Rebels with a cause in Iran and Saudi Arabia 25


Some variations of belief attempt to stifle and oppress with a mixture of threats within a climate of fear, not just with abstract untrue ideas of being burned by a vengeful god in a next life, but also by motivating believers to strike out against those that fall out of line in this life.

Gods don’t kill people. People with Gods kill people. –(Generally attributed to David Viaene)

In this specific instance I’m not specifically thinking of Christianity but rather of Islam, a belief where Misogyny and Homophobia often thrive as virtues to be nourished and encouraged.

It is true that beliefs do also inspire and motivate, so some do soar and give expression via poetry and art within the narrow confines, but the forceful imposition by a belief of a very narrow list of acceptable modes of behaviour also greatly stifles the human spirit … and yet all that is human cannot be bottled up and so new ways to give expression will burst forth in ways that are a complete surprise.

Iran

Radio Free Europe reports what is now happening in Iran, a place where Islam dictates that women must cover themselves up with a Hijab, apparently some women have been taking selfies of themselves out in public with (gasp!) no Hijab …

An unveiled young woman stands in front of a sign that reads: “Sisters, observe your hijab.” Another with red hair and dark glasses stands next to the ruins of Persepolis, while two others, also sans hijab, dance happily on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

They are among dozens of Iranian women inside the country who have posted their hijab-less photos on a newly launched Facebook page to share their “stealthy” moments of freedom from the veil.

The administrators of the page, titled “Iranian Women’s Freedoms Stealthy,” say they do not belong to any political group and that the initiative reflects the concerns of Iranian women who face legal and social restrictions.

Here is one, where the caption reads … “To those who say I should leave the country if I don’t want to wear the hijab, I say the hijab wasn’t my choice. I want to have freedom in my country.” …

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The page is the brainchild of exiled Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, who says she’s receiving scores of unveiled photos of young and old Iranian women who want to share their brief moments of freedom from the hijab with others

Page administrators say all of the photos and captions posted have been sent by women from all over Iran. Launched on May 3, the page has already garnered more than 107,000 likes.

Saudi Arabia

Over in Saudi Arabia atheists are busy finding ways to keep their heads down (least it be chopped off for daring to not believe) and yet also finding ways of expressing what they really think

Why_Are_Saudis_Tearing_Up_the_Quran____Vocativ

The report on all this explains

Twitter profiles dedicated to atheism in Arabic have large followings—the Twitter handle @Atheistguide has more than 30,000 followers, primarily from the Middle East. In the last month alone, the hashtag #Atheist in Arabic was tweeted more than 70,000 times.

When Saudi Arabia issued a decree criminalizing the practice of atheism this month, it sparked a blasphemous campaign in response. The hashtag#CampaigntoTearTheQuraninSaudiArabia was tweeted more than 7,800 times in the span of a week, circulating images of protest.

The attempts to stifle human expression and herd humans by force and threats into one narrow political or religious belief is destined to fail. In all of human history the various attempts to do this have failed, humanity will not be bottled up like that and will always find ways to rise above it all.

I’m not suggesting that the beliefs themselves will fade, we have always been prone to embracing irrational beliefs, but rather that the inevitable outcome here is that the very strict variations of Islamic belief will evolve and change into less rigid and more tolerant variations just as Christianity has.

 


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25 thoughts on “Rebels with a cause in Iran and Saudi Arabia

  • Ali

    “That is correct, and that is why the scientific method actually eliminates all of that. Would you like some examples?”

    When someone writes even one article, he or she is supposed to explain the relationship between things. Why do you think we have a DISCUSSION section in articles? Very Sciency!
    You have not answered how can one make sure the logical devices created in philosophy and its offspring science are not affected by emotions. Examples please.

    “People see many things that are apparently “obvious”, for example lake monsters, aliens, bigfoot, etc… (all of which have exactly zero evidence, and so should be doubted until somebody comes up with evidence that can be verified).”

    I do not where to begin with this statement. EVERYthing in this universe is evidence and yet you say no evidence for God! “Dawkinsian logic” best describes it. Unlike God, believing in Bigfoot or other stuff has no impact on your life or next life.

    ” if everything has a cause, then what caused god?”

    A good question and a very easy answer. Somewhere this causality should end, otherwise that thing is not God but a creature and created.

    “How would you explain to them [Christians] that their belief is just wrong and that your belief is in fact the truth?”

    Given that Christians and I believe in God, here is the answer to the crazy things Christian believe: If, Christianity was the answer, which is not, believing something to be the created and the creator is illogical. Therefore, since my mind cannot understand it, then when I am before God, I have an excuse. God might say: You should have felt it. to that I would say: I felt it when in the Christians book they say that Jesus (PBUH) is protected from harm (the story of the satan and Jesus where Satan wants to drop Jesus and says: If you are really Jesus, you should not be harmed if you fall (As predicted in the previous books)). Yet, according to them Christians, he was brutally murdered by the Jewish and Romans. Which one is it then?

