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About spamsickle

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  1. I'm glad to hear that the people who are rational enough to learn the facts and take the time to express their opinions on the BBC website consider the calls for execution as absurd and barbaric as I do. The fact remains that thousands of people are not so rational, and have taken the time to express their feelings in public demonstrations. As an outsider, my opinion has no weight whatsoever with Muslims; I hope they can be persuaded to listen to their calmer and more thoughtful brethren.
  2. Western Perceptions Of Islam

    Some beliefs don't deserve respect. Thinking a woman should be executed because she allowed children to name a child's toy "Mohammed" is one such belief. From what I've heard, many Muslims in Britain are condemning the calls for execution too. Certainly, Muslims who endorse such barbarism are an embarrassment to anyone who believes Islam should be a religion of peace.
  3. The Corruption Of The Bible

    It seems to me that the term of bondage could turn out to be open-ended, if (as I said earlier) the slaveholder doesn't choose to be generous and free the slave outright, and the slave lacks the means to ransom himself. And what the US is doing in Guantanamo is absolutely wrong. It is a violation of our Constitution, and an ongoing injustice which only serves to sully our reputation around the world. Those men should either be charged and tried, or released. There is not a location on earth where the sun sets, nor a location where the sun arises. These verses clearly have someone going to the ends of the earth, to THE PLACE where the sun sets, and THE PLACE where it rises. The story is like a primitive version of Gulliver's Travels, and can't be rationally viewed as anything other than mythical, in my opinion. I suppose. To me, the verses which discuss slavery matter-of-factly present the viewpoint that it's okay to have slaves, and okay to marry them. To me, that viewpoint is outdated. You may be correct in saying that Islam "managed" the problem of slavery by finding a practical way to end it without condemning it outright, but to me the "pragmatic" approach just underscores how closely the Quran is tied to the time in which it was written. Today, it might not even be necessary to mention slavery, but if slavery WAS mentioned, it would have to be condemned rather than accepted as an unpleasant fact of life.
  4. Did Mohammed Really Split The Moon

    alameen, it makes perfect sense to me. I doubt that any scientific evidence (or objective historical account) will be found, any more than there is scientific evidence for Jesus' water walk. I can understand the desire to invoke "scientific miracles," but I think it's misplaced. It seems that the Quran itself is conflicted on the subject. On the one hand, it frequently invokes its "clear signs", which were the scientific miracles of its time -- ships float, rain falls, the sun and the moon hang suspended in the sky, night follows day follows night... On the other hand, as Layna has pointed out, it seems to prefer that Muslims rely on faith alone, rather than miracles, as the foundation of their beliefs.
  5. Did Mohammed Really Split The Moon

    I'm not surprised myself. If others are, perhaps it's because 17:59 says "We refrain from sending the signs," suggesting that one should not expect miracles from Muhammad.
  6. The Corruption Of The Bible

    In 47:4, where it says "bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom". If the Muslim who has enslaved (bound a bond on) the unbeliever does not feel generous enough to free the slave outright, and the slave lacks the resources to ransom himself, what do you suppose happens? I'd say there's a good chance he simply remains a slave. The Quran does not command him to free the slave outright, or specify that the "ransom" must be set so low as to guarantee his freedom. 18:86 speaks of a traveler who journeys to the location on earth where the sun sets. Yusufali says "he found it set in a spring of murky water," Pickthal says "he found it setting in a muddy spring," and Shakir says "he found it going down into a black sea". I guess in this context, it's recognizing that the Bible and the Quran contain passages which are mythical or outdated. Both books can still make valid points without every word in them being literally true.
  7. The Corruption Of The Bible

    I am honestly puzzled as to what you are trying to say here. Could you maybe phrase your question a little differently? I am not saying slavery is ethical, if that's what you're asking. I'm saying the Quran condones it. If you like, though I suspect such a list would say more about your darker side than it would about mine. I think it's inevitable, as "the times" continue to advance and the Quran remains "preserved", that Muslims will begin to disregard bits and pieces which remain mired in the Bronze Age. As I pointed out, it seems to be happening already, with the bits which condone slavery, or speak of the sun setting in a muddy spring. And not all Christians have made the shift themselves, as the recent opening of the "Creation Museum" demonstrates. I do think that Muslim fundamentalists are still a majority of Muslims, while Christian fundamentalists are a minority of Christians. In that sense, I consider contemporary Christianity to be a more enlightened religion than contemporary Islam, but I'm not tempted to enlist.
  8. Did Mohammed Really Split The Moon

