actually think for themselves. Which mortgage to get?
If they are going with the flow of current practice with respect to right, wrong and morality, then what is all that brain power actually being used on.
The argument I'm putting forward is that if someone thinks for themselves, then one actually has a very difficult job ahead of oneself. One has to decide whether right or wrong are terms they wish to deal with. Whether they are willing to lie to cheat or steal from others, does one define them as good or bad, on what basis.
It becomes a massive undertaking. One which hardly anyone would take on.
I think that Atheists are pretty much like anyone else. As said before, they go with the flow most of the time. Easy enough to just follow the norms of a society, its good to tell the truth, to not steal etc. don't have to work hard on working out the why that way.
Essentially, they cannot make any special claim to being able to think better than anyone else.
Let me add, I don't make any claim that I can think better than anyone else. As I said, I am a follower, and a pretty poor one at that.
As I said, I think that I am indeed dealing with the viewpoint as put forward by Atheists. Though perhaps it would behove me to revisit this.
Instinctual knowledge of right and wrong..
That just doesn't cut it. If you use the same excuse to say I believe in God, you will get heavily derided by the mob.
It is just not something that can be put in a test tube and prodded, so they just will not accept it. Therefore, why should I accept the same excuse?
Further one guys instinctual leanings are not the same as anothers. It leads essentially to all sorts of abuse, one guy says 'I think stealing is grrrreat', another says 'stealing is baaad'.. both make the claim to instintual knowledge.
In any case, differences aside, thank you for your time. May God guide us all to what is better.
OK, I accept that about your argument. I did jump to the conclusion that you were referring to your own interpritation not someone who claims to be aithist and to be honest, I don't find Athism to be very interesting, it's all a bit too fatalistic for my liking.
"Instinctual knowledge of right and wrong.
That just doesn't cut it. If you use the same excuse to say I believe in God, you will get heavily derided by the mob.
It is just not something that can be put in a test tube and prodded, so they just will not accept it. Therefore, why should I accept the same excuse?"
Yes I get that, and I really don't want this to sound patronising in any way but, you have to rise above it, if you talk to idiots, then you get an idiots point of view. You have provided one of the deepest conversations about beleif that I've ever had. It's good.
"The argument I'm putting forward is that if someone thinks for themselves, then one actually has a very difficult job ahead of oneself. "
Indeed, I think that's exactly what God (if he exists) wants us to do in our lives, think for ourselves and make our own choices.
"It becomes a massive undertaking. One which hardly anyone would take on."
That's a very interesting statement you make. Not one I would agree with, but I do have a much gerater understanding of your point of view and that is a gift of knowledge, for which I thank you.
idiots point of view..
Appreciate the advice.
Human beings always make their own choices.. they just use different inputs to make the decisions. This is in effect the test. Which inputs will you use, which framework will you base your choices within. Will it be that of external society, or of your creator.
As a Muslim, all my choices are meant to be in accordance with the revelation. ie. I have the option of drinking alcohol today, do I do it, did God say anything about this, yes, 'stay away from it', ok, therefore I will stay away from it. I still made the choice, however, I did it by looking at what God said first.
Everyone does the same, however, they take other sources as their inputs/framework.. am I gonna get a high from it, will I get into trouble for it, what will my dad say, etc.
This is why in Islam we will be held accountable for every choice we make. On the awful/terrible day of Judgement, we will be asked about the tiniest of things, that we said/did, and that all in the most public of arenas. Every hurt we caused another, no matter how small will have to be accounted for, recompensed.
One of the conversations I had with an Atheist, the Atheist mentioned how they are responsible for everything they do, they stand on their two feet for it. They do not shirk of the fault onto God.
My response was that in Islam, our responsibility is much much greater, I cannot even give you a bad look, without knowing I am going to maybe have to pay you back for it on that day of reckoning.
That day there will be no freedom, there will be only justice. And that on a scale which will be overwhelming.
For the Atheist, the responsibility ends with death. No matter what they have done, its over.
For a Muslim it continues.
If there was a God, and IF that God wanted religion from the microbes that infect the surface of some of his creation, wouldn't he/she also make sure the religion wasn't so easy to use to exploit and supress people? Wouldn't a GOD, seeing as it's nothing to him/her, just kinda make it work a bit better? The truth is, religion is very obviously designed by people, to control other people. Me thinks it would have been less so, if it was divine.
Essentially, your saying why didn't God create Paradise. i.e.. a place where everything is perfect.
Well, He already did that.
We are just not in it yet.
This world is designed as a test. It is not meant to be perfect for anything but the test. Pass the test, get to the good place. Flunk, and its real bad news.
Why allow people to mess with His words, part of the test. You can always find the truth, you just need to want to find it, and go for it. That is all that is required.
The problem most people have, is that they just can't be bothered. Happy with their 2 cents worth, happy to follow the paradigm of the day. Happy to regurgitate it as if it were their own.
Why go to all this trouble I hear you ask (remember, for Him it is nothing to sweat over), mercy. He has created us as a mercy for us. He has gone further, and said that if we do what He says (an added bonus, its for our benefit in this world as well), we will get even more mercy, and have eternal life, in a better place.
Why have Hell at all. If your going to reward those who put in the effort of doing the hard slog for the exam all their lives, should you also reward the other lot, who can't be bothered.. i.e. it would be unjust to the ones who put in the effort. Justice demands that there be rewards and punishments, the stick and the carrot.
Does God want all these religions. Nope. Then why not blast them out of existence. There is a prophecy in the Quran that says, that God will make His religion to take over. This is repeated a few times.
Why take the long route, and not the short one? mercy. Give those who despise Him, every opportunity to return. After all, if you read the history of Islam, when the treaty of Hudaybiya was being signed, God said that He stopped the Muslims from taking over the city of Mecca by force with much bloodshed. Why, to give the Meccan's a chance to become Muslims, which they all did a few years later. Keep in mind that these very same people hated Islam and Muslim a lot more than most people nowadays can even conceive of, the BNP are nothing in comparison. They wanted to annihilate them, and tried on several occasions to do just that. Yet, these same people, became Muslims.
There will always be people that will pervert anything, everything. However, that does not mean that there was any flaw with the message or the creation.
Just to give you something else to think about, there is no clergy in Islam. No church as such. The mufti's and mullah's etc. that people are always going on about, have no power to enforce anything. All they can do, is give an opinion. Further, the Holy book is given to the people on the ground, ie. its not in a dead language that someone can manipulate as happened for generations with other religious books. The meaning of the words is preserved, ie. the first dictionary created was of Arabic. Even the way in which the words were pronounced is recorded. As such, one could quite easily make the case, that Islam is designed to protect it from the kinds of tinkering you have in mind to a large extent.
Yet again this post shows a lack of thought of learning and digging around that Atheists are always keen to take all the credit for. Where is your ability to think for yourself.
God exist, and I'm quite sure too he is not an anthropomorphic god, I agree too that religion is a human invention.
Why I think there's a god?, things are way too complex and rich to be explained by convenient coincidences. It would be far easier not to exist than it is to exist, not just us but anything in the universe, being it a single one or one of many.
It is not accidental either that we can perceive and appreciate it. We should be grateful for it.
When I'm not happy about is when someone tries to impose his views on me, or me imposing my views on anybody else.
