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About MajidM

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  1. View On Atheists/agnostics

    Yes, I agree. That was a great post to read and I can totally relate to the "journey" that you speak of. Its frightening how similar your description of it is to how I would describe mine. Especially this part; Your view of the universe is markedly more whimsical and sentimental than mine, as at the core, I'm a dyed in the wool nihlist. Hence I disagree with much of your post but we see eye to eye on alot. Student; my replies to your arguments will be written shortly, when I have the time.
  2. View On Atheists/agnostics

    This is truly a ridiculous sentiment to hold that many in this thread are passing off as the basis for their belief in Islam. They speak as if all ideologies and all religious texts were layed at their feet before they were Muslim and using scientific and objective reasoning they "discovered" that Islam was right and the others wrong. As if before they were born, their soul was granted access to all human perspectives and Islam passed the test. The fact that they were born into a Muslim household in the first place was then simply a cosmic coincidence. The fact of the matter remains that most Muslims probably never read the Bible, most never even considered picking it up to see if it was possibly more authentic and that they were simply wrong all along. What would be the point, because "I already know that the Quran is the final word of God, so it would be redundant to reaffirm this." Many probably have never the Quran, but they know it to be authentic and true. Which segways into my next point... Both. You need to lose the veneer of spiritual immunity to even allow yourself the forsight to see the technical flaws. If you believe, first and foremost, that God exists and more importantly, that YOUR God exists, then you will simply be blinded to the stunning flaws, contradictions and logical/moral conundrums inherent in your religion. This, of course, is unlikely to happen because people find science to fit their religion rather than use science to try and prove God's existence. If you truly believe that God exists and his word is final that ANYTHING, absolutely anything can be justified, wether it be killing apostates, marrying children or the earth being flat. One of the many things, yes. I disagree. Science exists to prove and provide theory to formerly inexplainable phenomena, not to ensure its own existence. Rather than religion and science being two opposing worldviews which are competing for dominance, religion itself IS a primitive attempt at science. Whereas people who saw the sun rise and had no way of explaining asked "who is making this happen" and found theories to explain it we can now explain how/why it happens. Oral tradition implies that there is no way of verifying the authenticity of what is being relayed. Since you insist. I prayed mostly 5 times a day. Read the Quran, hadith, shariah in English and Urdu. Don't remember who translated it but I see no point in even asking that question.
  3. View On Atheists/agnostics

    I lost faith because a greater understanding of philosophy, history, and sociological/pshychological trends essentially proves beyond a shadow of doubt that my faith is not unique. People believed just as much in so called "false" Gods long before Muhammed even existed and continued to do so long after he died. I found it to be an absurd notion that I was an exception to the prevailing trends throughout the beginning of recorded human history and that my faith was somehow "deeper" then theirs and that they were in denial of my truth. Is it more likely that I was somehow above the same human impulses that my religious superiors claimed that non-Muslim's were privy to or was it more likely that I myself was a product of them and convincing myself that I wasn't? This is essentially the logical fallacy of organized religion; believing that your version of the divine is somehow all knowing and all powerful yet his word has never broken through the compartively superficial boundries of time, geography, etc. This realization was more powerful than any sentiments or affilitations I felt towards the comfort of my upbringing. This is also another avenue that religions consistantly fail at, which if you so desire we can switch our discussion to. Religious people's generally decide that they believe in God and then find justifications to fit that preconcieved notion. The reasoning is essentially; "God exists and I KNOW he exists and that he is benevolant, merciful and all powerful, therefore everything must have rationale behind it, its simply a matter of finding it. Its backwards justification starting with an assumption an finding evidence to prove that intial "fact" to be true. Its the exact opposite of the scientific method. Unfortunately, objective fact is something that religions either completely disregard (at which point its follower's insist, when it suits them, that their is some grand metaphor being used) or they are themselves manifestations of primitive attempts at science (at which point it's followers marvel at the scientific revelations inherent within it) The story of Noah's arc for example was considered to be a literal story which actually happened amongst Christians, however when it was soon proven that it was a scientifically impossible occurance it all of a sudden became a metaphorical moral tale which is not meant to be taken literally. Evolution, for example, is considered "junk science" to most religious people's but a virgin birth is perfectly viable. Muslim's marvel that the Quran revelead the concept of a spherical Globe when Greeks had also discovered this, without the help of God, centuries earlier. There is no consistancy; Religious people use science to prove the validity of their religion when it suits them and completely disregard it when it doesn't. This fits into what I was talking about earlier; religious people picking and choosing what they see to maintain their faith instead of serious logical questioning. Muslims often critisize the Bible for being reformed and corrupted (which, believe me, is a valid argument) but fail to consider that the Quran was not even compiled until nearly 50 years after it was first revealed, until which point it was passed through oral tradition. The life of the Prophet Muhammed was not fully compiled untill several centuries after his death, passing through oral tradition amongst followers in that time, during a period of several violent regime changes. Is there any possiblity that some of it was either lost, manipulated or misunderstood. What garuntee is there that any of it is authentic, legitamate and uncorrupted? No. Most definately.
  4. View On Atheists/agnostics

