Politely flustered in our last exchange, Mara, a self-proclaimed transsexual Muslim living Stateside, has insisted upon a sort of religious relativism, relativism which appears to in their mind permeate the character of every religious figurehead thus far. Their prized defense, though so little has it been of use to them, has attempted to orchestrate some kind of race to the bottom, one through which every noteworthy spiritual leader might appear just so unappealing as Mohamed. The accusations are many, none of which have actually been quoted directly from either Christian or Buddhist scripture (unlike in the case I’ve explained with regards to Mohamed).
Though the “anything you can do I can do better” (or perhaps badder) defence hasn’t gone far in exonerating Mohamed against the charges I’ve outlined, rather for the length of our exchange their misdeeds have been both multiplied and magnified, as opposed to Mara’s case against Christ and the Torah, which they continue to conflate in hopes of making the conversation about Old Testament ethics as opposed to the character of these controversial figures. Beyond the haze of points however, the issues which are truly being explored are Muslim presuppositions, the like of which have inbuilt from the outset that Mohamed is an apostle of Allah, yet the traditions themselves, which appear to cast doubt upon the claims of Islam’s founder, are being bypassed in favour of an interpenetration of the traditions which have their conclusions built into them a priori (rather strange).
To further understand the above means outlining an awfully brief history of Mohamed’s early ministry, which we are often told began sometime in Mecca after an encounter with the angel Gabriel (which led to their realization that they were in fact a prophet). The claim itself is actually broad brush in how the early years of Islam actually played out, for after having had their encounter with who they later named Gabriel, Mohamed concealed the event for three years before publicly proclaiming their prophetic calling, within which time Islamic traditions explain how he attempted to commit suicide several times over, even thinking to throw himself off of the highest mountains, Mohamed did these things believing they were demon possessed, only after being consoled by the strange spirit (and their first wife) did the prophet of Islam put off ideas of killing himself.
Thereafter, modern Muslims explain, Mohamed, due to their pure monotheism, the purest form of monotheism on the market, was persecuted by the polytheistic people of Mecca and elsewhere, who seeking to destroy Islam and Mohamed behaved very mean towards him and his fellow Muslim believers. Though again, let’s explain these events and concepts as they actually happened/are, Islam is merely the preaching of Unitarianism (the idea God is one in substance and person), much like the Jewish beliefs from which it sprang, thus it’s no purer a form of “monotheism” specifically. In addition, Mohamed preached in Mecca for some ten years before making a move to the neighbouring cities, which shows the city of Mecca to not be particularly hostile, in fact, being a hub of trade and having long done dealings with both Jews and Christians, the people of Mecca weren’t exactly scandalized by claims to religious exclusivity. Furthermore, Mohamed’s apparent lack of charisma caused for him to be an even less interesting entity to his neighbours, which I write because over the course of their decade long preaching they made slim gains in this massive city of trade and humanity, only gaining about ten converts every year from a pool of their family and the slaves their wife owned (which weren’t true converts as you can imagine).
Thwarted in their preaching, and with the loss of their businesswoman wife and provider, who while alive kept Mohamed fairly comfortable, their preaching as “the prophet” turned increasingly bitter, with which they began insulting the pantheon of gods and goddesses which the people of Mecca so heavily valued, thus leading to the Muslims having to exit Mecca, supposedly leaving their property and homes behind. Hereafter in our history is where Mohamed and his followers begin robbing strangers on the road, which modern Muslims insist was acceptable, as these innocent bystanders were on their way to Mecca, for which they somehow deserved having their property, and in many cases their wives and children, carried off. In addition, Muslims came into contact with the Jews of Medina, who for their wealth and refusal to accept Mohamed’s claim to being a prophet were obvious targets for plunder.
Islamic Imperialism: A History (Page 15).
The above culminated in Mohamed’s army finally returning to seize Mecca and it’s wealth of booty, upon which the some three hundred and sixty statues of other gods and goddess, which were so beloved of the people of Mecca, were smashed, effectively ending their religions and stopping these dispossessed people from practising their beliefs. The unbelievers then had their homes confiscated, and they were unceremoniously expelled from the city, though the above wasn’t enough for the religion of peace (a piece of the arm, the leg, any piece you want), rather the Muslims, fearing loss of income after having dismissed the surviving traders and their families, were quickly beginning to fret their own desolate city. An answer rather conveniently wasn’t slack in arriving, for Mohamed claimed another revelations from Allah, who said though the Muslims may fear poverty, Allah is going to enrich them from his bounty, that bounty being the unbeliever’s remaining wealth, so after having destroyed their religions, stolen their property and murderer their friends and family, the Muslims would further pursue the unbelievers to take of whatever they wanted.
The above man Mara has so doggedly defended, with which let’s return again to our exchange, only ending the above history of Mohamed in the fourth and final part of our four part conversation.
