Sunday, October 10, 2010

God Needs a Quality Control Department

Outspoken skeptics are often criticized for mocking the beliefs of the religious, belittling that which is held sacred, blaspheming their supernatural being (or beings). What the religious never seem to realize is that their own apologists treat their beliefs, their sacred items and activities, and their god (or gods) with far more contempt than any irreligious person ever could. Consider all the religious people who, speaking publicly on behalf of their god, lie, dissemble, ignore the facts, present appallingly faulty and inconsistent reasoning in support of their arguments, and when shown to be flatly and utterly incorrect, abandon reason altogether and claim that the irreligious will never understand because we lack spiritual discernment, or because we have not felt the power of god in our hearts, or the most childish non-argument I've ever heard, because we just want to go on sinning.

Here I'll review a debate between a Jesusianismist and a Muhammadanismist concerning which of the two religions' mutually incompatible doctrines of salvation is true. On the side of Jesus is Doctor William Lane Craig, a prominent Jesusianismist apologist, who in spite of having multiple graduate degrees and at least two Ph. D.'s, is a fellow of both the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture and the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design. If that is not a clear sign that getting degrees in theology is a waste of time, I don't know what is. On the side of Muhammad is Shabir Ally, president of the Islamic Information & Dawah Centre International in Toronto, who also has a few useless religion-oriented degrees.

Throughout the debate, both speakers make various assertions of fact without providing any sort of support at all, apparently assuming that the entire audience simply agrees with them. As I will show, some of these statements are just too preposterous to be accepted without some sort of defense. Also, both speakers make numerous egregious mistakes of reasoning that go absolutely unchallenged by anyone. These unsupported assertions and flawed arguments cannot stand, and any claims based on them must be rejected pending better support.

Dr. Craig's Opening Statements

God must be the greatest conceivable being.

Where does this notion come from? Is it based on knowledge, observation, experiment? No. It’s an assertion, based on nothing. Some may say that it’s based on centuries of theological investigation. Exactly; just as I said, it’s based on nothing. How can theology be considered viable when its students do more diverging than converging? This is how we know that science is right: when everyone performs the experiment the same way, they all get the same answer. But consider two hypothetical religious people: first, a Jesusianismist who seeks god with all his heart, fasting, praying, humbling himself, sincerely and confidently believing that he has a rich, personal relationship with the Supreme Being of the universe, and concludes that Jesusianismistism is the way of salvation; second, a Mohammedanismist who seeks god with all his heart, fasting, praying, humbling himself, sincerely and confidently believing that he has a rich, personal relationship with the Supreme Being of the universe, and concludes that Muhammadanismistism is the way of salvation. The fact that there are millions of such Jesusianismists, and millions of such Muhammadanismists proves one of two things: either all religion is utter bullshit, demonstrated by the fact that sincere students of it do not generally converge on the most important concepts, or Yahweh is real and it intends to throw at least one of these sets of millions of people, who seek it with all their hearts, fasting, praying, humbling themselves, sincerely and confidently believing that they have a rich, personal relationship with it, into everlasting torment. My best guess is that Yahweh intends to throw all of us into hell, given that it has (deliberately, because Yahweh doesn’t make mistakes) made its message of salvation impossible to decipher, even for those who work desperately to understand it.

Because god is the greatest, then it must be all-loving, because it's obviously morally better to be loving rather than unloving.

I'll grant you, with no argument whatsoever, that its is morally better to be loving than to be unloving. I'll even grant your assertion that your claim obvious, with only a bit of a raised eyebrow. Not because I find it non-obvious, but because this is just sloppy debating. Support your claims. You spend an awful lot of time unnecessarily quoting the bible; you could have used that time explaining the philosophical and ethical foundation of your claim. Still, to avoid getting bogged down, I'll grant you this claim. What I can't grant is that it is equally obvious that it is morally better for hell to exist than for it not to exist. Or morally better for mostly decent people who reject this disgusting god to burn for eternity than for them not to burn for eternity. Or morally better to drown, immolate, starve, and put to the sword countless innocent babies, toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers, young men, young women, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, than not to do so. If we can rely on what's obviously morally better, then Dr Craig has handily proved either that his god doesn't exist, or that it is incalculably evil.

What would you think of a parent who said to his kids, “If you live up to my standards and do as I say, then I will love you”? You who have such parents know the emotional scars you bear as a result.

Dr. Craig is repeating the mistake he made in my last point: making a statement that when applied consistently, rules out any possibility of his god being good. What would you think of a parent who said to his kids, "If you don't buy my fire insurance, I'll torture you brutally while keeping you alive for continued torture for as long as possible"? We'd think that such a parent was evil incarnate, I would expect, or at the very least, psychotic, not fit to be a parent, and in need of treatment.

If god were to allow some sin to go unpunished, it could not be considered just and holy. Every sin must receive its just due, or god’s justice is compromised.

According to the Evangelists Matthew and Mark, Jesus himself said, "With God all things are possible." All things. Except, apparently, "blinking" at sin. Was Jesus merely speaking metaphorically here? If he was, then what other things are not possible, even with god? Dr. Craig seriously undermines the credibility of the bible as a life-instruction manual, if we can't even take Jesus' factual assertions as such. As though the bible needed any help in undermining its own credibility.

The Islamic doctrine of salvation makes salvation virtually unobtainable.

Dr Craig is implying that the impossibility of receiving salvation means that that particular doctrine of salvation must be invalid. Applying this principle consistently, I find that the Jesusianismist doctrine of salvation makes salvation by just being a decent person actually unobtainable. Therefore, by Dr. Craig's own argument, the Jesusianismist doctrine of salvation cannot be valid.

Shabir's Opening Statements

God's mercy will be given only to those who try to be good.

Good according to what standard? The Islamic standard, where it's ok to beat your wife, own slaves, amputate limbs as a punishment for crimes, kill people for abandoning the faith, lie for the purpose of advancing the faith, cut off the clitorises of little girls? Or maybe you mean those who treat their wives and children well, who are honest and open, who fight for the rights of the oppressed, who make YT videos spotlighting the extremely low quality of Jesusianismist and Muhammadanismist apologetics? No thanks, I'd rather not spend eternity with that god; it's contemptible.

“God does not love” doesn’t mean “God does not love.” It means that god is saying something harsh to sinners to get them to repent.

So the Qur'an can be interpreted metaphorically too? Does that perhaps mean that I can be saved by intoning, "There is no god but no god, and Muhammad was epileptic"?

Even human parents sometimes say, shape up or you’re not my son.

This is only slightly more horrible than Dr. Craig's statement about bad parenting. What makes it more horrible is that Shabir seems sincerely to believe that this is perfectly acceptable behavior.

All you have to do for salvation is “believe in god” (Q41:30)

Funny, out of seven translations on the QAC website, only one suggests that all we must do is "remain steadfast to their belief" in order to be eligible for this blessing. One of them cops out entirely and just leaves the Arabic word, "istaqamu". According to the other five translations, we must "remain on a right course," "afterward [be] upright," "stand straight and steadfast," "continue in the right way," "go straight." Shabir, are you suggesting that the Muhammad Sarwar translation of the Qur'an holds a special place among translations? Or are you suggesting that it's ok to use all the translations and for each verse just choose the translation we like best?

Dr. Craig's First Rebuttal

Any doctrine of salvation must be compatible with the essential attributes of god. If incompatible, then it can’t be true because that god can’t exist, because they’re logically incompatible.

Logically incompatible? You mean like the various logical contradictions enumerated by Victor Stenger in his book, "God: The Failed Hypothesis"? Consider:
  1. A Supreme Being by definition cannot be virtuous, as explained by Douglas Walton in his essay on cardinal virtues and divine attributes.
  2. No being can be a fitting object of worship, as explained by James Rachels in his essay, "God And Moral Autonomy".
  3. The problem of evil, as discussed by Martin and Monnier in The Impossibility of God.
  4. Three points explained by Theodore Drange in his essay on incompatible properties: a perfect creator cannot exist, a transcendent being cannot be omnipresent, and a personal being cannot be non-physical.
  5. The paradox of omnipotence, as explained by J. L. Cowen in his essay, "The Paradox of Omnipotence Revisited".
Any doctrine of salvation must be obtainable for a wide number of people; otherwise it’s not really a doctrine of salvation, but a doctrine of condemnation.

I can't figure out for the life of me where Dr. Craig comes up with this one, especially considering that the vast, vast majority of all humans who ever existed will indeed be condemned. This fact is made obvious not only by the fact that Yahweh's followers have split into literally thousands of sects with flatly contradictory doctrines (Dr. Craig's religion vs Shabir's religion, as an obvious example), but also by the words of Jesus himself in various places, such as Matthew 22:14, "...many are invited, but few are chosen." The so-called "good news" of the entire New Testament is indeed, by Dr. Craig's measure, a doctrine of condemnation, not salvation.

Christianity says that it is impossible to make oneself deserving of infinite love.

Ok, so how is it that anyone can make oneself deserving of infinite torture? In fact, according to most Jesusianismists, it seems that we haven't made ourselves deserving, but rather Adam's one transgression in the garden made every one of us deserving of infinite torture. How can that be? Or is Dr. Craig suggesting that we don't actually deserve infinite torture, but it comes to us through Adam just as salvation comes through Christ? So we'll be tortured forever although we don't deserve it. Nice god you have there, Dr. Craig.

Shabir, in his opening statements, had tried a common Muhammadanismist tactic, saying in effect, "Our god is no worse than yours!" Referring to Dr. Craig's point that the Qur'an drills it into our heads that god does not love sinners, Shabir points out Psalm 5:5, which he quotes as saying that god hates evildoers. Dr. Craig's response is that the referenced passage is in the poetic books, and everybody knows you can’t base doctrine on poetic expressions.

