Friday, 29 July 2016

What can we do about this plague called religion?

It is almost impossible to turn on the Televised News or go to your favorite news website (actual news not this crap called alt-media which masquerades as journalism, looking at you TYT and Alex Jones) these days without been assaulted by some or other story/crime that has been created by some or other idiotic belief in a superstition. To prove my point I had a quick loom at The Independent News in Britain and got links to the following news stories from their front page.

 


And then I stopped as there were actually to many more links, and well this is not free advertising. Ok this below is.

So, what are we to do as skeptics who do not buy into these delusions which drive these atrocities. As I suggested in my "dear Muslim" letter the other day, the onus lies on the religions to sort their shit out. All we can do as skeptics is raise the profile of the problem and hope that the religious do something good by getting rid of their problems, or we can raise the profile of the lunacy and watch the world burn. As skeptics our hands are tied, all we can do is try educate, and honestly I don't think there is anything else we can do.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

An open letter to Muslims

Dear Muslim

Your religion is in chaos, and it is all of your own making. Vast swaths of the Islamic population across the world is disrespectful of basic human rights, and by standing idly by and not criticizing these bad ideas you are creating an even bigger problem. The country in which Mecca is situated has many laws which are similar to the terrorist organization called ISIS, and by not criticizing the government which hosts your holy city you are encouraging barbaric practices.

Unfortunately, all this chaos and disorder that exists in your religion also means the respect that other religious believers as well as secularists have towards your beliefs diminishes on a daily basis, and only you are the one that can change things around. This may sound harsh and unfair, but no longer can you hide behind claims of discrimination or unfair treatment. The time is here and now for you and your fellow believers to sort out the problems that your religion is causing in this world. You may wonder why I place this burden on you? So allow me to elaborate why I place the task of reformation and/or eradication of Islamic terrorism squarely at your feet.

In the past any secular or non-Islamic attempt at trying to get rid of Islamic groups that threaten world peace and/or the lives of Muslims has lead to an escalation of violence or conditions that are considered detrimental to Muslims. This has been demonstrated in recent memory in the countries of Iraq, and Afghanistan. In fact, it is clear from these examples that the only way for any of these problems to be solved is for Muslims to get into the trenches and sort out the problems themselves. Additionally, recently countries that have been accepting of refugees from Islamic terrorists have been attacked by these same Islamists the Muslims refugees are escaping from. This shows that there is nothing non-Muslims can do to solve this problem as even when they are trying to do a good deed, it leads to the death of innocent civilians.

The fact that non-believers are not allowed to address these problems without a backlash from the Islamic world show that these gross violations of human rights have to be dealt with only by Muslims themselves. Needless to say, these problems are vast, and they can only be solved by people like you getting out there and doing your part. I do realize that this is easier to say than to actually go and do, but as pointed out the Muslims world does not want any help from non-believers. While you may not agree with violence, you have to realize that this problem is not going away and I am certain that you are smart enough to know this fact as well.

Lastly, and probably most controversially, as a Muslim, if you are not prepared to stand up and do something then you are saying you approve of what Islam is doing in this world. This makes you part of the problem.

Stand up
Get up
This is your time

Monday, 25 July 2016

Can someone please explain the Jonah story to me

When growing up in my country we used to get taught Bible stories at school as well as at the customary Bible school on Sunday morning at church. It was during these times that we would engage in the moral tales of the binding of Isaac, or learn that a man called Noah built a really big boat and put two of every kind of animal on it to sail around for a year.  Naturally it never occurred to me that any adults were lying to me when they told me about Moses parting the Red Sea so the Jews could escape the evil Egyptians. Of course for some people these stories were capped of with a threat that if we did not believe the Bible stories we may burn in hell forever.

Skip forward a few many years and here I sit in front of my computer typing and wondering how I could ever believe the pile of steaming manure that was placed in front of me was in fact a tower made of gold. I have so many questions that went unanswered as a child, and it is one reason why I sometimes enjoy engaging in informative discussions with theists. One of these question revolves around Jonah, as it seems to me that it is something that is very easily provable.

For those of you that don't know let me give the story in brief.
Jonah was meant to do something for God and he disobeyed, as such he landed up in the stomach of a fish or whale  for three days, and then got regurgitated when he decided to listen to God again.

To me this seems a simple story that require no interpretation if the Bible is meant to be fact. But it is also a story that makes no sense as I have to ask the simple question,  what fish/sea creature/whale can keep a man alive inside its stomach for three days?

Can any Christian explain this problem to me. It is really a simple problem to solve. Surely there are only a few sea creature options in which a human can live (actually there are none), as such this is an easy thing to test.

If you cannot prove this story rationally, then you have to accept that the Jonah story is bullshit. If the Jonah story is bullshit, then surely you have to start wondering about some other stories in the Bible. I am an atheist as I question simple religious tales, so why are you not an atheist?

