Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ Literalism ‘n’ “moderate” Muslims

October 8, 2014 • 7:28 am

As most of us know, the Qur’an is supposed to be the direct and unfiltered word of Allah as dictated to Muhammad, and metaphorical interpretations of the Qur’an aren’t nearly as acceptable as they are for, say, the Bible.  The Jesus and Mo author reminds us of this, and of the insanity of “inerrant books”. The author’s sent a commentary along with the usual notification about a new strip:

No sentient adult should have a “holy scripture”. To do so is a complete abnegation of intellectual responsibility. A cop out. A cheat as blatant and shameful as a schoolboy copy-pasting his homework from the internet. There is no excuse for it.

2014-10-08

Apropos of this, Ali A. Rivzi, an ex-Muslim and Canadian physician, has written a piece in PuffHo called “An Open Letter to Moderate Muslims,” which is worth reading.  In it, he argues that moderate Muslims are enabling their more extremist and more vicious jihadi counterparts, but not because the moderates refuse to speak up. Many are speaking up, at least against the brutality of ISIS. No, it’s because the moderates still swear fealty to the Qur’an, a supposedly inerrant book, but then try to parse it so that it appears less brutal and oppressive than it is. Rivzi thinks that behavior turns off Westerners. Remember, he’s addressing moderate Muslims here:

Like other moderates, Reza Aslan frequently bemoans those who read the Quran “literally.” Interestingly enough, we sort of agree on this: the thought of the Quran being read “literally” — or exactly as Allah wrote it — unsettles me as much as it unsettles Reza.

This is telling, and Reza isn’t alone. Many of you insist on alternative interpretations, some kind of metaphorical reading — anything to avoid reading the holy book the way it’s actually written. What message do you think this sends? To those on the outside, it implies there is something lacking in what you claim is God’s perfect word. In a way, you’re telling the listener to value your explanations of these words over the sacred words themselves. Obviously, this doesn’t make a great case for divine authorship. Combined with the claims that the book is widely misunderstood, it makes the writer appear either inarticulate or incompetent. I know that’s not the message you mean to send — I’ve been where you are. But it is important to understand why it comes across that way to many non-Muslims.

If any kind of literature is to be interpreted “metaphorically,” it has to at least represent the original idea. Metaphors are meant to illustrate and clarify ideas, not twist and obscure them. When the literal words speak of blatant violence but are claimed to really mean peace and unity, we’re not in interpretation/metaphor zone anymore; we’re heading into distortion/misrepresentation territory. If this disconnect was limited to one or two verses, I would consider your argument. If your interpretation were accepted by all of the world’s Muslims, I would consider your argument. Unfortunately, neither of these is the case.

. . . Unfortunately, this is what’s eating away at your credibility. This is what makes otherwise rational moderate Muslims look remarkably inconsistent. Despite your best intentions, you also embolden anti-Muslim bigots — albeit unknowingly — by effectively narrowing the differences between yourselves and the fundamentalists. You condemn all kinds of terrible things being done in the name of your religion, but when the same things appear as verses in your book, you use all your faculties to defend them. This comes across as either denial or disingenuousness, both of which make an honest conversation impossible.

So what’s the solution? To give up the idea of the Qur’an as inerrant, which eliminates the torturous Islamic apologetics:

This presents an obvious dilemma. The belief that the Quran is the unquestionable word of God is fundamental to the Islamic faith, and held by the vast majority of Muslims worldwide, fundamentalist or progressive. Many of you believe that letting it go is as good as calling yourself non-Muslim. I get that. But does it have to be that way?

Having grown up as part of a Muslim family in several Muslim-majority countries, I’ve been hearing discussions about an Islamic reformation for as long as I can remember. Ultimately, I came to believe that the first step to any kind of substantive reformation is to seriously reconsider the concept of scriptural inerrancy.