This is probably the most egregious error in Dr. Craig's entire presentation--no, let's admit it: the man has multiple degrees in theology and therefore knows better; he is simply lying. Consider the statement that Craig is labeling "doctrine": "god hates evildoers". Now consider these doctrinal points from the New Testament book known as Hebrews:
  1. Jesus is far superior to angels (though why we should care is anyone's guess), 1:1-14
  2. Everything is subject to Jesus, 2:8
  3. Jesus calls his followers "brothers", 2:11
  4. Unbelievers will never enter god's rest, 3:7-19
  5. There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of god, 4:9
  6. Jesus is designated by god to be the high priest for the saved, 5:10
  7. Because of god's oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant, 7:22
  8. God has set aside the old covenant and replaced it with the new one, 10:9-10
"Everybody knows," you say? Obviously, the author of Hebrews didn't know it. Every one of these points of doctrine, some of them clearly foundational to the entire structure of Jesusianismist doctrine, is based on verses from the Psalms, and Dr. Craig knows it. Shame on you for lying, Dr. Craig.

In Dr. Craig's opinion, the fact that god's love must be earned is "morally reprehensible."

Wow, so we get to interpret the bible based on our own morality? Human morality is qualified to pass judgment on religious texts? Well, I have quite a few moral objections to the bible, too many to mention here. Check out all my bible series on my YouTube channel if you're interested. An easy summary of all my videos would go like this: Yahweh itself is morally reprehensible.

Shabir, in his opening statements, had mentioned that the original followers of Jesus were Jews, and their doctrines were far closer to Islam than is Jesusianismistism as it's known today, because early Gentile Jesusianismists, having adopted the heretical Pauline views of Jesus, overpowered and silenced the Jewish sects. Dr. Craig responds by bringing up the book of Hebrews (for which we've already seen Dr. Craig has zero respect, in spite of it being the infallible word of his god), pointing out that it was written not by Paul, but by an unknown, but Jewish, author.

I can't imagine what point he is trying to make here. Paul was a Jewish author too. Is he trying to say that the facts that this author was Jewish and was not Paul suggest that the author was more likely a member of one of the non-Pauline sects? I can't figure out why Dr. Craig, the expert debater, would even bring this up, except, as an expert debater, to draw attention away from the fact that his entire argument is bullshit, that he doesn't even believe in any god, but makes all these public appearances for the money.

Shabir's First Rebuttal

Shabir, with no comment whatsoever, completely abandons his earlier claim that all of the Qur'anic verses saying that god hates sinners were figurative. He switches over to the idea that god is loving in general, and is therefore all-loving, in spite of the fact that it does not love sinners.

Wait a second, what kind of debate is this? You present points that you're willing to concede with no comment at all? Doesn't that suggest that you knew in the first place that the point was worthless, and you were just hoping that Dr. Craig (or at least your audience) would let it slide? This is a terrible way to debate, and it really dishonors the god that you claim to be glorifying.

Shabir tries to explain that god's love is manifested in the way it treats each object of its love. It loves everyone, but it loves the righteous in a "more special way." He points out that even Jesusianismists believe that god will condemn many to hell, that this terrible punishment shows that god cannot possibly love the condemned as much as it loves the saved.

This is perhaps the only good point made by either speaker in the entire debate. This is something that has bothered me about Jesusianismistism for a long time: god "loves" everyone, but treats some unspeakably badly. How can that be called love? There is a serious cognitive dissonance associated with this god. At least Muhammadanismistism is honest: god hates certain people and will punish those whom it hates.

Shabir points out that if Dr. Craig is allowed to say that the Psalms are poetic and therefore open to unbridled interpretation, then Muhammadanismists are surely allowed free reign with the Qur'an, given that the entire thing is written as abstruse Arabic poetry.

Shabir is freely admitting here that all of his points are worthless. He disowns all of them and pulls out this appalling suggestion that the Qur'an can be interpreted however one likes, given that it's all one big poem.

Dr. Craig's Second Rebuttal and Closing Comments

Dr. Craig takes aim at Shabir's earlier statement that "God is loving and merciful." He tears into it by asking a very legitimate question: "What does this mean?" He answers that the meaning is that god's grace is selective and conditional.

Ok, I can agree with Dr. Craig here. But I want to apply this technique to the claim that God loves us all. What does this mean, given that a very tiny percentage of us will escape eternal torment? This is a strange kind of love, at at least the same level of strangeness Dr. Craig is imputing to the love of Shabir's god.

Dr. Craig challenges Shabir to find any verse in the Qur'an that supports Shabir's earlier claim that salvation is easy.

I challenge Dr. Craig to find any verse in the bible that says, "Jesus is god."

Dr. Craig closes with an account of his conversion experience, attempting to use the fact that it was very moving for him as an indication of the validity of his interpretation of it.

It makes no sense at all to attempt to connect the profundity of an experience with the validity of one's interpretation of the experience. Sure, it was profound; that's great. But how can that possibly prove that you're right when you say that it was god causing you to have that experience? It can't. All you can say is that you had a profound experience.

So let me tell you about a profound experience I had once. I met this woman years ago. I fell madly in love with her. When she told me that she loved me, I started to love myself for the first time in my life. I started to feel like I was more than just some contemptible piece of shit in the gutter. My life took on meaning, purpose, direction, because of her love. That experience lasted for about 18 months, longer than the ecstasy I've ever seen in any Jesusianismist, until she left me for reasons I still don't understand (that is, she is quite mysterious, just like your god). Shall I say that she is god? Shall I claim that the depth of that experience is proof of the validity of any baseless claim I choose to make?

God, if you're out there, I strongly recommend that you institute a quality assurance department, because these bozos are really making you look bad.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Allah The Unit And Muhammad The Tool III: Deity Dementia Is Not Pretty

Continuing my exploration of the Qur'an, the life of Muhammad, and the invention of Muhammadanismistism.

On the Oxford Islamic Studies Online website, there is a Numerical and Chronological List of the Chapters of the Qur'an, which shows the probable chronological order of the Quranic Surahs according to two different authorities: the Cairo Edition of the Qur'an, first printed in 1924, and the German scholar Theodor Nöldeke, whose history of the Qur'an earned the 1859 prize of the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, that is, the Academy of Stuff That's Written Pretty Well. Using this chart, I conclude that it makes the most sense to consider Sura 74, "Al-mudathir," or in English, "The Cloaked One," to be the second communique from Allah to Muhammad.

Al's presence always makes Mo nervous, so early on Mo adopts the practice of hiding under a blanket or a cloak, or the like. Al has X-ray vision, of course, borrowed from Superman for the day. Seeing Mo, it calls out, "You there, under the blankets! Get your ass up and start preaching! Because I'm so great and wonderful, I'm going to give you something great and wonderful to preach to your fellows, who are starving for spiritual guidance. Ready? Tell them this:" There's an awkward silence; Al realizes that it has forgotten to bring the talking points that the Archrodent Gerbil wrote down the day before. Al, against Gerbil's earlier advice, decides to extemporize. "Spend a lot of your time telling me how great I am. Wash your clothes, cos you stink like a camel's butt. Run away from all sin and defilement..."

At this point, Mo interrupts, "Excuse me, O Great One, what kind of sin and defilement do you have in mind? Should we stop having sex with little girls, who, now that I think of it, seem really to hate it, or should we stop having same-sex fun with consenting and willing adults?"

"Quiet, you!" says the Almighty. "No interruptions allowed. Keep writing this down." Mo starts to object that he wasn't writing anything in the first place, but then he remembers the treatment he got the last time he tried to point out his illiteracy, and decides to keep his peace. Fortunately, Al's X-ray vision is intermittent, so it does not seem to have noticed that Mo isn't writing anything. Al continues, "Stop this contemptible practice of feigning generosity out of a desire to gain materially for yourself. It really pisses me off when you slimy little bastards do that. In fact, almost nothing pisses me off more..."

Mo takes another chance: "But Lord, do you not detest far more the institution of slavery? Shall I not first preach abolition?"

"Don't make me come over there! No more interruptions! You made me lose my train of thought." Allah begins mumbling to itself, "What was I about to say, something about slavery? Damn, now I'll never get it back. Might as well say something that sounds meaningful; what was it I read on that Hallmark card yesterday? Oh yeah, be patient, because being patient is good and it makes me happy. Wow, that sounded way more lame than I expected when I said it out loud. I'd better try to save face, or this human will think I'm an idiot. How about this, I have nineteen angels at my command! Remember that, cos there's gonna be a test later! Hmm, did I forget my medication today?"

Embarrassed, hoping to draw attention away from these ridiculous mutterings, Allah bitches for a while about how people are ungrateful, asking for Mercedes Benzes and such, even after it made their lives easy by providing almost enough food some of the time. It meditates grotesquely for quite some time on the pleasure of torturing people who haven't kissed its ass thoroughly enough. Like  But fear not, there are a couple of bright spots before the end:
  • Ayahs 31 and 56: A reminder that Allah is none other than the Yahweh of the Old Testament: it's not up to us whether we're good or bad. We can't be good unless Allah-weh lets us be good. Note that it enabled Mo to be good by having angels remove his heart and wash it free of sin. Lucky guy. I say we sinners will get the last laugh; putting up with Allah-weh for eternity seems to me more hellish than the actual hell.
  • Ayahs 41 - 44: All those atheismists in the world who ran around thinking that it was good to give to charity, boy were you ever fooled. If you didn't pray to Allah, if you denied the day of judgment, then forget it. Your charity was a waste of time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Allah The Unit And Muhammad The Tool II: A-abrogation, B-boa, C-chronology

Continuing my exploration of the Qur'an, the life of Muhammad, and the invention of Muhammadanismistism.

Given the heightened visibility of Muhammadanismistism lately, you probably know more about it than you ever have, and don't need me to remind you of the basics. But the point I will make here is important; it has significant application to everything I'll discuss in this series, so bear with me for just a minute.

The Qur'an, as most people, believers and infidels alike, know it, is presented in a rather strange order. Although it purports to be the very words of the Supreme Being as revealed to Muhammad over a period of a couple of decades, most versions appear not in chronological order, but sorted, roughly, from longest to shortest. One might think that if these were the eternal, unchanging words of a transcendent being that wishes peace and salvation for us all, the order might be irrelevant. Your mother might say to you, "Wash your hands before you eat," and later, "Wear a coat when it's cold outside." You could reverse the order and still be assured that Mom cares for you deeply. Not so with the Qur'an, which, by its own admission, flatly contradicts itself in places. What are we to make of these contradictions? Are we to conclude that this message cannot possibly be from the Supreme Being of the universe? No. Surah 2, Ayah 106 says,
Such of [My] revelations as [I] abrogate or cause to be forgotten, [I] bring one better or the like thereof.
In other words, if the Qur'an contradicts itself, we are to ignore the earlier revelation and heed the later one. This concept alone is enough to make me see that Muhammadanismistism is a complete crock of shit--I'm not keen on a creature that claims to be omniscient changing its mind. At the very least, it could have said something like, "Do it this way for now, due to these mitigating circumstances, but here also is a more general rule." Just like Jesusianismistism, Muhammadanismistism disqualifies itself fundamentally from the very beginning. But I'll continue this series, because there are a billion people out there who somehow have no problem with an omniscient being changing the rules periodically. And billions of people can't be wrong, can they? I mean, those billions of people who believed that the entire universe rotates around the earth, they were right, right?

