# Is God benevolent?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Sirius B, May 28, 1999.

1. ### zygosRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
35
Well, many great questions have been asked and answered here. And many great answers have been revoked by quotes from eras long past.So this is what we humans have come down to, a race that very rarely looks within for answers, A race that would rather pick up a book, or boot up a computer, rather than to think..So my question is this. What do you think will come of the future of religion(if no cataclism arrives)? will we still chat about the existance of god when we have left all the unansered questions behind us. or Will we still look at a old book for answers.

"only time will tell"
zygos

3. ### Yin YangRegistered Member

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7
Peace Zygos, I agree....Religions are born and forgotten all the time. Only the individuals deep personal beliefs will carry us forward through the grind of time. Whether it be Buddah, Allah or Christ, lets hope the universal message is never overlooked or forgotten...

The natures soul lives on and on...

5. ### dumaurierRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
171
Zygos,

When i pick up that "old book," as you say, and read such things as the following, one's duty becomes apparent and crystal clear. It could never be that religion dies out. Just read the following and you'll see what i mean.

"Be generous in prosperity,
Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor,
and look upon him
with a bright and friendly face.
Be a treasure to the poor,
an answerer to the cry of the needy,
a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment,
and guarded in thy speech.
Be unjust to no man,
and show all meekness to all men.
Be as a lamp unto them
that walk in darkness,
a joy to the sorrowful,
a sea for the thirsty,
a haven for the distressed,
an upholder and defender
of the victim of oppression.
Let integrity and uprightness
distinguish all thine acts.
Be a home for the stranger,
a balm to the suffering,
a tower of strength for the fugitive.
Be eyes to the blind,
and a guiding light
unto the feet of the erring.
Be an ornament
to the countenance of truth,
a crown to the brow of fidelity,
a pillar of the temple of righteousness,
a breath of life to the body of mankind,
an ensign of the hosts of justice,
a luminary above the horizon of virtue,
a dew to the soil of the human heart,
an ark on the ocean of knowledge,
a sun in the heaven of bounty,
a gem on the diadem of wisdom,
a shining light
in the firmament of thy generation,
a fruit upon the tree of humility.
We pray God to protect thee from the heat of jealousy and the cold of hatred. He verily is nigh, ready to answer."
(Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf)

So, how could religion ever die out? It is as fresh flowing water to a thirsty one. Without such bountiful and wonderful inspiration as offer all Holy Books, man would certainly die spiritually.

7. ### BorisSenior MemberRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,052
Dumaurier:

Remove the reference to God from the text you quoted, and observe that the power of the text is not lessened. God is not necessary to promote moral behavior.

MaTTo:

I'll answer under the Evolution vs. Creation thread; give me a few hours to go over the website you mentioned.

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I am; therefore I think.

8. ### dumaurierRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
171
"O kindreds of the earth! Incline your ears unto the Voice from the divine Lote-Tree which overshadoweth the world and be not of the...men who have repudiated the Manifestation of God and His invincible authority and have renounced His favours-- they in truth are reckoned with the contemptible in the Book of God, the Lord of all mankind."(Tablets of Baha'u'llah)

"But the foolish ones of the earth, being nurtured in evil passions and desires, have remained heedless of the consummate wisdom of Him Who is, in truth, the All-Wise, while their words and deeds are prompted by idle fancies and vain imaginings."
(Ibid)

"The Day-Star of certitude is shining resplendent but the people of the world are holding fast unto vain imaginings. The Ocean of divine knowledge hath risen high whilst the children of men are clinging to the hem of the foolish. But for the unfailing grace of God--exalted be His glory--no antidote could ever cure these inveterate diseases."
(Ibid)

"As the East and the West are illumined by one sun, so all races, nations, and creeds shall be seen as the servants of the One God. The whole earth is one home, and all peoples, did they but know it, are bathed in the oneness of God's mercy. God created all. He gives sustenance to all. He guides and trains all under the shadow of his bounty. We must follow the example God Himself gives us, and do away with all disputations and quarrels." (Abdu'l-Bahá)

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dumaurier

9. ### dumaurierRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
171
"GOD sends Prophets for the education of the people and the progress of mankind. Each such Manifestation of God has raised humanity. They serve the whole world by the bounty of God. The sure proof that they are the Manifestations of God is in the education and progress of the people. The Jews were in the lowest condition of ignorance, and captives under Pharaoh when Moses appeared and raised them to a high state of civilization. Thus was the reign of Solomon brought about and science and art were made known to mankind. Even Greek philosophers became students of Solomon's teaching. Thus was Moses proved to be a Prophet.

"After the lapse of time the Israelites deteriorated, and became subject to the Romans and the Greeks. Then the brilliant Star of Jesus rose from the horizon upon the Israelites, brightening the world, until all sects and creeds and nations were taught the beauty of unity. There cannot be any better proof than this that Jesus was the Word of God.

"So it was with the Arabian nations who, being uncivilized, were oppressed by the Persian and Greek governments. When the Light of Muhammad shone forth all Arabia was brightened. These oppressed and degraded peoples became enlightened and cultured; so much so, indeed, that other nations imbibed Arabian civilization from Arabia. This was the proof of Muhammad's divine mission.

