Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Religious Discussion - Atheist & Muslim



"Take Erinn Cameron Warton, an evangelical Christian who homeschools her children. Warton, a scientist, says she was horrified when she opened a homeschool science textbook and found a picture of Adam and Eve putting a saddle on a dinosaur. 'I nearly choked,' says the mother of three."

Welcome to cognitive dissonance, Mrs. Warton.

Muhammad Rasheed –  FROM WIKI: "Cognitive dissonance has also been demonstrated to occur when people seek to reaffirm already held beliefs. Congeniality bias (also referred to as Confirmation Bias) refers to how people read or access information that affirms their already established opinions, rather than referencing material that contradicts them. For example, a person who is politically conservative will only read newspapers and watch news commentary that is from conservative news sources. This bias appears to be particularly apparent when faced with deeply held beliefs, i.e., when a person has 'high commitment' to his or her attitudes."

Weird.

Jackals Home "Beliefs" in general are a problem. I like verifiable, repeatable, facts.

Muhammad Rasheed There's nothing inherently wrong with the concept of belief.

Jackals Home Beliefs teach human beings to be satisfied with what they are told, rather than what can be proven. It rewards ignorance and takes the intrepid spirit possessed by humanity and cages it for the benefit of hucksters.  It's the cancer of the human spirit.

Muhammad Rasheed Beliefs teach human beings to rise above their base animal nature and be better than what the five senses alone reveal.  They reward those that reach beyond the mundane survival tasks of his life by giving their life true purpose, enabling them to use their intrepid spirit to fight for a cause greater than their flesh.  Beliefs are the very symbol of our human spirit, define our humanity, and are what made us more than just another animal on earth.

Jackals Home Beliefs teach man to pretend to rise above their base animal nature, and pretend to be better than what the five senses reveal.  They provide easy answers, unverifiable rewards, and artificial divisions between humans in order to pacify the masses and teach them to be satisfied with less, so that their masters may have more.  It is the world's longest-running pyramid scheme, and has destroyed centuries of progress an unfettered humanity might otherwise have achieved.  Facts put robots on mars, beliefs teach us that the stars are painted on the ceiling of heaven.

Muhammad Rasheed Jackals Home wrote: "Beliefs teach man to pretend to rise above their base animal nature, and pretend to be better than what the five senses reveal."

Sometimes, during low moments in life, you find yourself just going through the motions.  You can fairly call that pretending.  But once the low moments are over, I personally am glad for those "pretending" moments, recognizing that they got me through.  Our actions reflect our beliefs.

Jackals Home wrote: "They provide easy answers..."

They provide simple answers, but they are definitely not easy.

Jackals Home wrote: "...unverifiable rewards..."

You gotta think "Big Picture."  lol

Jackals Home wrote: "...and artificial divisions between humans..."

Human societies are full of divisions both natural and artificial.  You can't dump that baggage on Beliefs.  Humans are divisive by nature.

Jackals Home wrote: "...in order to pacify the masses and teach them to be satisfied with less, so that their masters may have more.  It is the world's longest-running pyramid scheme..."

In my belief system, the afterlife... the continued existence of human consciousness after terrestrial realm death... is the most important part of our existence.  How we live our lives on earth determines the quality of that continued afterlife existence.  It's a strike against me if I "love this world more than the next," meaning, my disbelief causes me not to see this finite realm as the test in preparation for the next life that it is, and instead hold on to earth as the only existence there will be.  This is the nature of that part of the belief.

Now there are filthy, greedy men who take advantage of the peoples' belief system and build up bureaucratic institutions around them so they may manipulate the people for their own ends.  This isn't a strike against the belief system.  In fact, the belief system teaches against the actions of those filthy, greedy men. 

Jackals Home wrote: "...and has destroyed centuries of progress an unfettered humanity might otherwise have achieved."

Give me some examples of that one, please. 

Jackals Home wrote: "Facts put robots on Mars; beliefs teach us that the stars are painted on the ceiling of heaven."

Beliefs teach us that the universe is worth exploring, and the facts of it are worth collecting to discover the meaning in them.

Jackals Home Actions do reflect our beliefs, and those beliefs have resulted in the worst excesses of cruelty in history.  Nothing enables a human being to aspire to new heights of violence like the implicit approval of a man in the sky:


Yes, humanity has divisions.  Beliefs exacerbate that situation, by teaching people that otherwise have very similar backgrounds, upbringings and desires to hate each other because of invisible directives from fictional deities.



The big picture stops where facts end.  Notions that are inherently beyond examination should not constitute part of an educated person's worldview.  The truth is never embarrassed by honest inquiry. 

It's funny how despite these belief systems teaching against the actions of greedy men, it seems like every currently existing religion seems to have a core composed of incredibly wealthy men at the top, and poverty stricken people supporting them from below in exchange for promises of rewards in "the next life." It's funny how those rewards are always beyond any sort of critical thinking or honest inquiry. Historically, any time a fallible human tells another to disregard their capacity for critical thinking, it's for plain, ordinary, worldly profit.  You can generally tell how concerned a religion is for the poverty of it's worshippers by examining the opulence of their churches:



Examples of progress delayed by belief?  How about medical science stagnating for four hundred years because of the Bible:

Medieval Medicine

Diseases aren't caused by sin, and can't be cured by repentance.  Just like every other mystery that mankind has been presented with, the question was eventually answered by secular thought.  Beliefs are how the ignorant fill in the gaps until someone figures it out using rational thought and observation of the natural world.

This is the key:  Every question early man had about their world that was originally attributed to the supernatural (where babies come from, diseases, eclipses, epilepsy, whatever) was eventually proved to be mundane science.  Not one question originally posited to have a scientific explanation has gone the other way, and turned out to have a supernatural explanation. Not one ever. There’s not a single car that runs on prayer, no computer powered by chanting, not a single microcircuit printed on the feathers of an angel's wing.  Because they are all fairy stories. 

Beliefs directly oppose exploration in favor of adherence to dogma, to say otherwise is nonsense.  If these beliefs are so fond of exploration, why is so much importance placed on unyielding and unchanging bronze-age texts? To have faith is to trust in what you are told.  Exploring and considering opposing views is the exact opposite of that.

Muhammad Rasheed - Jackals Home wrote: "Actions do reflect our beliefs, and those beliefs have resulted in the worst excesses of cruelty in history."

And at the same time our beliefs result in the most enduring, compassionate acts our species is capable of as well.  That's how it works.  If one person believes that a certain ethnic group is a vile stain upon humanity, his actions will reflect that.  If one person believes that the message of God approves of traditional misogyny, then his actions will reflect that.  If one person believes that being good and generous to his fellow man will make him a better person, and gain him favor from the Being who made him, then his actions will reflect that.

Jackals Home wrote: "Nothing enables a human being to aspire to new heights of violence like the implicit approval of a man in the sky."

I can accept that.  If anyone feels that they have the approval of whoever their ultimate authority figure[s] is, they can achieve new heights of whatever they endeavor to accomplish.  A team could probably cook up an atomic weapon, or even walk on the moon, if their government threw its full support behind them.

Jackals Home wrote: "Yes, humanity has divisions."

And it always will.  It's part of our nature.

Jackals Home wrote: "Beliefs exacerbate that situation, by teaching people that otherwise have very similar backgrounds, upbringings and desires to hate each other because of invisible directives from fictional deities."

Take away the religious component and people will always find some reason to vilify their neighbor over something.  The whole "I don't like them 'cause they're different" is a natural weakness of ours.  The religious aspect of it only provides additional tools for a phenomena that was there anyway.  Religion didn't cause it.  For example, the issue between the sunni and shia isn't even a "religious" one, it's a political one involving who should've taken over the community's leadership role after the Prophet Muhammad died.  And because the two camps differed over this issue they decided to hate each other forever. lol  "Fuck you!!"  "No, fuck YOU!!!"

Jackals Home wrote: "The big picture stops where facts end."

No.  The Big Picture becomes clearer as new facts come to light.  Enlightenment/understanding is a continually evolving process for the sincere seeker of truth.

Jackals Home wrote: "Notions that are inherently beyond examination should not constitute part of an educated person's worldview."

I disagree.  They can be examined by studying their effect on things they "touch."  The educated person's worldview should be that continually evolving Big Picture.  He/she should close their mind to nothing if they honestly seek truth. 

Jackals Home wrote: “The truth is never embarrassed by honest inquiry."

Indeed.  So long as one recognizes that the inquirer who honestly expresses him/herself isn't doing so from a place of ultimate truth as they often seem to believe, but from their own subjective well of bias-based opinion. 

Jackals Home wrote: "It's funny how despite these belief systems teaching against the actions of greedy men, it seems like every currently existing religion seems to have a core composed of incredibly wealthy men at the top..."

lol  Why would that be "funny?"  That's how people are.  Selfishness and greed are part of our natural weakness as the basic human animal, and some among us have a special talent at exploiting others to achieve the highest heights of selfishness and greed.  WHATEVER they look at, they see only something they can potentially exploit for their own ends... literally nothing is sacred.  Wealth is their deity.  So in the message itself we find teachings against these very human actions of these men.  Should we be surprised?  Is this "funny?"  No, it's what the message is for.

1.) Humans do XYZ.
2.) The message teaches against XYZ.
3.) You still find humans doing XYZ. 

The message represents our baseline ideals that we often fall short of (especially for those who don't really believe in it).  People still smoke cigarettes in 2013, too.

Jackals Home wrote: "...and poverty stricken people supporting them from below in exchange for promises of rewards in "the next life." It's funny how those rewards are always beyond any sort of critical thinking or honest inquiry."

I don't think they are.

Jackals Home wrote: "Historically, any time a fallible human tells another to disregard their capacity for critical thinking, it's for plain, ordinary, worldly profit.  You can generally tell how concerned a religion is for the poverty of it's worshippers by examining the opulence of their churches:"

As a believer in the One God and a follower of the message, I am unconcerned with how much the leaders of some bureaucratic institutions care about the poor.   My job is to help where I can. I can tell those leaders that they are wrong, but that's where my responsibility would stop.  They are free to be jackasses all they wish.  I am not the Judge.

