To think that belief in Father Christmas is not comparable to religious belief.

(1000 Posts)
Throughthelongnight Fri 06-Dec-13 22:20:42

Just that really. I have noticed that the expectation is that we all go along with the pretence of FC for the sake of parent's children's sensibility, but the same is not afforded where religious belief is concerned.

Feelingfatty Fri 06-Dec-13 22:24:21

I think anything (within reason!!!) that someone believes should not be put down by anyone else. I wouldn't tell my cd anything isn't 'real' (bar scary things!!) because I have no idea and neither does anyone else! Let people be and enjoy their beliefs and lives smilesmilesmile

cheval1980 Fri 06-Dec-13 22:25:24

They are basically the same thing, "be good or else you won't get present s/eternity in heaven".

fifi669 Fri 06-Dec-13 22:25:49

I agree. People posting that they don't believe in fairies etc when talking about religion is just disrespectful.

BiscuitMillionaire Fri 06-Dec-13 22:27:17

YABU because your thread doesn't make sense. Yes it is NOT comparable, that's why we don't play along with religious beliefs until they turn 8 and realise it's really your mum.

okthen Fri 06-Dec-13 22:27:21

No it's not comparable to religious belief- it's a completely different thing. The reason we go along with the FC myth is to preserve the magic for little children. Religious belief meanwhile is a choice that adults make.

bumperella Fri 06-Dec-13 22:27:45

Parental choice, surely?

I personally see both as fictions. I would prefer non-denom settings (eg playgroup/etc) to leave both alone or make non-committal "mm, yes" noises to either/both as necessary/appropriate. I am a humanist, and would want DD to have humanist moral values, not to "be good to please God". But we live in the real world and there are lots of cultural assumptions that "Father Christmas brings gifts to good girls/boys" and "Good girls/boys go to Heaven".

Well yes, I suppose. But then no one has actually been killed in the name of Santa have they? Whilst millions have been killed in the name of "God".

specialsubject Fri 06-Dec-13 22:28:08

no it isn't. I have a perfect right to say that religion equates to fairies, beliefs do not deserve respect. If your belief is that easily offended, that's your problem.

PEOPLE get respect - worship god, santa or the flying spaghetti monster and good luck to you if that's how you wish to spend your time. I can say and think whatever I like, what I can't do is stop you or discriminate against you for it.

although plenty of places and people do.

whois Fri 06-Dec-13 22:28:24

I agree. People posting that they don't believe in fairies etc when talking about religion is just disrespectful

Because angels are so much more believable?

Ragwort Fri 06-Dec-13 22:28:33

I feel quite sad that some parents are up in arms if someone dares to suggest that FC isn't real but in the same breath seem to think it is 'outrageous' if someone offers their child a bible hmm or tries to celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas.

Smoorikins Fri 06-Dec-13 22:28:49

So op, do you think people should defend to believe in god when they don't? That is what your post implies.

specialsubject Fri 06-Dec-13 22:28:54

'no it isn't disrespectful to compare religion to fairies' is what that should say.

Annunziata Fri 06-Dec-13 22:31:53

I really dislike the fairies comments. People are perfectly able to say there is no proof for God without having to be sarcastic and mocking and talking about flying spaghetti monsters. They seem deliberately out to hurt religious people.

Of course Santa and religion aren't the same.

cheval1980 Fri 06-Dec-13 22:32:43

Human civilisation has progressed by challenging assumptions made without sufficient evidence, so you can't really expect to have a belief that makes no sense and have people pussy foot around it and pretend its fantastic.

curlew Fri 06-Dec-13 22:35:17

"People posting that they don't believe in fairies etc when talking about religion is just disrespectful."

Why?

friday16 Fri 06-Dec-13 22:35:31

People are perfectly able to say there is no proof for God without having to be sarcastic and mocking and talking about flying spaghetti monsters.

Evidence for God: zero

Evidence for he of the noodly appendages: zero

cloggal Fri 06-Dec-13 22:38:15

YANBU, but I genuinely don't think many people would compare the two as like-for-like in a serious way. It gets conflated because it always pops up (funnily enough!) at Christmas! when some don't 'do' Jesus, and some don't 'do' Santa. Some Christians I know get upset about Santa as they feel (rightly) it detracts from a lot of the Christian message of Christmas.

I'm an atheist who genuinely loves all the Santa shite, it's how I celebrate Christmas. I would never trash the religious beliefs of anyone else, I expect though that people should not be disrespectful of my athiesm. I have attended masses for Christmas with family and friends and they've allowed me to buy Santa tat and do all that, even though for some of them it might feel like a conflict.

NicPen Fri 06-Dec-13 22:40:01

I think they are the same.

Also I know some people who do actually believe in fairies.

I don't think any belief should be mocked. Ignored perhaps but not mocked. Mocking is rude and disrespectful.

Live and let live.

SatinSandals Fri 06-Dec-13 22:41:35

They are completely different and as such I can't see why you can't have both.

fifi669 Fri 06-Dec-13 22:42:44

It's disrespectful because it's someone's faith. Faith means a lot to people, it can shape their whole life. You don't have to agree, you can debate the points of it, but to openly mock it is more an indication of your character than that of the person of faith.

bumperella Fri 06-Dec-13 22:43:11

Santa is a "suspension of disbelief" - kids WANT to believe in Santa and are very "immediate" in their outlook. If DD was being good in May because of Santa's presents in December then that would concern me.

I think that Christmas is a lovely, fantastic time and I want DD to enjoy it. I want her to celebrate having friends and family. I don't want her to celebrate the birth of Christ because I don't believe that it happened in the way the Bible suggests (as in, am sure there was some bloke who was politically significant but I don't believe he was the son of God).

curlew Fri 06-Dec-13 22:44:40

But some people believe in fairies.

SatinSandals Fri 06-Dec-13 22:47:03

Faith is different from magic. The 2 go together. If they go to church on Christmas Day it will be assumed that Father Christmas has visited. People with a faith want to make a lovely magical experience for their children, the same as those without a faith.

curlew Fri 06-Dec-13 22:48:06

I am very committed to rationalism and the scientific method and critical thinking, but I don't go round saying that people are being disrespectful to me when they insist on telling me that the ghost of great aunt Mabel lives in their teapot and if I wasn't so closed minded and spiritually bankrupt I could hear her singing "Nazareth"

cheval1980 Fri 06-Dec-13 22:48:08

If religion kept out of where it doesn't belong (politics/schools/government) I think people may be less inclined to mock it. It can be frustrating to watch government resources and school education be wasted on religious nonsense, hence people might feel they need to fight back.

TheFabulousIdiot Fri 06-Dec-13 22:48:22

Isn't the title of the thread saying a different thing to the first post or have a just drunk a bit too much wine?

Not everyone uses father Christmas in the 'be good or else' way so definitely not comparable there.

Bloob Fri 06-Dec-13 22:50:06

Well yes, I suppose. But then no one has actually been killed in the name of Santa have they?

I don't know professor... Ever been to toys r us 2 days before Xmas in search of the last furby?!

cloggal Fri 06-Dec-13 22:52:55

No, curlew, you're right and very witty. When I said disrespectful I meant more the head-tilting and in some cases disparaging comments I've had for essentially being secular. (In some communities/families, it is a hugely minority position, apologies for projecting).

friday16 Fri 06-Dec-13 22:56:49

It's disrespectful because it's someone's faith.

So what? Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School District: a bunch of Christian nutters took over the school board in a small town, enforced young-earth creationism on the school, got sued into the ground on the inevitable constitutional issues, and then lied incessantly to try to cover up their stupidity. The judge in the case took over questioning at various points, and came extremely close to charging two of the people involved with perjury. The school district is near bankrupt paying the multi-million legal bill that their dishonesty got them into. Which part of the religious faith of Alan Bonsell (the YEC, the lying, the dishonesty) isn't worthy of mockery?

Closer to home, Bull and another v Hall and another which is the final gasp of the "I want to run a hotel but throw out all teh gayz because they is dirty and nasty" case. Hazelmary Bull (proof conclusion of Dorothy Parker's adage that beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone) claims that God tells her to hate queers to the point of refusing to serve them in her business. Which part of her faith isn't worthy of mockery?

Throughthelongnight Fri 06-Dec-13 22:58:19

Special, I agree that you do have every right to disagree with a religious point of view. The religious point of view being faith doesn't require proof or affirmation.

The point of this thread was to question those who vehemently suggest that anyone who doesn't go along with the FC myth is harming the 'magic' of christmas, whilst not being prepared to go along with the 'myth' of Christmas (the birth of Christ etc) to spare the feeling of those who believe in 'fairies'.

perlona Fri 06-Dec-13 23:01:32

Santa - Christmas presents, movies, magic, imagination, fun, reindeer, happy memories, excitement. Only children believe in Santa until they're old enough, until then, it makes Christmas magical and exciting.

Religion - mass murder, mass control, insanity, misogyny, homophobia, torture, ignorance, lies, war, genocide, inquisitions, child marriages, honour killings, forced marriages. A tool for evil people to manipulate the ignorant and if they can brainwash enough idiots, can destroy entire societies along with any hope of civilisation for the next few hundred years.

No comparison.

GiveItYourBestFucker Fri 06-Dec-13 23:05:45

Erm...isn't Santa Claus a version of Saint Nicholas? i.e a religious construct..

FraidyCat Fri 06-Dec-13 23:05:50

It is disrespectful to compare the two, because it amounts to calling the people who believe in the more complex myth idiots. However, if you don't mind offending people, then the comparison can be useful for undermining the arguments that some religious people like to make. I've heard it said that any such person should write down their argument, then replace the word "god" with "Santa Claus" wherever it appears, then decide if they still think it's a good argument.

To illustrate what I mean, I've heard a agnostic say atheism (as opposed to agnosticism) is unjustified, because atheists cannot prove god doesn't exist. Well, similarly, the agnostic cannot prove Santa Claus doesn't exist, but he presumably doesn't believe in Santa. Substituting Santa is the most straight-forward way to show what is wrong with the argument.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 06-Dec-13 23:09:08

What the actual fuck are you all talking about and why are you saying Father Christmas is a myth.

He's not he's real you bunch of utter bastard gits

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 06-Dec-13 23:09:58

<sorry couldn't help it even if it was very childish>

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Fri 06-Dec-13 23:10:00

Don't really understand your OP if I'm honest. Personally I think god is about as believable as father christmas. But I wouldn't tell you what to believe, nor would I tell you what teach your kids. I would expect you to offer me the same respect I guess. Not sure if that answers your question though.

BlueSkySunnyDay Fri 06-Dec-13 23:10:43

"no one has actually been killed in the name of Santa have they?" EXACTLY

I really dont "get" what you are saying the two things are completely different - because not everyone believes in God you want us to pull all the worlds children together and tell them santa doesnt exist? grin

I know people who claim to have experienced ghosts
I know people who firmy believe in angels

I only know 1 person who claims to have had a personal "godly" encounter ...and his wife claims it was probably drink related.

Unfortunately many of the people who are the most scathing and critical of other peoples lifestyle choices and beliefs are people who believe in Gods...they even disparage the belief of people who believe in different gods.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Fri 06-Dec-13 23:11:20

Both fictions, one is a harmless pretence for children, another is something that can rule people's lives.

catkind Fri 06-Dec-13 23:11:58

I don't go around telling religious families' children there is no god, that would be disrespectful. Nor do I go round telling children who believe in santa that there is no santa. I don't expect my children to be told santa is real or that god is real, but am prepared to go along with a certain amount of playing along at christmas (letters to santa, nativity play). I don't tell my children santa is real either, I tend to say "what do you think". So yes there is a certain parallel.

I'm a bit more prepared to play along with santa without letting them know the alternatives because I know they'll all find out it's a myth in the next few years, and I don't think they're likely to offend anyone by fanatical belief in santa to the exclusion of say fairies. Also the things santa requires ("being good") are vague and generally things I want them to do anyway, whereas gods generally require being worshipped.

NoComet Fri 06-Dec-13 23:12:54

Actually I do. I'm an atheist to the core (and we didn't do Santa and I always knew the tooth fairy was mum),
but I do bite my young he about religion with other people's DCs until they are 10ish.

By Y5/6 I think DCs have the right to make up their own minds and by Y7 be left at home if they don't want to go to church.

I wouldn't preach to someone else's child, but I wouldn't lie to an older one either.

I think for children it is exactly the same thing. Your parents have taught you to believe so you put your faith in them and trust it is true. I think the only difference is that Santa Claus can be proven to be false.

I don't make fun of people for their beliefs. Everyone has the right to believe whatever they feel. Telling me I am disrespectful for thinking all religions are the same as each other and the same as believing in invisible pink unicorns is a bit unfair, since I would completely support anyone's right to believe in them all.

Can I go all evangelical and recommend the great FSM as god of choice? Nobody has been killed in the name of the great noodle in the sky.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Fri 06-Dec-13 23:13:59

The flying spaghetti monster comment is usually as a defence when an atheist is asked to prove the non-existence of god. Which I think is fair enough because the burden of proof of not on us and we can't disprove god, nor can we disprove the spaghetti
monster- but it doesn't mean we believe in it.
I honestly don't think that is meant to be sarcastic or to hurt anyone but it genuinely is as a response to being backed into a corner and justify one's beliefs as an atheist.

friday16 Fri 06-Dec-13 23:14:48

It is disrespectful to compare the two, because it amounts to calling the people who believe in the more complex myth idiots.

What's the threshold of complexity past which believe in the physical reality of a myth is no longer idiotic?

NoComet Fri 06-Dec-13 23:23:14

I don't know if my DDs said anything when they were younger (as DH believes in God and I don't, I think they were still deciding).

I know at 12 and 15 they do have frank discussions with their friends.

(Seacreatly I hope they do spread doubt to one DC, because he's far too clever for fairy tales. As is DH, but to question his faith would spoil too many happy childhood memories.)

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 06-Dec-13 23:24:03

It's comparable in the sense that they're both beliefs in made-up stories.

It's not comparable in how those beliefs are applied to our lives e.g. no Santa based wars (except on mumsnet) or terrorism, belief in Santa as an adult is not socially acceptable, belief in god is etc.

TheArticFunky Fri 06-Dec-13 23:26:56

I don't think it is disrespectful to disrespect someone's faith (does that sentence even make sense?! ).

However it is wrong to disrespect someone because they have faith or don't have faith. I am Christian and I think it is perfectly acceptable for someone to dislike my religion and disagree with its teachings. It is unacceptable for someone to hold the view that I'm stupid and lack skills of rationale because I have faith. Likewise it would be wrong of me to believe that an Atheist is lacking in character.

In my humble opinion faith isn't about intellect and rationale it's very much an individual/personal thing. I have faith that that our spirit doesn't end after death but I don't have proof and I wouldn't want to enter a debating contest as I would probably lose.

Throughthelongnight Fri 06-Dec-13 23:29:56

So is it okay for me to tell a child I don't believe in Father Christmas?

And is it okay for me to tell a child that I don't believe in God?

TheFabulousIdiot Fri 06-Dec-13 23:30:22

I'm happy enought to go along with the fun of a jolly fat man getting stuck I a chimney after flying through the air on a sleigh drawn by reindeer to give presents to every child while simultaneously snorting at the idea of creation, Jesus and god which is just as illogical but so much ore stupid and damage g, particularly to young minds.

Think if you can't see the difference then you are
Rob ably a bit simple but then I do thnk a faith in a god requires you to be a bit simple.

TheFabulousIdiot Fri 06-Dec-13 23:31:36

I think it's fine to tell a child you don't believe in father Christmas. Why wouldn't it be?

Caitlin17 Fri 06-Dec-13 23:32:04

I've never really understood why I should respect any one's faith. There's a big difference between respecting the right of any one to hold a faith, (which is what we have, albeit that faith will still be subordinate to the secular law of the land which applies to everyone) and respecting the faith itself.

I really don't care if for example it's a person of faith telling me gays are evil and women should dress modestly or just a narrow-minded bigot. I would not respect their belief either way.

bumperella Fri 06-Dec-13 23:33:34

Ultimately, we (the grown-ups) can prove Santa doesn't exist (simply by not buying pressies for our DC's). Substituting "Santa" for "God" in a theological presupposes the outcome (at best).

friday16 Fri 06-Dec-13 23:35:40

It is unacceptable for someone to hold the view that I'm stupid and lack skills of rationale because I have faith

There are people who purport to genuinely believe that the earth is flat. It's tempting to believe that it's a marvellously arch put-on job, but it's likely that least one of the people here actually do have a fully-formed belief system around a flat earth.