"All the teaching of the Prophets is one; one faith; one Divine light shining throughout the world. Now, under the banner of the oneness of humanity all people of all creeds should turn away from prejudice and become friends and believers in all the Prophets. As Christians believe in Moses, so the Jews should believe in Jesus. As the Muhammadans believe in Christ and Moses, so likewise the Jews and the Christians should believe in Muhammad. Then all disputes would disappear, all then would be united....Today we must gather...and try with heart and soul to bring about the union of mankind."

(Abdu'l-Bahá)

10. ### dumaurierRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
171
Boris wrote,
"Remove the reference to God from the text you quoted, and observe that the power of the text is not lessened. God is not necessary to promote moral behavior."

Yet the very person who wrote those words i quoted claim they are not His words but words revealed by God!

Who should one believe, Boris? or the person who wrote those words i quoted?

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dumaurier

11. ### BorisSenior MemberRegistered Senior Member

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1,052
Yes indeed, Dumaurier, who should one believe? Perhaps, a person who claims to speak for God? Yeah, we are all sane here, no doubt about that...

But I'm sick and tired of this notion of religious progress. For example, way earlier, you mentioned something about the divine institution of marriage. You said that Moses allowed up to 4 wives or something like that, and Jesus narrowed it down to one. But then along comes Mohammed and Islam, and we are back to total polygamy and harems again! Where's your purported progress? Not to mention that Islam served to further subjugate and dehumanize women like no major religion before it!

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I am; therefore I think.

12. ### dumaurierRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
171
Boris wrote,

"But then along comes Mohammed and Islam, and we are back to total polygamy and harems again! Where's your purported progress? Not to mention that Islam served to further subjugate and dehumanize women like no major religion before it!"

Boris, SUBSTANTIATE AND PROVE WHAT YOU SAY HERE!!! Dish out the facts. You have said you wish to see religion disappear so that science can take over. It seems strange to me that you should advocate such a stand yet you yourself do not practise; you have not acted as a scientist here. A scientist would show facts supporting what he claimed. Don't you think it's appropriate that you practised your own "religion" by integrating into your own actions its tenets and beliefs? It would be interesting to see your facts proving Muhammad had anything to do with polygamy and harems. Prove to us how Muhammad "subjugated" and "dehumanized" women. We require extracts directly from the Quran for this. Please post these here for all to see.

Boris, i wager you cannot and never will be able to prove these scandalous claims against Muhammad because, it is my conviction based on my knowledge of the Holy Qu'ran, none of the things you mention, and in the way you represent them, had anything to do with Muhammad or His Book!

[This message has been edited by dumaurier (edited July 20, 1999).]

13. ### BorisSenior MemberRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,052
Dumaurier:

If you don't lay off this denial you are in, I will seriously start wasting the extra hours grabbing your 'factual proof' off the net for you (since you appear to be reluctant to go and see for yourself.) Here's a taste of that 'evidence' for which you've been so beautifully setting yourself up all this time:

Apparently the mens' duty before Allah is to stop staring at women. (Strange... How are they supposed to fall in love if they never dare to pass a lewd thought through their heads?) Despite the rather inhumane (jokingly) restriction, men otherwise appear to be pretty free. I see no mention of the men's dress codes for example -- apparently it's OK for men to go around the streets naked.

Women, on the other hand, owe Allah a bit more respect:
1) lengthen their garments
2) subdue their eyes
3) maintain their chastity
4) "shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary"
5) "shall not relax this code in the presence of other than their husbands..."
6) "They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies"

Boy, isn't this the fair treatment of the sexes that neo-Muslims claim the original Qur'an espouses?

But what is truly noteworthy is not the Qur'an itself, which is rather mellow. It's the subsequent additions (the so-called Hadiths) -- the equivalent of Christian 'Revelations' -- that truly glorifies Islam as the next great step in evolution of humanity. Wouldn't you agree, Dumaurier?

Just a little quote from one of the Hadiths:
Real juicy, eh? You have to be either incredibly naive, or in extreme denial, not to be aware of the atrocities perpetrated in the dominantly-Islamic middle eastern states, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, and others. Women are denied education and 'manly' occupations, they are humiliated by extreme dress codes, they are deprived of sexual pleasure through a particularly barbaric and dehumanizing procedure, they are routinely killed by their own family members over even suspicion of infidelity (even if they were raped!), they have no say in the choice of a husband, and in some places they are viewed in the eyes of the law as being equivalent to domestic animals! Clearly, none of these horrors was inherent in Qur'an -- but undeniably every single one of them must be recognized as an 'achievement' of Islam. Islam is a great illustration for my arguments.

No matter how benign, any religion involves a mindless submission to authority. This inevitably leads to tyranny, as both Islam and Christianity have had abundantly demonstrated. You may find it ridiculous, but even Baha'i, if it takes off and becomes a dominant religion, will in time result in atrocities and extremism of one sort or another. But even beside that point, to believe in a man's claim of personally conversing with God, no matter how true the rest of his his words ring, is just pure lunacy. This level of gullibility might be forgivable for a 4-year-old, but an adult is expected to be able to whittle the wheat from such obvious chaff.