Or we can carry on teaching trash to kids and indoctrinate them so that their learning can be stunted with silly ideas.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Reading the Koran Sura 3 Verses 1-9

Sura 3 of the Koran also goes by the name Al Imran or The Family of Imran. Interestingly depending on the source or commentary you follow "Family of Imran" can mean either the Family of Amran the father of Moses and Aaron, or it can mean Family of Mary the mother of Jesus. So before we start off we already have a screw up as the scholars cannot agree on the meaning of the name of the Sura, and remember this is meant to be the one and only true word of God. However, let me tell you in a nutshell why these two names exist.

The Family of Mary, by designating this name it lends credibility to the Muslim claim that Jesus is not the son of God but rather just a prophet. Naturally this does not do away with the Christianity claim completely as no Christian denies that Jesus birth was by Mary, they just believe that Mary was knocked up by Jehovah. So not sure exactly how this claim does away with immaculate conception, I think a far simpler explanation is that immaculate conception is absurd as it has never happened, well beside this one time in a time when there was no reason to believe it was immaculate.

Father of Amran, this designation is to lend credence to the Koran as a source of knowledge in line with the Bible and that the prophet Muhammad can be trusted. Personally I feel this designation is more appropriate as the word Imran is a male word in the Arabic, and so I can see no specific reason why it should be translated into the female.

So now that you don't understand the meaning of the Sura's name, lets move onto the introductory verses. After two versus of how awesome Allah is we get to the crux of the Sura with verse 3 and 4.
"He has sent down to you the Book with the truth confirming what was [revealed] before it, and He had sent down the Torah and the Evangel before as guidance for mankind, and He has sent down the Criterion. Indeed those who defy the signs of Allah, there is a severe punishment for them; and Allah is all-mighty, avenger."
Here we find that the Koran is explicitly given as the new good book to live by, as the Torah and the Bible (Evangel) are books of guidance from the past. Of course we can know the Koran is the real and true book as there are sure signs from Allah that this is so. Now don't hod your breath for those signs as you will die waiting. Like most claims of superiority of a specific sacred text, you actually have to believe the sacred text before you can see its sacred. And around and around we go with the circular reasoning. However, in case you are wondering what some of these signs are? Well verse 5 and 6 come hastily to the rescue.
"Nothing is indeed hidden from Allah in the earth or in the sky. It is He who forms you in the wombs however He wishes. There is no god except Him, the All-mighty, the All-wise."
Confused? Exactly

Now you get this..
"It is He who has sent down to you the Book. Parts of it are definitive verses, which are the mother of the Book, while others are metaphorical. As for those in whose hearts is deviance, they pursue what is metaphorical in it, courting temptation and courting its interpretation. But no one knows its interpretation except Allah and those firmly grounded in knowledge; they say, ‘We believe in it; all of it is from our Lord.’ And none takes admonition except those who possess intellect."
 Okay, so in the Koran some verses are literal and some are metaphorical. The problem is that only Allah knows what is true and what is not. In other words anything you gleam from the Koran can be truth or fake. So, why does anyone believe this crap?

This one verse destroys any concepts derived from the Koran, as there is no way to know what is true or not. Let me just reiterate, that this is not me saying this, it is the Koran telling you this.

Todays reading ends of with some more all hail Allah verses which are surely important after all we have no idea what to believe here anyway. Okay this is all for this week, as really I want what you have seen today to really sink in. Its scary that a religion with this many inaccuracies is the fastest growing religion in the world, what does that say about humanity? I leave that question to answer yourself.

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The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 35 - 36

We ended our last Bible lesson with the mass slaughter and sex slave acquisition by the Israelites as compensation for the apparent rape of Dinah daughter of Jacob. Genesis 35 continues this theme as it shows us Jehovah telling Jacob to flee the lands where the genocide was conducted and to go to Bethel. Bethel if you remember is the place where God first spoke to Jacob when he was running away from the wrath of Esau, so I suppose it makes sense that Jacob would run to the same safe haven.
"After that God said to Jacob: “Rise, go up to Bethʹel and dwell there, and make an altar there to the true God, who appeared to you when you were running away from Eʹsau your brother.”"
So the lesson we can take away here surely must be that if you are a Christian and you do something horrific run away and avoid justice. Sometimes I really think I should get me some of this guilt free justification to be a right asshole.

Something that always amazes me about the Israelites is that they continually have to be told to worship Jehovah, such as is the case when Jacob has to tell his people to throw away images of other Gods. This is astounding as it is clear that god takes such good care of these chosen ones compared to other people.
"Then Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him: “Get rid of the foreign gods that are in your midst, and cleanse yourselves and change your garments,"
So, why would the Israelites have other gods? The only rationale that I can come to why they deem it necessary to keep other gods, somehow they know that all gods are the same and deep inside they know all these gods are bullshit. The other option is that the Israelites are the best at playing Pascals wager.