I'd say it's reasonable to assume that such people are either irrational or mentally ill, and I wouldn't (for example) want to try flying across the Pacific using their maps.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Fri 06-Dec-13 23:36:38

I respect a person, but I have no reason to respect their faith.

TheArticFunky Fri 06-Dec-13 23:38:26

FabIdiot - Great name very apt.

Throughthelongnight - Acceptable to tell child that you don't believe in Santa and God.

Santa is harmless fun and I think its a shame if we turn a fairy tale into something more than it is. I loved the magic of believing in Santa and I know my children do too.

With God it's different I have never felt that I could tell my children that God existed I always said some people believe etc etc. Ds1 is 9 and veers between being Agnostic and Atheist and that's fine he has made his own mind up.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 06-Dec-13 23:39:39

Equating belief in Santa to faith as an adult, the person doing so is infantalising the person of belief. So in that way it is disrespectful OP.

I do think it's bad form to assume that because you go to church on christmas day that you must also believe that father christmas has been.
I started a thread on this yesterday in the <properly allocated> christmas topic and no one got het up about it.

Throughthelongnight Fri 06-Dec-13 23:42:25

ThefaboulousIdiot, that is the point, many parents seem to think that it is intrinsically wrong to even hint that FC is perhaps a myth, whilst not being prepared to go along with the Jesus myth...

TheArticFunky Fri 06-Dec-13 23:45:23

I have an LLM so I guess that I have pretty good reasoning skills. Not everyone who has faith is the village simpleton.

As I already said its a personal thing and I wouldn't want to debate it. Science points towards the absence of God/afterlife. But on an individual level we can feel things very differently. I can't explain why I believe what I believe. I wasn't raised a Christian and I didn't have a mental breakdown.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Fri 06-Dec-13 23:45:34

What's the threshold of complexity past which believe in the physical reality of a myth is no longer idiotic?

friday16, I think I love you!

People believe they have experiences angels, communication with God, etc., but they are wrong. They have either had some sort of physical or neurological experience that they do not understand or have not had explained to them correctly, or they have suffered a mental health issue (ongoing or momentary).

I genuinely fail to see how comparing fairies to God is insulting. The existence of fairies would be actually more realistic, if someone was to take all the supernatural concepts and weigh up which was more likely to have any possible feasible scientific basis. Believing in BIG people woth wings - angels - is perfectly fine, but believing in tiny people with wings is bonkers, is it? Riiiiiiiight. And what is the reason why I shouldn't compare the two? Would the answer be: The Bible? Well, let me tell you, there's only one Bible, but there's loads of Flower Fairy books. Much less hate, misogyny, racism, homophobia, jingoism and bullshit in those too.

What IS insulting is that other people expect or presume that I, a grown person, could be capable of believing in an invisible, unprovable, magical presence that created all things in a tiny space of time and sort of floats above the sky, watching and controlling all things, living or not, all the time, simultaneously. It is demeaning that anyone could think me capable of such absolute nonsense. Religious people talk about their ^ beliefs^ being insulted, yet care not a jot for insulting anyone with beliefs and knowledge based on proof, fact, and logic.

friday16 Fri 06-Dec-13 23:45:52

Ultimately, we (the grown-ups) can prove Santa doesn't exist (simply by not buying pressies for our DC's).

It's fairly easy to prove God doesn't exist, too. If your child shows the symptoms of childhood-onset Type 1 diabetes, don't go to the doctor, just pray a lot. See if your child lives or dies. Call us with the result.

This couple tried it:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23167489

It didn't seem to work.

Alternatively, if you think just leaving one child to die because an imaginary God isn't as effective as real insulin, you could go all scientific and shit, and repeat the experiment a couple of times.

This couple have killed two of their children: a eight month old who proved that death from dehydration because of D&V isn't treatable by prayer to an imaginary God, and nor can an imaginary God cure bacterial pneumonia in two year olds.

Personally, I think killing three children as experiments to see whether prayer works is a high price to pay. Christians, apparently, care rather less about their children than the rest of us, and are willing to give it a crack.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Fri 06-Dec-13 23:48:10

Dione - the act of believing in unprovable supernatural figures when one is an adult is what infantilises a person, not pointing that out. There is no more proof or logic to believing in Santa than there is believing in God.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 06-Dec-13 23:50:51

Oxford are you saying that you are insulted by the existence of adults with faith?

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 06-Dec-13 23:51:18

'So is it okay for me to tell a child I don't believe in Father Christmas?'

Yes, lots of kids Christmas films centre around the idea that grown-ups don't believe (Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, The Polar Express) so it's not something kids haven't been exposed to.

'And is it okay for me to tell a child that I don't believe in God?'

Yes

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Fri 06-Dec-13 23:52:30

No, I am insulted by the idea that anyone would think I could believe in God, the supernatural, all that stuff. If other people are daft enough to fall for it, they can knock themselves out, so long as I'm not expected to join in their delusions.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 06-Dec-13 23:53:52

X-post Oxford.

SoupDragon Fri 06-Dec-13 23:54:27

No wars have been started in the name of Santa. On the whole, I think I prefer him to religion.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 06-Dec-13 23:54:49

I struggle to respect decisions made as a result of faith.

I really struggle to respect anyone who wants to make decisions about other people's lives based on their religion.

monicalewinski Fri 06-Dec-13 23:55:09

Throughthelongnight of course it's acceptable for you to tell a child that you don't believe in santa/god.

It's acceptable to tell them that if they ask you if you believe, it's not acceptable to just tell them without prompt though because that would be unnecessary and a bit mean.

It would not be acceptable for you to tell a child that santa/god is not real because it is not your place to tell them what they can or cannot believe in.

As someone said earlier on the thread "santa is not belief, it's a suspension of disbelief" and it's only young children; religion and other beliefs are a choice, made by an adult - therefore you cannot compare the two.

cloggal Fri 06-Dec-13 23:55:23

I agree with OutragedfromLeeds. The question for me is more, when would a situation arise where you would NEED to share your opinions on either with someone else's child? How about just, ask your parents?

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 06-Dec-13 23:56:11

I know adults who believe. I know adults who do not believe. So I suppose anyone is capable of belief. I do not understand why you find that an insult.confused

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Fri 06-Dec-13 23:58:45

I'd like a bit more explanation as to why I shouldn't tell my child that SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T EXIST doesn't exist. That's telling him the truth, not telling him not to believe in something. Anyone can believe in anything, but it doesn't mean anyone else has to collude in that belief.

My mind is boggling as to the concept of it being right to lie to or delude my child!

katese11 Fri 06-Dec-13 23:58:57

Bull (proof conclusion of Dorothy Parker's adage that beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone) claims that God tells her to hate queers to the point of refusing to serve them in her business. Which part of her faith isn't worthy of mockery?

Errr, the bit where she is one person out of millions who share the same faith but most of us don't share her bigotry? It's always the extreme examples that get into the papers/mn threads but there are millions of Christians out there who are just normal kinda people - we just happen to believe in God. Comparing God to FC just doesn't really show much understanding of religion - it's not a "be good and you get x" deal. .. it's an ongoing, reciprocal relationship. Why would most people believe in a God that demanded to be worshipped but never gave anything back? The whole reason people have faith is because they believe, rightly or wrongly, that God has answered their prayers. It's a thorny and complex journey and involves a lot that we can't justify or explain but that's the basis of it. I'd you ever meet a Christian who claims they do understand it all, they are probably next in line for a daily mail expose ; )

TheFabulousIdiot Sat 07-Dec-13 00:00:44

I think you're wrong. I thnk most parents just object to miserable killjoys intent on upsetting their kids because they are miserable fuckers or they object to miserable people using the myth of father Christmas to make sme ridiculous point about 'faith'. Neither of these things a nice person make. I think the whole idea of Jesus and god is utterly ridiculous, I think that religion has no place in schools but I wouldn't walk into a church and tell the congregation they are all stupid, even though I think their belief is. What joy would anyone really get from directly telling a kid that Jesus is a a stupid myth?

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 00:02:31

Dione, I don't know how to make my point simpler. To me, believing in anything religious is ridiculous, irrational, illogical, and a suspension of intelligence, so therefore someone thinking I could be like that is an insult.

monicalewinski Sat 07-Dec-13 00:02:38

Oxford You can tell your child whatever you want, your child=your beliefs and values, therefore your business.

It's telling other people's children that isn't right IMO (the OP said can I tell "a" child, and I took that to mean a random child, not her own).

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 00:03:21

I dont get the whole "no war was started in the name of santa" thing. Lets say someone started a war in the name of santa....If you are saying that santa is imaginary then why would you blame santa for someone starting a war in his name. Same with religion...if you dont believe in god, then why blame god for someone else starting a war in god's name?

confused

TheFabulousIdiot Sat 07-Dec-13 00:03:26

Ha ha, I meant that Santa is a stupid myth.

cloggal Sat 07-Dec-13 00:03:32

Anybags, your own child - your business. Other children - maybe just keep your powder dry? That would be my interpretation anyway

monicalewinski Sat 07-Dec-13 00:04:05

YY to fabulous's last post

cloggal Sat 07-Dec-13 00:04:54

Sorry x post monicalewinski

monicalewinski Sat 07-Dec-13 00:05:15

And I meant the post before last for fabulous but also yes to the correction post!!

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Sat 07-Dec-13 00:11:18

AnyBags

Leaving FC out of this, I totally agree.

I tired of pandering to people with beliefs that we all have to respect and pander too, and yet people who do not believe are treated like heathens.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 00:11:19

FabulousIdiot, it's not about getting joy from 'telling a child that Jesus is a stupid myth'. Telling a child the truth - that God does not exist - is not being some sort of malicious, hateful killjoy, devoid of tenderness or whatever. It's like explaining about tides, or the seasons or something else that's true. It's not cruel to explain to a child that oak trees grow from acorns, so why is it somehow mean to not lie to a child about the supernatural? I am talking about my own child, of course.

I would never purposefully choose to tell a child that God or Santa doesn't exist. But they kept pressing me, I would tell them that my personal belief is that God doesn't exist. It's insulting and demeaning and patronising to a child to not give them a truthful answer - it doesn't have to be someone telling them that they have to not believe in God, or are stupid to do so, that's horrible and completely different than just being honest about one's own personal beliefs on the matter.

And who is talking about going into a congregation and telling them they are wrong? Who would do that? No-one! That's a very silly argument

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 00:11:24

'if you dont believe in god, then why blame god for someone else starting a war in god's name?'

We're not blaming God (because he doesn't exist), we're blaming the people who believe in God.

To put it simply, belief in Santa doesn't cause wars, belief in God does. Therefore belief in Santa is less harmful than belief in God.

monicalewinski Sat 07-Dec-13 00:12:31

FWIW, I am completely atheist, my husband is 'not sure but playing it safe in case there is a god', oldest son (11) is aethiest, youngest son (8) believes in god and jesus and brings home the "Children's Illustrated Bible" from the school library to try and convince me they are 'real'.

I have no idea why he believes, obviously it's come from school but he's had the same upbringing and been to the same schools as his big brother - I don't tell him "it's not true, it's all a lie", I just tell him that I don't believe, and I try to explain why I don't in a nice age appropriate way - but I always finish by telling him that it doesn't matter what I believe or don't believe, it matters what he believes.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 00:14:46

You consider being on a par to (for example), Issac Newton, Desmond Tutu, Roger Bacon and Mahatma Ghandi an insult Oxford?

How come?

monicalewinski Sat 07-Dec-13 00:15:21

x-post Anybags, that's pretty much how I deal with it with my kids (God).

Santa on the other hand - I ACTIVELY encourage the belief, because I fucking love it fgrin

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 00:15:23

Incidentally, I have told other people's children I don't believe in God, and they were actually pleased to hear that. When one of my grandparents died, my cousins kept going on about heaven and angels and stuff, and it was confusing and upsetting their children, and they kept asking me if I believed in all that, so I gently told them that I didn't, and what I thought happened to people who died (I said that their bodies go back into the earth to keep the circle of life going, and that they live forever in our memories), and they found this much more comforting and easy to understand. I did keep stressing that this was just my belief to them.

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Sat 07-Dec-13 00:17:34

I know of quite a few Vicars who are highly educated, come from ex high powered backgrounds and they have admitted they do not actually believe in God.

but they understand the vital need of some people to believe and the comfort that religion offers them and they are quite happy to serve in this way!

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 00:19:33

Dione, you are clearly not grasping my point, or trying not to, so can we drop it? I do not give a shit a out what anyone else believes, or however many brilliant people believed or believe in something religious, I personally find it insulting that someone would think I could think religiously. I'm not on about the beliefs of any other person, living or dead!

And brilliant people who are also religious are not brilliant because of their religion. Even when they do brilliant things in the name of religion, it is not actually because of religion; religion is the most accessible or available framework through which to mould that brilliance. They would still do, or have done, brilliant things, perhaps even better things, had they been non-believers, or had there been no religion.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 00:20:13

ZeVite, I know a vicar who is exactly like that.

TheArticFunky Sat 07-Dec-13 00:24:33

How bizarre Zevite. How can you be a vicar if you don't believe in God. Their characters must be deeply flawed. If they want to help people surely they would have better off pursuing careers in counselling or something.

Maryz Sat 07-Dec-13 00:26:51

Is this a thread about a thread?

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 00:27:01

I readily admit that I am not understanding your point Oxford, but I am trying to, hence my questions.

I could understand it if you were saying that you are insulted by people who think you must believe. Or who think you are lesser because you don't. But that's not what you are saying.

HettiePetal Sat 07-Dec-13 00:27:37

Actually, belief in Father Christmas is identical to belief in a god.

Father Christmas and Yahweh (for example) come with the exact same lack of evidence demonstrating their existence & belief in both require a rejection of common sense & an unwillingness to face reality.

The only difference is that parents are happy for their children to eventually learn the truth with Santa, whereas the God myth is often peddled forever.

To a 5 year old: "Never mind how Santa delivers a billion presents in one night. He's super magic so just close your eyes and believe/have faith & see what lovely things he brings"

To a Christian child " Never mind that dead people can't walk around three days after their death or that a loving god wouldn't have created child cancer - just close your eyes and believe/have faith and you'll be rewarded in Heaven".

Whats the difference?

And all those people demanding "respect" for their beliefs? Get respectable beliefs first.

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Sat 07-Dec-13 00:27:47

Bizarre indeed TheArtic but true. There are more of them, with I may add quite racey natures.....than you may ....think blush

FraidyCat Sat 07-Dec-13 00:29:41

What's the threshold of complexity past which believe in the physical reality of a myth is no longer idiotic?

I suppose the threshold is when some proportion of the population that have been heavily exposed to it take it seriously. Very few adults hold onto a belief in Santa Claus, many hold onto a belief in the worlds major religions. Our understanding of the world is mostly a cultural inheritance, that's true even when science is the foundation. (Not saying that science and religion are entirely equivalent, only that the reasons for believing usually owe more to indoctrination than independent reasoning.)

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 00:30:36

''And brilliant people who are also religious are not brilliant because of their religion. Even when they do brilliant things in the name of religion, it is not actually because of religion; religion is the most accessible or available framework through which to mould that brilliance. They would still do, or have done, brilliant things, perhaps even better things, had they been non-believers, or had there been no religion.''

how about this...

And evil people who are also religious are not evil because of their religion. Even when they do evil things in the name of religion, it is not actually because of religion; religion is the most accessible or available framework through which to mould that evil. They would still do, or have done, evil things, perhaps even worse things, had they been non-believers, or had there been no religion.

TheArticFunky Sat 07-Dec-13 00:31:16

That's worrying ZeVite, it makes you wonder what their motivations are.

Throughthelongnight Sat 07-Dec-13 00:32:18

Maryz, what are you implying? wink

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 00:32:58

But why would you want to insult people for holding a belief if it isnt breaking any laws?