    . I welcome that proposition. I meant thats its impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God. But one can use common sense as to find the more likely scenario of the two. I know Muslims who consider themselves Muslim having never read the Quran in a language they understand (instead reading it in Arabic phoenetically and convincing themselves they are learning something), I've met Muslims who think the call for prayer is the most beuatiful thing they have ever heard, having no idea what it even means. I've met Muslims who claim they have devoutly believed the message in Islam all their life, having never read any other religious book other than the Quran in their entire lives. I would wager to say that alot of the Muslims you yourself know fit into these categories (I'm using Islam as an example but I by no means believe that Muslims are the only people privy to this phenomenon) So what is it? How can people who have never been exposed to any other ideology than the one they have been taught "know" that it is correct. Is it because they have a sentimental attachment to what they were born into and a vested interest in maintaining it, or is it because they actually are "right" and that they all won the universe's divine lottery and are gifted with a unique deep seated knowledge of the Universe that they can only describe to people that don't have it? You belief in your version of God, a Christian believes in his version of God. You claim he is in denial of the truth, he claims you are in denial of the truth. You claim that his belief is real but not "really real", like yours. Meanwhile he says the same thing about you. How do you that you are right or that that same deep seated unexplainable "feeling" you have that God really does exist is not a sentiment shared just as deeply by him? I keep asking because I have not gotten an answer to that question yet. I've gotten apologetic backpeddling and veiled cop outs that either refer to the riduclous notion that genetics dictate everything we become or that converts somehow single handedly disprove several lifetimes worth of sociological fact. Because it completely destroys the concept of objective truth which religion claims to be based upon. It means that Religion is a tool of the human mind to find stability. It essentially means that God didn't create us, we created God.
  5. Is Nothing Sacred?

    The last renovations of that shopping complex were being completed whilst I was on hajj late last year. I found it amazingly bizarre that I could literally walk out of what many believe to be the holiest place on earth and in no less than 15 seconds be standing in front of a Burger King, with the shadow of the complex engulfing the Masjid al-Haram outside. A strange juxtaposition indeed.
  6. View On Atheists/agnostics

    You are not answering my questioning. I didn't ask you if they are judged or not by God I'm simply asking you WHERE they go after they die. This is a very important question as it reveals alot about the benevolance of the divine being that created this system and the eternal fate of countless generations. "God knows best" essentially equals "I personally don't know but I'm sure they go somewhere and wherever it is its probably an alright place." If you don't know then simply say you don't know. Also aren't you essentially claiming that morality exists outside of Islam? So one can't learn about Islam unless they fully intend on discovering it in the first place? That...really makes no sense whatsoever. I guess I couldn't read Mein Kampf unless I fully intended on becoming a Nazi before I even picked it up. Otherwise I would be "judging" it.
  7. View On Atheists/agnostics

    Alright...what is your reaction and WHY? For the sake of THIS particular discussion I'm talking to a number of Muslims, so what would be the point of disproving Hinduism as you believe it to be false anyways? So can the Quran if you choose to look. But like I said; most Muslims don't because it doesn't serve their interests to put it under a magnifying glass. Besides I could have used any number of divine beings as an example. I will if you honestly believe that you have objective, historical and scientific reasons to not believe in a countless number of Gods. I don't think you do. I still stand by what I said. If you put 10 people in a vaccum and studied the course of their lives there would be a good probably that 9 out of 10 of them would develop some concept of the divine. The one atheist is still a scientific statistic but their existence is less of a prevailing trend in the greater picture. I think history proves that religion and belief in the divine is more a prevailing trend and the reasons behind their existence can usually be pinpointed after the fact to superficial events. Nearly every culture in every far removed corner of the Globe has independently developed concepts of the divine. Why is Islam any different than these? So far the only answer I have gotten is "God knows best" which is nothing more than a cop out, or "they do not go to hell" which begs the obvious question. Finally, I thought I was going to go crazy there for a minute.
  8. View On Atheists/agnostics