OldSchoolContemporary: When you wrote “The Quran had many copies made at the time of its creation, some of which exist to this very day, and there is zero variation.” that’s not true according to Muslim writers, in fact, they explained how there were so many variants of the Quran that they were gathered together and burnt! Burnt because Muslims feared the differences in the text would cause disagreements.*
Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people (Muslims) of Syria and the people of Iraq were waging war to conquer Armenia and Azarbaijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Syria and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to ‘Uthman, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Quran) as Jews and the Christians did before.” So ‘Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.”
Hafsa sent it to ‘Uthman. ‘Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubair, Said bin Al-As and ‘AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. ‘Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, ‘Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. ‘Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. … (Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 61, no. 510)
“Save this nation before they differ” The above Muslims were saying, not understanding that it’s only by having these traditions that we’d actually get closer to the original. Uthman’s copy of the Quran is what people are reading today, not Mohammad’s, luckily, insofar as I have read, other religions didn’t have an Uthman to destroy their treasured traditions.
This is so shocking because other versions of the Quran, versions which were supposedly different and written by the companions of Mohammad himself were then destroyed, so to say there’s zero variation just doesn’t make sense, have you ever tried copying from a textbook or even a post online, Mara? Please try, within a short time you’ll begin to feel tired, maybe hungry, and before you know it you’ll have miscopied something, not necessarily on purpose, simply by mistake, to write how there were no variants concerning the Quran seems unrealistic. Also, could you name some of these manuscripts which exist to this very day, by name would be great.*
When you write Mohammad made some “disgusting” choices, you do realize that Mohammad said these were the words of Allah, right, they’re in the Quran as revelations from Allah, Allah (according to Mohammad) said it’s okay to rape women in front of their husbands. Mohammad said Allah wants men to beat their wives into submission, Mohammad said Allah has made women mentally deficient and that Mohammad is allowed to, although in his fifties, rape a child of nine years of age.
You then wrote: ‘Jesus accepted slavery to maintain slavery into modern days.’ That’s an untruth, Mara, simply reading Galatians 3:28 could explain the Christian perspective: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” It’s only by ignoring the teaching that people could continue to keep their slaves, unlike in the case of many other unordered books, the New Testament has chronology and reliable context on it’s side. In fact, Thomas Sowell, an African American historian, explains very well how it was only under the guard of the Christian world that slavery, which existed in many forms up until how it’s most famous[ly known], could be abolished.
“Look at what the apostle Paul says in his letter to Philemon concerning a runaway slave named Onesimus.” they begin by writing: “Paul doesn’t say to overthrow slavery, because all that would do would be to get him executed. Instead he tells Philemon he’d better treat Onesimus as a brother in Christ, just as he would treat Paul himself. And then, to make matters perfectly clear, Paul emphasizes, ‘Remember, you owe your whole life to me because of the gospel.’
The above means that only within the confines of a culture defined and guarded by Christianity could people like William Wilberforce, the Quakers and others overturn a practice which pre-dated Christianity’s parable of the good Samaritan, which again was an example of Jesus’ teachings which told humanity to erase the racial hatred it’s long harbored. Actually, only after converting did William Wilberforce wage what seemed a one man campaign against his peers to have slavery overturned and outlawed in the UK! So, how do you come away with the impression that Jesus supports slavery?
Mara: Scholars have come away with the conclusion that while there were variations, that this compilation of sorts created no major changes. So while there were slightly varying accounts, the final products remained very much the same.
He supported it by not calling into question previous parts of the bible that not only allow slavery, but set guidelines for how one may own and beat their slaves, the fact that Deuteronomy discusses and encourages one to not only enslave neighboring cities that don’t bow to god’s will, but to force marriage on any appealing women and take children for plunder as well.
I’m not looking to slander a religious figure, just bring up the fact that there are unsavory practices of the time that go unquestioned.
Does Jesus say, “We were wrong.” and that the bible and commands of god were incorrect or does he allow it?
OldSchoolContemporary: You believe Jesus supports slavery because of “not calling into question previous parts of the bible that not only allow slavery,” that’s known as an argument from silence, Mara, it’s terribly fallacious. Not saying something doesn’t mean you’re for that thing, for example, you’ve yet to trash FGM [female genital mutilation], nevertheless, nobody should then assume you’re in favor of the practice.
I’m also surprised by you having written: “Would I have breakfast with Mohammad? No. If I insulted him, he’d have me killed. But at the same time, Buddha would slight me for being female, and Jesus would accept if someone kept me in chains at the foot of the table.” You understand that it’s Mohammad who both slights you for being female and would enslave you at Jesus’ feet, right?! 🙂 You’re a very intelligent person, Mara, so it’s shocking you’re missing out on these obvious things.