For example, if i believe in fairies, why is it ok to mock me or insult me - why is it not sufficient to just disagree or say that you do not believe....rather than trying to convert me into becoming a non believer, or listing all that is bad about people who believe in fairies and generalising all people who believe in fairies as being xxx?

katese11 Sat 07-Dec-13 00:33:27

Very true crescent! Hence the madness of using a handful of examples to represent a worldwide religion.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 00:33:55

Dione, I have negative feelings about religious belief. Therefore, if someone thought me capable of such beliefs, it is an insult.

TheArticFunky Sat 07-Dec-13 00:34:09

Although I do have to say that my bil who is an Agnostic briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a vicar because of the vicarage that goes with the job. When he realised that it wasn't a 9-5 job he swiftly reconsidered.

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Sat 07-Dec-13 00:34:22

Not to me, the one's I am aware of are very educated, intelligent, but also very caring types, very colourful, they all like a drink.....and they do believe in the role they play in the community.

I was aware of more of them at the training place in Oxford but about three in the actual community are doing a good job.

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Sat 07-Dec-13 00:36:09

I suppose there is that aspect too TheArtic! Very tidy Vicarages, often beautiful....but you do not get to choose where you end up...thats the rub.

Same with star signs really too.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 00:36:26

What is a respectable belief? Do you hold respectable beliefs hettie?

HettiePetal Sat 07-Dec-13 00:36:59

And evil people who are also religious are not evil because of their religion

Not true.

Evil people do evil things.
Good people do good things.
For good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

(Stephen Weinberg, paraphrased because I can't recall the exact quote).

How many people lie awake at night worrying about fundamental Jainism? Fundamental Buddhism?

None.

In order for fundamentalism to be a problem, the fundamentals of a particular religion have to be supportive of violence & murder. In the case of Christianity & Islam, they are.

Jainism is a good example of what a religion of peace actually looks like. Even a fundamentalist Jainist wouldn't harm anyone.

HettiePetal Sat 07-Dec-13 00:37:50

Yes, I do, defuse. My beliefs reflect reality & I make sure they do.

neunundneunzigluftballons Sat 07-Dec-13 00:37:55

Well they are both largely based on fiction

TheArticFunky Sat 07-Dec-13 00:37:57

Well if they like a drink that's ok with me. The God stuff is optional. grin

Are they CoE or Catholic?

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 00:38:24

Crescent, that argument doesn't work, because human history is bloodied with the hatred and innumerous crimes commited SOLELY in the name of religion (you also have to include cults of personality, where the state was functionally non-religious, such as Russia under Stalin); acts which only happened because of religious belief. None of those acts have been, or would be, carried out by Atheists in the name of non-belief.

However, everything good done in the name of religion could be done, and often is done, by people with zero religious belief, because goodness and morality have got zero to do with religion, they are innate in the majority of human beings.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 00:39:42

Where do those negative feelings come from Oxford?

katese11 Sat 07-Dec-13 00:41:39

Wow, religion gets put into the same column as Stalinism? Well in that case you win. vase closed. goodnight!

Doubletroublemummy2 Sat 07-Dec-13 00:42:06

You need to start clapping your hands, fairies are dying all over the place!

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 00:42:22

Ahh, Pol Pot was a Buddhist wasnt he responsible for millions of deaths. or was that more his atheism hettie?he? take a look at what fundamentalist Buddhists are doing in Burma and Sri Lanka.

HettiePetal Sat 07-Dec-13 00:43:14

People aren't being blown up on a daily basis because of a belief in fairies. Fairy believers aren't sitting, by right, in our government simply because they believe in fairy. State schools do not seek to divide up children based on what fictitious fairy they believe in. Nigerian children are not being tortured because their parents believe in fairycraft.

If all these things were happening in the name of fairys, I'd take apart the belief and hope the world grows up.

Doubletroublemummy2 Sat 07-Dec-13 00:44:52

I think oxford is being very positive, I am pleased people are able to be good without the need for devine intervention.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 00:50:24

Hettie,

Neither christianity, nor islam condone violence....you can twist the words of the quran as much as you like.....if you construe the words to mean to condone violence, without looking at the whole picture, then you are no different to the supposed islamic extremist that you so despise.

are you being serious about the non-existence of extremist violent buddhist monks or are you being sarcastic? Please tell me it was sarcasm? Never heard of violent buddhist monks? Or is that your reality? There are people around the world dying...and worrying in the night about extremist buddhist monks. Once you have googled it, you will realise that Your beliefs are not reflecting reality - you havent made sure at all that they do - fact.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 00:54:20

After reading both the bible and the qu'ran, I can honestly say they condone violence.

You can say words can be misconstrued, or blame translations all you like. But they both have examples of this.

It's no bloody wonder we get extremists.

HettiePetal Sat 07-Dec-13 00:55:06

Crescent

Buddhist fundamentalism is very rare - you know it, I know it. Islamic or Christian? Not rare in the slightest.

FFS - Pol Pot? Oh yeah - a free thinking atheist who targeted science, education & medicine, and who thought he was being guided by what "heaven" wanted him to do.

hmm

Pol Pot (and to save time) Stalin & Mao were not motivated by their atheism - they were motivated by a political ideology that had far more in common with religion than secularism.

You have to be a special kind of dim not to understand this. It's logic.

HettiePetal Sat 07-Dec-13 00:56:09

They do, defuse. You can twist it all you like and pretend they are not saying what they clearly are, but incite violence, murder & bloodshed they most certainly do.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 00:56:29

To argue that good and brilliant things done in the name of religion are not done because of religion, but because of features innate in human nature I think you have to accept the reverse is also true. Cruelty and greed are also innate in human nature. Awful things done in the name of religion are not done because of religion. I think crescent is completely right.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 00:57:56

You already said you had negative feelings towards religion oxford so that could colour your perception of the goodness or not of non religious/ religious peoples.

Be honest though. have the atheist regimes of the 20th and 21st century - not before present in human history- been better in securing human rights? Atheists always like to say that the only thing atheism is about is the non belief in God- nothing else. atheism doesnt provide any reservatin against evil- as youd argue hettie one may become liverated to do good if they shrug off religion. one may also be liberated from the shackles and inhibitions of religion to do evil also.What reservations are there in atheism against totalitarianism? Or mass slaughter? More human beings were killed under the passionate atheists Stalin and Mao - 80 million odd- than in all the crusades and jihads of the last 2000 years.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 01:02:36

People are capable of love and violence. The presence or absence of religion is immaterial.

What is necessary in all cases of genocide and oppression is the acceptance of other as lesser. This can be gender, religion, belief, colour, ethnicity, sexuality, ability.sad

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 01:04:09

People are capable of love and violence. The presence or absence of religion is immaterial

Not if the reason for the violence is their religion, it's ridiculous to suggest otherwise.

HettiePetal Sat 07-Dec-13 01:05:23

You missed my point defuse.

It's hard to make a direct link between Buddhism & violence because it's not fundamentally a violent philosophy. That people have done is without doubt, but there are usually clear cut political motivations running alongside that motivate their actions.

In the case of Islam, for example, the religion specifically tells adherents to kill apostates.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 01:07:07

Yours is a special kind of dim hettie. You would lay all the evils of the world at the foot of religion but yet you've acknowledged that political ideologies, and I would strongly argue economic ideologies can and still cause just as much if not more evil. if you would reduce all Muslims to Osama bin laden why should I trust in atheism to save humanity? Did it save the human rights of those in Russia china or North Korea?

HettiePetal Sat 07-Dec-13 01:08:16

The presence or absence of religion is immaterial

I wonder if the passengers on the aircraft that were flown into the twin towers who listened to their killers screaming "God is Great" thought that religion was "immaterial"?

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 01:10:23

Oh ok, so now to make your point, buddhist extremism, which didnt exist until 5 minutes ago in your reality has become from non - existent to rare - so that makes it ok.

I thought your views were respectable and based on reality. How dare you belittle death in the name of violent buddhist extremism and make a big deal of death in the name of muslim or christian extremism. Murder is murder....it is vile, no matter what the religion of the person. It does not make every buddhist, muslim or christian culpable - nor does it make the perpetrator immune from paying for the crime because he holds a certain ideology.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 01:10:47

What you would lay squarely at the feet of religion, alot of the world would lay at the feet of Anglo Saxon imperialism. Ostensibly Christianity was used as a cause to rape and pillage around the world, spread the word of God, bring the people to Jesus, but really the wars of colony and conquest were fought for money and greed. Now they don't say Christianity, now its 'democracy'.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 01:11:29

No Baubles, religion can be used as an excuse, just like gender, colour, ethnicity etc. It is the lesser that is important.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 01:12:32

'Not if the reason for the violence is their religion, it's ridiculous to suggest otherwise'

Religion isn't the fundamental reason for their violence though, that's just the framework it's hung on.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 01:13:12

Dione not if your religious text actively encourages violence - which some do.

In fact it's probably the violent ones who are actually following their religion moreso than the non. They're following it to the letter, rather than using interpretations.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 01:13:54

And those 3000 innocents that died on September 11th, how many that share the faith of the 19men must atone for their deaths? 10,000? 50,000? 100,000? 150,000?

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 01:14:30

outraged Obviously people are the reason, but people have to be given further reasons for the violence. Something to incite it. Which some religion does.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 01:18:28

It gives them something to hang their violence on, but they're not violent because of their religion, (for that to make sense everyone in that religion would need to be violent).

If they weren't religious they'd be killing over race or eye colour or football teams or x-factor. Dione is right, it's the 'otheness' that matters, not the religion.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 01:19:54

Seriously...you shouldnt be talking about non-existence of god and non-existence of extremist buddhist monks, then talking about reality, logic and others being dim hettie..... Your reality is flawed, your logic is questionable....and then to call others dim hmm

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 01:20:00

''In fact it's probably the violent ones who are actually following their religion moreso than the non. They're following it to the letter, rather than using interpretations''

Then what reservations does atheism have To violence? ends justifies the means? collatoral damage? None actually, whereas terrorists who are muslims have to throw out alot of the reservations against violence within the quran itself- il cut and paste happily. You think the point of religion is to inhibit desire but actually, its main role is to inhibit rage.

BananasForTed Sat 07-Dec-13 01:22:45

I really don't understand why people feel the need to be so rude to those who have a faith. I am literally lost for words at some of the comments on this thread. By all means debate if faith is a possibility/real/a big lie. It is interesting to hear differing opinions but I will never understand the down right nasty attitude some of you have just because other people choose to follow a religion.
Most people I know who have a faith get on with it privately. They do not impose their religion on others. They don't try to "recruit" for their faith. Saying religious scriptures are made up stories is a bit of a joke too. I have read very little of the quran so can not pass much comment on that, but the bible has a fair few historical events in it which we know happened. It has historical figures who we know existed. Ok those stories might be embellished to suit the religion but some of it must also be true.
The comments about respect are some of the ones I find hardest to swallow.....its just down right rude. I have a Muslim friend who is so disciplined in her prayer routine, fasting, doing good. I have a lot of respect for her. She has given up her life and devoted it to her faith. devoted it to helping others and having understanding for those less fortunate than her. She is an amazing woman and does so much good in a very deprived community.
Its a case of tolerance. Just because you don't believe in something doesn't mean you have to insult others and belittle them. Stop for a moment and think before you speak! I'm sure this is half of what is wrong with the world these days. No one has respect for anyone. Freedom of speech means you can insult others and its ok and people wonder why there is so much segregation and hate between different communities!

Like I said, I'm all for debate and voicing opinions......but what has come across in this thread just seems like mockery to me. No one is forcing you to believe in it. No one is mocking you for not having a faith.

I'm so glad I'm not as closed minded as some of the posters on here. Its nothing to do with believing in something and everything to do with treating you fellow human being as an equal.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 01:23:01

All that is needed for violence to happen is the identification of other as lesser and threat.

It is that simple.

Baubles, what percentage of religious (whatever type) text centers on violence? How much centers on peace?

HettiePetal Sat 07-Dec-13 01:25:53

The only people who should atone for the deaths of those people are the killers....and those who seek to emulate them, or cheer them on. A very small minority of Muslims worldwide.

Muslims, Christians and so on should not be expected to bear the responsibility for anyone's behaviour but their own. It's ignorant to blame all Muslims. They are no more to blame than a non-Muslim.

But we can blame Islam - the ideology that prompted these actions.

Buddhism, as an example, is fundamentally peaceful. Follow the teachings of the Buddha to the letter, and the very first rule to follow is "don't kill any living thing, for any reason".

That doesn't mean that other motivations & agendas can't creep in and motivate Buddhists to violent action. But fundamentally, Buddhism is peaceful.

The opposite is true of both Islam and Christianity. Follow the fundamentals of them to the letter, and death and destruction follows.

Of course, most Muslims do not follow the Koran to the letter - an acknowledgement that to do so would be horrific. That's why they don't - because they are decent people.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 01:29:03

^ have a Muslim friend who is so disciplined in her prayer routine, fasting, doing good. I have a lot of respect for her. She has given up her life and devoted it to her faith. devoted it to helping others and having understanding for those less fortunate than her. She is an amazing woman and does so much good in a very deprived community^

You're defining her by a faith. You can have respect for the lovely woman she is without respecting her religion.

And it's nothing to do with being close minded. In fact I've read a lot about different religions - it doesn't mean I have to pander to them or pretend I like them.

Someone being religious to me, is just like them disliking my favourite tv show. I think they're wrong but it really doesn't affect me and I don't treat them any differently unless they get violent or pushy about it.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 01:29:58

Baubles, what percentage of religious (whatever type) text centers on violence? How much centers on peace?

One doesn't cancel out the other. It doesn't work in the real world why should it work in a religious text.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 01:32:46

Especially when the peace part is only relevant to those who are like you. Any diversity bears the brunt of violence.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 01:32:50

More dim logic aka ignorance from you hettie. I am not going to engage with you anymore.....your views stink of islamophobia and thinly veiled bigotry. Most atheists would be horrified -and rightly so-if i was to generalise them all as holding the same vile views as you.

HettiePetal Sat 07-Dec-13 01:33:44

sigh

Slowly, for the hard of thinking......

Buddhism is not fundamentally violent. It's not.

Does this mean some Buddhists can't be violent? Of course not.

I am talking about the ideologies that provoke action - the fundamentals that the ^fundamentalists" draw their oxygen from.

Whatever the motivations of violent Buddhists, it's not the fundamentals of Buddhist teaching, is it? Since THAT does not condone violence & pacifism is inherent.

crescent Atheism has no position on anything - it's a word we use to describe people who don't hold one particular belief. Nothing else.

People don't do anything based on something they don't believe in.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 01:34:00

Hettie, I think perhaps you should look further into the history of Buddhism.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 01:34:19

Islamophobia is BS. You can be against a religion without being against the people that follow it.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 01:36:51

'One doesn't cancel out the other'

That's exactly what you're arguing though! That the violent messages cancel out the peaceful ones and therefore we can blame religion for violence, but not for anything good.

You can't have it both ways

Religion is responsible for both or neither.

Personally I believe it's is ultimately responsible for neither.

BananasForTed Sat 07-Dec-13 01:37:21

I was mainly responding to the comments that people who have a religious background are stupid....or that believing in a god is the same as believing in fairies. That's an incredibly inflammatory thing to say and I think is extremely rude. I am not easily offended and accept that what I believe is what I believe. Everyone has a choice. However I would never dream of telling someone they were stupid just because their train of thought wasn't the same as mine.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 01:38:21

I've not once in this thread said that religion doesn't bring peace to some people.

I have said that it instigates violence.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 01:41:24

Just as atheism isn't inherently violent, nor is Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, or Judeism.. All advise peace and kindness. And they facilitate that by advocating acceptance and forgiveness.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 01:42:18

Is anti semitism bs too baubles? Would islamohobia in the workplace be classified as bs? Or would there be repercussions? Are you saying islamophobia does not exist? A bit like santa or god perhaps?

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 01:44:54

well if you give that benefit of the doubt to Buddhism hettie, why not to Christianity and Islam. Muslim fundamentalism is also very recent - and I feel more guilt at britain's role in bringing Wahhabism to power in its empire battles through the Middle East. It was something unleashed upon the muslim world not by the muslim world. there was no religious fundamentalism in the ME until after the harsh secularism of the BAath arab leaders was established- one fundamentalism sparked another.
Peace in Europe after world war 2 was bought for the sake of peace in the middle east through forcing the palestinian peoples to atone to the jews for what the germans did to them.
Suicide bombing and Terrorism is also extremely recent- it wasn't seen before the 1990s in the Muslim world.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 01:46:42

Do you believe that when a religious person does something good they do so because of their religion? That they wouldn't otherwise do it?

