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Islamic Ideology (06 Sep 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Theism Vs Atheism



By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

06 September 2016

Atheism is also a belief system and in this article, I show that vis-à-vis theism, it is the more irrational one. Not that there aren’t irrational religions or religions that combine irrationality with rationality. As for me, but for the Quran, I may have been an atheist. As a believer in the Quran after intense study, I am also able to see that there are several other scriptures which contain divine revelations. Recognition of the signs of divinity in one book of scriptures opens the eyes to recognize divinity in other books of scripture as well. I also show that the claim of some religions as divinely inspired and its scriptures as revelations from the Divine, is strongly indicated as true, based on the very low probability of the opposite being true. This article is built on three of my previous articles:

1.         Religion as a Civilizing Influence

2.         Causes For The Rise And Fall Of The Muslims

3.          Is There A Rational Basis For The Atheists To Oppose Religion?

The first article explored the source of all durable moral precepts and showed that although philosophy covers every discipline of human inquiry and knowledge, it has failed to generate a single moral precept. Ethics and morality are developed disciplines in philosophy and yet have failed to generate a single moral precept. Philosophy has given us several Ethics theories such as Utilitarianism, Consequentialism and several variations on the same theme. These theories based on reason are unable to look beyond maximizing utility or gain as the source of all human motivation. We know that morality transcends such considerations and as a matter of fact is contra intuitive.

Utilitarianism is amoral. The choices indicated by it may be neutral as far as morality is concerned or even immoral. Philosophy therefore had to fall back on Deontological theory of ethics or ethics based on scriptures or a fixed moral code as a source of rules for ethical and moral conduct. While Kant has given us an excellent definition of morality, he has failed to generate a single moral precept based on his definition. Kant’s philosophy however covers the process for making moral choices. Since this process is not based on self-interest, why would any rational human being make moral choices that may require sacrificing self-interest for what is right and just? Kant responds to this predicament by saying that it is justified to believe in the immortality of the soul and of consequences of our actions beyond this life in which we are rewarded, without which he agrees that it is not possible to be moral. Philosophy not only failed to produce a single moral precept, but has conceded that what we know to be moral may not be possible without a belief in a life beyond our present life in which we are rewarded or punished based on our actions in this world.

What about literature? Great literature has the power to arouse strong feelings of anger and disgust against injustice but no literature, however great, has produced a single moral precept. While the story may have a moral and a message, it is not the source of any new or original moral precept.

Let Us Look At Some Of The Moral Precepts:

1. Love your neighbour as yourself

2. Do not steal

3. Keep your promises, treaties and covenants

4. Do not kill except as a matter of justice

5. Repel evil with good

6. Resist oppression

7. Always speak the truth and stand for justice

8. Always accept an offer for peace and end strife.

9. Feed the indigent, help the orphan etc.

10. Persist in all good works with patience

10. Do not covet, envy etc

11. Guard your modesty except from your spouse

12. Do not kill an animal except for food

13. Help in all good deeds but not in sin, rancour or enmity

It is easy to see why none of these have come from philosophy or literature because none of them is self-evident and none of it appears at first sight to serve self-interest. These were imbibed as religious duties first and practiced. The validation that these precepts promoted the collective good came later which made these intelligible in hindsight as well. Long familiarity with these precepts has made it easy for us to see that these serve a higher purpose than self. It is these moral precepts that have civilized us. Otherwise, we lived as savages and killed each other for personal gain.

Since the moral precepts are not self-evident, we recognize the moral in any story only when the precept is known to us. So while we have literature such as Aesop’s fables with a moral, literature cannot by itself be a source of a new moral precept. A story that is neither rational nor based on a known or accepted moral principle would not make sense. For example stories of theft and murder which are immoral acts make sense because we can see for what gain these immoral acts are being done. We can also identify with stories of honesty which is apparently against self-interest or against immediate gain only because we recognize this as a moral act. Otherwise it would not make sense. This may not be so obvious to us only because these moral precepts are deeply ingrained in us from our childhood which makes us accept these instinctively. No matter from what source these moral precepts has come, all religions support these and even atheists accept them as good moral principles.

That religion is rich in durable moral precepts is well-accepted. The fact that religion is the sole source of all moral precepts should not be surprising after this discussion. The moral precepts have brought about revolutionary changes in human behaviour and civilized us. The fact that the society benefited immensely from these precepts has made the moral principles understandable to us in hindsight and literature merely reinforces the moral lessons already learnt.

If these moral precepts had merely evolved, then there is no reason why we should not find them in philosophy and why only in religion. There have been many philosophers and litterateurs who were religious but did not contribute a single moral precept. Religious scriptures make claims that these are divinely inspired and are not the work of man. Is this claim true? The religion of Islam provides a fascinating case study since it is the last of the great religions with a Book claimed to have been divinely inspired or revealed and preserved exactly as revealed in a language that is spoken and understood even today.

What did the religion of Islam do to its followers? That the society reached great heights in every field is well known. What new moral precepts and re-emphasizing of known ones caused this? This is covered in the second article cited above.

The third article deals with the arguments relating to the alternative theory of evolution to explain everything, and shows how this theory although possible, is less probable than the theory of creation and of divinely inspired religions with their highly effective moral precepts which are not accessible to us in foresight which is why we do not find them in philosophy. These make sense only in hindsight based on the collective experience of civilized societies.

In this article, I cover the revolutionary changes brought by Islam in the concept of equality of all human beings in the short period of 22 years of Muhammad’s prophethood, and compare with the evolutionary changes the rest of the world went through before it reached the same level Islam did 13 centuries earlier. What took the rest of the world so long to catch up with the precept and the practice that was available in Islam? Let us explore. 