Another point to be made here is that there is some disagreement over the exact order in which Allah supposedly revealed these timeless truths to Muhammad. It's not clear to me yet whether this causes doctrinal problems, but I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for that sort of thing. As I said in my previous post, the very first revelation to Muhammad now resides in Surah 96, Ayahs 1 - 5. I've still not had any luck in determining exactly when Muhammad received the last 14 Ayahs. I'm hoping to get the attention of some Muhammadanismist with this series, one who'll tell me what a dumbass I am for not knowing these things, one who'll call me on any bullshit I happen to proclaim. I'm tempted to make a couple of deliberately false claims, just to see if any Muhammadanismists are out there watching and paying attention, but I'm sure that even without making such an effort I'll goof here and there, giving ample opportunity for any alert detractors to accuse me of lying, or at least being stupid.

There are some who say that Surah 68, "The Pen," was the next revelation after the initial visit from Python the Archreptile. There are others who say that it was not "The Pen," but rather Surah 74, "The Cloaked One." Some say that immediately after the anaconda attack on Mount Hira, Muhammad ran home in a panic and covered himself with a cloak or a blanket and received "The Cloaked One." Others say that there was an interval of six months between the constrictor party and the revelation of "The Cloaked One." We must hope that there aren't any doctrinal issues tangled up in all this disagreement.

In closing, some thoughts concerning the treatment of women under Muhammadanismistism. I note that Khadijah, Mo's first wife, was a highly respected business owner, prosperous and independent. It was not uncommon for men to come to her, asking for work. They recognized her right to hire and fire. Also, Khadijah proposed to Mo, not the other way around, and Mo accepted her proposal. Author Emerick says that before Mo, women were property, generally mistreated. Author Glubb says that pre-Mo women were free and unveiled, that young widows could live alone and receive suitors at will, that there were powerful women in the community, including prophets, as well as poets who pitted their skills against the men in poetry competitions that were held during the annual fairs in the vicinity of Mecca. In spite of this disagreement, there seems to be consensus on Khadijah's standing in the community. I would love it if someone could show me that there are many modern-day Khadijahs in the Mohammedanismist world. In fact, here's a silly game for you: I'm getting some ideas for a new tune; the first person who can convince me that it's not uncommon for Muhammadanismist women to be independent business owners who are allowed to propose marriage, I'll let you name the tune. Whatever name you want. Alternatively, if you can't find a way to convince me of that, inflate my narcissism by telling me how my recent wicked witch joke made you laugh until you cried.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Allah The Unit And Muhammad The Tool I: Sometimes A Forelock Isn't Just A Forelock

Mount Hira, not far from the outskirts of Mecca, the year 610 CE, a Tuesday evening in late August. A middle-aged citizen of Mecca named Muhammad is on a spiritual retreat in a cave in the side of the mountain, meditating and worshiping a god known in his culture as Allah. Much of the Arabian peninsula tends to be obnoxiously hot during the summer; the cave is a furnace, so Muhammad's devotions are punctuated by occasional naps. He has been having auditory and visual hallucinations for some years: disembodied voices wishing peace upon him and referring to him as "Messenger of God," and dreams that he later deems to have been somehow prophetic.

Muhammad has drifted off to sleep for the hundredth time today, but this time he awakens with a start, sensing someone else in the cave. The Archangel Gerbil stands before him, holding a scroll. It bellows at him the word, "Read!" It seems that Gerbil wants Muhammad to read the scroll aloud. Muhammad, wondering how a servant of the Supreme Being can be so out of the loop as to be unaware of Muhammad's lifelong illiteracy, counters, "I don't know how to read!" The angel knows exactly how to solve this problem: it grabs Muhammad and squeezes him, unbearably, until he can't even breathe. Finally, it lets him go, somehow believing that assault is an effective means of imparting its desire, and demands again, "Read!" Poor Muhammad, not realizing the depths of Allah's blend of cruelty and willful stupidity, tries again, "I don't know how to read!" But this time he attempts some crude sign language, in case this weirdo is deaf or simply doesn't speak Arabic. Gerbil was hoping to have another chance to make him suffer. It repeats its boa constrictor act, causing Muhammad to think that his lungs will burst. The sadistic, dumbass angel, hoping to hurt Muhammad again, repeats itself: "Read!" Muhammad has had enough of this; realizing that pointing out the obvious is getting him nowhere, he changes tack, and in desperation asks Gerbil, "What should I read?" The angel, disappointed that it now must stop injuring poor Muhammad, delivers its amazing introductory revelation, the prologus to the ultimate message from the Supreme Being to its final Prophet.
Invoke the name of your Lord
for having created,
created man from clay.

Invoke! For thy Lord is the most generous
for having taught by the pen,
taught man what he didn't know.
Huh? This is how the Supreme Being introduces itself? Spouting bullshit about humans being created from clay? And, rather mockingly, it seems, stating that it teaches by the pen, when obviously Muhammad has never learned anything by the pen in his entire life, and, as any omniscient being would have known quite well, that Muhammad never will learn anything by the pen for the remainder of his life? We're off to a dubious start here.

Why wasn't the message something like this: "Muhammad, I'm Gerbil. Allah sent me. It has chosen you to be its final spokesperson to humans. Hold still for a second." Gerbil touches Muhammad's forehead with its index finger and intones, "Be Good!" Suddenly Muhammad knows how to read and write. Then Gerbil hands a scroll and a pen to Muhammad and sits on a nearby rock, saying, "Ok, Mo, here's the deal. It's time for some serious reform down here. First thing we need to do is get people to stop killing their infant daughters. You are not going to run around punishing people or publicly humiliating them. Instead, you will appeal to their sense of compassion and the value of all human life. Uhh, you should be writing this down, doofus."

No, the Supreme Being, infinitely wise, chooses a language that could not possibly be less suited for communicating a clear message, chooses an illiterate messenger who has to memorize the message, chooses one of the most backward societies on the planet as the keepers of the glorious revelation. Jesusianismists like to quote their New Testament, "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise." I have to imagine that Muhammadanismists have a similar attitude. This is not a good god. Either it's evil, or it's an idiot, or both. Why would it put so much emphasis on these so-called humble circumstances, rather than on imparting a comprehensible, impossible-to-misinterpret, and—most of all—useful message?

In the written Qur'an, there is a bit more to this Sura, but for the life of me I can't figure out when Mo received it. Definitely not at the same time as the aforementioned drivel. The remainder of the Sura gives Allah a chance to whine about how humans don't acknowledge their reliance on it. How insecure can a deity be? It even challenges independent man to a contest, which turns out to be not so much a contest as an opportunity for Allah to give a few good pulls to man's...uhh...forelock (since Allah doesn't have one of its own). It challenges man to call upon his human associates for help, then says that its response will be to call on the guards of hell, whoever they are, to kick man's ass. Seems like an omnipotent being wouldn't have to call on anyone for such services.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Islarme, Religion of Tears XII: Of Clitorises And Cowards

Continuing my exploration of Islarme, currently using the book 101 Questions & Answers On Islarme as my guide.

Are there any characteristically Mohammedanismist views on contemporary social problems, such as poverty, injustice, human rights?

Sura 107 says, "Do you see the person in denial of the judgment (to come)? That is the person who drives away the orphan and does not contribute to feeding the poor." I guess I dodged a bullet; for a while there I had a pretty high opinion of all those YouTubers who participated in and contributed to the MSF benefit a few days ago. I'm so glad that Allah is there to warn me about lowlifes like these.

Sura 90 encourages believers to aim high, "freeing a slave, feeding in time of hunger an orphan...or some poor suffering soul...[encouraging] each other to compassion." The late Muslim liberation theorist Sayyid Qutb (apologies for butchering his name) "argued forcefully on religious grounds for the need to provide educational and economic opportunity for all people." Smokin' Mo himself, during his final pilgrimage to Mecca, said, "The Arab has no superiority over the non-Arab and the non-Arab has no superiority over the Arab." In 1981 a Mohammedanismist council promoted a "Universal Islarmic Declaration of Human Rights", which asserted that Mohammedanismistism urges equality, justice, fair trial, freedom of thought and speech, education, protection against torture, on and on, a laundry list of progressive ideals.

If you guys were anything like this, I'd be making videos encouraging people to convert to your faith. I claim that people like Mr. Qutb are good people who are imposing their goodness on the religion, rather than the other way around. I challenge all followers of Yahweh/Jesus/Allah to defy your god and be decent instead.

What do Mohammedanismists think about surrogate motherhood?

"Islarmic law disallows any version of surrogate parenting and considers all contracts for such agreements invalid." Further, even using modern techniques where a fertilized ovum is inserted into the surrogate mother's womb (in other words, there's no sex involved), the child is considered illegitimate. I can't believe that people are offended when they hear a word like "fuck" but will not even blink when a child is referred to as "illegitimate". What a barbaric concept. Allah can go fuck itself.

But wait, there's more: surrogacy is regarded as "selling a human being, a serious offense." So helping a childless couple to procreate is a serious offense, but slavery is just fine. Sorry to be a broken record, and even more sorry to those of you too young to know what "broken record" means, but this is an upside-down, ass-backward pseudo-morality, and it's disgusting. Allahpocrites.

Wow, it just keeps coming; I'm glad this chapter is almost done. I bet you're glad too. The author states that "Many Mohammedanismists think of their religion as the last bastion of genuine egalitarianism under a religious and ethical code [establishing] men and women on a remarkably equal footing." I can't think of an expletive or adjective to do justice to this one. You guys, when a woman has the right to multiple husbands, you can talk about egalitarianism. Until then, just shut up.

What about burqas? What about education for women?