Jesus Christ! :D Leave a few geeks alone for a few seconds and all they can do is philosophise. Wow. That'll helps everyone. I love it that our religious person thinks there is "no point" in life if there is no "afterlife". Well, try telling me that last night at that amazing gig. Or the other day when I witnessed the most amazing sunset. Oh, then again, I have to listen to pish spilled forth by religious folks...they may be right after all :D
I pray and hope to be free one day.
To walk on a planet where no one is confused and no one is abused.
Where all are equals in the eyes of each other.
Where we can all be free to enjoy each other, to know each other.
Where we work towards a common goal, that of our species.
I pray for a day when we respect each other,
I pray for a day that I don’t have to listen to any more blasted Christian stuff!
...see the path cut by the moon, for you to walk on...
I like the prayer, not going to happen though, especially if you have all the world turn Atheist.
Because at the crux of Atheism is the claim that everyone thinks for themselves, decides for themselves what is right and wrong. A simple look at the world shows that people do not agree on pretty much anything. With this kind of world view in place, you will never have peace.
The Islamic view is quite different. In it, one submits ones most precious gift, free will, the ability to choose, to God. The idea is to put our will second, and the will of God, first. I would submit that only with such a world view in place in the hearts of humankind, will you ever get to peace. And that is the meaning of the word Islam, 'peace, through the submission of oneself to God'. Most people can't manage it. Most Muslims can't manage it.
Taking this line of thought a little further, I'd say that if all people became Atheist, they too would have to submit to a higher authority, which would override their own personal desires on various issues. It would still mean a subjection of ones will to either the majority view, or some other arrangement.
For the Atheist, there is actually no point to life, the one follows the other. If we all go to nothingness as soon as we die, i.e. no matter what you did in this life, it makes no difference, there is actually no point at all. You could be a mass murderer, or a saint.
Since Atheists all decide on what is right and wrong for themselves, there is no criterion to judge either, and you cannot therefore say it is bad to be the mass murderer, or its good to be the saint, its all subjective.
You can't use the excuse of we'll come to a common view, i.e.. what the majority decides.. which at the end of the day is might makes right. No one agrees to such a view when the might is on the opposing side.
Why are things amazing? As an Atheist you have to ask yourself that very question.. its all just patterns of energy, that your senses are taking in. There should be nothing more amazing for one set of said inputs as another. I suppose you could attribute it to your evolution, but since you have sussed out that it is just pre-programming made up of various evolutionary steps of your ancestors, controlled of course by natural selection, then you should be able to reject such feelings of amazement and see them for what they are.
I like the 'our religious person'. Though I disagree with it. I do not support religion. I only support Islam.
I know to Atheists, its all the same, there is no distinction, one set of superstitions is the same as another. However, Islam is not the same.
I saw the four horsemen of the apocalypse, have their little chit chat, back slapping go at all things religious. The lack of knowledge about Islam was apparent.
One of the things they said was that there was no external proof to any religion. In the case of Islam, that just is not the case.
Why the obsession with Athiests?
As you have mentioned there are more religions that just that of "good old JC", just because people may or may not believe in your god, doesn't mean they do or do not believe in any God (or god type entity at all)
Right from your first 'post' you have been discussing Athiesm, and I cant work out why. From what I can tell, no one (of all the three posters that came before you) was spouting Atheism, or claiming to be one, so where's the beef?
@ D@v3: Maybe preachyboy's purposefully confusing the term with "infidel" or "kafir". It would be interesting to know whether he does mean atheists or any other non-muslims.
@J1: You seem to be implying a point about atheism requiring a similar leap of faith as required by religion, except that atheism has no underlying guidance or morals from god or his prophets, making it presumably more anarchistic and corrupt. Well in a sense that's probably very true, but in my opinion it seems better to live a life based on what you can prove is before you rather than but what may or may not exist outside our perception. Why rely on that to determine your life choices? The only truly reliable agent to oneself IS oneself.
Oh but there's "external proof" to Islam is there? The teachings of the prophets perhaps? They were human beings too, and just as prone to fallibility as any atheist or kafir you could care to name. And even if they were entirely accurate in their spreading of god's teachings, can you honestly guarantee that their teachings passed down the hundreds/thousands of years between then and now entirely unaltered? We certainly can't with Islam or any other religion for that matter, as evidenced by the many different denominations those religions have.
So my final question is: How did an article about a big telescope become such a massive philosophical discussion? Doesn't anyone care about the amazing feat of engineering this is? The thing is giving us the most detailed infrared sky survey ever! That's not one but TWO nebulae in that photo! For us slightly-advanced primates to even be seeing that is mind-boggling enough without bringing religion into it. Honestly, we're never satisfied, are we?
'...I do not support religion. I only support Islam....'
'...I know to Atheists, its all the same, there is no distinction, one set of superstitions is the same as another...'
...this reasoning makes sense because it accuratly describes your own mind set. To you all atheists are the same(*), there are no distinctions between them, one set of non believers are the same as another. I wish you'd appreciate the irony in your statment. It would help you to come to a deeper, more complex, and hopefully less arrogant view of the universe....
(*in fact, i would posit that ALL 'people who don't think like J1' fall into this category within your universe. All religions fail you ultimatly because they do not subscribe to 'your' very personal view of how humanity should be 'organized'. In fact, as you state yourself, even 'most Muslims can't manage it.' You state that the will of each individual needs to be subsumed by a greater over aching will, yet you and the men you've followed have a very specific set of ideas as to exactly how that needs to be done! In effect, it would be the submission of oneself to these men, and the custodian of their ideas, namely yourself. That's an ego trip, buddy. I know, it looks sexy, and you feel plugged into this 'really important thing', and that empowers you to rant on and on and not need to actually really listen to what the rest of the space monkeys might think, but my friend, that's an ego trip! You're doin' it to yourself, cos it makes you feel good. If it wasn't for the fact that your 'way' is one of the ones that excludes all other 'ways', i wouldn't give a toss. But as you obviously like a good rant, you get one back. Submission of oneself to 'God' (your semantic anthropomorphic appellation, not mine) is something entirely different, far more personal, and ultimately something each individual has to choose for them self. Just like you did once.)
'...they said was that there was no external proof to any religion. In the case of Islam, that just is not the case...'
Don't stop there! You're just getting interesting...
"The Islamic view is quite different. In it, one submits ones most precious gift, free will, the ability to choose, to God. The idea is to put our will second, and the will of God, first."
I beleive that if there is a God then our own free will is his greatest gift to us. Do you share this view? If so, why would you give it up?
Because He knows what is better for you, than you do.
You put your trust in Him.
If you think about it, you do not have total free play to your will regardless. You only have limited free will, free range to do what you choose in small spheres. You are limited by society, by the weather, by gravity etc.
As an example. You do not get to decide if it right or wrong to steal, its imposed on you. God imposes the same thing, indeed did it first. Would you rather accept it from Him, or society?
Who will you submit to?
A little further thought, the only gift that you have to give Him, is your free choice. Everything else is already His. He is the creator the maker, the evolver of it all. Will you give Him this one most precious of gifts. Remember, He gave even that to you first.
Alhamdulillahi rabil aalameen.
I accept that is what you believe. However, I don't share that point of view at all, not even slightly. In fact it doesn't sit at all comfortably within my mind set one bit.