    Why not? That is a perfectly valid argument. Whatever gets you through the day. I don't pity religious people even though I believe for the most part they're a victim of their own weaker human impluses. I don't let that belief make me dehumanize them. You aren't what you believe. I looked at Islam and it weakened my faith in Islam. I don't use the term "their God" in a literal sense, as in the existence of the Christian God compared to the existence of Islamic God. I mean the Christian belief in God, the Islamic belief in God, etc. I just assumed that the legitamacy of certain scripture would imply the existance of the God described in that scripture and thus would be pointless to reiterate every time. So, I agree with you, and in essence was essentially doing that but my verbiage was perhaps not ideal. I just assumed that was fairly obvious.
  9. View On Atheists/agnostics

    Yes, I was a Muslim. I grew up in a devout, Sunni Muslim household just the same as you (I assume this is true, correct me if I'm wrong) As this is probably impossible to prove over the internet I won't even bother trying, nor do I particularly care wether you believe me or not so you need not quiz me on Islamic knowledge. I simply won't answer. For the record though I've read the Quran front to back more times than I can count. As this whole thing is spiraling somewhat into a muddled, confusing mess of a discussion I'll simply lay out my essential argument. To any Muslims who care answer. What would be your general reaction to an individual who converts into Islam? Joy, Dissapointment, Indiference? What would be your reaction if and individual converted to Hinduism? Again joy, dissapoinment, indifference, etc? What about someone coverting to Christianity, or atheism, etc.? If you are going to use conversion to as an example to prove that people are not affected by their environments, as you have continually done, then ANY conversion from any person to any religion should be equally celebrated. But they aren't. Inevitably, you will celebrate conversion to Islam more than you celebrate conversion to another religion. The point that I'm getting at is this; I don't beleive in God for the same reason you don't believe in Zeus. Thats the problem with debating the existence of God with religious people. Any arguments you use to prove his exitence can be used by other religions to prove the existence of their God and not yours. Conquests/ Religious Expansion; Religions spread when their followers have the means to spread their religion. Before any communicative advances; how would people learn about Islam? What would happen to these people? If God is benevolant and all powerful and we are dealing with the eternal fate of countless numbers of souls then why not simply give his followers means to spread his word? It simply makes no sense. I'm sorry, I don't understand your point or the question in general.
  10. View On Atheists/agnostics

    No apology necessary. You are passionate about what you believe and that is admirable. By all means, do not respect my opinion, I would have it no other way. Respect my opinion by tearing it apart. But if you choose not to continue it was fun discussing this here. Yes, again I agree with your statement. Justice, not as a word but as a practice, is flawed. It cannot be implemented universally and there are places where evil can go unaccounted for without being brought to justice. It needs human resources and will and only with omniscience can it hold any garuntees. Thus, a rapist can go unpunished, a victim may not recieve any reparation, an innocent man may be punished. Such is life. I can see why a different overlying system of divine, unwavering justice which noone can escape could seem more inticing to someone, even if it didn't really exist. If I were the father of girl that was raped, I might give in and believe in this system of justice too because it would be easier. Same with a religious person. The Islamic conquest of Spain is often twisted into a benevolant excursion into Europe to "save" people. The killing of apostates in Islam is often twisted towards any number things other that what it really is, murder. Athiests aren't the only ones who do this. I don't see how that ties into what you said earlier. They are not relevant because; They are in the minority and every religion has its own converts. If you are going to use converts as an example to prove that social conditioning doesn't exist then you are also making a point for Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity because people also convert to those philosophies as well. It proves nothing yet when someone comes into a religion the people of that religion use that to prove that their religion is right. In keeping with Layna's notion that Muslims spreading around the world is a product of mass conversion, I would say its not. Its a product of Muslims themselves spreading around the world. That, to me at least, seems like something that is fairly obvious. Besides, every other religion on earth has the exact same story. Religions are created in small obscure places in the world, the poor usually convert to this new idea because it promises them charity and an unbeatable class status higher than the richest people on earth, and after that initial conversion wave continues to reach other regions by force of its religious followers (who are now the ruling class and have the means to spread the religion), and then the religion is passed on from generation to generation. Every religion, political ideology, economic system has the same story. Again it proves nothign as to the validity of one religion over another.
  11. American Hero Pat Tillman Executed By His Comrades