How do you account for the fact that two people who follow the same religion can take completely different messages? One of peace and one of violence?

If you believe that the good are good because of their religion and the bad are bad because of their religion, what do you think motivates the behaviour of atheists?

BananasForTed Sat 07-Dec-13 01:47:29

"Islamophobia is BS. You can be against a religion without being against the people that follow it." I think you need to explain that a little more as I can' personally get my head around it.

IMO most scriptures were written thousands of years ago. Times have vastly changed and evolved, so the attitude and interpretation of those books has to do the same.

BananasForTed Sat 07-Dec-13 01:51:59

outraged surely you and I could both read the same passage in a book and get totally different things from it. Or the post I have previously found offensive on here, others clearly haven't.
People go into religion for different reasons and maybe looking to get different things out of it. No 2 peoples brains work the same or interpret things the same.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 01:52:13

'IMO most scriptures were written thousands of years ago. Times have vastly changed and evolved, so the attitude and interpretation of those books has to do the same.'

Shouldn't God send us some new books? Surely we shouldn't just change our perceptions of what God wants willy nilly?! He told us what he wants and hasn't updated us of any changes, we have to assume he wants us to follow the original set of rules, don't we?

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 01:55:47

'outraged surely you and I could both read the same passage in a book and get totally different things from it.'

Exactly! What would motivate that difference? Our education, upbringing, values, personality, IQ etc? So nothing to do with religion then?

The religion isn't fundamentally responsible for the message that we take or the behaviour that we exhibit as a result.

The reason people need to keep pointing out that religion is bullshit from start to finish and not entitled to any respect at all is because of the extreme danger associated with privileging the people who have imaginary friends, or particular imaginary friends, over other people. If a person is silly enough to believe in Jesus, Allah, Father Christmas, homeopathy or the immense musical talent of Justin Bieber, that's their business until they start insisting that this gives them special privileges such as the right to abuse or discriminate against women or gay people, or to prevent other people getting necessary medical treatment.

BananasForTed Sat 07-Dec-13 01:58:21

well I guess if you believe in Christianity the whole end section of the bible will come into play. Personally I would rather not think about that. I have read it once and it scared me. I have watched far too many horror films

I don't think it is changing perceptions willy nilly. There are whole chapters in the bible about what you shouldn't do whilst you are on your period. Whilst that may have been applicable/misunderstood back then the modern day society we live in now couldn't facilitate those rules.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 02:00:47

I find it odd that some types of atheists blame people's shortcomings on a god that they don't believe exists.confused

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 02:01:59

So we can just pick and choose which bits are applicable now? Which bits we want to follow?

BananasForTed Sat 07-Dec-13 02:04:51

see that's the exact thing I'm talking about solid why is it necessary for you to say "imaginary"
ok that might be your opinion but it's rude and offensive.

Again that is why I think that a lot of the things should not be interpreted word for word. In regards to gay relationships I believe that Jesus was all about love and tolerance and wouldn't begrudge two people in love. Other people who believe in Jesus might not feel the same but that is how I have interpreted it. I don't think my religion entitles me to any special treatment. I just expect people to treat me with a bit of respect.
I have been through some horrendous things in life and would not have got through them without the support of the church and my faith.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 02:08:49

Solid, I totally get you on the privilege issue.smile

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 02:10:06

I think they're blaming religion, not God though? It's not the same. Religion most definitely exists. God, not so much.

BananasForTed Sat 07-Dec-13 02:10:20

No....that's not what I am saying.
1. everyone will read something and interpret in their own way.
2. There is a lot of contradictions in the bible, one passage saying one thing, another saying the opposite. Sometimes you just have to pick which you think is relivant.
3. A lot of stuff is a bit outdated, times have moved on.

At the end of the day I try to be a good person and follow the basic rules of my faith. There are some things I read in the bible and I don't agree with, gay relationships being one of them. I don't know how to explain that. I just don't see what harm two men/women are doing to anyone by being in a relationship with one another. Love is love whatever form it comes in.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 02:14:17

''crescent Atheism has no position on anything - it's a word we use to describe people who don't hold one particular belief. Nothing else.''

Exactly, atheism itself does not entail a moral position on anything. Beyond saying 'there is no God', there is nothing in atheism to say murder is wrong, stealing is wrong, rape is wrong, morally atheism offers no reservation against evil. None at all. Yet I can still believe in your holding to ethical values, then why cannot it be believed of me with al the reservations and inhibitions of my religion against anti humanity behaviour?

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 02:15:41

So are atheists commended for using their their critical faculties, but believers condemned for the same?confused

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 02:21:34

Exactly dione...why do they feel it necessary to be rude and insulting and vent at something they dont believe existed...or is it just an attempt to insult a person by pretending to insult something else.

To say that islamophobia is bs and that you are hating the religious doctrine and not the observer, is like saying something derogatory about my race and then saying it wasnt racist and trying to justify it by saying it was just the doctrine held by that race that you hate! So actually, it is racist. Racism is subjective, as is islamophobia. If the person feels its racism, then it is racism...if a person feels it islamophobia, then it is islamophobia. The people who so daringly call islamphobia bs, would think twice before they said the same thing for anti-semitism.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 02:30:48

As for human beings would be less violent without religion.

From Scott atran's 'god and the ivory tower' article in foreign policy magazine:

www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/08/06/god_and_the_ivory_tower?page=0,2

''Moreover, the chief complaint against religion -- that it is history's prime instigator of intergroup conflict -- does not withstand scrutiny. Religious issues motivate only a small minority of recorded wars. The Encyclopedia of Wars surveyed 1,763 violent conflicts across history; only 123 (7 percent) were religious. A BBC-sponsored "God and War" audit, which evaluated major conflicts over 3,500 years and rated them on a 0-to-5 scale for religious motivation (Punic Wars = 0, Crusades = 5), found that more than 60 percent had no religious motivation. Less than 7 percent earned a rating greater than 3. There was little religious motivation for the internecine Russian and Chinese conflicts or the world wars responsible for history's most lethal century of international bloodshed''

Here's the audit in full,

news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/world/04/war_audit_pdf/pdf/war_audit.pdf

it completely debunks the 'religion as the main cause of war' argument often trotted out.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 02:38:31

You can't compare race and religion. A physical characteristic is not the same as a belief.

'If the person feels its racism, then it is racism'

That's not true. Thankfully.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 02:46:45

The feeling of other or lesser due to what you are told is exactly the same. Be it gender, religion, ethnicity or sexuality.

No?

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 07-Dec-13 02:53:20

Outraged - Islamophobia utilises many racist/orientalist tropes, the "barbarous, savage other" being a particularly popular one.

Despite only a minority of Muslims being Arab, much Islamophobia uses the language and terminology of anti-Arab racism.

That supposedly intelligent people fail to see this is very disturbing.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 02:56:05

The 'feeling' may be the same. The fact is, that an opinion or belief is not the same as a physical characteristic though.

Being disabled is not the same as believing the world is flat.

Being white is not the same as believing that gay people should have fewer rights that straight people.

I can judge someone, think less of someone or dislike someone as a result of their beliefs.

I cannot judge someone, think less of someone or dislike someone as a result of a physical characteristic.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 02:59:18

Gosh I haven't made any comment on Islamaphobia on this thread. I think you're confusing me with someone else.

I don't doubt for a second that people mix racism with their views on religion. They shouldn't though, that's my point. They're two different things.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 07-Dec-13 03:02:04

I see Hettie's been showing her ignorance of Islam yet again.

Hettie - C+Ping from an anti-Islamic website which purposely picks and twists the words of the Quran to serve an extremely dubious agenda, does not make you any kind of expert in Islam, just as quoting from Stormfront, wouldn't make you an expert on Judaism.

The idea that you can lecture Muslims on their own religion and expect them to bow to your "superior" knowledge is patronising white saviour nonsense and yet another way in which racism manifests itself through Islamophobia.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 07-Dec-13 03:07:01

Outraged - yes, people shouldn't do lots of things, but they do. Islamophobia does manifest itself through racism, that's just the way it is and Muslims (most of whom are not white) are entitled to call racism and racist terminology as they see it.

Quick poll - Muslim ladies on this thread, hands up if you've ever been told "Go back to your own country" <raises hand>. If you look identifiably Muslim, people will often be identifiably racist towards you, so I think you can understand why we find the "criticising the religion, not a race argument" to ring somewhat hollow.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 03:07:47

I didn't say it was down to a physical characteristic, I said it was down to what you are told about who and what you are.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 03:11:51

If someone is telling you that you are less than them, is that not insulting?

And ultimately dangerous?

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 03:16:57

'Islamophobia does manifest itself through racism, that's just the way it is'

I'm sure it does. I haven't mentioned Islamophobia anywhere on this thread. Are you mixing me up with someone else?

'I didn't say it was down to a physical characteristic, I said it was down to what you are told about who and what you are.'

I'm not sure what this has to do with my point, which was simply that comparing someone disliking your views/values/beliefs is in no-way similar to someone disliking the colour of your skin/how big your feet are/how many freckles you have. People are well within their rights to judge you on your beliefs whether these come from religion or not.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 07-Dec-13 03:21:56

'If someone is telling you that you are less than them, is that not insulting?

And ultimately dangerous?'

Yes, but they're entitled to comment negatively on your beliefs, religious or otherwise. That's the difference between physical characteristics (what you are and cannot change) and what you believe/how you behave.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 03:50:56

Yup raised hand here gosh (I reckon defuse has gone to bed), Alot of xenophobes vent their bile against muslims because they can't against Jews and blacks without being called an anti Semite or a racist.

Why i joined this thread was to ask when an atheist argues against religion is it based on scientific materialism or capitalist materialism? to me the distinction is whether one is ok with the propagation of the father christmas story or not.

sashh Sat 07-Dec-13 05:49:38

People are perfectly able to say there is no proof for God without having to be sarcastic and mocking and talking about flying spaghetti monsters.

The irony. You don't want your beliefs mocking with the beliefs of others.

There is only one flying spaghetti monster, and his noodly appendage of course.

happycrimblechuckie Sat 07-Dec-13 05:58:50

I am a Catholic well I used to be but I cannot stand religion, yet when my children were small, Jesus ( chose him as we are in a Christian country) was afforded the same mystery and joy that Santa was until my children made their own choice, they were at a Christian school, how awful if I would have passed my dislike onto them at a school where they celebrated Easter and. Christingle and Carol Service. They loved Church when they were small but neither go now and I am happy about that, but that was their choice at about 12 I think.

SoupDragon Sat 07-Dec-13 06:09:58

if you dont believe in god, then why blame god for someone else starting a war in god's name?

Because religion has caused many wars and atrocities (as has greed and other things - I'm not blaming religion for all). You don't need to believe in god to know that religion exists. One is a concept requiring belief, the other is a tangible force, they are quite different things.

SatinSandals Sat 07-Dec-13 07:01:55

It is man who has caused wars, in the name of religion but generally the real reason is power and greed.

SoupDragon Sat 07-Dec-13 07:44:34

I disagree that it is power and greed rather than a firm belief that their religion is the only right one.

I have respect for the beliefs of others whether I agree with them or not. Sadly not everyone takes this view.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 07:47:49

the bible has a fair few historical events in it which we know happened. It has historical figures who we know existed.

So what? We have massive amounts of evidence of the first world war taking place, of George IV having had an extended period as Prince of Wales and of Queen Elizabeth I being monarch of England. That doesn't mean that Blackadder is a real person, or that any of the events portrayed in it happened.

I'm relatively content with the evidence that the second world war took place, and that in countries under or threatened with occupation there were organisations built by the government or government-in-exile which attempts to resist invasion. People writing histories of that would be advised to ignore both Dad's Army and 'Allo 'Allo as primary evidence.

And so on.

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 07:54:06

So what does having respect for the beliefs of others mean? How does it manifest itself? If somebody says something that I profoundly disagree with do I have to accept it if they say it's because of their faith? Does the faith card trump all?

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 08:01:51

I have respect for the beliefs of others whether I agree with them or not.

I don't respect people who are holocaust denying neo-nazis who think that Jews should be murdered. Do you?

cheval1980 Sat 07-Dec-13 08:25:53

I find it odd that some types of atheists blame people's shortcomings on a god that they don't believe exists.

What an embarrassing attempt at a counter argument.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 08:31:31

Indeed, cheval.

it doesn't matter that Hazelmary Bull's God doesn't exist. The Bulls believe in a spiteful, hateful, discriminating God, and that's all that matters. The God doesn't exist; the belief in it, and the foul behaviour that stems from that belief, does.

The Church of England this week published the Pilling Report, in which it's outlined how they're going to have a "facilitated discussion" over the next two years to see if they can agree to hate gays a little bit less. They're not suggesting that gays should be treated equally, of course (I mean, next they'll be suggesting that blacks can vote or women can think or something equally absurd) but just that they rein back the hatred a bit (for example, Pilling does suggest, without wishing to offend anyone, that killing people for being gay might be something to consider stopping doing).

The God behind this sort of vile discrimination doesn't exist. It's the belief in their imaginary God that makes people vile nonetheless.

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 08:41:02

"I find it odd that some types of atheists blame people's shortcomings on a god that they don't believe exists."

A couple of points here. There aren't different types of atheist. Being an atheist means that you don't believe in god or gods. Nothing more, nothing less. So you are either an atheist or not.

I can attribute others "shortcomings" to their god because they believe in that God , and that belief informs their actions. Whether or not I believe in that god is irrelevant. They do, and they behave accordingly and

My atheism has absolutely nothing to do with my moral compass, or my political beliefs or my behaviour or anything except whether or not I believe in God. I think this is a common problem with discussions like this. People think that atheism is like a religion. It isn't. It begins and ends with not believing there is a a God. No rules, code or behaviours attached.

sashh Sat 07-Dec-13 09:26:47

Saying religious scriptures are made up stories is a bit of a joke too. I have read very little of the quran so can not pass much comment on that, but the bible has a fair few historical events in it which we know happened. It has historical figures who we know existed. Ok those stories might be embellished to suit the religion but some of it must also be true.

Name one.

The historical Herod did not order a census or murder children, so yes he existed at the right time but that's as far as it goes.

The family trees of Jesus are different in different books.

There is no evidence that the entire world flooded or that the sun 'stood still'.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 09:58:46

SGB is absolutely spot-on. As usual. And if believers wants others to not refer to their particular deity as imaginary then all they have to do is provide even a tiny bit of proof. Saying that The Bible, or other religious texts, say a deity exists is not enough. It is humiliatingly laughable to offer that as proof enough or reason to believe. I don't believe that Orcs and elves and Hobbits exist because I read the Lord of The Rings trilogy. And much of it is based on Norse mythology and history, so. You could use the argument about it having some historical basis.

Does it feel offensive and ludicrous to Christians to have it suggested to them that Hobbits are believable just because LOTR says so? Because that's what it feels like to Atheists for religious believers to just go "the bible/Qu'ran/whatever says so" as their only 'proof' of their belief.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 10:17:14

And all the stories in the Bible can be broken down roughly into these categories:

1) Rules, laws, ideas and morality that was relevant and pertinent only to the region and era in which they were originally included in the initial stages of the various texts that eventually became the Bible. Some of this is downright abhorrent nowadays - see treatment of rape, for example.
2) Stuff that was made up to try to explain things, particularly biology or natural occurences, because they had no scientific way to work them out any better.
3) Stuff that was made up to try to explain things that was pushing an agenda onto people - this covers most of the all the other categories too. Mainly to keep rich men in power (the world hasn't changed much there).
4) Fictional stories, fairy tales, cautionary tales.
5) Hearsay, chinese whispers, rumours, gossip, popular misconceptions, etc., of the day.

The fact that real historical figures and events figure in some stories in the Bible mean bugger-all. It is a childish argument to suggest this gives them extra credence. Storytellers have always woven in facts with their fiction, in order to give their stories more weight, or to give what we would call a 'shout-out', or just for fun. Dr Who features real historical figures and events, but it doesn't make me believe cybermen.

Also, many of the historical figures and events used were not at all contemporaneous - revealing the proven fact that the Bible was an ongoing work with an agenda, with innumerous contributors and authors, for absolutely ages, centuries. And many figures are lied about, ie Herod, because of contributor's own bias. It's like taking the opinion pieces in the Daily Mail as holy truth.