There are many ways to look at the word equal. One may look at the etymology of all equivalent words in all our languages and then say that the word meaning what we understand by equal today is found in the earliest known language. Looking at the question in this manner, we may say that the first man may have had the concept of equal which to him may have only been in the context of things such as one apple is equal to another apple although they are not the same. Is that what we are talking about? That is not what we are talking about but the concept that Islam gave us in the seventh century which was:

1.       Freedom is the natural state of all human beings and slavery is unnatural and even morally unacceptable. Islam therefore restricted enslavement to those taken as Prisoners of War. There were POW who were freed for ransom or charity or enslaved based on the understandings and treaties between the warring parties. For example, no Meccan was enslaved although the main war was with them.

2.       Not only that, but the Quran encouraged Muslims to even marry slaves making them the equal of a free person in all respects except their economic condition.  By precept and example, the following was established in Islamic society of the seventh century:

a) Marriage of freed slaves with Muslims including those from the Quraish (ruling) tribe. This is explicitly supported by the Quran.

b) A black freed slave Bilal held the position of treasurer of Medina. He also gave the first call for prayer from the sacred mosque when the Prophet made his first pilgrimage to Mecca after his migration. This was according a high honour based on talent alone irrespective of colour, social or economic condition.

c) Many pious Muslims following the Prophet’s example spent all their wealth to purchase slaves and free them keeping only those who could not support themselves from out of compassion. Apart from personal wealth, the Quran empowers the state to use Zakat funds for the freeing of slaves.

d)  In the mosque, when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the equality of all before God is embodied five times a day, when the slave, the ruler, the Arab, non-Arab, the white, the black, the brown and the yellow stand shoulder to shoulder and pray.

The Quran thus paved the way for a society free of slaves only if the practice established by Muhammad had continued at the same pace for 10 years of peace. That this did not happen may be due to the frailties of human nature. The Quran also paved the way for equality irrespective of whether the person was slave or a free person and many slaves served in the army and administration in high positions. The society encouraged slaves to get educated and take advantage of opportunities outside the master’s home.

Why Was Slavery Not Banned By Islam?

Was it for the economic reason? Jacob Neusner said “Prohibiting slavery in the context of seventh-century Arabia apparently would have been as useful as prohibiting poverty; it would have reflected a noble ideal but would have been unworkable on an immediate basis without establishing an entirely new socioeconomic system."

The economic reason exists even today where people serve a single master for life without becoming slave in the legal sense. The reason to my mind is that since Islam restricted enslavement to prisoners of war and there was no system of prisons then, banning enslavement would have resulted in killing of the POWs. 

Also the women taken as captive were distributed as slave to the soldiers and sex with own slave was permitted. This prevented the rape, gang rape of the captured men and women which is a common feature of every war.

Adultery was taken seriously in that society and a soldier who had sex with a captive woman who was not given to him as his slave was punished by stoning to death.

Slavery in Rest of the World

What about the Rest of the Word? When did the rest of the world reach the state that Islam reached in the 7th Century?

 Every philosopher without exception, who talked about equality, talked only of their own society and within it limited to the male, white and privileged if they were from Europe or America or to the upper classes in India. The concept did not include even their women much less the slaves. The slaves, other ethnicities and races were taken to be self-evidently inferior and therefore the thought of they becoming the equal of the rest was unthinkable.  Those who considered the slaves as either naturally inferior or deserving of their status include, Aristotle, Plato, Homer, the Christian theologians St Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, and the modern day philosophers Locke, Hume and most surprisingly Immanuel Kant (died 1804). Up to the beginning of the 19th century therefore, we find that the philosophers have held slavery to be justified and self-evidently so.

Struggle for Abolition of Slavery in the US

Towards, the end of the 18th century however, it was becoming apparent in the US, that there was a strong justification for abolishing slavery for economic reasons. The rapidly industrializing north was in need for labour that could come from the south which had slaves in large number. In 1793, Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin greatly increased the demand for slave labour.

In 1800, Gabriel Prosser, an enslaved African-American blacksmith, organized a slave revolt intending to march on Richmond, Virginia. The conspiracy was uncovered, and Prosser and a number of the rebels were hanged. Virginia's slave laws are consequently tightened.

In 1822 Denmark Vesey, an enslaved African-American carpenter who had purchased his freedom planned a slave revolt with the intent to lay siege on Charleston, South Carolina. The plot was discovered, and Vesey and 34 co-conspirators were hanged.

In 1831, Nat Turner, an enslaved African-American preacher, leads the most significant slave uprising in American history. He and his band of followers launch a short, bloody, rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia. The militia quells the rebellion, and Turner is eventually hanged. As a consequence, Virginia institutes much stricter slave laws.

William Lloyd Garrison begins publishing the Liberator, a weekly paper that advocates the complete abolition of slavery. He becomes one of the most famous figures in the abolitionist movement.

In 1849, Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and becomes one of the most effective and celebrated leaders of the Underground Railroad.

In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin is published. It becomes one of the most influential works to stir anti-slavery sentiments.

1857   The Dred Scott case holds that Congress does not have the right to ban slavery in states and, furthermore, that slaves are not citizens.

1859   John Brown and 21 followers capture the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Va. (now W. Va.), in an attempt to launch a slave revolt.

1861   The Confederacy is founded when the deep South secedes, and the Civil War begins.

1863   President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring "that all persons held as slaves" within the Confederate states "are, and henceforward shall be free."

The Ku Klux Klan is formed in Tennessee by ex-Confederates

The law abolishing slavery in the US was passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, provides that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.".