Well, that all sounds good, and Rivzi has the best of intentions, but I don’t think it will work.  His model is the way Jews (and by default, Christians) treat the Old Testament, which, if taken literally, is, like the Qur’an: rife with violence, calls for genocide, and untenable moral commands. How do Jews and Christians deal, say, with scriptural dictates to kill adulterers, kids who disrespect their parents, and people who work on the Sabbath? They simply ignore that stuff, and cherry-pick the good verses.  Yet that is precisely what Rivzi says is not working in Islam, and not because Muslims won’t do it—but because it makes Muslims look inconsistent to Westerners.

I don’t get it. If that kind of metaphorical verse-twisting is de rigueur for liberal Christians and Jews, who are used to it, why can’t Muslims do exactly the same thing? Yes, other Muslims may say that it’s impossible: the Qur’an must be read literally. But Rivzi is talking about how Westerners perceive Muslim “moderates,” not how other, more extremist Muslims do. How many Westerners even know that the Qur’an is traditionally read as inerrant—or even that it’s supposed to be Allah’s dictation to Muhammad over a number of years?

So when Rivzi says this—”When the literal words speak of blatant violence but are claimed to really mean peace and unity, we’re not in interpretation/metaphor zone anymore; we’re heading into distortion/misrepresentation territory”—it’s just as true of the other two Abrahamic faiths as it is of Islam.

There is no substantive difference between considering scripture inerrant, but interpreting some of the “inerrant” verses as allegories, and accepting scripture as fallible and simply ignoring the verses you dislike. After all, even Christian literalists, with the exception of people like William Lane Craig, gloss over the “nasty” verses of the Bible to help sanitize their faith. And they don’t lose credibility with their fellow believers, either: they lose credibility only with rational people who regard cherry-picking as both hypocritical and indicative of a morality independent of God.

And really, how easy would it be to persuade Muslims, who venerate the Qur’an (Rivzi describes some of this behavior in his longish piece), to start seeing it as fallible—not the word of God but of man? The tradition of a non-metaphorical interpretation of God’s words is much more pervasive in Islam than in Judaism and Christianity.

I fear Rivzi is asking the impossible. He might as well ask the moderates what many of us atheists want: to give up Islam entirely.

 

 

61 thoughts on “Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ Literalism ‘n’ “moderate” Muslims

  1. “…to give up Islam entirely.”

    Not a bad idea!

    Here’s a response to Rizvi by an Islamic scholar, a “Quranist” (a Muslim who adheres only to the Quran and rejects the hadith). His argument is that the Quran is being treated unfairly:

    personalislaam.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/how-to-be-sceptical-about-the-quran-a-response-to-dr-ali-rizvi/

  2. Bingo!!

    ”When the literal words speak of blatant violence but are claimed to really mean peace and unity, we’re not in interpretation/metaphor zone anymore; we’re heading into distortion/misrepresentation territory”

    There’s a small number of liberal Christian thinkers who want to overtly disown sections of the Old Testament as representing human distortions of God, and simply say the Bible is not a Holy Book. (These same generally don’t believe the classical creeds either). But they are a tiny minority. Most liberal religious communities simply sweep these verses under the rug, and as such they have no power to combat fundamentalism!!

    Some words from Richard Dawkins in “The God Delusion” (preface to paperback edition)

    [People say] You go after crude, rabble-rousing chancers like Ted Haggard, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, rather than sophisticated theologians like Tillich or Bonhoeffer who teach the sort of religion I believe in.

    If only such subtle, nuanced religion predominated, the world would surely be a better place, and I would have written a different book. The melancholy truth is that this kind of understated, decent, revisionist religion is numerically negligible. To the vast majority of believers around the world, religion all too closely resembles what you hear from the likes of Robertson, Falwell or Haggard, Osama bin Laden or the Ayatollah Khomeini. These are not straw men, they are all too influential, and everybody in the modern world has to deal with them.

    1. Personally, I suspect that the understated, decent, revisionist religion is also capable of causing damage if given power. Passive aggression is still aggression. The religions are never so subtle nor nuanced that they fail to condemn atheism and/or bring in ‘other ways of knowing’ which go beyond reason.