Jackals Home wrote: "Examples of progress delayed by belief?  How about medical science stagnating for four hundred years because of the Bible:"

Human societies from all over the world have been developing the healing arts since the beginning and it was usually hand-in-hand with their belief systems.  I would argue that they are being stagnated to a degree today, and would be far more advanced if it wasn't for corporate greed.

Jackals Home wrote: "Diseases aren't caused by sin..."

Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

Jackals Home wrote: "...and can't be cured by repentance."

It can keep your junk from burning from something else in addition to.

Jackals Home wrote: "Just like every other mystery that mankind has been presented with, the question was eventually answered by secular thought."

Like what?

Jackals Home wrote: "Beliefs are how the ignorant fill in the gaps until someone figures it out using rational thought and observation of the natural world."

lol  The ignorant are generally content with that state and don't bother filling in any gaps.  Beliefs are the catalyst for how the other guy makes his inquiries into rational observation: Islamic Medicine

Jackals Home wrote: "This is the key:  Every question early man had about their world that was originally attributed to the supernatural (where babies come from, diseases, eclipses, epilepsy, whatever) was eventually proved to be mundane science."

"Early man" was far more sophisticated than modern academia gives him credit for.  "Mundane science" and the supernatural were as one to him and he routinely moved megalithic 1000 ton stones around as if they were feathers.  I think it would be worth you reexamining what 'early man's' worldview just might have been.

Jackals Home wrote: "Not one question originally posited to have a scientific explanation has gone the other way, and turned out to have a supernatural explanation. Not one ever."

I would consider the singularity at the beginning of this universe to be by definition "supernatural." It's the point where physics and all of our rules break down.

As an aside the Qur'an does mention a few items that were mysteries 1500 years ago (based on what was known about science at the time like childbirth/gestation), but were confirmed by modern science later.

Jackals Home wrote: "There's not a single car that runs on prayer, no computer powered by chanting, not a single microcircuit printed on the feathers of an angel's wing.  Because they are all fairy stories."

I agree 100%.  But this post feels suspiciously like a strawman.  None of these items are in my system of beliefs, nor within those of any Christian I know. 

Jackals Home wrote: “Beliefs directly oppose exploration in favor of adherence to dogma, to say otherwise is nonsense.”

You're implying that no scientist or medical doctor of any description believes in God or is subscribed to a religion.  I must disagree completely recognizing that this belief of yours... if my interpretation is accurate... lies outside of the realms of reason and rationale and only reflect your anti-spirit bias.  There's a TV commercial that plays over here advertising a high-tech medical facility and all the scientists they show are Muslim. 

People allow their sense of exploration to be hampered by numerous reasons and none of them involve a command from God. Of course that's different from some guy in a position of authority telling you not to explore based on his skewed interpretation of scripture.  But people like to power trip, and others like to be oppressed.  So what can you do?

Traditionalism, a rigid adherence to dogma, is another weakness of humankind.  Religion didn't invent it by any means, it's just something we always do.  Bruce Lee spoke against it a lot in his writings.  The first guy invents a new world-changing philosophy of some kind that begins in a flexible, people-friendly version.  Subsequent generations treat that philosophy like gold and an inevitable bureaucratic institution builds up around it in which powerful peoples' jobs/careers are hinged upon.  Dare the true truth-seeking scholar to question this now rigid dogma that the original guy's philosophy has become, and the current institution's leadership will have him beheaded, or ostracized, or ruin his career, prevent him from gaining tenure, etc. 

Science is no more immune from this regular routine than Catholicism.

Jackals Home wrote: "If these beliefs are so fond of exploration, why is so much importance placed on unyielding and unchanging bronze-age texts?"

What do you mean?  There's plenty in sacred scripture worth exploring.

The message of scripture is to instruct the believer as to how to prosper in the afterlife.  Nothing in the message hampers the spirit of learning and exploration; in fact the believer is encouraged to study creation because the Creator's signature is all over it.  The believer recognizes these as His signs.  New discoveries fill the believing scholar with awe, recognizing that all that he finds is in the perfect plan and will of his Maker.

Jackals Home wrote: "To have faith is to trust in what you are told."

To have faith is to believe despite what you are told, even by your own five senses.

Jackals Home wrote: "Exploring and considering opposing views is the exact opposite of that."

One can explore and consider opposing viewpoints and still have faith that what you hold is true.  I do it all the time.  I'm doing it now.   I'm waiting for you to kick it up a notch if you wanna seriously challenge my worldview.   ;) 

King's to me.

Jackals Home Sexually transmitted diseases are caused by bacteria and viruses, and besides that, sex isn't a sin, because sin isn't real, it's another bronze-age notion that has no bearing in 2013. If you want to ally yourself with people who cut off their daughter's noses or disfigure them with acid in order to redeem them of sin, go ahead.  These are real people doing horrible shit because lol a book said. Pakistani Acid Attack - Google Image Search

Oh, but people do bad shit because they misunderstood?  They're not real adherents, they got it wrong? The Sunni's beheading Shiites? The Baath party's reign of torturing their own citizens?  (And no, I don't believe attacking Iraq was justified either) The guys attacking polio immunization groups aren't an example of bad Muslims because...? No True Scotsman Fallacy

It's easy to claim that every example of your reading circle is a bad example, while pointing out advances they made from three thousand years ago. But it shows intellectual dishonesty.  I don't believe in your virtues, or your sins. I confess I don't know much about the Koran, but to come back to Christianity, if your moralizing holy book has whole sections on the proper way to sell your daughter into slavery, and how badly you're allowed to beat your slave, then it's obvious that your book is useless as a moral guide because slavery is fucking wrong.

Of course there's lots of interest to explore in these old (being old does not equal sacred. There are thousands of old myths.  They are all just stories. Your value judgements are your own, and I am not beholden to them, because I am a free man) texts.  As examples of how people did shit back in days when slavery and crucifixion and bloodsports were considered okay. That shit is no longer useful, except as a guide to how to recognize cruelty.

So, okay.  All the bad religious people are getting it wrong, but you're one of the good religious people (and I do know you are a good person). You're one of the new ones, who delights in exploration of the factual, secular universe, and uses the Qur'an only to expand his perceptions into the realms of the metaphysical. So let me ask the hard question.

Is it ethically right, in 2013, to kill someone who insults the prophet? 

Muhammad Rasheed Jackals Home wrote: "Sexually transmitted diseases are caused by bacteria and viruses..."

That's the equivalent of saying that Comanche Cain was created by a pencil lead rubbing against paper.  lol  You gotta zoom out to see the Big Picture.

Jackals Home wrote: "...and besides that, sex isn't a sin, because sin isn't real..."

Sure, it is.  Disbelief in the concept doesn't negate its existence.  I tell people "Merry Christmas" on December 25th.

To sin is to disobey a command of God in His Word.  Just because you don't believe in it doesn't mean you're not doing it.

(btw it isn't sex that's the sin... just sex under certain conditions)

Jackals Home wrote: "If you want to ally yourself with people who cut off their daughter's noses or disfigure them with acid..."

I do not align myself with those who do wrong.  I don't want their bullshit coming off on me come Judgment Day.

Jackals Home wrote: "...in order to redeem them of sin..."

lol

Jackals Home wrote: "...go ahead.  These are real people doing horrible shit because lol a book said."

No, they do those things because they are misogynistic assholes.  They are adhering to the ancient traditions of their people that Islam came to fix, but they started up again before the prophet's body was even cold.  They care more about tribal traditionalism than they do the religion.  I do not align myself with that evil.  Not at all.

Jackals Home wrote: "Oh, but people do bad shit because they misunderstood?"

Sometimes.

Jackals Home wrote: "They're not real adherents, they got it wrong?"

A lot of people I found don't read the message of God for themselves, but allow some middleman figure to spoon-feed them what that guy thinks the message is.  That wack-a-doo relationship has caused more strife in the land than a hurricane.  God canceled the concept of priesthood way before Islam, sometime during the book of Malachai.  There is no middleman between me and my Lord, and I have no respect for people that act like there is.  In modern Islamic communities the "priests" are called "the scholars."  University-educated doctorate Muslims who have a "government sanctioned" monopoly over how to interpret the scripture.  With new doctorate degreed "Quranic scholars" produced every year, they have to justify their existence by writing in their field... and their works are NEVER of any substance, but always surface-level nonsense that, more often than not, justifies some tribalistic nonsense a million miles away from the message itself.

I'm not going to say who is a real Muslim and who isn't, because it's not my place to do so.  Again, I'm not the Judge.  But I would never go to those scholars... or their groupie-like fans... if I have any religious questions.  I will instead go to the source.  It's why it was revealed as a "guide to mankind" after-all.

Jackals Home wrote: "The Sunni's beheading Shiites? The Baath party's reign of torturing their own citizens?"

Murder and torture are wrong. 

Jackals Home wrote: "The guys attacking polio immunization groups aren't an example of bad Muslims because...?"

I wouldn't consider that a "bad Muslim" but a "bad human."  Or a "bad thinker" or whatever.  Bad activist...?  A "bad Muslim" would be someone who says they believe, but doesn't do anything involving the tenets... you can't tell they are a Muslim at all.  They don't do the 5 pillars of Islam, basically.

You can be a good Muslim but still be a social-societal dumbass.

Jackals Home wrote: "It's easy to claim that every example of your reading circle is a bad example, while pointing out advances they made from three thousand years ago. But it shows intellectual dishonesty."

lol  I posted that wiki "Islamic Medicine" link to illustrate how one can use beliefs to learn/study/explore.  They were doing that in the Middle East while Europe was stagnant at the same time.  They were stagnant not because they were Christian, but because the bureaucratic institution of THE CHURCH! overwhelmed their society.  They allowed it to supplant the actual message of God... the very reason why God fired the priesthood.

Jackals Home wrote: "I don't believe in your virtues, or your sins."

I know.