If there is a God, he gave us free will for a reason, I don't think he wants me to give it up to anyone, not even to himself. Our free will is God's most precious gift to us, but to God it's worthless? Why on earth would he want us to give it back?
To my mind it would be like giving bread to a starving man only for him to say. "Thanks very much , now I won't starve to death. What can I do in return? I know! Why don't you take this bread".
It doesn't work for me.
I think it's all about having the ability to make the right choice yourself. If you have the empathy to see the point of view of others then making the right or wrong choice is easy. You don't need to submit to a religion (or society as you put it) to tell you what to do.
Also, I believe that all mainstream religions and religious texts are fabricated by Man as a means to promote social order and provide a platform on which to build a civilisation. It takes some doing (to make another massive understatment), it's the stuff of the real Kings of Men, Mohammed included. It has happened throughout history, recent, ancient and I will bet, pre-history as well.
This is what I believe, hopefully it would provide some insight into why I am not able to submit to any religion.
Belief in God however, that I am open on.
Why give it back?
Shows that you know who to thank for it. Shows you know how to thank Him. Shows you know what your position in creation is. Shows you know who is in charge. Shows you realise who knows better than you. Shows you know that by giving it, you are actually getting much much more back. Because He says so.
On what do you base that He does not want you to give it back to Him? A feeling?
Your example is not the same as that under discussion. When you bring God into the picture, its not the same. Since He has power over all things.
At the present, you can only exercise your will within the parameters that society allows you. ie. what are you going to eat, which mortgage are you going to have. Can you however decide to decide to drive on the opposite side of the road to what society has already determined? Will it let you?
Your not willing to give up your ability to choose to anyone, however your too late, you've already done so.
Are you willing therefore to give it up to your creator rather than society.
In Islam, faith has a price tag. It requires you to learn to control and better yourself throughout your life. It requires you to follow the path laid out by God, not the one of ones whims and desires.. which puts one in the same place as the one who does not believe in God. Do what ever you like. Faith becomes meaningless. God gives you the test to show the honesty of your faith through thick and thin.
As to fabrications of man, what basis do you have for such a statement? Have you been checking?
There is another post where I have listed some of the reasons why the Islamic revelation is different. For believing that it is indeed from the creator.
Now if you said Islam is a fabrication of God, then sure I'd go along with that.
OK, for the purposes of this, I'm going to assume that God does exist (so I don't have to keep typing "If God exists" everytime I ask a question or try to make a point.
"Shows that you know who to thank for it. Shows you know how to thank Him. Shows you know what your position in creation is. Shows you know who is in charge. Shows you realise who knows better than you. Shows you know that by giving it, you are actually getting much much more back. Because He says so."
Why does God want us to do these things? Is the whole purpose of existence simply to give up your free will, be put in your place and do as you are told? What for and why does God really need / want us to do that and why would he care if we did or didn't?
"On what do you base that He does not want you to give it back to Him? A feeling?"
Well, I haven't got much else to go on so yes.
"Your example is not the same as that under discussion. When you bring God into the picture, its not the same. Since He has power over all things."
I think I understand what you mean, the point of the analogy was simply to demonstrate why I didn't agree with that logic. Maybe you could extrapolate a bit.
"At the present, you can only exercise your will within the parameters that society allows you. ie. what are you going to eat, which mortgage are you going to have. Can you however decide to decide to drive on the opposite side of the road to what society has already determined? Will it let you?
Your not willing to give up your ability to choose to anyone, however your too late, you've already done so.
Are you willing therefore to give it up to your creator rather than society."
I'm not sure I understand the point you are making. Sure I could decide to decide to drive on the wrong side of the road but I'm likley to kill myself and perhaps someone else, so I'm not going to because it's a stupid idea not because there's a law telling me not to drive dangerously. I could also decide to live in a bin and eat rocks but it wouldn't do me any good, so why would I?
"In Islam, faith has a price tag. It requires you to learn to control and better yourself throughout your life. It requires you to follow the path laid out by God, not the one of ones whims and desires.. which puts one in the same place as the one who does not believe in God. Do what ever you like. Faith becomes meaningless. God gives you the test to show the honesty of your faith through thick and thin."
It is a discaplined religion and provides a strict social framework on which large and sucessful civilasations have been built.
"As to fabrications of man, what basis do you have for such a statement? Have you been checking?"
My basis is History. I read. I try to learn the history of the world and in doing so I find that my view of it has changed. The history of Kings, the history of religion, the history of the great civilisations, Egypt, Ottoman, Rome, Greek, Myan, India, Britain, China They all used their own version of religion that was irrefutable and beyond doubt and each religion provided its own version of social order that promotes growth, conquest and the expantion of that civilisation, those effects are no mistake, they have been built into the relilgion of every sucessful civilisation. Islam is no different, although I personally think it will be the last great religion unless an appocalyptic event knocks us back to the dark ages, where we will just start again.
"There is another post where I have listed some of the reasons why the Islamic revelation is different. For believing that it is indeed from the creator."
I will see if I can find it.
"Now if you said Islam is a fabrication of God, then sure I'd go along with that."
I would expect so.
God has no needs, is self sufficient, independent.
However, we do have needs, are not self sufficient, and are dependant on a great many things.
Purpose of creation..
To recognise your Lord and follow Him. Why gratitude. But why? If God has no needs, why create us. In the Quran, God says that He did not create us for play. We were created to worship Him. But why I hear you ask.
There is a story in the Quran, about the creation of man.
Quran 2:30 Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not."
God says to the Angels, I'm going to create someone who will represent Me on the earth. They say, why would create one that will do all these bad things in the world, when we are already here, and we do good things. God said, I know that which you don't.
A few points, the Angels are beings without free will to choose between right and wrong, they do as they are told. However, they do have advanced knowledge. And upon hearing that man was going to be created, they were perplexed. They already knew alot about what man was capable of. So why create such a creature.. essentially the same question as yours.
To be His representative. But why? As an honour? But why? God has no need of us, He does as He pleases, and answers to no one. He cannot be prodded, or forced to do anything He does not want to. The answers we are given are that we are to be His vicegerent on earth, to worship Him.. the why's wherefores that go beyond that, I do not know of. A lacking most likely on my part.
Does it make a difference?
Don't think so. We are told that we have been given all we need.
All we need to essentially do, is be certain that there is a creator, and that this is indeed the revelation from Him. Once we have done that, then it becomes incumbent upon us to submit to it.
For us to ascertain that the revelation is from Him, we do not need to have answers to every possible why. The revelation takes care of solving those issues for us. It provides us with knowledge, that the people at the time had no access to. It tells us about past events, that people did not know about. It goes further, and predicts future events, correctly. It goes further and challenges all of creation to match it.
We are very used to being able to replicate what other people have done. So to make a claim that you can't replicate this makes one take note. For that claim to stand for 1500 years now, is impressive. It's not like people haven't been trying their damndest, at the time of the last Prophet, peace be upon him, they tried, even now they have been trying.
Lets accept for a moment that God does exist, and that this revelation is from Him, then why do we have to do as He says? Because he says so. He knows what is better for us. It is justice, in a universe full of obedience to His will, we get to do whatever we want, that would not be unjust to everything else. But then why give us free will.. because the role demands it. To be Gods representative, you have to be pretty special. The will makes us special. By giving it up, we are merely saying that we will operate under the parameters laid out by God. But why? It is more fair than any other approach. Any other approach means that you make alliances with those you agree with, might makes right, the majority get to impose their view on society. This way, no ones view matters.. only God's view. I cannot tell you what to do, neither you tell me what to do. However, both of us can tell the other what God wants us to do. Fair.
