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Atheists: What Does It Take For You To Believe?

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:sl:

 

I personally think that it's likely that Mohammed was a genius who composed the Koran himself. The Koran is not a long work. He had a whole 23 years to do it

 

The Qur’an clearly says that Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was unable to read and write, so if this wasn't true, certainly his contemporaries would have protested and rejected him. However, there are no reports of this. Certainly there were people who rejected Muhammad’s message, just like other Prophets were rejected, but none for this reason. On the contrary, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, had thousands of loyal followers and the results of their efforts made Islam spread from Spain to China in just over a century! It is also interesting to note that even though the Qur’an is not poetry, the Arabs more or less gave up writing poetry after it was revealed. It could be said that the Qur'an is the piece of Arabic literature par excellence - and Muhammad’s contemporaries realized that they couldn't out do it.

 

Additionally, it is easy to prove that Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, did not possess a great deal of the knowledge which is expounded in the Qur’an: such as knowledge of historical events, previous prophets and natural phenomenon. The Qur’an says in several places that Muhammad and his people did not know these things- so, again, if this wasn't true, certainly his contemporaries would have rejected his claims.

 

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The fact that it is the ONLY work the prophet has produced and known to produce makes that much more unlikely that he could have produced it, don't you think? And you didn't address that he wasn't a writer, by profession, like Shakespeare which is pretty much all he did. The prophet had to create an entire new religion, including military battles, facing persecution, forming a new community, establishing rituals, being a judge, advisor and strategist. He didn't just specialize in just one thing. Oh, and he just suddenly developed this proclivity at the age of 40?

 

What is the probability of that?

 

I'm very unfamiliar with Islam, but since this thread was aimed at my sort (atheists), I suppose it's not unreasonable to offer my objections.

 

The first question I'd ask is how we are to know Muhammad actually wrote the Koran. According to various websites, not even most Muslims believe Muhammad was the author, but instead that he established oral traditions which were eventually written down by nth-generation Muslims. Moreover, when religious movements are involved, it is common for zealots to make false claims regarding authorship (and just about everything else, too). This is especially notable in the Christian era, where dozens of Greek Gospels and epistles were forged and otherwise falsely ascribed to various Christian founders. Simply speaking, I need more than untraceable religious tradition as evidence for authorship of such an important work.

 

I have other questions, of course, but they're unnecessary unless the above can be satisfactorily answered.

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I'm very unfamiliar with Islam, but since this thread was aimed at my sort (atheists), I suppose it's not unreasonable to offer my objections.

 

The first question I'd ask is how we are to know Muhammad actually wrote the Koran. According to various websites, not even most Muslims believe Muhammad was the author, but instead that he established oral traditions which were eventually written down by nth-generation Muslims. Moreover, when religious movements are involved, it is common for zealots to make false claims regarding authorship (and just about everything else, too). This is especially notable in the Christian era, where dozens of Greek Gospels and epistles were forged and otherwise falsely ascribed to various Christian founders. Simply speaking, I need more than untraceable religious tradition as evidence for authorship of such an important work.

 

I have other questions, of course, but they're unnecessary unless the above can be satisfactorily answered.

 

Thank you hatsoff for expressing your true concerns. I was once in your shoes, so I understand where you are coming from.

 

How do we know the prophet Muhammad, pbuh, authored the Qur'an (from God through the angel Gabriel)?

 

Please consider all these reasons, IN AGGREGATE, not just individually. These are only some reasons:

 

1. The Qur'an didn't exist before the Prophet Muhammad. It existed after the Prophet Muhammad. God addresses the prophet in the Qur'an by "Say, prophet..." So, obviously there is a strong link between the Qur'an and the Prophet.

2. The Qur'an references the Prophet's life throughout; it is a running commentary on what was happening to the Prophet. Many verses cannot even be fully understood unless one is aware of the context of what the Prophet was facing at that particular junction in time.

3. It simply is not true that the Qur'an was written after the Prophets time, it was recorded during his time, and very often at the time of the actual revelations by as much as 29 scribes. It was even compiled during the Prophet's time himself. The Uthmanic Codex was made after the Prophet's death using this compilation. But your argument is fair, how do we know this. It doesn't matter what I say, you'll have to check primary historic sources if you want to really be sure beyond what text books tell you. This is true if you want to verify any historical information whether it be Napoleon, Ceasar, Hammurabi, you name it. It's nothing new.

4. I can see your concern with regards to Bible analogy, but they really are two very very different stories. The bible was written by many authors, by as much as several hundred years after Jesus. The Bible is not written as if it is from above, from God. The Qur'an is written as if from above, from God.

 

But here is the most important reason...and oddly enough, what people seem to forget:

 

5. When all is said and done, the only reason people followed the Prophet, and the only real proof he had, was because of the revelations that he recited when in trances. Without the continuing revelations of the Qur'an, he would not have had a following. There would be no Islam. There would be no Muslims.

 

So to answer your question, how can we be sure the Prophet revealed the Qur'an? Because without the revelations, the Prophet would have no basis to say he was the Prophet, and no one would have followed him. The Qur'an was his proof.

 

Peace

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Thank you hatsoff for expressing your true concerns. I was once in your shoes, so I understand where you are coming from.

 

I thank you, as well, for the response. Allow me to expound on my problems with your religion:

 

How do we know the prophet Muhammad, pbuh, authored the Qur'an (from God through the angel Gabriel)?

 

Please consider all these reasons, IN AGGREGATE, not just individually. These are only some reasons:

 

I understand the danger of not seeing the forest for the trees, so please be assured I'm aware of this important principle, despite the fact that I'm dealing with each problem individually.

 

1. The Qur'an didn't exist before the Prophet Muhammad. It existed after the Prophet Muhammad. God addresses the prophet in the Qur'an by "Say, prophet..." So, obviously there is a strong link between the Qur'an and the Prophet.