Jackals Home wrote: "I confess I don't know much about the Koran, but to come back to Christianity, if your moralizing holy book has whole sections on the proper way to sell your daughter into slavery, and how badly you're allowed to beat your slave, then it's obvious that your book is useless as a moral guide because slavery is fucking wrong."

The scripture is a baseline guide for how to live our lives to achieve spiritual prosperity, and although it frowns upon slavery, God never outright condemns the practice.  In the Qur'an God says we are to compete with each other in righteousness, so if a certain generation decides to outlaw the practice of slavery altogether, that means king's to them on their moral report card.  A+ above and beyond. 

The scripture is not useless.  Look at it as the basic OSHA requirement to build upon.

Jackals Home wrote: "Of course there's lots of interest to explore in these old (being old does not equal sacred. There are thousands of old myths.  They are all just stories. Your value judgements are your own, and I am not beholden to them, because I am a free man)  texts."

Strawman alert.  Careful.  "old = sacred" isn't my argument.

Jackals Home wrote: "As examples of how people did shit back in days when slavery and crucifixion and bloodsports were considered okay. That shit is no longer useful, except as a guide to how to recognize cruelty."

Agreed.

Jackals Home wrote: "So, okay.  All the bad religious people are getting it wrong, but you're one of the good religious people (and I do know you are a good person). You're one of the new ones, who delights in exploration of the factual, secular universe, and uses the Qur'an only to expand his perceptions into the realms of the metaphysical."

My mindset isn't new, it's just that the assholes get all the press attention.  hahaha

The universe can't be "secular" since God made it.  The point of scripture is to instruct us as to how to live our lives here so that we may prosper in the next life.  That's the whole point of all of this.  "We are spiritual beings having a human experience."

I use the Qur'an as a guide to live my life, as well as to get glimpses into the unseen.

Jackals Home wrote: "So let me ask the hard question: Is it ethically right, in 2013, to kill someone who insults the prophet?"

Jesus of course not.  The Qur'an says we're supposed to say, "To you be your way and to me be mine" and walk away.  And He says we aren't allowed to insult their beliefs in return because it just goads them on to do it more and He doesn't like that.

It is ethically right to kill someone to protect your own life though... specifically those physically attacking you for no other reason than because of what you believe.  It's wrong to kill, but it's worse to allow yourself to be oppressed.  You are to fight for your freedom.

NOT a hard question.  King's still to me.  Try harder, Olchak.  lol  (but seriously thanks again for this dialogue.  I usually only have it with strangers and they quickly get tiresome because they get all insulting and name-calling very quickly.)

Jackals Home It's a question that comes around to where we started.  Now, I'm not as familiar with the Qur'an as with the Bible, naturally, but with a cursory sweep of the internet, I can find several places that claim that the Qur'an not only allows but encourages believers to kill nonbelievers: 

Allah (swt) says “If you ask them, they will say ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘What, were you then mocking Allah, His Signs and His Messenger? Make no excuses. You have disbelieved after your belief.” (at Tawbah 9:65-66) This is kufr and the hadd for that is death as Ibn A’bbaas reports that Nabi (saw) said “Whoever changes his deen kill him.” (BUKHAARI, ABU DAWOOD, IBN MAAJAH and in the mursal of Zayd ibn Aslam with the words “…strike his neck.” MAALIK kitaabul Aqdiyah [vol.2 no.1444])

A’li ibn Abi Talib reported that Nabi (saw) said “Whoever curses a prophet kill him. Whoever curses my companions beat him.” (TABARAANI, DARAQUTNI)

If this is the case, then why would you not follow these teachings?  If these are tenets of your faith, how can you ignore them? Either it's commands  from a higher power, and you're obligated to follow them just as you would any other tenets of your faith, or they're just parables and fables that you can safely follow or ignore as you choose just like the rest of the teachings of Islam.  They can't simultaneously be both.

Just as in Christianity people cite homosexuality as being an "abomination" but fail to follow the dietary codes from the same chapter that call eating shellfish by the same term.  If eating shellfish and homosexuality are equally bad, it follows that neither are bad at all.

And no, sin isn't real, because there exists no repeatable, testable evidence that demonstrates that sin exists except as a hypothetical conjecture.  I can conceive of a great many things, but the second I attempt to convince another human being that they should follow the behavioral rules set out by my conjecture, the onus is on me to prove they should. With evidence. All people who get STDs aren't sinners (you can, through no fault of your own, get an STD from your spouse, for example), and all those who sin (by committing adultery, or whatever notion of sexual sin you care to come up with) do not get STD's.  There isn't even a whiff of correlation there, and there certainly is nothing approaching evidence.

And evidence is what it comes down to. If I ask you what evidence you have for your beliefs, and you point to a book, written by men, you ask me to disregard that men are frequently full of shit in order to get one over on each other.  If you tell me you have "faith," then you're telling me by definition that you have no evidence. The burden of proof lies with the one making the claim, always.

When we ask an engineer to build a bridge, we ask for his assurance that he will design it to not fall down.  He is not allowed to reasonably claim that we instead need to prove that the bridge will fall down, and then slap it together however he likes.  

If a pharmaceutical company markets a medical treatment for psoriasis  he must demonstrate with studies and that his treatment is safe and effective beyond what could be expected by a placebo.  The company is not allowed to go before the FDA and demand that the FDA provide evidence that their product doesn't work.

If an astronomer claims that he has discovered a new type of celestial object, an asteroid, perhaps, he immediately reveals to his peers where it is so that they can verify it's location and existence, using their own equipment.  He does not keep it secret, and demand that the scientific community provide evidence that the object is not actually out there somewhere.

If a child buys a candy bar from a vending machine, he has to put the money in first, before the machine will deliver the Snickers. The onus is not on the manufacturer of the machine to prove that the child doesn't have money, and deliver the candy prior to receiving payment.

These examples are behavior that we expect people to adhere to.  If someone claims to be speaking from a position of authority in their field (engineering, astronomy, medicine), we require them to show their fucking work.  We don't, as a culture of humanity, take anything on faith, anywherein the world, ever, except in the field of religion, which turns the rules of reason and logic on it's head.  

Religion asks that we accept their determination as to what we should eat, who we should marry, what behavior is natural or unnatural, or what we can write, draw or think, inevitably and constantly under penalty, not only of death, torture, ostracism, and fear, but under the ludicrous and completely unverifiable notion that our punishment will extend beyond our death.  While providing not one scrap of proof.

Muhammad Rasheed Jackals Home wrote: "It's a question that comes around to where we started.  Now, I'm not as familiar with the Qur'an as with the Bible, naturally, but with a cursory sweep of the internet, I can find several places that claim that the Qur'an not only allows but encourages believers to kill nonbelievers.  If this is the case, then why would you not follow these teachings?  If these are tenets of your faith, how can you ignore them? Either it's commands  from a higher power, and you're obligated to follow them just as you would any other tenets of your faith, or they're just parables and fables that you can safely follow or ignore as you choose just like the rest of the teachings of Islam.  They can't simultaneously be both."

One of the best things about the religion of Al-Islam, and in my opinion gives it a serious leg up over Christianity, is a clear separation between the categories of its religious literature.  There is:

1.) The revealed Word of God
2.) The actions and opinions of the prophet/messenger who originally received that message and preached it
3.) The interpretive writings of the scholars of the faith.

#1 is the Qur'an itself in Islam, the source of the religion and God's actual message to mankind.  It is the most important anything in Islam. 

#2 is the hadith, and is the reported sayings of the Prophet Muhammad outside of the Qur'anic revelation... everything that he said regarding his personal opinions about life in general supposedly remembered from the people around him.  This is the second most important group of writings in Islam because its only the opinions of Muhammad the man and are not from God, and also because they weren't compiled until centuries after the prophet's death and were infected with all types of political corruption, which includes an era when people would simply make up hadiths for their own agendas.  ALL of these are grouped together in the body of hadith with no serious efforts having been made to separate them into authentic and nonsense. 

#3 is every other book with Islam as the topic by whomever.  "Whomever" being of more or less importance depending on what groupie-fans you talk to.

In Christianity all three of these categories are combined in the bible, and it takes generations of super geniuses to identify which is which within its pages.  In Islam I have a much easier job in discerning what my Lord requires of me over what some asshat is trying to trick me into doing.  I'll show you which-is-which in your post:

Jackals Home posted: "Allah (swt) says “If you ask them, they will say ‘We were only talking idly and joking.’ Say: ‘What, were you then mocking Allah, His Signs and His Messenger? Make no excuses. You have disbelieved after your belief.”

This is from the Qur'an, near the beginning, and in context it's referring to a group of people called "the hypocrites" by God because they pretended to be on the side of the Muslims in the Medina era, but were always saying stuff behind the prophet's back, mumbling insulting stuff under their breath like in this quote, and worse, siding with the pagan Meccan enemy and actively trying to kill the Muslims on the sly.

Jackals Home posted: "(at Tawbah 9:65-66) This is kufr and the hadd for that is death as..."

This is from the #3 category which then sites...

Jackals Home posted: "...Ibn A’bbaas reports that Nabi (saw) said “Whoever changes his deen kill him.” (BUKHAARI, ABU DAWOOD, IBN MAAJAH..."

...one of the hadith.  The hadith are easy to spot because they always begin with, "Such-n-such said that such-in-such said that he heard such-n-such say that the prophet (nabi) said.."

The scholars in their infinite wisdom decided that they will differentiate which hadith are authentic or not by how many names are listed in the beginning, as well as to whether any of those names belonged to one of the companions of the prophet (the Islamic equivalent to the 12 apostles of the Christ).  The problem of course is that people have just made up hadith before... a practice that went on for a hundred+ years and they added whatever names they felt like.  It would be truly impossible for a serious scientific study to determine which ones were REALLY authentic.  In my opinion, they should just keep the ones that back up what the Qur'an says and ignore the rest.

In this case, the Qur'an says "There is no compulsion in religion (deen)" so obviously this hadith doesn't hold up as authentic.  And notice I don't have a doctorate in "Quranic studies" from the University of Mecca or whatever to see that.

Jackals Home posted: "...and in the mursal of Zayd ibn Aslam with the words “…strike his neck.” MAALIK kitaabul Aqdiyah [vol.2 no.1444])"

Category #3.