From last week, we also know that Jacob is extremely worried that he will be attacked by other tribes for killing a whole town of people. Luckily for Jacob, he has God on his side and God makes sure that others will never attack.
"When they traveled on, the terror of God struck the cities around them, so they did not chase after the sons of Jacob."
Thats right, Jehovah can stop whole cities and tribes of people attacking Jacob, yet he is incapable of helping one women not get raped. All powerful or biggest asshole ever?

Eventually Jacob and his people reach Bethel and God comes to Earth to have a chat with him and tell him how awesome he is and how great things will be for him.
"God appeared to Jacob once again while he was coming from Padʹdan-aʹram and blessed him.  God said to him: “Your name is Jacob. Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel will be your name.” And he began to call him Israel.  God further said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and become many. Nations and a congregation of nations will come from you, and kings will descend from you. As for the land that I have given to Abraham and to Isaac, to you I will give it, and to your offspring after you I will give the land.” Then God went up from him at the place where he had spoken with him."
Amazingly God never comes to Earth anymore, almost like the same way that miracles never happen anymore. Unless, God only comes to Earth when he wants to tell someone something super important, something important like  change your name from Jacob to Israel.

Bethel is also a sad yet joyous place, as this is the place where Rachel dies giving birth to Jacob's last son.
"Just as her life was slipping away (for she was dying), she named him Ben-oʹni, but his father called him Benjamin."
This is the beginning of Benjamin (Son of the My Mourning) the last tribe of Israel. So now we have the full quota of Israelite tribes, and they are Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin

(Source)

In verse 22, we have the most throw away line in the Bible. It details something that gives us deep insight into the people the Israelites were. Ok, I mean more than killers, marauders and pimps. Apparently, the Israelites were into incest at this time as well.
"Once while Israel was dwelling in that land, Reuʹben went and lay down with Bilʹhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard about it."
Jacob does nothing about this, in fact this line is all that is mentioned in the Bible! Just so many questions, i.e. why put this in the Bible if it is not going to dealt with? what about the brothers and sisters whose mother Reuben was having sex with? why did Jacob do nothing? This is really one messed up family!

Chapter 35 ends with the arrival of Jacob back at his home and then we get told that his father Isaac eventually dies at the young age of 180.

Chapter 35 is mostly a chronology of Esau's family line, so it is pretty boring except for a few verses. The first verse 6 shows us that Esau was a pretty decent person as he moved away so as not to get in his brothers way.
"After that Eʹsau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, all the members of his household, his herd and all his other beasts, and all the wealth he had accumulated in the land of Caʹnaan and he went to another land some distance away from Jacob his brother."
Yet, Jacob is still the chose one by Jehovah.

The other verse tells us that Esau's people were far more organized and I gather more civilized than the Israelites as they had a ruling class before the Israelites..
"Now these are the kings who reigned in the land of Eʹdom before any king reigned over the Israelites."

So thats two more chapters down, and a whole lot more WTF!

xxxxxxxxxxx
All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website

Monday, 18 July 2016

The face of moderate Islam exemplified in a democratic society

Pakistan is a democratic society that has Islam as its official state religion, surely it would not be a far stretch to then posit that Pakistan reflects moderate Islam. After all according to is constitution it is classified as a federal republic, and a federal republic is defined as a federation of states with a democratic government. Democracy obviously can be used as a measure of a population, so if Islam is peaceful then a democratic society based on Islam would be peaceful  So, in my opinion, we have a perfect case of a moderate progressive Islamic society, its a state we can look at and see if Islam is such a great force for good that it is purported to be.

So let us begin our journey into moderate Islam.

Crimes against women, men and children
Muslims love to say that the Koran teaches women to be respected and cared for. So what do we see happening in a moderate Islamic country? We see the Council of Islamic Ideology proposing that men be allowed to "lightly" beat their wives to keep them in line. Its a country where women are burned alive or beaten to death when they want to choose their own partners and not have to listen to religious leaders or parents. Additionally, young teen women are killed if they want to choose a partner different to the man that their parents choose. Husbands and their pregnant wives also get killed if they disobey orders not to have a relationship. So the face of moderate Islam can be marginally scary for those that disobey orders to live unhappy lives in relationships they have no desire to be in.


How to deal with legal issues.
The Koran is very god at pointing out exactly how many legal issues should be dealt with. As such it is refreshing to see that the Council of Islamic Ideology requires four witnesses to make sure that a rape is real and not a fabrication. To be fair, they will also allow DNA evidence as supplementary proof, although it cannot be use as evidence after all we need those four witnesses. Divorce is a tricky issue everywhere in the world, so it is good to see that moderate Islam promotes easy divorce, or the simple have more than one wife rule. Now I have no problems with polygamy, but it only works when everyone in the relationship agrees with it. Unfortunately, the law proposed is meant to allow a man a second wife, this is not something held for women. Then there is the tiny issue of underage marriage, well luckily for us Islam allows marriage of any child that has reached puberty. So that means girls of 1-11 years old are ripe for the picking to old men that enjoy their pedophilia like the most noble prophet Muhammad.


