Concerning the whole Charlie Hebdo fiasco, is it rational to provoke the irrational?

Answer by A Quora admin:

Muhammad had some good qualities. He was relatively progressive toward women and Jews. He championed kindness and caring for orphans, widows and the poor. He had a soft spot for children.

But he also resorted to violence in the name of Allah. He raided caravans for camels, booty and hostages for ransom or for sale as (sex) slaves. He attacked villages and towns, forcefully converting their pagan citizens to Islam. In fact, some towns immediately surrendered and converted rather than face the alternatives: fight or die. His example inured his followers to adventure and booty and, after his death, they let the good times roll and expanded the Muslim Empire far beyond Arabia, creating one of the largest empires in all of history.

Despite his violent example, Muslims consider him the ideal man: a perfect role model and epitome of masculinity. This is why Charlie Hebdo was right to lampoon him with cartoons. I mean, come on! When you consider how he is the role model for jihadis and how ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and other extremist groups emulate his example . . . who deserves lampooning more?

Everybody should read the Quran for themselves so that they will fully understand and internalize the fact that, to far too many Muslims, us infidels are also ruled by the word of Allah. To their way of thinking (because that's what the Quran teaches them) we are accountable to their religion. I'm not making this up! We have to respect Allah, Islam, the Quran and Muhammad. If we don't, we're 'making war on Allah'. And that's a very serious crime, indeed. A crime against Allah is much more serious (and punished accordingly) than crimes between people: it's more serious than murder. There are over a hundred ayat in the Quran that make it clear that making war on Allah, Islam, the Quran or Muhammad is all the warrant needed for violent retaliation.

This makes the Quran itself a rightful target for criticism, including ridicule and lampooning.

Why? Because we need to let the Muslim world know that we are NOT subject to their rules and sensibilities. We need to let them know that we will not subordinate our freedom of speech (or any other freedom) to their backward religion. And, yes, it is backward — it turns tolerance on its head. If they tell us we can't do something, we should do it at every opportunity.

Not only was Charlie Hebdo right to lampoon Muhammad, it was one of the few media outlets brave enough to live up to their responsibility to advocate freedom of speech. ALL media outlets should follow Charlie Hebdo's example. Maybe then, Muslims will understand that we will not be cowed by their totalitarian and intolerant beliefs, threats, intimidation or violent attacks.

Face it: it's the free versus the unfree. What values are most important to you?

Concerning the whole Charlie Hebdo fiasco, is it rational to provoke the irrational?


What are some of the wisest teachings from the Bible?

Answer by A Quora admin:

As a youth, the verse that struck me with its insight is "Let him among you without sin cast the first stone." It's part of a recurring theme with Jesus: "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

When I was a young teenager, attending Sunday services, I noticed how piously people acted. But I knew many of them and a significant number of them were racial bigots or gossips or presumptuous or mean-spirited or, especially, judgmental. Their Sunday morning personae was nothing like their true personae. I learned the meaning of hypocrisy at church. And what meaning is that? Judgment always incurs hypocrisy. They go together like soup and sandwich.

I've just turned 61 years old. In all my years, the level of judgmentalism among Christians has always surprised me . . . because they are the folk who should be least judgmental — after all, they claim faith in the word of God and it's God-in-the-flesh, Jesus Christ, who has repeatedly instructed them not to judge. By the way, the same goes for Muslims and Allah.

Of course, everybody judges. But a certain segment of the pious seem to lack adequate introspection and are more Old Testament Christians than New Testament Christians: modern-day 'Pharisees' who seem oblivious to their own hypocrisy and focus on rules instead of kindness; judgment instead of love. As I grew older, cognitive dissonance about 'holy hypocrites' was an important factor driving my quest for truth and understanding.

Having said all that, I'd like to acknowledge that I've also known many truly kind and generous Christians: as with any other group, Christians represent the spectrum of adherent types.

And what about me? Hmmm, you had to ask! Well, I'm judgmental too. Unless we're talking about crimes, it's irrationality, not sin, that I mentally critique and criticize.

What are some of the wisest teachings from the Bible?

How do Muslims explain away so many Hadiths that say what Muhammed was all about?

Answer by A Quora admin:

Muhammad's example and sayings (sunnah) inspires reverence and emulation by Muslims around the world. Ahadith (plural of 'hadith') is rich with such sunnah. If you read something in the Quran that puzzles you, you can likely consult ahadith and find clarification. Ahadith illuminates Muhammad's personality and character much more than the Quran does.

