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#Manchester Stronger Than Ever

Manchester. Another city added to the list of horrific attacks by individuals, usually men, who have been misguided into thinking their actions are somehow a salve for whatever torments them, or helpful to those suffering occupation and the terror of non-distinguishing “smart bombs” dropped in the tens of thousands on the homes of innocents. Also bewildering is the tenuous allegiance paid by attackers such as Salman Abedi to groups like ISIS and AlQaeda; whose bastardized modernist twisting of theology and law is no solution to grievances but only compounds and entrenches the multi-dimensional challenges and problems faced by Muslims. It takes God out of the center of din (way of life) and replaces it with jihad. When the hoped for victory is not achieved it often results in greater resentment, extremism and blind victimhood.

We have known that attacks of this kind do not end the vicious cycle of bloodletting but only feed it. The explosive growth industry of the field of “terror studies” and its ties to power, both governmental and non-governmental means that there is little incentive or effort to truly understand what causes “extremism” (aside from a handful of scholars and specialists) beyond the problematic radicalization models that lead to programs such as PREVENT and CVE.  Statistics highlighting that the nebulously defined category of so-called “Islamic terrorism” is less of a threat than dying in car accidents, or of an allergic reaction to peanuts is of no comfort, since Islamophobia is tied to existential and emotional concerns about the decline of Christianity, challenge to white supremacy and rise of minority groups, especially Muslim populations. Rational thinking doesn’t enter the equation.

This is not to say that imperialism cannot and should not be resisted but that the contemporary movements that are wreaking havoc are clearly not the way to respond to the challenge. Any resistance and liberation from the dominant paradigms however must be rooted not only in socio-economic terms but foremost in an authentic and spiritually grounded ethos.

Despite the hysteria and exploitation by the usual fear merchants: Katie Hopkins who tweeted for a “Final Solution,” the never-reconstructed EDL bigot Tommy Robinson claim that the mayor of Manchester is in cahoots with “Islamic radicals,” the laughable stupidity of  a UKIP politician whose brilliant response was to demand the return of the death penalty for suicide bombers, or Israeli PM Netanyahu’s shameless attempt to milk the tragedy by analogizing the Manchester attacker to Palestinian resistance, the overwhelming response of Britons and the City of Manchester has been to reject hate and the politics of division.

Take the message by Islamic scholar Abu Eesa from Manchester that has gone viral.

The comments are heartwarmingly refreshing in their solidarity and the expression of united grief for the victims. The message is clear we will not be divided, we will be stronger.

Also take Aarron Lambo’s viral video:

There’s many more such instances of togetherness and we hope that these attempts to divide us and subvert our democracy whether by terrorists and their Islamophobic dopplegangers will come to naught.

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  • Khizer

    “I believe in peace and believe that any problem and situation should be solved through peaceful means….”

    *a complex problem with a lot of dimensions and perspectives, requiring a lot of self-inspection and criticising of own goverment pops up*

    “WTF! This is bad and the only way to stop this is through VIOLENCE AND DEATH!”

    New Athiest ‘liberals’ irl.

  • NotAMuslamic

    Lol @ “I’m at the peaceful side.”

  • Khizer

    Regarding the intentions point, I remember this beautiful comment by an Athiest woman (whose comment history comprised of ‘religion bad!’)

    “Yeah because all of those kids being taught to behead people and hate America are going to grow up and ignore us now. I’m usually on the peaceful side, but I say just turn the place into a crater already. You can only see so many mass executions before the value of human life just isn’t the same anymore.”

    Truly the epitome of secular morality! Just bomb the shit of the Middle East cause kids there will grow to hate America…for bombing the shit out of the Middle East!

    What do you think?

  • MichaelElwood

    Alistair John wrote: “Where I differ with that particular dictionary definition is the use of the words ‘religious position’ because some religions such as Jainism and Buddhism have no gods but to be a Jain and Buddhist is not to be an atheist. There are elements of the supernatural within Jainism and Buddhism and the supernatural is a defining characteristic of religion.”

    They’re not mutually exclusive. There are many atheists, probably a majority, who espouse religious and philosophical dogmas (as you’ve unwittingly demonstrated).

    Alistair John wrote: “So what? One man is entitled to his ideas and beliefs. If I reject all of his ideas other than a lack of belief in the divine that doesn’t make me any less of an atheist or him any more of one.”

    I never said that it made you less of an atheist than him. I said that Baggini and other atheists needn’t defer to you and your dictionary because you aren’t the Grand Pooh-Bah of atheism and your dictionary isn’t the scripture of atheism.

    Alistair John wrote: “No. It’s the only meaning of the word.”

    No, it isn’t the only meaning of the word. So there!

    Alistair John wrote: “Islam is what Muslims do and say in the name of Islam. Islam is a complex collection of individuals and sects with differing positions and practices. Bigotry is part of some forms of Islam. Bigotry cannot be a part of a lack of belief in the divine but it can be part of an ideology which is atheist, such as communism. Individual atheists can obviously be bigoted independent of any other belief or lack of belief.”

    Atheism is what atheists do and say in the name of atheism. Atheism is a complex collection of individuals and groups with differing positions and practices. Bigotry is part of some forms of atheism. Bigotry cannot be part of a belief in the divine but it can be part of an ideology which is theistic, such as Islam. Individual theists can obviously be bigoted independent of any other belief or lack of belief.

    Alistair John wrote: “The authoritarianism of those authoritarian Muslim countries is also underpinned by Islamic doctrine and Sharia law. They are not authoritarian Buddhists or Parsees.”

    Nah, that’s just one of the many things you believe for which there is no evidence. Islamic doctrine doesn’t endorse authoritarianism. And there are authoritarian Buddhist governments:

    “Sri Lanka’s Violent Buddhists”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/03/opinion/sri-lankas-violent-buddhists.html

    “Ending the Horror of Myanmar’s Abuse of Muslims”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/25/opinion/ending-the-horror-of-myanmars-abuse-of-muslims.html?_r=0

    “Myanmar’s Buddhist terrorism problem”

    http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/2/myanmars-buddhist-terrorism-problem.html

    Alistair John wrote: “Islam is what Muslims do and say. I do not say there are no tolerant or liberal Muslims, merely that they appear to be a minority based on the evidence of Muslim societies and polls of Muslims worldwide, in and out of Muslim majority countries.”

    No, Islam isn’t what Muslims do and say. Islam is the beliefs and practices that were historically promulgated by the prophet Muhammad in the Quran. If the beliefs and practices weren’t promulgated by Muhammad in the Quran, then they’re not Islamic in any meaningful way. Your self-serving definition allows ignoramuses to say this or that is Islamic based on this or that anecdote, without having to know anything about Islamic history or Islamic scripture (which you claim to be too impatient to sift through). This is yet another example of atheists believing in that for which there is no evidence.

    Alistair John wrote: “I showed you two verses which are used to justify anti-homosexual bigotry among Muslims. I can do the same with the Bible. Whether you personally interpret them in a bigoted way does not mean they are not part of the foundation on which Islamic bigotry draws strength.”