  3. Muslims, take this advice:

    “It’s a dangerous business…going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

    Lose the religion. A whole new adventure lies out there for you. Try it.

    1. Most Muslims (apsotates such as Dr Rivzi excepted) take that sort of challenge and choose (note : that it is their choice is important) to respond by refusing to leave the metaphorical comforting living room of their culture and credo. They choose to remain in contact with that religion. And many Xtians do the same, not to let them off the cross without a good whipping.
      It is a “Pillar of Islam” that there in one god and Mo is his messenger (OK, strictly Mo is the messenger’s body double ; whatever) ; it’s a less solid pillar that the Koran is the final revelation of god, and from that it’s inerrancy derives.
      Sorry for Dr Rivzi, but by breaking that pillar, you’re an apostate, and therefore liable for death. That’s Islam. No point putting lipstick onto the pig, it remains a bacon-butty-in-waiting.

      1. Speaking of zombies, my favourite bit of irrationality is the unspecified quantity of dead ‘saints’ who got up and returned to their homes and families. First, the impossibility of the claim, but second the consequences. Properties already divided amongst heirs and perhaps sold; widows and hopefully some widowers who have gotten on with their lives and maybe even remarried? What kind of considerate being would do this to people, just to show off? I wonder how many of the allegedly resurrected people would have soon ended up regretting the whole mess.

  4. I’ve been assured by the devout that the Bible is indeed a fallible document written by people of the time who were using “God” to explain what they wanted to explain and justify what they wanted to justify — but the core message is still valid. The inspired theme of the Bible is love of God, trust in God, faith in God, and the fact that God explains and justifies what WE need to explain and justify: love for others.

    No, sorry. Even when you hand a nice conclusion over on a silver platter the message is still the method — and the method still sucks. As ‘Author’ points out, the idea that ideas need to come from something ‘holy’ undermines their actual worth. It cheats.

    Most believers seem to think the ‘many interpretations’ problem coming out of the lack of clarity in Perfect Holy Texts is secretly solved by ESP. You open that invisible third eye and just see what was really meant. You simply know and that’s that. Can’t argue with higher powers, especially your own. Most people are not humble enough to admit that.

    1. Yep – and that’s why evangelicals often say that Catholics aren’t even Christians – Catholics substitute the extra-biblical church and pope for that all-important personal relationship with God that is the essence of the ESP of which you speak.

    2. Most believers seem to think the ‘many interpretations’ problem coming out of the lack of clarity in Perfect Holy Texts

      What lack of clarity? God is clearly a psychotic sociopath with a worrying interest in sexual voyeurism. OK, it’s not 100% clear on whether it’s male of female, but that’s hardly an uncommon situation : I was swapping bullshit last night with representatives of all 3 of the more popular copulation combinations and didn’t even leave my pub quiz. I’m not going to be terribly surprised one way or the other which ever way god’s actually decides to dangle her dangly bits, or even if he retains the full range of options. But the psychopathy etc still worries me. I’ve got friends like that – you check whether they’ve been taking their medicines and keep the phone number for the locked ward as their third phone number.
      I’m trying to extend the metaphor by working out who is god’s community psychiatric nurse? Papa? Nicole?

      1. No, God is not “clearly a psychotic sociopath” if we’re dealing with the stipulated Christians who agree that “the Bible is indeed a fallible document written by people of the time who were using ‘God’” to explain what they wanted to explain and justify what they wanted to justify.” This is a puzzling but increasingly common variation of Christian who usually agrees with most of our moral criticisms — especially of the Old Testament and Hell (this group is usually into some variant of universal salvation.)

        They then mentally separate the admittedly manmade psychotic sociopath of the OT from the REAL God, the one who works through history and sacred texts to inspire a general attitude of devotion and love. Anybody in the Bible — anybody at all — who does something “unloving” by our standards today clearly was not or is not using their extra-sensory perception, their intuitive God-given knowledge. Instead, their faith gets distorted by culture and ego — worldly, human things.

