Posts Tagged ‘ Quran ’

Why I don’t believe in the Quran

Note: This blog post isn’t intended to offend Muslims. It’s an attempt to highlight various flaws in the arguments commonly made by Muslims in favour of the Quranic scripture.

Living in an Islamic country, the only thing you get to hear publicly about Quran is praise. One’s usually not even made aware that there’s another side of the debate. There’s a reason why many people don’t believe in Islam, and perhaps some effort should be made to understand their point as well.

When I tell a Muslim that I don’t believe in the Quran, his first assumption is that I haven’t read the book. That’s rather condescending. It doesn’t occur to many that a person may have chosen not to believe it despite adequate knowledge of what he’s rejecting. How many Muslims have read Bhagvad Gita or studied the Old Testament in detail before rejecting them both?

Based on this assumption, I’m always presented a series of arguments about why I should believe in the Quran. I shall now address them separately. Continue reading

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For Muslims: How to Debate With an Atheist

Morality Fail

I recently had a rather disconcerting discussion with a Muslim who’s been advocating crucifixion. The focus of the debate was the following Quranic verse:

“Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,” (5:33)

He argued that:

1) heinous criminal acts deserve heinous punishments.

2) the criteria set for this kind of punishment is such that hardly any criminal qualifies for crucifixion

The first argument is the product of a depraved, vengeance-centric mind, rather than one interested in seeking justice. The purpose of justice is to isolate or vanquish the undesirable element from the society, so that he/she may cause no further harm to it. If this process of vanquishing is carried out in the same inhuman fashion as the criminal employed for his victim, then the punisher cannot claim to be any more civilized than the criminal himself.

The second argument is the equivalent of saying, “Murder isn’t immoral as long as I kill only one person each year!”. The fact that God condones such a barbaric punishment says a lot about how “compassionate” he really is.

Ironically, it’s the Atheists who usually get an earful from religious people, who walk around pretending to be the guardians of morality.

Morality is relative to time and populace. We base our moral values on the verdicts of our conscience and the information made available to us through science. Deriving your moral code from an ancient book and adhering to it unwaveringly makes you a direct threat to mankind’s progress.

Some moderate theists believe that these punishments, though clearly not applicable in the 21st century, were okay for olden days. However, that is not how most religious people see it, nor is it meant to be seen that way. Islam, for example, claims to be a universal religion meant for all time. No devoted Muslim reads the Quran and says, “Oh, this command was okay for the Prophet’s time, but I don’t have to follow it today.” If it’s in the Quran, then it has got to be followed.

Believing in a book that condones crucifixion, lashing and chopping off body parts as acceptable forms of punishment, does not make you evil…but if does make you a mafia wife (stoning is not mentioned in the Quran itself, but it supported through sunnah).

I wonder what it feels to be part of an organization, the mission statement of which includes the words: “We shall crucify all those who dare fight against our President”.

Muslims and their contribution to science

If you ask a Muslim about how his brethren have contributed to the scientific progress of man, he’d blithely mention scientists like Jabir Bin Hayan, Ibn-e-Sina and Omar Al-Khayyam. Such Muslims have, without doubt, contributed generously to science.

But that was centuries ago, all the way back in the middle ages. When it comes to modern science, Muslims have little to be proud of. A few names are worth mentioning – Dr.Abdus Salam being one of them – but beyond that, there isn’t much.

For a religious group that constantly talks about how “scientific” Islam is, and persistently attempts to prove the authenticity of Quran as divine writ by pointing out the “scientific miracles” mentioned in it, the reality doesn’t quite concur with their beliefs. Continue reading

Quran Burning and the Boundaries of Our Freedom

Pastor Terry Jones’ declaration of 9/11 as the official “Burn the Quran” day was, quite expectedly, met by fierce opposition from the Muslim world. And by opposition, I don’t just mean a barrage of statements condemning such a form of protest. Radical Islamic groups have threatened to “leave no church standing” should an event like this ever be publicly conducted. With increasing international pressure on the US government, as well as military reports that such an event could bring US troops stationed in Islamic countries under great peril, the Obama administration was forced to lean on the pastor and keep him from doing what is otherwise allowed by the constitution of the Land of the Free. Continue reading

What Ramadan Teaches Us

There are plenty of theories floating about, regarding how fasting in the month of Ramadan is such a rewarding endeavor. Some claim that it teaches us self-control; some say it reminds us of the bounties that have been bestowed upon us by helping us understand how the poor and the needy feel; some even claim that it’s an excellent way to lose weight.

Paradoxically, Ramadan has become a month of gluttony.

How can I say that? Just yesterday, I went to a KFC outlet to indulge in their famous all-you-can-eat iftar deal. What I saw, was not an image of self-control, but the farthest thing from it. The sound of azaan transformed the restaurant into a war-zone. It was sheer pandemonium. The norm is for the waiter to bring food to the table, but the customers kept getting up from their seats and snatching pieces of chicken directly from the waiter’s basket. The average amount of food eaten by each customer in the restaurant was probably enough to feed a family of four.

I looked at the tables around me…at people who had left half the chicken on their plates uneaten, yet clamoring for more to be brought to them. A teenager seated at my neighboring table managed to devour half a Zinger burger in one bite, making me turn green. I bet most of them had eaten heavily at Sehri as well.

I didn’t exactly eat sparingly myself. By the next half hour, I could feel my belt tightening around my waist…my diaphragm fighting hard to push down upon the abdomen so my lungs could have room for expansion during breathing. You may have noticed that being an Atheist allows me to reap all the bounties of the special all-you-can-eat Ramadan deals without having to shoulder any of the responsibilities. On my way back to my car, I wondered if it’d be prudent to put my name down for a prophylactic coronary bypass surgery. One can’t expect to eat that much chicken and walk away with arteries as patent as ever.

I learned something important on that gastronomically redundant evening. Whatever the good Lord intended to teach his minions through this holy month of fasting, hasn’t been working out very well for Him.