    No, you didn’t show me two verses which are used to justify anti-homosexual bigotry among Muslims. You showed me two verses that you “interpreted” as being anti-homosexual (one of which was about homosexual bigotry towards heterosexuals, the other didn’t even mention homosexuality).

    Alistair John wrote: “You continue to dodge the question about your own selectivity about the Quran and the literal truth of Adam and Eve. Such evasion is comically pathetic.”

    I answered your question in two previous comments. What’s comically pathetic is your belief that a literal reading of the Quran contradicts human evolution, even though Muslims have subscribed to human evolution earlier than their atheist counterparts, and even though you’re too impatient to sift through the Quran to demonstrate how a literal reading of the Quran contradicts human evolution. This is just another one of those things that atheists believe for which there is no evidence.

  • MichaelElwood

    Alistair John wrote: “Atheism is not the belief that God cannot exist, even if this is a position some atheists hold. Atheism is still simply a lack of belief in the divine, the lack of belief in something for which there is still no evidence.”

    Atheism is whatever atheists do or say in the name of atheism. There is no atheist pope or holy text. And other atheists needn’t defer to you or your preferred English dictionary for their definition of atheism.

    Alistair John wrote: “Yes, it is.”

    No, it isn’t. So there!

    Alistair John wrote: “Science is the record of known facts and probable theories based on physical evidence. Atheism is merely the position of being unconvinced by a collection of myths for which there is no physical evidence of any kind.”

    Science is the study of the physical, natural world. Non-physical subjects like God is not science’s domain. That’s the domain of philosophy. The belief that God and other subjects of philosophy is, or ought to be, the domain of science is known as scientism. And the belief that there must be empirical “physical evidence” for God is known as Logical Positivism. Both dogmas are common among atheists. And both dogmas are philosophical, not “scientific” in nature. So, no, atheism is not “scientific”. Frankly, your inability to weigh evidence of mundane subjects like scripture, history, etc., doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that you’d be capable of weighing the evidence of ethereal subjects like God, even it were a scientific rather than philosophical subject.

    Alistair John wrote: “All atheism claims is that there is no evidence for the divine. The onus will always be on the faithful to show the evidence of the divine.”

    No that’s not all that atheism claims. And even if that was all that atheism claims, the burden of proof would still be on atheists to justify their epistemological belief that God is a scientific subject that must have “physical evidence” of an empirical nature.

    Alistair John wrote: “You seem totally obsessed with Sam Harris.”

    Nah, I’m not obsessed with Sam Harris. I think atheists are embarrassed by him. They’re constantly dismissing his ideas as not representative of atheism, but they’re unable to explain his popularity with atheists and his ability to make a comfortable living off of them by peddling his ideas (which could only be possible if his ideas were not widely held by atheists).

    Alistair John wrote: “I don’t necessarily agree with what he says here, being a pacifist by instinct. However, it isn’t hard to put an argument justifying violence against people of bad intent.”

    LOL! “Bad intent”? That’s Harris-speak. Harris and his groupies think that the same actions they find morally objectionable in Muslims are justified when atheists do them, because the former have “bad intentions,” but the latter have “good intentions”. How Sam Harris and other atheists are able to divine the inner-most thoughts of people, no one knows! Perhaps psychic abilities is one of their many talents. I had a debate with an atheist dude who made the same ridiculous argument about “bad intentions” and “good intentions”:

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/truthtopoweratpatheos/sam_harris8217_islamophobia_a_black_muslim_response/#comment-3153518873

    Alistair John wrote: “As violence was the modus operandi of Mohammed, is condoned in the Quran against enemies of Islam and Islam was spread by the sword do you really think you are in a strong position to criticise an atheist defending the use of violence in some circumstances?”

    Yeah, I’m in a pretty strong position because the belief that Islam was spread by the sword is one of the many things atheists believe without evidence:

    “If we look for evidence of the burning, looting, or destruction described by Bishop Sophronius in 635, we find none. No systematic sacking of cities took place, and no destruction of agricultural land occurred. The conquests brought little immediate change to religious and communal life. There were no mass or forced conversions. Christian, Jewish, or Zoroastrian communities in Syria and Iraq may have felt threatened, but they continued to thrive. New synagogues, churches, and monasteries were still being built into the eight century, and churches or synagogues were not converted to mosques on any noticeable scale. The first urban mosques were not built until after 690, and the urban landscape of the Near East remained largely unaffected by the conquests (Pentz 1992). There was certainly change, but in the same directions and at the same pace as before the conquests (Morony 1984: 507-26). Two key measures offer telling evidence that the conquests brought little immediate disruption to the patterns of religious and social life in Syria and Iraq: production of wine (forbidden in Islamic Law) continued unchanged, and pigs (considered unclean by Muslims) continued to be raised and slaughtered in increasing numbers (Pentz 1992).

    “Neither do we find evidence of dramatic change in the law or political institutions of conquered territories in the years immediately following the conquests. What did change was the ruling class. The new rulers spoke Arabic, represented a different ethnicity, and kept aloof from their conquered subjects. But for all the differences change came slowly even at the highest levels of political affairs. The new rulers continued to use Greek and Persian in administrative documents. They continued to mint Byzantine-style coins complete with the image of the emperor holding a cross, and Sassanian-style coins bearing Zoroastrian symbols and Sassanian dates (Morony 1985: 38-51). They were dependent on the old Persian and Greek bureaucrats and institutions. Major reform of the language of administration or of coinage did not take place until 695 — sixty years into Arab rule. Earlier attempts at reform reportedly failed in the face of stiff popular resistance. The Arab rulers also continued the same patterns of taxation. The conquests replaced the top rung of the Byzantine and Sassanian ruling class with Arabs, but they did not immediately or violently alter the administrative, religious, economic, or cultural landscape of the Near East.” (see “A New Introduction to Islam,” by Daniel W. Brown, pg. 129)

    CONTINUED IN NEXT COMMENT

  • Tanveer Wan Khanobi

    I tend to agree. A lot of “haram police” are pretenders too.

  • Khizer

    ‘Athiest fan fiction….’

    Oh I know some beautiful and BRAVE Athiest fan-fiction. Here is one of the most well known and oldest copypasta/fiction from the atheism subreddit,

    https://www.reddit.com/r/magicskyfairy/comments/xbh89/ooc_quick_question_what_does_strong_then_kill/?ref=search_posts

    Found it on the magicskyfairy subreddit, a satirical subreddit by Athiests and religious people to make fun of obnoxious Athiests from Reddit and other parts of the Internet.

  • Alistair John

    “Atheists believe in things for which there is no evidence all the time. And atheism itself lacks evidence for it.”

    No doubt some atheists do believe all sorts of strange things, but that isn’t central to the issue or what defines them as atheists. There is no evidence of the divine and that is all atheism relates to, not whether you believe in something else.

    Your kangaroo man stumbles at the first hurdle. Atheism is not the belief that God cannot exist, even if this is a position some atheists hold. Atheism is still simply a lack of belief in the divine, the lack of belief in something for which there is still no evidence. What is beyond current knowledge might exist, but until there is some sort of evidence for it it lies in the realm of all fantastical beliefs.