Mara: Please do not put words in my mouth. I understand that he would enslave me and belittle me, also that he would kill me. I made that obvious with my comment that I wouldn’t have breakfast with him. Don’t assume I missed out on that when I called it out. I’ve mentioned numerous times Mohammad’s problems, have I not? I have even claimed that he was just as human as anyone, but it’s still assumed that I must hold him on some pedestal.
I also understand that it’s terribly fallacious. But doesn’t Jesus support the previous teachings of God? Does Jesus not claim to further a legacy of slavery and rape? I’m genuinely curious.
OldSchoolContemporary: Hey again, Mara, as you’ve asked, I’d be happy to explain why an honest reading of the Bible would show very clearly that there’s no support for slavery or rape to be found. Not to mention the fact that I’m happy to play defence, considering questions you’ve been so kind as to answer. 🙂 By one of your last messages you asked: “doesn’t Jesus support the previous teachings of God? Does Jesus not claim to further a legacy of slavery and rape? I’m genuinely curious.” The answer is that Jesus does not claim to further a legacy of slavery and rape, Jesus made claims, none of those were they however. I’m going to give you five reasons for believing the same. Thomas Sowell, in their Race and Culture book, explains how what people commonly interpreted as “slavery”, was better understand as becoming a menial labourer, like becoming a butler, featuring no African hating element or sub-class, rather offering one’s services as a “slave” was purely economic:*
“While it could be be tied to military conquest, usually slavery served an economic function. They didn’t have bankruptcy laws, so if you got yourself into terrible hock, you sold yourself and/or your family into slavery. As it was discharging a debt, slavery was also providing work. It wasn’t necessarily all bad; at least it was an option for survival.
Please understand me: I’m not trying to romanticize slavery in any way. However, in Roman times there were menial labourers who were slaves, and there were also others who were the equivalent of distinguished Ph.D.’s who were teaching families. And there was no association of a particular race with slavery. In American slavery, though, all blacks and only blacks were slaves.
That was one of the peculiar horrors of it, and it generated an unfair sense of black inferiority that many of us continue to fight to this day. Now let’s look at the Bible. In Jewish society, under the Law everyone was to be freed every Jubilee. In other words, there was a slavery ban every seventh year. Whether or not things actually worked out that way, this was nevertheless what God said, and this was the framework in which Jesus was brought up.”*
Both the Jubilee and having a proper understanding of ancient “slavery” goes to show there’s no legacy of enslaving as people understand slaving today, butlering done so by people at the PhD level isn’t so shocking as the modern slave trade. Sowell concludes:
“But you have to keep your eye on Jesus’ mission. Essentially, he did not come to overturn the Roman economic system, which included slavery. He came to free men and women from their sins. And here’s my point: What his message does is transform people so they begin to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbour as themselves. Naturally, that has an impact on the idea of slavery.”*
The parable of the good Samaritan is an example of the above, and here’s why: The hatred between Jew and Samaritan wasn’t simply as religious hatred, rather the Samaritans were related to Jews who had intermingled with the neighbouring nations, taking on their practices and even intermarrying, so the feud was racial and continued in intensity due to a strong racist element. Jesus’ responded to the above by 2 points, firstly, by commanding Jews to “love their neighbour as themselves”, and secondly, by explicitly defining the Samaritan as “the neighbour”! There can’t be any confusion here.
Finally, and probably most obvious, would be the powerful anti-slavery narrative of Exodus! Which was thoroughly race related. Dr Martin Luther King in their “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech parallels Moses bringing the Jews out of Egypt to such a degree that for modern people to ignore it is just extraordinary. “Let my people go” is the desire, and “my people”, even my neighbour, is everybody, does that means there’s no distinction between people? No. There are nevertheless unbelievers and believers, Samaritans and Jews, sinners and saints, yet their human value is affirmed and freedom demanded by the Christian tradition.
About your earlier points however, because I’ve been thinking on several of your points. As I’ve explained in another message, your character (insofar as I’ve read) isn’t abnormal, neither is your mind deficient, in addition, women are intelligent and deserving of respect, meaning Mohammad’s teachings, teachings which he claimed were from God, couldn’t have been spoken by God, because they teach women are stupid, stupid mentally and deficient spiritually. You’re explaining, explaining very eloquently, how Mohammad was “just as human” as anybody else, by which I take it to mean just as flawed, “to err is human” etc, however, I’ve never raped anybody, you’ve never beheaded anyone (let alone up to 900 children and men), and it’s my assumption that we’ve yet to become child abusers.