Now, if this is not God's unequivocal affirmation of polygamy (no matter how limited), then doggone it Dumaurier, you've proven me a liar. Note how neatly this flies in the face of the Christian dogma. God seems to be having second thoughts, in other words. By the way, are you yet beginning to see this concept of 'incremental revelation' beginning to evaporate before your eyes?

But wait, I haven't hit you with the real whammy yet! It seems that Mohammad, the holy God's Prophet, has stated explicitly, repeatedly, and unequivocally throughout the Qur'an that God Allah himself intends Qur'an to be the last, final, complete and absolute revelation. To extend, reinterpret, or edit the Qur'an is clearly a devastating herecy in Allah's almighty eye. So, in case you haven't guessed it yet, Dumaurier, your very own holy prophet of God Baha'u'llah -- is a heretic, and there's absolutely no question about it, because Allah himself said so in no uncertain words! This in turn means that you are practicing a Satan's religion, Dumaurier -- a perverted and corrupted mockery of the Final Revelatoin, no less! But hey, don't get upset at <u>me</u> for such condemnation; I have nothing to do with it. Seems God himself has revealed these truths, as well as apparently many others, to us poor saps who are just too insensitive to worship the old man.

But hey -- no need to panic! We all know that God doesn't really mean what He says, and the next great holy Prophet will certainly be condemned by the Baha'i faith as heartily as Islam condemns Baha'i. Can you say "vicious circle"?

Lastly, Dumaurier, explain to us ignorant fools why you think Baha'u'llah was a holy prophet, and David Koresh wasn't. (Or do you 'believe' otherwise?)

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I am; therefore I think.

[This message has been edited by Boris (edited July 21, 1999).]

14. ### dumaurierRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
171
This post is a partial reply to Boris. (I have also posted it in the thread, "Proofs & Evidences of the Existence of God).

SPIRITUAL LAWS & MATERIAL LAWS

There are two sides to one coin--heads and tails. There are two aspects to revealed religion--spiritual and material. The spiritual has to do with the virtues of humanity. This Divine Law cannot be abrogated; it is irremovable, eternal, and is renewed at the manifestation of a new Revelation. This is what we term "spiritual Law" which can never be modified, altered or abrogated.

The second part of the Religion of God has to do with the material world. This comprises fasting, prayer, forms of worship, marriage and divorce, the abolition of slavery, legal processes, transactions, indemnities for murder, violence, theft and injuries. This is called the social aspect, or the material side of the Law of God. It refers to material things and, because all material existence is relative and subject to chance and change, this part of the Law is modified and altered in each prophetic cycle in accordance with the necessities of the times. So, for example, with regards the social Laws, Moses permitted polygamy due to the fact that there were more women than men in the tribes of Israel--this was a rational solution for a very real social problem at the time; but Christ abrogated this Law in His time for there was no more need of this. In Arabia, the Arabs had turned to a particular direction during prayer in accordance to the provisions of the Pentateuch, but Muhammad abrogated such a direction by telling His followers to turn to another direction. For us today this sounds silly, but such an action was a great test of faith for those who for generations had accustomed themselves to turn in one direction. The gravity and consequence for the believer of this law can be likened to a law that suddenly stated that it it is no longer allowable to eat with the right hand but that now one had to eat with the left hand. It certainly would be a great test of faith for most people of today who have lived most of their lives--and for generations!--to believe that eating with the right hand was "normal." The evolution of the Spiritual Laws can be seen in that before Muhammad the law of forgiveness was not known but the law of "tooth for tooth, eye for eye" was practised by all. Christ abrogated this. For example, if X stole a chicken from Y, Y had to repay by returning a chicken to X; if X smote Y in the face, Y had the right to smite X in the face. In brief, there was no spiritual Law of forgiveness. But Christ abrogated such a Law by stating that one should forgive a transgressor and turn the other cheek. This was inciting within the believer the notion of forgiveness, which is a spiritual virtue.

Thus, there are two sides to all revealed Religion: Social/material and spiritual. The social or material Laws may be abrogated, but not the Spiritual Laws for these have to do with virtues and man's progress depends on them.

THE CONDITION OF THE ARABS AT THE TIME OF THE APPEARANCE OF MUHAMMAD

Before one casts judgment on the precepts and laws appearing in the Qur'an, one must first understand the social conditions and the mentality of the Arabs to whom Islam was given.

These Arab tribes were in the lowest depths of savagery and barbarism, and in comparison with them the savages of Africa and wild Indians of America were as advanced as a Plato. The savages of America do not bury their children alive as these Arabs did their daughters, glorying in it as being an honorable thing to do. Thus many of the men would threaten their wives, saying, "If a daughter is born to you, I will kill you." Even down to the present time the Arabs dread having daughters. Further, a man was permitted to take a thousand women, and most husbands had more than ten wives in their household. When these tribes made war, the one which was victorious would take the women and children of the vanquished tribe captive and treat them as slaves.