    “So, no, atheism is not “scientific” in that sense.”

    Yes, it is. Science is the record of known facts and probable theories based on physical evidence. Atheism is merely the position of being unconvinced by a collection of myths for which there is no physical evidence of any kind.

    “The onus is on whoever makes the claim(s). But I can understand why atheist always try to shift the onus onto others. I wouldn’t want to be in the unenviable position of defending the claims atheists have made either.”

    No. If you claim that fairies are real and you that know this for a fact then people are going to ask how you know this. If you take them to the bottom of your garden and show them tiny winged people frolicking there they will believe you. If you simply say, “I just know there are, because it’s written in this book,” they are not going to believe you. Instead, they’ll smile and nod and think it a shame that care in the community is so poorly funded.

    All atheism claims is that there is no evidence for the divine. The onus will always be on the faithful to show the evidence of the divine.

    “The only idea more terrible and with an even more appalling history of strife and bloodshed are atheist states.”

    Most Western countries and a fair few others divide church and state. America was founded on that principle. Britain still has a link between crown and church yet is one of the most secular states in the world. Few of these countries suffer from religious strife today, except from extremists. In the main, but definitely not exclusively, the most violent of those extremists are Muslims.

    “Yemelyan Yaroslavsky, the leader of the League of Militant Atheists, said: “It is our duty to destroy every religious world-concept… If the destruction of ten million human beings, as happened in the last war, should be necessary for the triumph of one definite class, then that must be done and it will be done””

    Some atheists can be crazy or scumbags. What of it? That doesn’t prove that religious law is a sound basis for government. History shows us otherwise. Current Islamic states show it very clearly. No Islamic country is as liberal and tolerant to its citizens as secular Western ones. Religious rule and oppression have always gone hand in hand but other ideologies, such as communism can also be oppressive.

    “And atheist states acted on this belief by murdering millions of people, including Muslims, in the name of atheism.”

    Atheism is not a panacea for the world’s ills, not will it prevent greed, murder and rapine. It is also not what separation of church and states call for. All secularism in government does is remove one religion from the organs of state for the freedom and benefit of all citizens and discourages basing the law of the land on irrational and groundless texts from the Bronze Age. Freedom of religion can (and usually is) allowed in secular states.

    A division of church and state which does not include freedom of worship and association, as was the case with the Soviet Union, is not liberal and little better than a theocracy. In that case, communism, another ideology believed often without good evidence, replaced monarchy and Orthodox Christianity.

    “The atheist Sam Harris said: “Fearing that the above reflection on torture may offer a potent argument for pacifism, I would like to briefly state why I believe we must accept the fact that violence (or its threat) is often an ethical necessity. . . .””

    You seem totally obsessed with Sam Harris. I don’t necessarily agree with what he says here, being a pacifist by instinct. However, it isn’t hard to put an argument justifying violence against people of bad intent. As violence was the modus operandi of Mohammed, is condoned in the Quran against enemies of Islam and Islam was spread by the sword do you really think you are in a strong position to criticise an atheist defending the use of violence in some circumstances?

    “And the atheist James Elmer Mitchell acted on this belief by creating America’s torture program. Terrible stuff! But wait, lemme guess, that’s not real atheism?”

    As I said before, which you either are incapable of understanding or chose to ignore, all atheists are real if they don’t believe in the divine. If they happen to be a torturer that doesn’t make them less of an atheist.

    And torture is hardly the invention or sole province of atheists. Some Muslims are known for their barbarism. The Catholic Inquisition is the most notorious instance of religiously motivated torture and murder.

    “And we shouldn’t criticize atheism based on the actions and beliefs of atheists, but we should criticize Islam based on the actions and beliefs of Muslims, right?”

    I have also said this many times before: individual Muslims should be criticised for their individual actions, not all Muslims. Where Islam encourages cruelty, either in its texts, traditions, practices and teachers that can and should be criticised also.

    “If you reject their definition of atheism, then you’ve rejected them too.”

    No. If they don’t believe in the divine they’re still atheists, even if they hold other positions or go further than that that doesn’t negate their atheism.

    “And the definition that you prefer is A definition not THE definition of atheism. As I pointed out in my previous comments, there are broader definitions of the word atheism than the one you prefer. For example, Webster’s dictionary defines atheism as: “a philosophical or religious position characterized by disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods”.”

    Atheism is a philosophical position characterised by disbelief in the existence in gods. Where I differ with that particular dictionary definition is the use of the words ‘religious position’ because some religions such as Jainism and Buddhism have no gods but to be a Jain and Buddhist is not to be an atheist. There are elements of the supernatural within Jainism and Buddhism and the supernatural is a defining characteristic of religion.

    This was also not their primary definition, which is very similar to my own: “a lack of belief or a strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods.”

    “And the atheist philosopher Julian Baggini defines atheism not simply as a “lack of belief,” but as a worldview that “includes numerous beliefs about the world and what is in it.””

    So what? One man is entitled to his ideas and beliefs. If I reject all of his ideas other than a lack of belief in the divine that doesn’t make me any less of an atheist or him any more of one.

    “Your definition of atheism as a “lack of belief in something for which there is no scientific evidence/proof whatsoever” seems the most obvious misuse of the word.”

    No. It’s the only meaning of the word. You have yet to show me an ideology which is shared by all atheists and needs to be in order for someone to be an atheist (despite my constant challenges for you to do so).

    “That’s why I keep mocking your claim that Islam is “whatever is preached in the name of Islam” by asserting that atheism is whatever is preached in the name of atheism.”

    You cannot preach a lack of belief in something for which there is no evidence. All you can do is argue against people who believe in things for which there is no evidence or ask for the evidence.

    Islam is what Muslims do and say in the name of Islam. Islam is a complex collection of individuals and sects with differing positions and practices. Bigotry is part of some forms of Islam. Bigotry cannot be a part of a lack of belief in the divine but it can be part of an ideology which is atheist, such as communism. Individual atheists can obviously be bigoted independent of any other belief or lack of belief.

    “You can’t really go by the polls. As I pointed out previously, most of these countries are authoritarian, so polling data is suspect. And only about half of Muslims live in Muslim majority countries.”

    It isn’t just polling in Muslim countries. It is also polling in countries like Britain where Muslims stand out in sharp relief against the non-Muslim majority on the issue of homosexuality, largely because the majority is non-religious or the other religions have been tempered by liberalism and more enlightened attitudes towards sexual minorities.

    The authoritarianism of those authoritarian Muslim countries is also underpinned by Islamic doctrine and Sharia law. They are not authoritarian Buddhists or Parsees.

    “It’s also besides the point what a supposed majority of Muslims believe about homosexuality since your argument was about Islam not Muslims.”

    Not if the reason for most Muslims’ dislike of homosexuality is inspired by Islamic religious texts and practices.