Finally, many of the things featured in the Bible can be proven to be wholly scientifically impossible or untrue. A woman cannot be made from a man's rib. Seas cannot part and then come back together. A virgin cannot have a baby - and, moreover, a woman could not have a male baby in that instance because her body contains zero XY genetic material to create him from. The path of the star that supposedly guided the Three Wise Men has long been proven to just not have happened in that geographical area at that time, and certainly not at the seasonal time it was supposed to have happened. The Noah's Ark flood was based on a real event, but is ruined with the absolute horseshit about getting every animal on earth on a wooden boat and the hyperbolic enormity of the extent of the flood.

And if all these amazing things and miracles happened then, how come not a single one has happened since? In the Bible, they pre and post date the life of Jesus, so he can't be used as the reason. The answer is simple: they did not happen, none of it is true.

I respect anyone's right to believe what they want. I refuse to believe the content of their belief, especially when there is zero evidence for any of it. The time for privilege just because you believe in the supernatural is over. If so many people question religious belief and find it hard to respect, ridiculous, silly, bizarre, immoral, etc., then believers have to, at some point, even if just in the early hours of the morning in their own minds, ask why this is. It can't just be because there are hoardes of nasty, spiteful, disrespectful killjoys about...

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 10:19:04

Oh here we go. I can't dislike Islam without being racist apparently. I've also said I dislike Christianity, funny how that doesn't get turned into something else.

It's extremely shoddy when you have to protect Islam by calling racism to anyone who doesn't agree with you.

I dislike all organised religion. Nothing to do with race, skin colour or any other characteristic.

BananasForTed Sat 07-Dec-13 10:31:44

AnyBag It's offensive because you liken believing in god to having an imaginary friend. It's mocking, degrading.....I could carry on. If you don't like it or agree with it that's fine I respect your decision but using language like that is unnecessary.
There are parts of other religions that I don't understand but I would never dare tell that person they were stupid for believing in it. I have my opinion and I voice it regularly but not at the expense of others. Trying to make someone look like an idiot to prove your point is IMO just nasty.
Personally for me religion is far more than what I read in biblical scriptures and more about the support and love I get from the people around me and the god I trust in.
There have been times where I have called upon god and I feel he has answered and provided. I have felt a guiding presence in my life when I have felt lost. Whether you choose to believe that or not is your own business and I have the politeness to respect your views. It is not something I can prove or measure. It is just a feeling I have felt in my life.

I have always thought religion would be rather pointless if it could be proved. To believe in a god is to take a leap of faith and trust.

fifi669 Sat 07-Dec-13 10:35:39

I agree bananas

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 10:35:48

"It's offensive because you liken believing in god to having an imaginary friend"

In what way is believing in god different from having an imaginary friend?

sashh Sat 07-Dec-13 10:36:20

A virgin cannot have a baby

Well it does depend on the definition, there are women who have given birth and still have an intact hymen.

But in the general terms you are right, it doesn't happen outside religious texts/stories where it is surprisingly common.

And if all these amazing things and miracles happened then, how come not a single one has happened since?

Can I just add to that, why does God hate amputees? One of my friends keeps trying to get me to go to a church that does faith healing. I know these churches claim to heal all sorts of things, but I have not heard of an amputee's limbs being restored.

BananasForTed Sat 07-Dec-13 10:39:16

because I and millions of others don't believe he is "imaginary"
If you think that then that's fine. I don't know how to articulate myself here....I just find it unnecessary.

its like you need to gratify your own opinions at the expense of others.

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 10:41:06

So why does your belief that he isn't imaginary more important than my belief that he is? Why does faith trump all?

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 10:42:44

Bananas, but what you believe in IS imaginary. The very definition of imaginary is 'having existence only in the imagination'. Religious belief is using one's imagination in a certain way. You are making, or allowing, your mind to imagine that something exists that there is absolutely no proof for. This same process is the same in children believing in fairies, Santa, ghosts, whatever, as it is in adults believing in God and other things. It is the very same process that children use to believe in things, including God, that continues in some people that makes them continue to believe in God.

Beliefs and feelings are 100% subjective. They cannot be proven to be true or real. To ask anyone to accept something that you imagine or feel as fact is totally unrealistic, very immature and actually incredibly egotistical.

Of course you have the right to believe that certain feelings you have are to do with God. I defend that right for you totally. Do I have to believe it too? Of course not. I also do not have to respect what it takes to be religious. Blindly trusting is something negative and undesirable, in my opinion, it's not a great quality in an adult. Religious people always present this as one of the more honourable and lovely aspects of belief, whereas I just think "why are you boasting about being gullible and suspending your intelligence?".

And pointing out facts about Biblical content, and about the nature of belief is not trying to make people look like idiots, or feel stupid. If FACTS make them feel like this, then they need to address their beliefs or their self-esteem. People cannot be asked not to set out facts and truth in order to not potentially offend people whose lives revolve around avoiding said facts. That is outrageous! It's the privilege that I and others have discussed.

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 10:43:39

God doesn't seem to be particularly keen on people with tooth decay or short sight either. Like most faith healers, he specialises in curing non specific, vague feelings of unhappiness and self diagnosed and/or limited illnesses.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 10:47:17

I also meant to add: in what universe should belief trump facts and logic?! Demanding respect for believing in something imaginary (because it is) at the expense of the views of others is the ultimate in offensiveness and having your views gratifed at the expense of others!

If belivers want people to stop calling God imaginary, or their beliefs delusions, all they have to do is offer proof, as I said.

But, oh! the whole point of belief is deliberately avoiding proof. Handy, that hmm

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 10:54:34

I just saw the part in your post gosh about white saviour complex but i think with the new atheist movement and its rhetoric against islam theres no salvation Offered at all. read the justification for the iraq war by christopher hitchens or sam harris's writings on the muslim world, not just islam but its ordinary lay adherents, and its Less far less about saving and more 'wipe them out' militarily. It certainly wouldn't stop at 'keep religion to the private sphere' as they would say to the Christian.

Terry Pratchett said that belief in the tooth fairy and Father Christmas trains children to believe in invisible concepts (as an atheist, he meant big concepts like justice, rather than God).

___________

"All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

"They're not the same at all!"

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"

MY POINT EXACTLY.”
― Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Bluestocking Sat 07-Dec-13 10:58:45

Bananas, why do you care what non-believers say about your faith? If you think you have an imaginary friend who's going to give you pie in the sky when you die, then surely you win, and it's me and my non-believing friends who lose out? So why does it matter what we say about your credulity?

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 11:06:38

If you think you have an imaginary friend who's going to give you pie in the sky when you die, then surely you win, and it's me and my non-believing friends who lose out?

Indeed. Christian faith can't be very fulfilling if the mere hint of a suggestion that people are laughing at you cuts you to the core. And I thought that Christians were quite keen on being martyred, too, so that a few people just think they're gullible doesn't really seem too much to endure.

BananasForTed Sat 07-Dec-13 11:08:53

That's the point. I don't think it does....but I also don't think you need to say such rude things. You could pick a religion and study its scriptures till you know them by heart and still not agree with them. I guess you have to experience the religion first hand and feel the presence of god and again there is no recipe to make that happen. It is just something that happens. Like I said this can not be measured so can not be proven. I get that to some it is too much and too far fetched but I have been through so many things that have been miraculous that I stand firm in my beliefs.
I know people who have been through difficult times who would have probably had a nervous breakdown had they not had their faith and the church to support them. Whether god exists or not it has many positive effects on those who trust in it.

I have never asked anyone to believe what I do. I would never do that. I was just trying to explain my perspective. I have not once been rude or disrespectful to any of your views. I have objected to your choice of words which you have continued to use.
"blindingly trusting" doesn't mean you surrender any intelligence you had....people aren't gullible or stupid.

If I was to find out tomorrow that god defiantly didn't exist, I wouldn't feel foolish or stupid or tricked. I pray and my prayers are answered, perhaps that is just my brain working through todays problems and solving them tomorrow. Perhaps it gives me a positive perspective to deal with tomorrows problems and a positive energy to fight hardship. I wouldn't change my behaviour because this works for me. Life is hard. Anything that makes it easier is a blessing!

Like I said I feel the presence of god. I feel him calling me and guiding me. Might sound like tosh to you but it does you no harm if I follow this and makes me a better person.

I think I'm going to leave this thread now. My initial request was that people stop and think of the language that they were using and how insulting that could be to anyone who chooses to have a faith. No one has really listened. You all keep claiming you have respect for those who hold a faith then calling them names in the next sentence. I have always been brought up to respect others, so I will respectfully leave you with your opinions.

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 11:29:20

"I think I'm going to leave this thread now. My initial request was that people stop and think of the language that they were using and how insulting that could be to anyone who chooses to have a faith. No one has really listened. You all keep claiming you have respect for those who hold a faith then calling them names in the next sentence. I have always been brought up to respect others, so I will respectfully leave you with your opinions."

I don't thing anyone has called anyone names, have they? And I have listened very hard to what you've said. I understand how religion can be a comfort for some people, and, obviously, people can believe what they want to so long as it doesn't intrude on anyone else's life. I still don't understand, however, why belief trumps non belief. If I thought in those terms I would take great comfort from the fact that there is not a supreme being who could answer my prayer or help me in a time of danger or crisis but chooses not to. I am not offended by people saying there is a god, why are you offended by people saying there isn't?

And, for what it's worth, I do think leaving the thread is a strange decision. If people don't understand you, it is, up to a point, their fault. But it could also mean that you haven't explained as clearly as you could. Why not have another go? I don't think there are any of the "go for the jugular" types on either side on this thread........

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 11:30:24

But no-one is telling you that you can't believe that you feel the presence of God, Bananas. No-one is telling you that you can't call those feelings God, or benefit from them. No-one is trying to stop you. No-one wants you to change or stop.

People are just saying that they don't believe in God, or that they would find different explanations for what believers call religious experiences, or that they want to look factually and critically and objectively at religious texts and history. how is any of that disrespectful?! Respect for having beliefs is different from respecting the beliefs themselves. No-once can demand or expect that their beliefs are automatically respected. You are asking for special privilege for beliefs you hold that cannot be proven. You must be able to see, if not admit, that that is almost narcissistic, never mind unrealistic and unfair. You keep saying you respect the views of others, but you are actually asking others to not view theirs, or to modify or censor theirs in order to not challenge yours in any way. That's the opposite of respect.

And I would like an explanation of what blindingly trusting means, if it does not involve being gullible or suspending intelligence. It is impossible to unquestioningly trust whilst still utilising critical and logical perspective. The two are incompatible.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 11:32:47

Curlew - because flouncing is the only choice left to someone who cannot participate in an argument because it's becoming apparent that they can't back up their ideas, and cannot handle having them challenged, especially when the arguments behind the challenge is strong.

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 11:35:52

I've always found the role of Thomas in the story of Jesus very disconcerting.

BananasForTed Sat 07-Dec-13 11:47:56

I haven't flounced and I know no one is telling me what I can and cant believe, . I just felt this debate was getting a bit pointless. I'm not in the slightest bot offended that you do not believe in god. Why would I be offended? I have said all along that I respect everyone's views whatever they be. I am just annoyed at the words being used.
As for name calling, stupid and gullible have both been used amongst others. Scroll back. There are loads! It is disrespectful to call someone stupid because the choose to believe in a god. That is the only point I have tried to press on here.
I haven't tried to push any of my religious beliefs on any of you, I have explained them as I see them so that you can understand what I believe in.
As I said the only thing I have tried to alter is your use of language. I don't think that means that I have a lack of respect for you.
"I understand how religion can be a comfort for some people, and, obviously, people can believe what they want to so long as it doesn't intrude on anyone else's life" I agree totally with you there.

I don't think that belief trumps non belief....they are both equal. it all stems back to your use of language. That's is all I was trying to point out. Yes I am asking you to censor your language....I don't see anything wrong with that. Why would you want to repeatedly use words in a context that are offensive?

anybags that's not the case at all....it was more so that I didn't really feel anyone was listening to my opinion which is of course your own choice and it was a bit pointless for me to continue. Its not flouncing at all. I have stuff I need to get on with and didn't want to get dragged any further into this debate. instead of commenting and not returning for you to then speculate that it was because the stupid Christian had nothing else to fight her corner with.

like I said, my only issue within this thread has been the name calling. Deny it all you like but all you need do is look back over the previous posts and see that there are quite a few there! I really am going now otherwise my children are going to turn into cannibals!

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 11:51:28

But you haven't said what language you want people to use. "Imaginary friend" is offensive. So what can I say?

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 11:53:02

It is insulting because it is intended to be insulting. Lots of people are able to discuss belief without being offensive. Those who are offensive are so because they wish to offend.sad

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 11:53:39

And nobody has said "stupid Christian"

Nothing like attacking language to shut down debate.......

I don't knock on people's doors and tell them Santa is not real. Nor do I tell them that god is not real. I wish religious people would have the same courtesy.

On threads discussing religion I will say that your god is not real because that's what we are talking about.

As for suggesting that belief in fairies is the same as belief in god, of course it is. The main reason I do that comparison though is to make the point that lack of evidence for the existence of something is not evidence it exists.

Sometimes I say fairies and other times I might say 'a magic banana that created the world and wants you to worship it'. The point of the comparison is to use a belief that the person I am debating with finds ludicrous.

Also it is revealing that a religious person can be offended by the comparison. No respect there for those who believe in fairies when they say "of course fairies are not real - don't be stupid".

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 11:56:13

Dione- so if I say I have absolutely no intention of being insulting by using the expression"imaginary friend" then it's all right? Because it seems to me to be a very useful shorthand when discussing faith.

JacqueslePeacock Sat 07-Dec-13 11:57:47

I'm a card-carrying atheist, but even I can see that "imaginary friend" is a bit offensive. Only young children (usually) have imaginary friends. It's infantilising. Surely there is a better term?

Caitlin17 Sat 07-Dec-13 12:00:13

Bananas I don't think anyone was name calling. Several people, including me, have asked why it's not only the right to hold a faith which should be respected, but also the beliefs themselves. Curlew put this succinctly in several of her posts.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 12:07:38

Surely there is a better term?

Tell us, then.

A lot of the language of offence that the religious trot out starts from the position that describing imaginary things as imaginary is offensive to them. They do this because they want to shift the narrative, to imply that there is a qualitative difference between belief in God and belief in, say, the Loch Ness Monster. They want to be able to put clear blue water between their evidence-free beliefs, which are obviously entirely rational and deserving of being tip-toed around, and the real crazies who believe in alien abductions.

Of course, were evidence to alien abductions to surface, the rational world would continue unscathed. There's no evidence that aliens are abducting semi-psychotic mid-Westerners with limited education, but it wouldn't be fundamentally implausible for such a thing to happen, or cause us to re-examine our entire system of knowledge, were such a thing to happen. So actually, as evidence-free assertions go, "I have daily communication with an omnipotent being in the sky" and "I was abducted by green aliens who did bizarre sexual things to me after I had been out drinking" aren't comparable, because the latter is substantially more likely (in the hierarchy of things that aren't likely, of course).

When the religious provide a single coherent piece of evidence that one word of their basis thesis about "God" is true, then the word "imaginary" ceases to be the best one to use. But at the moment, "God" is as real as Harry Potter: there's a book about him, too.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 12:11:32

BackOnlyBriefly raises a good point. What believers fail, or do not want to understand, is that to non-believers, believing in God is nor more silly or respectable, whichever way you choose to describe it, than believing in fairies, Scientology, the Magic Faraway Tree, or whatever. Religious people get offended at being asked to accept that ideas they find silly or unbelievable are equally as valid and realistic as their own, yet expect everyone else to do exactly that about their beliefs. AND I can prove everything I believe in, yet the expression of that is offensive, is it? How does that make sense, logically or morally?!

Just because there is a cultural precedent for Christianity (or monotheistic religion) does not mean that belief in it gets some sort of get-out-of-jail-free card of privilege when being placed on a scale of unbelievability or nonsense.