Renard explains that there are many predominantly Mohammedanismist countries where women are not required to veil themselves. He adds that as time goes on, it is becoming clearer to observers both inside and outside the faith that a world of educated women is a good thing. I want to make it very plain here: these signs of progress are in spite of Mohammedanismistism, not because of it. It is secular values demanding these changes, not Allah.

Renard mentions later that the primary intent of traditional teaching about modest clothing is "respect for the human dignity of each person", that Mohammedanismistism offers support for "humane and dignified treatment of women." Yeah, I get it: women are beaten and/or disfigured in order to preserve their dignity. Makes perfect sense to me.

What about female genital mutilation?

"Mohammedanismist religious law recognizes a spectrum of five categories used to characterize human acts": required, recommended, neutral, disapproved, forbidden. FGM is strictly, vehemently forbidden, punishable by five million lashes followed by stoning to death, right? No. "Islarmic law sources list the practice as recommended".  They stone you to death for adultery, but totally accept people cutting off clitorises. Fucking savages.

What about divorce?

"A husband can divorce his wife by means of a triple repudiation," meaning that the man says to his wife three times, "I divorce thee." It's not as bad as you might think. Ordinarily he can't do it quickly. It takes three whole months because he has to wait three menstrual periods to make sure that she's not pregnant. And just to show how progressive some Mohammedanismist countries are, Syria discourages this practice by requiring husbands to support the ex-wife for at least a whole year after divorce.

Guys, when women can divorce their husbands on the same terms, let me know.

What about interfaith marriage?

Oh, we're totally modern on that one: a man is allowed to marry an infidel woman. But not the reverse, of course. We're not anarchists.

Is it fair when people say that Mohammedanismistism promotes the oppression of women?

No, oppression of women isn't a distinctly Mohammedanismist issue. In other words, we're no worse than anyone else. "The Qur'an's teachings about women were enormously progressive in their original historical context." In other words, Allah is better than medieval barbarians. Doesn't that move you to deep reverence?

Why is everyone fighting over Jerusalem?

Because religion is about people, not about any kind of supreme being. If Allah were transcendent, one might expect that it could transcend enmity.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Islarme, Religion of Tears XI: Sorry, Allah, Size Does Matter

Continuing my exploration of Islarme, currently using the book 101 Questions & Answers On Islarme as my guide. Note that I'm not going through every question in the book; that would be a pain in the ass. I'm covering only those that interest me. If that's not ok with you, then cry out to Allah, so it will send someone to cut off my head.

What do Mohammedanismists mean by the term "Allah"?

Basically, this is the Arabic word that an English speaker would use for "God" with a capital "G". It's not the actual name of the Supreme Being, but it refers only to the Supreme Being and not to any other deities. The author goes on to discuss the many names of Allah/God, a list that I'm sure is frequently heard in North Korea. Solidifying my suspicion, we find that "All but one of the Qur'an's 114 suras begin with the phrase, 'In the name of Allah, the Compassionate and Merciful...'" Yes, I'm certain that Kim Jong-il is addressed in similar tones. If Allah were so great, it wouldn't need this embarrassing steady supply of ego stroking.

Renard says that "Not one of the 99 names of Allah...will sound a dissonant note in the ear of Jesusianismist or Judismist. I'm sure. People who either haven't read their scripture, or have read it and decided that they'd better kiss the ass of the Supreme Bully of the universe, will have no problem with these disgusting lies. Someone who knows how to read and also has a spine, however, will have to take these names with a planet-sized grain of salt.

Are there means other than the Qur'an by which Allah reveals itself?

Sura 45, Ayats 3 - 5 say, "Behold, in the heavens and the earth are signs for those who believe." Smokin' Mo's contemporaries the world over knew absolutely nothing about the heavens and the earth. They looked around themselves and saw almost nothing, explaining what little they did see with hopelessly simplistic, preposterously fallacious notions, and deemed it all so wonderful that it must imply a Supreme Being of some kind. If I were to have a god, it would be infinitely larger, more fascinating, more beautiful than the ridiculous, flimsy, little cipher that inspires so many who have absolutely no standards to rapturous worship. If I needed a god, I would look for one with some balls.

What do Mohammedanismists believe about death and the afterlife?

Smokin' Mo taught that those who refused his holy message had committed spiritual suicide. I say that spiritual suicide, assuming that the term has some meaning at all, would be far more honorable than handing my conscience over to the despicable liar/murderer/chauvinist Allah.

The author also mentions that dying in battle is not the only way to guarantee that a believer will go to Paradise. One of the Hadiths says that in order to avoid punishment in the afterlife, all one must do is die on a Friday. I guess that's how Jesus got away with misleading all those guys with his ludicrous parables. Allah, the god of technicalities.

What's the deal with the Qur'an being legitimate only when it's handwritten in Arabic?

Remember how the signs in the heavens and the earth were supposed to be a message of some kind to those who believe? This baloney about medium and language is the sign that trumps all others. Since when was truth affected by the method of transmission? This is where science trounces all religion: pick on Darwin's personal character all you want. Claim that he had an agenda. Claim that he was a pompous asshole. Hell, claim that he was a pedophile. Then translate his book into every language that ever existed. The truth of natural selection is in no way affected. You don't end up with thousands of schisms in evolutionary theory. Why? Because it's true. Maybe we argue a bit over the finer points, but we don't find half the scientific community still claiming that Lamarck was right and Darwin was utterly wrong.

Something else occurs to me about this silly little conceit over handwritten Arabic. It ties in to my observations that this god is awfully small and ignorant: as soon as you read the Qur'an (or anything else, for that matter), you've translated the words into neuronal impulses -- not only no longer written words, but also translated to a pattern of electrochemical signals entirely specific to your brain. So translating the Qur'an into another language, or transferring it to a CD-ROM, can be no more corrupting to the message than simply reading it. If Allah really were all that, it would have known these things about the brain and would not have imposed this laughable restriction on it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Islarme, Religion of Tears X: Allah Fails Primary-School Astronomy

Continuing my explorations of Islarme, using the book 101 Questions & Answers on Islarme, by John Renard, as a guidebook.

Why did Mohammedanismistism spread so quickly? Was it a political rather than a "missionary" movement?

The reasons for the quick spread of this plague: lust for money, lust for power, lust for glory. In Renard's words, "It was not primarily missionary zeal that motivated the troops, but the promise of adventure and booty." Surely the cynical leaders promised heavenly reward in order to motivate the ignorant, just as Jesusianismist televangelists do today. "But on the whole, desire for conversion was secondary at best."

Did the early Mohammedanismists dons allow freedom of religion?

They gave some latitude to other followers of their blood-god, as well as to other faiths that relied on some form of holy writ. Idolaters, however, had "the choice of fleeing, converting, or fearing for their lives." So much for Sura 109, Ayat 6 which says, "You follow your religion and I follow mine." Allahpocrites from the beginning.

After such a spectacular beginning, why did the first major dynasty last less than a century?

Because there was no omnipotent, loving Supreme Being involved. As with any religion, there is simply no way for people to converge on the truth of any doctrine, because it's all bullshit. This is one of the beauties of science: if I formulate a theory, you can test it--anyone else can test it. If it works the same for everyone, we provisionally assume that it's true. If it works differently for even one person, the whole idea is called into question. With religion, everyone is running around trying to convince each other of the truth of his own opinion. There's no way to provide solid support for any doctrine or concept, so when your brothers disagree with you, you have to tell them that they're obviously blinded by sin. Can't you guys see that religion is just garbage?

What are the "Five Pillars" of Mohammedanismistism?
  1. "There is no deity but Allah". Seriously? This god is so insecure that one of the foundational pillars of faith in it is the profession that there are no other deities? I would think that an omnipotent god would be omni-secure in its place, not worried about what a bunch of humans think.
  2. Five prayers each day, facing Mecca. Others have made the point that Allah is not any kind of Supreme Being, but a pathetic desert twerp that believed, along with its benighted followers, that the earth is flat. If you're east of Mecca, and you face west, you're not facing Mecca. You're facing a point off in outer space somewhere. In order to face Mecca, you'd have to orient yourself downward somewhat. I'll come back to this parochiality in a minute.
  3. Almsgiving. I am so glad that I don't need a space fairy to tell me to give to the needy.
  4. Fasting. It does have its benefits. Again, I'm glad I don't need a desert demon to tell me.
  5. Pilgrimage. This gives me an idea. As I've said in other posts, we desperately need to tame and sanitize religion in the world. If someone would just show the Saudi government how much money could be made, they'd open Mecca and Medina to tourism. That would raise some hackles for a while, but before too long it would be as commonplace as, although far more lucrative than, Jews visiting the Auschwitz Museum. Build a Starbucks next to the Kaaba and world peace will finally be a possibility.
    There is a question here about the shahada, the Mohammedanismist profession of belief, which I didn't care about much, but the answer included an interesting aside: in Sura 6, Ayats 76 - 78 we find the story of Abraham searching, Goldilocks-style, for a god that's just right. He tries a star, then the moon, then the sun, but is disappointed that all of these "set". Clearly, Abraham, Smokin' Mo, and Allah believed that these objects rise and set. If Allah had wanted to impress someone, it should have told Abraham that rising and setting were illusions, although illusions with at least a tenuous connection to reality, as opposed to the illusion that the universe was designed by a conscious being.

      Friday, September 17, 2010

      Islarme, Religion of Tears IX: Hey Mo! I'd Like to Buy A Vowel!

      Continuing my explorations of Islarme. Having finished The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Koran, I'm now moving on to 101 Questions & Answers on Islarme, by John Renard.

      Who were the other prophets besides Smokin' Mo?

      Renard names the usual suspects: Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and a few others. The juicy part of the answer is an aside that provides some quick and interesting observations on the Arabic language.

      Semitic languages such as Arabic, when written down, treat vowels in a way that is unfamiliar to Western readers. In fact, it's so unfamiliar to me that I don't think I can explain it adequately. The gist is that only certain vowels are represented in written Arabic, resulting in consonant-only words whose meanings tend to be rather imprecise, based on word roots rather than specific terms with specific denotations. According to the New Testament, a character known as "parakletos" appeared after Jesus' departure, occasionally endowing some Jesusianismists with magical powers. Medieval Mohammedanismist scholars saw this Greek word and concluded that the Jesusianismists had simply used the wrong vowels when writing it down. Substituting the correct values they translated the word as "periklutos", meaning "the highly praised one". If you've been able to keep up with this rather dry lecture, here's your reward: you'll never guess what Muhammad means. When Jesus announced that this new counselor was coming, he meant in a few hundred years, not right away.