    Islam is what Muslims do and say. I do not say there are no tolerant or liberal Muslims, merely that they appear to be a minority based on the evidence of Muslim societies and polls of Muslims worldwide, in and out of Muslim majority countries.

    “And acceptance or rejection of homosexuality doesn’t always correlate with religiosity or secularity. For example, in overwhelmingly secular countries like South Korea and China, 59% and 57% oppose homosexuality according to a Pew survey.”

    I have never said, nor do I believe, that anti-homosexual bigotry is tied exclusively to religiosity. However, there is a very strong link between religions such as Islam and Christianity and intolerance of sexual minorities.

    “That’s not saying much, Alistair. I’ve seen how easily you’ve “interpreted” stuff.”

    But it isn’t my interpretation that matters. It is the interpretation of the religious who use their texts to be bigoted which counts. I am simply an outside observer.

    “Then you might not want to pontificate about its contents. . . or suggest that Muslims who aren’t bigoted are selectively following it. Just admit that you believe things about the Quran for which there is no evidence.”

    I showed you two verses which are used to justify anti-homosexual bigotry among Muslims. I can do the same with the Bible. Whether you personally interpret them in a bigoted way does not mean they are not part of the foundation on which Islamic bigotry draws strength.

    You continue to dodge the question about your own selectivity about the Quran and the literal truth of Adam and Eve. Such evasion is comically pathetic.

  • 1DrM

    The internet is full of pretenders. From what I’ve seen 95% of “ex-Muslims” online were never Muslims to begin with. Zero credibility individuals. More like atheist fan fiction with Geehad watch excreta mixed in.

  • 1DrM

    Yawn. Don’t break your hand trying to punch out your own straw man. Whats tragic is how you continue to pretend you have any knowledge of math or science.

  • MichaelElwood

    Alistair john wrote: “Atheism is based on a lack of belief in something for which there is no scientific evidence/proof whatsoever. To that degree it is scientific. Science is based on evidence, not faith.”

    Atheists believe in things for which there is no evidence all the time. And atheism itself lacks evidence for it:

    “The Kangaroo Debate: Can Statements about God be Meaningful?”

    http://19.org/blog/kangaroo/

    So, no, atheism is not “scientific” in that sense.

    Alistair john wrote: “The onus is on the religious and superstitious to provide evidence for what they believe in the face of rational disbelief.”

    The onus is on whoever makes the claim(s). But I can understand why atheist always try to shift the onus onto others. I wouldn’t want to be in the unenviable position of defending the claims atheists have made either.

    Alistair john wrote: “No sane atheist is going to advocate for a religious government. Why would they? It is a terrible idea. It has a history of appalling strife and bloodshed behind it.”

    I know. The only idea more terrible and with an even more appalling history of strife and bloodshed are atheist states. Yemelyan Yaroslavsky, the leader of the League of Militant Atheists, said: “It is our duty to destroy every religious world-concept… If the destruction of ten million human beings, as happened in the last war, should be necessary for the triumph of one definite class, then that must be done and it will be done”

    And atheist states acted on this belief by murdering millions of people, including Muslims, in the name of atheism:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_Militant_Atheists

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USSR_anti-religious_campaign_(1928%E2%80%9341)

    The atheist Sam Harris said: “Fearing that the above reflection on torture may offer a potent argument for pacifism, I would like to briefly state why I believe we must accept the fact that violence (or its threat) is often an ethical necessity. . . .”

    And the atheist James Elmer Mitchell acted on this belief by creating America’s torture program. Terrible stuff! But wait, lemme guess, that’s not real atheism? And we shouldn’t criticize atheism based on the actions and beliefs of atheists, but we should criticize Islam based on the actions and beliefs of Muslims, right?

    Alistair john wrote: “You have such an ocean going confirmation bias that you seem incapable of reading what I actually write and invent your own arguments for me.”

    As suspect as your reading comprehension is, you’re the last person who should talk about someone not understanding what is written.

    Alistair john wrote: “No, I have rejected no atheists as not real. . . . If any atheist thinks atheism is more than simply a lack of belief in the divine then they are misusing the word.”

    If you reject their definition of atheism, then you’ve rejected them too. And the definition that you prefer is A definition not THE definition of atheism. As I pointed out in my previous comments, there are broader definitions of the word atheism than the one you prefer. For example, Webster’s dictionary defines atheism as:

    “a philosophical or religious position characterized by disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods”

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atheism

    And the atheist philosopher Julian Baggini defines atheism not simply as a “lack of belief,” but as a worldview that “includes numerous beliefs about the world and what is in it.”

    http://www.salon.com/2014/11/21/reza_aslan_sam_harris_and_new_atheists_arent_new_arent_even_atheists/

    Your definition of atheism as a “lack of belief in something for which there is no scientific evidence/proof whatsoever” seems the most obvious misuse of the word.

    Alistair john wrote: “As I pointed out before to keep the dialogue intelligible we need words which are universally understood and are specific in meaning.”

    I agree. That’s why I keep mocking your claim that Islam is “whatever is preached in the name of Islam” by asserting that atheism is whatever is preached in the name of atheism.

    Alistair john wrote: “I’m going by the laws and customs in Muslim majority countries and a lot of polls which have canvassed Muslim opinion worldwide.”

    You can’t really go by the polls. As I pointed out previously, most of these countries are authoritarian, so polling data is suspect. And only about half of Muslims live in Muslim majority countries. It’s also besides the point what a supposed majority of Muslims believe about homosexuality since your argument was about Islam not Muslims. And acceptance or rejection of homosexuality doesn’t always correlate with religiosity or secularity. For example, in overwhelmingly secular countries like South Korea and China, 59% and 57% oppose homosexuality according to a Pew survey.

    Alistair john wrote: “I hate those parts of Islamic texts which I believe to be bigoted in intention or too easily interpreted that way.”

    That’s not saying much, Alistair. I’ve seen how easily you’ve “interpreted” stuff.

    Alistair john wrote: “I simply don’t have the patience to sift through your book of fairy tales to decide which Muslims are the most faithful followers of the verses contained within.”

    Then you might not want to pontificate about its contents. . . or suggest that Muslims who aren’t bigoted are selectively following it. Just admit that you believe things about the Quran for which there is no evidence.

  • Alistair John

    “See what I mean? That’s not a “principle,” that’s a dogma called scientism. And it’s hardly “scientific””

    No, the principle of only believing what there is evidence for is not dogma. It is not a dogma to state that there is no evidence for the existence of unicorns. The same applies to God and all his angels.

    Atheism is based on a lack of belief in something for which there is no scientific evidence/proof whatsoever. To that degree it is scientific. Science is based on evidence, not faith. The onus is on the religious and superstitious to provide evidence for what they believe in the face of rational disbelief.

    “Claims purportedly based on “science,” made by atheists like Helmuth Nyborg and Richard Lynn, that men are smarter than women, Europeans are smarter than non-Europeans, and atheists are smarter than non-atheists, are as laughable as the notion that atheism itself is based on “science”.”