Jackals Home posted: "A’li ibn Abi Talib reported that Nabi (saw) said “Whoever curses a prophet kill him. Whoever curses my companions beat him.” (TABARAANI, DARAQUTNI)"

This is another hadith.

So in the Word of God the Qur'an, God says to tell them "To you be your way and to me be mine" but this hadith says to kill him.

lol  This would be a dilemma in Christianity because the chances that both conflicting sentences would be just three pages away from each other in the bible itself would be pretty high.  In Islam there is no such conflict.   I'll do what God says, thank you and this obviously false hadith can suck it.

Jackals Home wrote: "And no, sin isn't real, because there exists no repeatable, testable evidence that demonstrates that sin exists except as a hypothetical conjecture."

It is written that God commands against [fill-in-the-blank]. If I do [fill-in-the-blank] anyway I have sinned.  To sin is to disobey the command of God.  It doesn't matter whether I believe in God or not, that's the definition of 'sin.'  Again I don't believe in Christmas, but that doesn't mean that December 25th isn't Christmas Day.

Jackals Home wrote: "All people who get STDs aren't sinners (you can, through no fault of your own, get an STD from your spouse, for example)"

It may not have been caused by my own sin, but it was caused by someone's sin.  It was still birthed by sin.  STDs probably wouldn't exist if folk weren't promiscuous in general.

Jackals Home wrote: "...and all those who sin (by committing adultery, or whatever notion of sexual sin you care to come up with) do not get STD's.  There isn't even a whiff of correlation there, and there certainly is nothing approaching evidence."

Some people smoke their whole lives without getting lung cancer, too.  Doesn't mean it's not bad for them and the people around them.

Jackals Home wrote: "I can conceive of a great many things, but the second I attempt to convince another human being that they should follow the behavioral rules set out by my conjecture, the onus is on me to prove they should. With evidence.

And evidence is what it comes down to. If I ask you what evidence you have for your beliefs, and you point to a book, written by men, you ask me to disregard that men are frequently full of shit in order to get one over on each other.  If you tell me you have "faith," then you're telling me by definition that you have no evidence. The burden of proof lies with the one making the claim, always.

When we ask an engineer to build a bridge...

If a pharmaceutical company markets a medical treatment...

If an astronomer claims that he has discovered...

If a child buys a candy bar from a vending machine...

These examples are behavior that we expect people to adhere to.  If someone claims to be speaking from a position of authority in their field (engineering, astronomy, medicine), we require them to show their fucking work.  We don't, as a culture of humanity, take anything on faith, anywhere in the world, ever, except in the field of religion, which turns the rules of reason and logic on it's head.

Religion asks that we accept their determination as to what we should eat, who we should marry, what behavior is natural or unnatural, or what we can write, draw or think, inevitably and constantly under penalty, not only of death, torture, ostracism, and fear, but under the ludicrous and completely unverifiable notion that our punishment will extend beyond our death.  While providing not one scrap of proof."

My response here is not going to go over well because I know you'll hate it.  lol  No help for it though, it's the nature of the beast so to speak.

The Abrahamic Religions... the science of spirit in general... functions on faith.  Belief in God… belief in the unseen… is the power source for this deeply personal system; all of the earth-level benefits being like visual entoptic images... they happen to people but they can't share the experiences with others, they can only experience them themselves.  The rules regarding academia's data collection and recording do not apply inside of the belief system; trying to shoehorn this system to conform to the rules of an alien one does not compute.  "Physical evidence" isn't a criterion for how it functions, only faith.  God only requires my faith... and the actions that confirm that faith... in order to reward me.  "Evidence" is not a part of the system of belief.  The game players either believe and win, or disbelieve and lose.  There is no middle.  There is no limbo.  No purgatory.  No fence sitting.  There is only belief and disbelief.  The believer and the nonbeliever.  The winner and the loser. 

The nature of the spirit realm, and our extremely limited access to it from this side, demands faith in order to reap the benefits because there is no physical evidence... there is a clear separation between the seen and the unseen.  The Maker has His own reasons for doing it this way.  There is no evidence because it was designed not to be. It's all a matter of faith. 

Now there are "signs" that I would love to discuss, but they are only 'proofs' of spirit described in scripture to those who already believe.  They can't be considered convincing proof if you don't already believe in that stuff (I've built my masterwork around the concepts).  These signs have turned scientist atheists into believers and others it just chased away.  But the bottom-line is that the unseen won't activate for you if you harden your heart against the idea of it and treat it out the gate like a fiction.  I think that's a mistake.

Jackals Home  So lets operate on faith for a moment.  First, it's not just the Abrahamic religions that function on faith, it's all religion.  And while I assume that not all religions operate completely at cross-purposes (belief in deity A requiring disregard of deity B ), a great many of them certainly do. By selecting one salvation, you close the door to all other salvations.  The Bible puts this right up front, in Exodus: "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me," but I have a feeling Islam has a similar decree.

So by virtue of faith in deity A, you are prevented by partaking in worship of Jehova, or Vishnu, or Ra, or Amaterasu-Ō-Mi-Kami, or Ahura Mazda, or Odin, or Jupiter, or any other deities.  This creates a number of interesting problems.

Problem 1: Salvation is geographically determined. With all of the viable options to examine for the purpose of finding one's eternal salvation, it seems peculiar that invariably the majority of people who have found such a salvation coincidentally find it in their immediate vicinity, taught to them by their parents and community from a very young age, when one is most impressionable. Isn't that a lovely coincidence that your journey for eternal salvation found success within thirty feet of your crib? Doesn't that make the epiphany of your success somewhat hollow feeling?

Problem 2: Superfluity of Choice. Assuming you manage to grow to adulthood without being indoctrinated into your coincidentally correct path to unverifiable post-death rewards, and you need to find one, you face a different difficulty. When all of these competing religions are lined up, since there exists no means to quantify their suitability via any of the normal human methods of comparing risk versus reward (since neither the risks nor the rewards can be verified or categorized in any way), you may be tempted to find another means.  Perhaps you would look at the age of the religion?  The one that's been around the longest? Maybe the one that has the most followers?  The problem arises when you find that no matter which deity you choose, you must reject hundreds, perhaps thousands of other options. No matter which way you turn, there are literally billions of other people whose faith has determined that yours is fucking wrong, and many of them are violent assholes. Welcome to Jihad.

Problem 3: Maybe nobody is right. Even assuming that there is a supreme being of some kind, ready to reward his loyal followers and punish his enemies, there's a possibility that out of all of the religions currently available, none of them might be the correct, true religion, and we're all fucking doomed anyway. David Mitchell once posited a particularly hilarious afterlife that only atheists were allowed into: "And worst of all, I was wrong."

Lastly, another note on "sin." There is no evidence that any god, anywhere, created any of the rules regarding sin (I daresay that none of the copies of the Qur'an you've perused in your life originated any earlier than the 20th century, for example, and were typeset and printed by men, not angels) Things that are harmful are not always sin (Teasing a bear while slathered in honey isn't a sin, for example), while things defined as sin are frequently harmless or beneficial in moderation (without premarital sex, the human race would not exist, in that marriage is a creation of man).  The notion of sin is arbitrary, differs widely from sect to sect, and invariably contains nonsensical rules written by men to get other men to behave in a way they findprofitable.  The best example of a modern version of rules of this nature can be found here:  Rules of Acquisition

Muhammad Rasheed  Jackals Home wrote: "So lets operate on faith for a moment."

'Kay.

Jackals Home wrote: "First, it's not just the Abrahamic religions that function on faith, it's all religion."

I know.  When engaging atheists I argue for all religion in general, narrowed down to the Abrahamic Faiths, and then specifically to Al-Islam.

Jackals Home wrote: "And while I assume that not all religions operate completely at cross-purposes (belief in deity A requiring disregard of deity B ), a great many of them certainly do."

Many of the adherents think they do.

Jackals Home wrote: "By selecting one salvation, you close the door to all other salvations."

I reckon it depends on the definition of "salvation."  For Christians it has a very specific meaning involving sitting in Jesus' lap while he rocks back and forth and assures you the sin isn't going to hurt you anymore (at least that's the imagery they conjure in my mind when they talk about it).  "Sh, sh, sh... it's okay, my son.  It's okay.  Who loves you? Jesus loves you."

A more general, theological definition would be a saving from punishment by being provided the tools enabling one to achieve success in the life hereafter.  Realistically there is only one salvation.  The specifics of what that would actually mean is a mystery of the unseen...  we have no way of knowing.  We have a very vague, metaphor-based description using limited earthbound imagery that we are familiar with, but we really won't know until we get there.

Jackals Home wrote: "The Bible puts this right up front, in Exodus: "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me," but I have a feeling Islam has a similar decree."

Not a similar one, it's that exact one.  Moses was the messenger/prophet of Allah, and the Ten Commandments are part of the greater sacred scripture of my belief system.

Jackals Home wrote: "So by virtue of faith in deity A, you are prevented by partaking in worship of Jehova..."

YHWH is the One God of Abraham that I worship (I like using the Tetragrammaton for it.  It's more mystically.  I'm a big fan of the Ba'al Shems). 

Jackals Home wrote: "...or Vishnu, or Ra, or Amaterasu-Ō-Mi-Kami, or Ahura Mazda, or Odin, or Jupiter, or any other deities."

This phenomenon of the multiple deities is related to what we talked about the other day... one person presents a world-changing concept and subsequent generations build up a bureaucratic institution around it.  In this case it also involves, not only the addition of lesser deity figures to the Godhead, but also a tendency to worship the messenger... many of those deities are in fact 'divinely-enhanced' messengers (and you can safely stick the Christian version of Jesus among that company).  The message itself changes until it starts to look unrecognizable.  Then God would raise up a prophet to instruct the people as to how they strayed to get them back on the One God's path, and the cycle would repeat.

Muhammad and the Qur'an represent the end of that cycle.  There will be no more.  That's why the Muslim World is so anal-retentive about not changing the Qur'an and keeping it pure.