Science and Education
Women should be educated, but only to the correct degree otherwise they may get attacked and killed for being uppity. Clearly a man is a man and a women is a women in Islam, as such moderate Islam promotes the idea that sex changes are completely un-Islamic. However, not everything is anti-science, there is strong support for reproductive techniques like in vitro fertilization. It is also a strong point that evolution is taught in schools, although students do wonder about the quality of their education on evolutionary topics. Additionally, many teachers and students are saying evolution is in conflict with their religion so are the facts getting memorized to be discarded or is evolution teaching a real issue.


So this is the wonderful world of moderate Islam. I should close here by saying that a lot of violence can be placed squarely at the feet of moderate Islam and organisations like the Council of Islamic Ideology. So who are the Council of Islamic Ideology?
They are there to propose good ideas to the government so that the moderate Muslims can live happily. They justify their actions using the most Noble Koran, so its just Islam being moderate and nothing more. Naturally the government does not have to listen to these men of superior knowledge, but there job is to advise and as it consist of ex judges and religious leaders it does hold sway.

While reading this if you noticed the dripping sarcasm, good it is meant to be sarcastic as this is moderate Islam in action. Moderate Islam is a sarcastic joke.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Reading the Koran - Sura 2 Verse 282 -286

This week is the last reading from Sura 2, it also a section that is not in my hard copy of the Koran as such I hope I can do it justice. As in the last reading this reading deals with economic issues and so lets delve further into economics according to the Koran.

Verse 282 is a very interesting as it deals with lending money, this immediately should ring an alarm bell as the Koran has previously stated that lending money to someone is something that should not be done. Verse 282 is also a long an intensive verse which needs to be broken down into digestible chunks.The first part of verse 282 deal with contracts and says the following.
"O you who have faith! When you contract a loan for a specified term, write it down. Let a writer write between you with honesty, and let not the writer refuse to write as Allah has taught him. So let him write, and let the one who incurs the debt dictate, and let him be wary of Allah, his Lord, and not diminish anything from it. But if the debtor be feeble-minded, or weak, or incapable of dictating himself, then let his guardian dictate with honesty,"
So basically, when you lend money should always write a contract. This makes perfect sense, and is great advice. I also like the idea that you should get a third person to be there as a witness to what the loan is about. Naturally, Allah will make sure that loans and debt are fulfilled, so you never have to worry about being done over when lending money as Allah will make sure everything works out smoothly. Of course the last part about divine intervention is not based in reality, but the general idea presented is a very good one.
"and take as witness two witnesses from your men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women —from those whom you approve as witnesses— so that if one of the two defaults the other will remind her."
So beside the third person writing the contract it also a good idea to have witnesses. Again a great idea, but what astounds me is the blatant sexism that occur here within the Koran when it unabashedly states that womens logic and testimony is only half as valid as men.
"The witnesses must not refuse when they are called, and do not consider it wearisome to write it down, whether it be a big or a small sum, [as being lent] until its term. That is more just with Allah and more upright in respect to testimony, and the likeliest way to avoid doubt, unless it is an on the spot deal you transact between yourselves, in which case there is no sin upon you not to write it. Take witnesses when you make a deal, and let no harm be done to writer or witness, and if you did that, it would be sinful of you. Be wary of Allah and Allah shall teach you, and Allah has knowledge of all things"
Again very logical, i.e. always write down debts even if you think a small amount is getting loaned the amount is not worthy of contracts and witnesses. Although, that said if it is a small deal you can also not write it down, so in this verse the Koran contradicts itself yet again. All in all verse 282 is a very logical, however we should not let this logic slide by without realizing the contradictions and sexism that is present. The next verse 283 deals with much the same that has been dealt with in verse 282, and so we will jump straight to the next section which deals with Muslims and the final victory that they will attain.



As stated, verse 284 to 286 deal with the victory that Allah will have over good and bad deeds. As such any bad thing that is done will be dealt with by Allah in a good way. However, Allah also can choose whether he wants to punish someone, as such all the verses in Sura 2 become irrelevant as pre-destination exists in Islam.
"To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth; and whether you disclose what is in your hearts or hide it, Allah will bring you to account for it. Then He will forgive whomever He wishes and punish whomever He wishes, and Allah has power over all things."
Seriously, how can anyone trust and decide to do what is written in the Koran when it states that Allah can pretty much decide what to do with your eternal soul. I mean even if verse 286 says we should do what is right according to Allah and the prophet,
"Allah does not task any soul beyond its capacity. Whatever [good] it earns is to its benefit, and whatever [evil] it incurs is to its harm."
How are we in anyway meant to feel safe with this knowledge when two verses before the ambiguity surrounding good deeds and eternal peace or torment is laid bare.