    When answering Christians, I will not quote Quran or any other Islamic texts. I will only refer to something they have in their books or beliefs. Otherwise, they won’t accept it. I would quote their books where Jesus asks God the Father if he is satisfied with him…clearly two things, one human and one God. Jesus had all the attributes of humans, he walked, he ate and others. They might say what about the immaculate conception? Answer: Which one is harder, to create someone in a womb (Mary’s) or create someone from clay or a rib of Adam? Where Adam and Eve also Gods? If they mention the miracles,… . All from their own books.

    BTW, when I said deep down, I did not mean “feeling as in emotions”. I meant, understanding things, without having to ask for Explanation: Water is wet. we (normal people) do not need to be explained water is wet.

    “so how can a truly impartial outsider determine which claim is factual?”

    Although an impartial outsider knows what to do, to answer them, Look at a whole system. which one has no contradictions in it. If you found a contradiction, do not accept it, but first make sure it is actually a contradiction.

    When something is man-made you will find at least some contradictions in their belief systems.

    “they would assert that your book is false …” I say, bring it on bros! (lol) show me where it is wrong. (BTW: One Quran (1400 years), many bibles. hmmmm…)

    “when you simply do not have enough information to actually know”

    IF not enough information, do nothing.

    • Dave Gamble Post author

      This can at times be a very challenging subject to discuss. Beliefs are part of the human identity, and so when challenged, people can become upset. I have no desire to upset you, but rather am happy to continue and shall strive to be as open and honest as I can in our dialog.

      From your viewpoint, I suspect you might see this as Dawah, and from mine, I simple seek to provoke you into asking questions such as “Why do you actually believe what you believe?”.

      We might never agree, but at least we might both learn new things.

      // Examples please. //

      Science, or to be more precise, the scientific methodology has indeed successfully evolved various strategies to eliminate human emotions and bias.

      This includes the peer-review aspect, and also double-blinding. To give a very simple example, suppose you needed to verify the effectiveness of a new medication. To proceed you double blind … this means that those that take part in a test do not know if they are taking the new medication or an older one, and also those distributing the samples only know that they are distributing Sample A and Sample B, without knowing which is which. The results can then measure how effective A and B were. Since nobody knows which is which, the test has eliminated all human bias and emotions. Once the results are in, if A was indeed the new medication and was not any better, you have learned that with a degree of confidence.

      In a similar manner, protocols can be designed to double blind when executing any test.

      // EVERYthing in this universe is evidence //

      Now this is where I have a problem, how exactly do you make this leap to “here is the universe” to “therefore god”, I truly do not grasp how you make that connection.

      So far the only argument is causality, and yet for some mysterious reason the reasoning you use to claim “god”, does not apply to this god, and yet you can’t explain why, other than … “well it just does, because it does” and have no evidence at all for this claimed not-caused-by-anything attribute, or for that matter, any evidence at all that this entity exists.

      // Christians and I believe in God //

      That is not strictly true, you do not believe in their god concept at all. Remember that they have a very different concept than yours, and claim a trinity, and that Jesus is god.

      The thing about god’s is that there are lots of different variations to select from. Zeus, Thor, the Christian one, or your specific variation, and so what leads you to conclude that all those others are fake, but yours in the right one, the real one, how do you actually know this?

      // If, Christianity was the answer, which is not, believing something to be the created and the creator is illogical. //

      And they would reply, “With god all things are possible” (Trust me, I’ve had that discussion, and yes it makes no sense).

      The point I’m making is this. As an outsider looking in, their belief makes no sense at all, and yet if you discuss it in detail, they will assert that what they claim is true, and that all others are wrong … because … (the bible says …, or they know in their heart because the spirit of god is in them, or … ) … well you get the idea. The thing is this … they tend to have no doubts and are 100% sure, and quite happy to justify it.

      … And yet when asked, it turns out that nobody actually knows, they simply believe.

      Why is it like this?

      // Water is wet. we (normal people) do not need to be explained water is wet. //

      I get what you are saying, but you know what the rebuttal is. Water can be measured, detected, studied and broken down into its base elements. Gods can’t, there is nothing to measure or detect (except perhaps to ask ourselves why the idea is rather popular within the human mind).

      // One Quran (1400 years), many bibles. hmmmm…) //

      That is not strictly true … one bible, a bit of fuzziness in the early copies, and lots of translations. One quran, with a bit of fuzziness in the early copies (yes really, the very old copies are not the same as the one you have today), and lots of rather different modern translations.

      Each and every belief is consistent within itself, and so will be viewed as consistent by those inside, yet also seen by those outside as inconsistent.

      So it all still comes back to questions such as …
      – why do people believe what they believe?
      – why is everybody so sure that their specific belief is the true one and that all the others are false?
      – How can we be truly sure about the things that are actually true?

      • Ali

        “I suspect you might see this as Dawah”

        Let us discuss about the things in our own minds and not what we think there is in other people’s minds as that’s out of hands.

        Drug example:

        I think you could not have chosen something better than drug testing to the benefit of my argument. If there is such a thing as reliable scientific method where the right answer is achieved through the placebo and the tested drug, then would you please explain why, on a daily basis and far from being exceptions, drugs go on FDA list and then come off the list in a few months?
        Moreover, Peer-review: still human. nothing sciency about it. The idea in peer-review is that when all (usually most of) the scientist agree something to be the case, it is the case. well, I think we both can find many examples contradicting with this belief, the body of scientists believe in sth while one or a few scientists believe in sth else which happened to be closer to the truth.

        “eliminated all human bias and emotions.”

        This is such a big claim that even the great scientists do no claim. I am wondering how you came to this conclusion.

        Again, I need to remind us that, how can one guarantee that a device created by a human can be free from emotions. You said the scientific method is free from emotions. but how do you know? The same is true about the philosophical devices used by philosophers, claiming to be logical, yet we have different philosophies with contradictory beliefs.

        [“”how exactly do you make this leap to “here is the universe” to “therefore god”, I truly do not grasp how you make that connection.””
        “”yet for some mysterious reason the reasoning you use to claim “god”, does not apply to this god, and yet you can’t explain why, other than … “well it just does, because it does” “”]

        Let me give an easier answer to grasp: There is a bicycle, then there is a bicycle maker. such a relationship is not challenged by anyone in this universe, NO ONE. No one ever thinks that this bicycle, no matter how cheaply or simply made just happened to be like this. What would you say that if someone says: “after billion years, the parts of this bicycle happened to shape a bicycle and if someone claims it has a maker (creator), he is insane.” If anyone tells him you are crazy and it does have a maker, he might say how did this creator come into existence. NOW, a logical person will say: that is a different question. We do not know about the size, sex, height, intention and the nature of this creator, but that does not mean it does not have a creator. That’s just illogical.

        “you do not believe in their god concept at all”

        I agree with you until the words “at all”. They believe this universe has a creator. I disagree with them on the nature of this God. Their concept of nature of God is illogical, referring to their own books. The same problem I have with Sunni Muslims. They say God has a face. It contradicts the book of Quran where it says you can never EVER see me. If you see me, that is not me.

        //yes really, the very old copies are not the same as the one you have today)//

        Even right now, there are versions of Quran which are not the same as the Quran as all Muslims know it. Such books are fake Qurans and are not accepted by the Muslims and can easily be shown their “fakeness”. However, the Bible has many translated versions, where meaning has changed or lost in the process of translation from Hebrew to Latin and then to other languages. Besides, Even Christians do not say the Original Bible is the way it is because God or Prophet Jesus wanted this way. Who was Bible written by?

        //Each and every belief is consistent within itself, and so will be viewed as consistent by those inside, yet also seen by those outside as inconsistent.//

        I think you need to check the things I said about Jesus and Satan anecdote and Christians.
        It shows a contradiction they cannot solve. If you (the outsider) found one contradiction in Shia belief, you are right. However, you will not. It is a very big Claim I am making. Easily find one and prove me wrong.

        //why do people believe what they believe?// and //why is everybody so sure that their specific belief is the true one and that all the others are false?//

        The question is a bit vague and if it is what I think it is, this deserves a long answer, as big as their whole religion. But, long story short:

        1- Some people want to know the truth. They do not stop and keep going until they reach an answer which answers all their problems and it is not contradictory. They accept it and act accordingly

        2- Some people are lazy. They accept whatever which is around them, usually half understood. These people are like flies which will be blown away by any wind.

        3-Some People have found the truth but because of Personal problems, desires, inferiority complexes pretend they do not know. We have the freedom of choice. Knowledge does not compel us to believe in sth, but we decide if we want to accept it or not.

        //How can we be truly sure about the things that are actually true?//

        Luckily, the Big bang or whatever deity one might believe in has given us the power of Logic. Look at the reasons and not the claims. If you found a belief system and it is contradictory, after making sure it is contradictory, check for a better one.

        As said before, knowing and believing are two different entities.

      • Ali

        I forgot to add: If asked from a question, can God put the whole universe in one tiny egg without making the Egg big or the universe small, they say: Well God is All Powerful when asked to do sth logical. However, when it comes to the made-up trinity they say : just feel it and accept it.

        • Dave Gamble Post author

          // Let us discuss about the things in our own minds //

          So that’s a “Yes” then :-)

          // Drug example: //

          // why, on a daily basis and far from being exceptions, drugs go on FDA list and then come off the list in a few months? //

          Lots of reasons … better drugs are discovered, side-effects are discovered, etc..

          // Peer-review: still human. nothing sciency about it. //

          It’s part of the process, you don’t just get to test and publish, your peer’s get the opportunity to understand what you have done, how you have done it, and if they wish, to independently repeat and verify, or alternatively highlight flaws in what was done.

          // “eliminated all human bias and emotions.”

          This is such a big claim that even the great scientists do no claim. I am wondering how you came to this conclusion. //

          Not really … humans are very prone to being fooled and fooling themselves, which is why a proper robust methodology needs to be adhered to to eliminate it.

          If needed to prescribe a drug that has been demonstrated in multiple independent trails to reduce high blood pressure in all cases … would you simply believe and hope, or would you move forward with confidence that it has been demonstrated to work?

          The scientific process works, there is nothing like it and it has transformed everything. It is of course open to abuse and human bias skewing things, but it also self-corrects, you can’t just make claims, you need to present the data to back it up and if not independently verified, then results will be rejected.

          — we appear to be spinning off separate threads —

          // bicycles //

          …are well-understood, we can demonstrate and verify their origins.

          There are things we know and things we do not know. Once upon a time we would attribute the things we did not know to a god … lightening, weather, seasons, etc…

          Those are things we do now understand, and they do not have a creator, nor do we need a god to explain them.

          What caused the universe?

          It is an interesting question … the claim “god did it” is perhaps similar to our ancestors attributing god to the things they did not understand. You simply cannot make the leap to “god” without evidence for doing so, the only honest answer I can find is, “I don’t know”, and for any other answer, I would ask the question … “How to you ‘know’ that?”

          There are a few other threads that it would be tempting to discuss further,
          – The fact that the earliest copies of the quran are not the same as the one you have today …
          – or the dismissal of all other beliefs by ever belief being something that is universal

          But let us bypass all that for the moment and try focusing back on the core question. If we resolve it, then many other questions will quite naturally fall into place.

          You said // knowing and believing are two different entities. //

          Now that is something I do indeed agree with, so when it comes to the topic of god … (is there a god?), lets apply this.

          I understand that you ‘believe’ there is a god, and so I’m curious to understand if you would also say that you ‘know’ that there is a god, or would you simply say, “I believe, but I do not know”.

          To turn that around, I would in turn state that “I do not believe” (due to the lack of evidence that would motivate me to do so), but what I would also add is that “I do not know”, but then proving the lack of something as a fact is perhaps something that is not actually possible, you can only ever verify something.

          So I’ll be curious to understand your thoughts on that.

  • Ali

    Knowledge or science, as Foucault puts it, is INTERESTED. The reason, the process, the use and the interpretation of knowledge is subjective.

    In philosophy, they point out to the obvious that “emotions, personal judgments and background” can interfere with finding out the truth. Therefore, the philosophers say we come up with some tools that can help find the truth.

    How absurd is this!!! How can they make sure their tools are not affected by their judgement. Besides, a tool can be used according to the wish of the user, hence all the contradictory philosophies out there, all claiming to be rational. They claim their statements are logical, yet even their fellow philosophers cannot make sense of what that person is saying. WHAT A RELIABLE WAY TO FIND THE TRUTH.

    “by any testable objective manner”:

    How many examples can be found in the history of science that something was there, the scientist knew it was there, yet it could not be revealed “by any testable objective manner” at that time.What do you gather from this? There is no such a thing?

    Still, the light of your mind can easily see the existence of God and its creation. obviously, you have chosen to ignore all the laws and regularities in this universe. I am sure for one to believe, the Fibonacci Sequence is enough.

    Going back to the question of the Creator. You said, because we do not know what caused the God, there is no God. It is not reasonable since if we do not know who the maker of car is or what kind of person he is, it means there is no such a person. does it make sense to you?

    “your specific variation of Islam is the right belief and that the others are wrong”

    As you may have heard, there are two sects in Islam: Shia, Sunni

    Shia: The prophet chose successors.
    Sunni: The Prophet did not choose a successor.

    Now, I do not find it necessary to show you the numerous references made to the Sunni books and Quran, showing, without a shred of doubt, that the the prophet did choose someone as his successor.

    The only similarity between Shia and Sunni is praying toward the Ka’aba. Everything else is different, even the understanding of God. Sunnis believe God has a body. He does not have genitals and no beard.

    • Dave Gamble Post author

      // Knowledge or science, as Foucault puts it, is INTERESTED. //

      I think I better clarify a point here. My specific question related to how we find things out. The term “science” is not simply a body of knowledge, but rather is a way of acquiring knowledge … the more correct term is “The scientific method”.

      A rather long, but quite good article can be found on it here … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

      // In philosophy, they point out to the obvious that “emotions, personal judgments and background” can interfere with finding out the truth. //

      That is correct, and that is why the scientific method actually eliminates all of that. Would you like some examples?

      // Still, the light of your mind can easily see the existence of God and its creation. //

      Actually no, that is simply your own specific cultural assumption in play. People see many things that are apparently “obvious”, for example lake monsters, aliens, bigfoot, etc… (all of which have exactly zero evidence, and so should be doubted until somebody comes up with evidence that can be verified).

      // Going back to the question of the Creator. You said, because we do not know what caused the God, there is no God. //

      This is not my logic, I simply tried applying the causality reasoning to the conclusion, The claim is that everything has a cause … therefore god … and yet that rule does not apply to god. Either everything has a cause, or that rule is not true.
      – if everything has a cause, then what caused god?
      – If god is the exception to this rule, then how do you know that?

      In fact the key point is this, if the rule does indeed have exceptions, then you can’t use it to claim that there is a god.

      Regarding specific beliefs …

      Lets try another example … Christians assert that Jesus = God. This is a very strange belief. In fact if you think about it, it is crazy. The idea is that god gave birth to himself to sacrifice himself to himself … and so both you and I would agree that those that truly believe this are in fact quite wrong.

      Now assuming we both agree on that point, then in what way does your belief differ from their wrong belief?

      They will assure you that it is true, they “know” deep down, they will quote from various religious books to justify it and are 100% sure about the claim, and have no doubts … so how would you explain to them that their belief is just wrong and that your belief is in fact the truth? (Remembering that they will say exactly the same about your belief).

      The other point to remember is that most religious books, are in fact not evidence, but are simply claims, so it all rotates back once again to the key question … How can you actually test the various claims in a manner that is truly objective and not partial to human emotions or cultural context. The above would of course boil down to quoting from various religious books, and you would assert that what they are quoting is wrong and corrupted, and they would assert that your book is false …
      – so how can a truly impartial outsider determine which claim is factual?
      – Is it even possible to ever come to such a conclusion, and if not, then what is the most obvious stance to take when you simply do not have enough information to actually know?

      • Ali

        “That is correct, and that is why the scientific method actually eliminates all of that. Would you like some examples?”

        When someone writes even one article, he or she is supposed to explain the relationship between things. Why do you think we have a DISCUSSION section in articles? Very Sciency!
        You have not answered how can one make sure the logical devices created in philosophy and its offspring science are not affected by emotions. Examples please.

        “People see many things that are apparently “obvious”, for example lake monsters, aliens, bigfoot, etc… (all of which have exactly zero evidence, and so should be doubted until somebody comes up with evidence that can be verified).”

        I do not where to begin with this statement. EVERYthing in this universe is evidence and yet you say no evidence for God! “Dawkinsian logic” best describes it. Unlike God, believing in Bigfoot or other stuff has no impact on your life or next life.

        ” if everything has a cause, then what caused god?”

        A good question and a very easy answer. Somewhere this causality should end, otherwise that thing is not God but a creature and created.

        “How would you explain to them [Christians] that their belief is just wrong and that your belief is in fact the truth?”

        Given that Christians and I believe in God, here is the answer to the crazy things Christian believe: If, Christianity was the answer, which is not, believing something to be the created and the creator is illogical. Therefore, since my mind cannot understand it, then when I am before God, I have an excuse. God might say: You should have felt it. to that I would say: I felt it when in the Christians book they say that Jesus (PBUH) is protected from harm (the story of the satan and Jesus where Satan wants to drop Jesus and says: If you are really Jesus, you should not be harmed if you fall (As predicted in the previous books)). Yet, according to them Christians, he was brutally murdered by the Jewish and Romans. Which one is it then?

        When answering Christians, I will not quote Quran or any other Islamic texts. I will only refer to something they have in their books or beliefs. Otherwise, they won’t accept it. I would quote their books where Jesus asks God the Father if he is satisfied with him…clearly two things, one human and one God. Jesus had all the attributes of humans, he walked, he ate and others. They might say what about the immaculate conception? Answer: Which one is harder, to create someone in a womb (Mary’s) or create someone from clay or a rib of Adam? Where Adam and Eve also Gods? If they mention the miracles,… . All from their own books.

        BTW, when I said deep down, I did not mean “feeling as in emotions”. I meant, understanding things, without having to ask for Explanation: Water is wet. we (normal people) do not need to be explained water is wet.

        “so how can a truly impartial outsider determine which claim is factual?”

        Although an impartial outsider knows what to do, to answer them, Look at a whole system. which one has no contradictions in it. If you found a contradiction, do not accept it, but first make sure it is actually a contradiction.

        When something is man-made you will find at least some contradictions in their belief systems.

        “they would assert that your book is false …” I say, bring it on bros! (lol) show me where it is wrong. (BTW: One Quran (1400 years), many bibles. hmmmm…)

        “when you simply do not have enough information to actually know”

        IF not enough information, do nothing.

  • Dave Gamble Post author

    // Let me get this right: You are actually saying: It harms the existence of God if we do not know about the nature of God? //

    No not at all, I’m simply pointing out a logical inconsistency, perhaps I’ve not understood it, but basically the reason you deploy appears to be as follows …

    1 – The universe is here.
    2 – Everything has a cause, there are no exceptions
    3 – Therefore god exists to have done it

    But … and this is the bit I have a problem with …

    4 – if 2 is true, then what caused god?

    The common reply is that “God has no cause”, and so the rule that was used to reason 3 turns out to not be true after all, so you can’t declare 3 to be true if the rule you used to declare it is actually broken.

    and that basically is the problem that I personally have with this line of reasoning.

    But I also generally find that this is not the reason that people actually believe what they believe. So what convinces you that your specific variation of Islam is the right belief and that the others are wrong, how do you work out that difference?

    • Ali

      Oh, Brother, I had written a long answer to your questions and comment but my connection failed me and it is all lost.

      But to summarize it (sorry for this), show me one problem with Shia or show me a better way of thinking (religious or non religious) to me. Would really appreciate it. I will answer your questions later with more patience.

      • Dave Gamble Post author

        // I had written a long answer to your questions and comment but my connection failed me and it is all lost. //

        Sorry to hear that, it happens to us all at one time or another and can be very frustrating.

        // show me one problem with Shia //

        Well, not specifically a Shia problem as such, but perhaps the most important core claim, that Allah is real, has not actually been demonstrated to be true by any testable objective manner.

        // show me a better way of thinking //

        Perhaps the one of the most profound things to ever happen to humanity has been the emergence of the scientific methodology … and by that I do not mean a body a knowledge, but rather the methodology that was utilised to discover and verify that knowledge.

        In many respects, humans have gained amazing insights by this means, but it can perhaps be argued that the greatest discovery was the scientific methodology itself. One of the truly significant contributors to that was Ibn al-Haytham, the scientist, polymath, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who made significant contributions to the principles of optics, astronomy, mathematics, meteorology, visual perception and most importantly of all the scientific methodology itself that enabled him to make these contributions.(As an aside, according to A. I. Sabra, he was a Shia Muslim).

  • Ali

    ” the claim is that god has no cause, so this exact same common sense would imply that the un-caused god concept your propose is not possible, because you can’t have something without a cause.”

    Let me get this right: You are actually saying: It harms the existence of God if we do not know about the nature of God?

    BTW: Freedom of choice means you are not forced to accept. If you live in Saudi Arabia and Iran and they force you to call yourself that perverted version of Muslim, internally people can still say I want to have a different view. That’s what I meant, while agreeing with what you said.

  • Ali

    “It does of course open up a rather interesting question. Clearly with so many conflicting ideas embraced as “truth”, they cannot all be true, so rather obviously there are a lot of people who believe things that are not actually true at all.”

    First, If someone says right now “it’s noon” and someone else says “it’s midnight” what would you conclude? That there is no such a thing as DAY?

    Any reasonable person would say “I do not normally accept things on the face of it.” I will ask them to give me their reasons. Then, they will know which one is right and wrong.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: There is something important we should all admit here. Humans can CHOOSE to accept the truth or NOT. This is very important.

    • Dave Gamble Post author

      // First, If someone says right now “it’s noon” and someone else says “it’s midnight” what would you conclude? That there is no such a thing as DAY? //

      That is a great example …OK, so there are several obvious solutions here
      1) Possibility 1 – they are in different time zones, and this is a phone conversation
      2) Possibility 2 – one of them, or perhaps even both of them, simply have the wrong time measurement.

      // Any reasonable person would say “I do not normally accept things on the face of it.” I will ask them to give me their reasons. Then, they will know which one is right and wrong. //

      That is also a really good answer, we both agree.

      // IMPORTANT NOTE: There is something important we should all admit here. Humans can CHOOSE to accept the truth or NOT. This is very important.//

      Once again we agree … people should indeed be free to believe whatever they wish, even if it is obvious to everybody else that it is not actually truly. Human history is full of examples of the terrible things that can happen when one strand of political or religious thought tries to enforce itself as the “only” acceptable one, and so we now have a basic concept that is enshrined within the UN Charter and signed up for by every nation on the planet … “Freedom of thought”.

      But back to the question, let’s probe a bit more. If we ask people to explain why they think something, they will have reasons .. so once we hear the answer, how can we determine if the answer is a good one or not?

      • Ali

        I guess I was not clear enough in my example as you missed the point. For any claim, we need reason. Without reason claims, conflicts etc are left unanswered forever.

        It is very much possible to tell if someone is telling the truth especially for something as simple as time-telling and we both know.

        Humans are equipped with the tool of reason. Reason is likened to a light whose power is different in different people. when you see the truth, you know it is the truth. No explanation is needed. For example:

        A: There is God.
        B: How come?
        A: If you walk in a desert and you the excrement of an animal, no matter how ugly or disfigured it is, without having seen the animal, you would say this is a sign of an animal. It didn’t just happen to be here.

        How can this world with all the laws and rules and details and beauties be without a creator.

        B: Not satisfied.

        A: have you ever seen anything without a cause? Does your common sense accept this as possible?

        B: um…uh….Ah…Ok, then God should also have a cause, something should have been the creator of God.

        A: Once you find out that this car has a maker, does it matter who the creator of the car was? Does it negate the fact that this car has an owner?

        B: Um…. Uh…

        I hope the dialogue above could be of any help.

        Dear Dave, accepting things have a hierarchy. First you need to accept God, then the Messenger, then…. .

        • Dave Gamble Post author

          // Humans are equipped with the tool of reason. //

          True indeed.

          // How can this world with all the laws and rules and details and beauties be without a creator. //

          Its a good question to ask.

          So in essence the claim is “Here is the universe with all it’s complexity, I have no idea how it could have happened naturally … therefore god”.

          So why make this leap to a god? It is a very tempting leap to make, and you go on to point out that the thinking behind doing it is because …

          // A: have you ever seen anything without a cause? Does your common sense accept this as possible? //

          … but the problem I find is that the claim is actually claiming exactly this; the claim is that god has no cause, so this exact same common sense would imply that the un-caused god concept your propose is not possible, because you can’t have something without a cause.

          The only truly viable reason-based answer to the question “where did the universe come from?” right now is “We do not actually know” … anything else, including the god hypothesis, or the thought that the universe has always existed in some form, or that there is a multiverse and our universe is one of an infinite number of universes, has no objective evidence (OK, that last bit may be wrong, there does in fact now appear to be some evidence of other universes, the recent discovery of primordial gravitational waves appears to confirm that).

          But why do people believe?

          People hold beliefs for cultural and also emotional reasons, not because there is any actual evidence … and so I do recognise that while they may in fact truly believe, and also experience things at a deep emotional level, I can also make the observation that they do not actually know.

          It all comes back around to asking the question, “How can we actually know what things are really true?”

          As humans we can indeed use reason, but we all also have a deep emotional and cultural bias (I include myself there), so when I examine things, it is very easy to fool myself, but there is a reliable way to prevent ourselves from fooling ourselves.

  • Dave Gamble Post author

    Hi Ali,

    // It is obvious your hands are empty. //

    Not really, let me explain what is happening here.

    As a believer, you embrace specific ideas as “truth”. All other variations would be rejected as “false”, and thus there is no conflict because there is only one single “truth”, which happens to be the specific variation of Islam that you adhere to.

    I get that, I understand what you are saying when you assert no conflict.

    Now, step outside with me for a minute and take a look at what I can see.

    I can see lots of different variations of Islamic thinking, many quite complex layers and strands of thought, with no consensus, and quite a lots of conflicting ideas, some of which motivate violence.

    I truly do understand that you would identify your specific variation as the true one, and would robustly criticise every other variation with specific reasons. What of course is interesting is that every other variation will do exactly the same, and will robustly criticise your position with their specific justifications.

    And yes, it is about here that the thought of, “Ah but they are wrong and I am right” kicks into play. But then that is the nature of belief, nobody ever thinks to themselves “I think I’ll start believing stuff that is not actually true at all today”.

    It does of course open up a rather interesting question. Clearly with so many conflicting ideas embraced as “truth”, they cannot all be true, so rather obviously there are a lot of people who believe things that are not actually true at all.

    So what is a truly reliable and consistent way to work out what is true and what is not?

  • Ali

    Oh my God! How many times should I repeat! Give me one instance of conflict! It is obvious your hands are empty.

    I will answer the Ahmadiyyas by showing them (and you in case you are interested) there are so many contradiction between their sect and Quran, Hadith, etc. Their sect is not the first in the line of made-up belief systems created by the British.

  • Ali

    Still waiting for the conflict.

    Claims should be based on irrefutable evidence. All these sects should be considered with the evidence they provide not their claims. By that reasoning, no one will ever find out if 2+2=4 or 2+2=something else.