 

Ah, so you believe that the Koran was written by others, but nevertheless were the words which Muhammad originally spoke. However, I don't think this point counts for very much when it comes to determining whether that view is correct; many biographies, especially those from antiquity, are wildly inaccurate.

 

2. The Qur'an references the Prophet's life throughout; it is a running commentary on what was happening to the Prophet. Many verses cannot even be fully understood unless one is aware of the context of what the Prophet was facing at that particular junction in time.

 

Again, the topic of the Koran can only tell us that the author was familiar with that topic--and that's assuming the context itself was not invented (I mean the specific contexts of individual narratives, not the life of Muhammad in general).

 

3. It simply is not true that the Qur'an was written after the Prophets time, it was recorded during his time, and very often at the time of the actual revelations by as much as 29 scribes. It was even compiled during the Prophet's time himself. The Uthmanic Codex was made after the Prophet's death using this compilation. But your argument is fair, how do we know this. It doesn't matter what I say, you'll have to check primary historic sources if you want to really be sure beyond what text books tell you. This is true if you want to verify any historical information whether it be Napoleon, Ceasar, Hammurabi, you name it. It's nothing new.

 

I don't mind checking primary sources (I do so all the time with respect to other historical pursuits), but I do have a temporary stipulation that they must be accessible on the internet. For, as I said before, I'm quite new to the history of Islam, and I want to begin any research with convenience. If it catches my interest, and I am compelled to delve deeper, then I'll get into interlibrary loans and the like.

 

Anyhoo, I'd ask you to describe what exactly these primary sources are, and how they prove what you claim they do. I can fact-check your statements on the net right now, or in the library later on, but either way I need to have a roadmap of this evidence you claim exists.

 

I will warn you, however, that I am quite skeptical. Christians, when pressed for evidence to back up their Scriptural traditions, nearly always turn instead to other unfounded traditions; your claim here sounds remarkably similar their sort, and therefore dubious. Still, I'm willing to concede points when the facts prove me wrong; I'd like to think I'm open-minded enough.

 

4. I can see your concern with regards to Bible analogy, but they really are two very very different stories. The bible was written by many authors, by as much as several hundred years after Jesus. The Bible is not written as if it is from above, from God. The Qur'an is written as if from above, from God.

 

That wasn't the analogy I was drawing, though. The important similarity I was noting was that both the Christian Scriptures and the Koran have their origins in groups of men absolutely devoted to unwavering religious beliefs. This external context, and not their internal themes, is what makes both literary traditions extremely suspect.

 

But here is the most important reason...and oddly enough, what people seem to forget:

 

5. When all is said and done, the only reason people followed the Prophet, and the only real proof he had, was because of the revelations that he recited when in trances. Without the continuing revelations of the Qur'an, he would not have had a following. There would be no Islam. There would be no Muslims.

 

So to answer your question, how can we be sure the Prophet revealed the Qur'an? Because without the revelations, the Prophet would have no basis to say he was the Prophet, and no one would have followed him. The Qur'an was his proof.

 

Peace

 

This presupposes two important and (from my perspective) unproven ideas: Firstly, that Muhammad did indeed speak something fairly similar to what is found in the Koran; second, that he could not have himself conceived the words he spoke. I see no reason to believe the former, or even given the former, the latter.

 

Thanks for the response. I hope it's not too disappointing for you that I remain unconvinced.

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The fact that it is the ONLY work the prophet has produced and known to produce makes that much more unlikely that he could have produced it, don't you think? And you didn't address that he wasn't a writer, by profession, like Shakespeare which is pretty much all he did. The prophet had to create an entire new religion, including military battles, facing persecution, forming a new community, establishing rituals, being a judge, advisor and strategist. He didn't just specialize in just one thing. Oh, and he just suddenly developed this proclivity at the age of 40?

 

What is the probability of that?

 

Brother, again, it all comes down to opening your rigid mind and agreeing to learn and study the life of Muhammad (saas). If one is not willing, he is uninterested. End of story.

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I thank you, as well, for the response. Allow me to expound on my problems with your religion:

...

 

...

 

...

 

Thanks for the response. I hope it's not too disappointing for you that I remain unconvinced.

 

Not disappointed at all; that would imply I had expectations. I've been on the forum long enough to recognize the predictable patterns. You seemed to want some guidance so I attempted to provide that...though admittedly I'm getting a bit tired of it and may no longer do that. Joseph's actually not too far off on his comment in the previous post. Nevertheless...

 

Rather than go through the standard exercise of point, counter-point, let's try something a little different shall we.

 

Let's first state the undisputable facts:

 

1. There was a man called 'Muhammad', who lived circa 600AD, and founded a religion called Islam.

2. The followers of Islam are called Muslims, who belief that Muhammad was actually the prophet of God. There are presently 1.3 billion Muslims in the world.

3. Islam and therefore Muslims did not exist before the prophet Muhammad.

4. There is a book called the Qur'an, which Muslims belief is the exact revealed scripture of God.

5. Scholars of the Arabic language all agree that the Qur'an is an Arabic literary masterpiece and inimitable.

6. The Qur'an is the basis for Muslim belief structure and moral conduct.

7. Muslims refer to the hadith, which were the sayings and actions of Muhammad, for further guidance in their daily lives. The authetic hadiths, use a very strict criteria for transmittal authentication.

8. Muhammad was a founder of a religion, a strategist, a military genius, an author(?), a judge, a founder of a new community, a leader, and a source for moral guidance.

9. There were warring tribes in Arabia who were polytheists with hundreds of idols in the Kabbah. These idols were all destroyed by Muhammad before his death, and the age old tribal warfares ended and the tribes, which were previously at each other's neck's were now united under one Ummah.

10. Through this unity, and new moral guidance, the Islamic empire immediately spread at an unprecedented rate, and became the second largest religion in the world within a few hundred years.

11. The Islamic Empire lasted for almost 1,000 years, and at its height, occupied a geographical area second only to the Roman Empire.