Sura 2 is an important chapter in the Koran as it shows us that Allah has a mind of his own and can decide what is right and what is wrong according to the mood that strikes him. It teaches us that women are cattle and half a man. It teaches us important things about another Abrahamic religion that was developed in the stone ages and is not applicable to life now. Need less to say, the Koran was not applicable to the time either, well unless we consider that non-believers and women are just objects and not life.

-------
The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 34

Get ready, sit back and prepare your mind to be blown away.

In Genesis 30 we encountered upon Jacobs daughter Dinah, well today we deal with the rape of Dinah and the subsequent events. In a nutshell it can be argued whether Dinah was actually raped, so we will look at various verses that deal with this issue. This is important for many reasons, as it justifies the consequences of the story even though the consequences outweigh any actions that were taken against Dinah in my opinion.

We start of with the verse that describes Dinah getting raped by Shechem.
"When Sheʹchem, the son of Haʹmor the Hiʹvite, a chieftain of the land, saw her, he took her and lay down with her and violated her."
This is followed up with the truly bizarre story of Schechem falling in love with Dinah and him essentially winning Dinah over. This sends alarm signals about the purported rape, as it makes me wonder why would Dinah want to be with her rapist.
"And he became very attached to Diʹnah, the daughter of Jacob, and he fell in love with the young woman and spoke persuasively to her. Finally Sheʹchem said to Haʹmor his father: “Get me this young woman to be my wife.”"
Now it could be argued that Dinah was suffering some form of battered person syndrome, however Jacob was aware of the "rape" and as such this line of reasoning weakens very quickly.

I think the easier way to understand this is to come to the rather screwed up conclusion that women are meant to be considered as possessions. In fact we understand this as the Bible tells us that the sons of Jacob were disgraced and angry because someone had had sex with their sister. They honestly did not care if she had been raped, that was completely beside the point for the alpha males that they were.
"But the sons of Jacob heard about it and returned from the field right away. They were offended and very angry because he had disgraced Israel by lying down with Jacob’s daughter, something that should not be done."
We can elaborate on the position of women in this society as possessions as the next paragraph goes into details about Schechem trying to pay any price so that he can marry Dinah.
"You can demand from me a very high bride price and gift. I am willing to give whatever you may say to me. Just give me the young woman as a wife.”"

Now the rape of Dinah is shown basically to justify everything that is going to come from this point forward. So let us move on and see what Jacob's son have in mind for the rapist. Simple thinking would be a death sentence or something along those lines for the perpetrator. Instead the sons decide on something more specific, i.e. genital mutilation aka circumcision.
"They said to them: “We cannot possibly do such a thing, to give our sister to a man who is not circumcised, for that is a disgrace to us. We can only consent on this condition: that you become like us and circumcise all your males."
This makes Shechem and his father extremely happy, and so they go and get themselves circumcised as well as convincing the whole city to get circumcised. Frankly, this does not sound like the actions of a mean spirited people who  know that one of their own has just raped someone. Remarkably, it goes a step further in saying that Shechem was the most honorable of all the tribe.
 "The young man did not delay in doing what they asked, because he found delight in Jacob’s daughter, and he was the most honorable of the whole house of his father."
This statement either means these are a) all despicable people or b) the Bible is talking rubbish.


So as punishment for the rape of their sister the sons of Jacob made everyone, not just the rapist, get circumsized? No, it gets worse.
"However, on the third day, when they were still in pain, two sons of Jacob, Simʹe·on and Leʹvi, Diʹnah’s brothers, each took his sword and went into the unsuspecting city and killed every male."
So they circumcised men, not just the rapist, all were killed for the rape of Dinah? No, it gets worse.
"Jacob’s other sons came upon the slain men and plundered the city because they had defiled their sister. They took their flocks, their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field."
So they circumcised men, not just the rapist, all were killed for the rape of Dinah and then their city got plundered? No, it gets worse.
"They also took all their possessions, captured all their little children and their wives, and plundered everything in the houses."
So the sons of Jacob killed all the men, plundered their city and took the women for sex slaves? Yes, thats about the appropriate action when you have the actual rapist in your hands.

Oh, but there is more. When Jacob chastises his sons for killing all the people and making people angry with him. Jacobs sons refer to Dinah as a prostitute, so I think we can be almost certain that she was not raped.
"At this Jacob said to Simʹe·on and to Leʹvi: “You have brought great trouble on me in making me a stench to the inhabitants of the land, to the Caʹnaan·ites and the Perʹiz·zites. I am few in number, and they will certainly gather together to attack me and I will be annihilated, I and my house.”  But they said: “Should anyone treat our sister like a prostitute?”"

Seems like the Israelites have always been a heavy handed people when it comes to retaliation. Perhaps this explains why the State of Israel is so good at lobbing bombs at the Palestinians, when mostly Palestinians only have rocks? Or is the Bible/Torah just used to justify stupid beliefs so that violence can be called holy?