Comparison of the 13th Amendment of 1865 with the Islamic Law of Circa 620

Did the 13th amendment of 1865 surpass the law enacted in Islam in the 7th Century? The 13th amendment still permits voluntary servitude and also as a punishment for crime. In Islam enslavement of only captives taken in war was permitted (equivalent of imprisonment or punishment for waging war). The Muslims following the example of the Prophet freed all other slaves who could support themselves and what remained were those who could not support themselves as free men/women. This is the equivalent of voluntary servitude. Muslims also bought slaves only to free them. That Islamic society regressed in subsequent years and slavery which should have ended did not end is due to several factors the primary one being self-interest or the opposite of what was considered the moral thing to do in Islam.

Struggle for Equal Rights

Racism, racist thinking, racial segregation, legally sanctioned discrimination against blacks did not end with the abolition of slavery in the US in 1865 and not until a long struggle for more than a century subsequently. This underscores the fact that the economic argument was stronger than the moral argument for the abolition of slavery in the US.

Also while the US Declaration of Independence of 1776 declared it ‘self-evident’ that all men were created equal, this truth was denied to slaves and of course women. To the extent that we are inspired by these ideals today, we accept it as ‘self-evident’ that they must apply equally to all human beings but this was not self-evident even in 1865.

Between 1865-1866 Black codes are passed by Southern states, drastically restricting the rights of newly freed slaves.

In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, defining citizenship. Individuals born or naturalized in the United States are American citizens, including those born as slaves. This nullifies the Dred Scott Case (1857), which had ruled that blacks were not citizens.

In 1870, Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, giving blacks the right to vote.

In 1877 Reconstruction ends in the South. Federal attempts to provide some basic civil rights for African Americans quickly erode.

In 1879 The Black Exodus takes place, in which tens of thousands of African Americans migrated from southern states to Kansas.

In 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson: This landmark Supreme Court decision holds that racial segregation is constitutional, paving the way for the repressive Jim Crow laws in the South.

In 1909 The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People is founded in New York by prominent black and white intellectuals and led by W.E.B. Du Bois. For the next half century, it would serve as the country's most influential African-American civil rights organization, dedicated to political equality and social justice In 1910, its journal, The Crisis, was launched. Among its well known leaders were James Weldon Johnson, Ella Baker, Moorfield Storey, Walter White, Roy Wilkins, Benjamin Hooks, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Julian Bond, and Kwesi Mfume.

In 1931 nine black youths are indicted in Scottsboro, Ala., on charges of having raped two white women. Although the evidence was slim, the southern jury sentenced them to death. The Supreme Court overturns their convictions twice; each time Alabama retries them, finding them guilty. In a third trial, four of the Scottsboro boys are freed; but five are sentenced to long prison terms.

In 1955 A young black boy, Emmett Till, is brutally murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. Two white men charged with the crime are acquitted by an all-white jury. They later boast about committing the murder. The public outrage generated by the case helps spur the civil rights movement (Aug.).

Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the front of the "colored section" of a bus to a white passenger (Dec.1). In response to her arrest Montgomery's black community launch a successful year-long bus boycott. Montgomery's buses are desegregated on Dec. 21, 1956.

In 1960 Four black students in Greensboro, North Carolina, begin a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter (Feb. 1). Six months later the "Greensboro Four" are served lunch at the same Woolworth's counter. The event triggers many similar nonviolent protests throughout the South.

In 1961Over the spring and summer, student volunteers begin taking bus trips through the South to test out new laws that prohibit segregation in interstate travel facilities, which includes bus and railway stations. Several of the groups of "freedom riders," as they are called, are attacked by angry mobs along the way. The program, sponsored by The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), involves more than 1,000 volunteers, black and white.

In 1962 James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi (Oct. 1). President Kennedy sends 5,000 federal troops after rioting breaks out.

In 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. is arrested and jailed during anti-segregation protests in Birmingham, Ala. He writes "Letter from Birmingham Jail," which advocated nonviolent civil disobedience.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is attended by about 250,000 people, the largest demonstration ever seen in the nation's capital. Martin Luther King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The march builds momentum for civil rights legislation (Aug. 28).

Despite Governor George Wallace physically blocking their way, Vivian Malone and James Hood register for classes at the University of Alabama.

Four young black girls attending Sunday school are killed when a bomb explodes at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a popular location for civil rights meetings. Riots erupt in Birmingham, leading to the deaths of two more black youths (Sept. 15).

In 1964 President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act, the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. It prohibits discrimination of all kinds based on race, colour, religion, or national origin (July 2).

The bodies of three civil-rights workers are found. Murdered by the KKK, James E. Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner had been working to register black voters in Mississippi (Aug.).

Congress passes the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier for Southern blacks to register to vote. Literacy tests, poll taxes, and other such requirements that were used to restrict black voting are made illegal (Aug. 10).

In six days of rioting in Watts, a black section of Los Angeles, 35 people are killed and 883 injured (Aug. 11-16).

In 1967 The Supreme Court rules in Loving v. Virginia that prohibiting interracial marriage is unconstitutional. Sixteen states still have anti-miscegenation laws and are forced to revise them.

President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing (April 11).

In 1972 The infamous Tuskegee Syphilis experiment ends. Begun in 1932, the U.S. Public Health Service's 40-year experiment on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis has been described as an experiment that "used human beings as laboratory animals in a long and inefficient study of how long it takes syphilis to kill someone."

In 1992 The first race riots in decades erupt in south-central Los Angeles after a jury acquits four white police officers for the videotaped beating of African-American Rodney King (April 29).

In 2014 On Aug. 9, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old was shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo., by Darren Wilson. On Nov. 24, the grand jury decision not to indict Wilson was announced, sparking protests in Ferguson and cities across the U.S., including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.

The protests continued to spread throughout the country after a Staten Island grand jury decided in December not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner. Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by Pantaleo in July.