By and large, Muhammad was a practical, pragmatic, man. But he made mistakes too. After all, he was only human. He was ahead of his time where women were concerned. By all accounts, he treated his wives with respect and they were happy with him. The utter subjugation of women in modern Islam goes way beyond what Muhammad urged. And even though he subjugated Jews with dhimma contracts, the Jews were protected from forced conversions and harassment as long as they complied with their dhimma contracts. Given the persecution they faced from Christians, they were better off in Muslim territory than in Christian territory.

But ahadith also reveals that his 'revelations' were often conveniently and conspicuously timed. His wives (especially his favorite, Aisha) even teased him about it. It was his pragmatism that led him to make one of his biggest mistakes: accommodating, by revelation from Allah, the three patron goddesses of Mecca in order to ease the conversion (from idol worshiping pagans to Muslims) of the town's citizens. This incident is the 'Satanic Verses' that made Salman Rushdie a household name. According to the The Satanic Verses wiki:

The Satanic Verses are a small number of pagan verses that, in traditional Islamic interpretation, were said to have been temporarily included in the Qur'an by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, only to be later removed. Narratives derived from hadith involving these verses can be read in, among other places, the biographies of Muhammad by al-Wāqidī, Ibn Sa'd (who was a scribe of Waqidi), al-Tabarī, and Ibn Ishaq (the last as reconstructed by Alfred Guillaume).[1]

The ayat (verses) involved allow intercessory prayers to be made to three Pagan Meccan goddesses: Allāt, Uzza, and Manāt. This was a major blunder because Muhammad was adamant about monotheism: he was, after all, the final prophet of Allah — the one and only God. To remedy the fiasco, Muhammad received yet another convenient revelation that was to, later, establish the doctrine of abrogation known as Naskh (tafsir). Basically, Allah can supersede his own infallible revelations with better infallible ones. Convenient, no? What this means is that the more militant suwar, revealed after Muhammad established his power base in Medina, supersede the more neutral suwar revealed earlier, in Mecca.

Muslims don't like to acknowledge the Satanic Verses or the doctrine of abrogation (for obvious reasons) and neither do they like us infidels to know that he raided caravans for camels, booty and hostages to hold for ransom or to sell as (sex) slaves. As for Muhammad consummating his marriage to Aisha when he was 53 and she was 9, well, what can I say? At some point he and she were alone and they got down to the deed. This was not a religious or cultural moment. It's a moment between an experienced old man and a virgin child. The following is from the Aisha wiki:

Sahih al-Bukhari, considered by many Sunni Muslims as the most authentic book after Quran, states:

Narrated 'Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).
Sahih al-Bukhari, 7:62:64

Things have sure changed a lot in the last 1400 years. But not as much in the Islamic world where Muhammad's example still legitimizes child brides and inspires Al Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram.

How do Muslims explain away so many Hadiths that say what Muhammed was all about?

Muslims, what percentage of Muslims around the world would say that it is required and just to force non-Muslims to follow some rules fro…

Answer by A Quora admin:

Any estimate would be pure conjecture unless there's some poll(s) to back it up.

There's an old debate about whether or not an adherent of Islam can simultaneously be moderate and obey the Quran. However, to my way of thinking, self-identification with Islam is enough to make you Muslim: moderate or not. For instance, the Quran makes it clear that Allah takes a dim view of those who stay at home rather than joining the fight for jihad. But such a person may simply be cherry-picking what he chooses to obey . . . which everybody does anyway. Nobody adheres 100% to scripture.

I don't recall anything in the Quran that prohibits images of Muhammad. But insulting Muhammad or Allah or the Quran or Islam is blasphemy. The Quran calls it 'making mischief in the land'. Such disrespect of Islam is considered the worst of crimes: it's considered to be 'making war on Allah' and is punished more severely than is murder or other crimes between people.

If Muslims are okay with the death penalty for blasphemy or apostasy, that's their problem. But if they think they can intimidate or force non-Muslims into submission to their totalitarian doctrines, they're simply not being reasonable. They can kiss my ass.

The Charlie Hebdo atrocity illustrates how Islam can't effectively deny that it gives license to violence. It's my belief that every newspaper, magazine and television station in the infidel world should devote an entire month to educating the world about the violence perpetrated by Muhammad and, later, the Muslim Empire. They should highlight the militancy of the Quran and expose the lie that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Doing so would spread out the risk that comes with criticizing Islam. We could call it Charlie Hebdo month. What are Muslims going to do . . . attack every newspaper and television station in the free world? The Muslim world needs to be put on notice that non-Muslims are not bound by their anachronistic rules and that we're sick and tired of their attempts to intimidate us into compliance.