Anything that cannot be proven, that is imaginary - and ALL belief without fact is imaginary, it makes believers look even worse to try to argue against dictionary definitions in order to scrape some sort of defence together - is equally silly to people who cannot make their minds do whatever it is believers do to suspend rational critical thought. Which again, is what has to happen to believe in something invisible and unprovable. It is not an insult to accurately describe the process. If someone feels insulted by a description of what blind faith is, then perhaps they ought to look at how insulting it was for them to have been lied to so much and so often as a child about the supernatural, that as an adult, they believe in the imaginary, and use belief processes of children in order to do so.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 12:12:28

As has been previously said that for some people, faith plays a huge role when there is turmoil in life. Any religious belief should not be mocked as cheap point scoring.

On a personal level, i am a muslim and God's existence is proven by the existence of the quran. The quran is not the work of man.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 12:13:58

Any religious belief should not be mocked as cheap point scoring.

Scientology: discuss.

specialsubject Sat 07-Dec-13 12:21:37

And pointing out facts about Biblical content, and about the nature of belief is not trying to make people look like idiots, or feel stupid. If FACTS make them feel like this, then they need to address their beliefs or their self-esteem. People cannot be asked not to set out facts and truth in order to not potentially offend people whose lives revolve around avoiding said facts. That is outrageous! It's the privilege that I and others have discussed.

repeating this because it is so well-expressed.

If someone else disagreeing with you is offensive, they are not the one with the problem. Religion bangs on about tolerance, but seems to produce the exact opposite.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 12:22:17

friday16 - the irony being, that believers often get offended at the aliens comparison, when there is actually more likelihood that aliens could exist, in some form (although doubtful they'd be like the grey men or blobs of sci-fi). Life, of sorts, has actually been found on other planets, after all.

I don't believe in aliens at all, I hasten to add!

And the alien thing brings up another important point - the experiences that people who say they have been abducted by, or who have made conact with, aliens, are all things that are nuerological, physical, emotional, mental, situational, or a combination of the above, that they have not been able to rationally explain, so have found an explanation in the cultural mythology of aliens and UFOs, etc. When really, scientists, doctors and psychologists can explain all their symptoms and experiences (the most common reason is actually just Night Terrors and other sleep disorders).

In the past, people used to attribute these things to angels, demons, fairies, pixies, spirits of the water, and so on. People use popular frameworks of belief to explain feelings and experiences that feel big or different or downright odd to them. What religious people call praying and having prayers answered is just talking to themselves and using their inner voice, like every human on Earth ever has done, does do, and will do. They are just calling it something religious. The big spiritual feelings they might get when watching a beautiful sunset are the plain old feelings of awe that anyone would get at something lovely to see, and bigger than themselves. But believers say this is God's presence, or God's work, and so on. They choose to see messages and signs or mysterious things where there are none, or which can be explained rationally. All of this is fine, and if it makes people feel better, then I am very happy for them. They just can't expect or demand that anyone else agrees that it had some supernatural or spiritual element, or that they don't look for other explanations.

I find it very odd that people would find facts and reason offensive.

Oh ... so this is what happens on father christmas threads grin

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 12:25:20

defuse, could you explain how the Qu'ran is not the work of man? Are you actually explaining that invisible, mystical figures somehow magically wrote it? How? Where?

And can you explain how a book saying someone exists is enough for that to be fact? Because I am pretty sure that Elizabeth Bennett didn't exist, and yet millions of people love that character.

It is stuff like this that totally makes people roll their eyes about religion.
It sounds bizarre and humiliating to hear adults talk like that. It sounds like a toddler insisting that their teddy is real and expecting you to play along. Which I would do with a child, but an adult needs to grow out of that.

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 12:25:59

Also, context is all. I wouldn't barge onto a prayer thread and start banging on about imaginary friends. But this is a debate thread. The terms of reference are completely different.

I'm still catching up with some of this thread, but I see we have some of those 'but you wouldn't say that about...' posts.

So let me make it clear. There is no difference in believing in fairies, allah, jesus, thor, yahweh or hanuman. I don't dislike one god more than another because they are equally unreal. Only a religious person could think there was a difference.

Defuse I see that you do see a difference. Your quran is true, but as I understand it muslims believe the bible is corrupt and inaccurate and that Jesus wasn't the son of god. Is that about right?

cheval1980 Sat 07-Dec-13 12:31:31

The quran is not the work of man.

Urgh, you know if you find the mocking of religion objectionable, you really should keep views like this to yourself, or at least only express them in the company of like minded people. It's hard for any rational and intelligent person to suppress the urge to correct such nonsense when it is asserted to them.

Caitlin17 Sat 07-Dec-13 12:33:24

defuse You're claiming special status for a belief. Why should a religious belief have special status and protection? And don't just say " because", which is essentially what your post is saying.

If I say sorry my belief is the Koran and the bible are very definitely the work of men , which it is, does your belief trump mine?

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 12:34:39

I've often asked that question Caitlin. Why on earth should my beliefs be seen as lesser just because I don't have some imaginary deity behind them? confused

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 12:44:29

oxford i believe that quran is God's word and not man's word because for those who say it is man made, then there is a challenge for them within the quran:

“If you are in doubt of what We have revealed to Our Messenger, then produce one chapter like it, call upon all your helpers, besides Allah, if you are truthful.”

All you need to meet this challenge are the grammatical rules and the Arabic alphabet. A chapter can comprise of miminum of 3 sentences. Even non muslim scholars accept that this challenge has not been met to this day.

See, the eye rolling would be acceptable, had, say, an atheist risen to the challenge. But to sit on the side, not take up the challenge or fail at the challenge (even with all the professional help in the world) and still be eye rolling is not very grown up either.

I would be happy to be humiliated only if you actually met the challenge. But please dont throw words and attacks without actually meeting or attempting to meet the challenge set.

Firstly it's a circular argument because the book is telling you how to tell if the book is real.

Secondly, What's hard about making a chapter like it?

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 12:50:30

So because it's a literary exception it's the word of god?

I quote this

^And I'm certain that 'you Muslims' have reached a conclusion regarding the "unique literary form, unique genre, unique rhythm and unique eloquence" of the Qur'an based upon objective criteria applied to an extensive knowledge, appreciation, and technical understanding of world literature.

Either that or you are just childishly parroting assertions that you have been conditioned to believe must be true even though you don't even fully understand what they mean.

One or the other.

It'd be literally slightly interesting to find out which...

What exactly do you mean by "literary form", "genre", "rhythm", and "eloquence" in the context you used them in?

How is the Qur'an unique in each of these respects? What methods or measurements have you used to ascertain or quantify these criteria in comparison to other literature?

I look forward to being educated^

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 12:51:06

backonbriefly get all the expert help in the world an go do it. If it really is man made, then you will succeed.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 12:51:29

There are many things in this world that cannot be reproduced, or cracked - like equations and codes. This doesn't make them the work of god.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 12:52:18

im a muslim because i think Islam is quite a clever religion, you might say its diabolicially clever, i would say divinely inspired clever. i would take a far easier path to God if there was proof for it, my religion requires alot of its followers, but i dont think the arguments for other faiths stand upto those that the Quran makes. but do you want us to quote verses and scripture?

I wrote a religious book this morning. Everything in it is true. The way you can tell it is true is that on page 1 it says "this is true".

Page 2 just says "All religion is false"

Page 3 says "Don't believe anything a book says"

smile

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 12:53:36

Quoting scriptures that you think are literary genius doesn't make them the word of god. Otherwise people would worship shakespeare.

defuse I imagine an arabic speaker could knock up a chapter in 20 minutes, but who judges if the new chapter is sufficiently like the others?

That will be the catch yes?

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 12:59:02

i mean, would you be bothered to read through it if you did? not to convert you, never that, but just to explain why we bother with it? but i dont think you would really care, because if you cant reconcile yourself to the 'God is Love' of Christianity, with all the compromises the early church fathers made to appeal to the european pagan, then the God of Islam might be abit harder to handle, requiring submission, not just 'believe and you'll be saved' - as much as i sometimes wish that was all it took. we can bother if your really interested, but lets not waste each others time if not.

Doubletroublemummy2 Sat 07-Dec-13 12:59:52

I don't think you can say, believing in this imaginary thing is more or less important than believing in that imaginary thing. If people are to be allowed belief in things they cannot touch, see or prove then it counts across the board. Santa stand for sharing, coming together and rejoicing your loved ones. Whats the problem??

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 13:03:50

Backonbriefly you go get that arabic speaker to get a chapter together...take all the time you need, and i will make sure that the panel comprises of an acceptable balance of muslim and non muslim professionals with years of expertise.

Expertise in what? on what basis would they be examining it? Style of writing?

crescentmoon quoting the book might be interesting in itself. I've not studied it like I have the bible because until the last decade or so I've mostly encountered Christians, but it would probably not bring me closer to understanding why people believe it is true. It may well be an admirable literary work, but that doesn't really have a bearing on truth,

On the other hand perhaps it contains something that does prove it wasn't written by people. I have seen a claim that it contains knowledge unavailable to people of that time. Including apparently the speed of light. I've been meaning to look into that.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 13:20:59

This s the criteria that needs to be met at producing a chapter - remember this can be just 3 sentences or longer if you wish.

1. Replicate the Qur’an’s literary form
2. Match the unique linguistic nature of the Qur’an
3. Select and arrange words like that of the Qur’an
4. Select and arrange similar grammatical particles
5. Match the Qur’an’s superior eloquence and sound
6. Equal the frequency of rhetorical devices
7. Match the level of content and informativeness
8. Equal the Qur’an’s conciseness and flexibility

The quran condists of:
i. Eloquent use of language to please and persuade;

ii. Its perfect choice of words expressions with the best of verbal forms;

iii. Accuracy of meaning;

iv. Apt selection of pronouns and rhetorical devices;

v. Interrelation between style, structure and meaning.

The list above is not exhaustive and represents just some of the reasons why it has not been possible to emulate the Qur’an to this day.

MonkeysInTheFog Sat 07-Dec-13 13:21:29

If belief in god was comparable to belief in Santa I'd be all for it. I think the general message of "be nice to everyone and try not to hurt anyone" (I'll ignore all the nasty bits) is basically sound. I get weepy at school nativities because I think the Christmas story is a nice one.

If we came clean about god when kids reached "that age" and said look, there isn't really a man in the sky, it's all made up but we went along with it because it's a nice story and there is a nice message to be taken from it - now you know the truth, don't go spoiling it for the little ones" then you could compare god with Santa.

defuse all those are subjective. A matter of opinion, except perhaps for 'Accuracy of meaning'. By that would you mean "true"?

Oh and I forgot to ask. Where in the koran does it have that list of criteria ?

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 13:31:57

It's exactly the same, except that we are supposed to grow out of Santa.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 13:33:49

Imaginary friend=16 characters
god=3 characters

That's not shorthand Curlew. If your intention is not offence why not just use the word god?

Caitlin17 Sat 07-Dec-13 13:34:45

defuse what you are talking about is simply a book, which you consider eloquently written and says someone which resonates with you. You think that makes it the work of a god. I don't.

The same criteria of being considered to be eloquently written and resonating with the reader could be applied to The Communist Manifesto.

As for not being able to better it, you'll find plenty of people who will tell you no one has bettered Shakespeare or Jane Austen. Your explanation is just " just because" using more words.

Caitlin17 Sat 07-Dec-13 13:35:21

Argh says something, not someone.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 13:39:48

ok thanks backonly, stop me if it gets boring.

the Quran is central to Muslim spirituality, not Muhammad, whereas it is Jesus who is central to the Christian spirituality, not the Bible. interspered amongst the verses on religious law, religious history, religious spirituality, are the verses that set out the argument the Quran makes for itself.

alot of the arguments people use now in the 21st century to deride the stories of the Prophets Moses, Jesus, Abraham, the pagan Arabs also derided Muhammad for, and the Quran records their words and goes on to address them...

"When Our verses are recited to them, they say, “We have heard; if we wish, we can compose a discourse like this. It is nothing but the tales of the ancient people."
(chapter 8, verse 31)

"This is what has been promised to us and to our fathers before. It is nothing but the tales of the ancients.”
(chapter 23, verse 83)

"The disbelievers said, “This is nothing but a lie he (the messenger) has fabricated and some other people have helped him in it.” Thus they came up with sheer injustice and falsehood. And they said, “(These are) the tales of the ancients he (the messenger) has caused to be written, and they are read out to him at morn and eve.”
(Chapter 25, verse 4-5)

'Imaginary friend' can include all gods, pixies, fairies and devils. The ghost of your grandad or Napoleon who tells you where there's a good parking space. The spirit of the tree and the wind and anything else that you think communicates with you that you can't demonstrate exists.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 13:46:12

already in the 7th century, they were saying 'these are but tales of the ancients' - just as atheists say now about religious books. so, its something to acquiant us with doubt.

the Quran does not ascribe divinity, independent powers, will to perform miracles or knowledge of the unseen to Muhammad (pbuh). instead it repeatedly says that muhammad is a plain warner and his duty is to convey the message. what made Muhammad (pbuh) extraordinary and his message was not any special powers. and apart from the Quran, Muhammad did not perform the miracles of Moses or Abraham or Jesus, and we are not a religion that looks to miracles in that way to prove faith.
and just like people say 'i wont believe unless i see something dramatic', the pagans said the same..

"The disbelievers say, “Why is it that no sign has been sent down to him from his Lord?” You are but a warner; and for every people there is a guide."
(Chapter 13, verse 7)

"And they say, “Why is it that no signs (miracles) have been sent down to him from his Lord?” Say, “Signs are only with God, and I am only a plain warner.” Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book that is being recited to them? Surely in it there is mercy and advice for a people who believe."
(Chapter 29, verse 50-51)

"Say: "I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your God is one God: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner."
(Chapter 18, verse 110)

"Say, “I have no power to bring a benefit or a harm to myself, except that which God wills. If I had the knowledge of the Unseen, I would have accumulated a lot of good things, and no evil would have ever touched me. I am but a warner, and a herald of good news for a people who believe.”
(Chapter 7, verse 188)

"They said, “We shall never believe in you unless you cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth. Or you have a garden of date palms and grapes, then you bring forth rivers from their midst in abundance. Or you cause the sky to fall upon us in pieces, as you claimed, or you bring Allah and angels before us face to face. Or you have a house made of gold. Or you ascend to the sky, and we will not believe in your ascension unless you send down to us a book we may read.” Say, “I proclaim the Purity of my Lord. I am nothing but human, a messenger.” Nothing prevented people from believing, when guidance came to them, except that they said, “Has Allah sent a man as a messenger?”
(Chapter 17, verse 90-94)

"Say, “I do not say to you that I have the treasures of God, nor do I have the knowledge of the Unseen, nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I only follow what is revealed to me.”
(Chapter 6, verse 50)

"Say: I am not the first of the messengers, and I do not know what will be done with me or with you: I do not follow anything but that which is revealed to me, and I am nothing but a plain warner."
(Chapter 46, verse 9)

"And Muhammad is no more than a messenger like the messengers that have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to God in the least, and God will reward the grateful."
(Chapter 3, verse 144)

crescentmoon sorry, but those verses are still just saying "but ours is different. It is true" which anyone can say. They might be interesting as a story and so is the bible in parts, but that's as far as it goes.

I don't really know enough about Muhammad to decide, but he might have been a good and sincere man. If Jesus existed (still not proven) then he might have been too.

I'm willing to bet that Muhammad said a lot of sensible and helpful things, but it changes nothing really.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 13:59:59

The list above is not exhaustive and represents just some of the reasons why it has not been possible to emulate the Qur’an to this day.

Do you seriously think that your argument convinces anyone who is not already convinced of the underlying claim?

It is highly unlikely that you could write text that you claim to be by Shakespeare and have it fool scholars. The analysis now done is working very effectively to pick out bits of Middleton in Macbeth, bits of Shakespeare in Sir Thomas Moore, and so on. That's not to say that these conclusions are right in an objective sense, of course, but they have strong scholarly backing across most people working in the field, and a consensus is emerging.

The same would apply to attempting to write extensions to Bach's work: there's now sufficiently detailed analysis of Bach's work that it is unlikely you could pastiche it and not get caught (and it's not as though previously unknown Bach hasn't turned up and been authenticated quite recently).

The same's true, mutatis mutandis, for almost any good composer, writer or painter. If their work is available in sufficient volume to be analysed in detail, then the precise details of their style and technique will be known to a depth greater than the ability of anyone to forge it.