    I don't believe Jesus walked on water, or Moses parted the sea. I don't believe people lived to be 900 years old, and I don't believe Noah built an ark to preserve the world's wildlife. I don't believe Prometheus brought fire to the world, and I don't believe Harry Potter has a cloak that makes him invisible. I don't believe in ghosts, ESP, or destiny. And oh yeah, I don't believe Muhammad split the moon. Life is good.
  9. Please Discuss

    You should meet my friend "gnuneo"; I think you and he would find much to agree about. I was very fond of Jung and his theories when I was younger (no pun intended). As a writer, I still employ a lot of Jungian symbolism and devices. I don't really believe in other planes of existence erupting into our world in pseudopods of synchronicity, but it's fun to pretend sometimes. And, for the record, I love this boring, sterile, mechanically UNpredictable world we live in. Life is good.
  10. The Corruption Of The Bible

    The United States encourages smokers to give up cigarettes, but it doesn't outlaw cigarettes. Thus, it condones smoking. The Quran encourages slaveholders to free their slaves, but it doesn't COMMAND them to free their slaves, or forbid slavery. Therefore, it condones (allows, excuses, forgives) slavery. As long as Islam continues to regard the Quran as the eternal and unchanging word of God, which delineates right and wrong for all time, Islam condones slavery. When Muslims can join (for example) enlightened Christians in recognizing that their holy books were written in another place and time, and must be considered in light of modern realities, it will be a huge step forward. You seem to be partway there yourself. You recognize that slavery is wrong, so you tend to dismiss the many passages in the Quran in which slavery is treated matter-of-factly, and emphasize the passages which encourage (but do not require) slaveholders to free their slaves. It's a start.
  11. The Corruption Of The Bible

    Narrated Wa'il ibn Hujr: "When a woman went out in the time of the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) for prayer, a man attacked her and overpowered (raped) her. She shouted and he went off, and when a man came by, she said: That (man) did such and such to me. And when a company of the Emigrants came by, she said: That man did such and such to me. They went and seized the man whom they thought had had intercourse with her and brought him to her. She said: Yes, this is he. Then they brought him to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him). When he (the Prophet) was about to pass sentence, the man who (actually) had assaulted her stood up and said: Apostle of Allah, I am the man who did it to her. He (the Prophet) said to the woman: Go away, for Allah has forgiven you. And about the man who had intercourse with her, he said: Stone him to death. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4366)" As you can see, the passage has the Prophet saying "Allah has forgiven you". I'm not sure exactly how the Prophet came by this information, since only Allah knows who is forgiven, and Allah doesn't speak directly to humans, but assuming this is accurate my question is still "What has the woman done that needs to be forgiven?" There are at least two good reasons. First, rape is a much more serious crime than adultery or fornication. The hadith cited above appears to acknowledge this, because the punishment for the rapist is not 100 lashes, as prescribed in 24:2, but rather death by stoning. Rape is a crime of violence. A woman may be injured or even killed by a rapist, but injury and death are unlikely for consentual sex. Second, there is the case where a husband rapes his wife. This is neither adultery nor fornication, but it is still a serious crime in my culture. I have seen clips on uTube where Muslims appear to think it's absurd to charge a husband with raping his wife, because (in their mind) the Prophet has decreed that wives must always be sexually available to satisfy their husband's sexual desires. That is not the case in my culture. If my wife and I are fighting, or she is (for whatever reason -- illness, fatigue, concern about some situation at the office) not in the mood for intimacy, I don't have the right to simply force myself on her. You may believe otherwise, either because you think God has ordained it, or simply because you have grown up in a different culture. So, to sum up, I believe rape is a more serious crime than fornication or adultery, and deserves more serious punishment, even though the Quran doesn't take this position. Indeed, in 24:33, while the Quran says that one should not force one's slaves to become prostitutes, it sets out no penalty for those who do so. To me, this is forcing a women to have sex against her will, which my culture defines as rape. As in the hadith I quoted above, it says the women will be forgiven in such cases. Unlike the hadith, 24:33 is inexplicably silent on what earthly punishment, if any, may be appropriate for the pimp who is an accomplice to rape. I also have another point to add on my discussion of slavery, though neither of you seem to have addressed the points I've already raised. ###### says the Quran forbids enslaving a free human being, and cites as support 47:4, which says "Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens." ###### says that this means the slaves must either be freed or ransomed, but there is a third possibility. If the Muslim doesn't voluntarily choose to free the slave, and the slave is unable to raise the sums required for ransom, it seems to me he continues to remain in bondage, with the full consent of the Quran.
  12. The Corruption Of The Bible

