'Converts' To Christianity - Continued

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naomi24 | 10:35 Fri 19th Nov 2021 | Religion & Spirituality
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A discussion instigated by Khandro in 'News' has turned into a debate on religion but is now almost off the front page. If anyone is interested in pursuing this further, since this is a more appropriate place to continue the discussion, a link to the original is here.


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The first human pair chose to follow Satan and became the first converts to the worship of Satan. Down to this day, millions have decided that the religion of those original parents was and is good enough for them. “If you keep presenting yourselves to anyone as slaves to obey him, you are slaves of him because you obey him.”​—Romans 6:16. so there nothing new if you know your Bible.
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Goodlife, This thread isn’t a platform for you to preach. If you have anything to say here please address the OP.

//“If you keep presenting yourselves to anyone as slaves to obey him, you are slaves of him because you obey him.”​//

That, however, is the most sensible thing you've ever said. It's exactly what you do.

Back to the OP ....
Genuine question. What's with your obsession with religion Naomi?
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Thanks Betsy. It's a pleasure to talk to you too.

I'm a critic of Armstrong but only insofar as she's an apologist for religion - all religion. If you were to read her account of Mohammed's life such is her admiration of him there are moments when he is practically unrecognizable as the man he really was. Her historical research is commendable and thorough though and if read without expectation or an existing agenda there is much knowledge to be gained from delving into her works.

//I don’t expect that all Muslims believe every word of the Quran, any more than I think all Christians believe every word of the Bible.//

You would be very hard pushed indeed to find a Muslim who will confess to doubting a single word of the Koran - regardless of how ludicrous it might be - the reason being that they believe it is the direct word of Allah, and as such, indisputable and beyond criticism - as is the word of the prophet Mohammed. The Bible, on the other hand is acknowledged to have been written by a number of authors allegedly inspired by God, but as human beings prone to error. Therefore it is accepted to be open to interpretation and hence, criticism.

//Does the fact that one’s holy book is flawed automatically discredit the religion itself? If the manual is ambiguous, does that mean there is something wrong with the product?//

Good question. From my point of view if ambiguities/contradictions exist then the whole must be called into question. For example, the bible contains accounts of both Mary and Joseph's ancestry. Immediately I ask 'Why?' If Jesus was the son of God, what's Joseph's lineage doing there? It serves no purpose. So, yes, I think there is something very wrong with the product.

Whilst I think the Bible contains a plethora of valuable history - and I do believe that Jesus existed, albeit not as who he is claimed to be - the Koran, I consider to be a concoction of Arab tribal culture, Judaism, Christianity, and ancient ideas on science, even to the extent of plagiarizing the errors the Greeks of old made. I don't believe a word of it.
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Maggiebee, you may as well ask why others are interested in other things. Some take up knitting.
When I was a lad 'I don't know' wasn't an acceptable answer to a straight question like that.
As requested by naomi, from the previous thread:

HTB; Fining people in the 7th century as taxes, for not being followers of your new religion is hardly living in 'peace & harmony' is it?

I would liken that to YOU being fined by say, the Scientologists for not being one of them! The stories of the oppression of the Jews & other non-Islamic religions over the centuries is frightening.

I have here 3 books by K. Armstrong btw. she's OK but is a bit of an apologist & it is useless trying to use any internet Islamic site for reference as all they do is whitewash everything

One of the best sources for honest criticism of Islam would be Hamad Abdel-Samad, an Egyptian intellectual brought up as a strict Muslim ( his father was an Imam ) He has made some excellent videos & now has a fatwah hanging over him for his trouble.
I think almost all religions have a history of persecution and violence, because of their insistence that they know the truth (the only true and whole truth) and they have been brought up to let the 'truth' that they 'know' override logic and reason. Religions are run by people (almost all men) who find themselves in positions of power, and those who have power don't usually want to lose it. If their religion turned out to be false, they would then lose their power, so they will do anything to retain it, by violence if necessary.
Khandro, my link was the first one I found late last night, and I didn’t have time to research it fully - but I felt an accusation of ‘lack of all credibility’ couldn’t go unchallenged! A better example would be Muhammad’s treaty with the monks of St Catherine’s Monastery on Mt Sinai. But we could swap examples all day long of ‘good’ Muslims and ‘bad’ Muslims (and Christians, and atheists, and others). However, this misses one of the fundamental questions - namely, is Islam inherently a bad thing? Based on what I’ve seen and heard so far, I’d say that it depends where you look. But I have no doubt there are many here who would disagree with me…
HTB: //However, this misses one of the fundamental questions - namely, is Islam inherently a bad thing? //

The question begs for an answer which distinguishes between good & bad & that I can't do, but what I would say is that there is something wrong in a religion in which its clerics can hand out a death sentence urging any Muslims to kill a person who has been critical in any way, (Rushdie, Abdel-Samad & a host of others). In fact the murderer will be rewarded with a place in heaven through his action.

A-Samad has not suggested the total abolition of the religion at all, he has talked about a "post-Koranic Islam" by which he means I think some kind of dialogue within the Islamic world of reform, but rather than it entertain the idea, one (it only needs one) cleric anywhere in the world can dish out such a death threat.

One glaring problem with Islam that it has no leader in the sense that the Roman Catholic Church has its pope, the Anglican Church has the Archb. of Cantab. & Buddhism has its Dalai Lama. I'm afraid Islam has only a rag-bag of many different squabbling leaders, each holding enormous power, & many of whom are by our standards, barely educated.
//I'm afraid Islam has only a rag-bag of many different squabbling leaders//

Much like the Christian Churches that you just mentioned.

//but what I would say is that there is something wrong in a religion in which its clerics can hand out a death sentence//

You havnt read the Old Testament then?
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Betsy, I think Islam is, over all, a bad thing.
To be honest Naomi, I think religion is, over all, a bad thing.
Enter the barbarians, stage left.
While that sounds plausible, mozz... I think the problem is that it's actually the other way around.
Humans invented religion to excuse "themselves" from being bad. Religion didn't start it.
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Indeed, khandro. A great pity.
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Betsy, will you read the books I recommended?
Yes Naomi, although I'm currently in the middle of a weighty tome about Jacobitism, so it may be a while. But I've spent some time this morning reading various articles about Harris and listening to some of his podcasts. It's fair to say he has his critics too. It was interesting to hear Masha Gessen arguing that, as a gay Jewish woman, she felt more of an existential threat from fundamentalist Christians than from fundamentalist Muslims. I was also mildly irritated by him apparently not knowing the difference between England and Britain. I was alarmed when I read that he advocated a nuclear first strike on the Islamic world - until I discovered that he didn't actually say that at all. Once again, it shows the danger of quoting out of context.

On that topic, I have to say I do have a problem with Quran 9:29; thank you for bringing it to my attention. Even reading it in the context of the verses before and after it, it clearly states that Muslims are to fight nonbelievers. Some commentators have argued that the verse was revealed to Muhammad following the battle of Mu'tah and was a response to Byzantine aggression. It may well have been - although this will not stop people using it as justification to attack the infidel.

I'm not necessarily arguing that this lets Islam off the hook altogether - just that the Quran should be read in its historical context; something that neither its supporters or detractors do enough of.
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//To be honest Naomi, I think religion is, over all, a bad thing.//

Those who mistakenly consider every religion to be alike may be interested in this written by Winston Churchill at the end of the 19th century.

//How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.
A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.
Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.//

Nothing has changed.

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