        1. Too much double think.
          I’m watching the “Dallas Buyers Club” film with the other eye and just seeing frankly stupid amounts of insanity in the world (admitting that that Hollywood world only bears marginal contact with the real world). what is wrong with people?

        2. …still, of course, leaves the question of why the “REAL God” doesn’t call up his agent to arrange a press conference to straighten the whole thing out….

          b&

          1. His agent? Well, those certainly aren’t hard to find, now are they? The set of people who speak for their god overlaps almost completely with the set of religious leaders everywhere and also includes a good percentage of their followers as well.

            The real problem is whittling down the list to end up with just one.

            Maybe if the Real God gave His one and only agent some magic tricks, that could convince people. Turning a staff into a snake not so much, but there aught to be something an omniscient god could come up with to convince everybody, especially given its omnipotence.

            1. Well, the ending tacked on to Mark says that us non-Christians are supposed to identify Christians by their ability to drink poison without ill effect, handle snakes, and heal any illness. Curiously enough, the most that Christians generally attempt are the healing of inconsequentialities and some really piss-poor reptile husbandry….

              b&

    3. Most believers seem to think the ‘many interpretations’ problem coming out of the lack of clarity in Perfect Holy Texts is secretly solved by ESP. You open that invisible third eye and just see what was really meant. You simply know and that’s that. Can’t argue with higher powers, especially your own. Most people are not humble enough to admit that.

      That’s why the Author is so spot-on.

      Either the gods are capable of convincing everybody the same way they convinced the believer in question but chose not to because they are perverted;

      Or they would if they could but lack the persuasive ability and thus aren’t the powerful entities they’re alleged to be.

      Charitably, such revelations when understood as being divine in origin are a childishly naïve failure to rationally assess one’s relative position in in the world (let alone the Universe) coupled with wishful thinking and excessive optimism and no small bit of hubris.

      But in many cases, it’s simple charlatanism — especially the higher up the food chain one goes.

      The difference between a Joseph Smith and the nice little old lady who teaches Sunday School is the ratio of cynicism to sincerity, of patronizing to predation. All are always present in both, just in different proportions.

      Cheers,

      b&

      1. The conundrum you bring up is often answered by a complete denial of the problem. Why isn’t the existence of God and the truth of religion or spirituality more convincing? Because there are no nonbelievers, that’s why.

        Nope. None. Not you, not Jerry, not me. Everybody believes in God deep down inside on their spiritual level. Atheists and nonbelievers are heavily into denial.

        As the cartoon says, skeptics are presumed to be deaf and blind in the willful sense. Picture to yourself something like a teenager who pretends they don’t hear them being called to do chores, or a researcher who absolutely refuses to believe their data says what it says so they spin the statistics or criteria around till it comes out the way they knew it should.

        In other words, picture a person of faith. It’s the hoary old “I know you are but what am I?” apologetic defense.

        I could be wrong and we’ll never know either way, but I suspect Joseph Smith eventually glossed over his con-job origins and started believing he was sincere. It’s so very easy to do and we have so many modern analogs. Unless you regularly get together with your con artist friends and laugh over the gullible rubes, the tendency is to start looking for signs that you are indeed the noble character your echo chamber of true blue fans who continually surround you thinks you are. Then confirmation bias kicks in.

        Smith probably died honestly believing most of his own tripe, that he was a genuine prophet of God. “We are the easiest people to fool.”

        1. …whilst I, on the other hand, have a difficult time fathoming how anybody who’s both old enough to need to remove shoes to tally one’s age and has given any serious thought to the matter can actually believe any of it. The incongruity of adults who’ve clearly put more than a little thought into the question and still come down on the side of imaginary friends and magic is more than a little jarring….

          b&

        2. It’s appropriate that you mention Joseph Smith because some religions, Mormonism notably among them, address this issue by really playing up the test aspect of xianity.

          Jesus Claus couldn’t very well compile his naughty/nice list if he just forced everyone to believe, now could he?