 

Muslims believe the following to be the most likely theory to explain these facts (though I haven't even listed a fraction of the facts that need to be explained):

 

The man Muhammad, pbuh, was actually a prophet of God, and he managed to do all this, including laying the groundwork for the Islamic Empire, because he was helped by an unknown and unseen entity called God. The Qur'an is God's literal words as transmitted through angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, really was the prophet of God. Okay, I think this theory explains all the facts, don't you? I can't think of a single thing this theory can't explain. And I don't think it contradicts itself.

 

Now it's your turn. Please provide me with an alternate theory that explains all of the above. Oh, and it needs to be backed by historical credibility, cannot omit any known event, cannot be contradictory and do justice to the scale of what has just been described.

 

Because, when you really think about it, the reason we are Muslim is because we think the theory we believe in does the best job of explaining the above known facts. The reason you're not a Muslim is because you think there is an alternate theory that better explains all this. If so, please provide this other theory.

 

I look forward to your response.

 

Thank you.

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!!! rename this thread please lol

 

the blind thread no one reads each others post just post post post until the infection infects 1 of us when we know we have the cure and they try to infect us ,

 

but

 

in a positive thinking i say they are trying to learn :sl:

 

i like to see the positive however the negative comment is their for some who needs to see it.

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Opinion would be "I don't like it". Lack of conformity would objectify it a little bit.

 

Your choice. Conformity with what?

 

My statement is that its a survival mechanism. If it weren't it wouldn't be present. As a child if you believe what your parents said about swimming in a crocodile infested lake then you are going to survive. If you believe what a group believes then they are more likely to share their resources with you. If you hear something strange and believe you are going to be attacked and run like hell then if you're right then you survived. There is nothing that contradicts this.

Belief rests on human evaluation of information. It can be logical, illogical, etc. It's mechanism is rooted in its ability to promote human survial.

 

Queer link of belief to survival. Even if it is true, then you are not prepared to accept and survive. :sl: Isn't that illogical. May be there is a God.

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Not disappointed at all; that would imply I had expectations. I've been on the forum long enough to recognize the predictable patterns. You seemed to want some guidance so I attempted to provide that...though admittedly I'm getting a bit tired of it and may no longer do that. Joseph's actually not too far off on his comment in the previous post. Nevertheless...

 

Rather than go through the standard exercise of point, counter-point, let's try something a little different shall we.

 

Let's first state the undisputable facts:

 

These are not "undisputable," nor are they all even "facts." I will grant you only the following:

 

1. There was a man called 'Muhammad', who lived circa 600AD, and founded a religion called Islam.

2. The followers of Islam are called Muslims, who belief that Muhammad was actually the prophet of God. There are presently 1.3 billion Muslims in the world.

3. Islam and therefore Muslims did not exist before the prophet Muhammad.

4. There is a book called the Qur'an, which Muslims belief is the exact revealed scripture of God.

6. The Qur'an is the basis for Muslim belief structure and moral conduct.

7. Muslims refer to the hadith, which were the sayings and actions of Muhammad, for further guidance in their daily lives. The authetic hadiths, use a very strict criteria for transmittal authentication.

10. Through this unity, and new moral guidance, the Islamic empire immediately spread at an unprecedented rate, and became the second largest religion in the world within a few hundred years.

11. The Islamic Empire lasted for almost 1,000 years, and at its height, occupied a geographical area second only to the Roman Empire.

 

Please note that I only am truly in agreement with #1-3,10. #4,6-7,11 I'll give you simply because I don't know whether or not they're true, but they sound reasonable enough.

 

These, however, are quite dubious:

 

8. Muhammad was a founder of a religion, a strategist, a military genius, an author(?), a judge, a founder of a new community, a leader, and a source for moral guidance.

9. There were warring tribes in Arabia who were polytheists with hundreds of idols in the Kabbah. These idols were all destroyed by Muhammad before his death, and the age old tribal warfares ended and the tribes, which were previously at each other's neck's were now united under one Ummah.

 

Muhammad was in fact the founder of Islam and as such also the founder of a new community, leader and source of moral guidance. He probably also developed military strategies, and it is reasonable to assume he acted as judge on occasion, given his position of prominence. However, the idea that he was a "military genius" is pure speculation, based on two unfounded assumptions: First, that the earliest Muslim military movements were planned and conducted principally under the direction of Muhammad, and second, that the military success of that movement is directly attributable to the correct prediction of military contingencies on the part of the Muslim strategists. In reality, we must look to strong historical evidence that Muhammad was in fact the mastermind, so to speak, behind early Muslim conquests--evidence which I have yet to see.

 

As for the warring tribes of Arabia, I'd have to do some research to prove it, but I'm almost certain that tribal conflicts did not suddenly cease in the time of Muhammad, and in fact still continue today.

 

5. Scholars of the Arabic language all agree that the Qur'an is an Arabic literary masterpiece and inimitable.

 

This one is an oddball. The idea that some work or another is a "masterpiece" is a matter of opinion, and while it is possible that all of a certain sort can agree, thus constituting an objective fact, that doesn't change the inherent subjectivity of their common position.

 

In any case, I'm quite sure the Qur'an is not "inimitable," the opinions of Muslim scholars notwithstanding, except in the sense that any complex artistic work is likewise unique.

 

Yet despite all these objections, the heart of my problem with your argument is completely separate, and deals with the fundamental nature of your challenge. Reading on...

 

Muslims believe the following to be the most likely theory to explain these facts (though I haven't even listed a fraction of the facts that need to be explained):

 

The man Muhammad, pbuh, was actually a prophet of God, and he managed to do all this, including laying the groundwork for the Islamic Empire, because he was helped by an unknown and unseen entity called God. The Qur'an is God's literal words as transmitted through angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, really was the prophet of God. Okay, I think this theory explains all the facts, don't you? I can't think of a single thing this theory can't explain. And I don't think it contradicts itself.