When a man who had ten wives died, the sons of these women rushed at each other's mothers; and if one of the sons threw his mantle over the head of his father's wife and cried out, "This woman is my lawful property," at once the unfortunate woman became his prisoner and slave. He could do whatever he wished with her. He could kill her, imprison her in a well, or beat, curse and torture her until death released her. According to the Arab habits and customs, he was her master. It is evident that malignity, jealousy, hatred and enmity must have existed between the wives and children of a household, and it is, therefore, needless to enlarge upon the subject. Again, consider what was the condition and life of these oppressed women!

Moreover, the means by which these Arab tribes lived consisted in pillage and robbery, so that they were perpetually engaged in fighting and war, killing one another, plundering and devastating each other's property, and capturing women and children, whom they would sell to strangers; to own slaves was an honour to these barbarions! How often it happened that the daughters and sons of a prince, who spent their day in comfort and luxury, found themselves, when night fell, reduced to shame, poverty and captivity. Yesterday they were princes, today they are captives; yesterday they were great ladies, today they are slaves.

Muhammad received the Divine Revelation among these tribes, and after enduring thirteen years of persecution from them, He fled. But this people did not cease to oppress; they united to exterminate Him and all His followers. It was under such circumstances that Muhammad was forced to take up arms. This is the truth. Look at it with justice. If Christ Himself had been placed in such circumstances among such tyrannical and barbarous tribes, and if for thirteen years He with His disciples had endured all these trials with patience, culminating in flight from His native land--if in spite of this these lawless tribes continued to pursue Him, to slaughter the men, to pillage their property, and to capture their women and children--what would have been Christ's conduct with regard to them? If this oppression had fallen only upon Himself, He would have forgiven them, and such an act of forgiveness would have been most praiseworthy; but if He had seen that these cruel and bloodthirsty murderers wished to kill, to pillage and to injure all these oppressed ones, and to take captive the women and children, it is certain that He would have protected them and would have resisted the tyrants. What objection, then, can be taken to Muhammad's action? Is it this, that He did not, with His followers, and their women and children, submit to these savage tribes? To free these tribes from their bloodthirstiness was the greatest kindness, and to coerce and restrain them was a true mercy. They were like a man holding in his hand a cup of poison, which, when about to drink, a friend breaks and thus saves him. If Christ had been placed in similar circumstances, it is certain that with a conquering power He would have delivered the men, women and children from the claws of these bloodthirsty wolves.

In such a country, and amidst such barbarous tribes, an illiterate Man produced a book in which, in a perfect and eloquent style, He explained the divine attributes and perfections, the prophethood of the Messengers of God, the divine laws, and some scientific facts.

Thus, you know that before the observations of modern times--that is to say, during the first centuries and down to the fifteenth century of the Christian era--all the mathematicians of the world agreed that the earth was the center of the universe, and that the sun moved. The famous astronomer who was the protagonist of the new theory discovered the movement of the earth and the immobility of the sun. Until his time all the astronomers and philosophers of the world followed the Ptolemaic system, and whoever said anything against it was considered ignorant. Though Pythagoras, and Plato during the latter part of his life, adopted the theory that the annual movement of the sun around the zodiac does not proceed from the sun, but rather from the movement of the earth around the sun, this theory had been entirely forgotten, and the Ptolemaic system was accepted by all mathematicians. But there are some verses revealed in the Qur'án contrary to the theory of the Ptolemaic system. One of them is "The sun moves in a fixed place," which shows the fixity of the sun, and its movement around an axis. Again, in another verse, "And each star moves in its own heaven." Thus is explained the movement of the sun, of the moon, of the earth, and of other bodies. When the Qur'án appeared, all the mathematicians ridiculed these statements and attributed the theory to ignorance. Even the doctors of Islám, when they saw that these verses were contrary to the accepted Ptolemaic system, were obliged to explain them away.

It was not until after the fifteenth century of the Christian era, nearly nine hundred years after Muhammad, that Galileo made new observations and important discoveries by the aid of the telescope, which he had invented. The rotation of the earth, the fixity of the sun, and also its movement around an axis, were discovered. It became evident that the verses of the Qur'án agreed with existing facts, and that the Ptolemaic system was imaginary.

In short, many Oriental peoples have been reared for thirteen centuries under the shadow of the religion of Muhammad. During the Middle Ages, while Europe was in the lowest depths of barbarism, the Arab peoples were superior to the other nations of the earth in learning, in the arts, mathematics, civilization, government and other sciences. The Enlightener and Educator of these Arab tribes, and the Founder of the civilization and perfections of humanity among these different races, was an illiterate Man, Muhammad. Was this illustrious Man a thorough Educator or not? A just judgment is necessary.

The military expeditions of Muhammad, on the contrary, were always defensive actions: a proof of this is that during thirteen years, in Mecca, He and His followers endured the most violent persecutions. At this period they were the target for the arrows of hatred: some of His companions were killed and their property confiscated; others fled to foreign lands. Muhammad Himself, after the most extreme persecutions by the Qurayshites, who finally resolved to kill Him, fled to Medina in the middle of the night. Yet even then His enemies did not cease their persecutions, but pursued Him to Medina, and His disciples even to Abyssinia. (Source: Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions).