Neither Shakespeare nor Bach are divine, and their work is not the product of divine inspiration. It is highly unlikely, however, that you would be able to construct work purporting to be by them and not be detected. How does this differ from your claims about the Quran?

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 14:09:28

sure, stop me if it gets boring backonly, the purpose of quoting those verses here is that, islam wanted to make its followers realise that if it was going to be followed, it would be on an argument, not a big amazing stupendous miracle. this would have been very hard for the people of the 7th century desert to realise, they were still living in the times of the supernatural but i appreciate it now in the 21st century because, we are not caught up in the arguments about the occurances of miracles. the virgin birth of jesus, etc, they are not the proof of the Quran, but when one believes in the argument of the Quran, then one reconciles themselves to those earlier miracles of prophets.
and thats fine

before getting to the literary parts, or maybe il leave that to defuse, as for the argument the Quran makes for the existence of God. its not to do with a small still voice, not to do with the inner, not a supernatural miracle muhammad performed by his hands and then by that the arabs fell to the ground in wonder. it was simply the literary the Quran tells the reader to look around them. observe. Muhammad used a DEIST argument, belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a Creator, by the verses in the Quran, and it was part of the gradual arguments.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 14:15:54

backonly. If you are truly interested in proving or disproving this challenge, then please go find an arab speaker or linguist or professional or expert and he/she will soon inform you about what is subjective and what is not.

You said that you could get someone to do it in 20 minutes. Have a try and i will be very interested to know what they say.

As i said, the challenge is there and it is not a trick question. It is there to ponder if you actually want to look into it.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 14:22:52

verses like this about the proof for God being based on reason and observation of the natural world are through the Quran, il only quote 3...

"Verily! in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember God (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): 'Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners". (Chapter 3, verse 190-191)

"In the succession of the night and day, and in what God created in the heavens and the earth, there truly are signs for those who are aware of Him". (Chapter 10, verse 6)

"the creation of the heavens and the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind, but most of mankind know not". (Chapter 40, verse 57)

so, again, in the 7th century the people might not have appreciated it as much as i in the 21st, the age dominated by science and discovery of the universe around us. this argument the Quran makes that, as a human being learns more about the world and universe around them, they will acknowledge and appreciate God more. not the argument of the God of the gaps, the opposite - learn more and understand more of hte world and that is all you need to believe. no need for miracles by the hands of Muhammad.

crescentmoon I do think the 'miracles in the bible backfired. They look ludicrous now in the 21st century. It is better to use a more philosophical approach. The sense of wonder we feel at the universe around us inspires awe in everyone I'm sure.

For me though it doesn't require a creator to be beautiful and wonderful.

defuse you say "he/she will soon inform you about what is subjective and what is not.". That's not how it works.
grin

If you are making the rules then you can decide it doesn't fit, but how about if I judge if it fits?

You are still getting humans to say that the book is divine. Surely you see how silly that is. First you must prove that these criteria are the ones Allah meant and then prove that your panel are guided by Allah. THEN you can use the panel to say that the book is true.

insancerre Sat 07-Dec-13 14:36:00

To me Father Christmas and god are both fictional characters who don't actually exist.
I really don't mind what other people believe though.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 14:42:33

Another problem is that deists like to claim that it's offensive to say that they are stupid and gullible.

And then they produce arguments like "this book is true, because it says it's true" and "this book was written by God because it says it was written by God", and then look around them, astounded, when people aren't convinced.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 14:49:49

It is offensive to call anyone stupid and gullible Friday. I am shock that you would need that pointed out to you.

DioneTheDiabolist, would you care to critique defuse's argument for us?

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 14:59:32

It is offensive to call anyone stupid and gullible

It's offensive to talk about gay people living a "deathstyle". And to publish articles starting:

"You know the end of Western civilisation is near when our elites, eggheads and rulers turn virtue into vice and vice into virtue. When they actually promote that which is not only morally wrong, but just plain deadly, then it really is the end of the world as we know it."

But that doesn't stop Christians doing it.

And that's just this week's example from "Anglican Mainstream", who are run by ordained vicars in the CofE. Other Christians say things like

"So even though homosexual desires feel natural, they are actually unnatural, because God says they are. He also calls all sexual involvement outside of marriage immoral. (There are 44 references to fornication—sexual immorality—in the Bible.) Therefore, any form of homosexual activity, whether a one-night stand or a long-term monogamous relationship, is by definition immoral—just as any abuse of heterosexuality outside of marriage is immoral."

The religious are perfectly happy to throw abuse about. They have incredibly thin skins when it gets slung back. Christians get to stop being called stupid and gullible when they tone down the abuse and hatred they direct at people whose sexuality doesn't match their bible standards.

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 15:00:35

"It is offensive to call anyone stupid and gullible Friday. I am that you would need that pointed out to you."

I don't think it's offensive to call somebody gullible. Anyone can be gullible- we all are sometimes. It's part of the human condition. Stupid, I agree, is offensive. But what if somebody has said something which shows that they are both stupid and gullible? Does the fact that they have been stupid and gullible over a matter of religion make a difference?

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 15:00:38

would you care to critique defuse's argument

Wouldn't that involve her making one?

As Dirac is supposed to have said, "it's not even wrong".

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 15:08:07

Backonly,

You made claims that anyone who speaks arabic can write a chapter like the quran in 20 minutes. Go and do it. Then come back and tell me how easy or difficult it was.

The panel is not there to say whether the quran is the word of god or not. The panel is not sitting there commenting on the divinity of the quran. It is there to analyse whether your chapter follows the 'flow' of the quran. The panel/scholars/experts (muslim and non) maintain that nobody has been able to imitate the style of quran.

Caitlin17 Sat 07-Dec-13 15:14:32

defuse genuine question is the Koran never translated? If it is what is the genuine version?

I'm sorry your arguments far from convincing me are making me even more sceptical.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 15:15:09

So let me get this right....i have said that there is a challenge in the quran. You have not met that challenge, but have decided to start go on the defensive. You have claimed that you can submit a piece in 20 minutes, but havent submitted one. You have called it easy but havent produced it.

Then friday pops up with an argument that it not being offensive calling people stupid and then goes onto comment on my lack of argument!

They can write a chapter in 20 minutes. I could if you would be willing to translate it into arabic.

The hurdle is 'can they do it in a way that proves to your panel that it is the same style as allah uses' and I've seen no proof that it has to be in the same literary style yet, or that your panel or any panel has the divine knowledge to judge that.

Here you go.

Chapter XX.1 "and allah created the world because his xbox was broken and he was bored"
Chapter XX.2 "and he messed it up so he drowned it and started again"

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 15:15:42

It is there to analyse whether your chapter follows the 'flow' of the quran. The panel/scholars/experts (muslim and non) maintain that nobody has been able to imitate the style of quran.

They're hardly disinterested observers, are they?

And in any event, as I pointed out already, the same holds for attempting to write music in the manner of Bach which will fool a panel of Bach experts. That doesn't make Bach divine. How is this different?

catkind Sat 07-Dec-13 15:21:36

But surely it's completely beside the point whether the style of the koran can be replicated or not. As people have already said, there are plenty of known human literary (and musical) styles that can't be replicated. It proves nothing either way.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 15:23:28

Caitlin, the quran is translated into many languages. The original language is arabic.

Caitlin, i am not here to convince you or anybody else. I know that these attempts can be futile. I have merely posted a challenge. If you want to take it up, then fair enough, but nobody has actually proven me wrong as yet and actually come up with a chapter like quran.

What makes the Quran stand apart is that it is impossible for a human being to compose something like it, as it lies outside the productive capacity of the nature of the Arabic language. The productive capacity of nature, concerning the Arabic language, is that any grammatically sound expression of the Arabic language will always fall with-in the known Arabic literary forms of prose and poetry. All of the possible combinations of Arabic words, letters and grammatical rules have been exhausted and yet its literary form has not been matched linguistically.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 15:27:34

Back, I haven't read it. I have only read little posts today. I am in too much pain to concentrate.sad

cheval1980 Sat 07-Dec-13 15:29:59

This is an interesting change in tactic, 'proving' a religion by an obscure challenge that would take years of study even to have the information required to undertake it. Sort of like claiming "There's a little alien who lives in a cave in Antarctica" - it could be proved long, but nobody is really going to be arsed to do it, so in the meantime the claimant says their position is solid.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 07-Dec-13 15:30:09

I agree Friday, but I'm not sure why you think bigotry is any better than homophobia.

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 15:38:27

Defuse, it's not possible to prove you wrong because we can't criticise the Quran, can we?

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 15:43:20

Cheval, i am glad you acknowledged that a challenge like this would involve some form of study. Study is not a bad thing and there are many, many people out there who like to study things that which you may not feel inclined to.

Studying is never a bad thing, no matter how long it may take - be it about anything - linguistics or the black hole. Or alternatively, we can continue to call anybody who is not an atheist stupid or closed minded and at the same time claim that one cannot be 'arsed' to study or explore a different avenue because it may take too long - and therefore justify to themselves why they are right - because they couldnt be 'arsed' to get up and learn.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 15:44:28

Kitten, the challenge was not to criticise, offend, insult.

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 15:46:40

Please study something that is more useful than a faith.
How many angels fit on the head of a pin, anyway?

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 15:47:53

I don't understand. Why challenge not to criticise offend or insult?

cheval1980 Sat 07-Dec-13 15:52:23

Defuse, I spend a lot of time studying, but I like my study to ultimately be useful and learning arabic and studying arabic styles of writing in order to prove religion that is almost certainly false to actually be false according to an arbitrary self-designated test is not a worthwhile use of my study time.

Anybody can issue an arbitrary vastly time consuming challenge, it doesn't mean it's worth anyone's time to answer it - especially one with so subjective a way of judging the response. You'd think if there is an almighty being somewhere with super powers they'd be capable of coming up with a more accessible test.

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 15:56:45

How do you know that for example Christianity is not the right answer? Have you studied it enough?

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 16:06:06

Wow, so many excuses.

Learning is always useful.

Btw, this was not a 'change in tactic' as you said earlier cheval. The challenge has been there for centuries.

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 16:07:30

Defuse
You avoid all of my points. I challenge you to answer them.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 16:12:34

It's not the only test or argument the quran makes of itself though cheval. But its literary style also became the standard for the peak of Arabic literature- not just then but until now, and not just to the Muslim Arabs, but it was a challenge and still is to its detractors 'and if you think this is a mere work of man Create something similar like it'.

Another thing about the quran is that it has been unchanged for millennia- all qurans throughout the world have the same content and this is a reason for critics to say islam is inflexible- 'because their book is not allowed to be changed'. But to us, it is the proof that the book made of itself that it would be protected from being changed unlike the holy books of the earlier peoples. The famous verse 15:9 ''indeed it is We who sent the Message and it is We who will Guard it (from corruption).
The quran has a single author- whether it is believed to be by Muhammad's hand or divinely inspired, and this cerse verse that says it would be protected from being changed is found on the oldest copies of the quran and in the newest- its stayed throughout the history of the quran.
Anyone aquianted with islamic creed and history will realise how remarkable this was. Because Islam unlike Judaism of Christianity has no religious hierarchy, no clergy class to oversee the preservation of the holy book, not even a quran authority to make sure that very copy throughout every land has the same content. Its an organised relgion but no hierarchy - not an inam or mufti stands above a layperson. Even more remarkable when its considered how many empires there were in the Muslim world, sultanates in south east Asia, sub Saharan Africa, sultans in North Africa, emperors in Central Asia, the Muslim world broke away from the central power of a caliph within 150 years after the death of Muhammad. And yet none of these bombastic chauvinistic dynasties within the Muslim world whether Shia or Sunni tampered with the text. Of course encouragement of memorisation helps but we find that part of its proof also

redshifter Sat 07-Dec-13 16:14:14

What I fi d really hard to believe is how some of you posters have the patience to try and argue rationally with someone with such nonsense arguements as defuse

Honestly. How do you do it?

I really admire you.

cheval1980 Sat 07-Dec-13 16:15:05

Lol, call it 'excuses' if you like, but the human lifespan is very limited, and spending years of it trying to establish if Islam is in fact real (by a very dubious methodology), seems like a waste. Islam is only one of thousands of religions, how is it possible to spend years of study on each to establish the correct one, if indeed there is a correct religion?

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 16:15:05

What do you say about the more problematic verses crescent moon. I think you know what I mean.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 16:22:35

Kitten: you asked, why challenge not to criticise, offend or insult?
I do not know how to answer that. Either you have misunderstood, or i have.

Like some previous posts have said. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs. An atheist can put their point across about their views on theists without the need to resort to offensive or insulting language.

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 16:27:10

Still don't get you, defuse. The thing is, you make claims, we cannot counter them without being considered offensive as ANY criticism is deemed offensive.

crescentmoon Sat 07-Dec-13 16:38:13

Were not speaking to convert anyone, just slowly going through why we follow our faith and why it generally has the confidence to require so much of its followers throughout the world (eg the five pillars of Islam).
But real life intrudes so il probably be on in dead of night again to see how the thread is going. kitten I hope gosh comes on but if not il answer your question.

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 16:39:09

Yeah right.

crescentmoon I like the idea of having every copy match the original and I've heard that before. It's just struck me though that this surely can't be 100% true.

I'm willing to believe that if I sent off for a copy from amazon or whatever it would match yours, but there's nothing to stop someone making an altered copy mistakenly or maliciously is there.

It doesn't really detract from your overall point. It just made me wonder if there was another, non-official, version out there

On the 'no hierarchy' thing that would be a point in its favour - given the behaviour of most organised christian churches, but you have uluma do you not who 'explain' the hadith and so on? and I see clerics waving their hands and issuing edicts so perhaps not quite as simple as individual muslim <->Allah

And you have at least two kinds of Islam last I looked. Not sure what the differences are, but I never understood how christians can admit to having 100s of different denominations without admitting that all but one must have it wrong.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 17:06:30

All of the possible combinations of Arabic words, letters and grammatical rules have been exhausted and yet its literary form has not been matched linguistically.

Don't be silly. "All possible combinations of words" is, obviously, infinite. It would require infinite time to enumerate them. How can they possibly be "exhausted"? All possible finite-length combinations of words is not infinite, but why don't you nip away and work out, say, the number of thousand word documents you can derive from an lexicon of a thousand words, and tell us how long they would take to evaluate at one document per second?

any grammatically sound expression of the Arabic language will always fall with-in the known Arabic literary forms of prose and poetry

That's absolute, utter, nonsense on so many levels it's hard to know where to start. Are you seriously saying that Arabic is resistant to the rise of any new form of prose or poetry as all possible forms have been already used? Doesn't that make it a bit dull for writers?

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 17:12:31

Friday, feel free to produce a chapter then.

redshifter Sat 07-Dec-13 17:17:06

defuse and crescentmoon - I don't have to respond to your challenge, I just KNOW you are so totally wrong. I don't have to prove you are wrong or give evidence in support of my arguement because I have FAITH.

I believe my God is the one true God so therefore you must be wrong.

You believe that my holy book is not the word of God but I believe it is. I feel like you are calling me stupid and gullible for believing this.

I find this attitude very offensive.

And quite possibly racist.

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 17:19:54

The problematic verses? Anyone? Written by God?

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 17:26:07

Friday, feel free to produce a chapter then.

You really don't get it, do you?

I cannot produce a chapter that reads like JK Rowling.

That does not mean that JK Rowling is divine.

It is unlikely that anyone can produce a chapter purporting to be like JK Rowling that would pass a reasonable battery of modern linguistic analysis tools.

That still does not mean that JK Rowling is divine.

I realise that the arguments that you are advancing are convincing to people who are convinced.

But, seriously, standing there saying "produce a chapter, then" is convincing no-one but yourself. I cannot produce a chapter that would withstand modern analysis and be indistinguishable from that written by any literary writer for whom there is a large authentic corpus available. That does not mean that the authors are divine. It just means that literary analysis is sophisticated.

redshifter Sat 07-Dec-13 17:53:34

I have have admired people on this thread that are trying tonhave a rational discussion and respect them for their patience and tolerance but I am just totally fed up with trying. What is the point? Some people's minds are closed.

I am fed up with pussy footing around trying to be polite and respect peoples beliefs that I find ridiculous, nasty and dangerous.
If someone said they held Nazi beliefs, or sexist beliefs, I would be able to say what I think about them. I want the right to criticize someones religious beliefs in the same way.