    The fact that two atheists have come up with odd or pseudo-scientific theories (if your interpretation of their ideas is correct) doesn’t invalidate science or atheism. As with Islam, there are all sorts of atheists. If that pair can prove their theories then they will become scientific fact. If not they remain theories based on some evidence (however scanty or skewed), as opposed to religions which are ideologies based on no evidence whatsoever.

    “I don’t have to. That’s your job (to outline a universal ideology of atheism to which all atheist must and do subscribe).”

    No. It isn’t my job to bolster your weak or non-existent arguments by playing devil’s advocate against my own position. Had you understood any of what I had written you know I cannot outline a universal ideology of atheism because there isn’t one. Atheism is not an ideology. It is still only a lack of belief in the divine and nothing else.

    “Do you know of a single atheist who advocates a theocratic or religious form of government? If not, then I’d say that the secular political philosophy is pretty much universal among atheists.”

    No sane atheist is going to advocate for a religious government. Why would they? It is a terrible idea. It has a history of appalling strife and bloodshed behind it. That is the reason why many religious people also support a division of church and state.

    “I don’t want appeals to scientism and atheist nonsense enshrined in our laws and judiciary either. For example, I don’t want the government applying the atheist Sam Harris’ prescription to profile or torture people.”

    Any ideology can be dangerous, secular or religious. Communism is the best example of this (as fascism was Catholic in nature and Nazism infused with quasi-religious Wagnerian mythology). The fact that some secular ideologies can be dangerous doesn’t mean that religion is less so when entangled with the organs of state. Any belief held stubbornly in the face of contrary evidence, or an entire lack of evidence is still dangerous.

    “Who are you, or whoever wrote your dictionary, to say what the “true definition” of atheism is?”

    Who are you to make it something it is not? If you choose to redefine words to suit your agenda you will have to find a new word for people who are atheists as currently defined, ie people who don’t believe in the divine who are not necessarily linked to any particular ideology.

    The point about a word like ‘atheism’ is that it does a job. It accurately describes a particular position without the political baggage you want to impose on it based on your own bias/prejudice.

    You really are as bad as someone who claims all Muslims are this or that because some Muslims are. Finding stupid atheists or stupid beliefs held by atheists doesn’t discredit atheism as a whole. The only way you can discredit atheism is by proving the existence of the divine. Until then you are holding a losing position in any argument based on rationality and evidence.

    “And I let atheists define what it is to be atheist, all of them, not just one atheist like yourself. You reject atheists who you don’t believe to be “real,” I don’t.”

    It is bizarre arguing with you. You have such an ocean going confirmation bias that you seem incapable of reading what I actually write and invent your own arguments for me.

    No, I have rejected no atheists as not real. If you don’t believe in a god or some aspect of the divine then you’re an atheist, even if you are as mad as a hatter or total monster. If any atheist thinks atheism is more than simply a lack of belief in the divine then they are misusing the word.

    As I pointed out before to keep the dialogue intelligible we need words which are universally understood and are specific in meaning. There are ideologies which are atheist, but they are not universally held by all atheists and do not need to be held in order to be an atheist.

    I repeat my challenge. Show me an ideology which is held by all atheists or needs to be held in order for someone to be an atheist.

    “No, it’s the exact opposite: It’s necessary for a Muslim to be selective with an issue like homosexuality if they want to be bigoted.”

    If that is the case then a majority of Muslims seem to wish to be bigoted.

    “”It appears”? (that a minority of Muslims accept homosexuals and the majority are prejudiced against them) Why should we defer to your subjective assessment of the majority of Muslims? And why do you keep using words like “accept,” when we’re talking about tolerance?”

    I’m going by the laws and customs in Muslim majority countries and a lot of polls which have canvassed Muslim opinion worldwide. Do you seriously challenge the notion that a majority of Muslims are not to some degree hostile to homosexuality?

    “Let’s recap, shall we. You initially said that you hated Islam, not a particular interpretation of it, but all of Islam.”

    No. I said that to hate the ideology of Islam is not to be a bigot. I hate modern architecture, that doesn’t make me a bigot, however slighted modern architects might feel over my opinion. I hate communism, that doesn’t make me a bigot either.

    I have been careful to say that not all Muslims or interpretations of Islam are the same. I hate those parts of Islamic texts which I believe to be bigoted in intention or too easily interpreted that way. Given the appalling treatment of sexual and religious minorities within Islamic societies that is not an unreasonable position. I was also careful to point out that this is not unique to Islam, Christianity being similar in this respect,

    “I said that the actions of the naughty “Muslims” weren’t based on the Quran and the “Islamic societies” were unrepresentative. I asked you about the naughty atheists in atheist societies. I asked why people couldn’t hate and criticize atheism based on the actions of these naughty atheists.”

    You can blame any atheist for being a dick, but not all atheists. You can blame any Muslim for being a dick, but not all Muslims.

    The difference between Islam and atheism is one is a complex ideology and the other is not. There are atheist ideologies, such as communism, and you can to some degree hold the ideology of communism responsible for the actions of communists. It would be a little unfair to lump an atheist follower of Milton Friedman in the same sweeping criticism of communist atheists.

    Islam like Christianity has many different sects and forms of belief. You want to assign only one interpretation as the true one, a common feature of people in particular sects. Every sect says they have the true path and claim they have the backing of divine texts or God himself. From the outside, I cannot do this. I cannot say that only Wahabis are the true Muslims or only Pentecostalists are the true Christians.

    The position of many atheists is that superstition and faith are dangerous things and lead easily to fanaticism and violence. Much that is within the Quran and the Bible has led to appalling cruelty and violence, whether or not you accept the interpretation the cruel and violent as a true one.

    I simply don’t have the patience to sift through your book of fairy tales to decide which Muslims are the most faithful followers of the verses contained within. I view Islam and Christianity as they are, not as they are ‘supposed to be’ in the eyes of one Muslim or one Christian.

    “And I asked who is to say that these naughty atheists aren’t the real atheists.”

    I have never said they aren’t atheists. I have said this many times. If they don’t believe in the divine they are atheists.

    “You tried to sustain your initial argument by claiming that atheism is simply the absence of a belief in the divine, not what atheists do or believe.”

    I am going by the dictionary definition. You still need to prove there is a universal ideology which is shared by all atheists or that needs to be accepted in order to be an atheist.

    From my position, there is barely one thing unifying all Muslims or Christians, given the huge differences between sects. Obviously, you won’t agree.

    “You couldn’t overcome the inconsistency at the heart of your argument, which is basically a type of special pleading fallacy. And we’ve pretty much been stuck in this impasse for the last several comments.”

    Both the impasse and fallacies are yours in the making. Until you can produce this universal atheist ideology you have no serious argument. You are just straw manning me most of the time.

    And you have still dodged the question about the selectivity of belief within Islam and Adam and Eve in the Quran. I can draw my own conclusions why.

  • MichaelElwood

    Alistair John wrote: “Here is one verse. . . . Here is another.”