Now, having gained a little more insight into the condition of life and society of Arabia at the time of Muhammad's coming, let us go on to examine Boris' comments wherein he presents quotes from the Qu'ran and derides and slanders the Prophet.

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dumaurier

15. ### dumaurierRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
171
Dumaurier:
If you don't lay off this denial you are in, I will seriously start wasting the extra hours grabbing your 'factual proof' off the net for you (since you appear to be reluctant to go and see for yourself.) Here's a taste of that 'evidence' for which you've been so beautifully setting yourself up all this time:

Boris: this kind of threat and menace suits you perfectly. But aside personal feuds, let us go on to examine your objections below.

Boris has provided some Qu'ranic quotes for our enlightenment as follows:
"O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they shall lengthen their garments. Thus, they will be recognized (as righteous women) and avoid being insulted. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful." 33:59

Muhammad seems to be saying here that, since the women were "insulted" by men, they should resort to means whereby such insult would be averted. Thus, Muhammad is showing kindness.

Boris quotes from the Qu'ran:
"Tell the believing men that they shall subdue their eyes (and not stare at the women), and to maintain their chastity. This is purer for them. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything they do." 24:30

Again, Muhammad is trying to create a mutual respect between women and men. He not only suggests to women to cover their bodies, but also tells men to not stare at women the way they did.

Boris quotes from the Qu'ran:
"And tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their chastity. They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary. They shall cover their chests, and shall not relax this code in the presence of other than their husbands,.....They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies. All of you shall repent to GOD, O you believers, that you may succeed." 24:31

I believe it is necessary for the reader to always keep in mind the context of the people, the traditions, social mores, behaviors of these Arabic peoples of 1200 years ago. Just look at the prohibition of women to cease stomping their feet, for example. It seems that women stomped their feet on the sand in Muhammad's time with the purpose, perhaps, of shaking their breasts and buttocks and thereby arousing the opposite sex. Perhaps, too, women went barechested and even walked in the nude. Muhammad was trying to give these people moral education and thereby uplift social standards of behavior. By doing this, relationships between men and women would also improve in the sense that it would not just be based on sexal attraction but on spiritual beauty.

Boris' comments on the above verses:
Apparently the mens' duty before Allah is to stop staring at women. (Strange... How are they supposed to fall in love if they never dare to pass a lewd thought through their heads?) Despite the rather inhumane (jokingly) restriction, men otherwise appear to be pretty free. I see no mention of the men's dress codes for example -- apparently it's OK for men to go around the streets naked.

Dumaurier replies:
First, on the question of "love," we should start another thread. I have ample thoughts to share with you on this subject. As to the other points, but you see in verse 24:30 that Muhammad is clearly addressing the men , as well. However, there are many places in the Qu'ran where Muhammad addresses men as to their conduct and behavior. You have only selected what suits your arguement.

Boris writes,
Women, on the other hand, owe Allah a bit more respect: 1) lengthen their garments; 2) subdue their eyes; 3) maintain their chastity; 4) "shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary"; 5) "shall not relax this code in the presence of other than their husbands..."; 6) "They shall not strike their feet when they walk in order to shake and reveal certain details of their bodies"
Boy, isn't this the fair treatment of the sexes that neo-Muslims claim the original Qur'an espouses?

Dumaurier replies:
Again, perspective is needed here, not prejudice. In Arabic culture 1200 years ago women were completely subdued to a man's authority and they were treated as inferior subordinates almost akin to slaves and almost always worse (see my brief prersentation on Arabian culture at the time of the appearance of Muhammad). A man's value rested in the number of camels, goats and sheep he possessed and always counted his women as possessions on the same level as an animal. Thus, he would say, "I am powerful. I have 1000 camels, 500 sheep, and 50 women." Man did whatever he wanted with his camels, sheep and women. Woman had no say in anything and was considered as lowly as an animal, as was witnessed whenever the man decided that the new baby girl just born was ordered to be buried alive because "HE" didn't need anymore women in his harem! But Muhammad wanted to give women authority and make them realize that they had worth and power of their own. Thus, a woman was made to realize her power by altering her behavior through which she demonstrated her independence of men's imposing rule and desires. In order to do this, she had to alter her dress code and behavior. Such dress code and behavior, before Muhammad, had been imposed and determined by men, not by the women themselves!

As to this unequal treatment between men and women which you reproach the Arabian Prophet, here are several extracts contrary to your opinions:
"The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by God, if ye believe in God and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment. (An-Nur, 24:2)

"Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry and but a woman similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever: nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman: to the Believers such a thing is forbidden." ( An-Nur, 24:3)

"It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by God and His Apostle to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys God and His Apostle, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path." (Al-Ahzab, 33:36)

There are countless references in the Qu'ran where fair treatment of women is explicit, unequivocal, and undisputed (Details at "An-Anisa; Qu'ran 4; Women," for example).

Boris writes:
But what is truly noteworthy is not the Qur'an itself, which is rather mellow. It's the subsequent additions (the so-called Hadiths) -- the equivalent of Christian 'Revelations' -- that truly glorifies Islam as the next great step in evolution of humanity. Wouldn't you agree, Dumaurier?