Giving your will to God, being in adherence with His will, means that you are in sync with everything else in creation.
Now lets do the do the opposite, and accept for a moment that God does not exist. In which case, we still have no right to tell each other that what I say goes. My thoughts are as good as yours. We have no right to enforce anything on another, there is no right and wrong, no purpose in creation. Nothing matters, or has any meaning. When you die, its all over.
There are no answers to the why's.
God says that if you do what He says, then He will give you much much better in return. In the case of the example, the guy is going to die, regardless of whether that particular food saves him or not. He is still some day going pass away. That food can only help him for a little while, before he needs help again. In the example of God, the return is going to help one for eternity. No comparision on that level.
The examples of driving on the wrong side of the road etc.. are to illustrate a point. The point being that you did not create those laws. You may well agree with those particular ones, so substitue ones that you don't agree with in their place. You did not create those laws, yet are still subject to them. Who is subjecting you to them? your own will, you are choosing to abide by them. This is the crux of the matter, you have already given up your ability to choose.
Giving it up to God rather than society seems to me much preferable.
This is yet again getting way too long. My apologies.
I'll end it with this, no matter what you do, you are not going to get answers to all the why's in this world. Indeed, you have already shown that you do not need answers to so many why's, by the answer you gave to my question about 'a feeling?'.
I'd go further and say, no one needs answers to all the why's, most ask them to show their smarts, to make the other look foolish. If I have done so, I wish to apologise to you for it.
...maybe all society is a fabrication of God, as He did create everything after all. So by living an observed respectful life full of love, where you live within the parameters of a compassionate society, you are in fact giving yourself to God.You're certainly putting the wants of your fellow man above those of yourself. I feel this is something Islam does very well, in fact.
J1, can you answer me one question, please? If one lives a compassionate life, perhaps in a society such as the one i've exampled, why should it matter whether or not one's ever read a certain book (you know where i'm going with this) or have a specific terminology for the divine? Is the name of God as important as the way we live our lives? Okay, that's two questions, but it's basically the same inquiry, innit...
One would have to know what is a good life, is being compassionate a good thing, or a bad thing?
In the Atheistic worldview, there is no such thing as good or evil, therefore being compassionate is not good, or bad, neither is wiping out a million people.. they are just actions, nothing more, no moral context around them.
Your thoughts are as good as mine.
In the Islamic world view, only God can say what is right, and what is wrong, and what we need to adhere to. That is why we all need to have read that one certain book and submit to it. The one who's thoughts and actions are in accordance with God's will, is good, the other is bad.
God is the only one who can say how we can approach Him, that is why the revelation was given to the masses, and not to the few elite to allow them to control the masses.
I hope this goes some way to providing an answer.
Yes, I am still checking this thread :-) I hope Sarah is still moderating comments through on this.
Thanks for taking the time to post such a comprehensive answer, I read it in detail.
You put forward such a good argument and if I approached these questions from your point of view I would say you arguments are infallible, but I can't.
Indeed, from your point of view your arguments ARE infallible, and having gained some empathy for your point of view I can see this clearly.
For me, your arguments (I don't like calling them arguments but can't think of a better word), your arguments (even as detailed and beautifully complex as they are) work only up to a point where I ask, is this revelation from God or is it from man?
The problem I have with this is ....
Our purpose....To worship, to obey, to submit, to be ruled & controlled. In my mind these describe the psyche and desires of the rulers of men, not God.
In essence, I only question the origin of the revelation, simply because, beyond that, there are no further questions, whatever the answer is.
People say there is proof to be found in the texts of the Koran and I can see how that proof is blatant for all to see, so clear and logical for those that in fact, already believe what is being proved or those that don't question.
Clever logic, mathmatical curiosities, proof?
The origin of the revelation, can it really be proved?
Revelation from God or Man..
I thought I had addressed this issue. As you say, it is imperative to work out whether whatever claims to be revelation is indeed so. I was hoping that the statements made in the Quran, about for instance the knowledge that was not known at the time would go some way to answering this concern.
Ofcourse, the challenge to produce its like should also be borne in mind. As you intimate, if it is from man, it will be reproducible.
What would one count as proof for a revelation?
When there is a Prophet on the earth, then proof can be provided in other forms. So for instance, the miracles that are so often mentioned. That were rejected even at the time by those that saw the miracle.
An example of this, from the time of the last Prophet, peace be upon him. The splitting of the moon. The people of Mecca asked (again and again) for a sign. What sign would you like.. we'd like to see you split the moon in two. You sure about that? sure were sure.. will you believe in the revelation if God does this for you? defintely (got nothing to lose, not possible to split the moon after all)... ok then, lets meet in area abc, and get your people together so they can see this aswell. At area abc, the people meet up, and the moon is split. The people are blown away. Ok, you saw that right? errr, our eyes were bewitched. hmmmn, you were given the sign you asked for, are you now going to believe? errr, no, you are a magician, you bewitched our eyes.. no one accepted.
Over the next few days, weeks, as caravans came in to the city from the desert, people in the caravans also described the splitting of the moon.. man did you see a couple of nights ago, I saw the moon, it was in two bits. Did you see it? err yeah.. I saw it.
Many years passed, Mecca becomes Muslim. Now it becomes a source of shame for them to admit that they saw the sign, yet did not believe.
This kind of behaviour is normal, people are always doing it.. take for example the signs of the Holy Prophet Moses, peace be upon him. He showed sign after sign, yet the people still did not believe and follow him. Hell, they still came after him with an army.. completely nuts.
Further, the signs of the past, were specific to the people they were being displayed to. So for instance at the time of the Holy Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, the people were well proud of their medical prowess. So along comes a Prophet, who can blow them away in their speciality. He can heal leprosy, cure the blind, raise the dead. They can't touch that. At the time of the Holy Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, the people claimed to be experts in magic.. so along comes the Prophet, and blows them away.
For us, these signs, if they happened, are all in the past. Not much use to us.
As I said, that is the reason for providing a sign, one which remains. What is the best sign to send to a people that you know are coming? Well, what are these people most proud of? knowledge.. they think they know it all, they have the equipment to search and find out knowledge that is currently unknown. In that case, lets give them signs that only they will appreciate. The people of now will over look, since they will not understand, but those yet to come, blow their socks away with knowledge.
If the above is not enough of a sign, what would you count as enough?
I've asked this question on a few occasions to Atheists. The response has been always along the lines of, something undeniable, something that can't be rejected.. something extraordinary.
How about splitting the moon? well that was done, and the people rejected it.
There were plenty of other signs, however the behaviour has been the same again and again. People reject the signs, that are shown them. In direct opposition to the prevalent view of Atheists, that people of the past were easy to mislead, show them any old thing, and they will swallow it. People tend not to want to change from what they already have. Even in the past, they did not want to become Muslim.
Anything can be rejected, as someone said earlier, there are people that say the earth is flat..
So the question comes down to you.. what would you accept as a sign?
Something I could accept? it would have to be something I could observe, witness, a tangible thing, an event, a moment even, it really wouldn't take much.