Likewise neither Jesus nor the Buddha stole, murdered or destroyed. Nobody questions whether or not Mohammad was human, rather whether or not he was humane people have rightly asked, and the answer is seemingly they weren’t humane in the least, they were less humane than both of us, yet, shouldn’t prophets be held to a higher standard than we two, not a lower one? All of these murders, these sex assaults, having traditions in which his followers seemingly, without rebuke, ask to use what can only be described as “The pull out technique”* to avoiding getting their sex slaves who they were raping pregnant (mainly done because they’d be harder to sell in the market after getting pregnant), isn’t there a point where people say what everybody is thinking, prophets don’t rape children, prophets don’t murder apostates, and they don’t claim God is telling them to do it, they don’t do everything Mohammad did.
Another interesting point you made, and I’m sure you’ll agree right away. You cited a book, supposedly to contradict Uthman burning manuscripts he found dangerous: “Scholars have come away with the conclusion that while there were variations, that this compilation of sorts created no major changes. So while there were slightly varying accounts, the final products remained very much the same.”
Now, I’m sitting on the underground train yesterday, thinking to myself: How would anybody writing today know if the variations in the competing Quran manuscripts were meaningful, they’ve been destroyed! It’s like a murderer destroying the gun he used to kill his ex wife, then saying “None of the missing evidence has any bearing on this court case.” You can see how untrue that would be.* What we do know is people at the time thought these things were dangerous enough to cause major disagreement. Sadly, by destroying all the evidence, nobody can find the most authentic and faithful manuscript tradition. Let’s not forget this isn’t material from an anti-Muslim militant Hindu website, it’s from an Islamic tradition. Today Christian communities have their supposed “gospel” of Judas, the apocalypse of Peter, gospel of Mary etc, and it’s because we have them that we can use dating techniques to show how they’re clearly fiction, written hundreds of years after the events they claim to record, meaning they couldn’t have been written by Peter, Judas, Thomas etc, they weren’t around any more to write them. Though in Islam, Muslims had that chance taken away from them, and all so they can boast that there’s no deviation from the faith and that they have Uthman’s Quran. Yet there’s loads of deviation in Islam! So the boast amounts to nothing.
Mara: I like your response and appreciate your answers to my questions.
This is the last time I’m going to say it, as I’ve spent most of the conversation saying it over and over again. Mohammad did quite a few bad things. Mohammad lived in a time where such bad things were common. That makes it no less terrible, and makes me no happier with his actions. Like I’ve said before, I’m not here to slight any other prophet, just to mention that none are perfect.
I just found it so deeply ironic that you asked me how I could follow a book like the Quran for all of its beauty being equally matched by terribly acts, when the bible itself has condoned genocide, rape, infanticide, murder, the execution of a mixed race couple,* forced menial labor (I won’t find this any less disgusting), and so on. Yet, it is also a beautiful book that has inspired many to do many incredible things.
Thus the case with the Quran. It has itself many terrible examples and cases of horror, but also incredible beauty and wonderful ideas.
On the dark side we have the KKK and Islamic terrorism.
On the bright side we have Nobel prize winners and activists.
Can we agree on that?
And on the case of the Quran, there is variation. Studies have just shown that there is no significant variation. Many copies were destroyed, but not every single copy. Tests and testaments have been verified by studies, like the one I linked, that to our current scientific knowledge, there has been no variation based on the comparison of surviving texts and the consolidated “one Quran”. Could these studies be wrong? Totally, but for the time being, they’re what we have to go on.*
By what appears an invincible show of denial, Mara throws their lot in with an argument from authority, in addition to more religious relativism, yet there’s no hope of actually undermining or overthrowing the arguments which have been outlined by myself, as they’re in many cases simply a retelling of proper history (as irrefutable as rewriting any historic nugget of historically verifiable information). Mara’s race to the bottom appears to only have a single participant, since whereas Jesus, and I’d imagine with an iota of study the Buddha, are being cleared of the clearly absurd charges leveled against them, to further study Mohammad’s life only amplifies and multiplies the changes already made against him.
With the conclusion to our conversation incoming, could Mara possibly realize the belief system they are defending is not the product of a prophet in the least, but rather the work of (to be perfectly frank) a terrorist. If so, then they’d also realize that defending Islam carries practical consequences in the lives of everybody, not merely in the lives of medieval people, but people across the globe today so unlucky as to live in Islamic theocracies. The truth of the matter is simply this: Islam wouldn’t be able to terrorize if Western people wouldn’t offer it a smoke screen as Mara does. By this point in time it’s an act of hate and to be an accomplice to terror to say Mohammad’s words, commands like “If anybody leaves his Islamic religion, kill him.” don’t say “If anybody leaves his Islamic religion, kill him.” The people defending Islam simply blink really long and hard until the above goes away, with which they can continue pretending everything is hunky dory in the history of Islam (it’s really not). Until next time however, most people outside of the grips of immediate Islamic terror are going to continue speaking peace in its name, at least until it’s their turn to be victims of another jihad.*
― T. C. M