 

Now it's your turn. Please provide me with an alternate theory that explains all of the above. Oh, and it needs to be backed by historical credibility, cannot omit any known event, cannot be contradictory and do justice to the scale of what has just been described.

 

Because, when you really think about it, the reason we are Muslim is because we think the theory we believe in does the best job of explaining the above known facts. The reason you're not a Muslim is because you think there is an alternate theory that better explains all this. If so, please provide this other theory.

 

In actuality, I need do no such thing. What you've done is assert that a particular set of facts absolutely requires explanation, but that is never true. Rather, we explain facts when and how we are able, and then accept the given explanation if and only if two criteria are met: The first you have already noted, which is that no competing explanation can be more likely. The second, however, you have apparently overlooked, and is that the given explanation must itself be reasonable. Postulating a supernatural deity to explain natural mysteries depends on needlessly complex axioms.

 

However, I can explain all the undisputed facts in a general way: Muhammad was an intelligent and charismatic man raised in a multi-cultural area with strong religious ties (the spiritual influence of the Kabba), who used his gifts towards what he considered to be God's calling, attracting a myriad of followers, themselves from varying cultures. As a cult leader, he harnessed zealotry to pursue military success and found a socio-political community, and through a combination of determination, foresight, power and also a degree of good luck, was highly successful. After his death, the movement spread, attracting an ever greater following, and swallowing up less-powerful and divided political and economic factions.

 

This explanation seems very reasonable from my perspective.

 

I look forward to your response.

 

Thank you.

 

Sure thing. I was in a hurry when I typed this, so hopefully my response doesn't sound too brash or combative. I also look forward to the continuing discussion.

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...Postulating a supernatural deity to explain natural mysteries depends on needlessly complex axioms.

We really don't need to go any further on this debate, because we will never get by this one. For me, the universe could not have created itself, two hydrogen atoms didn't decide one day to just "be", and the laws of the universe didn't decide that they would behave in the way they do. Intelligent design didn't evolve just through trial and error without a guiding hand. That discussion is a whole other ball of wax.

 

Then there is a deep sense of spirituality that most humans seem to have a yearning for...throughout the history of civilization from every part of the world...whether it's just to meet a psychological need or something more is a matter of debate.

 

There is a need to have a meaning to life otherwise what's the point.

 

None of these are proveable or necessary rational, but they are part of the "je ne c'est quoi" component, that can never be successfully argued one way or the other. They are however, part of being human.

 

I think fundamentally it's a matter of interpretation. Believers tend to have a natural proclivity towards something greater, and will "see" events in a very different way than non-believers.

 

Perhaps this is what the Qur'an means when it says: 2:6-7

 

"...As for those who disbelieve, it makes no difference whether you warn them or not; they will not believe. God has sealed their hearts and their ears, and their eyes are covered..."

So, because I'm a Believer, and from my point of view, what I just said are the translation of God's literal words, well...based on this quote alone, you and just about every other non-believer are simply not going to see what I see.

 

It really will "make no difference whether" we go through this exercise or not...you won't believe. Trust me on this...the odds are very much against you changing your mind.

 

These, however, are quite dubious:

Muhammad was in fact the founder of Islam and as such also the founder of a new community, leader and source of moral guidance. He probably also developed military strategies, and it is reasonable to assume he acted as judge on occasion, given his position of prominence. However, the idea that he was a "military genius" is pure speculation, based on two unfounded assumptions: First, that the earliest Muslim military movements were planned and conducted principally under the direction of Muhammad, and second, that the military success of that movement is directly attributable to the correct prediction of military contingencies on the part of the Muslim strategists. In reality, we must look to strong historical evidence that Muhammad was in fact the mastermind, so to speak, behind early Muslim conquests--evidence which I have yet to see.

Alright, how about, he led the Muslims to victory, part of which involved military battles.

 

As for the warring tribes of Arabia, I'd have to do some research to prove it, but I'm almost certain that tribal conflicts did not suddenly cease in the time of Muhammad, and in fact still continue today.

Okay...but then from a relative perspective, if they didn't have a reasonable level of unity, I don't think the Islamic Empire could have spread because the tribes would be too busy fighting each other. The level of unity the Prophet brought about was enough to pave the way for the spread of one of the most significant civilizations in the history of mankind. Can we agree on this position?

 

This one is an oddball. The idea that some work or another is a "masterpiece" is a matter of opinion, and while it is possible that all of a certain sort can agree, thus constituting an objective fact, that doesn't change the inherent subjectivity of their common position.

 

In any case, I'm quite sure the Qur'an is not "inimitable," the opinions of Muslim scholars notwithstanding, except in the sense that any complex artistic work is likewise unique.

If you are "quite sure the Qur'an is not "inimitable", well you really don't get it, and there's not a whole lot I can do about that. It's up to you to put aside your quite obvious preconceived notion and study the Qur'an using a clean slate. This opinion of yours is based on nothing but sheer speculation without knowing the first thing about the reasons why the Qur'an is inimitable. If you understood this, you would realize that no human being could have authored the Qur'an. Please don't expect me to make you understand all those subtleties in these postings. People do doctorial studies of the Qur'anic...it's that intricate.

 

Yet despite all these objections, the heart of my problem with your argument is completely separate, and deals with the fundamental nature of your challenge...In actuality, I need do no such thing...

I'm sorry, but I insist you must do such thing. Always the critic, but never the author. If you can't come up with a better theory, then what do you really have?

 

So...

 

However, I can explain all the undisputed facts in a general way: Muhammad was an intelligent and charismatic man raised in a multi-cultural area with strong religious ties (the spiritual influence of the Kabba), who used his gifts towards what he considered to be God's calling, attracting a myriad of followers, themselves from varying cultures. As a cult leader, he harnessed zealotry to pursue military success and found a socio-political community, and through a combination of determination, foresight, power and also a degree of good luck, was highly successful. After his death, the movement spread, attracting an ever greater following, and swallowing up less-powerful and divided political and economic factions.