    The coroner who examined Tillman's body cited that there was suspicion of murder. He claimed that spread of the bullets indicated the shots to have come from 10 feet away. (you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetforbes(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/feeds/ap/2007/07/26/ap3958728.html"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetforbes(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/feeds/ap/2007/07/26/ap3958728.html[/url] (you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yeteditorandpublisher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003617692"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yeteditorandpublisher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/eandp/ne...t_id=1003617692[/url]
  12. View On Atheists/agnostics

    In advance, despite disagreeing with you on virtually everything I find you to be delighful presence on these boards and your posts generally enjoyable to read, and as such have no interest in finding a foe in you. I apologise for anything in my posts which may have seemed antagonising towards you, as it was not my intention. Circumstance shapes who we are. Where you end usual depends on where you started. I would say thats far from an "ill concieved, half-cooked" theory I simply concocted out of thin air, its actually a fairly reasonable argument made by countless sociologists and pschyiatrists since the advent of those fields. I was under the impression that this was kind of a generally accepted pnenomenon, kind of like the earth being round. I guess that was a false presumption to make. I bring up conquests because it is relevant. If relgions weren't spread by its followers then non-believers wouldn't follow said religions and they would inevitably reside to a fate inarguably less desirable than the religions believers. So yes, people born into the "one true" religion are at an advantage to those that aren't. I (along with most people involved in the sociological/pschyiatry fields) believe they do, you believe they don't. A.) Simply not true. B.) Talk about not focusing on the matter at hand. Well I don't beleive heaven exists for anyone to go to. I was asking you what your personal view on this was and then took the liberty of discussing, in advance, the only options you posssibly could believe. That they go to purgatory, that God grants them access to heaven because they weren't given a chance, or that they go to hell. Which one do you believe? You honestly believe that? That the time period, society, family, class, etc. we are born into have absolutely no effect on who we become? Nazis were genetically presiposed to become Nazis, rascists are genetically predisposed to become rascists, etc.? None of this is learned? I'm sorry but wether you actually believe that to be true is extremely relevant as its the point you are continuing to make (much to my frustration). I never claimed that nurture entirely shapes our personalities, but it has alot to do with what we end up believing. Do you disagree with this assesment? If you claim that genetics shapes who we are then aren't also claiming that people believe what they believe because of circumstance they didn't choose? In fact you are kind of contradicting the whole premise of your own argument. My goal; discuss, debate, learn, unlearn, relearn. The very reason discussion forums exist, I believe. I have no interest in blaspheming another persons beliefs. I do, however have my own beliefs and am interested in differing opinions on them, and given the general nature of (friendly?) debate existing on such forums, enjoy the atmosphere of intellectual discussion. Nothing sinister.
  13. View On Atheists/agnostics

    I dont see how. When I use the word "convert" I mean more in the context of today; as in a person who chooses to change religion without coercion or because of the sudden emergence of a dominating culture (ie Islamic conquest of Spain, Discovery of the New World, Crusades etc) These examples are obviously going to create a sudden influx of followers as the existing people of said land are integrated into the new culture. This process is by no means benevolant, its simply conquest. If your speaking of converts in the context of the current more globalized world where conversion incentives can be expanded over even the internet if one so chooses than yes, in keeping with my orginal stance, "converts" are in the minority and don't represent a prevailing shift in mass conciousness or the benevolance of one religion over another, they represent an expansion of global cultural integration. And you have also inadvertantly proven my point. You are of course going to be walking on eggshells when you try to prove the existence of an eternal being while at the same time trying to disprove people's belief in other eternal beings other than your own. All these people are, in your opinion, wrong in choosing to convert to Christianity and are more than likely going to suffer in eternal hellfire. What does this prove as to your point? They were simply a victim of unfortunate circumstance? What about the countless European and American Hidus? The South American ones? The australian ones? I was simply using a rethorical example to demonstrate the greater flaw in religion. Religious expansion can only occur given the means for expansion. What were people in South America supposed to do before Islam had the means of reaching them. Their fate would inevitably resides to the consequence of unfortunate circumstance. What would happen to them? Pugatory? Would they also go to heaven being the victims of circumstance? BOth options are unfair. Why should an individual suffer eternal mediocraty because God did not see it fit to offer his followers the means to bring his word to them and correct his ways. Why should a "bad" person enjoy the benefits of heaven with his betters because God did not give his followers the means of bringing his word to him and changing his primitive ways? Far from a theory I simply made up, what I'm speaking of is the simple human phenomenon thaught in indtroductary Sociological classes, nature vs. nurture. People's environments shape who they become. A Jew with the same physical build up and genetic predispostitions born into a German household could just as easily have been Amon Goeth for all we know.
  14. View On Atheists/agnostics