See you all again next week

xxxxxxxxxxx
All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website

Monday, 11 July 2016

Christianity is a race

I am sick and tired of these racist atheists that criticize my race Christianity.

How many times have you heard that or a related statement?

Well surprise people Christianity is not a race. Christianity is a religion. So a criticism of Christianity is not racism. Now, I am sure most people with a sliver of intelligence can comprehend that so lets take this a step further shall we?

I am sick and tired of these racist atheists that criticize my race Islam.

How many times have you heard that or a related statement?

Well surprise people Islam is not a race. Islam is a religion. So a criticism of Islam is not racism. If you hold the position that Islam is a race, then you have to recognize Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Scientology as a race. Race is defined as "any one of the groups that human beings can be divided into based on shared distinctive physical traits" and/or "a group of individuals who share a common culture or history". So you have to either share physical or common culture/history to be classified as a race. That means a religion can only be classified as a race if they share physical characteristics, as well as culture/history. That means that if you have a religion existing in two different countries it cannot be a race. Look I know this is not difficult to understand, so forgive me for being verbose, but some people do not understand this simple idea.

Religion is not a race.

If it is then I am a Christian, and that is something I am  certainly not as I don't believe in fairy-tales.


Friday, 8 July 2016

Reading the Koran - Sura 2 Verse 274 - 281

The amazing thing about todays Koran reading is probably more about the translation I am using than the actual reading. For some bizarre reason Sura 2 in my Koran hardcopy only contains 277 verses, but the online Rodwell translation as well as the commentary contains 286 verses. Amazingly I can find no good reason why this is so, so I will use the online version as well as my text and forever wonder why. If you happen to know please leave a comment below. However, I am pretty sure the Koran is meant to have 286 verses in Sura 2 as other online translations all contain 286 verses, i.e. The Noble Koran translation, or Quran in Today's English. Clear and Easy to Read.
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Quran in English : Quran in Modern English - Clear and Easy to Read

- See more at: http://self.gutenberg.org/wplbn0003468387-quran-in-english--quran-in-modern-english--clear-and-easy-to-read-by-itani-talal-a-translator.aspx?#sthash.Xomz3Z6q.dpuf
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Quran in English : Quran in Modern English - Clear and Easy to Read

- See more at: http://self.gutenberg.org/wplbn0003468387-quran-in-english--quran-in-modern-english--clear-and-easy-to-read-by-itani-talal-a-translator.aspx?#sthash.Xomz3Z6q.dpuf

The reading today starts with verse 274 reiterating what we learned last time about giving in an altruistic way so that no one may know. Naturally we also get told that Allah will bless those that give and they will have no fear or grieve. So if you have given money to charity and have grieved or felt fear after that , then clearly you were doing something wrong.
"Those who give their wealth by night and day, secretly and openly, they shall have their reward near their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve."

Verse 275 requires a lot of unpacking as it shows how world economies and finances in general should work. It also shows that the Koran was written in a time that is so far away from the Capitalistic society we live in today, as none of the principles can be applied without a total collapse of the system.
"Those who exact usury will not stand but like one deranged by the Devil’s touch."
You should never lend money at an elevated rate, as such we would have to essentially do away with banking systems to live according to the Koran. But with no banks how can people with no money even try buy a house or start a business. I bring this up as the next part of the verse explains to us that it is okay to make profit from a business, but it is not okay to make a profit from lending money.
"That is because they say, ‘Trade is just like usury.’ While Allah has allowed trade and forbidden usury."
So, again we have the Koran setting a system in place which does not allow the middle and lower classes to move up as they cannot lend money from others if interest is required. Granted they could lend with no interest from another business, but what business is going to shoot themselves in the foot by allowing more competition for products? Perhaps my explanation of the incompatibility of Islam with any form of capitalism is too simplistic, but it is true. The last part of verse 275 says the following and it is an unforgivable law so it is rather interesting.
"Whoever, on receiving advice from his Lord, relinquishes [usury], shall keep [the gains of] what is past, and his matter shall rest with Allah. As for those who resume, they shall be the inmates of the Fire and they shall remain in it [forever]"
So anyone that loaned money before this law was written in the Koran is capable of escaping Hell. However, anyone after this law was written is going to burn baby burn. Perhaps a positive thing to think about next time you have to visit your bank manager.

Verse 276 is worth mentioning for the fact that it shows that Allah has not done yet what he promised to do.
"Allah brings usury to naught, but He makes charities flourish. Allah does not like any sinful ingrate."
People are still lending money, so either Allah has not performed this "miracle" yet, or the Koran has lies in it. Simple options, what do you think is the likely reason for this incoherency?