Revolutionary Change in Islam Compared With the Evolutionary Change in the US

Considering that a millennium after Islam, it took a hundred years of intense struggle to get slavery abolished in the US helped by economic reasons in addition to the moral one, and it took another hundred years to end segregation, and give rights of citizenship to the ex-slaves without fully ending the deep seated discrimination and racism in American society, the achievement of Muhammad in the short span of 22 years is nothing short of an unbelievable miracle in a society which was by no means ready for such changes. It also explains why that society regressed in later years and why the practice did not end since it never made sense from the economic or utilitarian point of the rich but was more of a moral duty for attaining piety that was imposed by religion. Moreover, the new converts from other lands who outnumbered the early Muslims by a factor of 10 or more, brought with them their own social norms, beliefs, traditions and laws and in no small way influenced the development of the society causing it to regress in multiple ways.

Without the example in Islam, slavery may have continued to have been considered as the “natural state”. Many of the ideas of the Renaissance are borrowed from Islam including the most fundamental one of abolition of the privileges of the aristocracy and the Church and the ideas in the phrase “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”. The Medina charter established a fraternity of all the tribes and Spain under the Moors was a shining example of the heights reached by people working together as a single fraternity.

Women’s Rights in Islam

What about the contribution of Islam to women’s rights?

As far as the female is concerned, there is no scripture apart from the Quran in which she is given the following rights:

1. Own property

2. Inherit Property

3. Is a person in her own right and not the possession of man. She continues to retain her family name after marriage.

4. She can divorce

5. Her marriage is a contract where she can specify her meharor marriage gift and other terms.

6. Has claims on all male relatives for financial support but no responsibility to support anyone including her children irrespective of her means except as charity (but not as duty.)

Do your research as to when women won similar rights in other societies and after how much struggle and you will realize how Islam revolutionized its society. What are the preceding events in that society that make such changes evolutionary? None.

But did Islam make the woman the equal of man? The answer is a yes except for the slight advantage that it gives to the man for no other reason except that the man supports the woman from his means. This is a reason which holds good even today. The employee is not the equal of his employer and the subordinate is not the equal of his superior and the debtor is not the equal of creditor etc. Islamic society however did regress but it will be useful to remember that four of the Ibn Taymiyyah’s teachers were female scholars. His name is also unusual in that it is derived from a female member of his family. Taimiyatu was a woman, famous for her scholarship and piety and the name Ibn Taymiyyah was taken up by many of her male descendents. Ibn Taymiyyah was a 13th century scholar, theologian, logician and political activist.

As for practice, the Prophet was a former employee of his first wife Khadija and their relationship was therefore on equal terms since he did not support her from his means.

Conclusion

The Islamic precept of equality of all human beings and freedom is taken today as a self-evident truth but this was not evident to any of the philosophers or reformers upto the 19th century. The revolutionary changes brought by Islam have no history of a gradual evolution and no reason to believe that the society of the 7th century in Arabia was ready for such changes. As a matter of fact the religion was bitterly opposed for the very same reasons. It is the inferiority of slaves, and the inferiority of people of other ethnicity and social class that was self-evident to all the philosophers’ up to the end of the 19th century. The abolition of slavery in the US in 1865 was after a long and bitter struggle for a hundred years and even then it was for strong economic reasons rather than moral ones which is why it took another hundred years of political struggle to win equal rights and end segregation.

None of the moral precepts are self-evident or intuitive and most are the opposite of what Utilitarianism would suggest. The fact that only religions have contributed to every moral precept makes religion different from any other human endeavour and lends credence to the claim of such religions as divinely inspired or revelations from God.

There isn’t even one example of a durable moral precept coming through the process of evolution or from a source other than religion. The Quran claims that Prophet Muhammad is the last of the prophets. There is not a single example of a revolutionary change in the moral sphere since then. Revolutions brought about through human effort are in Science and Technology and in other Utilitarian fields. Morals and morality remains the sole domain of religion. Without the moral precepts we would have remained savages. If human thinking could produce moral precepts, philosophy would have been rich in moral precepts. Without moral precepts, we would have not reached our present state and without these we cannot maintain it either. If human thinking has failed to produce moral precepts, the claim of religions that have given us these precepts as being of divine origin is a very strong claim indeed. The Atheists’claim that everything is a result of the evolutionary process, is a weak one and not supported by facts.

Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/naseer-ahmed,-new-age-islam/theism-vs-atheism/d/108481

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TOTAL COMMENTS:-   152


  • The Substantive Definition of Atheism and Agnosticism

    The most widely accepted definition of atheism is substantive in nature: Atheism is characterized by the denial of the existence of God, whereas agnosticism is characterized by skepticism about, or bracketing of, the existence of God, the construction of world view and identity without any assumption that there is a God (Baggini, 2003; Mackie, 1982). Here atheism and agnosticism are understood as interrelated but nevertheless different constructs. Both signify a turn away from specific images of God, but atheism is more resolute than agnosticism, less open to a religious or spiritual sentiment and quest. From this substantive perspective, atheism and agnosticism can be understood as beliefs (Hood, Hill, & Spilka, 2009; Martin, 2007), although many atheists/agnostics do not see their views as “faith-based” (Saeed & Grant, 2004). Nevertheless, atheism and agnosticism are based upon (even though refusing or bracketing) a culturally dominant and specifically theistic image of God.