The moon being split? If I saw it with my own eyes, I would be convinced. If someone else told me that they had seen the moon being split then it would depend on who was doing the telling and how many of my questions they could stand.
Here are my immediate thoughts on the split moon thing.
Are you sure it says "split" and not "put out" or "extinguished", translations can be a tricky thing and the prediction of lunar eclipses were possible for the people of that time.
The caravans entering the city, could they have been plants? An easy thing to do, it wouldn't take many rumours to start and before you know it, everyone starts saying they saw it, just to avoid the "shame" of saying you hadn't.
Yes, these are not proofs, but you know that.
If there were so many signs in the past, why are we supposed to just believe it today? How come we don't get an irrefutable sign when people did before? What makes them so special that they get an easy ride?
And if I might be so bold as to pre-empt you, saying that the Koran IS the sign doesn't work, unless you already believe that it is.
I would love to know what un-known knowledge we have found hidden in the Koran
I sincearly hope you do not refer to this kind of thing:
You could use the Quran, that way you can experience it again and again. Better than a one off event that way, whether now or in the past.
Split is correct. I mentioned this to an Atheist once, he came up with the same kinds of thoughts on it. Even came up with a pic a few days later with a cloud partially across the moon. Such thinking showed to me that he did not believe that people in the past knew what a cloud was, that they could not tell the difference between two half's of the moon, either side of a mountain top, and a moon with a cloud over part of it. That they were so easily fooled, yet they still did not believe.
One who does not believe in something will look for the slight of hand. Maybe he setup some big mirrors on the mountain top to make it appear like the moon was in two bits.. hmmn those would have had to have been big mirrors, and you'd need some kind of remote control.. none of that kind of tech existed in those days. Then how else did he 'fool' the people. i.e.. the thought is that he definitely fooled them, but how.
The people of the time could not come up with any explanation, so blamed it on magic, and still rejected the sign.
People of the past also knew of lunar and solar eclipse's. Indeed had an occasion to see one a few years later at the death of the son of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him. When his son died, a rumour quickly started spreading round the city, a great man has died, and the sun has gone dark. i.e.. This is a miracle showing the truth of the last Prophet. The holy Prophet, peace be upon him, heard the rumour, and immediately called the people together. He said, the sun and the moon are signs of God, and care nothing for man, or the death of a son of Muhammad. i.e.. It does not show I am a Prophet. It is nothing to do with me.
There are many such events in the life of the last Prophet, peace be upon him, where he does not take the easy way, rather the more difficult route. The honest route. That is why, he was called Al Amin, the trustworthy, even before he was chosen as a Prophet. Even by his enemies.
Having people, who did not even believe in you, as plants. Keep in mind, that these same plants would have had to have been set up months before, seeing as caravans took that long to go somewhere, and come back (no planes or cars.. just walking, horses and camels). Further, keep in mind that the caravans are made up of money centric people, the very people who where most opposing Islam.
The example of the moon split was used only for illustrative purposes, to show the very thing that you displayed. If one mentions it now, people will come up with all sorts of reasons why it didn't, couldn't have happened. The point was not to convince you, rather that even the people at the time did not become Muslim because of it.
No matter what most people are given, it is just not enough. That is the point.. most people are more than happy not to change from what they are already in.
Take for instance alcohol consumption. People will not give it up, as a society, no matter how much you tell them they will be better off without it. The example of the US and prohibition is pretty instructive. Even when forced to give it up, people will continue to indulge themselves, and force the law to be changed back. It is very interesting to note however, that when in Islam the message came down that intoxicants were not prohibited, there was no police force used to enforce it, no millions of dollars spent, no prisons filled with violators. The message was given to some companions who were present. These companions ran round the streets of Madina, passing on the message. The people in the process of serving and drinking emptied their glasses, broke the bottles, some even went as far as to induce vomiting to get it out of their stomachs.
These very same people, loved their drink more than the people of now, or the people of US prohibition loved their drink.. yet they gave it up, just like that. How come? They had been readied to accept a command from God. A command came, they accepted.
Take the same people, a few years before, and they would have fought to have kept their old habits.
The point I was making is that no sign is irrefutable. People will come up with all sorts of excuses to reject it.
Essentially you are after something just for you, which will then not be transferable to any one else. If you got your 'moon split', no one else will accept that this proves that God exists.
That is why we have a sign that everyone can look at, time and time again. Will everyone accept it, ofcourse not.
You do not have to believe in it to start with. You just have to see if it matches up to its grand claims. Did the people of the past know that all life was made of water, or that the universe was expanding? what kind of tech is required to know such things, did they have access to it? Were these just guesses? why would a guy in the desert, be making up such stuff?
Why would a man that has a notoriety for complete honesty, is so honest he is given such a nickname by the people, suddenly give it up, and become the biggest of liars? The most beloved of people in the city, the one everyone wanted to get in with, they were lining up to get their kids married to his.. gives all that up, and becomes the most hated of people.
Is any of the above proof, nope, however they are pointers to where the truth may be found.
There are not that many possible explanations for the Quran. Is it as it claims, from God. If so, you would expect it to be all correct, no errors.. there should be no discrepancies with in it, either between its own pages, or with the rest of creation.
Perhaps its man made. In which case, one should be able to find many issues with it. One should also be able to replicate its like, quite easily.
Was the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, deluded/crazy? He would still be honest that way, but just seeing things, hearing things. Does such a description match up with his life story?
He may just have been an out and out liar. Does that fit with his life story.
Perhaps he was, as he claimed, a Prophet of God. Does his life fit with such a claim?
Science in the Quran..
I have not seen this site before. I do not know of the verse in question's application to the quasar and grav lens effect that is referred to in the link you have. Seems a bit far fetched, though I really haven't the tools to tell.
There was a non-muslim French scientist who wrote a book comparing the Quran and the Bible to Science.. http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/MB_BQS/default.htm. You could probably just jump past the Bible stuff.
Let me be clear. I am not trying to convince you, that is not my role, and is beyond my capability.
I am learning for myself as we go along. I am trying to answer every question that is raised.. see where my own limits are. What else do I need to learn.
It's your job to convince yourself, if you are so interested.
In the sight of God, one stands for oneself, in this world and the hereafter.
...yes, thank you, it does.
I do have one point to follow on this. You make an assumption, that because an atheist doesn't chose to believe in God per se, they can't tell the difference between good and evil. This is not the case. In an atheistic point of view, good and evil 'exist' just not as entities separate from ourselves, with for want of a better word, 'supernatural' origins.
For example, i saw an interview once with the psychologist into whose care had been placed the two children who notable tortured and murdered the child James Bulger. He was asked how he would define evil. He replied succinctly, 'lack of empathy'. I have tested this analogy against every example of what one classically defines as evil, and have still to find a single example where it fails.
So if you wish, regard the 'good' atheists as those who have empathy for their fellow man, and the 'evil' ones as those who don't. It then becomes easy to realise how some can wipe out a million lives without a care, and yet other will give their lives prevent it.
The idea that man can’t figure this out for himself seems a bit weird to me, especially if he’s a creation of god, and therefore already has the answers to the questions he seeks in his soul already, much like a snail carries it’s shell upon it’s back.
I can understand how a group of people can come to a similar understanding and produce a theosophy to support that and to bring them together.
Do you se that others can come to that same understanding without the need for that particular ideology, but through another ideology that is more fitting for their own place in space and time?