That's nice. Can you please provide comprehensive details with specific historical figures to back up your claim including but not limited to:

  • The relationship between specific individuals.
  • Details of each individual; name, age, gender, position in society, etc.
  • Who converted to Islam, when and why?
  • Who didn't convert and the role they played in the opposition.
  • What were the specific cults you speak of and why exactly, and under what circumstance did they convert?
  • Who were the 'other people' who wrote the Qur'an? What was their background like, how did they manage to pull off a cohesive style if written by many? When exactly did they write this? How did it get formed into the Uthmanic Codex?
  • Please explain the methodology of the Hadith as it relates to confirming your version.
  • Etc, etc., etc..you get the point.

You know, when a person lies, they usually have to cover their tracks. So, now if your version is true, please provide the details to authenticate and flesh out your story. Please be very specific about all your information. Remember, Muhammad lived in the early 7th century, not 2,000BC, so historical information is much more complete. Your story would have to fulfill all the corrobarated historical documents and evidence. Our 'version' meets all this. Yours will have to do the same to be considered a viable option.

 

This explanation seems very reasonable from my perspective.

Yes definitely...your explanation is detailed enough for me to abandon my faith.

 

Sure thing. I was in a hurry when I typed this, so hopefully my response doesn't sound too brash or combative. I also look forward to the continuing discussion.

You're actually quite decent...I'm not sure, however, how much longer I can really pursue this. I've been down with a really bad flu for the past 2 weeks - never really experienced anything like this in my life before actually - so I've had a lot of opportunity to post. What else can you do when you're in bed? By God's grace, I'm getting better now...and I need to attend to my work. My forum time will drop significantly moving forward.

 

Peace.

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Your choice. Conformity with what?

 

Between a concept and an anology. For example a belief in the paranormal is not the equivelant to water nor is it a biological necessity as water is.

 

Queer link of belief to survival. Even if it is true, then you are not prepared to accept and survive. :sl: Isn't that illogical. May be there is a God.

 

It's evolutionary psychology 101. You are of course forgetting that alot of the world is different now. For example, whether or not I accept the assertions of a social group no longer has any bearing on the resources I can attain necessary to survial. Moths often cannot distinguish between star light and light bulbs. The behavior is an evolutionary advantage of navigation by star light. Belief is similar in this respect. Children for example cannot distinguish between a belief that is based on reality or one that is based on fantasy. To them it's proverbially just another source of photons.

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hatsoff seems to have taken the reins here very successfully, but before I sit back and watch, I'd like to comment on one of Odoknarf's early responses:

 

The fact that it is the ONLY work the prophet has produced and known to produce makes that much more unlikely that he could have produced it, don't you think? And you didn't address that he wasn't a writer, by profession, like Shakespeare which is pretty much all he did. The prophet had to create an entire new religion, including military battles, facing persecution, forming a new community, establishing rituals, being a judge, advisor and strategist. He didn't just specialize in just one thing. Oh, and he just suddenly developed this proclivity at the age of 40?

 

Firstly, we have no idea if he "produced" anything else. In an oral tradition just reciting a poem to your wife is "producing" something. What does being a writer "by profession" have to do with it? Shakespear became a professional writer because he was extemely good at writing, not the other way round. Anyway, the episodic nature of the Koran's production is equivalent to a poet producing work throughout his/her life. And by the end Mohammed was definitely a "professional".

 

Who said he suddenly developed this at the age of 40? Mohammed? If I'm assuming that god didn't dictate it I would assume that he had spent the preceeding 20-odd years developing his poems and his political/military plans. I think his older, wealthy wife is a huge clue as to driving force here.

 

By the way, I don't know if you have said it but others have - in an oral tradition Mohammed's supposed illiteracy makes no difference whatsoever. Mentioning it is intellectually dishonest - an 'illiterate' these days is used of an uneducated and possibly simple person, so by inference when applied to Mohammed it's suggesting that he wasn't educated or bright enough to have written great poetry. But of course in his culture illiteracy meant no such thing.

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We really don't need to go any further on this debate, because we will never get by this one. For me, the universe could not have created itself, two hydrogen atoms didn't decide one day to just "be", and the laws of the universe didn't decide that they would behave in the way they do. Intelligent design didn't evolve just through trial and error without a guiding hand. That discussion is a whole other ball of wax.

 

It is indeed. Am I to understand that fundamentalist Muslims, like their Christian counterparts, also reject evolutionary biology? If so, why? Evangelicals do so on the grounds that the Biblical story of six-day creation is literally true. In addition, they believe the earth is between 6,000 and 10,000 years old based on the genealogical timeline extracted from the Biblical record. Consequently, they also reject much evidence in the fields of geology, astronomy and physics, just to name a few. Do Muslims similarly reject the idea of a 4.3 billion-year-old earth--and, again, if so, why?

 

(Those questions may give you an idea of just how unfamiliar I am with the Islamic religion and its followers.)

 

If I may make a quick comment, though, I should note that the mysteries of the universe need not be explained. That is to say, you're correct in noting that the universe could not have created itself, but that doesn't rule out all other conceivable alternatives. Namely, the universe may always have existed, or have been naturally formed out of a larger-scale multiverse. Then there is the rapid expansion family of hypotheses, most popular among them the big bang, which postulates not that the universe created itself, but that it was born naturally of a gravitational singularity. In short, we simply don't know how our universe originated, but that open question isn't proof of the existence of a supernatural disembodied mind.

 

Then there is a deep sense of spirituality that most humans seem to have a yearning for...throughout the history of civilization from every part of the world...whether it's just to meet a psychological need or something more is a matter of debate.

 

There is a need to have a meaning to life otherwise what's the point.