    For future reference, cite the specific verse numbers. Ironically, the first verses (27:54-58) are an example of homosexual bigotry towards those whom they disagree, by trying to expel them or worse. It’s similar to the gay atheist Dan Savage, who thinks that the Islamic world needs to be remade in the West’s image through constant wars of aggression, or Douglas Murray, Michael Lucas, and other gay atheist anti-Muslim bigots. The second (4:15) verse makes no reference to homosexuality at all, so it’s impossible to interpret it in an anti-homosexual way.

    Alistair John wrote: “But in reality, it matters less what they say than how they are interpreted.”

    On the contrary, it matters more what they actually say than how they are interpreted. Your argument is that there are verses in the Quran that are bigoted. The existence or non-existence of these verses is an objective fact. However, your interpretation of these verses is highly subjective, as you’ve dramatically demonstrated by teasing an interpretation about bigotry against homosexuals from a verse about homosexual bigotry against others, and by teasing an anti-homosexual interpretation from a verse that doesn’t mention homosexuals at all.

    Alistair John wrote: “Again, this is our central difference. I look at what Muslims actually do, you look at what you believe they are supposed to.”

    No, you don’t look at what Muslims do. You look at the actions of those nominal Muslims who confirm your bias and ignore the rest.

    Alistair John wrote: “Even if you are able to contextualise those verses in such a way as to remove all trace of anti-homosexuality that doesn’t mean that large numbers of Muslims, a majority, in fact, don’t use such verses, or other Islamic theology as a foundation for their prejudices.”

    Most of the time, critic’s reading of the Quran suffers from a lack of context. In this case, however, your reading suffers from a lack of basic comprehension (i.e., verses that say the exact opposite of what you say they do, or don’t say what you claim they say at all).

    Alistair John wrote: “Is your argument that all those millions of Muslims who are prejudiced against homosexuals are not ‘real’ Muslims?”

    My argument is that violent prejudice against homosexuals has no scriptural basis. Whether or not they’re Muslim is predicated on different criteria.

    Alistair John wrote: “And are you saying the connection between the two is random chance?”

    Yep.

    Alistair John wrote: “Even if the latter were true that doesn’t mean I can’t criticise bigoted versions of Islam for what they are at the moment.”

    I never said that you couldn’t bigoted interpretations of Islam. Heck, Muslims criticize these bigoted interpretations of Islam more frequently and better than non-Muslim critics.

    Alistair John wrote: “Good for him. I never said there weren’t tolerant Muslims or liberal Muslims, although they do seem to be a minority.”

    “Seem to be”? Why should we defer to your subjective perception that liberal Muslims are a minority?

    Alistair John wrote: “I never once claimed all Muslims are the same or cannot express their views.”

    And I never claimed that you claimed that.

    Alistair John wrote: “We were speaking of selective belief and your position that Muslims are bound to everything in the Quran. Given that the story of Adam and Eve contradicts science is it the ‘correct’ position of a Muslim to reject science in this matter?”

    What the Quran literally says about Adam and Eve is an objective fact and doesn’t contradict science. However, as you demonstrated with your anti-homosexual verse examples, your subjective interpretation can contradict science (if you give yourself similar interpretive license). As I pointed out in my previous comment, many Muslims don’t have a problem with the idea of human evolution, and the idea probably has more antecedents in Islamic history than in atheist history. As to whether or not those who reject evolution are Muslims, again, that’s predicated on different criteria (like rejecting God, the Quran, etc.).

  • MichaelElwood

    Alistair John wrote: “I don’t speak of atheist dogma.”

    But I do. And apparently you do to.

    Alistair John wrote: “The only principles set down by any authority connected to atheism are scientific ones based on the lack of evidence for the divine. Dogma which happens to be atheist does not define atheism.”

    See what I mean? That’s not a “principle,” that’s a dogma called scientism. And it’s hardly “scientific”. Claims purportedly based on “science,” made by atheists like Helmuth Nyborg and Richard Lynn, that men are smarter than women, Europeans are smarter than non-Europeans, and atheists are smarter than non-atheists, are as laughable as the notion that atheism itself is based on “science”.

    Alistair John wrote: “You have still totally failed to outline a universal ideology of atheism to which all atheist must and do subscribe.”

    I don’t have to. That’s your job.

    Alistair John wrote: “You may or you may not. Some religious people also espouse secularism in politics.”

    Do you know of a single atheist who advocates a theocratic or religious form of government? If not, then I’d say that the secular political philosophy is pretty much universal among atheists.

    Alistair John wrote: “It is stretching things to call that an ideology. It is simply a rejection of superstition. I don’t want astrology or appeals to Greek Gods enshrined in our laws and judiciary, do you?”

    No, but I don’t want appeals to scientism and atheist nonsense enshrined in our laws and judiciary either. For example, I don’t want the government applying the atheist Sam Harris’ prescription to profile or torture people.

    Alistair John wrote: “No, I’m simply rejecting your attempt to widen the concept of atheism beyond its true definition to a system of belief not universal to all atheists.”

    Who are you, or whoever wrote your dictionary, to say what the “true definition” of atheism is?

    Alistair John wrote: “I let Muslims define what it is to be Muslim, all of them, not just one Muslim like yourself. You reject Muslims who you don’t believe to be ‘real’, I do not.”

    And I let atheists define what it is to be atheist, all of them, not just one atheists like yourself. You reject atheists who you don’t believe to be “real,” I don’t.

    Alistair John wrote: “It is necessary for a Muslim to be selective with an issue such as homosexuality, for instance, if they don’t want to be bigoted.”

    No, it’s the exact opposite: It’s necessary for a Muslim to be selective with an issue like homosexuality if the want to be bigoted.

    Alistair John wrote: “At the moment it appears only a minority of Muslims accept homosexuals and the majority are prejudiced against them.”

    “It appears”? Why should we defer to your subjective assessment of the majority of Muslims? And why do you keep using words like “accept,” when we’re talking about tolerance?

    Alistair John wrote: “No doubt I would, especially as it is not my position. My actual argument is that the way Islam is preached and practiced is frequently bigoted, not that it has to be. There is a choice. I have never implied all Muslims are bigoted or that there is only one interpretation of Islam.”

    Let’s recap, shall we. You initially said that you hated Islam, not a particular interpretation of it, but all of Islam. You based this hatred on the Quran and the actions of some nominal “Muslims” in some “Islamic societies”. And you asked who is to say that these naughty “Muslims” in these “Islamic societies” aren’t the real Muslims. I said that the actions of the naughty “Muslims” weren’t based on the Quran and the “Islamic societies” were unrepresentative. I asked you about the naughty atheists in atheist societies. I asked why people couldn’t hate and criticize atheism based on the actions of these naughty atheists. And I asked who is to say that these naughty atheists aren’t the real atheists. You tried to sustain your initial argument by claiming that atheism is simply the absence of a belief in the divine, not what atheists do or believe. However, you couldn’t overcome the inconsistency at the heart of your argument, which is basically a type of special pleading fallacy. And we’ve pretty much been stuck in this impasse for the last several comments.

    CONTINUED IN NEXT COMMENT

  • 1DrM

    Probably a figment of his imagination, just like atheism.