     

    In atheism, however, there is more at work than simply substantive concepts of religion, such as theoretical, philosophical questions of whether God exists; atheism also involves hostility toward organized religion in the name of reason, freedom, and autonomy. While “popular” atheism certainly draws on the opposition against, and falsification of, theistic beliefs, it is also accompanied by vigorous claims about the irrationality and vanity of all religion and every belief in gods, spirits or transcendental entities (e.g. Dawkins, 2006; Hitchens, 2007). As Taylor (2007) maintains, modern atheism emerged as a consequence of the Enlightenment and the ethical fight for freedom in matters of religion which has gained most popularity in the 19th century. (Streib & Klein: Atheists, Agnostics, and Apostates)

     

    The Null hypothesis attributed to the atheists is in keeping with their rejection of God and Divinity and falsification of theistic beliefs about their scriptures. If the Null hypothesis fails, then their position regarding the beliefs of the theists as regards their scriptures is irrational and the belief of the theists justified. This has been proved.

     The discussion of rationality or irrationality is limited to the most central aspect of the beliefs of theists and the atheists’ rejection of the same.

     


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/22/2016 11:52:56 AM



  • why must mr naseer ahmed keep dragging kant into the issue?

    unless you can quote kant as having proved that religion gave us morals, don't bring him in.

    you started out to prove that (1) atheism is also a belief system and (2) that atheism is more irrational.

    just do it!

    By hats off! - 9/22/2016 7:06:57 AM



  • Thank God! Please stick to your promise now. It will be highly immoral to go back on your word and go on for another century. 
    By secularlogic - 9/22/2016 3:46:25 AM



  • Hats Off,

    Does morality even exist outside religion? What exists outside religion is "practical ethics" or the "practical" part extracted from the moral principles based on experience gained from practicing morality as a religious duty.

    This process started somewhere around 600 BC when the Greek Philosophers started applying reason to the moral principles from religion. The history of philosophy also begins around the same time. Before that, such knowledge was only religious knowledge. We have a fairly good record of what philosophy has contributed all through its history from 600 BC and if philosophy has not contributed a single moral principle since 600 BC beyond working with and around moral principles from religion, then there is nothing more to look for.

    The charade of equating ethics with morality from religion, and not treating it as qualitatively different from "practical ethics", was carried on by the philosophers until Kant exposed the "fraud" for which he has not been forgiven. Philosophers as distinct from theologian philosophers, are by their very nature of calling and by definition seekers of knowledge based on human reason alone. Although they help themselves to what religion has given us, they try to show that the same could have been arrived at  through reason alone.

    Kant showed that what is based on reason may be ethics but it isn't morality and morality outside religion may not be possible. Philosophers do not use such simple and direct language as I have, but what he says means very much what I have said. You can imagine the reaction against him from the academicians who felt greatly let down by arguably the greatest philosopher as far as the subject of morality is concerned. He was accused of letting in religion through the back door when the rest of them had resolutely kept religion out and carried on the charade of "there is nothing of value that religion has given us that could not have been arrived at based on reason"

    I haven't seen any morality in the manner  in which people have argued against the topic which further confirms that for those to whom "religious morality" means nothing but only "practical ethics" matters, will never stick to the straight or the moral path. They will use unfair means to win a debate because they are not interested in finding the truth but fighting for their agenda.

    This is my last comment.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/22/2016 1:20:27 AM



  • mr naseer ahmed has successfully proved that confucius quoted someone else.

    but does it prove that religion gave us morals?

    it only proves that confucius got it from someone else. nothing more.

    another problem.

    moral principles of religions are not universal. they are specific to the respective practitioners.

    for example, religions promote equality among its own votaries, but promote inequality against unbelievers and votaries of other religions.

    human-made morals transcend religions. they are universal. religious morals are limited. they are specific to that particular religion.

    religions promote different morals for women and men. human-made morals do not distinguish between sexes.

    religion given morals are limited to its own practitioners. it does not extend to the members of another religion.

    therefore religion derived morals are inferior and discriminatory. by this definition, religious morality is in fact unethical.

    By hats off! - 9/21/2016 4:21:57 AM



  •                         The Fig Leaf of a counter example from what Confucius said falls

    The last words of GM Sb,

     Confucianism is a religion or that it is not original. (The moral principle “Do unto others…….”)

     Even after I presented enough material to refute both those hypothesis, he (Naseer) behaves as if he did not hear anything that I had said! How can one discuss anything with such a man?”

     My! My! What a pity! We must have exchanged close to 50 comments on this alone. He said many irrelevant things all of which true and I accepted these. I pointed out what was relevant to the discussion which supported my hypothesis and he behaved as if he did not hear anything.

     He goes onto say:

     Trying to discuss anything with him is a waste of time. This discussion has gone on for so long because his mind is closed to hearing anything that questions his opinions. He cannot be helped. Hence this will be my last comment in this futile conversation.”

     GM Sb can argue until eternity without a shred of evidence to support what he is saying. It amazes me how any reasonable person can do that but he has mastered the art.

     I have written an article: Religion as a Civilizing Influence three years ago in which my thesis is that we lived as savages before religion civilized us or rather the moral principles given to us by religion helped us make the transition from savage to civilization. There are many civilizations which developed in different parts of the world which have co-existed without contact with each other for centuries before these developed enough to make contact with other civilizations. The moral principle that helped each of these different societies to make the transition must be essentially the same. What could this be?

     If you examine “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, it strikes as the very first and most fundamental moral principle which helped us make the transition from the state of savage to civilization. If so, this moral principle is as old as civilization itself.

     If the earliest record of this is found in the works of Confucius, it only means that Confucius was the first to put it into a book.  

     With the above thought in mind I researched further and my thinking is fully confirmed. The findings are as follows:

     The dates only indicate the first recorded instance.

    Egypt:

    "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to make him do." (c. 2040 – c. 1650 BC)

    A Late Period (c. 664 BC – 323 BC) papyrus contains the Golden Rule: "That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another."