    Same thing a Christian would say. You yourself, to a Christian at least, have not decided to accept the "truth" that the Bible is the word of God. What makes his belief that any more "true" than you? (again, other than because he has been conditioned to believe so) Because truth is relative to the subjective realities of the minds that hold them. Your upbrining shapes your reality, and the rest of your life is largely a process of selective thinking which serves to reinforce and maintin what you have already been led to believe. Not to say that religious people's don't truly believe what they claim to, but what they do believe was most likely not a choice of theirs to believe in the first place. This is entirely a superficial matter of circumstance which we try desperately to convince ourselves we have choice over. Again, there are Christian, Jews, Hindus, who believe themselves to hold objective truth and you to be in denial of the truth just as legitimately as you hold that same view of them. What makes you more right than them, other than being born into a Muslim family? For the most part , I agree with the above satement. Very well put, I may add. But defiance and grandeur are again matters of perspective. I would say that believing you can sit shoulder to shoulder with the divine amongst a luxurious paradise where all your needs are met whilst others who did not have the good sense to believe what you believe suffer in eternal torment is a manifestation of that same human characteristic for grandeur. The Heaven described in the Quran is extremely grandiose in its description. Same with the Bible. Defiance also can either be a positive or a negative given your preconcieved beliefs. The Prophet's early life for example is largely characterised by defiance to the ruling class at that time. This is mostly spoken of with pride amongst Muslims and that same sense of believing in the Islam amongst percecution is largely a prevailing feeling in the Muslim world. Christians in America believe that there is a greater moral fabric which is being torn to shreds by a larger more dominating force, in spite of the fact that nearly every politicain is a Christian and that THEY for the most part ARE the larger more dominating force. This is simply in keeping with the general themes of defiance in the Bible (Christ being persecuted by the larger ruling class, their ENTIRE religion is based on this defiance) Defiance in this case, is a good thing to them (and precious example is a good thing to you) Yet when you are defiant against Islam and become an apostate it is commonly believed that you should be put to death, same with Christianity. Religious people are subject to those same underlying human impulses as well. They have a different manifestation for them. Yes, and I'm sure that there are may atheists who fight the urge to get down on their knees and pray to a higher being at the advent of a love one's death and their ensuing greif, for example. Its probably alot easier to believe at that time. It simply a matter of which impulse you believe to have more dominance throughout the course of an individual's life. Yes, I couldn't have said it better myself. It was "luck" that you were born into Islam. You would also be saying you were lucky to be born into a Christian family, if that were the case. You would be saying "thank God(s) I was born into a Hindu household" if that were the case. Its hard to say much of anything else after the fact, because you would believe in any number of things that you believe to be false at this moment if your circumstances were different. Its a simple sociological rule, your environment shapes you. As much atheists as religious people, I may add. Belief in God is first and foremost the impetus behind most things a follower believes, inculding your above statement. Chrisitanity has the same story, starting in an obscure dot in the Middle East to spanning the globe (in greater numbers than Islam even) If you want to talk sheer numbers, Christianity more than likely has more converts that Islam. That doesn't prove that Christianity is right, does it? It just proves that Christians have the resources to create missionary inneciatives and such (matter of circumstance) Thus if you want to compare number of converts to total followers, they more than likely represent a miniscule demographic. Islam becoming globalized has more to do with Mulims moving to other countries and integrating into their cultures and sparking some minor conversion waves than anything else. Again, does this not represent a matter of circumstance? If air travel wasn't invented an entire generation of non-muslims would be in hell because they would have no way of disovering Islam (another massive flaw in religious dogma which is another debate all together though)
  15. View On Atheists/agnostics

    Yes, for the record, I believe that what you have stated, albiet sarcastically, is most likely the case (sad as it may be) There is nothing to suggest otherwise, other than wishful thinking, which is exactly what you have subconciously conveyed in the above quote. You find it hard to believe that a rapist will eventually meet the same end as you, so you believe in some post-death divine justice which will conveniently tie up any loose ends; a system which there is no reason to believe even exists other than because you want it to. Infact, you essentially have verbalized a thought process which serves more as an argument FOR athiesm rather than the contrary. I believe that it is such thinking that leads people to a believe in a divine creator; again fear of the unknown, fear or disorder, fear of death etc. How so?