I’m sorry that I cannot offer more at this stage, but I’m on holiday, and subject to the whims of internet cafes…!
Love and respect,
I did not say Atheists could not tell the difference, rather there is no such thing in Atheism. Good and evil do not exist to an Atheist. It is subjective, whatever you want. What is good to you, is not so good to the next Atheist.
The point of using 'lack of empathy' as a definition of evil, is that at best it is what someone has come up with. The fact that you and lots of other people may agree to it, is immaterial, there will be lots of others who will not. Their thinking, their choice.
You have no right to enforce your will on them, neither do they have a right to enforce theirs on you. Their view would be just as 'good' since this is all subjective.
Only when the Creator of all says x is evil, is it fair to all, and applicable on all.
Further, consider is drinking alcohol an evil act? how about gambling or fortune telling?
I am not sure how one would apply 'lack of empathy' to such social ills.
Can man figure it out?
If one does not have all the information, and one does not know the weighting to apply to each part, how can one judge what is right and what is wrong? One can make a best guess, but thats about all.
The one who has all knowledge, and created it all in the first place, is best placed to tell you what is right, and what is wrong.
Is it built into our souls?
I think you are pointing to the fitrah in Islam with this one. ie. the human nature that is planted into human beings, the knowledge of right and wrong etc.
However, one cannot base laws which apply to everyone on fitrah.
The fitrah can get messed up. Take for example, something massively prevalent on the internet. Nudity, good or bad, right or wrong? The original fitrah of man is to cover himself up. However, you expose the same man to lots of nudity, and it becomes acceptable, even normal. The next step is that it becomes something that one can see nothing wrong with. For such a man to then generate laws based on his 'fitrah' would lead to conflict with those who do not share his specially upgraded fitrah.
One quickly comes to the conclusion that basing right and wrong, laws etc. on the fitrah, is not going to work.
One needs something beyond it, something incorruptable, independant etc.. and that something is God.
Enjoy your holiday.
I was once put in the privileged position of being able to ask God directly, does God believe in a higher being? What is God's religion? The reply was God does not believe in a higher being and does not believe in or favour any religion ie God is the ultimate atheist.
So how on earth does J1 presume to know what atheist thinking is? If he is not an atheist how can he know? It's the oldest trick in the book, set up your own fabricated prejudices as targets so you can prove your own superiority. Even if the El Reg readership is fooled by it, does J1 really think God won't instantly see through such nonsense?
Some followers of the Quran kill people for drawing squiggles on a piece of paper. Some get angry over the naming of a teddy bear. Does this mean that their thinking is quranic thinking?
Just because you selectively choose data to fit in with your own prejudices, does not make it the truth.
If atheists fit into any framework, it is the framework of the human rights act. If God is just and merciful to all, it would be through the application of universal rights to all and not through the pleadings of a narrow minded group who insist that somehow they are special.
What an argument, I guess you mean that no Atheists do any bad deed at all? Which I guess is true, since in Atheism, there is no such thing as a bad deed. If an Atheist kills someone, or steals from someone, its just an action, not a bad, wrong action.
Taking this a bit further, if anyone carries out any 'bad' action, in the world of the Atheist, it matters not, its not bad. Since there is really no such thing.
Going one step further, why are you getting wound up by squiggles, and teddy bears.. there is no moral context around such actions.. not to an Atheist. The thinking, choices, actions, of those who do the killing for squiggles and teddy bears, are as good as yours.
In order to know whether someone is exhibiting Quranic behaviour, one would have to know the Quran, and match the behaviour with it. An exercise I think you should undertake. Then you would no longer have any need to ask such questions.
Or perhaps you are being rhetorical.
Selective data, prejudices..
I neither have all knowledge, nor the ability to weigh it all. It is hardly surprising that I will be selective, prejudiced etc.
I'd suggest that if what you say is true, you should be able to tease out my deficiencies, and point me in the right direction. It probably won't help much though.
Why should human rights matter to an Atheist? There is no good, or evil in the land of the Atheist after all, its all subjective. What definition of human rights would every Atheist agree with, on what basis?
In the house of Islam, God sets the rules, they apply equally on everyone. Fair that way.
God and justice..
Is God just to all? Most Atheists point to evil in the world (of course evil does not exist in Atheism, but use any old bat to beat the enemy), and say that God is not just, that's if He exists.
In the house of Islam, God is the most just. This world is not the end of life, and everyone will get their comeuppances in the next world. Complete justice, no freedom on the day of reckoning.
Aren't Atheists special? They are always telling others how they think for themselves. That must be pretty special. Something the rest of poor humanity haven't been able to evolve yet.
Are Muslims special? I'd suggest that the answer to that one could be found in the Quran. This could be one of those behaviours that may or may not match up to the quranic thinking you referred to earlier.
AC: I beleive that if there is a God then our own free will is his greatest gift to us. Do you share this view? If so, why would you give it up?
J1: Because He knows what is better for you, than you do.You put your trust in Him.
The irony of the patronising deity needs no further repetition. So am i correct in my assumption that you believe the only reason man was given such a jewel as free will, was so that he could relinquish it again to something? That point as it stands, may well have validity. But what gets me about your viewpoint, is the fact that after hundreds of thousands of years of cultural evolution and human development, some bright spark comes along and decides it's all down to a particular representation of the Real (i prefer the Sufi term for God, it avoids all those anthropomorphic representations that cloud the judgement of religiously minded folks like yourself) So NOW we ALL have to subscribe to that very specific set of imprints that this geezer realized many hundreds of years ago, and live our lives, worship, etc, in the manner he set forth, or the Real ain't gonna what, love us? Or we're gonna for ever be some sort of second class soul? Ouch!
J1: If you think about it, you do not have total free play to your will regardless. You only have limited free will, free range to do what you choose in small spheres. You are limited by society, by the weather, by gravity etc.
As an example. You do not get to decide if it right or wrong to steal, its imposed on you. God imposes the same thing, indeed did it first. Would you rather accept it from Him, or society?
Yeah, up to philosophical point. See, having physical constraints opposed to our free will may not mean we have a limited will, just that it's expression is defined by the physical universe around us.
For example, i would like to fly. Now i can strain my brain all day long, chances are i ain't gonna raise myself off the floor at all by sheer will power. But i could go and board an aeroplane, or buy a helicopter, or i could go live on the ISS, or get Craig Venter to splice me with an albatross. All these choices would require exertion of will to enable it to happen, some a hell of a lot more than others.
Now, the example you give is very different, is an example of morality, and maybe one where we have the greatest choice of all. So are you saying i never learnt the difference between right and wrong, someone just told me and i blindly went along? That's not the way i remember it, matey! I stole things in my yoof, despite my 'good' upbringing, and people stole from me, and i learnt about right and wrong, that they aren't just arbitrary appellation, but deep concepts that go far beyond life and death. Maybe in this way God taught me. And i've already made the sublimation that seek. And if that's the case, does that annoy you? If so, look to that place, and there you will find the head of a snake, a serpent of human desires and greed that doesn't want you to question the perspective that the egos of countless dead old men have imposed upon you. Beware....
J1: Who will you submit to?
Who are you?
What do you want?
Who do you serve?
Who do you trust?
I reckon this question's round about number three on the Straczynski scale of reality checker!