    Greece

    "Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing." – Thales (c. 624 BC – c. 546 BC)

    China

    "Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself." — Confucius c. 500 BC)

    "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." — Laozi (c. 500 BC)

    Hinduism

    One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires.

    — Brihaspati, Mahabharata

     “This is the prescription – sometimes phrased as a proscription – to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. It is perhaps rash to claim that the Rule is ‘the only standard of duty common to all people’. But it is certainly recognized in all cultures, and numerous studies show that it has been endorsed in all of the major and most minor religions.” (Neil Duxbury)

    The golden rule, "Do to others as you would have others do to you," is widely assumed to have a single meaning, shared by virtually all the world's religions. (Jeffrey Wattles)

    Interestingly Jeffrey Wattles calls it "the principle of the practice of the family of God." which sounds like Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam which Secularlogic mentioned.

     The above vindicates my stand that without this moral principle, no civilization appears possible and must be common to every civilization. It also puts paid to the transparently fraudulent manner in which GM Sb tried to foist the notion that it was the original thought of Confucius despite the evidence to the contrary which he stubbornly ignored.

    My thesis stands.

     What is clear is that the two of us stood our ground. GM Sb quit only when the ground slipped out under his feet and even then by declaring victory! It would be appropriate to consider what Confucius has to say on such behaviour:

     Only the wisest and the stupidest of men never change.

     The wisest because they are trying to bring out a truth. The stupidest because .......


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/21/2016 1:09:33 AM



  • Dear Friends, 
    We do not need religions to teach morals anymore. We know more than those who started all existing religions. Even a good University student has more access to knowledge than erstwhile Prophets  or Rishis (who had no idea whether the earth is round or, flat). If they were more intelligent, then why they did not have smartphones or, satellites, aeroplanes or, cars and ended up talking about sheep, camels and cows only. Human knowledge has progressed slowly in last 10,000 years. In last 200 years, it has made great advances. Even in last 50 years (and in some cases, in last 20 years) it has made very spectacular achievements. Why should we get stuck in moral values of thousands of years ago which are irrelevant today. If our ancestors were the epitome of knowledge and were so ordained by God, why we accept and use these modern inventions and do not use camels as the means of transport instead of planes and cars. We should not be using internet, whatsapp, telephone, TV etc. as it is not mentioned in our religious texts and must be declared Haraam. Like in technology and material comforts, we should make advances in moral values and social systems too.

    By Ashok Sharma - 9/20/2016 11:21:54 AM



  • Hats Off,

    Did I make you eat your hat on the A Bishop question?

    My hat! Is market research about hypothesizing?

    Talk less and then maybe you can keep your ignorance under your hat.

    You can throw your hat at ever being able to understand logic.

    The tricks you play with words is old hat.

    If you had asked a question with hat in hand, then perhaps I may have answered your question, but you are only talking through your hat.

    You may now be only good for passing the hat around. Just do that! or is it "Just do it!"?


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/20/2016 9:24:32 AM



  • mr naseer ahmed should drop all silly word juggling and koranics and just tell how he can prove.

    1) that atheism is a belief system
    2) that atheism is more irrational than theism

    this is not some beauty soap or detergent he is selling to clueless housewives. so market research don't cut.

    this is not some hypothesis with data that he can put in his probabilistic blender. so null hypothesis won't do.

    the first is a general or universal statement.

    the second is a comparison statement conditional upon the universal being true. but the first statement is false.

    so the universal statement falls, and it takes mr naseer ahmed's essay down with it.

    how diligently mr naseer ahmed avoids his first sentence and keeps chanting about some non-existent hypothesis.

    mr naseer ahmed needs to get back to his drawing board or his tarot cards or his word blender or chomskybot.

    the koran is not about proving irrationality through market research or significance testing or null hypothesis.

    if mr naseer ahmed needs the koran to support his null hypothesis and market research and symbolic logic, he is doing something very wrong. probably unethical too.

    unethical enough for most market research journals to keep it at some long distance. just let him try and get this delirium published. especially if this is going to break 1400 years of atheism, some publisher somewhere must be willing to print.

    this is exactly what mr rashad kalipha suffered from.

    mr naseer ahmed's mind is suddenly flashed into view by his claim of having said something 1400 years of islamic scholarship could not.

    but the horror of horrors is that he claims he does not know arabic, but claims to have discovered something which fourteen centuries of islamic scholarship could do.

    but unless you are mr naseer ahmed, you will never ever attempt tafseer unless you master arabic (the ancient qureshi dialect)

    By hats off! - 9/20/2016 4:36:30 AM



  • My clear statement on the attempt to misattribute to Confucius a moral principle as his original thought

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” cannot be credited to Confucius as his original thought. I cannot imagine mankind transitioning from the stage of savage to civilization without their religion giving this moral principle, in some form or the other.

    If the oldest civilization is say 6000 years old, then this principle precedes Confucius by 3500 years.

    If multiple civilizations existed without contact between them, then this principle was independently given to each of the civilizations through their religion by the One God. The Quran confirms that prophets have been sent for the guidance of mankind to all nations and in all ages and there were periods when multiple contemporaneous prophets were there in different parts of the world. 


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/20/2016 3:48:00 AM



  • Who is speaking?

    Let us understand the venerable GM Sb who has a voracious appetite to argue endlessly without a reason only because he does not agree with what is said.

     1.    He is a person who repeatedly asked for 3 moral principles in the Quran that cannot be produced by man when my thesis is not about ability but facts and I say that not a single moral precept has ever been produced by man. All that he had to do was to take any one of the 13 precepts listed in the article and prove that it was actually the product of human effort. He has failed to do so.