      How did the Qur'an develop?

      When Smokin' Mo was about 40 years old, he claimed to have begun receiving divine revelations, which continued for some 23 years. Usually he would only hear a voice, but sometimes his hallucinations were visual as well as auditory. Although the Supreme Being of the universe was speaking directly to humans in the purest, clearest way possible, no one ever deemed any of this transcendent revelation worth writing down until 20 years or so after Smokin' Mo died, in the year 632. Up until that time, the words of the Almighty were simply memorized by Mo's followers--not by him, apparently. So he never bothered to memorize this ultimate message, and he couldn't write any of it down, because Allah was either too weak or too stupid to command Smokin' Mo to learn how to read and write, or better yet, to miraculously endow him with literacy. If Jesus could make blind people see, why couldn't Allah make Smokin Mo' literate, as his message was demonstrably more important than that of Jesus, given that Allah has allowed all scripture besides the Qur'an to be corrupted over the years?

      Are there any religious books other than the Qur'an considered by Mohammedanismists to be authoritative?

      There is a large body of Mohammedanismist literature known as the "Hadith", purported to be the sayings of Smokin' Mo, not the direct, literal word of Allah, but still of divine origin, if somehow colored by Mo's own style. As with the Qur'an, there was an inexplicable interval between the time the sayings were pronounced and the time they were written down. In this case, the interval lasted some 200 years. If the Hadith are worthwhile, then why wouldn't an omniscient god have instructed its followers to write them down as they arrived? Doesn't the disdain shown by Allah indicate that the Hadith and the Qur'an are crap?

      How did Mohammedanismists carry on after Smokin' Mo died?

      They squabbled over leadership from the very beginning. This movement cannot possibly have been endorsed by an omniscient being that intended, out of love for humans, to offer salvation. Either it's not omniscient, or it doesn't love us.

      Thursday, September 16, 2010

      Islarme, Religion of Tears VIII: But Pastafarianism Was Written in Their Hearts

      Special thanks to blogger Citizen Warrior for permitting me to borrow heavily from the September 10, 2010 post to the blog called Defeat The Third Jihad, written by Dr Samuel Blumenfeld.

      In 1786, Thomas Jefferson, then the U.S. ambassador to France, and John Adams, then the U.S. ambassador to Britain, met in London with the Tripolitan ambassador to Britain. American merchant ships had been captured by the Muslarme pirates from the coastal nations of North Africa, and their crews and passengers imprisoned. They could be freed only by the payment of large ransoms.

      For centuries, Islarmic hoodlums had cruised the Mediterranean Sea, capturing ships and taking prisoners, forcing non-Islarmic nations to pay tribute for freedom of passage. To avoid such confrontations, some nations were willing to appease the gangsters by signing agreements for annual tribute. The pirates also raided coastline villages and took prisoners. The reason why so many Greek coastal villages were built up in the hills was to provide protection against the depredations of these thugs. They enslaved millions of Africans and thousands of Europeans and Americans, killed many older men and women, kidnapped young women and children to be sold as concubines, and often castrated boys for use in harems and as servants.

      Jefferson and Adams asked the ambassador why Muslarmes held such hostility toward the U.S., a nation with which they had had no previous contacts. The answer was that “It was written in their Koran that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to [P]aradise.”

      The pragmatic Americans wanted to negotiate a peace treaty with these lowlifes, having determined that a treaty would be cheaper than war. What they obtained instead were flimsy tribute agreements with several of these gangster-states, all of which at least once reneged on their promises. The Pasha of Tripoli was especially bold: after receiving the lawfully negotiated tribute from the U.S., he claimed that the payment had been only for initiating peace between the two nations, but more was required for maintaining the peace.

      Jefferson purchased a copy of the Qur'an to learn more about the religion of tears and piracy practiced by these hooligans. He learned of the superstitious lunacy and irrationality that motivated the Muslarmes willing to die as martyrs for Smokin' Mo. When he became President, he resolved to repel force by force. Within days of his inauguration, Jefferson ordered four warships to sail to the North African Coast and blockade and attack any Barbary State that was at war with the U.S. The Barbary War was the first foreign war fought and won by the newly independent United States, and the reprobates were kept at bay for over a century.

      Incidentally, the war officially ended with the Treaty of Tripoli, in which Article 11 states, "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion". Some theocrats in this country try to support their claims that the U.S. is a Jesusianismist nation by pointing out that Article 11 was never translated into Arabic. I find that quite beside the point: official records show that in 1797, the entire treaty, including Article 11, was read aloud (in English) on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and copies were printed for every Senator. The Senate unanimously ratified the treaty with 339 votes. Further, according to a 2008 article in the periodical The Nation, "the treaty was printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and two New York papers, with no evidence of any public dissent." I'd like to know why it took Jesusianismists so long to start claiming that this is a Jesusianismist country, why they didn't start shouting as soon as this treaty was made known to the public. Possibly because at that time, no one disputed the non-religious foundation of our government?

      For details, see:

      Wednesday, September 15, 2010

      On Tolerance

      It happens all the time: some word or phrase or idea resonates with public opinion and lodges itself in our collective consciousness. Before long, some pundit whose job it is to manufacture opinions for those who can't form their own has recognized its power and co-opted it beyond recognition.

      I see this happening to the idea of racism lately: it used to mean the tendency to form judgments of another human being solely on the basis of his/her race. Every civilized person knows that the world would be a better place if we could rise above this mentality, so one tends to feel a pang of conscience when denounced as racist, and tends to have a negative feeling about someone else who has been so criticized. We let our intuitions do what intuitions do best: file away the complexities and make up a shorthand: "racism = bad". That's when the opinion mills go into operation, misusing the word, extending and/or completely hijacking its meaning, and we get opponents of Muhammadanismistism being called racists. Damn, now it looks like I'm defending myself against being accused of racism. No, nothing like that; the last time I was called a racist was when I posted a question to an biology forum asking why Europeans and Aboriginal Australians are able to have children. I use this co-opting of the idea of racism as an example because I assume that it's fairly fresh in everyone's mind.

      Another idea that was rendered utterly unusable a long time ago is the idea of tolerance. Because tolerance of the cultural differences among societies and individuals seems to promote public harmony, our intuitions have functioned properly in giving us "tolerance = good" and "intolerance = bad". Unfortunately, we in general have forgotten the complexities of the idea. Consider this article, published in the Washington Post on September 13, 2010. In it we find a gay couple on terribly thin ice. One man is a foreigner, a Latino, living in the U.S. under false pretenses, i.e., illegally. The other man is a U.S. citizen and a "prominent Republican whose identity could easily lead authorities to the other man".

      Once you've had a chance to let your outrage settle, consider what genuine tolerance could do for society: these two men would not have to be in hiding, they would not have to do anything illegal, they would not be appalling hypocrites. They could come out--better yet, if we were tolerant, they could just be out from the beginning, no coming out required. They could get married, and the Latino partner would become a citizen. Nothing at all wrong with that. Lots and lots of Americans marry foreigners, and I'll go out on a limb and suggest that the vast majority of them are marrying not for nefarious purposes, but for love. As one of these partners said himself, "gays and lesbians fall in love in the same unpredictable way as straight people. Sometimes, the object of that love happens to be a foreigner."

      Unfortunately, tolerance, in the sense in which it is bandied about in today's public discourse, does not extend universally to people whose sexuality goes beyond the limits set by homophobic and superstitious (not to mention racist) camel herders several thousand years ago. No, tolerance now seems to mean sitting idly by while religious fanatics attempt to install a theocracy. I am infinitely tolerant of your superstitions. I once had a girlfriend who was convinced that she could find water with a couple of bent coat hangers. Didn't bother me a bit, although if we had ever gone camping in the desert, I would have taken enough water to keep myself alive, regardless of any objections she might have made while packing her coat hangers.

      By all means, believe whatever you want. I'll never be your friend, as you fully intend, after watching me being cast into unending torment, to praise eternally the monster that threw me in. I would no more be your friend than I would befriend an active pedophile. And yes, for the record, I deem your intentions for eternity at least as wicked as the relatively short-lived intentions of a disgusting pervert. Although I find your beliefs despicable, I fully support your right to have them, and to worship any hideous deity you choose. But tolerance of cultural differences does not require anyone to sit back while you destroy us.

      It's time for us to reset our collective perception of what tolerance means. Don't let theocrats drag us back to the Dark Ages. Speak up! And don't forget to vote.

      Tuesday, September 14, 2010

      Islarme, Religion of Tears VII: The Great Hematophile-Gonophobe in The Sky

      Continuing my thoughts on Islarme, using The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Koran, by authors Sarwar and Toropov, as a provisional guide. Here I cover the last few points of interest in the book.

      "There will be a judgment."

      As I have indicated in other places, whether Allah exists and whether the Qur'an describes it accurately is entirely beside the point. I'll grant you that Allah exists as described in the Qur'an; sure, it owns everything, including me, and will throw me into eternal torment at some time in the not-far-enough-distant future. But such an admission throws my whole point into sharp relief: Allah is not good. Torture is wrong. Drowning, immolating, and starving babies is wrong. Beating wives and children is wrong. Promoting inequality between men and women is wrong. Racism is wrong. Bottom line: Allah is evil. I cannot support it.

      Now the thugs among you may wish to jeer with something like, "You'll be begging for mercy when Allah casts you into the fire!" Yes, you're absolutely correct: if someone tortures me, I'll do what is in my nature to do; why would there be any shame in that? But that will not make Allah right. Allah is evil, hideously evil, and no amount of torture, murder, and oppression will ever change that. Everyone is tired of the Hitler references, so I'll try a change just for fun. Would you have supported President Ceauşescu, knowing how evil he was? Would you get up in my face and gloatingly say something like, "You'll support Nicky after he tortures you for a while"? Would that make him right? How can you tell the difference, morally, between Allah and Nicolae Ceauşescu? I can't.