          1. The whole idea of not wanting to “force” people to believe in your existence because that forces them to love and obey you makes no sense. There are no analogies in human relationships.

            You can only choose to love your father and do what he says if you know you have a father. You see him, everyone else sees him — and then he’s clear and upfront. How is it avoiding “force” to forge another name on the birth certificate, place your child up for immediate adoption, and then stalk them around for the rest of their life skulking behind trees and whispering instructions which are easily interpreted as bird calls? NOW you can be sure they REALLY love you… if they humble themselves and obey. WTF.

            Many Christians believe the very angels in heaven rebelled against God — and yet they still perform the song-and-dance routine about how if you know for sure that God exists then you’ll have no choice but to follow him and so that wouldn’t count.

            Good to know that apparently nothing we ever did to help anyone else meant anything at all if we had good reason to suspect they were real people. Perhaps then the only folks who deserve praise for loving charity are the ones who answered those Nigerian letters.

            1. At least in Mormonism (don’t really know about other flavors), half the test is, as Ben alludes to, just becoming a believer in the first place. Being told about Mormonism and rejecting it is sin No. 2, No. 1 being actual apostasy.

              Your analogy to the dad hiding behind trees is great. Really highlights the insanity of it.

          2. It’s even more subtle and insidious than that.

            It’s not enough to just be naughty or nice; you can’t be nice unless you believe the stories. But you have to believe the stories based upon insufficient evidence.

            Which means you’re only nice if you fall for the con.

            b&

      2. I am curious why more moderate Christians don’t go on the offensive and declare Bible inerrantists/literalists to not be Christians. The inerrantist/literalists are worshipping the book and not the god. We could throw in moderate Jews as well – why would they put up with the orthodox harassing women?

        1. Because that’s a sure path to atheism. Once you’re picking and choosing which of the holy scriptures really are and aren’t holy, you’re already on shaky ground. Once you go so far as to claim that those who pick and choose differently aren’t true believers, they get to toss the same accusation back at you. You can’t both be right, but you can both be worng….

          Cheers,

          b&

        2. I’ve seen plenty criticisms of fundamentalism coming from more liberal and moderate Christians. So have we all. After all, they compare them to Richard Dawkins. Yes, I know — harsh.

          1. I have seen it, but it is so half-hearted. If push came to shove who would they support fundamentalists or atheists? I would say the former even though it makes Christianity look even worse for inerrantists/literalists to be a part of it.

  5. So what’s the solution? To give up the idea of the Qur’an as inerrant, which eliminates the torturous Islamic apologetics

    Too many words here, it should read:

    So what’s the solution? To give up the idea of the Qur’an.

  6. There is no substantive difference between considering scripture inerrant, but interpreting some of the “inerrant” verses as allegories, and accepting scripture as fallible and simply ignoring the verses you dislike.

    Logically, yes. However, if one accepts revelation as fallable, then one must subject all of it to human judgement, which is just saying one should be guided by reason. That isn’t a very compelling or consoling message to many people, apparently. From the reading i’ve done, it seems clear that our American Fundamentalism is a reaction to just that approach, which used to be called Rationalism (see Lecky’s history of same) or Modernism.

  7. “The tradition of a non-metaphorical interpretation of God’s words is much more pervasive in Islam than in Judaism and Christianity.”

    Yes, and the reason why metaphorical interpretations in theology became vogue to begin with was a consequence of having to adapt in the face of modernity.

  8. Thanks for this, Jerry. I am Ali A. Rizvi, the author of the Open Letter piece you’ve discussed here. You make fair points.

    Remember the audience this letter is addressed to – moderates. I’ve lived with them all my life, which is why I used the tone and arguments that I felt would most resonate with them.

    As an atheist, my ideal world would be that last sentence you wrote. But giving up religion happens in increments, and I don’t think it will happen for some time yet:

    1. Dumping Inerrancy >> 2. Reformation >> 3. Secularism >> 4. Enlightenment.

    Jews and Christians have been at 3 for a while and are moving to 4 at an unprecedented rate.