    This is the punishment for fornication and adultery. In my culture, rape is a more serious crime than fornication or adultery, and merits a more serious punishment. Indeed, in most cases involving adults, fornication is not a crime at all. I believe some states still have laws against sodomy, which makes certain kinds of fornication illegal (and certain kinds of sex between married persons, for that matter), but such laws are generally not enforced. Adultery is not a crime, but a private matter among the parties involved. My reading of the Quran is that it explicitly condemns fornication and adultery, and prescribes the penalties you've noted, but it does not explicitly condemn rape, or suggest that the punishment for forcible rape should be any more severe than the punishment for consentual sex. If my understanding is incorrect, I trust you will lead me back to the truth. 33:50 "O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee" This passage suggests that God must have mistakenly believed that Muhammad DID own slaves, because His holy word says that it is lawful for the Prophet to marry his slaves. Indeed, it says that God has "assigned" these slaves to Muhammad. If that's not condoning slavery, please teach me what I've misunderstood. For Muslims other than Muhammad, the Quran also permits them to marry slaves, even if those slaves are already married to other men: 4:24 "Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess" 16:71 "Allah has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others: those more favoured are not going to throw back their gifts to those whom their right hands possess, so as to be equal in that respect. Will they then deny the favours of Allah?" This suggests that God has favored the slaveholders by bestowing wealth (including slaves) on them, and says it's okay (and only natural) if the wealthy don't give their slaves enough money to buy their freedom and become equal to the slaveholders. I agree that the Quran says it's a charitable (good) act to free slaves (90:13), but it doesn't seem to say it's a sin to own slaves. That's why I say it "condones" slavery.
  13. The Corruption Of The Bible

    So it is the rape victim's innocence which is being forgiven?
  14. The Corruption Of The Bible

    Chapter 24 is really all over the place, but unless this is another one of those "you have to speak Arabic" situations where adulterers, fornicators, and rapists are the same thing, it doesn't seem to have anything to say on the subject of rape. In English, adultery and fornication are consentual acts. 33, like the hadith referenced earlier, suggests that God will forgive the rape victim. In this case, it seems to say that if some man becomes an accessory to rape (by forcing his slave women into prostitution against their will), God will forgive the women. Maybe you could explain to me what, exactly, women who are forced to have sex against their will have done which would need to be forgiven?
  15. The Corruption Of The Bible

    Okay, here's my "Twilight Zone" scenario for some of the things we might see if the Quran was protected as I proposed. If someone took a permanent marker, and crossed out a word or a phrase, the marks would simply fade away, revealing the original words. If someone erased a word or a phrase, the words removed would re-appear as if by magic. A page ripped from the Quran would simply vanish, and re-appear in its proper place in the Holy Book. People would still be able to create incomplete or inaccurate versions of the Quran (for example, by quoting a surah in a paper on comparative religions), but these works would not preserve themselves as the Quran does, and so could never be mistaken for the true Quran. If a school child took a pack of notebook paper, and wrote (in his own handwriting) a complete and accurate copy of the Quran, it would protect itself just as faithfully as a leather-bound, gilt-edged book from the finest publisher. Indeed, he would KNOW that it was an accurate copy BECAUSE it was uncorruptible. If he found that crossed-out words didn't uncross themselves when he was done, he'd know that he'd misspelled a word, or left something out, or made some other mistake. Each language spoken in the world would have its own version of the Quran, so that it really would be available to all men, rather than being limited to those who were fluent in classical Arabic. I think if there really were such a Quran, even diehard skeptics like me would probably revert without delay.