If moderate Muslims would take control of their own religion, we wouldn't need to resort to defiance of Islamism. But the way things are going, we'll eventually have to quit pretending that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance.

I'd really like to know what percentage of Muslims around the world would say that it is required and just to force non-Muslims to follow their totalitarian rules. If it's a majority, then I'd say the majority of Muslims are fundamentalists. If it's a minority, then I'd say the majority of Muslims are moderates.

If the majority of Muslims are moderates AND they refuse to rein in their extremists, then the moderate majority is irrelevant.

If the majority of Muslims are fundamentalists, then it's time for us to face reality and demand freedom even more loudly than they demand compliance with their backward religion. This scenario would not be a 'clash of civilizations' . . . it would be a clash between the free and the unfree.

Muslims, what percentage of Muslims around the world would say that it is required and just to force non-Muslims to follow some rules fro…

What can I, being a Muslim, do to stop getting atheistic thoughts?

Answer by A Quora admin:

Thanks for the A2A, Shahnavaz!

I'm not sure whether or not you can control which thoughts percolate up to consciousness. What I used to do when I had doubts, as a Christian, was read, uncritically, apologetics related to those doubts. The main idea was to arm myself with an explanation or retort that, at least, sounded good. Basically, it's an act of confirmation bias to alleviate cognitive dissonance.

But you can't fool yourself for long. You become increasingly aware that you can't hide from yourself. If you're a curious type of person, you'll eventually be tempted to examine and compare both sides. I think it comes down to your self identity. Which is more important to you: reason or faith?

Don't indulge reason for too long. It has a way of eroding your fears and challenging dogmatic assumptions. It appears you've already indulged reason enough to consider your doubts. You need to pray more and immediately seek the counsel of a pious Muslim you personally respect. It may not be too late to shut out reason if you really put your mind to it.

Martin Luther, the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation, made no bones about the nature of faith. He claimed: “Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason.” The same advice works equally well for Muslims.

Good luck.

What can I, being a Muslim, do to stop getting atheistic thoughts?

Why do several atheists target Christianity?

Answer by A Quora admin:

What, to you, constitutes 'a lot'? I ask because I see a 'a lot' of whining about 'rude atheists' that usually turns out to be the thin skin of believers who have no viable arguments to offer to criticism. In almost every case, these believers actually think that non-believers should suppress their opinions (in a forum designed for expressing opinions, no less!) because religious beliefs are so very personal and precious . . . sacrosanct, even.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali reminds us:

"Avoiding offense means that we don't accept each other as equals."

If I have to treat you with kid gloves, I would be treating you as inferior and weak. Why would ANYBODY want to be treated that way? I can't respect that! If you really expect me to suppress my honest opinions for the sake of your 'feelings', then you've got another thing coming. I don't come here to toe your line, nor do I see any valid reason for why I should. Religious beliefs are no more exempt from criticism than any other beliefs. In fact, if you ever watch or read the news, you should see that religious beliefs cry out for criticism! The problems with religions are serious and palpable.

That's my default position.

Additional to my default position is the aggravation of the all-too-typical, behavior of many (most?) believers on forums like Quora. Specifically:

  • intentionally obtuse replies that refuse to recognize valid points
  • essentially dishonest use of logical fallacies to prop up ridiculous or impossible claims
  • godspeak: pretending to know about things supernatural or the mind of God or other things one can't possibly know
  • futile attempts to claim evidence where there is none
  • whining about rude atheists as if name-calling and ridiculing is commonplace

These behaviors are all too common here (and other online forums). If you want to be impervious to reason, be my guest. If you want to complain about it, don't expect my sympathy.

“If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.” ~Hugh Laurie (Dr. Gregory House)

Why do several atheists target Christianity?

The following are interesting Quranic verses – 8:12, 48:29, 2:191-193, 2:216, 3:56, 4:74, 4:76, 4:95, 8:65, 9:20, 9:73, 9:123, 2:85, 2:25…

Answer by A Quora admin:

Muhammad, a charismatic trader from a prominent local clan, began reciting his revelations and preaching while he still lived in his hometown of Mecca. He didn’t gather many followers but he did gather a lot of detractors. He pretty much wore out his welcome.
As fortune would have it, there was a smaller town, known as Medina, that had fallen on misfortune and sought a strong leader to guide them. Muhammad took the opportunity to go where he was wanted. A small group of followers went with him.
In Media, Muhammad and his men found themselves impoverished and barely scraped by at subsistence level. To make matters worse, the property they left in Mecca were stolen by the local folk.
Muhammad’s remedy for the miserable conditions of Medina was pretty straight-forward: raid caravans for camels, booty and hostages to take for ransom or for sale or for sex. After finding success with his radical economic recovery strategy, he and his growing number of followers turned their attention to towns and villages. It took a lot of planning and coordination to intercept caravans in the desert and Muhammad’s men sometimes failed to find them. Towns and villages, on the other hand, were stationary targets and often less well-guarded than caravans. They were sitting ducks.
Now, instead of enduring rejection of his revelations from Allah, Muhammad found it easy to convert new adherents to Islam. Many men wanted to share in the adventure and booty of Muhammad’s marauders and, more significantly, entire towns converted rather than face the alternatives: fight or die.
There’s a distinct difference in tone between revelations revealed in Muhammad’s Meccan phase and his Medinan phase. When Muhammad was unwelcome, in Mecca, his revelations were tame compared to when he held power and authority in Medina. His revelations took a definite, militant, turn: more strident and vengeful. Either Allah decided to increase militant rhetoric . . . or . . . Muhammad did. You decide. Here’s a hint for you: Allah wrote the Quran when the world was new and the archangel, Gabriel, thousands of years later, parsed it out to Muhammad, piecemeal.
So, Mr. Anonymous, guess which phase – Meccan or Medinan –ALL of the ayat you cited in your OP question comes from? That’s right, the Medinan phase. Many of the ayat were preceded by admonishments to use violence only if provoked . . . but provocation is warranted by ‘making mischief in the land’: disrespecting Allah, Islam, the Quran or Muhammad. In other words, all the provocation needed was being an infidel, ignorant of the ways of Islam.
In plain-spoken English, the ayat you cited instruct Muslims to:

  • [8:12]      ‘strike them upon the necks’ (in      other words, behead them)
  • [48:29]      use force against infidels but be kind to Muslims (and receive ‘forgiveness      and a great reward’)
  • [2:191]      in the battle for Mecca (a holy city) don’t kill unless attacked: but, if      attacked, kill them or chase them away
  • [2:216]      if Allah wants you to fight, it doesn’t matter if you want to fight or not      because Allah knows everything
  • [3:56]      ‘And as for those who disbelieved, I will punish them with a severe      punishment in this world and the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers.’
  • [4:74]      true believers ‘fight in the cause of Allah’ and, if they die, Allah      rewards them in Paradise
  • [4:95]      unless you’re disable, Allah takes a dim view of those who sit a home on      their couch instead of out fighting for the cause of jihad
  • [8:65]      ‘O Prophet, urge the believers to      battle. If there are among you twenty who are steadfast, they will      overcome two hundred. And if there are among you one hundred who are      steadfast, they will overcome a thousand of those who have disbelieved      because they are a people who do not understand.
  • [9:20]      ‘The ones who have believed,      emigrated and striven in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their      lives are greater in rank in the sight of Allah . And it is those who are      the attainers of success.
  • [9:73]      ‘O Prophet, fight against the      disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them. And their refuge      is Hell, and wretched is the destination.
  • [9:123]      Be harsh with the infidels among you. Allah is with the righteous (i.e.      obedient Muslims).
  • [2:85] A little context first: {Jews are People of the Book (ahl al-kitāb or dhimmi) and allowed to live      in their own communities, unharassed, as long as they follow dhimmi rules      and pay jizya protection tax.} Yet you band together and evict them from      their homes and kill them. Even if they surrender peacefully, you hold      them for ransom. These malicious acts are prohibited yet you do them      anyway. Is the Quran the truth . . . or only the parts you like? Allah      knows all and you will suffer retribution for violating the Quran.
  • [2:257]      Allah is the ally of the believers and enemy of infidels. Infidels will      burn in hell.
  • [61:4]      Allah loves his mujihadeen (jihadi armies).
  • [66:9]      This refrain is repeated (in so many words) the Quran: ‘O Prophet, strive against the      disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them. And their refuge      is Hell, and wretched is the destination.
  • [3:85]      ‘And whoever desires other than      Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the      Hereafter, will be among the losers.

The point here is not that license for jihad and violence can be taken from the Quran: the point is that license for jihad and violence always has been and continues to be taken from the Quran.

The following are interesting Quranic verses – 8:12, 48:29, 2:191-193, 2:216, 3:56, 4:74, 4:76, 4:95, 8:65, 9:20, 9:73, 9:123, 2:85, 2:25…