    But most Muslims haven’t even gotten to 1.

    Like you, I’d like it if they would jump directly to 4, but that won’t happen. This is a process of incremental change.

    I’d like to see the Muslim world embrace true secularism. There are barely a handful of Muslim countries in the world (Turkey being the most prominent) that are secular democracies.

    To be able to even HAVE the conversation about giving up religion entirely – or even to have the conversation about dumping the belief in inerrancy – you need an ATMOSPHERE where dissenting conversation is an actual possibility.

    My proposal is for moderates to take the first step to that first step — and to communicate it using language they’ll relate to.

    1. Never forget the power of the Overton Window. Yes, many will progress through the phases you indicate, but they’ll progress faster if it becomes apparent that others around them take even the latter stages as a given and are wondering why they’re so hung up on the earlier ones.

      It also helps push them out of their comfort zone — sometimes very far out of it. It’s one thing to argue with a Christian whether the sword Jesus brings rather than peace is a spiritual or corporeal struggle. It’s another thing at all to point out to a Christian that there isn’t even any reason to believe in an Haile Selassie figure at the root of Christianity, let alone a miracle-working zombie. In the former case, you’re playing to their strengths; in the latter, you’ve yanked the very rug out from under their feet.

      There’s also a lot to be said for the “good cop / bad cop” routine. People such as you who take a more moderate approach can benefit from those such as Jerry who show less mercy. Again, somebody too shocked to embrace modernity might be willing to “meet you halfway” — with you right there in the middle. Then, once they’re there…”lather, rinse, repeat.”

      Cheers,

      b&

    2. Well said. Atheists tend to dump on Christians as if they are at 0, like most Muslims, but I think you are right that most Christians and Jews are functionally at 3. Even if they believe the universe is 6000 years old their daily lives are molded by a secular world, crafted almost exclusively by technologies and engineering controls developed through science.

  9. Christianity has a lot more wiggle room for believers to find justification for ignoring harmful texts, though. Many claim that the Old Testament is just overrules by the New Testament and many people just believe that Jesus (as they understand him) would never condone the Old Testament. These beliefs have issues of their own, of course, but they are common and intuitive. Muslims have a much more difficult time doing this, as do Jews, which might be why Jews there are so many secular/atheistic Jews.

  10. “(Also, if you think criticizing Islam is racist, you’re saying that all of Islam is one particular race. There’s a word for that.)”

    This guy has a sharp wit.

  11. They need a cleric to give them an out, to still be able to claim inerrancy but have a reason to theologically ignore the unsavory parts. Christians are able to conveniently ignore the OT because Jesus came and “perfected” or superseded the OT laws.

    1. Christians are able to conveniently ignore the OT because Jesus came and “perfected” or superseded the OT laws.

      Muslims don’t have that option because the koran states that it is the perfect revelation, and so there is no need for a new law-giving prophet. However, that which leaves open the possibility that groups who are not currently Muslim may need a local prophet to guide them towards the revelation of the koran. The treatment of the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam however suggests that such prophets won’t have a good ending.
      To quote Marvin, “It gives me a headache to think down to that level.” So I’ll stop doing that.

  12. The paradox of liberal reformers continues. Tariq Ramadan is the epitomy of this. He says we need a “moratorium” on stoning. When asked by liberals, he says it is pragmatic, so he can reform. When asked by Muslims, he says its prescribed by Allah so it cannot be refuted.

  13. On that reading someone like Aslan is doing the right thing (or one of the right things): sow confusion, incoherence and possibly dishonesty about Islam, and in this way get as many Muslims as possible thinking that it is something more benign than is reasonable given the Koran/hadiths. Any problems, just use nonsense, like the moderate Christians. If enough people do it for long enough it might just work, create its own cultural inertia. But then the strategic thing for us to do would be to bite our tongues and pretend that it makes sense. This doesn’t sit well with me. It’s a quandry.