Religion is all about ego, as man implements his semantic definition upon the divine. Just as i'm doing now. Just as a bunch of dead dudes did many many generations ago, and upon whose schizoidic, 'I hear voices in my head, therefore i'm talking to an external agency (because obviously I'M not mad), so it MUST be God, so i'd better just do whatever the voice in my head tells me' gibber the people of faith place their trust in. Can't you see? Even if the human who channelled those thoughts is the most humble enlightened being, that's no guarantee that any other space monkey in his retinue isn't gonna be bringing their fallible monkey egos to the party. And as the importance of the thing grows, then so too does the influence and power of those who do. Any who really wanna get jiggy with the Real ain't gonna be running round organising massed ranks of humanity into obedient little herds. That's for the politically minded, ruling class members of the theocracy (sound familiar?).
J1: A little further thought, the only gift that you have to give Him, is your free choice. Everything else is already His. He is the creator the maker, the evolver of it all. Will you give Him this one most precious of gifts. Remember, He gave even that to you first.
That is the most beautiful definition of faith from the religious point of view. Thank you, i shall keep it in my heart. To me, faith is the point where you choose to believe in something even though you know there is no proof. As long as religious minded folks like yourselves remember that, then we'll all get along just peachy. It's when some try to find actually physical 'in your FACE, science!' proof, from the world of the logos, science, to support this faith, that it all gets messed up. It's as impossible to use science to prove faith, as it is to disprove it. You scientists had better remember that the next time you wanna tell all those religious people they're talking cock, just cos your giant space telescope can't see their God (though it did get a rather wonderful shot of his great balls of fire). You can't, they're in the world of mythos, get over it and whist you're at it, stop thinking that just because you ain't gotta God, you ain't preaching!
So in short, if we can all respect that some of us may have stumbled upon the same things as others of us, and that there's more than one way to approach this, and the concepts we enshrine it in are not as important as the actions and ultimately the compassion we show our fellow man, then do whatever turns you on!
"Further, consider is drinking alcohol an evil act? how about gambling or fortune telling?
I am not sure how one would apply 'lack of empathy' to such social ills."
I am surprised by your statements again.
We are social creatures, we live in family units, we are dependent on each other. If I were to take to alcohol in a big way or drugs then it wouldn't take much empathy to realise that such behaviour would have a negative effect on those that depend on me, such as my three young sons and my wife, they would be immediately affected if I were to become a useless drunk or obsessive gambler.
Fortune telling? Well, in that respect you are misleading others, taking advantage of their trust, extorting money? Possibly controlling what they do? In return for what? Hope? Comfort? Sounds familiar to me.
Without empathy there is no perception or prediction of how your actions affect others.
Lack of empathy
Everything you say is subjective. As I have pointed out time and again, not every Atheist would share your view.
With Atheism, there is no way to say, this is good. Rather the best you can say is, I think this is good based on x y z. Everyone else may disagree.
Taking this a bit further, why is empathy good in any case? Why is it good to to help others? rather than to oppress others? Why is it good to help/care for your wife and kids?
What makes something good or evil in the land of the Atheist?
From what I have seen, read, talked to Atheists about, there is no such thing in Atheism.. no good, no evil.. just action. If you describe a particular action as good, another may describe it as evil. subjective.
Essentially, what the Atheist is doing, is making use of what other people say is good or evil.. since he/she cannot be bothered to work it out for themselves, it is after all an enormous task. In the west, that would be primarily from the Christian faith.
It's not subjective and I'm not an athiest.
If someone punches me in the face, I don't like it, I don't want it to happen. Prediction that it might happen again causes fear, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering (starwars reference, sorry). These are not nice feelings and generally speaking we have evolved to avoid them.
If you have empathy and can see that your actions would lead to those feelings in others then you are likley to think that YOU wouldn't want these "not nice" feelings so probably your intended victim wouldn't either.
It's not subjective, its a case of how would your actions affect others, and you can work that out.
Or, do you really need God to tell you that being punched in the face is a bad thing?
It is indeed subjective, to an Atheist ofcourse. All moral questions, good, bad, or inbetween types are up to the individual to decide.
Since in Atheism there is no good or bad, your feeling of pain, is neither good nor bad, its just a feeling.
Why should one care what happens to others, its neither good, nor bad for an Atheist. They are just collections of atoms, as are you. There is nothing that much different from one set of atoms as opposed to another set. To an Atheist that is.
To help a million people, or to oppress the same million, means nothing, they will become dust regardless of what happened to them, they will not recall what happened, neither will you, nor will any one else. Meaningless.. to an Atheist that is.
At least, thats what they say. For you to project your own, non-Atheist view, on Atheists, is missing the whole point.
In your posts you spend your time projecting your own non-Atheist vies on atheists and then you have the cheek to complain when you think someone else is doing the same.
From what you have posted, you quote the Quran saying God despises sycophancy (the angels) which is why God created non-sycophantic humans with free will or atheists as they are now called. If you demean God's greatest creation then you demean God. Not content with showing disrespect to God in this way, you also try to reduce God to some sort of conjuror on par with Derren Brown or Siegfried & Roy - do you really think that God uses trickery (magic or otherwise) in order to win followers?
God is universal, God is just, God is wise - stop missing the point!
"From his own posts J1 may have read the quran but has failed to understand it"
You mean failed to reach the same conclusion as you think he should.
"so this idea that he understands atheism doesn't hold water."
So because you think he can't understand his own beliefs, then automatically he has no understanding of any? It's your statement doesn't hold any water.
I've been conversing with him for a bit now and I can say he's got a pretty good handle on atheism and to say he doesn't know his own beliefs is nothing short of an insult.
You can post what you like but seriously, if you want to offer something constructive to the discussion rather than just having a pop at the guy, that would be nice.
Yes! Something convincing, I don't find the Koran convincing, not at all, nor any religious text.
Third party accounts.... this man said that..... this happened once...... this text is from God because it says so.... None of it serves to convince me at all, it's all very weak.
Even the "numbers miracle" that is so well documented and often put forward as proof is at best just a bunch of mathmatical curiosities that can be applied to text of any comparible size, it is well documented that if you look for number patterns in anything you WILL find them.
"Did the people of the past know that all life was made of water, or that the universe was expanding? what kind of tech is required to know such things, did they have access to it? Were these just guesses? why would a guy in the desert, be making up such stuff?"
If there was anyting even remotley approaching an accurate description of the like that didn't rely HEAVILY on VERY lenient translation then I would give it some credit, as it happens none of it does. It is, all very weak. If anything, such things serve to discredit the message. You could argue that such things are not part of the message but our own mis-interpritation and I would accept that but they are so often put forward as proof, indeed you have just used them yourself.
"Why would a man that has a notoriety for complete honesty, is so honest he is given such a nickname by the people, suddenly give it up, and become the biggest of liars?"
You have to gain the trust of the people if you want to lead them.
"The most beloved of people in the city, the one everyone wanted to get in with, they were lining up to get their kids married to his.. "
Social privilige. The social elite at the time could see where this was going and were falling over themselves to get tied in with the ruler of this newly emerging Islamic empire.
It's clear that you and me see the world through very very different eyes.
For the record, I don't think anyone can satisfactorily address the points raised above. It doesn't mean that J1 is wrong or right and it doesn't mean that I'm wrong or right either. It just means there's a difference of opinion.