The next three verse reguirgitate that you should be a good person and be wise with your money by giving to charity and the work of the faith. Interestingly, verse 279 drives home a very strong point to those that do not want to give according to Allah.
"And if you do not, then be informed of a war from Allah and His apostle. And if you repent, then you will have your principal, neither harming others, nor suffering harm."
Thats right you will be at war with Allah and Muhammad if you do not do finances correctly. Allah the tax man :)



Verse 280 is interesting as it teaches a very good moral lesson. Unfortunatelly it is also one that is incompatible with Capitalism and peoples natural instincts.
"And if [the debtor] is in straits, let there be a respite until the time of ease; and if you remit [the debt] as charity, it will be better for you, should you know."
You should be lenient to those that cannot pay their debts, this is a great idea. But, lets be honest it is incompatible with life, also it contradicts earlier about borrowing money.

In closing this section, we get one more verse warning us that Allah will judge us on our actions on judgement day.
"And beware of a day in which you will be brought back to Allah. Then every soul shall be recompensed fully for what it has earned, and they will not be wronged"
I think this is a good way to close this section of the Koran as it is showing that Allah deals with our lives like an accountant deals with financial transactions. everything gets tallied up and then you get judged by the tax man.

Another week, and another reading. See you next time.

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The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Reading the Bible - Genesis 33

Sometimes I want to kick myself for saying that I will re-read the Bible and blog about it. The fact is that the Bible is filled with so many inaccuracies that there is no way that it can be considered a holy book from which to take moral lessons.  How is anyone meant to trust a book that cannot even get simple geography correct? How is anyone meant to believe a book that makes false claims about history? How is anyone meant to believe a book that is unscientific in claims about genetics? Yet, here we sit in the 21st century with millions of people believing this crap, yet are not willing to accept the implications of their beliefs. Sure you get the more liberal Christians who are prepared to accept that you should not stone homosexuals, but yet they still cling to the Bible as fact. Like I said at the offset, I really kick myself for taking on this massive task.

From last weeks reading we know that Jacob is going home to the land of his birth and that Esau his big brother is coming to meet him. Remember that Jacob was the person who stole Esau's birthright so we can understand why he was hesitant to meet Esau, it also explains why he sent a lot of gifts ahead to placate his brother. Picking up the story we see Jacob spotting his brother and his men on the horizon, so Jacob divides his children among the various women/wives that he has impregnated over the course of the past few years. Here we see a type of hierarchy developing, as the servants and their children are first, followed by Leah and her children, then lastly Rachel and Joseph. As we will see later this makes sense as Joesph is the important child and so we expect great things from the tribe of Joseph.
"He put the female servants and their children in front, Leʹah and her children after them, and Rachel and Joseph behind them."
After organizing his people, Jacob then goes ahead to meet Esau and bows deeply to him.....and then.....

Nothing happens. Esau is elated to see his brother again and they kiss and makeup.
"But Eʹsau ran to meet him, and he embraced him and kissed him, and they burst into tears."
Remember, this is the same brother that promised to kill his brother. So this story essentially contradicts the earlier stories about Esau's character and so we have to draw conclusions what happened, 1)either Esau is in fact not a bad person at all, or 2) Esau had some life altering experience. Unfortunately for us this issue of transformation from bad to good is not detailed so we will forever be at a loss as to why Esau decided to not destroy his brother.

Esau then inquires about the children and the flocks that he met that went ahead of Jacob on the journey. Jacob explains this is a gift for Esau so that he can find favor in his eyes. Needless to say Esau says it is not necessary, as he is super wealthy anyway, but on Jacobs persistence Esau accepts the gift. Again we see Esau acting like a good person, so it is really bizarre that Jacob is the chosen one in this story that is the Bible. Then again who am I to doubt the ways of God??

Now lets take a history lesson which demonstrates either 1) a lack of historical reliability in the Bible or 2) the lying nature of Jacob that is so highly approved of by Jehovah. Jacob says to Esau the following:
"Let my lord, please, go on ahead of his servant, but I will continue the journey more slowly at the pace of my livestock and of the children until I come to my lord at Seʹir.”"
So Seir is meant to be located North of Hebron, so where does Jacob go?
"And Jacob journeyed to Sucʹcoth, and he built a house for himself and he made shelters for his herd. That was why he named the place Sucʹcoth."
But, Succoth is East of the river Jordan which is no where near Hebron. So Jacob by buliding a house in Succoth was lying to his brother yet again! But, it gets worse.
"After journeying from Padʹdan-aʹram, Jacob arrived safely at the city of Sheʹchem in the land of Caʹnaan, and he set up his camp near the city. Then he acquired a portion of the field where he pitched his tent from the sons of Haʹmor, the father of Sheʹchem, for 100 pieces of money."
So where did Jacob settle, apparently in Shechem which is nowhere near where he built his houses in Succoth.  Additionally, it is no where near Hebron either. So why build the houses so far away from where you intend to live? All round this seems like a very bizarre historical account and one that should raise questions concerning integrity of either the Bible or the moral figures in the Bible.