 

This issue isn't nearly so mysterious as the origin of the universe, given what we know of evolutionary processes. To put it simply, humans require coping mechanisms to deal with two conflicting traits: the overwhelming drive to survive, and the intelligence which gives us undeniable knowledge that we will ultimately fail. This dissonance compels us to seek out the comfort of a life-giving deity. As Voltaire once wrote (paraphrasing), if God did not exist, man would have to invent him.

 

None of these are proveable or necessary rational, but they are part of the "je ne c'est quoi" component, that can never be successfully argued one way or the other. They are however, part of being human.

 

I think fundamentally it's a matter of interpretation. Believers tend to have a natural proclivity towards something greater, and will "see" events in a very different way than non-believers.

 

Perhaps this is what the Qur'an means when it says: 2:6-7

So, because I'm a Believer, and from my point of view, what I just said are the translation of God's literal words, well...based on this quote alone, you and just about every other non-believer are simply not going to see what I see.

 

It really will "make no difference whether" we go through this exercise or not...you won't believe. Trust me on this...the odds are very much against you changing your mind.

 

It seems to me that many religious and mystic groups repeat the very same mantra, that, essentially, one must never pay heed to unbelievers who might deter him from fiat dogma. Such a tenet is quite convenient, wouldn't you say? In reality, it merely helps explain the resistance of members to understand or accept the rational arguments of non-members. If you really believe that some demon or devil is blinding me to the truth, then perhaps this will be a fruitless discussion--but I don't think so. Unlike theists, I don't have such grim expectations; for I do not believe in some deceiver. Nor do I have reason to assume that you are otherwise permanently blinded to facts and reason. Though religion does present a strong, often overwhelming bias against any rational thought which might conflict with fundamentalist doctrine, it is within each and every person to defeat that bias. The human mind is a wonderful machine, and has the capacity to overcome even the strongest preconceptions.

 

Alright, how about, he led the Muslims to victory, part of which involved military battles.

 

That sounds more reasonable, sure.

 

Okay...but then from a relative perspective, if they didn't have a reasonable level of unity, I don't think the Islamic Empire could have spread because the tribes would be too busy fighting each other. The level of unity the Prophet brought about was enough to pave the way for the spread of one of the most significant civilizations in the history of mankind. Can we agree on this position?

 

We can agree that orthodox Islam (for lack of a better term) was a large but coherent and unified group, yes. I would imagine, though, that it sporadically spawned offshoot branches which survived for brief periods.

 

If you are "quite sure the Qur'an is not "inimitable", well you really don't get it, and there's not a whole lot I can do about that. It's up to you to put aside your quite obvious preconceived notion and study the Qur'an using a clean slate. This opinion of yours is based on nothing but sheer speculation without knowing the first thing about the reasons why the Qur'an is inimitable. If you understood this, you would realize that no human being could have authored the Qur'an. Please don't expect me to make you understand all those subtleties in these postings. People do doctorial studies of the Qur'anic...it's that intricate.

 

In the end, it's a string of carefully-arranged Arabic words. I see no reason that a given combination should be impossible for humans to produce, no matter how intricate or beautiful.

 

I'm sorry, but I insist you must do such thing. Always the critic, but never the author.

 

I sympathize, and understand the plight of the positive position; it's easy to poke holes in another's case, but difficult to build one which can withstand the same scrutiny. Yet that doesn't change the fact that the argument from ignorance is a logical fallacy.

 

If you can't come up with a better theory, then what do you really have?

 

An open-ended question. However, in this case, as we have seen, I do have a better explanation.

 

So...

That's nice. Can you please provide comprehensive details with specific historical figures to back up your claim including but not limited to:

  • The relationship between specific individuals.
  • Details of each individual; name, age, gender, position in society, etc.
  • Who converted to Islam, when and why?
  • Who didn't convert and the role they played in the opposition.
  • What were the specific cults you speak of and why exactly, and under what circumstance did they convert?
  • Who were the 'other people' who wrote the Qur'an? What was their background like, how did they manage to pull off a cohesive style if written by many? When exactly did they write this? How did it get formed into the Uthmanic Codex?
  • Please explain the methodology of the Hadith as it relates to confirming your version.
  • Etc, etc., etc..you get the point.

You know, when a person lies, they usually have to cover their tracks. So, now if your version is true, please provide the details to authenticate and flesh out your story. Please be very specific about all your information. Remember, Muhammad lived in the early 7th century, not 2,000BC, so historical information is much more complete. Your story would have to fulfill all the corrobarated historical documents and evidence. Our 'version' meets all this. Yours will have to do the same to be considered a viable option.

 

Why do I need to provide such specifics? One explanation is not truer than another simply because it provides more detail. Consider this analogy:

 

π≈3.14

π=3.141592653589793

[using large font size is not allowed]

Of these two equations, the first is inexact, while the second is perfectly exact; yet it is the first which is true, and the second which is plainly false.

 

Yes definitely...your explanation is detailed enough for me to abandon my faith.

 

You're actually quite decent...I'm not sure, however, how much longer I can really pursue this. I've been down with a really bad flu for the past 2 weeks - never really experienced anything like this in my life before actually - so I've had a lot of opportunity to post. What else can you do when you're in bed? By God's grace, I'm getting better now...and I need to attend to my work. My forum time will drop significantly moving forward.

 

Peace.

 

I hope you feel better. This is my first discussion with a Muslim concerning the veracity of Islamic traditions, and I'm enjoying it a great deal. However, I'll certainly understand if you want to jump ship and crawl into bed with some Vicks.

 

So it is that I look forward to feedback from anyone who wishes to offer it.

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However, I'll certainly understand if you want to jump ship and crawl into bed with some Vicks.

...not my favourite brand...LOL. You misread my post, it's the other way round...I'm better now so I will have less time because I'm returning to my regular schedule.