Dumaurier replies:
The Hadiths are the body of tradition and legend about Muhammad and His followers. They are not authoritative as the Qu'ran itself. They are not the Qu'ran! Keep this in perspective.

Boris writes:
Just a little quote from one of the Hadiths: "Women are naturally, morally and religiously defective". (Bukhary).
Real juicy, eh?

Dumaurier replies:
But you will NEVER find such things in the Qu'ran. The Hadiths remind one of the Roman Catholic church making merry of Christ's Teachings and distorting them in order to conform to whatever the church wants people to believe. These are the Hadiths! But you seem to relish in quoting them as if they were authoritative. This can only show your absolute misunderstanding of the subject and proves to what extent you will use anything just to defend your narrow-minded arguements!

Boris writes:
You have to be either incredibly naive, or in extreme denial, not to be aware of the atrocities perpetrated in the dominantly-Islamic middle eastern states, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, and others. Women are denied education and 'manly' occupations, they are humiliated by extreme dress codes, they are deprived of sexual pleasure through a particularly barbaric and dehumanizing procedure, they are routinely killed by their own family members over even suspicion of infidelity (even if they were raped!), they have no say in the choice of a husband, and in some places they are viewed in the eyes of the law as being equivalent to domestic animals! Clearly, none of these horrors was inherent in Qur'an -- but undeniably every single one of them must be recognized as an 'achievement' of Islam. Islam is a great illustration for my arguments.

Dumaurier replies:
It is as you say, "clearly, none of these horrors were inherent in the Qur'an." One might add that none of the "Christian" horrors were due to Christ's Teachings; such as the Inquisitions, the Crusades, etc. None of these atrocities you outline were ever encouraged by either Muhammad or Christ.

While Muhammad lay on his deathbed, he appointed Ali as His successor. But Abu Bakr and others argued that Ali was too young to be leader and so Uthman was chosen to lead the faithful. This very act of disobedience to Muhammad's wishes caused 120 centuries of misery, as you will testify if you make a profound study of events! Consequently, any and all reproaches one can make are really toward the waywardness of man's folly, not of the wisdom and power behind the Revelation of God.

Boris writes:
No matter how benign, any religion involves a mindless submission to authority. This inevitably leads to tyranny, as both Islam and Christianity have had abundantly demonstrated. You may find it ridiculous, but even Baha'i, if it takes off and becomes a dominant religion, will in time result in atrocities and extremism of one sort or another. But even beside that point, to believe in a man's claim of personally conversing with God, no matter how true the rest of his his words ring, is just pure lunacy. This level of gullibility might be forgivable for a 4-year-old, but an adult is expected to be able to whittle the wheat from such obvious chaff.

Dumaurier replies:

Now, as regards your lunacy claim, this is your opinion. Christ said His Message was of God. Muhammad said likewise. All Founders of the nine great world religions have said the same. Baha'u'llah has also stated the same thing. The option is a personal one: you either believe what these Founders say and accept them, or you disbelieve and reject them. The proof of their claims are in the Word which they reveal. If such a Word has the power to influence millions, can one say that Word lacked spiritual power? The Christian civilization was founded on the Word of Christ. The Islamic civilization was founded on the Word of Muhammad. What civilization that endured for centuries and centuries, may i ask, was ever founded on the words of a lunatic?

Boris writes:
"If you deem it best for the orphans, you may marry their mothers - you may marry two, three, or four. If you fear lest you become unfair, then you shall be content with only one, or with what you already have. Additionally, you are thus more likely to avoid financial hardship." 4:3

Before Muhammad appeared the richer Arab men had up to 1000 wives. Even the not-so-wealthy had hundreds of wives. Some had 50! But this was due to the nature of the Arab peoples who were barbarious, trecherous, and considered sacred the act of going into war, pillaging and destroying other clans and tribes. Savagery was a way of life to them. Thus, when a war was fought the men were slain and there were many women and children remaining. The conquering savages took possession of these women and children as slaves. An orphan, thus was, in most cases, a child of whose father had been murdered in a bloody war. He and his mother were spared for they were valued as "commodities." Muhammad is here making rules which not only protects the mothers and orphans, but limits the number of wives a man should have (whereas before Muhammad he could have as many as 1000 wives, now Muhammad is saying to relinguish this practise and have a maximum of four). But he also is saying that if a man thinks he can't be fair with his wives, he best have only one.

Boris writes:
"You can never be equitable in dealing with more than one wife, no matter how hard you try. Therefore, do not be so biased as to leave one of them hanging (neither enjoying marriage, nor left to marry someone else). If you correct this situation and maintain righteousness, God is Forgiver, Most Merciful." 4:129

This verse makes it clear that Muhammad desired Arab men to marry only one wife. But, again, one must consider Muhammad's exhortations within the context of the culture and peoples He lived in and with.

Boris writes:
Now, if this is not God's unequivocal affirmation of polygamy (no matter how limited), then doggone it Dumaurier, you've proven me a liar. Note how neatly this flies in the face of the Christian dogma. God seems to be having second thoughts, in other words. By the way, are you yet beginning to see this concept of 'incremental revelation' beginning to evaporate before your eyes?