Till next time.

xxxxxxxxxxx
All verses come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website


Monday, 4 July 2016

Creating a radical Islamist

I have heard variations of the following ways that radicals are created.

1) By bombing the Islamic terrorst groups ISIS/Al-Queda/Boko Haram/etc you are creating radical Islamists.
2) By saying that Islam needs a reformation you are creating radical Islamists.
3) Drawing cartoons of Muhammad creates radical Islamists.
4) When you criticize Islam/Koran/Muhammad you are creating radical Islamists.
5) When you point out that a terrorist was a Muslim you are creating radical Islamists.
6) By trying to get Muslims in Western countries to live by the laws of that country you are creating radical Islamists.

Anyone else see the problem?

I think this anonymous person said it best on the 4chan politics thread, surprise 4chan is not only /b/.








Friday, 1 July 2016

Reading the Koran - Sura 2 Verse 267 - 273

Last week we started delving into the financial aspect of charity. todays reading and next weeks reading continues along this theme marking the importance of this subject. Naturally we should not be surprised that a religion deals extensively with the money giving aspect, after all this is a great way to get funds for the church (bad) as well as a way to take care of others (good).  Now I am not  an authority on charity in Islam, but from the Koran so far it does seem that charity is something that is reserved for other Muslims. This is not surprising that a community wants to take care of itself first, but it does show an us versus them mentality which is not overall beneficial to society.

Verse 267 is a really good verse, as it says that Muslims should not give anything bad to others instead the should focus on giving good things.
"O you who have faith! Spend of the good things you have earned, and of what We bring forth for you from the earth, and do not be of the mind to give the bad part of it, for you yourselves would not take it, unless you overlook it. And know that Allah is all-sufficient, all-laudable."
So apparently all these Islamic terrorist groups think it is good to bring death and destruction, although that said we are infidels and so they should not be giving to us in the first place probably. Back on topic however, I do believe this verse contains a very good sentiment that we should be kind to others and demonstrate care.

 (Source)

So why would anything bad ever happen to humans? The answer is simple we create a evil force and then we can blame anything bad happening on this evil force. This is succinctly laid out in verse 268.
"Satan frightens you of poverty and prompts you to [commit] indecent acts. But Allah promises you His forgiveness and grace, and Allah is all-bounteous, all-knowing."
So basically if you are poor or you do anything wrong, just blame it on Satan.... sounds strangely familiar to some other Abrahamic religion in taking away personal responsibility.

Verse 269 is  a very weird verse as it seems to suggest that education is a bad thing in some ways. In fact it can be argued that there is no reason for education as Allah is the one who give wisdom to specific people that he chooses.
"He gives wisdom to whomever He wishes, and he who is given wisdom, is certainly given an abundant good. But none takes admonition except those who possess intellect."
It says the only people that warn against Islamic wisdom are those with intellect. So the Koran is saying that superior moral standards other than the Koran can never be attained, after all those that propose such ideas or systems are intellectuals that are doing it to combat Islam. This verse is a dangerous idea, as it effectively is saying that reform in Islam is something that should never take place. So how is Islam meant to reform away from the barbaric when it is prohibited by the Koran? My only answer is that this will happen when people become cultural Muslims, like cultural Christians and Jews, i.e. lack of belief and celebrate the holidays.

The next three verse deal with giving to charity in a altruistic way so that no one knows you are giving to charity. However it also places a big red flag on the reason for giving to charity if it is meant to be for the good of others.
"If you disclose your charities, that is well, but if you hide them and give them to the poor, that is better for you, and it will atone for some of your misdeeds, and Allah is well aware of what you do."
So we have here an idea similar to pardons that the Catholic church used to sell up until the late 16th century. according to the Koran you can buy away your sins, what a great reason to give to charity? Additionally, we see a testable claim presented in the Koran.
"It is not up to you to guide them; rather it is Allah who guides whomever He wishes. And whatever wealth you spend, it is for your own benefit, as you do not spend but to seek Allah’s pleasure, and whatever wealth you spend will be repaid to you in full, and you will not be wronged."
If you give to charity you will not be wronged. As such any Muslim that has ever given to charity and has subsequently been wronged has proven the Koran inaccurate. I am going to go out on a limb and say that I think the Koran just on this point has been disproven billions of times.

Lastly, the Koran elaborates on whom we should give charity too
"[The charities are] for the poor who are straitened in the way of Allah, not capable of moving about in the land [for trade]. The unaware suppose them to be well-off because of their reserve. You recognize them by their mark; they do not ask the people importunately. And whatever wealth you may spend, Allah indeed knows it."
The first group is the people that are doing everything for Allah, and as such have no time to earn incomes. This can include people like clergy, jihad fighters or missionaries. The second group that we can give too are the beggars that do not beg, in other words the homeless that are not going around asking for money.

So there you have it, give to charity and get sins removed, never be wronged and get back what you give. Simple.

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The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm