One Fatwa Coming Up!

I usually despise email forwards of all kinds, funny or not, but my father brought this to my attention and I just couldn’t NOT pass this along.


A Muslim dies and finds himself before the Pearly Gates.
He is very excited, as all his life he has longed to meet the Prophet Mohammed.
Having arrived at the Gates of Heaven, he meets a man with a beard.

“Are you Mohammed?” he asks.

“No, my son. I am Peter. Mohammed is higher up.”
And he points to a ladder that rises into the clouds.

Delighted that Mohammed should be higher than Peter,
he climbs the ladder in great strides,
climbs through the clouds coming to a room
where he meets another bearded man.
He asks again, “Are you Mohammed?”

“No, I am Moses. Mohammed is higher up.”

Exhausted, but with a heart full of joy.
he continues to climb the ladder and, yet again,
he discovers an even larger room
where he meets another man with a beard.
Full of hope, he asks again, “Are you Mohmamed?”

“No, I am Jesus…You will find Mohammed higher up.”

Mohammed higher than Jesus!
The poor man can hardly contain his delight and climbs
and climbs, ever higher. Once again, he reaches an even larger room
where he meets a man with a beard and repeats his question:
“Are you Mohammed?” he gasps, as he is, by now,
totally out of breath from all his climbing.

“No, my son….I am God. But you look exhausted.
Would you like a coffee?”

“Yes, please, my Lord.”

God looks behind him, claps his hands and calls out:
“Hey, Mohammed, two coffees!”

New Conversion Tactic: Lies and Trickery

I found this video at The Good Atheist thanks to a tweet from @deanpence. I had tweeted asking for nominations for a new poll — “Creepiest fundie pastor?” — and @deanpence found the following video to be on the top of his list.

This guy is an Egyptian Muslim cleric named Mahmoud Al-Misri. His monologue starts out innocently enough with reminding Muslims not to be tough on sinners but give them treatment like a doctor cares for the sick. Pretty common religious malarkey. But then the BIG REVEAL! Don’t be tough on them, just outright lie to them and threaten them with torture and death!

If I hear another person ever claim that Islam is a “religion of peace”, I am liable to lose my shit.

Islam a Religion of Peace? Excuse Me While I Laugh

I am not a troll. I do not search out internet fora, Facebook and MySpace groups, or any other online community with the intention of creating inflamatory comments or rousing rabble of any sort. That doesn’t mean that I’m not tempted to do so from time to time. Usually, I just like to gain some perspective, see how people debate and support their positions (on all sides), and sometimes get some good ideas for blog posts.

I came across a doosie of a group a while back while browsing MySpace groups about Islam. There is a section devoted to the groups “rules”, some of which are very telling about not only the religion of Islam, but the sacred protection religion thinks it deserves in discourse.

The first few rules are reasonable enough:

  • No hate speech
  • No bigotry
  • No attacking another person’s religion

While I do not think that there is any such thing as hate speech in the way it is typically defined, I don’t think that every forum should have to be a stage for debate. No big deal so far, but the next few are quite revealing.

  • Non-Muslims are welcome and will be protected
  • Non-Muslims have the right to ask anything they wish. However if they abuse their privileges they will be banned!!!!!!
  • Anybody insulting my religion of Islam or my holy prophet Muhammad (saaw) will be banned !!!!!!!!!

It doesn’t say great things for your religion if you have to reassure non-adherents of their protected status when joining for discussion. Oh, and as for that discussion, ask anything you want, but don’t abuse those privileges. What the hell does that even mean? Is this like Scientology in that they will answer questions until one of the questions pisses them off or makes them reveal something embarrassing or heinous about their belief system? For instance, if I wanted to ask “How does the holy prophet Muhammad taking a child wife and consummating the marriage with intercourse when she was only 9 years old fit in to traditional Arab marriage roles during that time?”, I would probably be banned.

Even though it is a perfectly valid question whose basis is well document in the Hadith (Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64), this question would almost certainly be seen as an affront to Islam. As a non-adherent, this is a topic on which I would like more information, and what better place to ask questions than in a forum of Muslims?

Well, thinking about all of this again got me wanting to visit the group and put forth my two cents. Having bookmarked the link, I clicked through only to find that the group is no longer accessible. The group still shows up in search results, but cannot be viewed, which could possibly mean that the group has been made private. I’ve included the link in case it should ever be accessible in the future.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor is Dead Wrong!

A holy man saying that atheism is a greater evil that sin? Surely not.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the former Archbishop of Westminster, at the installation ceremony of his successor, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, commented that he believed that lack of faith was responsible for war and destruction.

On the contrary Cardinal, I believe faith has been the driving force behind much of the human-caused destruction throughout Earth’s history. The fall of the World Trade Center, the 7/7 London bombings, the unrest in Gaza, and the mounting threat of Iran are just a few modern examples of faith-based initiatives.
A quote from Archbishop Nichols’ homily was referenced by Ruth Gledhill in her article at the TimesOnline blogs.

“Faith in God is not, as some would portray it today, a narrowing of the human mind or spirit. It is precisely the opposite. Faith in God is the gift that takes us beyond our limited self, with all its incessant demands….Some today propose that faith and reason are crudely opposed, with the fervour of faith replacing good reason. This reduction of both faith and reason inhibits not only our search for truth but also the possibility of real dialogue.”

Faith IS a narrowing of the human mind. It enigmatically trumps all desires for proof and evidence that are rightfully wanted. Demoting humans to beings with “limited selves” and “incessant demands” is the only way you can even suggest that faith has a place in day to day life. The curiosity and “demands” of humans are what brought us out of caves and gave us fire. These same urges gave us the automobile and space travel. Faith has given us nothing except certainty where there is none. Certainty which some people are willing to kill and die for.
Back to our friend, Cardy Cormac. He further commented that:

“But what is most crucial is the prayer that we express every day in the Our Father, when we say, deliver us from evil. The evil we ask to be delivered from is not essentially the evil of sin, though that is clear, but in the mind of Jesus, it is more importantly a loss of faith. For Jesus, the inability to believe in God and to live by faith is the greatest of evils.”

“You see the things that result from this are an affront to human dignity, destruction of trust between peoples, the rule of egoism and the loss of peace. One can never have true justice, true peace, if God becomes meaningless to people.”

“The inability to believe in God and to live by faith is the greatest of evils”? First of all, who said that I am unable to believe in God? It’s not that I am incapable of such a belief; I just do not have any need or desire to attribute the unknown and known to the unknown. While science and observation may not be able to provide answers to all of life’s most pressing questions at the moment, it would be an affront to reason to cast our hands into the air and proclaim that “God did it!”.

As for his last quote, I can’t possibly understand how he thinks that secularism has resulted in the “destruction of trust between peoples.” Differing faiths has been the driving force for conquest and destruction through so much of history including the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the modern battle with fundamentalist Muslims.

Quite the opposite of Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, I believe that when God becomes meaningless to people, we will have our first real shot at true peace and justice.

For a  great read on the the reasons that faith is damaging our ability to live peacefully, check out Sam Harris’ The End of Faith.