No, i'm not, Boris. In fact, it is affirming it!

Boris writes:
But wait, I haven't hit you with the real whammy yet! It seems that Mohammad, the holy God's Prophet, has stated explicitly, repeatedly, and unequivocally throughout the Qur'an that God Allah himself intends Qur'an to be the last, final, complete and absolute revelation. To extend, reinterpret, or edit the Qur'an is clearly a devastating herecy in Allah's almighty eye. So, in case you haven't guessed it yet, Dumaurier, your very own holy prophet of God Baha'u'llah -- is a heretic, and there's absolutely no question about it, because Allah himself said so in no uncertain words! This in turn means that you are practicing a Satan's religion, Dumaurier -- a perverted and corrupted mockery of the Final Revelatoin, no less! But hey, don't get upset at me for such condemnation; I have nothing to do with it. Seems God himself has revealed these truths, as well as apparently many others, to us poor saps who are just too insensitive to worship the old man.

The Qu'ran has provisions indicating the appearance of the next Manifestation which is to come after Him. Baha'u'llah's coming is clearly prophesied in the Qu'ran and in the Old and New Testamont. If you wish the profuse quotes to be posted here, i shall oblige. This post, you'll agree, has already taken on proportions beyond acceptability . (But if you were to give me your email address we could spare the posters here.)

Boris writes:
But hey -- no need to panic! We all know that God doesn't really mean what He says, and the next great holy Prophet will certainly be condemned by the Baha'i faith as heartily as Islam condemns Baha'i. Can you say "vicious circle"?

God always means what He says and every promise is always fulfilled. It is a fact that sects always accuse each other. It is not the case with the Baha'i Faith. This is a world religion and bound to embrace the entire human race.

Boris writes:
Lastly, Dumaurier, explain to us ignorant fools why you think Baha'u'llah was a holy prophet, and David Koresh wasn't. (Or do you 'believe' otherwise?)

Dumaurier replies:
Baha'u'llah has established a Faith which circles the globe. In just 155 years there are over 5 million believers worldwide and in every single country of the planet. It is the fastest growing world religion. It has its own Holy Scripture, does not claim to be an offshoot of any other religion but claims to be an entirely independent religion. The power of the Baha'u'llah's Word has transformed the believer to work for the betterment of humanity; to consider science and religion as two wings of the bird of humanity; to work for the establishment of one universal language; to establish educational institutions in every corner of the globe for the furtherance of knowledge; to bring about the brotherhood of man on a world scale; to establish an international tribunal to settle secular disputes; to establish the equality of the rights of men and women worldwide; to eliminate the extremes of wealth and poverty; to encourage family unity, love, peace for all; to eliminate warfare and all exhorbitant expenditures connected to war; to work in finding solutions for contemporaneous problems related to overpopulation, pollution, hunger, injustice, and so on; to promote the unity of God; to promote the unity of all peoples as children of the one same God; to eliminate religious, racial, and all sorts of prejudices which hinder the growth of humanity; in brief, to establish the unity of the human race as one big family.
How can you even dream of putting such men as David Koresh in the same category?

This has been a long one.

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dumaurier

16. ### BorisSenior MemberRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,052
Dumaurier:

Sorry for the aggressive tone there. I'm only human, and your constant nagging for 'proof' was really beginning to get on my nerves. The issues I point out in my post by and large have nothing to do with proof, but rather with the validity of actual arguments used. With that, let's discuss your latest post.

Indeed! And they <u>still</u> are! Despite the <u>centuries</u> of Islam. Despite the teachings or intentions of Christ. Despite the wishes of Mohammad. Terror is being committed in those names, just as it has always been. (By the way, pre-Mohammed times were not as terrible and gory as you make them out to be. Certainly the quality of life of both men and women was far below modern minimums, and women were indeed treated like animals. However, I find it hard to envision the daily bloodshed or rampand sexual indicency, at least not in the Arabian peninsula. The behavior you describe seems to fit better to the roaming nomadic tribes of Mongolia who terrorized the Eurasian lands for centuries. As an aside, note that among them, Islam never managed to take off. But if any nation ever needed a Prophet, it was Mongolia.

And the directives of Mohammed's came from a woman, I suppose?!! You are arguing that women gained dignity by willing submission to Mohammed's will. So, before they were coerced by men, and now they willingly coerce themselves according to a man's wish! Nice progress, Dumaurier!

Oh yes, let's keep it in perspective indeed! My point exactly. No religion will ever succeed in rectifying ills. These ills will simply corrupt the religion itself, by re-interpreting and subjugating it at their convenience. And what we end up with in the end is an even worse mess -- atrocities no longer encouraged by just mere tradition, but now also by fanatical 'faith' and 'divine' sanction.

Ah, now perhaps we can finally return to my original claims that religion is not a beneficial phenomenon. It is indeed a signature of all major religions that the overwhelming majority of their followers are so only in name. However, once a religion gets itself established, it is really easy
for the powers that be to use it for manipulating people like marionnettes. And it can be used by people themselves to rationalize just about anything. The very notion of 'faith' is hazardous to both individuals and society at large. While some may benefit from it, I perceive that on the whole it has a negative impact on humanity.