  • Floki

    Though folks here don’t always align well with the SPLC Hatewatchers, you might get a hoot out of the most recent blog article regarding the “March Against Sharia”. Maybe.

  • Khizer

    I have seen some ex-Christian and ex-Jew forums (though mostly on Reddit), but they are not as prevalent and noticeable to ex-Muslim forums, probably due to the current political climate towards Muslims (this is what I speculate).

    I can somewhat understand the idea for a forum for ex-Muslim. From what I have seen, these forums allow some ex-Muslims to discuss their problems regarding their strict religious families or whatever with other ex-Muslims and have solidarity with other ex-Muslims. This I can understand.

    There will always be however, a discussion regarding Islamic teachings and theology (not unexpected), that will many times devolve into a circlejerk of arguements reaching from just incorrect to downright stupid (I remember one thread where the commenters, in their armchair psychologist mode, argued that saying prayer five times a day was akin to brainwashing and “indoctrination”).

    However, ever since Trump came to the politics scene, the forum on Reddit has become more toxic. You will see many ex-Muslims exspousing Trump-rhetoric and defending his white supremascist fans and the alt-right. Many of them have even become part of the alt-right, well only on the internet, most of the alt-right ex-Muslims don’t have the balls to expose alt-right rhetoric in public, where their identities are not protected. Many liberal ex-Muslims on the reddit forum have left and moved on to other subreddits due to growing alt-right rhetoric and growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the forum.

    This is all I saw and noticed, there might be more to it.

  • Tanveer Wan Khanobi

    Why are ex Muslim forums a thing? I never see ex-Christian or ex-jew forums. It’s really obvious that they do it just got attention and it bothers me.

  • MichaelElwood

    Alistair John wrote: “Repeating something without evidence is not an argument.”

    . . .says the dude who keeps repeating something without evidence.

    Alistair John wrote: “If you count science as atheism then I suppose you could call atheism a complex belief system. However, the point of science is it is a record of what’s real, not an encouragement of blind faith.”

    I don’t associate science with atheism. But I do associate scientism with versions of atheism. And many atheists belief in scientism does encourage blind faith in scientists and science, or what purports to be science. It’s this type of blind faith that the 10th century Muslim scientist Ibn al-Haytham warned about:

    “Truth is sought for its own sake. Finding the truth is difficult and the road to it is rough. For the truths are plunged in obscurity. . . it is natural for everyone to regard scientists favorably. God however has not preserved the scientist from error and has not safeguarded science from shortcomings and faults. If this had been the case, scientists would not have disagreed upon any point of science, and their opinions upon any question concerning the truth of things would not have diverged. . . A person studying science with a view of knowing the truth ought to turn himself into a hostile critic of everything that he studies. . . He should criticize it from every point of view and in all its aspects. And while thus engaged in criticism he should also be suspicious of himself.” (see “The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam,” by Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies, pg. 85)

    Alistair John wrote: “Meaningless to you certainly, but then you are hopelessly partisan.”

    . . .says the dude who is hopelessly partisan.

    Alistair John wrote: “For the simple reason is that atheism is a black and white issue. You either believe in the divine or you don’t. There is no room for complexity there.”

    See what I mean?

    Alistair John wrote: “Because I’m not aware of a different definition. You haven’t provided one. From what I can Baggini is not suggesting one either.”

    I did provide one in my previous comment: “For a great many atheists, atheism does not merely signify ‘lack of belief’ but is itself a kind of positive worldview, one that ‘includes numerous beliefs about the world and what is in it,’ to quote the atheist philosopher Julian Baggini.”

    http://www.salon.com/2014/11/21/reza_aslan_sam_harris_and_new_atheists_arent_new_arent_even_atheists/

    Alistair John wrote: “To some degree. But Muslims accept and reject some parts and add bits to their version of Islam not in the Quran. But of course, you’ll say that those aren’t ‘real’ Muslims and so it goes round and round.”

    Muslims can occasionally fall short of the teachings of the Quran (and many of us do) and remain Muslim, but they can’t reject parts of the the Quran and remain Muslim in any meaningful sense (see 10:15 and15:90-91).

    Alistair John wrote: “Because much of what makes up Islamic culture, a lot of the traditions and rituals lend themselves to participation by people who don’t believe what is in the Quran or Hadith is the literal truth. I agree it is stretching things a little, but it is not uncommon to find people who define themselves that way.”

    Yeah, that is a bit of a stretch.

    Alistair John wrote: “There is no equivalent atheist culture. There are just a few groups of like minded atheists.”

    Yeah, there is an equivalent atheist culture. But you got to go out and experience it. It’s not going to just come to you. So, I suggest you get an atheist t-shirt, atheist key chain, atheist coffee mug, and atheist hat, and head for the nearest atheist shindig.

    https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1M4LEPpXXXXXiXVXXq6xXFXXXr/O-Neck-Cotton-Mens-tshirt-Letter-Print-Euro-Size-Man-Tops-font-b-Tees-b-font.jpg

    https://rlv.zcache.com/atheist_keychain-rd4022d824e70439996ca87369fa0ca73_x7j3z_8byvr_324.jpg

    https://img0.etsystatic.com/129/1/5618440/il_340x270.872677816_qutc.jpg

    https://rlv.zcache.com/atheist_trucker_hat-rcebe8c12baa04909ba101740b8a5a311_v9wfy_8byvr_324.jpg

  • LOL. Very poetic, Tanveer. With all that going on, I wonder when they go around to discussing Islamic doctrine. Not exactly pillow talk. 🙂

  • MichaelElwood

    Alistair John wrote: “I don’t think you have a clue what an ideology is. Here’s the first dictionary definition I found on Google: ‘a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.'”

    You’re the one who doesn’t have a clue what an ideology is. Do you really think atheist dogma, even as you define it, has no ramifications for politics, ethics, etc.? For example, if you “lack belief in the divine,” then you’ll tend to espouse secularism in politics (hence events like the atheist march on Washington). If you “lack belief in the divine,” then you’ll also tend to espouse the belief that ethics should have no recourse to revelation, etc.

    Alistair John wrote: “And you accused me of being a pedant. By Islam, I meant the followers of Islam and what is preached in the name of Islam. It is the choice of those within the religion of Islam whether to be bigoted or not.”

    Because you are being pedantic, at least when it comes to defining atheism. Your definition of Islam is a different story, however. When it comes to your definition of Islam, you ignore the Quran, the dictionary, history, and just about everything else, and define Islam as whatever “is preached in the name of Islam”. Which begs the question: why can’t atheism be similarly defined as whatever “is preached in the name of atheism”? I should also point out that your argument wasn’t that some interpretations of Islam are bigoted, but that Islam itself was bigoted, and those Muslims who weren’t also bigoted were just selectively following Islam. Your argument is circular: Islam is bigoted because some Muslims are bigoted, and some Muslims are bigoted because Islam is bigoted. Of course, you’d piss ‘n’ moan until you’re dehydrated ‘n’ hoarse if someone applied the same circular reasoning to atheism.