Jackals Home wrote: "This creates a number of interesting problems.

Problem 1: Salvation is geographically determined. With all of the viable options to examine for the purpose of finding one's eternal salvation, it seems peculiar that invariably the majority of people who have found such a salvation coincidentally find it in their immediate vicinity, taught to them by their parents and community from a very young age, when one is most impressionable. Isn't that a lovely coincidence that your journey for eternal salvation found success within thirty feet of your crib? Doesn't that make the epiphany of your success somewhat hollow feeling?"

This 'problem' doesn't hold up under much scrutiny.  Sure there's a lot of people that spend their lives half-ass following whatever religion was part of their family creed, but people who really feel it, and go searching, often convert to something different.  Westerners have spent at least the last 30-40 years absolutely fascinated with far Eastern belief systems, and when they get "deep" they usually go Buddhist or something related to it.  I would also contend that there are a lot fewer pagans in the world than it was in olden days... the proselyting of the Abrahamic Faith missionaries being crazy effective over the centuries.  People convert to stuff.  A lot.

I'm Muslim and my folks happened to be Muslim.  They themselves converted from whatever sect of Christianity their families had in Illinois and Mississippi, during a time period in this country when it wasn't necessarily "normal" to convert to anything.  I went through a period as a young adult when I wasn't into Islam really, I just knew about it.  One day I got... concerned let's say... about spiritual matters and started reading stuff, developing an interest in comparative religion.  Islam held up really well under my studies, and I started to see why both my parents converted to it.  I've come across nothing that made me regret that decision, or feel that I should explore something else with a trial conversion; Islam is "my religion perfected for me."  I feel blessed [and highly favored] that it was within easy reach that way, no different than Ricky Stratton being born with that silver spoon in his mouth, my good fortune in being raised by Muslims just happens to be one of the cards I was dealt, like being a Black American.  I think you're reaching with this 'problem' and blowing it up out of all proportion. 

Jackals Home wrote: "Problem 2:Superfluity of Choice. Assuming you manage to grow to adulthood without being indoctrinated into your coincidentally correct path..."

[snort]

Jackals Home wrote: "...to unverifiable post-death rewards, and you need to find one, you face a different difficulty. When all of these competing religions are lined up, since there exists no means to quantify their suitability via any of the normal human methods of comparing risk versus reward (since neither the risks nor the rewards can be verified or categorized in any way), you may be tempted to find another means.  Perhaps you would look at the age of the religion?  The one that's been around the longest? Maybe the one that has the most followers?  The problem arises when you find that no matter which deity you choose, you must reject hundreds, perhaps thousands of other options."

I used intuition a great deal during my own process, as I'm sure a lot of people do.  It's a deeply personal journey by its nature, and you have to go with what speaks to you.  The other half of my brain recognized that the Supreme Creator is truly unique, and I searched for the faith that reflected that best.  If their description was too relatable...  too human... I crossed them off my list.  Only Islam... and to a lesser extent Judaism... reflected God in a way that correctly showcased His proper role and authority in relation to His creation.  And Islam did a much better job in explaining the thread of God's message and how it flowed throughout human history and through all peoples.

Jackals Home wrote: "No matter which way you turn, there are literally billions of other people whose faith has determined that yours is fucking wrong..."

On Judgment Day, we'll all find out who was right and who was indeed wrong.  I am unconcerned.

Jackals Home wrote: "...and many of them are violent assholes."

Yeah.

Jackals Home wrote: "Welcome to Jihad."

The modern FoxNews definition of 'jihad' developed from the actions of the high-profile revolutionaries and terrorists, fails to get a rise out of me.  In any event every day we have to fight for what we believe in on some level.  Every day is a mini-jihad for the average person just living life.  You either plant your feet and work it out, or turn tail and run/surrender.  I'd rather jihad.  You can't win following the other path.

Jackals Home wrote: "Problem 3:Maybe nobody is right. Even assuming that there is a supreme being of some kind, ready to reward his loyal followers and punish his enemies, there's a possibility that out of all of the religions currently available, none of them might be the correct, true religion, and we're all fucking doomed anyway. David Mitchell once posited a particularly hilarious afterlife that only atheists were allowed into: "And worst of all, I was wrong."

Maybe.  Again I'm unconcerned.  It'll be alright.

I'm concerned about you though, for the usual reason.  "Can you spare a few moments to talk about the Lord?  Do you know Jesus loves you?" [passes Jackals Home a Watchtower track]

[sticks foot in door so he can't slam it]  lol

Jackals Home wrote: "Lastly, another note on "sin." There is no evidence that any god, anywhere, created any of the rules regarding sin..."

So?

Jackals Home wrote: "(I daresay that none of the copies of the Qur'an you've perused in your life originated any earlier than the 20th century, for example..."

So?

Jackals Home wrote: "...and were typeset and printed by men, not angels)"

Strawman alert.  Men are supposed to write/typeset/print/preach it.  The angel only delivered it to the prophet and then he was out.

Jackals Home wrote: "Things that are harmful are not always sin (Teasing a bear while slathered in honey isn't a sin, for example)..."

[trying to imagine another 2,000 pages in the Qur'an full of stuff like, "Thou shalt not coat thyself in honey and tease bears!"] lol

I think if He had to do that, He would've just broke the earth in half over His "knee" and started over.  lol

Jackals Home wrote: "...while things defined as sin are frequently harmless or beneficial in moderation (without premarital sex, the human race would not exist, in that marriage is a creation of man)."

Inbreeding was less of a concern when there were only 28 of us.

Jackals Home wrote: "The notion of sin is arbitrary..."

It may seem that way from our limited scope, but I'd rather trust the Omniscient One's insight into what we need and don't need.

Jackals Home wrote: "...differs widely from sect to sect..."

Previous messages were local, so their scripture did have stuff in it that only pertained to them, or shined a special spotlight on some things that were especially relevant to that community.

Jackals Home wrote: "...and invariably contains nonsensical rules written by men to get other men to behave in a way they find profitable."

True.  That's why the Qur'an was revealed... to confirm and fulfill the messages that came before it, and to set to right those areas in which those previous guardians allowed the message to become corrupt by such men. 

Jackals Home Okay, since the "limited scope" of the verifiable, testable, and observable wonders of the universe is too boring to talk about, I'll hit you with the next question I have.  Lets assume that your way is the right way. Lets assume that your path is not only correct, but that all of the other billions of people with conflicting views, both alive and dead, were incorrect.  Lets assume that the only way to ascend to the next glorious level of existence is the way you follow, and everybody else that follows a different way is out of luck. Okay?

A: what about people who were born lived, and died in geographical isolation in the australian outback, the mountains of Tibet, the arctic circle, a tiny pelagic island somewhere, perhaps from a time (most of history, actually) before the internet, or airplanes, or simply before missionaries got to them.  Do they miss out on the afterlife?

A2: If the answer is yes, then my point about salvation being geographically determined is doubly true.  Good luck being born in the right spot, sucks if you're from an isolated tribe in New Guinea.  By this system, if you're born in the wrong country (and lack the money for world travel, which prior to the 20th century was 99.99999% of the world population) you are out of the salvation loop, because of the tawdry circumstances of where you were born.Good system for an omnipotent being to put in place.

A3: If the answer is no, if there are special rules for those unaware of the rules of salvation, then why would you tell anyone about the rules.  If people who don't know the rules get the reward in their ignorance, then surely ignorance is better than giving people a bunch of arbitrary and increasingly outdated (any rules in the Qur'an about rape? I know the bible has surprisingly little to say on the subject) directives that they may be too belligerent or stupid to follow?

Regarding proof, again, since "so?" is a lame flabby bloopy answer, If every other interaction in human history requires tangibles, proof, evidence, (and not looking for such makes you a sucker, to be victimized by con-men of all stripes) then why would a supreme being create a system for triaging the souls of humanity in which the immutable guidelines of the creator of the universe have exactly as much evidence to support them as any pile of competently written child's stories.  Whether or not they're true, why would a creature with infinite power (who for some reason cares about how we insects behave) choose a series of increasingly fallible, corrupt, and sin-prone mortals to carry his message for two-thousand plus years, without even checking up? Isn't that like a game of "telephone" where anyone who misses the precise phrasing of what the first guy said goes to hell?  It's madness, it's not even a good idea for a man like me to come up with, let alone a creature of infinite intellect.  

Muhammad Rasheed Jackals Home wrote: "Okay, since the "limited scope" of the verifiable, testable, and observable wonders of the universe is too boring to talk about..."

It's not boring at all.  We can talk about that stuff if you wish.

Jackals Home wrote: "I'll hit you with the next question I have.  Lets assume that your way is the right way. Lets assume that your path is not only correct, but that all of the other billions of people with conflicting views, both alive and dead, were incorrect.  Lets assume that the only way to ascend to the next glorious level of existence is the way you follow, and everybody else that follows a different way is out of luck. Okay?"

Okay, even though it's not entirely accurate.  But shoot.

Jackals Home wrote: "A What about people who were born, lived, and died in geographical isolation in the australian outback, the mountains of Tibet, the arctic circle, a tiny pelagic island somewhere, perhaps from a time (most of history, actually) before the internet, or airplanes, or simply before missionaries got to them.  Do they miss out on the afterlife?"

It depends on a few factors.  I'll elaborate.

Jackals Home wrote: "A3 If the answer is no, if there are special rules for those unaware of the rules of salvation, then why would you tell anyone about the rules."

The message has two components to it:  The Good News, and The Warning.  Which form the message takes depends on how the receiver lives his/her life.  The message is "Believe in the One God, do good deeds, avoid evil deeds.  Do this and you will achieve infinite reward.  If you reject your Lord and sow wrongdoing and strife in the land, hellfire will be your reward."  If you already do the first part of this… it's a part of your regular lifestyle/routine and that's just the type of person you are… then the message will be The Good News.  All you have to do is stay the course and you will have no need to fear, nor shall you grieve.  But if you've lived your life as the dedicated wrongdoer, then the message comes to you as The Warning.  Both the believer and the disbeliever need to hear the message.  The former so he/she can be assured they are on the right path and will know not to stray from it.  Their good life will now have focus and purpose; otherwise they just might arbitrarily slip, or allow some ignorant person to talk them into a different lifestyle ("C'mon! Live a little!").  The other needs to hear the message so he/she will have the opportunity to turn their life around.
In the Qur'an God says that He rose up a prophet-messenger from among every people.  Some He told us about, most He did not.  The two Semite tribes were chosen to carry the Book for the archives or whatever, but everybody had a chance to hear the message.