    There is oppression in Iran, because Shiites cannot talk about the words of Imams and if they do, it shouldn’t be about something which weakens the system (although the Iranian regime calls itself shiite!!!)

    In this universe, everyone makes claims, even the Catholics and the genital organ worshipers of Thailand. EVIDENCE, PROOF, that’s what should drive us forward not CLAIMS!

    Show me the conflict, otherwise, with all due respect, it becomes clear that you have no idea what you are talking about.

    • Dave Gamble Post author

      // Claims should be based on irrefutable evidence //

      I do agree, but in the context of religious claims, nobody appears to have anything that is truly objective and so never really convinces anybody on the outside at all.

      // EVIDENCE, PROOF, that’s what should drive us forward not CLAIMS! //

      Once again, I agree, nothing beats solid objective independently verifiable evidence.

      // Show me the conflict //

      I would think it rather odd to suggest that there is no disagreement between the various Islamic sects that prevail. For some things there might be an apparent agreement on the surface, for example everybody agrees that they want Sharia, but dig a bit and you soon discover that there is no consensus on the details.

      If I should happen to mention the Ahmadiyya, you would no doubt label them as heretics and not true Muslims. Ask them and they would most probably say exactly the same about you.

  • Ali

    “conflicting beliefs”, For Example???

    You believe just because there are a lot of people in Iran or other countries who don’t like Hijab it must be sth bad.

    What the Iranian regime or the Saudi Wahhabis do is not representative of Islam

    No need to say there is proof for that. For instance: The 12 Imams ordered the muslims that you should not create a government as this will only result in Oppressors to come to power. Yet, we have the Iranian revolution which was led by Khomeini, Motahhari, Shariati,etc who are fond of Philosophy and Mysticism.

    The reason people in Iran or Saudi Arabia (especially in these so-called Islamic states) are starting to doubt Islam is the right answer is because people do not follow the Scholars and the truth about Islam. They believe (although unjustified) that these perverted versions of Islam are Islam. Before the Iranian Islamic Revolution, people actually respected the Ayatollahs. Now they don’t.

    • Dave Gamble Post author

      // “conflicting beliefs”, For Example??? //

      Ali, there are many different Islamic sects in existence … each will assert that there specific one is the right one and all the others are wrong, are not true Muslims, and that the others and are all heretics.

      Most belief systems do exactly this, we see exactly the same inside Christianity. Catholics will assert that only they have the true Christianity and that the others are wrong, Baptists will assert that only they have the true … etc…

      // You believe just because there are a lot of people in Iran or other countries who don’t like Hijab it must be sth bad. //

      No assumption required … telling people by law how to dress infringes basic human rights, threatening them with repercussions if they don’t is immoral. The objection is not with the Hijab, but rather with the enforcement of it by law… that’s the problem, it is a symbol of oppression.

  • Ali

    Reason…Mind…Open eyes, things that miss in this article. Imagine the whole world says 2+2=5 or 6 or 22. It does not stop 2+2 from becoming 4.

    Oh, Look how many people say 2+2=5!!! Then it proves that 2+2=5. This is the logic of this article.

    Misogyny in Islam…just another baseless claim! For your information, in ISLAM, a woman is not obliged to do any chores unless she wishes to. If you hurt a woman, as much as discoloring of her skin, you have to pay Dieh or blood money to her. A woman is not obliged to milk her child if she doesn’t like to.

    A Hadith from the Prophet: Heaven is underneath the feet of Mothers.

    Quran: And your Lord has decreed that you do not worship except Him, and to parents (Mother and Father), good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. 17:23

    If a physicist believes that the Earth is flat, there is a problem with this guy and not physics. You are a physicist as long as you follow the rules of physics.

    BTW, did Stalin and Mao believe in God? No they didn’t. People who forget God kill people.

    • Dave Gamble Post author

      The issue is not what you might personally believe Ali, but rather is that in both Iran and also Saudi Arabia, a variation of islamic belief prevails that attempts to impose by force Misogynistic thinking. As long as you do not attempt to impose what you believe by force upon others, then I’m fine with that.

      Islam is not one universal belief, but rather is a vast collection of diverse and often conflicting beliefs.

      Those that assert “Islam says X” will always be proven wrong because you can never generalise, you will always find somebody who believes something different, and will be happy to explain why their specific strand of thought is the correct one.

      To be honest, I’m not really sure how your comment actually relates to the article itself, other that the observation that your specific variation is one that is different than the variations that prevail in Saudi Arabia and Iran (which are themselves quite different than each other).

      Regarding the Stalin and Mao observation, both were political fanatics who tried to impose their thinking. To quote from the article … “The attempts to stifle human expression and herd humans by force and threats into one narrow political or religious belief is destined to fail” … and so that observation not only includes theocratic belief, but also political belief as well.