      Apparently, "Islarmic communities that actually adhere to the standards of Islamic law enjoy a crime rate so low that they have no need for a police force!" This is quite a claim for the authors to make without offering any citations or support of any kind. Further, because Allah has no problem with beating one's wife and children, I'd want to know the Mohammedanismist definition of the word crime before granting any credence to this wild assertion.

      The Qur'an says of itself that "No one knows its true interpretations except God". Well, we all want to spin the description of the truth for our own purposes. I would have to re-word this to say, "Allah is incompetent, in that it throws us into a dangerous situation but leaves us with instructions that, even in their original language, are incomprehensible."

      The authors tell us to turn to the Qur'an for guidance and trust the guidance we receive. I say we take a good look at the kind of societies that form when the Qur'an is heeded, and decide from there whether to trust its guidance. I rule it out as soon as it advises assault as a means of controlling one's wife.

      In closing, we are told that "The most alarming challenge [faced by human society today] may well be the imagine that God does not exist." This challenge is explicitly placed above the environmental, political, and social problems we currently face. I find this completely backward. It is the belief in the supernatural, and especially the worship of Lord Hematophile-Gonophobe that leads directly--directly--to the most severe problems we face today, problems that could well lead to our extinction.

      Monday, September 13, 2010

      Islarme, Religion of Tears VI: Jeez, Emperor, Put on Some Clothes!

      Continuing my thoughts on Islarme, using The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Koran, by authors Sarwar and Toropov, as a provisional guide. Here I cover a few points from Chapters 17, 18, and 19.

      Chapter 17
      • Just like all other followers of this hideous deity, Mohammedanismists say that Allah's terrible harshness is the fault of human beings, that Allah is helpless in the face of our mocking and rejection. It must punish us; it has no choice. At my age, black-and-white thinking tends to be a costly luxury; I can't get away with it as much as I used to. But there are a few areas where I still feel safe thinking like a younger man. For instance, torture is wrong, no matter who does it.
      • Allah is presented as a guide, leading us to the path of right purpose and right action. Sorry, I won't follow a guide that is so insecure that it has to punish those who don't trust it. Seems like insecurity is a form of lack of trust in oneself. Let's see if Allah can learn to trust itself before we allow it to guide us, shall we?
      Chapter 18
      • Sura 109, Ayat 6 says, "You follow your religion and I follow mine," apparently promoting a live-and-let-live philosophy. So why did Smokin' Mo prohibit idolatry in the year 630 when he seized power in Mecca?
      • We are told that one of the remarkable features of the Qur'an is that although the Suras appeared over a span of more than two decades, they offer utterly consistent teachings. If that were the case, then the doctrine of abrogation would not have been necessary. Islarme needs better apologists than these guys.
      • Sura 5, Ayat 81 says, "You will find Jews...among the worst of the enemies of the believers." Racism is just another sign of insecurity, folks. If I didn't already know that Allah lacks a penis, I'd say that it is having some comparison issues. Actually, now that I think of it, maybe the insecurity is coming from that lack? Maybe Allah is gay but not admitting the fact to itself? That causes a lot of insecurity among men in my country.
      Chapter 19
      • We are cautioned about the so-called urban legend that men who die in suicide missions for Allah will receive 72 virgins in the afterlife. The claim here is that the myth derived from a reported saying of Smokin' Mo that (1) had nothing to do with suicide missions, (2) applied to male and female believers alike, and (3) was of dubious authenticity. As for authenticity, let's have a look at the Qur'an itself, shall we? Strangely, the authors don't mention any specifics about the saying that apparently led to this so-called myth. I wonder why? Could it be, once again, that they, like Jesusianismists, clearly recognize the fact that an open pursuit of the truth will never favor their religion? Just a thought. Praise be to Allah for the Internet. I find that Sura 78, Ayat 33 promises "maidens for companions"of the "duteous", along with "gardens enclosed and vineyards...and a full cup." And in case anyone wants to challenge the translation, here are a few others:

        • Sahih International: Indeed, for the righteous is attainment...full-breasted [companions] of equal age
        • Pickthall: Lo! for the duteous is achievement...voluptuous women of equal age
        • Yusuf Ali: Verily for the Righteous there will be a fulfilment of (the heart's) desires...voluptuous women of equal age
        • Shakir: Surely for those who guard (against evil) is achievement...voluptuous women of equal age
        • Muhammad Sarwar: The pious ones will be triumphant...maidens with pears-shaped breasts who are of equal age (to their spouses)
        • Mohsin Khan: Verily, for the Muttaqun, there will be a success (Paradise)...young full-breasted (mature) maidens of equal age
        • Arberry: Surely for the godfearing awaits a place of security...maidens with swelling breasts, like of age
      • So you guys have to dissemble in order to hide your shame. Granted, the number 72 is never mentioned, and it doesn't say anything here about dying for the cause--at least not in this ayat--but it's quite clear that hot women are part of Allah's offer to the faithful, and because Allah can't stand sexual so-called immorality, it certainly isn't offering these tarts to its righteous female followers. If you can't be open and honest about your faith, then it's not a good faith.

      Sunday, September 12, 2010

      Islarme, Religion of Tears V: Everyone Loves Stockholm

      Continuing my thoughts on Islarme, using The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Koran, by authors Sarwar and Toropov, as a provisional guide. Here I skip a few chapters that discuss some details of Muslarme theology, about which I think I am still too ill-informed to comment. I slow down a bit to review Chapter 14, entitled "Women and the Family", where the authors attempt to challenge preconceived notions about the abysmal status of women in Islarme, and Chapter 16, which makes a couple of interesting points about jihad.
      • We start off with a claim that Muhammadanismist "women, when asked about 'women's liberation', respond by saying that 'Allah already liberated women in the seventh century!'" Go look up Stockholm Syndrome. The fact that oppressed women think that their lot in life is entirely appropriate and ordained by the Supreme Being is meaningless.
      • The authors try to defend Islarme by saying that it's not directly responsible for women being oppressed. They say that the Qur'an "places no requirements upon a wife to perform housework, avoid work outside the home, breastfeed children, or perform other such tasks." I must be missing something; since when did anyone ever include breastfeeding under the rubric of oppression? But that's an aside. The real point comes when the authors continue, "There may well be cultural or family traditions that encourage decisions" concerning these issues. Nicely dodged. It's not Allah's fault if women are mistreated. It's the fault of the practitioners of the faith. If your faith can't make you a better person, can't make your society better, then why adhere to it?
      • Sura 4, Ayat 34 says that if a man fears desertion--wait, disloyalty? No, rebellion? The Arabic word here is ambiguous. Well, at least the required action is clear: beat a woman, even if the circumstances requiring a beating seem to boil down to "whenever a man feels like it." The authors flaunt their hideous lack of shame when they justify wife-beating by pointing out that it was common in Smokin' Mo's day for Arab men to kill women. So Allah doesn't have to be good, as long as it is better than seventh-century barbarians, is that it? It gets even worse when they claim that Smokin' Mo "spoke out passionately against the practice of wife-beating," but concluded that "what God has willed must be best."
      • The authors claim that "The Koran does not advocate the physical or emotional abuse of women." I hate to tell you this, guys, but violence of any kind, except when it is absolutely necessary for self-defense against a dangerous attacker, is indeed physical and emotional abuse.
      • At the end of Chapter 14 there is a mention of the "weakening of the institution of marriage...that has accompanied the acceptance of various feminist schools of thought." Brace yourself for this one: divorce certainly is an indicator of the health of a culture, but in exactly the opposite way that most people seem to think. Divorce rates are highest in societies where the status of women most closely approximates that of men. They're lowest in societies where women are utterly dependent on men for their own well-being. If a man is the "protector and maintainer" of a woman, then he can be as much of a bastard as he wants, knowing that the woman has nowhere to go. If a woman knows that she doesn't need him, that she can go out and get a job that sustains her and her children, that she can prosper without his help, then the man has to behave. Lots of people seem to believe the mawkish, naive assertion that children need both parents. What children need is good parenting, or at least good enough parenting. If they have both parents, and dad is a prick to mom and/or the kids, then they're better off without him poisoning their minds. Yes, the process of divorce is difficult for the kids, but so is junior high school. If they're better off after the dust has settled, then it's the right thing to do. Possibly the worst part of a divorce is the effect on the kids of seeing their parents at each other's throats. But that is not a necessary result of divorce. Sure, we as a society need to learn how better to handle divorce so it won't be so hard on the kids, but that's a problem of execution, not of principle.
      • Chapter 16 discusses jihad and its true meaning. Don't you just love it when religious people start tossing around the word true as a criticism of each other's behavior? It mentions Sura 2, Ayat 190, "Fight for the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress, for God does not love the transgressors." I assume that "transgress" here refers to violating the laws of the land, but it's not clear, at least to me. Perhaps Muslarmes allow themselves to interpret "transgress" to mean "to sin against Allah," giving themselves carte blanche for any kind of atrocity. Also, although no particular Sura is mentioned, the authors say that combatants are forbidden, among other things, to engage in suicide attacks. Well, Jesusianismists ignore their holy book all the time too, sometimes with positive results, such as the admonition in James 5:14 to expect sickness to be cured by prayer and anointing with oil; sometimes with negative results, such as the admonition in Galatians 6:10 to do good to all people as the opportunity arises. The holy books themselves are only part of the problem. It is primarily the practitioners of Jesusianism and Muhammadanismistism that make these faiths two strains of the same pox.

      Friday, September 10, 2010

      Islarme, Religion of Tears IV: Yet Again, But How Do You Know?