And I can envision clear as day that the next 'Prophet' who doesn't follow Baha'i provisions will be hunted down and persecuted most relentlessly.

What is 'spiritual power'? Did Hitler possess God's blessing in order to subjugate millions to his point of view in a span of just a few years? Or, perhaps Marx and Engels were endowed with 'spiritual power' to foster the world-wide communism movement?

The fact that these religions are so widely accepted is no proof of the claim that they came from God!!! There is not even the tiniest modicum of connection here! As to their socially-beneficial dogmas, I would suggest that such 'knowledge' has always been present, even before it was internalized by the one-God religions and attributed to divine wisdom. In fact, I wager these religions have found quite an ingenious little device to bolster their claims -- they purposefully connected the success of their 'divine' social dogmas with their particular claims about everything else. This cocktail of self-evident truth and outright fabrication has been successfully fed to civilizations of Earth for the last few millennia. In fact, the very same tactic has been used by both Fashists and Communists, as well! However, the success of this ploy speaks only of the uneducated, already used to mindless subjugation, uncritical and factually bancrupt subjects upon whom religion was heaved. Since then, the judeo-christian religions have been deeply embedded into the social fabrics of many cultures as forms of tradition and sources of identity. However, the entrenchedness of these dogmas says nothing of their worth or their source. And I'd say both of the latter are quite uninspiring.

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I am; therefore I think.

[This message has been edited by Boris (edited July 26, 1999).]

17. ### dumaurierRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
171
Boris,

It's been nice talking to you.

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dumaurier

19. ### bedlanamGuest

boris,

perhaps science has a bit of the same -

" they purposefully connected the success of their 'divine' social dogmas (ecenomic structure)
with their particular claims about everything else. This cocktail of
self-evident truth and outright fabrication has been successfully fed to
civilizations of Earth for the last few millennia. In fact, the very
same tactic has been used by both Fashists and Communists (/capitalists), as well!
However, the success of this ploy speaks only of the uneducated, already
used to mindless subjugation, uncritical and factually bancrupt subjects
upon whom religion (scxience)was heaved"

20. ### BorisSenior MemberRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,052
Good point.

Some would attribute the success of modern civilizations to science and materialism. I don't think that is correct; evolution of nations and economies played a huge role; technology is ultimately only a tool.

What I don't understand is this popular conception that science is a mindset similar to religion. Science is not dogmatic; it is a corpus of theories modelling the natural world. It is based on experiment as opposed to belief, and it regularly changes its theories based on expanding empirical knowledge. Though, of course, before it can go positing cause-and-effect scenarios, science does have to take one assumption on faith: that no measurable process is influenced by anything 'supernatural'. It's only in this (admittedly significant) aspect that science is contrary to theism, and only in this narrow context is science a mindset.

Given that, you'd have to admit that so far the fundamental assumption of science with respect to the supernatural has held flawlessly. Provided absense of any demonstrable supernatural phenomenon, on the other hand, I'd think that going with the scientific assumption is the prudent thing to do.

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I am; therefore I think.

21. ### bedlanamGuest

boris,

by dogma , i mean 'set of restrictions' - as in - e=mc(sqared), much of science has been in use because of this, but lets say there are other contributing factors that slip into shadows - things of a subtler nature that play a great part (such as the 'unfindable' dark matter) - because this matter was 'left out', new science that 'expands' may be missing that one reaction which contributed to the results (the science it was based on). though this is not a 'fear' or obedient notion, it does point out the no-no's. how unfortunate that some of these would be errors.

22. ### BorisSenior MemberRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,052
First and foremost, science is a conglomerate of empirical knowledge. This consists primarily of known experimental setups and the results they produce. These are things that are true forever, and here to stay.

The theoretical part of science -- that part which suggests explanations for the results and enables one to predict the results given the experimental setup -- is ephemeral and constantly changes to accomodate new empirical data.

The 'laws' of science ought to be viewed not as dogma, and less as restrictions, and more as models designed to mathematically imitate observed phenomena. Thus they are only approximations, and only as complete as our ability to test them. For example, e=mc^2 derives squarely and unequivocally from two basic assumptions: 1) all inertial observers are equivalent, 2) the speed of light is constant across all inertial reference frames. It may be that these assumptions are not precisely true, or it may be that we are missing another assumption or two. However, e=mc^2 has been experimentally verified many times, and to the degree of certainty which the measuring instruments can provide, it holds precisely. But even so, we can't be sure that this fact justifies the two original assumptions; after all it is possible that e=mc^2 can be derived from a totally different set of axyoms as well...

What it boils down to is that systematic observation is the only really robust way to obtain knowledge. The theories that arise from observation are not nearly so robust; while observation is fact, a theory is little more than a set of guesses. Now, it is true that some people tend to elevate scientific theories to the level of dogma and preach them like religion; however these people are totally missing the point. The real point of science is its ultimate statement concerning the only reasonable way to generate new useful knowledge -- through observation.

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I am; therefore I think.