Jackals Home wrote: "If people who don't know the rules get the reward in their ignorance, then surely ignorance is better than giving people a bunch of arbitrary and increasingly outdated directives that they may be too belligerent or stupid to follow?"

The above mentioned believer who is basically coasting on good person talent can also have the opportunity to take advantage of God's directive for the believers to "compete with each other in righteousness."   The reward system in the afterlife is tiered with seven stages to it.  If you were a new convert, wouldn't you like to know that there was a Grand Prize, 1st prize, 2nd prize, etc. to strive for?  Sure anyone would be content with the 7th prize of an infinite reward (from the One who gives the best rewards), but if you knew about it, wouldn't you like to go for the Grand Prize if you knew the rules?  If you're gonna play you might as well go for broke, right?

Jackals Home wrote: "(any rules in the Qur'an about rape? I know the bible has surprisingly little to say on the subject)"

What is rape but theft?  Thou shalt not steal.

Jackals Home wrote: "Regarding proof, again, since "so?" is a lame flabby bloopy answer..."

lol  It wasn't really an answer since you weren't asking a question at the time.  My "so?" was asking:

1.) What does it matter that there is no terrestrial realm physical evidence regarding matters of faith?  The unseen aren't terrestrial realm physical, so why would that be relevant?  Obviously they require a different criterion for study, yes?  Just like sub-particle quantum physics uses different weights and measures for dealing with the truly weird-as-hell properties of the tiniest pieces of the universe, compared to the rules of study and cataloging used for the macro-verse.

2.) And what does it matter that my working copy of the Holy Qur'an was printed in the 20th century?  Should that negate my faith in some way or create some form of monkey wrench?  Explain.

Jackals Home wrote: "If every other interaction in human history requires tangibles, proof, evidence, (and not looking for such makes you a sucker, to be victimized by con-men of all stripes) then why would a supreme being create a system for triaging the souls of humanity in which the immutable guidelines of the creator of the universe have exactly as much evidence to support them as any pile of competently written child's stories.  Whether or not they're true, why would a creature with infinite power (who for some reason cares about how we insects behave) choose a series of increasingly fallible, corrupt, and sin-prone mortals to carry his message for two-thousand plus years, without even checking up? Isn't that like a game of "telephone" where anyone who misses the precise phrasing of what the first guy said goes to hell?  It's madness, it's not even a good idea for a man like me to come up with, let alone a creature of infinite intellect."

What's the percentage of atheists to the rest of the world's human population?  There have been quite a few high profile examples of die-hard atheists who end up converting.  My favorites are the ones who start off determined to debunk a holy book. 

The point of what you are asking seems rational, and seems to make sense, but the evidence shows that the Omniscient One knows His creation better than you know it. 

Do you think everyone who believes in God is a stupid person who can't be trusted to feed themselves without putting a cork on the end of their fork?

Jackals Home You can't "debunk" a holy book for the same reason you can't "debunk" Calvin and Hobbes.  Rational inquiry (which every other discipline of study in the world is subject to, from agriculture to astrophysics) deals in facts, and matters of faith, much like comic strips, areconveniently not beholden to facts.  There is no discernible  testable difference between any of the thousands of supposedly "holy" texts and any other fable written for entertainment and amusement.  _The burden of proof, as always, rests on those making the claim._ 

Feel free to cite some examples of those "high profile" atheists that converted. And those scientists, from earlier, too. Or do you just have faith that that occurred?  Matter of fact, don't bother, you can't win the numbers game that way.  Some creationists compiled a list of 700 "scientists" that believed in Creationism, so Project Steve (Project Steve) gathered twice that number that understood that the data on evolution is verifiable, testable, and consistent, and the guys they gathered were only scientists named Steve.

Besides, if number of adherents doesn't make or break a religion, I see no reason why number of nonherents would break a lack of belief.  So I'm not sure what significance that has.  I do know that if you go to countries where "stoning" is a thing, they're pretty religious, and countries that have abolished the death penalty are more likely to be atheistic (Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, for example, which strangely enough, also rate near the top of "quality of living" studies worldwide). In fact, Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan all have the death penaltyfor atheism. Which clears up the relative morality of this conversation pretty much entirely for me.

The problem with these fables is that for every friendly, bright, tolerant religious guy like you there are millions that read all the same shit that you do,and come up with the idea that I should be killed.  I know you say they got it wrong, they're fallible humans, and the insightful ones can figure it out (because hey, the supreme being doesn't need to put a cork on the fork), but that doesn't change the fact that the end result of your spiritual journey is people like me being buried chest-high in the earth, and pelted with rocks of a size bigger than a chicken egg, and smaller than a pomegranate. 

Jackals Home And no, I don't think all religious people are stupid.  I think they're misguided, frequently, I think that they've been victimized by flim-flam artists much of the time. And I think they're overcome by emotion and imagination and a desire to create order out of their world.  I think people are scared of the unknown, and a reassuring story is easier to deal with than not knowing. I wouldn't blame, say, and elderly lady taken in by a phone scam from someone calling pretending to be from her bank--she wasn't stupid, she was victimized.

Here's the real thing, though, I think that most of the people who claim to be religious are actually just half-assedly following traditions, and don't actually believe in any of it, but they don't want to cause trouble in their extended family unit.  I have an exceptionally small family, one brother, one cousin, right? So there's essentially no familial pressure on me to adhere to any sort of faith.  My parents are Catholic (supposedly, I mean, they go to church every week), and my brother believes in god, I think, but I'm not saturated in religious stuff like someone from a large religious family would be--those constant, subtle familial corrections toward the status quo just aren't there.  With a larger, more fervent religious family, I would probably be a religious person.  Because it's all stuff you were taught.  I just happened to get more resentment toward authority, and skepticism than pressure to obey from my family.

Penn Jillette had a great speech about why he thinks most religious people are deluded, because when it comes time for them to put their beliefs front-and-center, and loudly confirm their belief in the invisible, they invariably make decisions based on factual concerns. Specifically, when 12 religious people gather in a court of law to decide whether someone is guilty or not guilty, and the person's defense is "God told me to," they never, ever consider that the person might be telling the truth.  Even though scriptures are filled with that sort of thing, happening all the time. Here's the video (Mitt's Magical Mormon Undies: Penn Jillette's Rant Redux).

Jackals Home To get some of your rebuttal questions that I missed:

1.) What does it matter that there is no terrestrial realm physical evidence regarding matters of faith?  The unseen aren't terrestrial realm physical, so why would that be relevant?  Obviously they require a different criterion for study, yes?  Just like sub-particle quantum physics uses different weights and measures for dealing with the truly weird-as-hell properties of the tiniest pieces of the universe, compared to the rules of study and cataloging used for the macro-verse.

They use different criterion that are testable, verifiable, and repeatable, yes.  A result that cannot be repeated by anyone, anywhere, with the same methodology, is not a scientific result. It's just something that occurred.

2.) And what does it matter that my working copy of the Holy Qur'an was printed in the 20th century?  Should that negate my faith in some way or create some form of monkey wrench?  Explain.

If it were me, I would be exceptionally skeptical as to any assurances that the text had remained unchained for two-thousand plus years, despite the moveable-type printing press being invented less than six-hundred years ago. Every iteration of that book had to be copied and recopied and recopied by generations and generations of fallible, sometimes corrupt human beings, each with their own motivations.  I find it nearly inconceivable that any text can suffer so many analog replications and remain unchanged by either error or malice.

What is rape but theft?  Thou shalt not steal.

Rape is a crime of violence, an assault.  It's not a property crime, like stealing a skateboard, or a VCR.  If you care to, explain this passage for me, because it sounds like you're supposed to imprison for life a woman that has four men testify as to her "lewdness:" It seems as though it is a directive from Allah himself, but feel free to correct my mistake if I am incorrect.

(Quran 4:15) " If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way."

Because that seems to imply that women are not permitted to be lewd if they so desire, and any four "reliable men" can have a woman imprisoned for perceived lewdness. What is lewdness?  Is it solely sex outside of marriage, or does Beyonce dancing at the Super Bowl in a skimpy outfit count? 

In 2013, is this a reasonable position towards women to have?  And if not, are there any other such decrees from the supreme being that you can safely ignore, and how can you discern those from the ones that are "for real" decrees from the supreme being.

Muhammad Rasheed  Jackals Home wrote: "You can't "debunk" a holy book for the same reason you can't "debunk" Calvin and Hobbes."

They attempted to do so from within the Books' own internal system, a method requiring an objective open-minded approach, one that left them open to receive exactly what God was saying.  And they were touched.

Jackals Home wrote: "Rational inquiry (which every other discipline of study in the world is subject to, from agriculture to astrophysics)"

"in the world" is conspicuous here.  :)

Jackals Home wrote: "...deals in facts, and matters of faith, much like comic strips, are conveniently not beholden to facts."

That's not true.  The unseen deal in facts, too.  They just don't provide physical evidence of a nature that can be bagged/tagged/photographed in the strict way persons/places/things from this realm can be.   

Jackals Home wrote: "There is no discernible  testable difference between any of the thousands of supposedly "holy" texts and any other fable written for entertainment and amusement."

If there isn't (in the specific way you are describing) it's only because one hasn't been developed.  The system for testing within the scientific method was a created one.  It's the easy one used for stuff we can readily touch, hear, see, taste, feel.  We'll have to develop a new testing system for the unseen phenomena.

Jackals Home wrote: " The burden of proof, as always, rests on those making the claim. "

That's tricky.

The claim is that you must believe and do XYZ in order to prosper in the next life.  There is a proof, but by the time it is presented to you, it will be far too late to profit from the knowledge.