     2.    A person who thinks that the Quran’s style, rhyming qualities and language is what makes it beyond doubt that it is from God and not the content. Form is what determines excellence and not substance! An amazing thing to say about the Quran! Of course it is a fact that no one else has spoken about substance. This is because the scholars lack knowledge outside the Quran to figure out what makes the Quran stand out from human effort which makes it inimitable by man. When somebody comes up with what makes it inimitable as far as substance is concerned, I can understand that it would be greeted with a degree of incredulity since no one has talked about it for the last 1400 years. I would however expect a sane person to subject the claim to intense scrutiny but not resort to fraudulent claims and ridicule. I have always maintained that knowledge outside the Quran greatly helps in understanding the Quran itself. The Quran’s linguistic excellence is obvious. What was not obvious was the substance part which made it inimitable and what I have discovered through my study holds good for every scripture and is independent of language.

     3.    A person who says in the same breath that “Your literal reading of the Quran is the main problem” He also says at the same time “But it does not say what you say”. Yes, it does not say “moral principles” make it inimitable but then how does that make it a literal reading? The contradiction escapes GM Sb. Calling a person a literalist is an automatic reaction of GM when he disagrees with what is said.

     4.     This is what he says:

    a)    Moral principles are like stars which philosophers study but do not produce

    b)    The earliest philosophers produced moral principles, but later philosophers just studied them.

    The context of the analogy is very clear.

     If he knew the basics of logic, he would know that based on the two sentences above, the following conclusion is logically true even if factually known to be untrue:

     The earliest philosophers produced stars, but later philosophers just studied them.

    If the conclusion is factually untrue, then what is untrue is either statement a) or statement b)

    Since he is unable to provide a single example of a moral principle produced by philosophers, statement a) is true and statement b) becomes:

    Neither the earliest philosophers nor the later ones produced moral principles. They only studied them.

    He glibly makes false statements without caring for logic or fact!

     5.    This is what I said:

    Philosophy’s attempts to give us a unifying secular morality have floundered and the project has been abandoned as hopeless. (Bishop, A. (2005) 'Moral principles defined: a decision-making perspective', Int. J. Management and Decision Making, Vol. 6, Nos. 3/4, pp.326-333)

     This is how he misrepresents what I said:

     You take the wrong meaning from the article you quoted. I do not know whether it is because of your misunderstanding it or a deliberate attempt to deceive.

     The article is about the difficulty of finding a moral code that everyone can agree on. It is not about making distinctions between human and divine origins of moral principles. It proposes a clear route of developing  an "unequivocal process of creating a list of moral values."

     Where have I talked about making distinctions between human and divine origins of moral principles? These words are not there in what I said.

     The misrepresentation of what I said is deliberate. This is the umpteenth instance when GM sb reframed what I said and it appears to have become a habit with him. He is the liar and the deceiver.

     When I responded with:

    I am not going to exchange another 200 comments with you on your understanding of what Bishop meant. Not another game of chess with the pigeon. My thesis stands with or without what Bishop said.

     He counters with:

     “All you need to say is that you erred when you quoted Bishop's article as if it was making a distinction between secular philosophy and moral precepts derived from religion. He did no such thing.”

     The word religion does not even appear in what I said!

     Those who cannot argue against what is said will distort what is said because they can argue against the distorted version!

     Hats Off being unprincipled, irresponsible and without shame continues to carry on based on GM’s misrepresentation of what I said.

     6.    GM Says: It took repeated and voluminous presentation of material to counter that falsehood before Naseersaab decided to drop it, but without acknowledging his error.

     He is quite wrong to say that I have dropped it. What material did he produce that is contrary to what I said in my article? Let him point out one single statement that I made in my article which is factually wrong. He will have more opportunity to discuss this subject later in my subsequent article covering the influence of Islamic Society on rest of the world.

     7.    GM Says: “Even after I presented enough material to refute both those hypothesis (Confucianism is a religion and the quoted moral principle is not his original idea), he behaves as if he did not hear anything that I had said! How can one discuss anything with such a man?

    It is GM who is deaf and blind to the incontrovertible evidence that goes against his claim. Once again I make the clear statement that the moral principle “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” cannot be credited to Confucius as his original thought. I cannot imagine any civilization which was not given this moral principle by their religion in some form or the other without which no human society could have made the transition from savages to civilized society.

     There are many other aphorisms of Confucius which could be his original thoughts but these are not “moral principles”. They are only the words of a wise man.

     Being greeted with incredulity and ridicule by petty minded persons for anything that does not conform to the current thinking is common. Very clearly, GM and Hats Off are exhibiting such behavior.

     My thesis stands as no one has been able to give a single example of a durable moral principle outside religion.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/20/2016 1:23:34 AM



  • mr naseer ahmed's dishonest quoting of adrian bishop is available to any one who can scroll down. mr naseer ahmed can help himself.

    mr naseer ahmed should tell us how a null hypothesis or market research or the koran  can prove that "athiesm is also a beleif system".

    he should also tell us how "atheism is more irrational than theism" can be proved by market research or a null hypothesis or the koran or symbolic logic or "inferential logic" or other fancy half-baked mumbo-jumbo.

    the first sentence of his article can never be ignored away, wished away, or hidden under reams of market research and symbolic logic.

    success is short lived. failure is for ever. honesty is soon forgotten. dishonesty is remembered for long

    so mr naseer ahmed's faulty first sentence,a dishonest quoting of adrian bishop, a cart load of null hypothesis, much desperate reading into the koran, some amateur market research jargon are all forever. as is his cognitive dissonance.

    unless mr naseer ahmed comes up with a proof of his first sentence, all his hand-waving physics cannot make a pepetuum mobile.

    the whole article is in the same style as well as the substance of haroon yahya, maurice bucaille, rashad khalifa and t o sahanavas. all of them of pseudo science, name-dropping mess of confusion and contradictions.

    just like the article "theism vs atheism". 

    nothing was shown except mr naseer ahmed's ignorance.

    let him present this gibberish to any mediocre market research journal. then he will see what i mean. just let him.