    Alistair John wrote: “There are no atheist bibles, no church of atheism, no atheists pope and clergy. Do you call someone who doesn’t believe in astrology or Tarot cards a member of an ideology?”

    There’s no church of Islam and no Muslim pope or clergy. And Islam doesn’t promote astrology or tarot cards either, so what’s your point?

    Alistair John wrote: “How about the verses referencing homosexuality?”

    Which verses? What do they say? Not how they’re interpreted, but what do they actually say?

    Alistair John wrote: “Given that Islamic societies and Muslims in Europe are, in the main, hostile to homosexuality, far more so than secular Westerners, it would suggest that those verses have created a climate of bigotry and intolerance, just as Biblical ones did and still do. They are being widely interpreted in a bigoted way.”

    Your attempt to establish a causal relationship between unspecified “verses referencing homosexuality” and “a climate of bigotry and intolerance” in unspecified Islamic societies and Europe is weak. This goes back to what we were discussing earlier about the difference between tolerating something and accepting or embracing it. In the West, many Muslims who don’t accept homosexuality are still tolerant of homosexuals, as evidenced by people like Imam Taj Hargey:

    “Meet the British Muslim Who’s Founded a Controversial Gay-Friendly Mosque”

    http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/open-mosque-taj-hargey-south-africa-934

    This is sometimes true even in the most conservative “Islamic societies” like Saudi Arabia, as evidenced by people like Salman al-Odah:

    “Salman al-Odah, a leading Saudi cleric with 9 million Twitter followers, said in an interview with a Swedish newspaper April 30 that even though homosexuality is considered a sin in the Torah, Bible, and Quran, according to Islam the punishment comes in the next world, not this one.

    “‘Those that say homosexuals are deviants of Islam, they are the true deviants and their actions are a graver sin than the homosexuals themselves,’ he added, in a statement on his website.”

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2016/0615/Islamist-views-on-LGBT-what-the-Quran-says-and-what-it-doesn-t

    Alistair John wrote: “You dodged the question about the literal truth of Adam and Eve I notice.”

    What question? The one about Muslims who don’t believe in evolution still being Muslim? Of coursed they’d still be Muslim. Because belief in evolution isn’t essential to being Muslim. It’d be different if, for example, they didn’t didn’t believe in God.

    CONTINUED IN THE NEXT COMMENT

  • Tanveer Wan Khanobi

    Can’t really hold it against him for his breast must have enfolded a passion hotter than blazing tamarisk, his flanks convulsing with a rage keener than the edge of a sword, swallowing the draughts of patience more bitter than colocynth. He loved her, after all.

  • That makes him an expert though. As you can see. 🙂

  • Tanveer Wan Khanobi

    The ramblings of an estranged lover 😀

  • Alistair John

    “Atheism is the textbook definition of an ideology.”

    I don’t think you have a clue what an ideology is. Here’s the first dictionary definition I found on Google: “a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.”

    An absence of belief in something for which there is no evidence is not an ideology. There is no system or ideas or ideals there. Not believing in fairies and unicorns is not, by itself, an ideology.

    “This is an example of personification. Islam is an idea, not a person. Someone who is nominally Muslim can choose to be a bigot, but Islam can’t “chose” to be anything.”

    And you accused me of being a pedant. By Islam, I meant the followers of Islam and what is preached in the name of Islam. It is the choice of those within the religion of Islam whether to be bigoted or not.

    “You conveniently reject others making any criticism about atheism based on the actions of atheists in atheist societies or what’s written in atheist texts.”

    There are no atheist bibles, no church of atheism, no atheists pope and clergy. Do you call someone who doesn’t believe in astrology or Tarot cards a member of an ideology?

    “Yeah, we’re gonna have to disagree on this, especially in the absence of any concrete examples of verses that lend themselves very easily to bigotry.”

    How about the verses referencing homosexuality? Given that Islamic societies and Muslims in Europe are, in the main, hostile to homosexuality, far more so than secular Westerners, it would suggest that those verses have created a climate of bigotry and intolerance, just as Biblical ones did and still do. They are being widely interpreted in a bigoted way.

    “Yeah, we’re gonna have to disagree on this (any individual Muslim can choose his or her interpretation of the texts and traditions which parts of them to ignore) too, especially in the absence of any concrete examples.”

    The examples are everywhere. There are Sunnis, Shias, Sufis, Wahabis and ISIS, secular/cultural Muslims, progressive Muslims, gay Muslims, feminist Muslims etc. None of those groups believes the exact same things or interprets Islam in the exact same way.

    You dodged the question about the literal truth of Adam and Eve I notice.

    “Like Islam, atheism is a complex belief system and ideology.”

    Repeating something without evidence is not an argument. If you count science as atheism then I suppose you could call atheism a complex belief system. However, the point of science is it is a record of what’s real, not an encouragement of blind faith.

    “Yes, so “flexible” as to be meaningless.”

    Meaningless to you certainly, but then you are hopelessly partisan. I have no dog in this fight so I just view things as they are, not as you’d like them to be. There are all sorts of people who identify as Muslims and all believe their version of Islam is the best or the truest. It’s still not my place to say which is the ‘real’ Muslim and which the ‘false.’

    “Your definition of Islam and Muslim may be grey (and that’s a very charitable description), but your definition of atheism and atheist is black and white.”

    For the simple reason is that atheism is a black and white issue. You either believe in the divine or you don’t. There is no room for complexity there. If you’re not sure you’re an agnostic.

    “Is your definition of atheism found in every English dictionary?”

    I haven’t read every English dictionary but all the ones I have define it that way. If you think it has a different definition you would need to state what that is in detail.

    “Why should your narrow definition of atheism be preferred over a broader more “flexible” definition?”

    Because I’m not aware of a different definition. You haven’t provided one. From what I can Baggini is not suggesting one either.

    “The Quran is the criterion for what is Islamic and who is a Muslim.”

    To some degree. But Muslims accept and reject some parts and add bits to their version of Islam not in the Quran. But of course, you’ll say that those aren’t ‘real’ Muslims and so it goes round and round.

    “Why can’t a term like theist atheist be a contradiction in terms, but a term like atheist Muslim can be?”

    Because much of what makes up Islamic culture, a lot of the traditions and rituals lend themselves to participation by people who don’t believe what is in the Quran or Hadith is the literal truth. I agree it is stretching things a little, but it is not uncommon to find people who define themselves that way. I believe Reza Aslan does.

    There is no equivalent atheist culture. There are just a few groups of like minded atheists.

    “The issue is whether we can criticize atheism itself based on the actions of these atheist terrorists and bigots the same way you think you can criticize Islam based on the actions of nominal Muslim terrorists and bigots.”

    A particular group of atheists may be bigoted, just as a particular group of Muslims may be. I am not criticising all Muslims or all interpretations of Islam or lumping Muslim terrorists with non-violent Muslims. I only criticise those parts of Islam, those verses, traditions and practices which I find to be oppressive and intolerant.

    “I think we’re just going to have agree to disagree.”

    Probably so.

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