I object to to the privilege religious people have when it comes to criticism of their beliefs.

I really don't want to upset people but I just feel that I have a right to express my strongly held beliefs as much as any religious person does and if you come out with a comment like this - The quran is not the work of man then I think you are stupid, and very gullible.

Sorry.

I can't help it, but I really believe this.

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 17:55:34

"What makes the Quran stand apart is that it is impossible for a human being to compose something like it, as it lies outside the productive capacity of the nature of the Arabic language"

What does this mean? Surely if that was true, nobody could read or understand it?

btw this is off topic really, but I mentioned earlier hearing that the koran contained the speed of light and other scientific knowledge. I found a site if anyone is interested that lists these 'gems'.

Miracles of the Quran

redshifter for every poster there could be dozens or 100s of people reading these threads. Some of them may be put off accepting religion blindly because of what they read here. If it makes one person re-examine their position it's worth it.

Caitlin17 Sat 07-Dec-13 18:15:55

defuseOk, let's assume the Koran is indeed written by a god and is the only absolute truth about anything.

I am an ignorant infidel who will in some way I can't be bothered to Google suffer for all eternity. Why do you care what I think or say about your book?

I'm not of your faith. It can't possibly be harmed or diminished by anything I do.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 18:30:17

What does this mean? Surely if that was true, nobody could read or understand it?

It's apologetics. People who have already convinced themselves like to throw around phrases that they don't understand but they think will be unanswerable weapons against the unbelievers. As you say, what does "lies outside the productive capacity of the nature of the Arabic language" mean? If you know anything about natural languages, you ponder Shapir-Whorf and the like. If you know anything about formal languages, you start muttering about various undecidable problems in language theory, like Universality. If you ask for a definition of what it means, you rapidly realise it means "you are not meant to understand this, but it's impressive, isn't it?"

I am confident that none of the people saying "lies outside the productive capacity of the nature of the Arabic language" have the slightest knowledge of what it means, or would be able to explain it. What does "productive capacity" of a language mean? That the grammar that defines the language is closed? That's quite a claim...

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 07-Dec-13 19:13:14

Friday - you may find this of interest: www.hamzatzortzis.com/essays-articles/exploring-the-quran/the-inimitable-quran/

I post it not to convince you, but to provide an overview of the argument that the Qur'an is inimitable.

Love the link. Very entertaining smile

"The implication of this is that there is no link between the Qur’an and the Arabic language; however this seems impossible because the Qur’an is made up of the Arabic language. "

You think?

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 19:28:08

That's interesting, GoshAnne

Defuse:

"What makes the Quran stand apart is that it is impossible for a human being to compose something like it, as it lies outside the productive capacity of the nature of the Arabic language. The productive capacity of nature, concerning the Arabic language, is that any grammatically sound expression of the Arabic language will always fall with-in the known Arabic literary forms of prose and poetry. All of the possible combinations of Arabic words, letters and grammatical rules have been exhausted and yet its literary form has not been matched linguistically."

The essay *GoshAnne* cites:

"What makes the Qur’an a miracle, is that it is impossible for a human being to compose something like it, as it lies outside the productive capacity of the nature of the Arabic language. The productive capacity of nature, concerning the Arabic language, is that any grammatically sound expression of the Arabic language will always fall with-in the known Arabic literary forms of prose and poetry. All of the possible combinations of Arabic words, letters and grammatical rules have been exhausted and yet its literary form has not been matched linguistically. "

Isn't that interesting that defuse should coincidentally come up with such a similar paragraph? I mean, obviously, someone with the high morals and principles of the faithful wouldn't just cut and paste and then claim it as their own, uncredited, because that would obviously be wrong. It must be another of those miracles, must it not?

That's why the people citing all this nonsense can't argue about it: they're just cutting and pasting it.

Otoh it explains a lot

"I can't write 'women should be equal' in this chapter because it doesn't fit the rhythm"

"How about 'women should be silent' that fits"

cheval1980 Sat 07-Dec-13 19:37:50

Friday yes the same thought occured to me reading that link! It's also a bit of a cheek to expect others to study Arabic to see this miracle for themselves, whilst seemingly not having done this study themselves...

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 07-Dec-13 19:38:56

Friday - plenty of unacknowledged C+Ping from you noble atheists too. As I said upthread, some charmer on another thread C+P'd screeds from an anti-Muslim hate site. Or is it different when atheists do it?

Back - you will not find "women should be silent" in the Qur'an.

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 19:52:06

"Friday - plenty of unacknowledged C+Ping from you noble atheists too. As I said upthread, some charmer on another thread C+P'd screeds from an anti-Muslim hate site. Or is it different when atheists do it? "

How is what somebody did on another thead relevant?

Th issue with c and ping stuff like this is the time it very difficult to understand. I don't. And I asked if somebody could explain it to me- but they couldn't. Because I suspect they don't understand it either. I just don't see how something written in a language that people can read and understand can be completely uncopyable. In what way? Who judges that the copy has failed? By what criteria?

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 19:53:21

plenty of unacknowledged C+Ping from you noble atheists too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 19:58:07

You will find it recommending that men marry, and have sex with (rape) child brides, though.

GoshAnneGorilla the actual example was a joke - I was going to go with 'stoning' instead of 'silent' - though I wouldn't be surprised if there were similar passages. There are in the bible and the value of women seems similar.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 20:01:00

And I asked if somebody could explain it to me- but they couldn't.

Quite. The word for people who cut and paste things they don't understand is "idiot". They're too stupid to understand it themselves, and assume that everyone else is too stupid to notice. If you've spent any time around YECs you can see this in action, where they cut and paste ludicrous nonsense that they're too stupid to see is ludicrous nonsense, can't explain or justify it, and response to people who know what they're doing pointing out the flaws by repeating it. They treat low-quality, unrefereed papers in junk journals the same as they treat their holy books: as unanswerable truth.

Let's, for fun, point out why the paper that our Muslim friends are cutting and pasting from is bollocks. Take section 1. The claim there is that all poetry in Arabic has to follow specific patterns, and all poems known fit those patterns. It's nonsense. You can produce a new pattern. It won't be part of the Arabic cannon, but it'll still be Arabic.

There's a finite set of existing formal poetic forms in English. A sonnet has fourteen lines in a specified rhyme scheme, each line usually of ten or twelve syllables. You can write a poem of fifteen lines, each line containing 11 syllables. It won't be a sonnet. It won't be (I think) any previously known form. It will still be a poem and, of course, it will still be English.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 20:01:26

BTW, all this quoting from the Qu'ran and so forth really just wins the arguments for Atheists. Because when religious believers start properly explaining what they believe, most of the time it is laughably childish or scarily bonkers. That an adult believes a book can't have been written by normal people, or that there is proof of a deity just because a book goes "Cor, the, world, eh? Big and mysterious, innit? Has to have been some magical bloke dunnit and no mistake" terrifies me. It is simply not normal to be capable of making your mind operate like a tiny child believing in the tooth fairy.

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 20:14:50

"The claim there is that all poetry in Arabic has to follow specific patterns, and all poems known fit those patterns. It's nonsense. You can produce a new pattern. It won't be part of the Arabic cannon, but it'll still be Arabic."

That's what I thought, but I thought I must be missing something. And how can a metrical form be unrepeatable? I can write iambic pentameters- I am old enough to have had to in my youth. They aren't obviously,Shakespeare, but they are still iambic pentameters......

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 20:19:06

Ok,

I was not remotely attempting to pass that off as my work, so do not make those accusations. I said quran is the word of god. You asked for the criteria, i gave you the criteria - not my own criteria, but a criteria that would be accepted by linguists and scholars. As i said, go and get a chapter ready, then come back with your arguments.

Cheval, if you refute it, then produce the chapter.

Backto, same for you too - you said 20 minutes should be sufficient and an arabic speaking person could put a chapter together. Go do it.

Friday, you are of the opinion that calling someone stupid is not offensive. And you question someone else's principles! I have been saying that calling theirs names and being rude in general just because your beliefs do not match theirs is unnecessary and offensive. Your belief is that god doesnt exist So here is a challenge to you from the quran which challenges your belief system.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 20:23:57

And how can a metrical form be unrepeatable? I can write iambic pentameters- I am old enough to have had to in my youth. They aren't obviously,Shakespeare, but they are still iambic pentameters.

No, I don't think that's the claim that's being made here. I think the claim that's being made is that there's a fixed and finite set of metrical patterns, and either that you can't write Arabic in a metrical pattern other than one of those or, alternatively, that you can, but in some sense it wouldn't be Arabic.

I don't speak Arabic. But let's assume that it's a language that contains elements, and that some of those elements are similar in sound (rhyme) and that some of the elements in a text will be stressed differently in ordinary reading (rhythm). Here's how I make a new metrical form. I write a piece in an existing metrical form. I add one extra element at random by replacing a word that contains n elements with one that contains n+1 elements (I'm saying "element" to finesse pedantry about phonemes, lexemes, graphemes, "feet", pulses, whatever). Does the result match an existing form? No? I've made a new one. Yes? Let's add another element, then.

Where Shakepeare wrote "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" (Sonnet 18) I can replace "thee" with "Sheldon Cooper, PhD". It's still English, it's still poetry, it's a new metrical form. Others could write new poems in my new metrical form, too.

It's easy, this stuff, isn't it?

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 20:29:13

You asked for the criteria, i gave you the criteria - not my own criteria, but a criteria that would be accepted by linguists and scholars.

The criteria wouldn't be accepted for a second by linguists. "This work is written divinely" is not the purview of linguists.

As i said, go and get a chapter ready, then come back with your arguments.

We have no idea, at all, what relevance the production of such a chapter has to your argument. We have already said, quite clearly, that producing a new piece of work to match seamlessly an existing corpus is a known hard, probably impossible, problem. You'll need to explain why you think keeping on saying this bolsters your argument.

Let's break this down, carefully.

I accept, certainly for the purposes of this discussion, that it is impossible to produce a literary text that seamlessly matches another, large corpus. Faking a missing chapter of Ulysses, or the missing "Love's Labour's Won", is not going to work. This does not prove that Joyce or Shakespeare are divine, just that literary analysis is sophisticated. Now, your task is to explain why our inability to replicate some other book proves that book to have been divinely produced. Try to write on only one side of the paper at once.

So here is a challenge to you from the quran which challenges your belief system.

What? What?

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 07-Dec-13 20:31:30

Anybags - citation please for stating the Qur'an justifies raping child brides.

Those saying "but I could just write something in Arabic" are rather missing the point.

Also, FWIW, I find many opinons people hold to be far more "terrifying" then religious faith, racism being a good example.

I take it we're moving to the part of the debate where the atheists claim that their sneering and mockery are all for our own good. Nothing at all dubious about that hmm

GoshAnneGorilla, actually this is mostly the bit where we talk about poetry.

If you're referring to the reminder that Muhammad married a 9yo I don't know where in the koran it says this is acceptable. If you tell me it doesn't then I will believe you.

I think it's a bit unfair to bring that up anyway. Muhammad was just doing what everyone else did. It's not like he had access to some source of morality that the others of his time lacked.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 20:45:10

Well, thank you friday for acknowledging it cant be done. The linguists are not there to comment on the quran being a divine revelation, but to tell you linguistically, that it is impossible to copy.

But as backto keeps reiterating...anyone can do it. No, any one can't do it.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 20:46:15

Those saying "but I could just write something in Arabic" are rather missing the point.

We're rather struggling to understand what point is being made. There's a literary text. It's not possible to seamlessly produce more of it without the join showing. So what?

defuse Frankly I'm getting a little bored now with going over the same ground. Your whole argument has more holes than a fishing net. I'm amazed you can't see it.

The fact that the koran doesn't say it must fit the criteria that they/you claim it must is the least of your problems. Though isn't it some kind of sin to put words in Allah's mouth? Still I'm sure you and those people who wrote the criteria know better than him don't you and can explain that when you see him.

Regardless of that, and as many have tried to explain, even if you are right that it can't be made to fit the criteria, that proves nothing at all about Allah or the koran because the only evidence you have for the koran being true is still only what the koran says.

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 21:20:45

How old was aysha again?

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 21:23:21

Gosh - mockery is a very good thing. You can't mock something that makes sense.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 21:24:35

You are right backto, only ypur viewpoint makes perfect sense. I am of course making things up about the quran and the criteria. The quran doesnt tell one how to perform prayer or ablution prior to prayer. But if i write the criteria down, then i am somehow sinful because it is my criteria right?

The evidence i have for the quran is what the quran says, because as you have acknowledged, nobody is able to produce a mere 3 lines copying the style. Not then and not now.

I re-iterate, there is no need to mock any religion, just because you do not believe.

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 21:28:08

Yes there is a need to mock it. People who blindly believe in religion are too ready, the world over, to tell the rest of us how to live.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 21:33:22

Who has been telling you how to live kitten?

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 21:34:07

I have completely lost track. Are people saying that it is impossible to write a sura indistinguishable from the ones in the Qur'an? Well, as that would be largely a subjective judgement, then it's probably true- so long as the people judging the attempts wanted it to be true!

And it's pretty well accepted that the Qur'an talks about marriage and sex with what we would consider to be under age girls- Mohammed's wife was, I think 9 when they married? 6 when he proposed. Certainly 18 when he died.... But autre temps, autre moeurs. I presume this has been overtaken by modern standards of behaviour? No Muslim nowadays would sanction such behaviour. So in this a least, the Qur'aan is wrong?

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 21:38:42

The evidence i have for the quran is what the quran says, because as you have acknowledged, nobody is able to produce a mere 3 lines copying the style. Not then and not now.

Do you think that makes sense? Do you think it will convince anyone?

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 21:49:00

Curlew, i think this question has been covered many times on mumsnet. I think there was a piece in the guardian regarding this too. So, in answer to your question, no the quran was not and is not wring.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 21:50:47

Friday, i have no intentions to convert you, nor convince you. The facts are there and still stand.

friday16 Sat 07-Dec-13 21:54:10

The facts are there and still stand.

Spell them out.

Which facts?

So far we've got "literary works are difficult, if not impossible, to copy seamlessly, therefore they are written by God". Do you have anything else? Because I don't think anyone outside the already convinced finds that argument anything other than laughable.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sat 07-Dec-13 22:05:00

Curlew, are you living on a different planet to the rest of us? Because Muslims (and yes, men of other religions) are marrying and 'having sex with' (I refuse to write it as though it is normative) girls all over the bloody globe.

And I don't give a fuck if having sex with a child bride was normal at the time, it still makes the perpetrator a fucking freak and scumbag. A man cannot penetrate a child without immense, obvious pain and difficulty - they might have believed that it was normal and right, but they obviously found it okay, even enjoyable, to do that to children.

Defuse, I think you need a psychiatrist. The shit about evidence for the Qu'ran being the Qu'ran, and your latest attempts at debate are actually so bizarre as to be worrying. An adult that gullible and incapable of critical thought needs help. I'm not saying this to insult, it genuinely concerns me.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 22:06:48

Friday, so far we have 'literary works are impossible To copy. ' i didnt say difficult, i said impossible.

My job is not to try and convince you or anyone else. You acknowledge that nobody, no expert can produce or imitate the 3 lines required. Yet you still insist that the argument is laughable.

My job is not to convince you nor convert you.

monicalewinski Sat 07-Dec-13 22:07:15

I am confused.

I am an atheist, I simply do not believe in any god or gods.

defuse, if I and millions of others do not believe in any deity why does a challenge laid down in a story have any bearing on anything - why would you bring that up?

Why does it "prove" there is in fact a god or gods or whatever?

I really, seriously just don't get it.

I have followed this thread all the way through and am completely in the dark now - I have no idea what point you are making (and I really, genuinely am not trying to be rude).

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 22:08:05

Eh? Sorry, AnyBags- not sure what I did wrong there......hmm

KittensoftPuppydog Sat 07-Dec-13 22:10:27

Defuse- well you must have missed all of the coverage of the vigilantes in stepney, stopping people from holding hands, drinking and warning clothes that these guys don't like.

defuse Sat 07-Dec-13 22:12:14

Bags, so good of you to be genuinely concerned. Please dont worry too much about my psychiatric health. I am concerned by the level of anger you hold towards people who believe in religion/ God.