    By hats off! - 9/19/2016 10:09:11 PM



  • Naseersaab,

    This will be my last comment in this long drawn-out and futile discussion.

    You said,  "I do not express opinions in my articles. These are written after research."

    I have repeatedly shown you how faulty your "research" is and how wrong your conclusions (or opinions) are. 

    The following are examples of your outlandish and disproved opinions:

    (1) Only religions can produce moral precepts; man can't. 

    I do not know any philosopher or historian who believes that. Only Naseersaab can advance such a ridiculous hypothesis, and now he admits that he is the first one to advance this hypothesis. If so, why does he not send it to a reputed academic or scholarly publication so that he can get appropriate feedback?

    (2) Confucianism is a religion or that it is not original. 

    Even after I presented enough material to refute both those hypothesis, he behaves as if he did not hear anything that I had said! How can one discuss anything with such a man?

    (3) Islam should be credited with starting the abolition of slavery in the world. 

    It took repeated and voluminous presentation of material to counter that falsehood before Naseersaab decided to drop it, but without acknowledging his error.

    It is clear that Naseersaab's claims of "research", his attempts to align himself with  reputed philosphers and his sweeping conclusions are all delusional and he himself is a victim of self-deception. Trying to discuss anything with him is a waste of time. This discussion has gone on for so long because his mind is closed to hearing anything that questions his opinions. He cannot be helped. Hence this will be my last comment in this futile conversation.


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/19/2016 3:11:17 PM



  • Hats Off,

    So why don't you quote me and GM on the A Bishop article? I stand by what I said. Go ahead. You have your opportunity to prove me wrong if you can.

    Innuendos and falsehoods are all that is left for you.

    And why do you bother with something that is clearly beyond your comprehension? Go wipe your nose and behave like a good boy!
     

    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/19/2016 1:22:45 PM



  • no hot potatoes were dropped during the making of this document(ary).

    you were outed by the adrian bishop thingy. ye daag aasaan sey chut-thi nahi. just quote the entire adrian bishop article before you decide i dropped hot potatoes! you are still exposed by the adrian bishop bluff and the forum posts are there to prove it. but you can never prove the first sentence of your article "theism vs atheism".

    author integrity issues raised by the editing of essential parts out of the adrian bishop's reference and from mr ghulam mohiyuddin's comments are still extant on this very forum.

    they show that you think you will get away because no one will check. mostly you are right. many don't read your watery prose except those that try very hard to take your ramblings seriously. now they cannot take you seriously. what a disappointment and what a come down!

    the first sentence of your article "theism vs atheism" lies undefended and thoroughly disproved while you are trying to revive a dead null hypothesis. 

    you are defending a null hypothesis because you cannot save the first sentence of your article. but where is the data for formulating a hypothesis and later a null hypothesis? is that not the order? where are the hypothetical correlations? where is the significance test? do not propose a null hypothesis without first gathering data that can support your nullification. better yet, you can try defending the first sentence of your article "theism vs atheism". don't abandon it at the first sign of trouble. later on, you can do all the hypothesis testing you want. but first you must have a hypothesis! from significance testing to alternate hypothesis, from fisher to pearson, exact to simple hypothesis, you can play all you want, but only after you successfully defend your first sentence. keep that in your mind. never lose track of the foundational first sentence you have authored. be a scholar and own up!

    for refreshing your memory, the first sentence of your article is "atheism is also a belief system and in this article i show vis-a-vis theism it is the more irrational one".

    why don't you prove it in your article? why do you prove everything in the comments? in your article you never said anything about null hypothesis. can it live only among the comments? why cannot it find a place in your article? you say you have done much research for your article. but it appears you have done more research for your comments, though. come back to your beloved article at least now and then. don't give up your first sentence so easily!

    confucious and socrates quotes are the very thing you demanded and the very thing you were given by mr ghulm mohiyuddin. his patience paid. your impatience paid too. you slipped on adrian bishop! confucius and socrates disprove your "thesis" by your own rules of disproving your own thesis. now that you have moral principles from human beings like confucius and socrates or some xerexes, why can't you just use them to perfect your proof? do not go into the differences between a nabi and rasool all of a sudden. this is irrelevant and immaterial. you are again introducing new topics to buy space, time or applause. lets talk about the finer points of a nabi and a rasool in another of your articles. i am game. you love writing articles. i love reading them! so why not call it a deal? why don't you write an article about nabi and rasool? inshallah, i will answer that article too; to your full satisfaction as well as mine. you always tell us to wait for your next article, so go ahead and write one on nabi and another on rasool! baat muqammal ho jaaye.

    divinely revealed religions are full of unacceptable immorality. you have already demonstrated that they contain moral principles. so we will accept those. but we want point out that religions have promoted and sacralized immorality. but today we reject religious immorality. we now disapprove of many divine immoralities like religiously sanctioned polygamy, religiously approved sex slavery, religiously sanctioned slave trade, religiously recommended punishment for heresy and apostasy, religious justification for sati, religious legitimization of restrictions on menstruating women and the najis, legalizing the restriction of women and the impure from theist monuments, religiously mandated wanton animal cruelty, religiously enforced child genital mutilation and religiously instituted caste and gender discrimination and many others. these continue to be the very foundations of some highly popular categories of theism even today.

    i love hot potatoes and i do not drop them. you can bring all the kings horses and all the kings men. but they cannot put up your first sentence and your adrian bishop thing together again.

    not even a null hypothesis can help. i suggest we keep up the conversation.


    By hats off! - 9/19/2016 12:22:37 PM



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