What it does bring to light is that no matter what the answer is, there are always more questions and the deeper you go in asking those questions the harder it is to find answers.
My previous one seems to have made it through, let me try a third time.
I find it difficult to understand how you can accept anything as historical. How do you know that there was a Roman empire or the Greeks did this that or the other? All the excuses/points you put forward could be equally applied to everything else you think you know.
One of the things that the Muslims first did, was to invent a dictionary. To record what the words of the language actually meant.
The language is protected by the Quran, the rules and regulations of Arabic, are in the Quran. If you want to be a master of Arabic, you have to learn from the Quran. It's that important.
The Quran is always and only in Arabic. A translation is just someone's feeble attempt to give one access to it. It is not the Quran. Is it a lenient translation, to go back to the words being used in a text, and put forward what they mean? Or is it an accurate translation.
Let's take a little look at a couple of the texts I've mentioned... This is a word by word translation..
21:30 Do not, see, those who, disbelieved, that, the heavens, and the earth, were, a joined entity, then we parted them, and we made, from, water, every, living thing, then will not, they believe.
For one to translate this as,
Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were one unit of creation, then we cleft them asunder, and we made all living things from water, will they then not believe.
is neither lenient, extravagant, wrong etc.. seems to me to be in keeping with what has been said.
51:47 And the heaven, we constructed it, with strength, and indeed we, surely expanders.
To translate this as,
We constructed the heaven with power, and we are expanding it.
Again is not taking things too far..
Just a little more on the water front, a couple more passages from the Quran..
25:54 It is He Who has created man from water: then has He established relationships of lineage and marriage: for thy Lord has power (over all things).
24:45 And God has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. God creates what He wills for verily God has power over all things.
If you are still going to say that the water thing is dependent on false translations, or the like, please imagine a good looking person (make the person real good looking), throwing their hands in the air in frustration and disbelief. If not, then please imagine the person (you know, the good looking one), nodding sagely.
I have only heard of the 19, and that one was discredited many years ago. I do not know of others.
So essentially, what you are proposing is along the lines of the following.
This man wanted power, so what he does is that from a very young age, he concocts a master plan. What he first implements is being the most honest of people. Till he gets a noteriety for this, so much so that he is the most beloved of people to the city. He gains a name, the most trustworthy. Now that he has this title, he bides his time. For many years. Till he hits the age of 40. Now, out of the blue, he announces that he is a Prophet of God. The people as a whole reject him, he is persecuted, ostracised, mocked, attempts are made on his life. Many attempts. He is offered a compromise, give up this Islam stuff, we will make you our King, their leader. He rejects this, prefers instead to suffer more attacks against him and his followers. This culminates with him leaving the city, with the Meccan's in hot pursuit. He makes it to Medina, where again he and his followers are harrassed by the Meccans, who send armies to exterminate the Muslims. This ends when a truce is signed between the parties. This agreement of peace is very one sided, all in the favour of the Meccans. However, by means of this very agreement, the Muslims end up returning to Mecca in triumph. Everyone becomes Muslim at this point. There is no rape, pillage, rioting etc..
Note how the people rejected him when he announced his Prophethood, he had gained so much trust, that they did not follow him. So much for gaining their trust in order to be their leader.
I'd say that the first one that should reject this proposition of yours, should be you.
If you learn anything about this man, you quickly realise that his nickname was not in vain. He was indeed worthy of the most trust. Even when he was being persecuted in Mecca, the Meccan's themselves were entrusting him with the safe keep of their wealth. When he fled from Mecca, he ensured that the wealth in his safe keeping, was returned to its rightful owners, thats while people are after him, trying to kill him.
If you have what I wrote, you will note that social privelage was understood by the people, and was prior to the announcement of the Prophethood. People saw what he was like, and they wanted to be a part of that. So they were lining up to be part of his family.
After the announcement of Prophethood, the situation changed drastically. Now they were hell bent on breaking all alliances with him. They put pressure on their sons to divorce the Prophets, peace be upon him, daughters. They went alot further, in their minds any relationship to the Prophet of God, peace be upon him, was a social death kiss.
Only after the conquest of Mecca, many many years later, did it suddenly become fashionable to be in with the Prophet, peace be upon him.
I really don't see how you can apply this one to the Prophet of God, peace be upon him.
"This man wanted power, .........
of the Meccans. However, by means of this very agreement, the Muslims end up returning to Mecca in triumph. Everyone becomes Muslim at this point. There is no rape, pillage, rioting etc..
Note how the people rejected him when he announced his Prophethood, he had gained so much trust, that they did not follow him. So much for gaining their trust in order to be their leader.
I'd say that the first one that should reject this proposition of yours, should be you.
Proposal of mine?!? Well, that's not quite how I'd put it but you ARE getting the idea. If you knew how people actaully did come to power and build empires you might refine your proposal a bit.
I think mohammed was a truthful guy up to a point, I think he knew how to use and guide the will of the people I think he was plugged into the political elite of the time and I think untimately his intention was to "fix" the broken society he could see around him.
The "God" part of it is simply how they did things in those days there was a religion and there was a king and that was pretty much it.
No one was interested in anything to do with changing how they lived their lives unless it involved the afterlife or the heavens (read literally stars) or preferably both.
So Mohammed did what he had to do, it turns out he did a pretty convincing job and after he came to power he refines his vision of a workable society and adds a few caveats that ensure the expansion and longevity of Islam.
I don't think he had that as a plan from the start, I think he took oppotunitites as they came.
The social privilage thing, what you say supports what I say.
I'm rushing this, gotta go..
Truthful, to a point..
Based on what? His first wife married him because of this quality, she was so impressed. His society game him the name of the most trustworth.. you have to be pretty honest to get such a title from people.
Again, based on what? Keep in mind he was ostracised, reviled, rejected.. they tried to kill him on many occasions.
Messenger from God..
Biggest lie? Even says in the Quran that a lie against God is the worst of things..
6:21 And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against All h or rejects His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, revelations, etc.)? Verily, the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong doers, etc.) shall never be successful.
yet this is exactly what you are claiming he did. Based on what?
People changing their lives..
Again, based on what? They pretty much all rejected his claim of the afterlife, the heavens, stars etc.. as you put it. Infact, made a mockery of him for it. So what are you basing this on?
Examples? I'd say quite the reverse, he was offered to be the leader, the king, he rejected it.. not very opportunistic.
I see a difference.. your point was that this is why people became Muslim, I pointed out that there was no privelege for most of the mission of the Prophet, peace be upon him.. ie. it was a difficult painful experience. So the priveleged did not want to have anything to do with it, indeed fought against it. I do not see how you can work this around to be support for your position.
You have a problem, if you hold the above positions.
First, you need some evidence.
You have to be able to account for knowledge out of its time.
You have to be able to account for the Quran, the like of which cannot be produced. The challenge of the Quran, which I keep mentioning.
You would have to be able to account for the honesty of this man, waving it away without any basis, is just not good enough.
Another point to keep in mind, the Last Prophet, peace be upon him, was illiterate, a fact mentioned in the Quran. Yet you claim he is the author of the Quran, which is the basis of the Arabic language. Even his opponents of the time did not reject this claim when they heard the verse.
Nothing about the knowledge that was unknown at the time, the translations etc. But you were rushing, as you said.
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