        1. Natürlich.

          A colleague of mine just finished, yesterday, presenting the entire organ works in recital. 2 days. About 28 hrs of playing. And that’s just the organ works. And some people think a substantial portion of his work is lost. The man was prolific. But then it’s easy to be prolific when you have such command over what you’re doing.

          1. Wow…that’s an incredibly impressive feat, but even I’d have to wonder if I wanted to sit through a pair of fourteen-hour days of nothing but Bach organ music. Not sure I’d want to sit through a pair of fourteen-hour days of anything….

            b&

            1. I agree.

              Especially considering that, aside from theater organs, which aren’t appropriate for Bach, organs are in churches. And that means pews. A 90 min recital is pushing it as far as my knees and ass are concerned!

              1. Um…too true. And even in non-church organ halls, such as the incredibly beautiful one at Arizona State University, for reasons of acoustics, tradition, and aesthetics.

                But that brings up another point: most organs have simple wooden benches, no? Imagine not just sitting in the hall for the recital, but sitting at the organ.

                And a page turner? Fourteen hours of sitting up and down and reaching in some non-OSHA-friendly movements doesn’t sound too appealing, either….

                Now, on the other hand, a month-long series of evening recitals…that could have some appeal….

                b&

              2. Perhaps I shouldn’t share this…well here goes anyway. You can file it under TMI.

                We organists often get “practice callouses” or even “practice boils” at the pressure points between our bones and the bench. Unfortunately we can’t use padded seats like pianists because we need to pivot.

  14. Reblogged this on no sign of it and commented:
    A friend and I were just discussing this. It is clear that without an enlightenment or reformation movement within Islam, the current geopolitical situation can get much much worse; but it’s difficult to imagine what such a movement might possibly look like, given Islam’s history and the commitments it currently demands, regardless of sect.

  15. Isn’t it a pity, the magic man in the sky–which sky we don’t know and whether it was a man-like creature also we don’t know–created the whole bloody cosmos (whcih you can ‘literally’ watch through telescopes) and waited nearly 13.7 billion earth years to create humanity in just the last second and is so shy and inhibitive that he/she/it depends on human language, intermediates, script-writers, printers, publishers, archive-experts, interpreters, etc etc. to expose himself in a bloody metaphorical way causing all sorts of controversies and chaos? The ratio of earth to the cosmos is the same as a grain of sand to the whole of earth and this is just matter, 4% of the whole cosmos! IS ISN’T WEIRD WE ARE STILL TALIKING ABOUT RELIGIOUS BULLSHIT IN SUCH AN ERA OF SCIENTIFIC ADVANCEMENT AND ACHIEVEMENT? The religious apologists are trying to revive something long dead. The next time you listen to some religious bullshit, keep your head in your lap!

  16. Isn’t it a pity, the magic man in the sky–which sky we don’t know and whether it was a man-like creature also we don’t know–created the whole bloody cosmos (which you can ‘literally’ watch through telescopes) and waited nearly 13.7 billion earth years to create humanity in just the last second and is so shy and inhibitive that he/she/it depends on human language, intermediates, script-writers, printers, publishers, archive-experts, interpreters, etc etc. to expose himself in a bloody metaphorical way causing all sorts of controversies and chaos? The ratio of earth to the cosmos is the same as a grain of sand to the whole of earth and this is just matter, 4% of the whole cosmos! ISN’T IT WEIRD WE ARE STILL TALIKING ABOUT RELIGIOUS BULLSHIT IN SUCH AN ERA OF SCIENTIFIC ADVANCEMENT AND ACHIEVEMENT? The religious apologists are trying to revive something long dead. The next time you listen to some religious bullshit, keep your head in your lap!

  17. “How do Jews and Christians deal, say, with scriptural dictates to kill adulterers, kids who disrespect their parents, and people who work on the Sabbath? They simply ignore that stuff, and cherry-pick the good verses.”

    May be it does not belong to the merit of the discussion, but no, Jews do not ignore this law.
    They just cannot issue death sentences until there is no temple and the Sanhedrin
    Only Sanhedrin is entitled to do this. No Sanhedrin = no death penalty.

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