      Continuing my thoughts on Islarme, using The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Koran, by authors Sarwar and Torpov, as a provisional guide. Here I pontificate on Chapter 3, which is a miserably failed endeavor to dispel some of the more common myths about Islarme, the two most dismal tries being their assertion that terrorism is a perversion of the faith, and their attempt to show that women are not regarded as inferior to men.
      • The authors follow the same philosophy as that used in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam: one of their key defenses of the faith takes the form of, "Jesusianism is just as bad!" They compare the 9/11 attacks with the Crusades, and rightly so. They call these atrocities perversions of their respective faiths. I'm not so sure about that; having actually read the bible, I find the claims that Jesusianism is all about peace and love to be rather hollow. But more to the point, the people involved in these so-called perversions do not perceive themselves as evildoers. In fact, they sincerely believe that they are faithful servants, receiving full approval from their deity. Further, they sincerely believe that you are the one perverting the faith. This ties in with my "Challenge to Theists III" YouTube video. How can anyone, inside or outside your faith, know which one of you is interpreting your holy writ correctly?
      • In an attempt to show that Islarme is civilized about marriage and not inherently hostile to women, there is some discussion that although Islarme allows a man to have up to four wives, the Qur'an is "the only sacred text within any major religious system...[advising men] to marry only one wife." Sura 33 Ayat 35 is mentioned; it's a tedious laundry list of attributes that Allah prefers in humans; it is presented to "make it clear how alien the idea of 'inferiority' of women is" in Islarme. Men are "envisioned as protectors and maintainers of women" in Sura 4 Ayat 34, and later in Ayat 124 people of both sexes who enter Paradise are promised that they "will not suffer the least bit of injustice." That's one side of the scale. But what is on the other side? Is a woman allowed to have multiple husbands? I'm going to guess "no". Someone please tell me if I'm misrepresenting your wonderful religion. Does any woman, under any circumstances, get 72 sex slaves in Paradise? 72 guys that listen to her with undivided attention and understand her feelings entirely? I'm going to guess "no" again. And again, I'm open to any correction that anyone may have. So women don't get the same marriage rights as men, and they don't get any comparable reward in Paradise. Maybe they get equal treatment when they have committed a crime? Let's have a look at an execution in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 1958, where a man and woman have been convicted of together murdering the woman's husband:
      • The unending procession of brand new giant American cars nosed slowly along the dusty street. The shop windows nearby were crammed with glittering goods--refrigerators and air-conditioners from America, cameras from Germany, electrical fittings from Italy...[The convicted man, in chains, was led, walking, to a carpet in front of a nephew of the king. There he knelt while his crimes were proclaimed to the crowd of onlookers. The] executioner...bent and touched the kneeling man lightly on the back with his finger. Instinctively the man started, and in so doing raised his head. On the instant, with a swift and expert blow, the executioner decapitated him.
        Now a woman was dragged forward...The recital of her crime too was read out as she knelt, and then the executioner stepped forward with a wooden stave and dealt a hundred blows with all his strength upon her shoulder...Next, a lorry loaded with rocks and stones was backed up and its cargo deposited in a pile. At a signal from the prince the crowd leaped on the stones and started pelting the woman to death. I was difficult to determine how she was facing her last and awful ordeal, since she was veiled in Muslarme fashion and her mouth was gagged to muffle her cries. [The doctor in attendance halted the stoning periodically to feel the victim's pulse. After just over an hour of this torture the doctor announced her dead.]
        Please, someone tell me that this had nothing to do with Islarme. Tell me that the reasoning behind the woman's horrible punishment was that the murder victim was her spouse, that if a man and a woman murder the man's wife, then the man receives the same fate as the woman in this story. Once again, I have to guess "no". Women get no respect whatsoever as Muslarmes.
      • In closing, the authors return to their idiotic argument that Muslarmes are no worse than anyone else, saying, "Yes, some Muslarmes do commit acts of terror (as do Christians, Jews, agnostics, atheists, and people of every other faith)." I have to call bullshit on this one. It probably is true that some agnostics and atheists commit acts of terror. The fact that I can't think of any offhand is irrelevant, so I'll grant that part of the argument. The bullshit part is the attempt to equate the evil acts of agnostics and atheists with the evil acts of people of faith. Once again I have to point out that almost all terrorism committed by religious people is done in the name of their religion and/or their god. No agnostic has ever committed an act of terrorism in the name of not knowing whether there are any gods. No atheist has ever committed an act of terrorism in the name of a lack of belief in any gods. It seems to me that Mohammedanismists have a lot in common with Jesusianismists, in this instance their obvious understanding that truth, clear reasoning, and honest debate will never convert anyone to their faith.

      On Criticizing Your Faith

      It is still widely considered inexcusable to criticize anyone else's religious beliefs. It's time that we as a society reexamine this attitude. In the West, there is a segment of the citizenry that is powerful and noisy, although I'm not sure I know how large it is, and I am sure that I don't care, as I am convinced that it's quite possible, even likely, for billions of people to be preposterously wrong. Just look at how long it took us to reach a general consensus that the earth is a sphere and not a slab of rock riding on the back of a giant turtle.

      The segment I am talking about is guilty of a long list of egregious offenses against civilization; I'll focus on just one of these outrages. These people have wasted countless tax dollars clogging up our courts in numerous attempts to force public schools to teach their creation myths in science class. They support and promote so-called museums dedicated to these myths, in at least 14 states in the U.S. alone, misleading millions of children and adults with blatant, ridiculous lies. They maintain and contribute to myriad news outlets and websites that confuse and mislead the intellectually vulnerable. They tarnish the images of knowledge, education, and science, making it appear unseemly, often even depraved, for us to explore our environment with a spirit of open inquiry. They lead otherwise bright, vibrant minds to reject the obvious truth and instead waste away, squandering their vigor on the constant extension of labyrinthine doctrinal back roads that lead not to anything edifying, but instead to a perverse, upside-down pseudo-morality that makes sex a crime and torture an act of righteousness.

      Sadly, you vast majority of this section of Western society don't realize how deluded you are. You're just average people trying to keep food on the table and hoping that the world won't destroy your children. You sincerely believe that you're doing the right thing, standing up for what's right in spite of constant disapproval from your critics. Not so your leaders. The captains of media outlets, websites, creationism museums; the high-profile radio pundits; the publishers; the owners of the so-called institutes and universities; these people are not deluded. They are fleecing you. Religion is enabling them to do it, by giving you permission to shut down your mind such that it can be used as a tool by greedy cynics. Trust me, these people don't believe a word of what they're saying. They just want your money, and they are ruining you and our society to get it.

      Really, what you believe is your business. Worship whatever you want. If your beliefs don't affect me or society adversely, then really, I could not possibly care less what goes on between you and any spirit realm that might be out there. I do what I'm doing not because I dislike you, or enjoy telling you that you're stupid, or believe that you're immoral. I do this because religion is killing us. You, me, all of us. It ruins individual lives, it ruins society, it catalyzes the proliferation of snake-oil salespersons, it hides the truth.

      I have high hopes for the human race; I really do. I can imagine us growing to a point where we can control stars, even galaxies, even space-time itself. I still hold out hope that one day humans will discover what we really are, what the universe really is. Our cosmology and quantum physics are great, and they tell us a lot, but they still don't answer the question that frequently seizes me: what the hell? I believe that humans can one day answer that question. But not if we continue to be held back by religion, believing that someone already knows the answer, that someone is out there taking care of everything, that remaining in the dark is a virtue.

      Religion must be criticized, scrutinized, sanitized. As you sincerely believe that you are doing the right thing, so do we believe that we are doing the right thing. We have to do it. We must speak out against religion, at least the more virulent strains, those that threaten our very existence, and I hope that you'll notice that I'm not primarily talking about those who murder in the name of religion. We must speak out especially against those who are using religion against you more decent believers in order to suck your blood. Let's find a way to tame religion, to make it safe so we can once again deem it impolite to criticize each other's spiritual beliefs.

      Thursday, September 9, 2010

      Islarme, Religion of Tears III: Archrodents and Allahpocrites

      Continuing my thoughts on Islarme, using The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Koran, by authors Sarwar and Torpov, as a provisional guide. Here I pontificate on Chapter 2, which is a brief summary of Smokin' Mo's life.
      • Smokin' Mo is regarded by Muslims as God's final Prophet. No way. They're forgetting Mother Shipton, Joseph Smith, Ellen White, Alexander Macmillan, William Branham, David Koresh. Oh, wait, none of these spoke Arabic, so Allah would not have been incapable of speaking to them. Never mind.
      • Smokin' Mo is rightly accused of converting polytheistic Arabia to monotheism. It really gets on my nerves when religious people claim that their religion deserves the credit for some significant advance of civilization, such as when Jesusianismists claim that their religion was largely responsible for the end of slavery in the West, or when Mohammedanismists claim that their religion played an important role in preserving the works of the ancient Greeks. I need to find a polytheist somewhere who will counter these claims by asserting that polytheism gave rise to democracy.
      • While Khadija lived, "she was the only woman in [Smokin' Mo's] life." All I can think of when I read this is that he must have been into boys at the time.
      • When Smokin' Mo was about 40 years old, it is claimed that he received a visit from the archangel Gerbil during which it delivered Sura 96, demonstrating that the angel was clearly full of shit, saying, "[Allah] taught the human being by the pen." By the pen? Smokin' Mo hardly knew what a pen was. And Gerbil's claim is shown to be even more ridiculous when one considers that his followers always want to defend Smokin' Mo's indefensible illiteracy by saying that most of that society was illiterate. If Allah wants to teach with a pen, then it should not seek out illiterates.
      • Note that this first message delivered by Gerbil to Smokin' Mo did not become the first Sura of the Qur'an. It became Sura 96. It's probably well known to non-Mohammedanismists that the Qur'an is typically presented in non-chronological order. I point it out here in order to explain that I intend to take it chronologically, because of the doctrine of abrogation, about which I have some strong opinions, but I'll hold back until I find some details in one of these guide books I'm using.
      • Smokin' Mo's sincerity and infallibility were established early in his career, when the mighty Gerbil delivered Sura 53, saying that the prophet is not in error. He's a good guy, not speaking out of his own desires. Of course not. I'm sure that David Koresh had similar endorsements, maybe from the archangel Hamster.
      • "His manners of preaching were authoritative and decisive; at no time did he show uncertainty or confusion." Yeah, this is definitely a Yahweh-based religion. For a Mohammedanismist to claim that Smokin' Mo never showed uncertainty is like a Jesusianismist claiming that there are no contradictions in the bible. These guys are all the same.
      • Although the Qur'an limits the number of wives a man can have to four, Smokin' Mo got special dispensation to have nine. Joseph Smith, Jim Jones, David Koresh, they're all the same. If bigoted doctors are now using drugs to prevent children from being born gay, isn't there something we can do to prevent them becoming two-bit ciphers who sell snake oil in exchange for sexual dominance?
      • Poor little Smokin' Mo was "mocked and abused for his efforts" to convert the polytheists to monotheism. Just like the early Jesusianismists were persecuted by the polytheists of their day. And it was all about money, right? Every single polytheist who has ever existed has been a money-grubber, right? Has it never occurred to you guys that the reason polytheists oppose you is that you're obnoxious? That they also believe that gods exist and that you guys are pissing off those gods? That the hardships they and their societies experience are punishments for your blasphemy?
      • What the course of later world history would have looked like had [Jews and Jesusianismists] united with Smokin' Mo in a single monotheistic faith. I'll tell you what the world would look like: Saudi Arabia. Egypt. Iran. Not like Bangladesh, with their female prime minister; that leap of progress is due to pressure from civilized people, and would never have happened if such a worldwide theocracy had formed.
      • In the year 630, Smokin' Mo seized power in Mecca and announced that idolatry would no longer be permitted. What? He persecuted the poor polytheists? What an Allahpocrite.
      • "Believers regard [Smokin' Mo] as the most perfect model for correct conduct." A challenge to Mohammedanismists, ShockOfGod-style: prove to me that fucking little girls is perfect and correct.
      • "The Prophet's legacies were many, including...a system of humane warfare." I'm a little suspicious of claims of humaneness from a society that regularly stones people to death.