 

It is indeed. Am I to understand that fundamentalist Muslims, like their Christian counterparts, also reject evolutionary biology? If so, why? Evangelicals do so on the grounds that the Biblical story of six-day creation is literally true. In addition, they believe the earth is between 6,000 and 10,000 years old based on the genealogical timeline extracted from the Biblical record. Consequently, they also reject much evidence in the fields of geology, astronomy and physics, just to name a few. Do Muslims similarly reject the idea of a 4.3 billion-year-old earth--and, again, if so, why?

Muslims are not a monolith. We are as diverse as Christians. Most ideologies can be classified by conservative/orthodox/fundamental to liberal/modern, etc. whether it is religion or politics. In the case of religion, add in different sects.

 

Orthodox Muslims do not believe in Evolution, but they don't believe the world is 10,000 years old because the Qur'an says a Day for God is like thousand(s) of years for us. So, no Muslim will ever claim they know the age of the earth/universe.

 

Liberal/Modern Muslims, will say evolution was the means by which God created us. There is also another group, myself included, that say evolution is the means by which God created all life exept mankind; Adam and Eve were sent down to earth directly by God.

 

(Those questions may give you an idea of just how unfamiliar I am with the Islamic religion and its followers.)

Appreciate your honesty.

 

...The human mind is a wonderful machine, and has the capacity to overcome even the strongest preconceptions.

Please do remember that in these discussions.

 

That's it for me. Joseph, can I pass the baton on to you?

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Well, this thread has...evolved.

 

Firstly, we have no idea if he "produced" anything else.

 

He didn't.

 

In an oral tradition just reciting a poem to your wife is "producing" something. What does being a writer "by profession" have to do with it? Shakespear became a professional writer because he was extemely good at writing, not the other way round. Anyway, the episodic nature of the Koran's production is equivalent to a poet producing work throughout his/her life. And by the end Mohammed was definitely a "professional".

 

Your way of analyzing the situation is very interesting and could be true in many other cases. But it is, and remains, a theory that cannot be proven. Do you agree?

 

Who said he suddenly developed this at the age of 40?

 

His friends, his enemies, all of those people around him all reported that Muhammad was never inclined to poetry, nor was he really good at it. Unless you are suggesting that he spent 40 years keeping his ability a secret and plotting to one day claim that he was divinely inspired?

 

If I'm assuming that god didn't dictate it I would assume that he had spent the preceeding 20-odd years developing his poems and his political/military plans. I think his older, wealthy wife is a huge clue as to driving force here.

 

I can't fault you for carrying such an opinion. If someone were to tell me that a man somewhere was claiming to be a messenger of God and I did not believe in God (or believed in something entirely different concerning God), I would be very suspicious. Perhaps this isn't something that can be proven wrong or right. Perhaps it is merely a thing to accept or reject.

 

Your religion seems to indicate "Christianity". Could such refutations not be made easily about Jesus? I'm sure that atheists are able to create all kinds of theories as to the birth, upbringing, and nature of Jesus.

 

Salam.

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That's it for me. Joseph, can I pass the baton on to you?

 

Unnecessary. You've summed it up with Surah 2:6-7:

 

As for the disbelievers, whether you warn them or you warn them not it is all one for them; they believe not. Allah has sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom.

 

This verse reinforced by Surah 10:39:

 

But they repudiate that which they cannot fully comprehend...

 

Friends, try an Islamic course or two on the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the revelation of the Qur'an and the divine wisdom of Islam. Judging a book by its cover never fails to mislead.

 

Odobknarf and I shall resume posting on our blogs, God willing. Those who wish to read any of them and happen to disagree are free to open a thread for open discussion. My first blog entry will start with the nature of the 'entity' we call God; the rationale behind its belief and its disbelief, and my personal thesis concerning the validity of (mono)theism. Inevitably, this will lead to further examination of the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) and the veracity of the Qur'an.

 

All the best,

 

Joseph

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Well, this thread has...evolved.

 

...

...

...

AA Sister Redeem,

 

Thank you for taking over...I felt bad for hatsoff - who seems to be nice enough and clearly wants to learn more, whatever misconceptions that may exist. It is our job after all, to address these. I guess I just didn't "have it" anymore in this thread and today I 'eased' my way back into work; should be ready full time tomorrow.

 

To the delight of many, my posts will drop considerably beginning tomorrow. :sl:

 

Anyway, I can see this thread is in better hands than me.

 

Peace.

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It isn't surprising that in a world based on sensual perception and interpretation of reality, atheists would have preferences of tangible evidences concerning the existance of a creator. But perhaps proof of God cannot be detected merely with our eyes, but with our cognitive abilities to process visual information and our intellectual abilities to reflect on the knowledge we gain. After all, Allah would not give us the ability to think beyond what exists plainly around us if we were not meant to use this ability to seek and establish a connection with our creator, rather than relying entirely on our five senses to perceive Him.

 

Salam.

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AA Sister Redeem,

 

Thank you for taking over...I felt bad for hatsoff - who seems to be nice enough and clearly wants to learn more, whatever misconceptions that may exist. It is our job after all, to address these. I guess I just didn't "have it" anymore in this thread and today I 'eased' my way back into work; should be ready full time tomorrow.

 

To the delight of many, my posts will drop considerably beginning tomorrow. :no:

 

Anyway, I can see this thread is in better hands than me.

 

Peace.

 

:sl:

 

I'm saddened to hear that you won't be posting as much, I'm probably going to be a lot more disappointing to the posters in this topic, since I'm not planning on diving headfirst into this discussion and going at it for the next 5-6 pages. :sl: I also seem to have lost the enthusiasm I had for debating over these kinds of subjects. Then again, my mood has always gone up and down, so we'll see in the coming weeks.

 

I have learned one thing though. It is that everything comes down to opinions and though I would love to spread the message of Islam, I don't have much of an interest in trying to win over anyone's heart.

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I have learned one thing though. It is that everything comes down to opinions and though I would love to spread the message of Islam, I don't have much of an interest in trying to win over anyone's heart.