Jackals Home wrote: "Feel free to cite some examples of those "high profile" atheists that converted. And those scientists, from earlier, too. Or do you just have faith that that occurred?  Matter of fact, don't bother, you can't win the numbers game that way.  Some creationists compiled a list of 700 "scientists" that believed in Creationism, so Project Steve gathered twice that number that understood that the data on evolution is verifiable, testable, and consistent, and the guys they gathered were only scientists named Steve."

King's to you on this point.  I'll have to let that one go. 

But the fact remains that there are Christians, Muslims and Jews who are scientists and medical practitioners.  Having a belief system you subscribe to isn't incompatible with studying, categorizing and theorizing natural world data.  Just the opposite.

Jackals Home wrote: "Besides, if number of adherents doesn't make or break a religion, I see no reason why number of nonherents would break a lack of belief.  So I'm not sure what significance that has."

That was my counter to your belief that it's impossible to believe in the unseen and have the spirit of learning/exploration at the same time.

Jackals Home wrote: "I do know that if you go to countries where "stoning" is a thing, they're pretty religious, and countries that have abolished the death penalty are more likely to be atheistic (Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, for example, which strangely enough, also rate near the top of "quality of living" studies worldwide). In fact, Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan all have the death penalty for atheism. Which clears up the relative morality of this conversation pretty much entirely for me."

"There is no compulsion in religion."  If God says it, but you do it anyway, then you are wrong.  You can't kill someone because they don't want to believe what you believe in.  Those hadith that claimed otherwise were invented by warmongers... from the same family of tribes you are describing here.  People do wrong because they want to, and they figure out their own reasons for justifying it to themselves and to the people they want to pull along with.  But God said, "Don't do it."

Jackals Home wrote: "The problem with these fables is that for every friendly, bright, tolerant religious guy like you there are millions that read all the same shit that you do, and come up with the idea that I should be killed."

lol  That's a people thing, not a religion thing.  "OMG! Walking Dead is the best show EVER!!!  It's just sooo well written!"

Jackals Home wrote: "I know you say they got it wrong, they're fallible humans, and the insightful ones can figure it out (because hey, the supreme being doesn't need to put a cork on the fork), but that doesn't change the fact that the end result of your spiritual journey is people like me being buried chest-high in the earth, and pelted with rocks of a size bigger than a chicken egg, and smaller than a pomegranate."

I will counter with the idea that people who are on a spiritual journey actually see and strive for the message.  The message is peace.  That's the fruit of the people who follow the message.  If God says it, but you are doing something else, then you AREN'T following the message no matter what you say you claim to subscribe to.  That's a sabotage.  You're sabotaging the people who actually follow the message with your lazy, half-assed walk and the fact that you can't tell me what God says in His book...  you can only tell me what the "scholars" say, or what the hadith say.  The dark side of the Force is easier, more seductive... so you can't be bothered to do the work and read the Qur'an for yourself; you're good with regurgitating centuries of tribal traditionalism in the guise of the message giving the entire believing community a bad name.  That's definitely not a spiritual journey in any sense of the term. 

Jackals Home You're clearly not finished, but I'll pose another couple questions for you to get to when you get a chance.  

A while back, I mentioned the phenomena wherein men in (lets be honest) countries ruled either by Islamic theocracies or tribal groups that identify themselves as Muslim carry out the disfigurement of women, via knife or acid, who are accused of illicit behavior, sometimes refusing to go along with arranged marriages, looking at men on the street, or attempting to escape abusive relationships.  Now, I find the photos and stories regarding this ongoing and persistent human disgrace to be stomach-turning, but your response was literally "lol."  Can you explain precisely what is funny about throwing acid in a young Muslim girl's face, and how that fits so comfortably into your belief system?  I'm curious as to how someone I've known to be an empathic and decent human being could have such a grotesquely blase' reaction.

Secondly, if your belief system deals in facts, but they don't provide physical evidence (which is roughly the same as a triangle with a number of sides that =/=3), then carry me through exactly how you could explain these facts to an interested onlooker of average intelligence (unfamiliar with the concept of religious beliefs entirely, and without a large group of adherents to point to to bolster your case) in such a manner as to differentiate the "facts of belief" from equally complex "unprovable lies." Pretend the person has been living alone on a mountaintop, and has never met anyone who had religious belief whatsoever? Without any demonstrable evidence, how do you explain the difference?

"in the world" is conspicuous here.

What planet do you do your believing on, if it's not this one? If the behavior you want to control is here, on this planet, these people, why are the reasons all somewhere else?  I mean, If you were only worried about the Lewdness of people that were as intangible as your beliefs, I daresay that would be of no concern to anyone.  But you want people to take your "mystery ghost spirit facts" and apply them to their "really real for real life."

They attempted to do so from within the Books' own internal system, a method requiring an objective open-minded approach, one that left them open to receive exactly what God was saying.  And they were touched.

People thought "I love Lucy" was real, too. People believe stuff that's ridiculous all the time, which is why empiricism is necessary, to differentiate flights of fancy from facts.  I mean, the ancient Greeks were considered to be great thinkers, but it turns out most of the shit they believed (vultures having three testicles, a Geocentric view of the universe, hanging a fox penis on your forehead to cure headache) turned out to be nonsense once people started testing it.  Religious beliefs have hung around as long as they have because it places itself rhetorically beyond unbiased examination.

Muhammad Rasheed Jackals Home wrote: "And no, I don't think all religious people are stupid."

Good.  Because that would've hurt my feelings.

Jackals Home wrote: "I think they're misguided, frequently, I think that they've been victimized by flim-flam artists much of the time. And I think they're overcome by emotion and imagination and a desire to create order out of their world.  I think people are scared of the unknown, and a reassuring story is easier to deal with than not knowing. I wouldn't blame, say, and elderly lady taken in by a phone scam from someone calling pretending to be from her bank--she wasn't stupid, she was victimized."

Some people are victimized and misguided, sure.  But many others convert because they recognize the message as true and want to sincerely strive to be on the Path.

Jackals Home wrote: "Here's the real thing, though, I think that most of the people who claim to be religious are actually just half-assedly following traditions, and don't actually believe in any of it, but they don't want to cause trouble in their extended family unit."

I can see that.  There's trillions of examples of people just following along with the crowd for a variety of reasons.  I contend that it's that very attitude responsible for the difference between someone who is truly on the spiritual journey, takes to time to actually study the message and learn what God wants of us, and sows the fruit of that message in the earth, as compared with those half-assers who claim they believe, yet their actions in the earth cause all the same harm as those that the message was revealed to correct in the first place.  Once the big bureaucratic institution is built up it often pushes the message aside while pretending to still hold it up.  And it is often run by the same people you are talking about here.

Jackals Home wrote: "I have an exceptionally small family, one brother, one cousin, right? So there's essentially no familial pressure on me to adhere to any sort of faith."

I wouldn't put too much weight on that concept if I were you.  I'm one of nine children, and the only active believer in the message.  None of the others are Muslim.  They are "other."  Or follow the modern, social network "spiritual not religious" schtick.

Being a Muslim, on the spiritual journey, is an active, conscious choice that requires work and patient perseverance.  Believe me.

Jackals Home wrote: "My parents are Catholic (supposedly, I mean, they go to church every week), and my brother believes in god, I think, but I'm not saturated in religious stuff like someone from a large religious family would be--those constant, subtle familial corrections toward the status quo just aren't there.  With a larger, more fervent religious family, I would probably be a religious person."

I doubt it.

Jackals Home wrote: "Because it's all stuff you were taught.  I just happened to get more resentment toward authority, and skepticism than pressure to obey from my family."

My dad was the stereotypical Swing Era, civil rights, "hate whitey!" guy and was ALLLL about "Fuck authority!"  A lot of my rap I get from him (I built Thundermine's origin story off of my dad's real experiences) but I still recognize the message and want to be on the path. 

Everybody is different, James.  We can speculate as to why people believe or not believe, but it's a personal individual thing in the end.  I think most people don't really pay it any attention... are not really focused on it... and just following the crowd.  It's only when some trigger makes them zero in on it, that they start to question what it is that they REALLY believe.

Jackals Home wrote: "Penn Jillette had a great speech about why he thinks most religious people are deluded, because when it comes time for them to put their beliefs front-and-center, and loudly confirm their belief in the invisible, they invariably make decisions based on factual concerns. Specifically, when 12 religious people gather in a court of law to decide whether someone is guilty or not guilty, and the person's defense is "God told me to," they never, ever consider that the person might be telling the truth.  Even though scriptures are filled with that sort of thing, happening all the time."

Prophet Muhammad was the seal of the prophethood.  The canon of revealed scripture is now complete; the message of God has been delivered.  Sure some kind of spirit entity could talk to a human post-revealed scripture era, but whatever it tells you had better line up with the message of God.  Chopping your kids up and mixing them in the family reunion potato salad and claiming God told you so doesn't line up with the message God set down here to guide us so... I'm Out!

Muhammad Rasheed Jackals Home wrote: "To get some of your rebuttal questions that I missed:

Muhammad wrote: "1.) What does it matter that there is no terrestrial realm physical evidence regarding matters of faith?  The unseen aren't terrestrial realm physical, so why would that be relevant?  Obviously they require a different criterion for study, yes?  Just like sub-particle quantum physics uses different weights and measures for dealing with the truly weird-as-hell properties of the tiniest pieces of the universe, compared to the rules of study and cataloging used for the macro-verse."

Jackals Home wrote: "They use different criterion that are testable, verifiable, and repeatable, yes.  A result that cannot be repeated by anyone, anywhere, with the same methodology, is not a scientific result. It's just something that occurred."

In his DMT studies, Dr. Rick Strassman used a method of testing that was able to show the same and similar things occurring over and over regarding the nature of what the mainstream considered "hallucinations."  The government stopped his study, but he walked away from the experience shaken and believing in the unseen. If mainstream science decides to treat the unseen seriously, competent men in the field will develop a criterion to test it that will aid us in our understanding.