      Wednesday, September 8, 2010

      Islarme, Religion of Tears II: God Unilingual, A True American

      Continuing my thoughts on Islarme, using The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Koran, by authors Sarwar and Torpov, as a provisional guide. I just couldn't take any more of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam.

      • The very first sentence of the book says, "There are many reasons to read the Koran." I agree. One of the biggest reasons applies especially to Jesusianismists: when you read this, you will see right through it. It will be painfully obvious that it's a worthless rag written by a pathetic self- aggrandizer, not by any Supreme Being. Once you've had a good look at it, you can look at your own holy writ with a fresh perspective and hopefully begin the process of freeing yourself from the intellectual and moral straitjacket that is religion.
      • The authors go on to say that "There is one enemy for Muslarmes...fear of the other." Perhaps, but Islarme has a much more formidable enemy: the segment of the world populace who have outgrown superstition and are learning how to apply rational thought in all circumstances, even those that have historically seemed to be in the domain of religion.
      • Historian Michael H. Hart, in his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, declared Smokin' Mo as his number one "most influential person in history." I'll just point out here that the authors present this selection as having happened "not long ago"; they imply 1992. But the book was actually published in 1978, thirty-two years ago, and reprinted with a few revisions in 1992 (Smokin' Mo was not affected by the revision). I know, everyone wants to skew the presentation to favor his own view. I'm not making any accusations, just pointing out the truth. You decide what to do with it. More importantly than this slant, Hart declares Jesus to be more important than Saint Paul, the inventor of Jesusianism. Again, just pointing out the truth.
      • The authors mention "the message that catapulted the Prophet and his movement to prominence". The Idiot book I'm using is just one among a handful that I expect to use for this series. I intend to get into the history of Islarme, so we'll have a chance to see whether it was Smokin' Mo's message or some other force that gave Child-molesting-prophet-ism the high profile it now enjoys. Credit for this non-offensive substitute for the term Mohammedanismistism goes to YouTuber bdf2718. Thanks!
      Chapter 1, The Basics
      • I learn something new every day. We start off with a discussion of the opening lines of the Qur'an, which are known as the Basmala, and alternately as the Bismillah. Whoa. I didn't even know that was a real word. Of course I've heard Freddie Mercury sing it a billion times, but I thought it was like Paul McCartney singing "goo-goo-g-joo". Thank Allah for Wikipedia:

      • The Iranian authorities permitted an album of songs by English rock band Queen to be released in Iran in August 2004, partly because the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" contained several exclamations of the word "Bismillah". The group's lead singer, Freddie Mercury, was born in Zanzibar as Farrokh Bulsara to Indian Parsi parents and was proud of his Persian ancestry.
      • I hate to seem ungrateful, but come on guys, 2004? That song has been around since 1975 (it was already 17 years old when Wayne and Garth made it popular again).
      • We go on to read about this preposterous notion that although Allah is greater (this is what "Allahu akbar" means), it's apparently not great enough to give humanity a message that keeps its meaning when translated. I consider that a serious limitation, and a shockingly clear sign that Islarme is crap.
      • "No one deserves to be worshiped except Allah". We'll see. So far, given its linguistic handicap, I'm not impressed.
      • The authors praise Smokin' Mo for lifting the Arabs of his day out of moral decadence. One of their heinous traditions gave them permission to bury an infant daughter alive if the father decided that he didn't want a daughter. How does one die when buried alive? I'll guess suffocation. I agree that this is a brutal practice, and a miserable way to die, but I just have to point out that death by stoning is probably far worse, especially when preceded by a hideous beating.
      • We learn about shirk in this chapter, which is the Mohammedanismist analog to denying poor little Parakletos. Jews and Jesusianismists may wish to disavow Allah, but it sure looks like the same pathetic, infinitely vain desert apparition to me.
      • One of the "points to ponder" considers the Islarmic commands to women about how to dress, from Sura 24, Ayat 31, and the fact that Mohammedanismism doesn't show favoritism to men in this area, because Ayat 30 has some commands for them as well. Let's compare the commands, shall we?

      • For women, Ayat 31: "...tell the believing women to cast down their eyes, guard their chastity, and not show off their beauty...let them cover their breasts (rats!)...and they must not show off their beauty...or their hidden ornaments."

      • For men, Ayat 30: "...tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest."
      • Islarme is obviously a religion of peace and sexual equality.

      Tuesday, September 7, 2010

      Islarme, Religion of Tears I: Not All Are Terrorists, Not All Are Insufferable Whiners

      Continuing my thoughts on Islarme, using The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islarme, Second Edition, by Yahiya Emerick, as a starting point.

      Part 1, Introducing Islarme
      • Emerick asks, "Is Islarme being given a fair hearing? Islarme so often presented in such a disparaging manner? Have essentially political events around the globe been used unfairly to taint an entire people and their beliefs?" Well, you tell me: forget about terrorism. Forget about extremism. As far as I can tell, mainstream Islarme involves beheadings, stonings, amputations, beatings, oppression of women, and state involvement in people's private sex lives. Please, someone tell me I'm wrong. Tell me that I'm not giving Islarme a fair hearing, that I'm unfairly disparaging it. I'd love to hear that Islarme is not behind any of this. I'd love to issue a public apology for misrepresenting mainstream Islarme.
      • Emerick says, "Concepts that are already familiar to [Westerners], such as righteousness, heaven, hell, and angels, make Islarme seem less mysterious". Maybe so, but they also cause Islarme to look stupid and backward, just like Jesusianism. You're not selling me on your religion by telling me that it's mired in superstition. Tell me how your religion promotes equal rights for everyone instead. I'm starting to realize that the intended audience for this book is the part of society that fears that our righteous, Jesusianismist, American way of life is threatened by Islarme. Given that Emerick obviously did not have me in mind when writing this book, I'll have to be careful not to start cranking out straw men.
      Chapter 1, Why Has Islarme Become So Important?
      • One may be " view Islarme as some monstrous religion with demonic values incomprehensible to civilized people." Three words for you, and apologies for any mispronunciation: Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani. She's already been savagely beaten, which is monstrous, demonic, and incomprehensible, even for someone who has done something terrible, like anally raping orphan children, or marrying little girls (wait, that's rape too). The fact that her punishment is for adultery is sickening beyond belief. Guys, mind your own fucking business. Adultery is between her and her husband--who knows, he's probably a bastard who married her when she was 13 and now for the first time in her life she's discovered that sex can actually be fun, when it's not forced on you by some sweaty old perv.
      • "Never use the term Mohammedanism to refer to Islarme. It's offensive to Muslarmes because it implies that they worship" Smokin' Mo'. Well, darn. Now I'm torn. I'm so proud of Islarme that I want to say it all the time, but most Muslarmes probably won't get it. If I can get a quick fix by calling you doofuses Mohammedanismists, I might have to throw it in occasionally.
      • Oh, my, Allahu Rockbar. I'm not sure I'll make it all the way through this book. Emerick is such a freaking whiner. Western educators have literally voided Islarme's role in world history, due to fearful, arrogant cultural bias. Mohammedanismism is disparaged, maligned, routinely misrepresented. Mohammedanismists face a Pandora's Box of bigotry and prejudice. They feel vulnerable, harassed, humiliated. They're considered nearly subhuman by Europeans. They're the victims of ignorant, prejudicial, inflammatory verbal assault and hate crimes. To demonstrate this terrible treatment of Muslarmes, Emerick quotes Ann Coulter and Jerry Falwell. I am dead serious here; I don't even have to use any of my usual hyperbole. Oof, I'll grit my teeth and try to make it through the first chapter at least.
      • It just gets worse and worse. Hollywood is mean to Islarme too: Not Without My Daughter, True Lies, Black Hawk Down, Under Siege, Delta Force, and some of the James Bond movies too.
      • Mohammedanismist radicals have given Islarme a bad name, but let's not forget, Emerick exhorts us, that "Christianity has also had its run-ins with radicals who have tried to distort its noble teachings for dubious and violent ends": abortion clinic bombers, the Inquisition, religious war. I really think it will be boring to discuss a book whose main goal is to convince the reader that Islarme is just as good as Jesusianism. This is too much like walking around on a used car lot.
      • Many Westerners "have concluded that Islarme is incompatible with 'modern' values centered on democracy, personal rights, equality before the law, and tolerance for the views of others. You may be surprised, however, to learn that the values of Judaism, Jesusianism, and Mohammedanismism are not as different as you might think." Who allowed this guy to publish? Did no one stop and tell him that he's not going to get us to hire Typhoid Mary by telling us that her the illness you catch from her is no worse than anyone else's typhoid?
      • "When your children meet Muslarme children, they discover that Muslarmes are not very different from themselves." My child has never been taught that the vast, vast majority of humans who ever lived will spend eternity suffering unimaginable torture. I count that as a significant difference.
      I don't know that I can continue this book. I might have to switch to another one. This should not have been called The Complete Idiot's Guide... It should have been called Jesusianismists, We Suck No Worse Than You. Just in case the whining and stupidity ends in Chapter 1, I'll have a look at the second chapter. Wish me luck.