It's not our job to do so. Sura Qaf, 50:45

 

"We know best what the disbelievers say. You (prophet) are not there to force them, so remind, with this Qur'an, those who fear My warning."

Our job is but to inform, not to win them over.

 

Peace.

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It's not our job to do so. Sura Qaf, 50:45

Our job is but to inform, not to win them over.

 

Peace.

 

:sl:

 

Couldn't agree more.

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Unnecessary. You've summed it up with Surah 2:6-7:

 

Do you interpret that to mean non-believers cannot possibly have a proper rationale for lacking belief? It seems to me that this would be an intellectually dishonest approach. How will you ever know if you have perhaps made a mistake, believing in some supernatural deity, if you don't open dialogs with those of varying perspectives?

 

This verse reinforced by Surah 10:39:

 

Don't you see how that sounds? I personally am not insulted, but others might not be so sympathetic. More importantly, I can assure you I understand the basic premises just fine, the blanket accusation of an ancient author notwithstanding.

 

Friends, try an Islamic course or two on the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the revelation of the Qur'an and the divine wisdom of Islam. Judging a book by its cover never fails to mislead.

 

Odobknarf and I shall resume posting on our blogs, God willing. Those who wish to read any of them and happen to disagree are free to open a thread for open discussion. My first blog entry will start with the nature of the 'entity' we call God; the rationale behind its belief and its disbelief, and my personal thesis concerning the validity of (mono)theism. Inevitably, this will lead to further examination of the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh) and the veracity of the Qur'an.

 

All the best,

 

Joseph

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It isn't surprising that in a world based on sensual perception and interpretation of reality, atheists would have preferences of tangible evidences concerning the existance of a creator. But perhaps proof of God cannot be detected merely with our eyes, but with our cognitive abilities to process visual information and our intellectual abilities to reflect on the knowledge we gain.

 

Many of the claims made by Abrahamic religions involve the material world, and thus must be supported by empirical evidence. It is not enough to, when I hear that Muhammad dictated the Koran exactly as it is preserved today, merely reflect on the matter and choose to believe it. Rather, I must use evidence to reach a conclusion. If I decline to do so, I am obligated to remain agnostic, neither accepting or rejecting it. In short, empirical methods are known to be sound; internal meditation is not.

 

Even so, there are a few metaphysical pursuits which do not involve evidence, but time and again they fail to hit the intended target. Various arguments for the existence of God in general have been proposed, but from the transcendental to the ontological approaches, they all revolve on logical inconsistencies.

 

After all, Allah would not give us the ability to think beyond what exists plainly around us if we were not meant to use this ability to seek and establish a connection with our creator, rather than relying entirely on our five senses to perceive Him.

 

This is only sound if one assumes God exists. If we take the opposite assumption, then our higher cognition is merely an evolutionary development, and thus not universally intended for anything at all.

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Many of the claims made by Abrahamic religions involve the material world.

 

Most of the claims made by "Abrahamic religions" exist outside the realm of the material world and the realm of human capabilities. For example, the Angels, the Jinn, God, the Day of Judgement, Heaven, Hell, and anything beyond the first Heaven. Even things that are labeled as being miraculous, such as the birth of Jesus, or Moses parting the sea.

 

and thus must be supported by empirical evidence

 

Who decides this? It seems that no matter what the discussion is, atheists are forever stating their opinions as generally held beliefs or indisputable facts (no offense intended, it's a simple observation).

 

Even so, there are a few metaphysical pursuits which do not involve evidence, but time and again they fail to hit the intended target. Various arguments for the existence of God in general have been proposed, but from the transcendental to the ontological approaches, they all revolve on logical inconsistencies.

 

It might be true. It might not be true. I don't really have much of an interest in the pursuits and attempts of other people, both theist and atheist. But I've yet to see logical inconsistencies concerning Islam. One thing is for sure. If you're interested in Islam as a religion, these types of arguments are the last place you should concentrate on.

 

This is only sound if one assumes God exists.

 

And of course it would be unsound if one doesn't believe that God exists. That is to be expected.

 

Do you interpret that to mean non-believers cannot possibly have a proper rationale for lacking belief? It seems to me that this would be an intellectually dishonest approach.

 

Human rationality is not synonymous with truth, nor does everyone rationalize in the same way.

 

Salam.

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This isn't really going in the direction I'd like, since I'm here to learn more about Islam. However, given that it is nevertheless on-topic and relevant, I will respond...

 

Most of the claims made by "Abrahamic religions" exist outside the realm of the material world and the realm of human capabilities. For example, the Angels, the Jinn, God, the Day of Judgement, Heaven, Hell, and anything beyond the first Heaven. Even things that are labeled as being miraculous, such as the birth of Jesus, or Moses parting the sea.

 

The supernatural cannot be tested with empirical data, no, but there are plenty of religious claims which involve natural phenomena. In fact, some of those things you mentioned, such as Moses parting the red sea, would have been very tangible events.

 

Who decides this? It seems that no matter what the discussion is, atheists are forever stating their opinions as generally held beliefs or indisputable facts (no offense intended, it's a simple observation).

 

It is decided by the functionality of particular epistemic axioms. How shall we verify claims regarding natural phenomena, if not empirically?

 

It might be true. It might not be true. I don't really have much of an interest in the pursuits and attempts of other people, both theist and atheist. But I've yet to see logical inconsistencies concerning Islam. One thing is for sure. If you're interested in Islam as a religion, these types of arguments are the last place you should concentrate on.

 

Islam at the very least shares the same logical inconsistency common to all religions: dependence on blind faith over empirical investigation.

 

And of course it would be unsound if one doesn't believe that God exists. That is to be expected.

 

My point was that there's no reason to assume our higher cognition is intended for a universal purpose.

 

Human rationality is not synonymous with truth, nor does everyone rationalize in the same way.

 

Human reason isn't perfect, no, but it's a heck of a lot better than arbitrary belief or religious fiat.

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