Muhammad wrote: "2.) And what does it matter that my working copy of the Holy Qur'an was printed in the 20th century?  Should that negate my faith in some way or create some form of monkey wrench?  Explain."

Jackals Home wrote: "If it were me, I would be exceptionally skeptical as to any assurances that the text had remained unchained for two-thousand plus years, despite the moveable-type printing press being invented less than six-hundred years ago. Every iteration of that book had to be copied and recopied and recopied by generations and generations of fallible, sometimes corrupt human beings, each with their own motivations.  I find it nearly inconceivable that any text can suffer so many analog replications and remain unchanged by either error or malice."

It's a potential legitimate concern under normal circumstances, true.  Fortunately it was one shared by the early Muslim community who had the whole book memorized as was the custom in those tribes.  The Qur'an is also full of God telling us that the previous scriptures were corrupted by exactly the actions that you are talking about.  So for the last 15 centuries Muslims have been ridiculously anal-retentive about not changing anything and leaving the text as is... even when it went counter to the natural tendency to update for a modern audience.  They left it alone.  It's one of the primary reasons why the lazy prefer the hadith over Qur'anic study, because the Qur'an requires more work/thought to digest... both because of the multi-layered, "deep" nature of sacred scripture, but also because of the archaic speak.  Even the harshest and more severe of Islam's secular, scholarly critics, who are objective with no undue bias, acknowledge that the Qur'an is still the same as always.  This is actually one of the primary reasons why Islam speaks to me very strongly as being a fit for me.  The Qur'an is the only revealed scripture on earth.  It's only problem concerning the corruption of men is, not in the text itself, but what others may interpret it as saying.  Even the violent issues between the sunni and shia camps hasn't spilled over into their reverence for the Book... they both use the exact same Qur'an.

Muhammad wrote: "What is rape but theft?  Thou shalt not steal."

Jackals Home wrote: "Rape is a crime of violence, an assault.  It's not a property crime, like stealing a skateboard, or a VCR."

The scripture doesn't make such a distinction.  That's modern sub-categorizing legal speak.  Plus assaults are treated differently than rape cases.  Look at the long history of how women are pretty much tossed aside in court.  You could compare it to... if a hobo called the police because a wealthy man stole his prized first bean can.  The courts would treat that hobo pretty much exactly the way they've traditionally treated women in rape cases.  They treat them as if what was stolen was of value to no one but the victim, and were not likely to punish the offender very harshly.  "In fact, you shouldn't have had your bean can all up in that man's face! Case dismissed!"

To rape a woman is to take her body, her dignity, her sense of safety.  When the rapist walks away he leaves her scarred.  He took her innocence from her.  It's a theft.

Jackals Home wrote: "If you care to, explain this passage for me, because it sounds like you're supposed to imprison for life a woman that has four men testify as to her "lewdness:" It seems as though it is a directive from Allah himself, but feel free to correct my mistake if I am incorrect.

(Quran 4:15) " If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way."

Because that seems to imply that women are not permitted to be lewd if they so desire..."

They CAN they'll just be punished for it.

"...and any four "reliable men" can have a woman imprisoned for perceived lewdness. What is lewdness?  Is it solely sex outside of marriage, or does Beyonce dancing at the Super Bowl in a skimpy outfit count?"

lewd - 1. inclined to, characterized by, or inciting to lust or lechery; lascivious.  2. obscene or indecent, as language or songs; salacious.
3.  Obsolete . a. low, ignorant, or vulgar. b. base, vile, or wicked, especially of a person. c. bad, worthless, or poor, especially of a thing.

It sounds like a serious thing... behavior that translates into an open effort to spoil the morality of the community. 

Jackals Home wrote: "In 2013, is this a reasonable position towards women to have?"

To be punished if found guilty of a crime?  Why not?

Here let me show you the rest of the passage around this:

(Qur'an 15-17)
15 If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.
16 If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful.
17 Allah accept the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards; to them will Allah turn in mercy: For Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.

You have to have a minimum of four reliable witnesses against the female accused, or it won't stick.  For men it's still in the old system... only one person's accusation is enough.  Before Islam it was the same for both, but God gave the female more protection in this regard.  And if she repents they have to leave her alone anyway. 

That's according to the Word of God.  As long as the courts follow that, she is safe.  She just needs to keep herself out of situations in which she would be accused in the first place.

But of course if the courts instead follow old tribal traditionalism in which they didn't give a flying shit about her while pretending it's "sharia," then of course she's going to prison forever.

Muhammad Rasheed Jackals Home wrote: "A while back, I mentioned the phenomena wherein men in (lets be honest) countries ruled either by Islamic theocracies or tribal groups that identify themselves as Muslim carry out the disfigurement of women, via knife or acid, who are accused of illicit behavior, sometimes refusing to go along with arranged marriages, looking at men on the street, or attempting to escape abusive relationships.  Now, I find the photos and stories regarding this ongoing and persistent human disgrace to be stomach-turning, but your response was literally "lol."  Can you explain precisely what is funny about throwing acid in a young Muslim girl's face...   I'm curious as to how someone I've known to be an empathic and decent human being could have such a grotesquely blase' reaction."

I don't remember the exact post and what I was laughing at specifically, but knowing you, I was probably laughing at a clever and [black] humorous turn of phrase used to express your disgust.  I generally don't click on those kind of links.  I know what they show and don't have to see them.

Jackals Home wrote: "...and how that fits so comfortably into your belief system? "

lol  Mistreating women doesn't even remotely fit within my belief system and is literally un-Islamic.  The pre-Islam pagan Arabs would literally take a newborn infant female out into the desert and bury her while she was still screaming.  And then would angrily stomp back to camp and strike his wife for daring to produce a worthless girl-child and embarrassing him in front of his friends.  The prophet Muhammad literally swung that pendulum to the other side...

...while he was still alive. 

As soon as he was gone, they started that misogyny shit up again, only this time... because they were now a People of the Book... they pretended that EVERYTHING they did had the authority of God and His prophet to back it.  That taint is still upon them today.  They got better during the enlightenment of their glory days of the Islamic Golden Age, but since the destruction caused by internal struggles and European colonialism and it's subsequent abrupt withdrawal, they find themselves in an unenlightened third world state in which the barbaric mentality that is their birthright rules them once again.  If you dare tell them that their practices are in fact un-Islamic they will probably declare a "holy war" and attack you for insulting their beloved prophet, honor, pride, etc.

Jackals Home wrote: "Secondly, if your belief system deals in facts, but they don't provide physical evidence (which is roughly the same as a triangle with a number of sides that =/=3)"

hahaha shut up.

Jackals Home wrote: "...then carry me through exactly how you could explain these facts to an interested onlooker of average intelligence (unfamiliar with the concept of religious beliefs entirely, and without a large group of adherents to point to to bolster your case) in such a manner as to differentiate the "facts of belief" from equally complex "unprovable lies." Pretend the person has been living alone on a mountaintop, and has never met anyone who had religious belief whatsoever? Without any demonstrable evidence, how do you explain the difference?"

I would approach the topic by starting out with a general history of God's message on earth, revealed through His line of messengers, and primarily focus on the message itself.  I would focus on the benefits of walking the path, and would be free to answer any questions that I could based on my own understanding. 

Muhammad wrote: " 'in the world' is conspicuous here."

Jackals Home wrote: "What planet do you do your believing on, if it's not this one?"

lol You said that every discipline of study in the world is subject to rational inquiry.  It's true of the unseen as well, but I know you meant the specific form of the scientific method this world's nouns respond so well to.  A serious scientific study of the unseen would have to develop new tools in order to do their baggin' & taggin.' 

Jackals Home wrote: "If the behavior you want to control..."

I don't want to control anybody's behavior.  Interfering with people's Free Will is obscene.  Everyone needs to be able to chose between belief and unbelief as they so will.

Jackals Home wrote: "...is here, on this planet, these people, why are the reasons all somewhere else?"

Because this world is just a test... it has to play out here to determine what the prize is going to be.  This is the classroom.  The dojo.  This is where all the WORK happens. Do it correctly here and win, so that you can experience all the reasons at the next level.

Jackals Home wrote: "I mean, If you were only worried about the Lewdness of people that were as intangible as your beliefs, I daresay that would be of no concern to anyone.  But you want people to take your "mystery ghost spirit facts" and apply them to their "really real for real life."

Part of enlightenment is to adjust your perception of what is real and what isn't.  What's the definition of 'illusion?' 

Remember everything here will die, rot, corrode, and eventually vanish altogether.  It was designed as a temporary, finite universe. 

Muhammad wrote: "They attempted to do so from within the Books' own internal system, a method requiring an objective open-minded approach, one that left them open to receive exactly what God was saying.  And they were touched."

Jackals Home wrote: "People thought "I love Lucy" was real, too. People believe stuff that's ridiculous all the time, which is why empiricism is necessary, to differentiate flights of fancy from facts.  I mean, the ancient Greeks were considered to be great thinkers, but it turns out most of the shit they believed (vultures having three testicles, a Geocentric view of the universe, hanging a fox penis on your forehead to cure headache) turned out to be nonsense once people started testing it.  Religious beliefs have hung around as long as they have because it places itself rhetorically beyond unbiased examination."

But the truth of the message endured throughout the ages.  People just made up their own crazy fox penis stuff along the way, and sometimes hung it onto the message like a Christmas ornament as it went by... and here it is as the final message in its pure form after 1500 years.  That's a miracle by itself don't you see?  You KNOW how people are, yet the final message is there to guide us aright, available for anyone to open and steer themselves towards the glory that God has awaiting for us if we only believe.  Most preferred to stray and wrap fox penises on their heads and worship the sun and trees and stuff, but the message was always there for those who sought it.

Jackals Home "hahaha shut up."

lol

I'm gonna let you have the last word on this, because I'm getting exhausted with it. Let's revisit this next year, or whenever the next rapture is scheduled, whichever comes first. In the meantime, I'll be happy to delve into tougher topics, like who's more radioactive, the Hulk, or the entire Fantastic Four.

See Also:
Choosing Faith: Separating Wheat from Chaff

The Demon & the Slave Block

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